The Dead Don’t Die – Movie 2019 – review….of sorts.

My wife detests Zombie movies. I find it very difficult to get her to watch one with me, unless it’s a Zombie comedy movie that is. She LOVED Shaun of the Dead, so when she was scrolling through Netflix for a movie to watch and came across this one….a Zombie Comedy – The Dead Don’t Dieby Jim Yarmusch, who is himself becoming quite a cult figure for the quality of his movies, it was she who actually suggested we watch it. After I had recovered consciousness and peeled myself off the carpet, I readily agreed and after a quick viewing of the movie trailer – which looked extremely good – we settled down to be entertained by maestro Yarmusch and his all star cast. Sharing the lead were Bill Murray and Adam Driver – two actors who can really put the dead into dead-pan. Assisted by other names such as Tilda Swinton as a rather unconventional samurai sword swinging funeral director, Selena Gomez as a “hipster probably from Pittsburgh”, Danny Glover is the owner of a hardware store that sells everything you could possibly need to kill zombies with and Steve Buscemi as a red-neck Trump supporting farmer who wears a red baseball cap with Make America White Again as its slogan.

The Dead Don't Die.jpeg

Iggy Pop makes an appearance as a coffee loving zombie, Tom Waits plays Hermit Bob – a bearded backwoodsman hermit initially accused of stealing Steve Buscemi’s chickens – who watches the whole zombie apocalypse unfold from the fringes of his wooded encampment and rapper RZA brings up this trifecta of muso’s….and there are still more musicians who make a cameo appearance. One of these is the Sturgill Simpson who as well as briefly playing a character known as “guitar zombie” also sings the movie theme song “The Dead Don’t Die”……which is plugged several times throughout the movie (whenever a radio is switched on), including one scene where Bill Murray – who plays Police chief Cliff Robertson asks fellow officer Ronnie Peterson, played by Driver “How do I know this song?” – Driver absolutely deadpan replies “It’s the theme song” (of the movie).

Several times in the movie Driver’s character says “This is all gonna end badly”…..eventually Murray’s character asks him why he keeps saying this, like he knows something bad is going to happen. Driver replies “Jim showed me the script” – referring to director Jim Yarmusch.

All this happens in a small sleepy town in middle America with a lot of cliche characters. The basic premise of the movie is that somehow (possibly something to do with fracking at the earths poles) the rotational spin of the earth goes off kilter resulting in watches stopping, weird animal behaviour, it still being daylight late into the evening….oh yes, and zombies reanimating from corpses.

You’ll get the general idea from the trailer – I’ll provide the link at the end of this post. Actually the trailer is so much better than the movie. Save yourselves a lot of time and effort and watch the trailer instead of sitting through the movie.

There are characters in the movie who just seem to be there as a fill in, or as a favour to a mate or something….can I be in your movie…..yes sure I’ll make up a character for you who appears a couple of times but we never know why they are in the movie, or what happens to them during the zombie apocalypse. An example being a group of 3 kids in juvenile detention, who appear in a few scenes. They manage to escape the detention centre when it becomes over run with zombies but then go out onto streets overflowing with zombies but we never find out if they are eaten or survive. There just doesn’t appear to be a reason for including them in the movie at all. There’s no back story and they just go out into the night. AND, when a heavily Scottish accented Swinton is slashing her way through a crowd of zombies and a UFO appears overhead, I almost hit the off button. My wife and I looked at one another in disbelief and remarked “WHAT??!!”

The movie got mixed reviews from critics, most giving it mid range marks….not a great movie but not terrible either. There were snippets of brilliance but not enough to save it from mediocrity. And I must say I haven’t fully made my mind up. My initial reaction is it failed to live up to expectations….was too cliched…too laid back…too deadpan…..but maybe that’s what Yarmusch was going for…in which case it’s genius!. Perhaps I should give it another viewing in a year, or five….when very drunk. Either way, not quite the homage to zombies I was hoping for. I’ll give it a mid range 5.5 out of 10….and put it down to Yarmusch having an off day.

Movie trailer link below.

(5) THE DEAD DON’T DIE | Official Trailer | Focus Features – YouTube

Minority Report – Philip K Dick

Having read Philip K Dick’s Man in a High Castle a while back I was delighted and excited to spot a copy of his story Minority Report in a second hand book store. I knew a movie had been made of the story starring Tom Cruise but otherwise knew little about it. I was initially disappointed to discover that it wasn’t a full length novel, but was “only” a short story.

However, having now read said short story, plus several more in this collection of short stories, I am back to being delighted and excited once more. I realize I am a little slow on the uptake, but Philip K Dick is a Sci Fi genius…..and as a predictor of the future (much like George Orwell was hailed for his dystopian novel 1984), this collection of stories sets Philip K Dick head and shoulders above his peers. (And I think I just got away with using the phrase Dick Head in a completely accidental manner).

Both Dick and Orwell died well before their time. Orwell was only 46, Dick was 54. Both were excellent story tellers, but where Dick was a master of Science Fiction novels (44) and short stories (121), Orwell was mainly known as a journalist, essayist and writer of realism and only wrote a total of 6 novels.

But, there are similarities. Orwell’s Thought Police and Dick’s Department of Precrime for instance are both there to punish the citizens for crimes they haven’t yet committed.

Of the stories in this collection it’s difficult to find the weakest link. The book opens with a strong lead story which is of course Minority Report. Set in the future, the Department of Precrime relies on the predictions of 3 “precogs” – clairvoyant humans who’s babblings are deciphered by the computer they are all linked to – who usually come up with separate but unanimous decisions about future murders about to be committed. I say these predictions are usually unanimous, but sometimes only 2 of the 3 will agree – so a majority decision, a majority report is published and the future murderer is arrested and charged for a murder they haven’t yet committed, based on the majority decision. Of course if there is a majority report, there is also the minority report which is the decision of the odd one out. The department has murders down almost 100% and everything is working well until the head of the department finds his name on a card, spat out by the computer, that predicts that he will murder someone who’s name is not even familiar to him. Since the computer and the precogs are “never wrong” a warrant for his arrest is issued…..can he escape and prove his innocence by getting hold of the minority report? Of course the story written in 1956 is somewhat different to the action movie filmed in 2002 which includes technology not thought of by Dick back in the 50’s but the principle is the same.

Imposter is the second story. Again set in the not too distant future, Spence Olham is part of a team designing a weapon to be used against invading Aliens. He is accused by a co-worker and the head of security of being an android imposter sent by the Aliens to destroy the weapon. (Movie of the same name made 2001)

Second Variety is 3rd off the block set in a dystopian future on a battlefield where the Americans have designed small but deadly A.I. robotic drones with pincers and sharp blades that slash the enemy (Russian) troops. These robots have been taught to replicate themselves in underground factories within the battlefield. But the authorities have underestimated the growing intelligence of the A.I.’s (Made into a movie titled Screamers in 1995).

War Game – takes place in a building where futuristic interplanetary toys designed on Ganymede – a moon of Jupiter – are tested for safety before being allowed to be sold to the public. The humans in general don’t trust the Ganymedans as they always seem to be on the cusp of invading Earth. One game is a war game, where a dozen soldiers attempt to attack and breach the defences of a citadel. After each failure the soldiers re assemble and try a different tactic. The testers suspect that the citadel may contain a nuclear device. The second game is actually a suit that once put on takes the wearer into an alternate reality….and the third game is a board game similar to monopoly, called Syndrome.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!

This story “War Game” is one where I am about to reveal the end of the story so if you intend to read it skip the next couple of paragraphs.

The testers of the games decide that of the three games only the Syndrome board game is deemed to be safe for release to the general population and doesn’t constitute a threat to mankind. A toy salesman takes one of the games home to let his kids try out. He decides to show them how to play. Having been familiar with the game monopoly gives him, he believes, an advantage and pretty soon he has acquired all the property, shares in businesses and money and he declares himself the winner. The kids look puzzled and point out that, according to the instruction booklet, the aim of the game is to get rid of your properties, shares and wealth….so in fact the father had lost and the kids played off again to find out who was the winner. The father, was annoyed that it had taken the monopoly rules and turned them on their head, but the important thing was that his kids were enjoying playing the game. And the quote a couple of lines …evidently it would sell well. Already the two youngsters were learning the naturalness of surrendering their holdings. They gave up their stocks and money avidly, with a kind of trembling abandon. Glancing up, her eyes bright Lora said “It’s the best educational toy you ever brought home, Dad!”

