MOV089: “Give the Boo-Boo a kiss and make it better”

It’s the 89th reel of COL Movies, where the boys go back in time to revisit Martin Scorsese’s “epic” “Raging Bull”. Did the combo of DeNiro and Pesci hold our interest for 2 and a half hours? In the theater, they head to check out Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire”. Can Crush from the American Gladiators carry a big budget movie? And in trailers, they check out “A Cabin In the Woods” from Cloverfield’s writing team of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Will they pack the theater with another “young adults in peril” flick? All this and our thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations. It’s the 89th reel of COL Movies…”Give the boo-boo a kiss and make it better.”

News:

The Past: Raging Bull (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh, 92% Audience

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty and Joe Pesci

Trivia:

  • When Paul Schrader was working on the script, he put in numerous shocking moments such as Jake LaMotta masturbating and dipping his penis into a bucket of ice. Schrader later admitted that the film held less personal significance to him than it did for Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese and he added the shocking material just to see what he could get past the studio. Ultimately, the masturbation was cut and, instead of putting his penis into the ice, La Motta pours the ice down his underwear.
  • Mardik Martin wrote the most traditional, linear script for the film (more of a traditional Jake La Motta biography), but backed off on the project due to exhaustion after months of research. Paul Schrader made several changes to the script, including making, Joey La Motta, Jake’s brother, the second most prominent character (by combining his actions with that of Jake’s friend, ‘Peter Savage’) and starting the story in the middle of La Motta’s career rather than at the beginning. Although they kept Schrader’s overall structure, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro spent 5 weeks rewriting his version of the script until they had exactly the film they wanted (Scorsese and De Niro are uncredited as screenwriters for the film).
  • Robert De Niro read the autobiography of Jake LaMotta while filming The Godfather: Part II in 1974 and immediately saw the potential for a film to make with his collaborator, Martin Scorsese. It took over four years for De Niro to convince everyone, including Scorsese, to get on board for this film.
  • Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are really punching each other in the famous “hit me” scene.
  • To achieve the feeling of brotherhood between the two lead actors, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci actually lived and trained with each other for some time before filming began. Ever since then, the two have been very close friends.
  • Sound effects for punches landing were made by squashing melons and tomatoes. Sound effects for camera flashes going off were sounds of gunshots. The original tapes were deliberately destroyed by the sound technicians, to prevent then being used again.
  • Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’s rib in a sparring scene. This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle. See also Casino.
  • Jake (Robert De Niro) asks Joey (Joe Pesci) “Did you fuck my wife?”. Director Martin Scorsese didn’t think that Pesci’s reaction was strong enough, so he asked De Niro to say “Did you fuck your mother?”. Scorsese also did not tell Pesci that the script called for him to be attacked.
  • To visually achieve Jake’s growing desperation and diminishing stature, Martin Scorseseshot the later boxing scenes in a larger ring.
  • Robert De Niro gained a record 60 pounds to play the older ‘Jake La Motta’, and Joe Pesci lost weight for the same scene (De Niro’s movie weight-gain record was subsequently broken by ‘Vincent D’Onofrio (I)’, who gained 70 pounds for his role as Pvt. Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket).
  • In preparation for his role, Robert De Niro went through extensive physical training, then entered in three genuine Brooklyn boxing matches and won two of them.
  • To show up better on black-and-white film, Hershey’s chocolate was used for blood.
  • The original script was vetoed by producer Steven Bach after he told Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro that Jake LaMotta was “a cockroach”. De Niro and Scorsese took a few weeks in Italy to do an uncredited rewrite of the script, during which time the two found some sympathetic aspects of La Motta, which eventually satisfied the producers.
  • According to Martin Scorsese, the script took only two weeks to write on the island of St Martin in the Caribbean.
  • Was voted the third greatest sports movie of all time after Rocky and Bull Durham by ESPN.
  • Although only a few minutes of boxing appear in the movie, they were so precisely choreographed that they took six weeks to film.
  • Joe Pesci, at the time a frustrated, struggling actor, had to be persuaded to make the film rather than return to the musical act he shared with fellow actor Frank Vincent.
  • Martin Scorsese’s father Charles Scorsese is one of the mob wiseguys crowding the LaMotta brothers at a Copa nightclub table.
  • While preparing to play Jake LaMotta, Robert De Niro actually met with La Motta and became very well acquainted with him. They spent the entire shoot together so De Niro could portray his character accurately. La Motta said that De Niro has the ability to be a contender, and that he would have been happy to be his manager and trainer.
