Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Convenient Truth

Former Presidential candidate Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in bringing to light the issue of ‘Global Warming’. Yet the hypocrisy of the award was not lost on some as Gore continued to travel to his speaking engagements in a private jet – a machine which, in one trip across the United States, burned more fuel than the average American family car would in an entire year.
Much criticism of the issue of ‘Global Warming’ has been expressed over the last few years since the release of Gore’s award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Many scientists in many fields have issued statements regarding the state of the planet, saying that any change in climate is due to naturally occurring phenomena and not from the actions of mankind. To suggest that man, in a relatively short time since the beginning of the industrial age, has screwed the planet to such an extent as to what is claimed by Gore and his supporters is sheer lunacy, some say. In the wide expanse of time since the planet was seemingly formed, man’s existence is the equivalent to a grain of sand on One Mile Beach. The planets’ climate shifts – it has always been so and there is nothing we can do about it.

Growing evidence seems to support the idea of naturally occurring climate change. Many of the graphs and illustrations used by Gore in An Inconvenient Truth were used in a way to support the thesis being presented. Yet alternate suggestions for these changes and even alternate data point towards the opposite. For example, the ‘frightening’ claim that the glaciers of the Himalayas – which provide one sixth of the water used by mankind – are vanishing and will have disappeared completely in 25 years seems entirely false. A British study, published by the American Meteorological Society in 2006, found that glaciers are only shrinking in the eastern Himalayas. West, in the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram, glaciers are “thickening and expanding”.

Many scientists argue that if temperatures are rising on one side of the planet, they are dropping on the other side. It is all relative. Botanist David Bellamy, writing in The Australian newspaper earlier this week, points out that 10,000 years ago Australia would have been under ice. Thank goodness for global warming, he says, or we all would not be here. Bellamy and others like him voicing dissent across the globe have been met with vicious hysteria. They are branded ‘paranoid conspiracy theorists’ even though their statements have nothing to do with ‘paranoia’ or ‘conspiracy’. These are learned people who should be heard, not censored for practicing free speech.

Lately, the term ‘Global Warming’ has been replaced by the term ‘Climate Change’. Is this a response to the growing evidence to support the fact that the idea of man-made ‘Global Warming’ is a bald-faced lie, perpetuated by a select group of people with a particular agenda? There is no denying that the planet is experiencing climate change, but given the knowledge that it is merely the earth doing its’ thing, why are governments across the world creating legislation (including taxation) to combat an issue which simply cannot be overcome? What is the proposed plan of action for a problem that doesn’t exist? Any move to reduce toxic emissions into the atmosphere is definitely a good thing, but not through the use of baseless fearmongering.

If the knowledge that climate change is not the cause of man, what is the possible agenda to ignore the evidence and create solutions for a non-existent problem? That is the question worth asking.

by Max Drake

(Sources: The Australian; The Telegraph (UK). Read the articles at: and )

Sunday, November 23, 2008


The Dark Knight (2008)
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Morgan Freeman.
Written by Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan.
Directed by Christopher Nolan.

With the release of director Nolan’s Batman Begins, audiences and Batman fans in general were salivating at the re-imagining of a very dark tale. With the sequel, Nolan returns with an equally dark film, yet this time, somewhat more oppressive and less enjoyable. As the Joker (Ledger) revels in a sadistic wave of violence, Batman (Bale) considers a Gotham free of his services. This hope comes from Harvey Dent (Eckhart), a fearless prosecutor who spits in the face of organized crime. Much was said of Ledger’s performance in this film, especially after his death, and his overblown theatrics serve the movie well. But at almost two and half hours, The Dark Knight begins to lose momentum and limps along in the final reel to an expected ending.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amy Adams, Gary Cole & Sacha Baron Cohen.
Written by Adam McKay & Will Ferrell.
Directed by Adam McKay.