Dick wrote War Game in 1959 – incidentally, but inconsequentially, my year of birth – however I can’t but help seeing the parallels here with Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum and his Great Reset plan – You Will Own Nothing and YOU Will Be Happy.

OK SPOILER OVER

The next…the fifth story is What Dead Men Say – again a futuristic story where the dead can, if the body is chilled correctly immediately after death and monitored carefully, be revived for a series of “half-life” appearances. But when they try to bring wealthy businessman Louis Sarapis back, something goes wrong. The revival of his body fails, but seemingly from the other side of the universe his disembodied voice is transmitted over the airwaves creating all kinds of plot twists.

Oh to be a Blobel! is the next offering. A human who used to be an interplanetary spy and underwent treatment to change his physical appearance to the of a Blobel – a little like a huge jelly-fish – in order to spy on another planet, was initially told that his physical transformation would be a temporary thing. It turns out that this was incorrect and he would now spend part of his day in human form and part as this huge blob of jelly……which brings about numerous trials and tribulations in his life and his quest to find a woman who understands and accepts him. I believe that the story has a lot to do with how one sees oneself. Self worth and what constitutes “success”.

The Electric Ant – is a story about a man (Garson Poole) who, after having a work accident and finding himself in hospital is told that he’s not actually human, but some sort of flesh covered android. This comes as a great shock to him and after he is sent home we follow his thought processes in his search for the meaning of life….of his life that is….and how, or even if, his life affects those around him.

Faith of our Fathers – is about a communist dictatorship where the population is kept in line by giving them hallucinogenic drugs. One day Tung Chien a mid level bureaucrat is given an anti hallucinogen by a crippled street vender which allows him to see the world as it actually is. (Includes communism, drugs, sex and god.)

We Can Remember it for You Wholesale – is another futuristic story in which space travel is only for the rich. But for a fraction of the cost of a space flight ticket, you can have an experience implanted into your brain so that you actually believe that you have made, in this case, a trip to Mars….and they provide you with helpful souvenirs as memory prompts. It features reality, false memories and real memories. The story was adapted in the 1990 movie Total Recall starting Arnold Schwarzenegger….and the 2012 remake with Colin Farrell in the staring role. Douglas Quail has a boring office job. He has always wanted to visit Mars but has been constantly put off the idea by his wife. He then discovers a company called Rekal where you can have “false” memories implanted into your brain which make you think that you have been to Mars, along with all the sensory effects. However when under sedation to have the false memories implanted, somehow he regains some long ago erased memories of who he really is.

All in all this is a really thought provoking collection of stories and well worth the few dollars to acquire this 2002 printed 2nd hand paperback.

If you’ve never read any of Philip Dick’s stories, this book would be a wonderful place to dip your toes into the magical waters of his strange and wonderful mind.

Again, thank you for reading this post. Comments always appreciated.

A few movie trailers of Dick’s books made into movies – for your amusement.

Blithe Spirit 2020 Film Review

This will be a very brief look at the latest movie offering based on Noel Cowards play.

Blithe Spirit was originally a play written by Noel Coward and first performed in London’s West End in 1941. It was adapted for the screen in 1945 for a movie directed by David Lean and staring Rex Harrison along with Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond and Margaret Rutherford.

As with many old movies, it has been revamped and there is now a 2020 version directed by Edward Hall, with Dan Stevens taking the lead – playing writer Charles Condomine who is struggling with writers block and Isla Fisher and Leslie Mann playing his current wife Ruth and first/dead wife Elvira. Judy Dench takes over the Margaret Rutherford role of the medium who conjures up the ghost of his first wife thus causing chaos….which results in a good old fashioned comedy romp.

The review website Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a miserly 31 out of 100 and commented “An indifferent adaptation of classic source material, Blithe Spirit puts a star-studded cast through the motions without capturing the story’s screwball spark.

Other critics also panned it comparing it poorly with the original 1945 movie. Deborah Ross of The Spectator said “Better if she’d been left to rest in peace, and, after seeing this film adaption, you may well wish the play had been left to rest in peace too. Don’t dig it up! Leave well alone!” And Simran Hans of The Observer (UK) said “Edward Hall’s film attempts to send up Condomine for leeching off a female muse, which clashes somewhat with the source material’s “blithe” mood.

In a way I’m quite pleased that I have seen neither the original play performed, nor the original 1945 movie, so I was allowed to enjoy the 2020 movie as a stand alone creation. What can I say? I enjoyed it. It was light, funny, entertaining. The costumes, sets and scenery were first class and the main actors (ably backed up by the rest of the cast), I thought, did a good job and produced an amusing film.

If you just want to be entertained for an hour and a half by something that’s easy to watch and simple to follow with a few laughs along the way, this may be the movie for you. If however you’re a fan of the original movie….beware.

I’ll provide links to trailers of this version and to the 1945 original for you to judge for yourselves. For my money, the acting in the 1945 version looks wooden in comparison….but that’s just my opinion.

A Call to Spy (2019/2020) Movie review

There are a few things that give me pleasure these days, other than time spent with my family of course. Things like having free time to pursue my interest in photography, or to browse in bookshops, particularly well stocked second hand book shops – usually called “preloved books” or “preowned” or “nearly new books”… Or the luxury of sitting in a movie theatre and seeing a really good film.

Yesterday my wife and I….or me and my wife, whichever term you prefer….went to our local Event Cinema in Havelock North to watch the world war 2 spy movie “A Call to Spy”, which is based on true stories about women spies who put their lives on the line, and often made the ultimate sacrifice, for the war effort in defeating Nazi Germany.

It originally premiered mid 2019 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, but wasn’t released to major box office in the USA until late in 2020….hence the two dates in brackets in the main heading. Written, produced by and starring the very talented Sarah Megan Thomas in the main role of Virginia Hall – an American living in the UK who had ambitions to be a diplomat but was repeatedly turned down and was eventually offered the opportunity to help Britain’s war effort by becoming the first female spy to be dropped into France during WW2.

What made this even more admirable was that Virginia had a wooden leg, nicknamed Cuthbert. Curious but true. She shot herself in the foot during a hunting expedition when she tripped and her shotgun went off years earlier. She was an intelligent and incredibly brave individual who risked her life for the cause over and over during her time firstly in unoccupied France, then Nazi occupied France. She was a thorn in the side of the Germans, who gave her the nickname Artemis, was at the top of the Gestapo’s most wanted list and was considered “the most dangerous of all Allied spies.” Klaus Barbie (SS and Gestapo officer) aka the Butcher of Lyon was quoted as saying “I would give anything to get my hands on that limping bitch”.

She set up a spy support network, named Heckler, in Lyon, where she became an expert in logistics, resistance organisation, assisting in the supply of money, munitions and weapons, helped airmen downed by German gunfire escape back to Britain, provided shelter and medical help, help break prisoners out of prison, took part in espionage….this woman was amazing. Small wonder then that after the war she was given the Distinguished Service Cross and became the first female agent of the newly created CIA Special Activities Division.

Historical photo – Virginia Hall of Special Operations Branch receiving the Distinguished Service Cross from General Donovan, September 1945

The movie isn’t just about Virginia Hall though, it’s a tribute to many other women spies and radio operators most of whom lost their lives in the service of King and Country, behind enemy lines.

Sarah Megan Thomas does a wonderful job of writing, producing and staring as the spy with the code names of Marie and Diane. She is ably abetted by Radhika Apte as Noor Inayat Khan – a pacifist Muslim radio operator (SPOLIER ALERT….who was caught and executed by the Germans after being held in Dachau concentration camp)……and this was the point in the movie that a solitary tear rolled down my cheek as I remembered visiting Dachau on a recent trip to Europe and recalled the eerie silence in the camp, despite the presence of hundreds of visitors, a feeling that I had never experienced before and never want to again….. and Stana Katic as Vera Atkins – female spy-master – an intelligence officer who worked in the French Section of the Special Operations Executive from 1941 to 1945…and who later was awarded the CBE.