  • Actor John Turturro makes his film debut as the man at table at Webster Hall. Both Turturro and Robert De Niro have played characters named Billy Sunday. De Niro as Master Chief Leslie W. ‘Billy’ Sunday in Men of Honor, and Turturro as Coach Billy Sunday in He Got Game.
  • Beverly D’Angelo auditioned for the role of Jake’s wife, Vicki LaMotta. She also auditioned for the role of Patsy Cline in Coal Miner’s Daughter at around the same time.Martin Scorsese chose Cathy Moriarty (whom the producers saw before D’Angelo), freeing D’Angelo to appear in “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.
  • The role of Jake’s wife was the last to be cast.
  • Sharon Stone also auditioned for the role of Vicki LaMotta.
  • Martin Scorsese claims that nothing should be read into his using the On the Waterfront quote. Jake LaMotta, in his declining years, used to appear on stage reciting dialogue from television plays and even reading William Shakespeare. According to Scorsese, he’d planned to use something from “Richard III” (because in the corresponding real-life event LaMotta used it), but director Michael Powell suggested that “Richard III” wouldn’t work in the context of the film because the film in general and LaMotta in particular are inherently American. Scorsese picked the lines from “On the Waterfront”.
  • Some scenes and phrases are from On the Waterfront because Jake LaMotta admired Marlon Brando’s character and used to quote the movie in real life.
  • Martin Scorsese was worried about the On the Waterfront recitation because he knew he’d be inviting critical comparison between the scene in this film and the original film’s scene. Robert De Niro read it in various ways. Scorsese chose the take in which the recitation is extremely flat specifically to mute the comparison, and to suggest that it is simply a recitation and not indicative of how Jake LaMotta felt about his brother.
  • No original music was composed for the film. All of the music was taken from the works of an Italian composer named Pietro Mascagni. Martin Scorsese selected it because it had a quality of sadness to it that he felt fit the mood of the film.
  • The biblical quote at the end of the film (“All that I know is that I was blind, and now I can see”) was a reference to Martin Scorsese’s film professor, to whom the film was dedicated. The man died just before the film was released. Scorsese credits his teacher with helping him “to see”.
  • The home movie sequences were in color to make them stand out from the rest of the film. Another reason was the feeling of reality, because at the particular time represented by the home movies, 8mm color home movie cameras were very popular.
  • The rooftop wedding scene was directed by Martin Scorsese’s father after he fell ill while filming.
  • In 1978, when Martin Scorsese was at an all-time low due to a near overdose resulting from an addiction to cocaine, Robert De Niro visited him at the hospital and told him that he had to clean himself up and make this movie about a boxer. At first, Scorsese refused (he didn’t like sports movies anyway), but due to De Niro’s persistence, he eventually gave in. Many claim (including Scorsese) that De Niro saved Scorsese’s life by getting him back into work.
  • Was voted the 5th Greatest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • When the real Jake LaMotta saw the movie, he said it made him realize for the first time what a terrible person he had been. He asked the real Vicki “Was I really like that?”. Vicki replied “You were worse.”
  • Martin Scorsese had trouble figuring out how he would cut together the scene when La Motta last fights Robinson (in particular when he is up against the ropes getting beaten). He used the original shot-list from the shower sequence in Psycho to help him figure it out. Scorsese later commented that it helped most in that the scene was the most horrific to him.
  • According to Martin Scorsese in the “Raging Bull” DVD, this was going to be one of eight boxing movies to come out in 1980.
  • Martin Scorsese shunned the idea of filming the boxing scenes with multiple cameras. Instead, he planned months of carefully choreographed movements with one camera. He wanted the single camera to be like “a third fighter”.
  • Robert De Niro’s performance as Jake LaMotta is ranked #10 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
  • Neither Director of Photography Michael Chapman nor Martin Scorsese could get the right look for the amateur LaMotta home movies that comprise the only color sequences in “Raging Bull”. Both men gave in to their natural instincts for camera placement and framing, which was the antithesis of what they wanted to achieve. They solved the problem by asking Teamsters working on the set to handle the camera in order to give the 16mm film the appropriate feel of amateur home movies.
  • Jake LaMotta’s autobiography, co-written with friend ‘Peter Savage’, omitted mention of his brother, as did Mardik Martin’s original screenplay. Unhappy with the result, the producers hired Paul Schrader to restructure it, and in the course of doing research on La Motta, the writer came across an article on the relationship between Jake and his brother Joey LaMotta. Schrader incorporated the relationship into the revised screenplay, co-opting the Savage character and creating a composite of the two men in the person of Joey La Motta. That relationship became the central plot theme in the revised screenplay and one of the primary reasons for the film’s success.
  • Frank Vincent also plays a character named Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.