Following on the heels of films such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights presents Ferrell in all his whacked-out glory. The success of these comedies relies heavily on the characterisations of the performers, and watching these actors do their comedic thing is a true guilty pleasure for some, and a total turn-off for others. It’s all a matter of taste, I guess. In Talladega Nights, Ferrell plays a NASCAR champion humiliated on the track by a French Formula One ace (Cohen). When his career seems over, he is given some encouragement by his estranged, boozehound father (an hilarious Cole). Admittedly, the film has some decidedly flat moments, but overall, Ricky Bobby is utterly infectious.

Prom Night (2008)
Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jonathan Schaech, Jessica Stroup.
Written by J.S. Cardone.
Directed by Nelson McCormick.

Here’s a good idea – let’s remake a film that was absolute crap the first time around and not do anything to improve it. In the 1980’s, audiences were treated to the original Prom Night and it’s rhyming sequel Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2, and then some years later, two more direct-to-video sequels. All four films typified what was wrong with the influx of cheap horror films in the 80’s particularly, and the remake typifies the kind of morally vacant and audience-contempt trash being released by the bucketload today. If you could distinguish a story from this mess, it would involve a group of murder-ripe teens at their high school prom being stalked by a crazed former teacher (played with wooden aplomb by Schaech). A good horror film will have the audience caring about and involved with the characters within the first five minutes, and this film fails miserably in that department thanks to some Amateur Hour writing. Oh yeah…and it’s important to make your horror movie scary too. Watch the rain instead.


(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)

Friday, November 14, 2008


Hancock (2008)
Will Smith, Charlize Theron & Jason Bateman.
Written by Vince Gilligan (& Vincent Ngo).
Directed by Peter Berg.

Hancock is a drunk who also happens to have extraordinary powers. His total disregard for public property means that every time he nabs the bad guys, he creates damage of some magnitude – which hasn’t helped his public image. When he is afforded direction and some decent publicity from Bateman, Hancock attempts to become the hero he was destined to be. The first half of this film is a clever alternate take on the superhero story, but when the film takes a dramatic tone shift in the second half, one is left wondering what the filmmakers’ intentions were. For what could have been an entertaining action comedy quickly becomes a messy hybrid that is ultimately disappointing.

Half Nelson (2006)
Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps & Anthony Mackie.
Written by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
Directed by Ryan Fleck.

Ryan Gosling is one of the best young actors working today, consistently delivering excellent performances. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for Half Nelson, where he portrays a drug-addicted teacher in an inner city school. He is not a miscreant and it is apparent he cares for his charges, taking a particular interest in the plight of one young student (Epps). But when she discovers him in a stoned stupor inside the school locker room, it soon becomes clear that these two people need to help each other. This subtle film is shot in a candid documentary style and unfolds slowly, revealing a depth of character that is rarely seen in a Hollywood film, no matter how ‘independent’.

Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow & Jeff Bridges.
Written by John August.
Directed by Jon Favreau.

Downey Jr is absolutely perfect as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist whose weapons have wreaked destruction across the globe. After delivering a weapons presentation to military personnel in Afghanistan, Stark is kidnapped by terrorists and coerced into building them a missile. Instead, he builds an iron suit with which he busts out of his cave prison in spectacular style. When he returns home with an altered mindset towards his work, he incurs the ire of business partner Bridges. This highly entertaining film, based on the Marvel comic, features great performances and some knockout CGI – for once used to enhance the story rather than destroy it. Kudos also go to actor/director Favreau for at last filming some action scenes that we can actually follow (take note Paul Greengrass and Mike Bay).


(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When you have nothing to say - let images do the talking...

It's been a very busy week for most of the GritFX team... and I can't believe that it's almost a week between posts!

Well... Wadrick chose not to work this week - that guy walks to his own beat... but will probably have more film reviews up tomorrow.

Max has been caugth up in the US election - which he chooses not to write about... even though I would consider some political pieces "weird stuff"! There's always something odd around - so I'm sure he'll be posting again soon.

As for me - not much to say other than I've been totally addicted to scanning in old images that date BDC (Before Digital Cameras) and sharing them on facebook.

This first collection "On the Road" is a selection of black & white images taken by myself and Dave on the road in NSW, Australia... Coastal + Country Roads.

Feeling displaced...

Where's Wadrick?

Abandoned train line...


Quiet country road... this is me...

Passenger seat perspective...