It was a story long in the making and heavily researched by Thomas who searched through historic records and interviewed surviving family members of Virginia Hall before penning the script. It can’t have been an easy task as Hall was, as you’d expect from a spy, very secretive about her past and shunned the limelight. To quote Craig R. Gralley “Hall left no memoir, granted no interviews, and spoke little about her overseas life–even with relatives. She…received our country’s Distinguished Service Cross, the only civilian woman in the Second World war to do so. But she refused all but a private ceremony with OSS chief Donovan–even a presentation by President Truman.”

It’s a movie about bravery, persistence, selflessness, with action and tension about a group of heroic people who I had no idea even existed. We often see movies about the French Resistance fighters, some of whom were women, but I had no idea at all about the British (and American) female spies who put everything on the line. Hall herself had her cover blown and had to escape France over the Pyrenees, on foot, covering 50 miles over two days in the snow, in order to cross into Spain and then to Portugal to get a ship back to England (I’d struggle on two good feet never mind one foot and a wooden leg)…..and then retrained as a radio operator and went back into France. Bravery of the highest order….or insanity? Watch the movie and decide for yourselves.

Although there are men in the movie who also do a good job – including Linus Roache who plays Vera Atkins’s boss Colonel Maurice James Buckmaster OBE – it’s a movie primarily about women, not only written, produced by and staring women, but also directed by a woman – Lydia Dean Pilcher, with music by Lillie Rebecca McDonough. And bloody good it is too. Do see it. Link to movie trailer is below.

(350) A Call to Spy – Official Trailer | HD | IFC Films – YouTube

V for Vendetta (2005) a mirror into tomorrow perhaps?

A couple of evenings ago I finally watched the 2005 dystopian political action movie V for Vendetta on Netflix and in this election time (this month in New Zealand and next month in the USA) found it a timely reminder for us all.

The movie, filmed in 2005 and set in 2020 – would you believe – contains some very pertinent scenes and quotes, a few of which I’ll be putting your way very shortly. But first a little background about its origins.

V for Vendetta began life in the 1980’s as a graphic novel penned by Alan Moore, morphed into a series in DC Comics and finally the 2005 movie. The title character V is shrouded in mystery – an anarchist revolutionary who wears a Guy Fawkes mask – who has vowed to bring down the fascist state. The movie is set in the UK after a nuclear war when the government is run by High Chancellor Adam Sutler – played ironically by John Hurt (you may remember him being the downtrodden victim of a totalitarian state in 1984). Here he is the all powerful baddy! He rules with a rod of iron, keeps the citizens in a constant state of fear in order to get their unquestionable obedience and things seem to be going his way until V begins to fight back.

So as not to spoil the plot I am not going to go into the story in any great length, but found some parallels between the movie and real life politics – or should I say rumours about real life politics – some would call them conspiracy theories but “rumour” is defined as – “an unofficial interesting story or piece of news that might be true or invented”. Before I go on, can I ask if anyone else has noticed, particularly over the last few years, how much disastrous news is spewed at us daily via the TV and on-line news media? Climate change, pandemics/viruses, shootings, terrorism, extreme weather events, water shortages, forest fires, the threat of civil war etc. The list gets longer with every news programme. Now watch this clip from the movie where the High Chancellor wants to make sure that the public keep in line….and have a real good look and listen to what is said and what is being shown on the nations TV screens in the movie.

One would have to ask if we as citizens of our countries are all being played by our governments – or the powers behind each nations individual government. WE seem, just like the citizens in the movie, to be kept in a state of constant fear as a result of news reports and rely on our governments to provide the answers and “keep us safe”, even at the cost of certain civil liberties. With that thought in mind I will give you a few quotes from the movie/graphic novel. V for Vendetta.

One would have to ask if we as citizens of our countries are all being played by our governments – or the powers behind each nations individual government. WE seem, just like the citizens in the movie, to be kept in a state of constant fear as a result of news reports and rely on our governments to provide the answers and “keep us safe”, even at the cost of certain civil liberties. With that thought in mind I will give you a few quotes from the movie/graphic novel. V for Vendetta.

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

“Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.”

“Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”

“They say that life’s a game, & then they take the board away.”

“Our masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations and it is much, much louder than they care to remember.”

“The ending is nearer than you think, and it is already written. All that we have left to choose is the correct moment to begin.”

“There’s no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill. There’s only an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.”

And these last 2 are very much worth thinking about…..“Equality and freedom are not luxuries to lightly cast aside. Without them, order cannot long endure before approaching depths beyond imagining.”

And ….. “Authority, when first detecting chaos at its heels, will entertain the vilest schemes to save its orderly facade.”

A movie to watch for entertainments sake, but also for the message beneath….the bones of which are captured in those last two quotes above. Make what you will of it all, but please cast your vote wisely this election.

Again, many thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Comments – even negative ones – are welcome as are likes, shares and follows. Until next time….

Zombie Movie round-up.

Back in July I promised to do a review of some of the most dreadful and a few of the better Zombie movies I’ve seen – so here, after many hours of viewing, it is.

Some Zombie movies are big budget, A grade actor movies – but most are not. Some of the ones I’ve seen recently on YouTube were made on very little money, using friends as actors…..and it shows! I’ll provide links so that you can see them for yourselves, and where I can’t give access to the full movie I’ll give a link to the trailer.

Aylesbury Dead – Zombie Horror Film 2015. This British made Zombie movie was done on a very low budget and after reading what the film maker wrote on YouTube I wasn’t holding out much hope….”Before this film iv had no filming experience at all, this film started it all of for me 🙂 For some time now iv always wanted to work on a zombie film with all my friends. Well I’m happy to say after a year and a bit, hard work I did it! We all pulled together and made this madness.”

To be frank, it wasn’t the worst movie I’d seen and I did stick with it and watched it almost all the way through before I simply gave up on it. It started off quite well with a news reporter’s voice over photos of police cars and ambulances on streets as the reporter described some of the initial carnage that saw the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse. But from here on in it started to slip down hill fast. The script was so-so, the acting wooden and some of the scenes completely unnecessary and dare I say it…..boring. By mid way when the main character has teamed up with a small group of survivors in a shopping mall, it really lost its way and was only going to be a matter of time before I hit the “end” button. In hind sight, for a first attempt at a movie, the guy did a reasonable job with mates as actors and a tiny budget. Verdict – not the worst, but pretty close.

Tom Sawyer vs. Zombies. Well, there went another 90 minutes of my life that I could have spent watching something more….well, more anything – stimulating, exciting, watchable….I could go on but won’t. The brief description of the movie on YouTube says – “Lt. Colonel Sawyer of the US Army wants to pay tribute to the dead of his family with a funeral at sea. But to get to the coast, he has to go through a zone infected with zombie virus. He leads a hopeless fight against hordes of living dead with help from sheriff (Richard Tyson) of a long overran western town by his side.”

I mean really?? Tom Sawyer Vs Zombies….I should have known better than to waste my time watching this. There is a scene where our hero Lt. Colonel Tom Sawyer, (incidentally dressed up like RoboCop, I have yet to figure out why), puts the barrel of a gun into his mouth and is about to pull the trigger but in the end decides to live another day – what a mistake! He should have pulled the trigger and put both himself and me out of our misery. Like most Zombie movies it involved getting across country for little reason and this movie battled it out with several others for the title of worst Zombie movie. Usually we viewers form some sort of a bond with the main character and cheer them on no matter what. Not this time. I was cheering for the zombies!

Next comes one that was actually watchable and had a bigger budget and actors that I’d seen in other movies including Mission Impossible. Zombie Apocalypse is a 2011 American zombie horror film by Syfy and The Asylum starring Ving Rhames, Gary Weeks, Johnny Pacar, Robert Blanche, Anya Monzikova, Lesley-Ann Brandt and Taryn Manning. Directed by Nick Lyon.