  • According to Martin Scorsese on the DVD, when first screening some test 8mm footage of Robert De Niro sparring in a ring, he felt that something was off about the image. Michael Powell, who at that time had become something of a mentor and good friend to Scorsese, suggested that it was the color of the gloves that was throwing them off. Realizing this was true, Scorsese then decided the movie had to be filmed in black and white.
  • The word “fuck” is used 114 times in this film.
  • In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #4 Greatest Movie of All Time.
  • Ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sports” in June 2008.
  • Was voted the 4th best film of all time in AFI’s 10th anniversary of the 100 Years… 100 Movies series.
  • ‘Nicholas Colasonto”s character, Tommy Como, is based on the real-life mobster Frankie Carbo, who basically ran all boxing in New York City during the 1940s and ’50s. He eventually was sent to prison for conspiracy and extortion after being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.
  • Cathy Moriarty’s film debut.
  • When Martin Scorsese visited some boxing matches he was immediately struck by two images: the blood-soaked sponge wiped across the fighter’s back, and the pendulous drops of blood hanging off the ropes.
  • Cinematographer Michael Chapman drew inspiration for his monochrome camerawork from the famous Weegee snapshots of 50s New York.
  • The boxing scenes amount to barely 10 minutes of the film’s running time.
  • Executives at United Artists were very reluctant to finance the film as they were perturbed by the extreme profanity and violence in the screenplay. With some justification, as it transpired: at one point it was doubtful whether the film would be released in the UK at all due to its extreme nature.
  • The majority of the film with La Motta as a younger man – including the boxing scenes – were shot first. Then production shut down for several months, giving de Niro enough time to bulk up for his role as the older and much fatter La Motta. In those months, de Niro gained 60 pounds. It was de Niro’s idea to do it this way.
  • The later scenes with a more weightier La Motta were generally shot with the minimum of takes as ‘Robert de Niro’ would become exhausted much more quickly.
  • The reasons why the film was made in black and white were mainly to differentiate it from Rocky as well as for period authenticity. Another reason was that Martin Scorsesedidn’t want to depict all that blood in a color picture.
  • The film was edited in Scorsese’s New York apartment every night after filming for the day had finished.
  • United Artists were very frustrated by the amount of time Scorsese took during post-production, thinking he was unnecessarily slow. Scorsese took unusual care as he genuinely believed that “Raging Bull” would be his last film and so he didn’t want to compromise his vision. Conversely, as he neared completion, he also felt that the film was a form of cinematic rebirth for him. For this reason, he dedicates the film to his college film professor Haig Manoogian “with love and resolution”. Manoogian had helped Scorsese get his first film produced.
  • United Artists were unable to actively promote the film for awards consideration as it was then embroiled in serious financial trouble following the _Heaven’s Gate (1981)_ debacle.
  • This marked the first time since his first film “Who’s That Knocking on My Door?” thatMartin Scorsese was able to work with his film school friend Thelma Schoonmaker due to her having been denied membership in the then all-male Motion Picture Editors Guild.
  • The cross that once hung over Martin Scorsese’s parents’ bed can be seen hanging over Jake and Vicky’s bed.
  • Most of the fight scenes are shot through an intense light source to obtain a slight mirage within the image.
  • La Motta’s color family home movie sequence was personally scraped by Martin Scorsese with a coat-hanger to ensure a rough, naturalistic feeling.
  • Paul Schrader was directing Hardcore when ‘Robert de Niro’ talked to him about needing help with a script. The first thing Schrader did was drive down to Key West and check the archives of a local newspaper. It was there that he learned that there were two La Mottas, something which is not referenced in Jake’s autobiography. That was when Schrader knew he had found the hook for the screenplay.
  • Martin Scorsese was at one stage so startled by ‘Robert de Niro”s weight gain that he shut down production, fearing for the actor’s health.
  • A rarity at the Academy Awards, when Robert De Niro won the Best Actor Oscar for playing the fighter Jake LaMotta, the real-life Jake LaMotta was in the audience.
  • The scene where Vickie is first introduced to Jake by the chain-linked fence was completely improvised by Cathy Moriarty and Robert De Niro.
  • (March 31, 1981) Robert De Niro’s Best Actor Oscar win created a rarity in the Academy’s history, in that the real-life Jake LaMotta was in the audience witnessing the victory. That same evening Sissy Spacek won her first Best Actress Oscar for playing singer Loretta Lynn who was also in the pavilion audience, making the gala event unique.
  • Robert De Niro did as many as 1000 rounds when training with the real Jake La Motta. He thought De Niro had what it took to become a professional contender.
  • In each Scorsese movie featuring either of them, Frank Vincent and Joe Pesci beat one another. In Raging Bull and Goodfellas, Pesci’s character beats Vincent. Vincent finally gets revenge by beating Pesci in Casino.