Lighting strikes!

Isolation is bliss...

Icy Cold!


Friday, November 7, 2008


10,000 BC (2008)
Steven Strait, Camilla Belle & Cliff Curtis. Narrated by Omar Sharif.
Written by Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser.
Directed by Roland Emmerich.

Roland Emmerich is the master of big budget Hollywood garbage and his latest film is no exception - an absurd tale combining woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and pyramid building. There are primitive men and women with manicured dreadlocks and immaculate teeth, an extraterrestrial ‘god’ figure and illusions to Atlantis. What Emmerich and his co-writer lack in character development and competent dialogue, they make up for with impressive CGI. But this doesn’t make for an entertaining experience, for what audiences really crave is a damn good story and that is something Emmerich and his cronies never deliver. Watch Quest for Fire instead.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Mary-Louise Parker & Sam Shepard.
Written & Directed by Andrew Dominik.

Australian director Dominik’s second film is an outstanding achievement – a deliberately-paced examination of the cult of celebrity. Detailing the events proceeding the death of Jesse James by the man who claimed to be his biggest fan, Dominik’s film is a class act in every department. Monumental production design and costumes, wonderfully nuanced performances from Pitt, Affleck and the entire cast, and a raw emotive score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. One of the greatest films of this genre ever made, and certainly one of the greatest American films of the last decade.

Rendition (2007)
Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard & Meryl Streep.
Written by Kelley Sane.
Directed by Gavin Hood.

When an Egyptian-born American is suspected of having links to a terrorist organisation, he is detained at a US airport and eventually flown to an undisclosed location abroad. There he is put into the hands of a nasty interrogator, overseen by CIA operative Gyllenhaal. Meanwhile, the man’s pregnant wife (Witherspoon) grows increasingly frantic as the search for her missing husband is blocked at every turn. Well-acted drama is a frightening indictment of the abuse of power and the radical degradation of civil liberties due to the so-called ‘War on Terror’.


(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Aurora, Texas (1897)

On April 17th, 1897, in the town of Aurora, Texas, a cigar-shaped craft was supposedly seen in the sky. Shortly thereafter, the object crashed to earth, destroying the windmill on the farm of the local judge. A small humanoid occupant was reportedly ejected, and was buried that same day in the town cemetery.

Newspaper reports at the time described the incident with candour and sincerity. One local newspaper made mention of the peculiar metal that the craft seemed to be constructed from as well as maps and writings found which were a strange type of hieroglyphic. Indeed, reports at the time from all over the country appeared in various publications all describing similar craft seen in the sky prior to and after the Aurora crash.

In the 1970’s, the mystery of the crash gained some recognition in certain circles. Many began to investigate the incident, including author Jim Marrs and aviation writer Bill Case, the latter having followed the incident for many years. But details of the crash and the truth of the matter remained elusive. Local townspeople that were interviewed, who had been alive at the time of the crash, were divided on whether the story was factual or an elaborate hoax. Others knew the story, and many had made judgements on its authenticity based on hearsay of family members.

Yet there were some aspects of the mystery that defied conventional reasoning. Brawley and Etta Oates bought the judges’ farm in 1945, and Etta confessed to the fact that nothing grew for years in the spot were the craft allegedly crashed. They also suffered cysts and goiters – the cause of which, they were told, was from drinking the radioactive water out of the well near where the craft had struck the earth.

The grave where the ‘alien’ was said to have been buried did in fact exist. The grave was smaller than a normal man, and bore a strange headstone. Inscribed on the stone was a “V” lying on it’s side with three circles etched inside it, like portholes. Case, Marrs and others moved to have the body exhumed, but were stopped by the local council. A few days later, the headstone was stolen. Case told Marrs that he had scanned the grave with a metal detector some time before the exhumation request. He found three positions within the grave that showed metal to be present. After the request and the subsequent headstone theft, the metal was gone and Case showed Marrs three small holes in the earth where the metal had obviously been extracted. When Marrs asked Case who he thought had taken the metal, Case replied “The government.”

By Max Drake

(Read: “Alien Agenda” by Jim Marrs; and visit