The start is a series of “news clips” – military on the streets, long shots of city-scapes complete with explosions and eventually we focus on 3 characters in a dusty Iowa town, walking down a deserted street. Two guys and a girl. Bear in mind that this is 6 months after the initial outbreak so somehow these three have had the ability to survive so far. By their behaviour in the opening scene, one wonders how they lived for 6 minutes, never mind 6 months. They’re walking down the middle of the street talking loudly and yelling “Hello”. The 2 men then leave the girl outside while they enter a garage to look for food. Why they don’t wait until they come upon a grocery store I have no idea, but they choose an abandoned garage, and then set about smashing their way into a candy machine…..you guessed it…..making enough noise to wake the dead! Fortunately for them, unfortunately for us, Ving Rhames and friends come to their rescue before the zombies can eat all of them. Happily one of the 2 guys – the one who just happened to have a shotgun, but managed to fumble the cartridges for it – was the one fatality. From here, the movie actually picks up and is a pretty reasonable zombie flick…….right up to the ridiculous final scene. To the casual viewer (me), it looked up to this point as though the movie could go on for another half hour or so, as our group of survivors are waiting in a small port for the ferry that will take them to safety….but, I don’t know why, maybe they’d over run the budget and the producers pulled the plug, but we are given this sudden and very badly done final scene that totally lowered this movie to the ranks of the mediocre. Verdict – one to watch if you can get over the final scene without saying “What the F*** was that?”

Disaster L.A. The Last Zombie Apocalypse 2014 movie. This movie I quite liked the idea of. Directed and written by Turner Clay. With Justin Ray, Jerod Meagher, Stefanie Estes, Ron Hanks. After a meteor shower strikes Los Angeles, toxic smoke is released across the city causing people to physically change and become violent. A small group of survivors plans to vacate the city by heading to the coast.

It’s a low budget Indie movie that starts with promise and, apart from a couple of rubber masked zombies and some annoying characters who I would have loved to have been standing directly under the meteors as the fell to earth to spare us from having to watch/listen to their drivel, continues in the same promising manner. As with most Zombie style movies it’s about having to get from A to B and the problems encountered in doing just that. Obviously there are casualties along the way and not everyone makes it to safety. Our heroes in this movie are a group of friends who have just finished university. The acting is pretty good, all things considered, and their actions and diction quite believable on encountering the unknown (although we know it’s Zombies because it said so in the title!!) I’ve seen some bad reviews of this movie, mostly I believe because some people expect Hollywood quality epics on a shoestring budget. This is one of the only Zombie movies I’ve seen where the infected kill their victims but the victims don’t reanimate and become zombies too. My verdict – definitely one worth watching although again the end was a little bit of an anticlimax.

Next comes another British based zombie movie. Zomblies (2010) – I thought it was a typo, but no, the L is meant to be there. When a private militia’s rookie zombie hunters send out a distress call, it’s up to the Rangers to cross The Wall and bring them back as well as uncover the truth about a terrifying new breed of zombie.

The opening scene is of a man dressed in military fatigues and carrying a sizable pistol running through the woods flapping his arms around like a girl…..sorry girls, no offence meant. But he does run like a girl. He’s terrified and no wonder, the zombies appear from all directions and bang, bang, bang….he takes them down and finds his missing friend who is sitting under a tree with his guts in his hands. Our “runs like a girl” hero then deserts his mate, steals his gas mask and runs off into the woods again as “Mr. guts in hands” turns into a zombie (or is it zomblie?). The flapping arms aside, not a bad beginning.

Enter the Rangers, a band of armed to the teeth men dressed in black, who are sent beyond the massive zombie proof wall to rescue the hapless zombie hunters. These guys are tough, can handle their guns and it seems can run for hours across baron landscapes. The entertaining thing about the zombies are that they are fast. None of the shuffling zombies from the Walking Dead, these living dead run at a sprint, making them so much more dangerous. The acting is reasonably good but then the actors are not stretched, needing only to fight, yell and shoot. Some of the camera work is very shaky, presumably to give you the feeling that you are there amongst the action, but it can be a little nauseating at times. Naturally things don’t go quite as the Rangers had planned and …well….you will have to watch the movie for yourselves to find out who, if any, makes it home safely. It’s made on a budget, but not half bad.

After slamming Aylesbury Dead, I’ve just come across Aylesbury Dead 2 (2019) so just had to watch it. It’s still done on a budget, with unknown actors, but is a big improvement on A.D.1. I watched it all the way through….even the credits at the end. Yes I could pick holes in it…for example in one scene our hero enters a building at street level and goes down several flights of stairs to an underground laboratory, believed to be the place where the Zombie virus was developed,…..only to walk past several windows (oops!). BUT it wouldn’t really be fair to pick on things like that. We have an improved script with baddies as well as the zombie threat to add something extra to the movie. If you could throw some big money at its production and hire a couple of well known actors, you’d have a pretty good Zombie movie. William Axtell Films – take a bow.

And here folks is where I have to cut my review short. I had intended to review a total of 10 movies, but this month being September – where I live, here in New Zealand – it’s our first month of spring and so I’ve been busier than usual getting my veggie gardens up and running.

Thanks for reading. I’ll do a garden update soon.

Radioactive and Resistance….2 one word movie titles – review.

We’ve had about 3 weeks of rain recently. I’m itching to get out into the garden but it’s a sodden bog. I’m wondering whether the fact that we now have a pool instead of a lawn will add or detract from the property value.

What is there to do when you can’t go for a walk and you’re tired of reading? Not a lot if you’re still on coronavirus lockdown, but thankfully here in New Zealand at least we have the option of going to the movies. Focal Point Cinema in Hastings, where me and my wife are both members, had sent my wife a notification that she has a free ticket to any movie waiting for her because she’d just had a birthday. What a great excuse to go to the movies. AND on Monday and Tuesday afternoon sessions they throw in free coffee or tea and a variety of baked goods. Very yummy and well received.

There were 3 movies on the list that we wanted to see (the one we missed was The Burnt Orange Heresy) and since the other 2 were based on real peoples lives we decided to do a double header. The 12.30pm viewing of Radioactive – about Mme Curie’s life and work, followed by the 3pm showing of Resistance – a movie about mime artist Marcel Marceau’s time with the French Resistance during WW2. Both fascinating movies which set right some of my false assumptions about both people….for a start I thought that they were both French born, but Marie Curie – maiden name Maria Salomea Skłodowska – was born in Warsaw, Poland. And of course all I knew about Marcel Marceau was of his (annoying) mimes. I knew nothing of his heroics while with the resistance, nor that he was Jewish. But, back to the movies.

Radioactive – A story of the scientific and romantic passions of Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie, and the reverberation of their discoveries throughout the 20th century.

Rosamund Pike in the lead role was exceptional as the self absorbed Marie Curie who put her work above everything and everyone else in her life…..if the movie is to be taken at face value. What I can say is that she did a very good job at portraying a scientist who was outspoken and had a brilliant mind, but was in equal parts not a very likable person. A psychologist would have had a field day with this woman who was a bit of an enigma, being both self assured but also constantly seeing herself as a victim because she was a woman in what was otherwise a mans world. Indeed it was almost impossible for a woman to become a renown scientist back then because of gender prejudice. Even when she and husband, fellow scientist Pierre, were nominated in 1903 for the Nobel Prize in Physics, initially only Pierre’s name was on the citation. It was only after he had insisted that Marie deserved recognition for her contribution to the discovery of Radioactivity that her name was added and they both became recipients of the Nobel Prize.

However, she got the last laugh by becoming the only person, so far, to win a Nobel Prize in 2 separate scientific fields, in 1911, by winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Rosamund Pike is not an actress that I like to watch. That’s not because she isn’t good at her craft, she is perhaps too good an actress. Her portrayal of Mme Curie leaves me admiring the character’s single minded determination and brilliance as a scientist but as a wife and mother she is a dreadful wretch of a human being with few redeeming qualities….although she does soften toward the end of the movie.

Marie Curie quotes
Marie Curie – the sole woman surrounded by other scientists and professors…..including Albert Einstein.

There is a phrase spoken by Pierre Currie in the movie where he asks “The question can be raised whether mankind benefits knowing the secrets of nature”…. And that I think is a very valid question, the answer to which is hinted at in the movie by injecting little scenes of things that would happen in the future….that did happen since the discovery of radiation and radioactivity, such as the destructive power of the atomic bomb and the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, as well as the benefits of the Xray. It is an excellent question. Mankind (now Humankind because of our PC world) is meant to be the most intelligent species and yet we are the only species which has built the technology to destroy not only ourselves, but all life on earth, and we continue to put military spending over the welfare of people and planet. One could ask is that intelligence or stupidity? Are we actually advanced enough to handle the responsibility? Frankly I don’t think that we are.