Talking Points:

  • Language! Accents and Subtitles oh my
  • anyone else think De Niro looked like Kramer?
  • Best Sports movies?

What We’ve Learned:

  • An overcooked steak, defeats its own purpose
  • You can’t fight Joe Lewis if you have small hands
  • Madison Square Garden seemed a whole lot smaller in the 1940’s
  • Always check for ID!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: If I need a movie to fall asleep to, I’ve found the perfect one. The excessive New Jersey accents annoyed me to no end. The dialog was terrible and get made me disinterested in everything in this film. Sure, the technical film making aspects were good but I felt no sympathy for any of these character. Again, it’s a good movie to put you to sleep.
Ray: Not sure the film deserves all of its accolades, but De Niro definitely deserves props for his amazing performance.
Steve: DeNiro and Pesci made this movie for me. But otherwise, I was just bored for 2:30…sorry.

The Present: Haywire
Rotten Tomatoes: 81% Fresh, 51% Audience

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender

Trivia:

  • Dennis Quaid was cast but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict with Soul Surfer. Bill Paxton replaced him.
  • Gina Carano’s voice was altered for the film, giving her character a deeper-sounding voice.
  • The film was first announced in September 2009 originally under the title of Knockout, which was later changed to Haywire, before production began.
  • The film’s screenplay was written specifically to be shot in Dublin. The film was shot mostly in Ireland, filming began from 2 February 2010 to 25 March 2010 on a budget of around $25 million. Production of the film created over one-hundred jobs in the area where it was filmed.

Talking Points:

  • The Music
  • Incredibly long shots in a otherwise short movie.
  • Carino’s performance
  • Trailer

What We Learned:

  • Don’t piss off Crush from the American Gladiators.
  • Watch out for Deer

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: The movie was slow and the fight sequences seemed dull without any music. I feel like the movie had some potential but it just felt disjointed and awkward. The title doesn’t make sense to me at all.
Ray: Ugh. I sooo wanted to walk out of this movie. I thought it was incredibly boring, and a perfect example of “you can’t always trust what you see in the trailer”
Steve: I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I liked it. I thought Gina Carano was great and the cast had so much potential…but it didn’t all come together. Pace was slow for such an “exciting” movie…but the fight scenes were awesome. I give Crush all the props in the world for doing her own stunts!

The Future: The Cabin In The Woods

Release: April 13, 2012

Director: Drew Goddard

Starring: Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Chris Hemsworth

Summary:

Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Trivia:

  • Shot in 2009, but not released until 2012
  • Written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
  • Amy Acker and Fran Kranz both had roles on Joss Whedon’s latest television series Dollhouse. Tom Lenk had a recurring role on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as appearing on the spin-off series, Angel, in which Acker also had a regular role.
  • The project began filming in March 2009 and completed on May 29, 2009 shooting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Joss Whedon co-wrote the script with Cloverfield screenwriter Drew Goddard, who also directed the film, marking his directorial debut. Goddard previously worked with Whedon on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as a writer.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on November 3, 2010, but the movie will still be released as one of MGM’s last pre-Spyglass films in development; the film will be released in April 2012.
  • It was slated for wide release on February 5, 2010 and then delayed until January 14, 2011 so the film could be converted to 3D. However, on June 17, 2010, MGM announced that the film would be delayed indefinitely due to ongoing financial difficulties at the studio.
  • On March 16, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported the following: “New (MGM) chief executives Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum are seeking to sell both (a) Red Dawn (remake) and the horror film The Cabin in the Woods, the last two pictures produced under a previous regime, as they try to reshape the 87-year-old company.”
  • On July 20, 2011, Lionsgate announced that they had acquired the distribution rights to the film and set a release date of April 13, 2012.

Talking Points:

  • What do you think from seeing the trailer?
  • Is Joss the draw?
  • Why the release delay?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Yeah, I’ll pass.
Ray: I’m there… I love that the trailer straight up calls out the fact that you think you’ve seen this movie..and then slaps you in the face with something unexpected.
Steve: Looks like it’s going to be just like Friday the 13th, then takes an updated spin. I love Joss Whedon, so I am clearly going to be there!

Coming Attractions

The Past: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

The Present: Underworld Awakening

The Future: ParaNorman

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MOV088: “This is no time to talk about time. We don’t have the time!”

In this reel of COL Movies, the boys go into the future to go back in time to play with the Borg in “Star Trek: First Contact”. Upon returning to the present, they head to the theater to see Mark Wahlberg’s “Contraband”. As for the future, they once again head to the present to go back in time to check out the trailer for “Men In Black III”. In news, they do some Muppet Blu-Ray release talk, and a crowd sourced Star Wars remake? All this and Steven has skype issues on the 88th reel of COL Movies, “Timeline? This is no time to talk about time. We don’t have the time!”

News:

The Past: Star Trek: First Contact(1996)

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh, 83% Audience

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LaVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, James Cromwell

Trivia:

  • For inspiration prior to filming, director Jonathan Frakes says he viewed the films Alien, Aliens, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, and Jaws.
  • The Borg makeup and suits had to be constantly touched up. Several of the Borg actors lost a considerable amount of weight while in costume due to the heat of the sets and temperature in L.A. during the shooting.
  • At the end of filming, actor/director Jonathan Frakes got the nickname: “Two takes Frakes” because of the efficiency of his style.
  • The deflector dish is labeled AE35, the name of a component of a satellite dish in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The USS Defiant introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was built for the sole purpose to fight and defeat the Borg. This movie features the only time the ship fights the Borg.
  • When Dr. Crusher says “In the 21st century, the Borg are still in the Delta Quadrant”, it was intended as a teaser for upcoming episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, in which The Borg were featured prominently.
  • The eyepieces of the Borg flash the Morse code of the names of people associated with the production.
  • Certain USS Enterprise bridge set pieces from previous Star Trek movies were built into parts of the Enterprise-E bridge. These pieces include the turbolift foyers, which are the only surviving parts of the set from the first Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the aft master display station, which was a piece of the Enterprise-A bridge set originally built for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
  • The first Star Trek movie to receive an MPAA rating higher than PG.
  • In an early draft of the screenplay, the character Lt. Hawk (Neal McDonough) was gay, and therefore was to have been the first openly gay character in any Star Trek series or movie; however, any reference to his sexual orientation was excised from later drafts of the screenplay. Lt. Hawk was later confirmed as having been gay in the Star Trek tie-in novel Section 31: Rogue by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin.
  • The “first contact” in this movie takes place at a “missile silo in Montana”. Montana’s missile base is Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana, site of many of the more famous “UFO” sightings over the past few decades.
  • Cochrane asks La Forge, “Don’t you people in the 24th Century ever pee?” This is a reference to the fact that toilets are never shown in the series.
  • 5th April, 2063 – First Contact day – will be a Thursday.
  • The Borg Queen was created because the writers were having difficulty in writing dialogue for what was intended to be the Borg’s central computer.
  • The eyepiece of one of the Borg contains the front canopy of a ‘Star Wars TIE Fighter’ toy made by Kenner
  • The film was released on November 22, 1996, the anniversary of the date that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the characters land on Earth on April 4, 2063, the anniversary of the date that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
  • In this film, the EMH says “I’m a doctor, not a doorstop”. This is a nod to Dr. McCoy from the original series. Whenever McCoy was given a non-medical task, he would say “I’m a doctor, not a… (bricklayer, moon shuttle conductor, escalator, etc.)”
  • One of only three Star Trek movies to have any swear words spoken. The others are Star Trek: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek: Generations. In each case, the cursing was a single use of the “s**t” word.
  • Alice Krige suffered much discomfort throughout the film. Her costume was too tight, causing blisters, and the silver contacts she had to wear were so painful they could only be kept in for four minutes at a time.
  • Geordi LaForge’s visor is replaced here with “ocular implants.” LeVar Burton lobbied for years to have his visor replaced so people could see his eyes. He always felt it limited his acting ability. His request was finally granted here.
  • One of the reasons Jonathan Frakes was chosen to direct was because the producers wanted someone who understood Star Trek. Indeed, amongst the cast, he was the show’s most prolific director. Reportedly, Ridley Scott and John McTiernan both turned down the chance to direct.

Talking Points:

  • Did y’all know that Lt. Hawk was a homo? The Character not the Actor.
  • Did this feel like a movie or an episode?
  • Did the Vulcan ship get moved?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Resistance is not Futile
  • Touch can change your perception of an object.
  • If your going to issue in an era of peace, pick something ironic to do it with, like a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Borg Implants have been known to cause severe skin irritations
  • Don’t go criticizing Counselor Troi’s Counseling Technique.
  • The Borg.. are definitely not Swedish.
  • With the safeties off even a holographic bullet can kill
  • Believing one self to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind
  • For an Android, 0.68 seconds is nearly an eternity

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This is my favorite Trek movie followed closely by Wrath of Kahn. Almost wish there was more of the Enterprise in action but it worked very well for a TNG movie.
Ray: Not my favorite trek movie, but it was the first with the TNG cast that truly felt cinematic in it’s scope. I think this one is pretty accessible to non Trek fans even without knowing the whole Borg/Picard/Locutus back-story in detail.
Steve:

The Present: Contraband
Rotten Tomatoes: 46% Rotten, 75% Audience

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale

Trivia:

  • Baltasar Kormákur, director of the film, was the lead actor of the original film, Reykjavik-Rotterdam, playing the same role as Mark Wahlberg.
  • This is Baltasar Kormákur’s first Hollywood movie.