The acting was very good, as were the costumes and film sets. The baron wastelands of WW1 battlefields were particularly thought provoking. If I was to rate it overall out of 5 stars I’d feel compelled to give it 4. Very much worth paying money to see on the big screen.

The second movie, Resistance, with Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role was entertaining and disturbing in turn. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz it is about the French Resistance in WW2 and particularly about how mime artist Marcel Marceau – real name Marcel Mangel, a French born Jew – helped to smuggle hundreds of Jewish children out of France and over the mountains into Switzerland.

It’s a movie that shows both the best and the worst of humanity. The good being the number of people and organizations who put their own safety in jeopardy in order to save the lives of the Jewish orphans and the bad….the despicably wicked… as portrayed by French collaborators, the Nazi soldiers and particularly Klaus Barbie, aka the butcher of Lyon. Barbie (SS and Gestapo member) was renown for taking an active part in the murder and torture of prisoners, including the flaying alive of some unfortunate souls. By flaying alive I mean he removed the skin from the entirety of the victims body while they were still alive and then went home to his wife and child. If that is not the epitome of evil I don’t know what is.

Again, as in the previous movie, the acting was first class and we – the audience – come to absolutely hate and detest German actor Matthias Schweighöfer who plays the character of Barbie, (who incidentally has nothing at all to do with the doll by Mattel).

All joking aside it is a serious movie about life and death situations and the betrayal of the Jewish people by friends and neighbours out to protect their own self interests.

It’s a really good story about courage, relationships, the reliance we have on one another and about putting the lives of others before that of your own. I don’t want to give away much about the movie as it’s one that I think we should all see in order to understand and be witnesses to man’s inhumanity to his fellow man….and conversely the selflessness and goodness of mankind.

The “woke movement” would have us tear down statues of what they consider to be “bad people” and remove them from history, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the bad people and their atrocities in order to learn from them and hopefully not repeat them. Just my opinion.

Except for the final scene where Marcel is performing a mime in front of the American soldiers who helped liberate France, (at which point I would have gladly put a bullet through him myself – what can I say? Mime is just not my thing), I thought it was an excellent movie. Entertaining and thought provoking – it gets another 4 stars out of 5 from me.

As a last thought, I think we need to remember that in times of trouble, charismatic leaders can induce others to do things that they would not otherwise do. Hitler was a populist leader who presented to the German people the Jews as the cause of all Germany’s ills. A target for all Germany to unite against. The atrocities inflicted on the Jewish people by otherwise sane people was totally illogical and driven by unjust hatred. We are once more in troubled times, with charismatic leaders in charge of some countries and others waiting in the wings for the right conditions in order to take over and enforce their ideals on otherwise sane people. Please think and consider the humanity or inhumanity of your actions before you blindly follow orders.

Again many thanks for reading this post and thank you for likes, shares or comments….positive or negative.

Controversial documentary removed by “Thought Police”

Years ago, while still at school, I read Orwell’s 1984 and it scared me. I re-read it only a few months ago, pre-coronavirus, and it still scared me. Although at the time of my re-read I thought that although Orwell had predicted a lot of things accurately, there was still a certain amount of freedom of speech in the modern world….and freedom of movement…..freedom to gather in public places….

Then came COVID-19, and everything changed. Not only were individual rights and perceived freedoms eroded, but more and more things on Facebook and YouTube were removed as being “false or inaccurate information”. What they should say is that items were removed because they didn’t reflect the official narrative. Yes, Orwell’s Thought Police from 1984 have now well and truly arrived.

Planet-of-the-humans.jpg

This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – an annual event to celebrate and protect the environment. It falls on April 22nd. Film Producer Mike Moore chose Earth Day as the release date for a documentary movie directed by Jeff Gibbs called PLANET OF THE HUMANS. A movie made because and I quote “we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.

It would appear that Moore, Gibbs and author Ozzie Zehner – who’s book Green Illusions forms the basis of the documentary – have ruffled the feathers of some powerful people….Al Gore included. So much so that website “Films for Action” have removed it from their listings as being “inaccurate and misleading” – in other words they have been leaned on by someone with a lot of clout because the movie does not follow the official narrative. In the documentary some very powerful, rich (billionaires) people are called out for selling the environmental movement down the river. They don’t like it. Moore has released the movie for free in order to get the message out before it’s too late for humanity.

On the day the movie was released I watched it twice, because there was a lot to absorb. I suggest you see it for yourself, check the facts delivered yourself…..use several websites and not just the first ones thrown up by Google….and come to your own conclusions.

I have tried to put a link to the YouTube movie three times now and all I get is a brief loading of the movie followed by a lot of flashing as the link appears and then disappears, appears and disappears. However, I have managed to find another post where someone has managed to embed it successfully….and that won’t load on here either. Try clicking on the link below….

Homepage

It is well worth viewing. You will not believe how two faced some leaders of the environmental movement are and how far they have been “influenced by big money”. It’s an eye opener and it turned my views completely on their head.

I’ll close with this excerpt from Wikipedia below, and thank you once more for reading. Please watch the movie, self check the “facts” and come to your own conclusions.

The central thesis of the film is that reductions in consumption and population might be needed because humans can’t rely on green energy to achieve sustainability. One reason is that sustainability encompasses areas beyond fossil fuel concerns, (like species‘ extinctions due to habitat loss through agriculture). Another that human energy needs are too great. And finally that the green energy movement is corrupt and misleading. Various people and organizations in the United States claiming to promote green energy have actually been promoting biomass energy, which mostly entails the burning of trees instead of fossil fuels. This practice is neither carbon neutral, renewable, nor sustainable. The film also claims that wind power and solar power don’t fare much better once all the inputs for construction and maintenance, requiring the use of fossil fuels, are taken into account. Jeff Gibbs has said that the film is designed to prompt discussion and debate beyond the narrow issue of climate change and look at the overall human impact on the environment, including issues such as the contemporary extinction crisis in which half of all wildlife has disappeared in the last 40 years, and whether green technology can solve these issues”.

The conclusion that the movie comes to is that we have overpopulated the planet – at the expense of all other lifeforms – and we over consume – energy…things in general. We need to reduce population rapidly and stop being so wasteful and destructive. A forest is NOT a commodity….it is NOT a “resource” to be abused by us….it is a lifeform and supports millions of other lifeforms. We get up in arms about destruction of the Amazon Rain Forest and yet allow our local forests to be clear felled….as if it’s OK for us to destroy nature but not someone overseas. AND we are being sold down the river AGAIN by the people who are meant to be leading us out of the climate crisis, people who, by far, value their own material wealth over the welfare of the planet and all life (including ours) on it.

If you only see one movie this year. See this.

I have literally just walked in the door from seeing the movie Dark Waters and was so affected by it that I had to get on here and write about it…right after feeding my cat and grabbing a beer from the fridge.

Dark Waters is a true story of one lawyers fight over a period of 20 years battling (initially against the wishes of the company that employed him) with corporate chemical giants DuPont over their poisoning of a community in West Virginia. The thing that strikes the viewer about this isn’t that DuPont accidentally poisoned a community…..but that they knowingly poisoned a community and then tried to bury the evidence for over 40 years….and carried on producing the toxic chemical responsible…and sticking the residue in landfills, which leached into the public’s drinking water.

Movie trailer.

They, DuPont, even managed to shut down an investigation by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) – a government body – such is their power and reach. The movie goes to show that money is God and that corporations, the regulatory authorities and the government themselves are corrupt to the point…actually passed the point…of criminality.

DuPont’s own scientists had already told the corporate heads that TEFLON – yes the thing that coats so many of our saucepans and frypans – is toxic to human health and causes 6 different types of cancers and several other illnesses AND birth defects. The chemical that is in Teflon is Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—also known as C8—and is a perfluorinated carboxylic acid produced and used worldwide as an industrial surfactant in chemical processes and as a material feedstock, and is a health concern and subject to regulatory action and voluntary industrial phase-outs. This is a cousin of the stuff used in Scotchguard on furniture, curtains and other fabrics to keep them clean…which is also toxic and is called…Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (conjugate base perfluorooctanesulfonate) (PFOS) is an anthropogenic fluorosurfactant and global pollutant. PFOS was the key ingredient in Scotchgard, a fabric protector made by 3M, and numerous stain repellents. It was added to Annex B of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in May 2009. PFOS can be synthesized in industrial production or result from the degradation of precursors. PFOS levels that have been detected in wildlife are considered high enough to affect health parameters, and recently higher serum levels of PFOS were found to be associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease in the general US population. This association was independent of confounders such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and serum cholesterol level.

Yet Scotchguard on furnishings is marketed as a great thing. WTF! As are Teflon pans…again WTF! Yay for carcinogens….you go chemical companies….make oodles of money for your shareholders but kill us all in the process.….said very ironically!

Get this folks….these chemicals are ones that don’t break down…they don’t go away….they amass…accumulate in the human body and increase their toxicity as each molecule is absorbed into us. 99% of life on earth has traces of these toxins and they are particularly high in the human population – no wonder that cancer affects one in three people in the western world these days….and this is rising to one in two. All thanks to the wonders of science. That is frightening!

Anyway, getting back to the movie….Dark Waters, inspired by the true story of Robert Bilott and stars Mark Ruffalo as the attorney who took on the DuPont company in an environmental suit exposing a decades-long history of chemical pollution in drinking water. And it may have never come to light. In 1998, Robert Bilott was working as a corporate defense attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio. One day at the office, farmer Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp), an acquaintance of Robert’s grandmother, arrives with boxes of videotapes, requesting Robert’s assistance. The thing is that Roberts job is working in defence of the corporates, but after seeing what is on the video tapes made by the farmer and visiting the farm and seeing all the dead cattle, Roberts conscience…his sense of right and wrong….his ethical inner voice if you like, tells him to take what he knows about defending these pariahs and turn it against them.

He almost loses his job, his wife and family, his health, in pursuing this “lost cause”. And it really does seem like a lost cause. There are so many factors against him. The corporates have so much power that they influence regulators and government authorities ….they buy off small towns by building schools or providing employment…..but they are poisoning people…AND THEY KNOW IT.

You walk out of the movie wondering how these bastards can get to sleep at night…knowing that they are killing people, but treating things as “business as usual”.

Please see the movie to see the outcome of Bilott’s 20 years of legal persistence. DuPont of course are still to this day in existence as are several other chemical billion dollar companies who put profit over the health of the people. DuPont’s slogan, coined in 1935 was “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry.” This changed twice. The first time in 1982 when they dropped the words “Through Chemistry” because of negative feedback from sectors such as the environmental movement that saw Chemical companies as polluters. Then in 1999 it was changed completely to “The miracles of science”. Based on the belief that “science knows best”. This may be true…science may know best…..but it depends on the morals of those in charge of science as to whether it is best for us all or just best for the investors.

Please see this movie! Please boycott DuPont, 3M and their fellow chemical corporates. Why 3M you ask…since they were named on Forbes list of most ethical companies? – What a laugh that is!!!

Here is a copy of what is on line…..

Timeline of Who Knew What & When about Toxic Teflon

Scientists, 3M researchers, and government officials have known about the dangers presented by these industrial PFAS chemicals for decades. The complexity of the coverup is most evident when seen as a timeline of events.

In 1947, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) began producing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) by electrochemical fluorination.

In the 1950s, 3M expanded worldwide with operations in Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

In 1951, DuPont started purchasing PFOA from 3M for use in the manufacturing of teflon, a product that brought DuPont a billion dollars a year profit by the 1990s. DuPont referred to PFOA as C8.

In the 1970s, 3M had evidence of the compounds’ effects on the immune system. Those studies are just now driving the lower levels put forward by the ATSDR, several states, and the European Union.

In 1993, scientific literature states that goats passed PFOS to their offspring through their milk.

In 1998, a discovery is made that PFOS had found its way into eagles found in the wild.

In 2000, 3M gave the EPA hundreds of documents it had withheld from the agency. This means that these documents were in the EPA’s possession for at least 18 years without the agency taking definitive action. PFAS were allowed to spread into groundwater and then drinking water, families, animals, plants, and the food system, where they remain today.

Since 2000, the number of scientific articles published on the health effects of PFAS has increased more than tenfold. The findings have linked the chemicals to a wide range of health effects in people, including testicular and kidney cancer, obesity, impaired fertility, thyroid disease, and the onset of puberty.

In 2001, 3M staff epidemiologist Geary Olsen wrote a report based on an enormous database of more than 55,000 products and more than 90,000 3M employees. The report stated that a positive association existed between the amount of PFOA in workers’ blood and their levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

In 2003, Olsen and 3 co-authors  — all 3M employees — published an article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that contradicted Olsen’s original research. “There were no substantial changes in hematological, lipid, hepatic, thyroid, or urinary parameters consistent with the known toxicological effects of PFOS or PFOA.” The authors note that PFOA was “positively associated with cholesterol and triglycerides” and that “serum PFOS was positively associated with the natural log of serum cholesterol … and triglycerides” but dismiss these effects as “minimal.” The article omits most of the original information that laid out the increase in cholesterol and triglycerides in exposed workers.

In 2005, many of the 3M documents were placed under seal as a result of a separate lawsuit over PFAS contamination in Minnesota.

In 2006, 3M was slapped with more than $1.5 million in penalties for 244 violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

In 2010, the Minnesota attorney general filed a lawsuit that charged that 3M polluted groundwater with PFAS compounds and “knew or should have known” that these chemicals harm human health and the environment and “result in injury, destruction, and loss of natural resources of the State.”

In 2012, Robert Delaney, a Minnesota state scientist who tried to raise alarms about the chemicals, was largely ignored. Now Delaney, who delivered a report to his superiors about high levels of the chemicals in fish and the dangers they presented to people, has been “heralded as prophetic.”

In February, 2018, 3M settled the suit for $850 million, in essence admitting that they “acted with a deliberate disregard for the high risk of injury to the citizens and wildlife of Minnesota.” The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office released a large set of documents — including internal studies, memos, emails, and research reports — detailing what 3M knew about the chemicals’ harms.

The EPA says it remains committed to evaluating PFOA and PFOS under the regulatory determination process using the best available science. As a part of the evaluation, EPA will be reviewing all newly available scientific information including the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) report. (Their 2-page fact sheet is quite helpful.)

The EPA says it is taking steps to accelerate the determination process before the existing statutory deadline, which is 2021.

So as you can see…..$1.5 million for 244 violations was not even a slap on the writs for multi-billion dollar companies. Even the later $850 million is still small change for these people. The fact that the EPA can’t do anything until 2021 due to existing deadlines shows that the system does not work for the people, it is there to support corporations.

When it comes to protecting you and your family….or your community, don’t trust corporations to do the right thing, don’t rely on the regulators or the government to protect you….it’s down to individuals like Robert Bilott.

Thanks again for reading. Likes, shares, comments much appreciate and PLEASE SEE THIS MOVIE.

The not very rebellious rebellion…yet.

There’s a couple of things I’d like to discuss today about rebellion….what it is, what it isn’t and what it probably should be.

First off though let me just say that I’ve just finished reading Mark Boyle’s “Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi” and would definitely recommend it to everyone as essential reading. It will push and pull at your sense of what’s right and wrong in the world and how we should react to rectify matters. Boyle pulls no punches in standing up for nature, suffering from the onslaught of human greed in the form of the industrial/political machine. He says that if we really want to effect change, by rebelling against the status quo, we need to be prepared to use every tool in our tool box. He has to choose his words carefully so as not to be placed on some form of government watch list…..he’s probably on one anyway….and so stops just short of inciting violent protest, but clearly indicates that violent protest is the only effective protest.

These thoughts were mirrored recently during the struggle between the people of Hong Kong and the dictatorial Chinese government. “I feel totally hopeless – I don’t want to resort to violence, but peaceful protest doesn’t change a thing. I feel there is no future ahead of us,” said a masked medical student on condition of anonymity. Link to the article is here… https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/hong-kong-in-chaos-as-protesters-gather-at-universities-with-bows-and-arrows/ar-BBWGOH1?ocid=spartandhp

Conversely, we have Extinction Rebellion (a catchy name and a trendy logo), led by Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook in the UK, which has quickly spread around the world as the “alternative” environmental movement. XR, as they are known, say that they are an environmental movement who use nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss and risk of social and ecological collapse. By stipulating that they use only nonviolent civil disobedience, they limit what tools they can draw from their toolbox to fight against injustice.

I have been a protester/activist/political commentator from my mid teens to present day. In my 60 years on this earth I have been a founding member of a peace group, joined this peaceful campaign and that, taken part in peaceful marches, sit ins, rallies, gone door to door with petitions for everything from saving the forests, banning the bomb, assorted attempts for world peace, marched against Monsanto’s GMO’s, marched against fluoride in the drinking water etc etc. So I do understand where XR are coming from in declaring themselves a nonviolent movement. I’ve seen it all, been there done that and for the most part sadly, these tactics (petitions and peaceful protest) have been totally ineffective in changing the way that government or industry do things. There’s a famous quote that says Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet still we pull out the same tools from our toolbox that have failed us before and expect, or at least hope, that this time they will actually work.

If you look up the word Rebellion in the dictionary it will say: noun – an act of armed resistance to an established government or leader……the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. Rebellion generally seeks to evade and/or gain concessions from an oppressive power, a revolt seeks to overthrow and destroy that power as well as its accompanying laws. Elsewhere I find Rebellion = Resistance, Revolt = Revolution. And Rebellion: is a violent uprising of the masses against their leadership.

So, a couple of these definitions specify violence or armed resistance. Something that XR rule out. One has to ask how rebellious the civil disobedience of Extinction Rebellion actually is, when they report to the police and councils to give prior notice of actions being taken, in order to get permission to protest. Not very rebellious I’d say. In footballing terms it’s a bit like Manchester United giving Liverpool notes on their tactics for their upcoming game. The authorities then give them permission to protest – march, block bridges, picket buildings etc., under police supervision and on condition it doesn’t lead to excessive public unrest. The fact is that they are only ever going to be as rebellious as their masters (the government, councils or police) allow them to be.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that XR’s heart is in the right place. They are well intentioned and have had a few minor results go their way, but are playing within the rules enforced by the oppressors that they profess to be fighting against. This is neither a rebellion, nor are they likely to win the war using these tactics, even though they will win the occasional battle or gain the odd concession here and there. Civil disobedience, according to Mr Boyle’s book, is about NOT reporting to the authorities about forthcoming rebellious action, causing as much disruption to the status quo as possible, and is about keeping ALL options open.

In Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, Boyle tells us the only thing that both the government and big business fear is damage to their profit margins. Peaceful demonstrations, blocking some roads or bridges while leaving alternative routes open, orderly marches and endless petitioning are not going to stop the progress of big business or prevent their wanton destruction of the natural world. We need to change the entire corporate/government/military/consumer driven economic system. We need to escape the shackles of the debt riddled society in which we live and simplify our lives, return to living within the boundaries of nature and to stop dominating and plundering nature or as big business and government refer to it “natural resources”. Can’t nature just be left as nature, and valued for it’s beauty and wildness, without being given a monetary value and classed as a resource?

Some years ago a small group of activists by the name of ELF (Earth Liberation Front) used violent action (arson) against corporate property with the intention of damaging financially the businesses that are wreaking havoc on nature and the environment, without violence to people – so no injury or death to anyone. They burned down several properties of companies that they saw as threats to the environment or as being directly destructive to nature. This included a timber mill that was illegally logging trees, and a slaughter plant that was killing so many wild horses that the blood released into the waterways was such that the water department could not cope and nearby towns water supply was polluted. In many cases, as a result of ELF’s “Ecotage”, the business either folded completely, or moved elsewhere. It was generally acknowledged therefore that ELF were successful in their actions. Just a note for the authorities here…I am not condoning Arson, nor am I inciting it. I am merely stating that it was affective in achieving ELF’s goals. Although many of their actions took place in the 1990’s it wasn’t until post 9/11 that arrests were made under new terrorism laws. Although ELF never threatened the lives of anyone, nor injured, or took a life by any of their actions, they were deemed to be bigger “Terrorist threats” than, for example, white supremacy groups who had killed and were continuing to kill/threatening to kill. Why is this you ask? Boyle says it’s because although white supremacists threaten lives, usually of people who are not white, they do not threaten businesses profit margins. When a multi million dollar or multi billion dollar company tells their government officials that they demand action against what they term “Eco-Terrorists” otherwise they will withdraw their financial support…they get listened to. Money makes the rules. Big business tells government what to do. The tail wags the dog. For the people, by the people….don’t make me laugh! To view an excellent 2011 video documentary “If a tree falls” – about ELF’s actions and their eventual capture by the authorities, link to YouTube doco is below. It is an insight into the methods of direct action and the thinking behind movements such as ELF.

Meantime the public keep on signing petitions, or take their plastic to recycling stations and think that they are doing their bit in saving the planet.

Boyle, in the closing pages of his book says that “The landscape of activism today is, like the forests of England and Ireland, dominated by the deer who quickly nibble at any shoots of resistance….however our monocultural political terrain is in need of a ferocious predator. We need the wolf to bring balance to the wild forests. We need the Wild Revolutionary to stand up to the threat in the wild, but the authorities would prefer the political landscape to be inhabited only by reformists, pacifists and the like….like domesticated animals to browse within the fence line“.

He also says that violent direct action should certainly not be the first route to take. It should be the very last tool taken out of the tool box, but it should not be ruled out from the very start. “If the day comes when we accept that both fierceness and gentleness have their appropriate time and place within our struggles in defence of Life, we may again earn the chance to experience the only real peace there has ever been: the peace of The Wild“.

So what Boyle is saying is don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but when a wall needs knocking down a nutcracker won’t do the job. Also in the book he says that sometimes the very idea of having to use that sledgehammer paralyses us and we opt for reformist half measures even though we know they are doomed to fail against the military/industrial/political machine.

Money from industry, buys political support, dictates political policy and indirectly funds the armed wings of government – its police, its army, along with its guns, drones, nuclear weapons, courtrooms and prisons, all ready and willing to serve their master. These are co-funded by us, the citizens, by our paying of taxes. We fund our own oppressors. How crazy is that? It’s scary to stand up for nature and for ourselves against such a “machine”. They have CCTV cameras on every street corner and, as Edward Snowden made perfectly clear, they can use our own smart phones, smart TV’s and computers to listen our private conversations within the sanctity of our own homes, even turn on smart appliance cameras remotely, along with systems that monitor our emails, check our internet use and phone conversations. To stand up against this phenomenal opponent would appear to be suicidal. They are everywhere, have infiltrated every nook and cranny of our lives. Big Brother, as Orwell wrote in the book 1984, IS watching you.

This is one of the reasons that Boyle first spent 3 years living without money and then widened this by also living without modern technology. He is off grid completely. The more people that follow Boyles example and escape the digital ties that bind us to the machine, the harder it is for “them” to influence and dominate our lives.

The system of government works against the very people that it is meant to represent. The industrial/military/political machine gets to make all the rules and enact laws, that they claim are for our protection, but actually serve only to restrict our movement and make us easier to control. The laws also make it easier for them to justify pillaging nature….or as they call it “making use of natural resources”. In his book, Boyle states – If you consider that the natural world, nature equals Life, then the “machine” is the enemy of Life, and for us to play by the rules that the enemy of Life enacts is laughable.

Our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including in many cases human life. Look at the displaced tribes of the Amazon who’s land is systematically levelled to enable yet another beef ranch, soya or palm oil plantation. Look at communities who have no drinking water because it has been sold to water bottling plants for export, or has been so badly polluted by industry that it is no longer safe to drink. Look at small family run businesses who are driven out of business because of international or multinational corporations. Globalization rather than benefiting everyone, as promised, with it’s so called trickle down economy, has only increased the wealth of those at the top of the food chain while driving millions into poverty, and destroying national identities, centuries old customs, and borders.

There is a hell of a lot of information and misinformation out there in the media, in books and on line about climate change or climate crisis. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to sort out fact from fiction, particularly when often fact is so much stranger than fiction. As things currently stand, I see activist groups like XR and other “peaceful” protesters as being patsies for the establishment and “one world/one government” political policies. In their blocking of streets and bridges, while still obeying the rules of engagement, XR are getting TV news time because it serves the political policy makers. It proves to the world that the government allows its citizens the right to protest (albeit under strict rules and conditions), proves they are a democratic and “free” society. Try not paying your taxes and find out how free you really are! The general public are being made aware of “the threat of climate change” but are also getting pissed off at being constantly delayed in going about their business. When XR blocked London’s bridges, they even blocked the cycle lanes. Surely those cyclists were already walking the walk, as it were, while XR are still at the stage of talking the talk. The cyclists are not contributing to the global warming problem as they are not using transportation powered by fossil fuels. The very thing that XR are pushing. It was a stupid mistake in their policy to block cycle lanes as well as general road traffic. In the end XR will not affect business as usual in London or elsewhere. The consumerist driven growth economy is not going to shut down because of their actions, and shareholders profit margins are not going to be affected in any long term way.

On a personal note…It’s my prediction, and I realise that many people will think of me as a conspiracy theorist (and I probably am to a certain extent, but as I stated earlier, a lot of so called conspiracy theory is actual fact – as strange as some of it may seem), that eventually the government(s) will turn to the public and say “OK we have seen how serious the public are about the climate problem, because of the protests on the street” (which they have been happy to allow because it suits their agenda). “We know that we only have a short time frame to turn things around so we have to make radical changes…bring in some new rules and regulations… to save the world….are you with us?” The public agree, desperate to survive, get sucked in, and the UN’s agenda 21, or the updated agenda 2030, gets quickly rolled out giving governments extra emergency powers under the guise of rapidly reducing our carbon footprint, controlled by a unified One World Governing Body – the UN. And we – the public – who have been fed a steady diet of misinformation, will vote for it and give our blessing, so that THEY will be able to control not only the movement of people, but what we eat, the jobs we do, where we live, how we live, the redistribution of wealth, total control of our bank accounts by getting rid of physical cash money (something that the Reserve Bank is already talking about), confiscation of land, birth control/population control (including “voluntary” sterilization). Back in the 1960’s the UN were brainstorming to think of ways to get the general public to fall in behind support for a one world government – controlled by them, the UN, to push their own policies. They have stated that 375 million is the ideal population for the earth and they have been looking for ways to achieve this, but needed a banner to unite the world behind. Climate change/Global warming is that banner. We are up near 8 billion, so that will mean a reduction of about 95% of the current population…..how are they going to achieve that figure? War? A pandemic perhaps? (I see that there has been a reported outbreak of Pneumonic Plague – a more dangerous cousin of Bubonic Plague – in China – link to article – https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/plague-is-diagnosed-in-china-prompting-fears-of-an-outbreak/ar-BBWHMaz?ocid=spartandhp). Biological weapons released by “Terrorists” maybe? Do they just shut down the power grids (hacked by foreign powers?) and watch us rip one another limb from limb once the food supply runs out? How do you qualify to be in that surviving 5%? And will that 5% then continue with business as usual?

I realize that for many people this idea of a one world government deliberately looking to control citizens and force a reduction in population sounds fanciful, the thing of Science Fiction. So I will share with you with a few quotes below, and ask that you please read Boyle’s book, do your own research into climate change, the UN and population control, oh yes…and the Club of Rome (see the quotes later on). And examine what is happening in the world with eyes wide open….don’t just accept the version presented by the state run media. We certainly need to embrace the natural world again and not pillage it. I can’t see a world government actually doing that despite the spin they attempt to put on things.

Quotes follow from some of the most powerful political figures, or influencers of political policy in the world. I find it quite terrifying that these corrupt people have been allowed to dictate policy by which we are expected to live.

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Henry Kissinger, American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (and winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest) said – Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.

Thomas Ferguson an American political scientist who wrote about the Logic of Money-driven Political Systems – There is a single theme behind all our work – we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it.

David R Brower, environmentalist and the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club is also on board saying – Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.

Timothy Endicott Wirth, a former United States Senator from Colorado. He served both as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education for part of the Nixon Administration and later for the Clinton Administration as the first Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department. – We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.

Aurelio Peccei, industrialist and philanthropist, best known as co-founder with Alexander King and first president of the Club of Rome, an organisation which attracted considerable public attention in 1972 with its report, The Limits to Growth. – The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. …The real enemy then is humanity itself.

And finally a couple of quotes from David Rockefeller. Rockefeller from one of the wealthiest families around, was assistant regional director of the United States Office of Defense, Health and Welfare Services before teaming up with the rest of the family at the Chase National Bank where he became President. The bank was closely associated with and has financed the oil industry, having longstanding connections with its board of directors to the successor companies of Standard Oil, especially Exxon Mobil. It’s now known as JPMorgan Chase bank. – We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years……It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries. – Which goes to confirm that the media are under the control of big business and government and complicit in the plot to take away the public’s right of self determination.

and finally, Rockefeller again – We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis. Of course the crisis selected was Global Warming.

So folks, as you can see from these quotes….we are not paranoid….they ARE out to get us and have been plotting against the citizens of the world for decades! It’s not simply crackpot conspiracy theory. AND I do realize that it’s so hard to know what to believe after that quote from Aurelio Peccei. As you will see from earlier posts, I was initially ready to believe the UN IPCC panel and was blown away by the emotional Greta Thunberg…until her last speech at the UN, which was a rehash, virtually word for word, of an earlier UN speech but delivered with the venom of a consummate actor….”How dare you…” It just didn’t seem authentic anymore. And why would an organisation as powerful as the UN allow a teenage girl the opportunity to berate them time and time again – with full TV and press coverage – for their inaction on Climate Change, if it did not serve their purpose? Do we blindly follow the UN? We hear UN climate scientists presenting dooming facts about climate change – although incidentally they do not allow for the phases of the sun, solar maximum and solar minimum in their calculations. Long-term secular change in sunspot number is thought, by many scientists, to be correlated with long-term change in solar irradiance, which, in turn, might influence Earth’s long-term climate. The sun being the main regulator of temperature here on earth I find its exclusion from climate change calculations quite worrying – and ex Presidential hopeful Al Gore (a member of the establishment who, incidentally, is making bucket loads of money from the whole climate change situation) is leading the charge. Having now seen the quotes above, by the political movers and shakers, about ways of gaining control of the citizens by causing widespread panic using Climate Change as a unifying factor, via the formation of a One World Government under the control of, to quote Rockefeller, “an intellectual elite and world bankers”….what do we do? Indeed, what can we do?

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Boyle says that although the “Machine” appears to be powerful and omnipotent, it is its omnipotence that makes it so weak. It is so thinly stretched that, if the citizens were to rise up against it simultaneously, it would be overthrown simply by weight of numbers. An interesting theory.

In the meantime the rich and their Globalist Corporations continue to get away with tax avoidance while the working classes are squeezed for every taxable penny – with threat of imprisonment should they refuse. Whether climate change is totally due to the actions of man, or just a phase of the suns warming, or a combination of both – has still to be proven 100%. Yes a panel of UN Climate Scientists have declared their findings to be accurate, but the UN is the same organization vying for total domination of us, under their one world government, so their “undeniable” findings should be considered dubious or, at the very least, warrant further investigation. There is no denying however that the forests are being cleared, the waterways and the oceans are being polluted, as is the air that we breathe, and a genuine extinction of species is happening, as their habitat (nature) is destroyed by globalist corporates and needs immediate action to reverse this insane destruction. Should we protest? If we want to live, if we truly want to protect nature – what’s left of it to protect – surely we must take some sort of action. Do we take peacefully to the streets with our placards and/or sign petitions yet again, hoping insanely for a different result, or this time do we use ALL the tools in our toolbox and say “Enough!”? This, I think, is the conclusion that Mr Boyle in his book Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi is hoping that the citizens of the world will come to.

Please note – I am not inciting the masses to commit violent acts. I am, for the most part, reporting on or reviewing a book. BUT, it would be wonderful if you would read the book Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, watch the video If a Tree Falls – do your own research into the problems that we are facing today and come to your own conclusions. Is nature worth saving? I hope you’ll agree that it is. As usual thank you for reading. Any shares, likes or comments are most appreciated.