Talking Points:

  • Giovanni Ribisi’s side burns and voice.
  • Shaky out of focus camera

What We Learned:

  • You got a spend a little money to make money
  • If you wanna make a run, you better pay your fare.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I actually enjoyed the movie. Which was a surprise since it felt a little Gone In 60 Seconds. Giovanni Ribisi’s side burns and voice annoyed me though. Not a waste of money to see in the theater but you can wait for the DVD.
Ray: Somewhat enjoyable, if not predictable. Yes it is the smuggling version of GISS. But nothing in it like Fancy cars to make it really enjoyable for me.
Steve:

The Future: Men In Black III

Release: May 25, 2012

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin

Summary:

Agent J travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

Trivia:

  • Michael Bay expressed interest in directing.
  • Screenwriter David Koepp, who was originally involved with Men in Black II but left to write Spider-Man, signed on permanently for this film.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen was considered for the role of Boris.
  • Betty White was originally rumored to have a role.
  • This is Will Smith’s first film in 3.5 years, since the release of Seven Pounds in December 2008. This is the longest he has gone without appearing in a movie since his film career started in 1993.
  • Gemma Arterton was originally cast as young Agent O, but scheduling conflicts prevented Arterton from taking the role.
  • Josh Brolin plays a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’s character. Brolin’s wife, Diane Lane, appeared with Jones in ‘Lonesome Dove (1989)(TV)’. In the sequel, ‘Streets of Laredo (1995)(TV)’, Lane’s role was taken over by Sissy Spacek, who played Tommy Lee Jones’s wife in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and is the cousin of cast member Rip Torn.
  • The previous film Men in Black II released the same year as Spider-Man. This film, the sequel, releases ten years later; the same year as the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • This is the second threequel Steven Spielberg produced that involves Apollo 11 in its storyline. The first was Transformers: Dark of the Moon which focused on a Transformer ship discovered by Apollo.

Talking Points:

  • Is this necessary? Did this franchise need a sequel.

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: I’ve always been a fan of the MIB movies. Excited for another one.
Ray: Been a fan, but not sure the series needs another movie. I do like the fact we are getting a glimpse of the old MIB organization, just hope they can pull off the Tommy Lee Jones character and voice through the whole movie.
Steve:

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV087: “Even The Nazis Think This Guy Is Nuckin’ Futs.”

It’s a horror-filled week in January in this reel of COL Movies, where the boys kinda head back in time to see the uniquely released Kevin Smith film, “Red State”. In theaters, they head out to see if the Catholic church will have a spasm about the exorcism movie, “The Devil Inside”. In trailer-world, they check out Daniel Radcliffe’s post-Harry Potter haunted house remake of 1989’s “The Woman In Black”. In movie news, we talk more news about Kevin Smith, the potential sequel to Avatar, as well as the crappy plot to Resident Evil 5. It’s the 87th reel of COL Movies…”Even the Nazis Think This Guy Is Nuckin’ Futs!”

News:

The Past: Red State (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 58% Rotten, 58% Audience

Director: Kevin Smith

Starring: Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman

Trivia:

  • The first draft of the script was dated 9/5/07.
  • Kevin Smith wrote the script around the same time he was writing Zack and Miri Make a Porno and presented them both to the Weinstein brothers. They immediately gave the green light to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but declined on Red State fearing its story was too bleak to attract an audience. Had they green lit, Red State would’ve been shot back to back with Zack and Miri.
  • Kevin Smith wrote the role of Abin Cooper for Michael Parks after seeing his performance in From Dusk Till Dawn. Smith has said that if Parks had not agreed to be in the film, he would have dropped the project entirely.
  • Kevin Smith’s lowest budget film since Chasing Amy.
  • A first for writer/director Kevin Smith, he has stated this film is a strict non-comedy saying, “It’s a nasty-ass $4mil horror flick with few (if any) redeeming characters.”
  • This is the first feature Kevin Smith and his cinematographer David Klein shot using the all-digital Red camera.
  • Shot over a period of 25 days, using the all-digital Red camera system, director and editor Kevin Smith could edit the footage the day he shot it. Because of this between shooting scenes Smith would be editing almost non-stop. As a result, a mere 2 days after the last shot was done, Smith was able to show a fine-cut of the film to the entire cast and crew at the wrap party.
  • Kevin Smith had originally wanted to shoot the film on location in a real Red State around middle America. However, due to budget constraints he ended up shooting it all just outside Los Angeles.
  • The budget for the special effects department was $5000.
  • Samuel L. Jackson was considered for the role that eventually went to John Goodman.
  • The Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest Red State at its premier at the Sundance Film Festival. Kevin Smith in turn planned a counter protest which he and his fans took part in. At the premiere the counter-protesters heavily outweighed the handful of Westboro protesters who showed up. This occurred 12 years after Smith’s first film to tackle religious controversy, Dogma, drew protests from certain sects of the Catholic Church, one of which Smith jokingly took part in himself.
  • Little did Kevin Smith know Michael Parks was actually a country singer early in his career who sang with the likes of Johnny Cash. Many of the country-gospel songs sung in the film were suggested by Parks during filming. Later after the film was completed Parks re-recorded the songs onto an album.
  • There is no score for this film. The entire soundtrack consists of songs sung within the film itself.
  • At the premier of the film at the Sundance film festival, Kevin Smith said he would “pick the distributor ‘auction style'” immediately following the screening. After the screening he then pulled producer John Gordon on stage to conduct the auction. Smith then bid $20 for distribution rights and Gordon immediately sold it to him. Smith revealed it was his plan all along to self-distribute the film himself.
  • Canon 7D’s were used as B-cameras.
  • Released on tour in March 2011, Kevin Smith invited the WBC and specifically Megan Phelps-Roper over Twitter to attend the Kansas City screening and Q&A. Megan and around 15 other members of WBC attended the screening and some brought their young children along. Smith warned the family that the film’s content was for a mature audience and not suitable for children, but was promptly told off by the church members. Less than 20 minutes into the screening, the entire WBC audience attending the event walked out, outraged by the film’s content. Megan called the film “filth” and “a vulgar piece of tacky melodrama.”
  • After a screening of the film in Kansas City, Kevin Smith interviewed two life long Westboro Baptist Church members (Shirley Phelps niece and son) who had defected a few years prior. They both enjoyed the film and even complimented Smith on how realistic certain aspects of religious fanaticism are depicted.
  • The whole film was shot in sequence.
  • Casting director Deborah Aquila was moved to tears whilst listening to Kyle Gallner’s performance during the cage scene.
  • During filming Kyle Gallner suffered a panic attack whilst being tied to a cross, which the crew were unaware of at first, thinking he was still acting.
  • Kevin Smith stated on his podcast Hollywood Babble-On 55 that the name Abin Cooper comes from the Green Lantern character Abin Sur and a character from indie film The Reflecting Skin.
  • Kevin Smith has an quick off-camera cameo at the end of the film, as a prison inmate, yelling the last line in the film.
  • During filming Nicholas Braun suffered a concussion; when the CO2 squib fired, he fell back and the pressure from the squib knocked a box off a shelf and onto his head. According to Kevin Smith, when he showed up at the emergency room escorting Braun, the actor was still wearing a prosthetic gunshot wound on his forehead, sending the E.R. staff into a frenzy.
  • In the sequence outside the compound when Agent Keenan (John Goodman) yells at Sheriff Wynan (Stephen Root) to go back into his car, Root’s subsequent stumble and fall was unscripted. Root admitted that he was genuinely startled by Goodman’s performance, and was happy to have Smith keep the footage in the film.
  • Due to the limited budget, a number of the smaller characters were played by family members and friends of cast and crew. One of the youngest believers was played by Ivy Klein, daughter of the film’s cinematographer David Klein. Ivy was carefully prepped for the scene in which Cheyenne (‘Kerry Bishe’) tells the three young girls to go hide in the attic. However when it came time to shoot the scene, Ivy actually got scared and started screaming, which was not in the script. Smith got her parents’ approval to use the footage in the movie. Smith felt terrible for scaring Ivy, and offered her father some money to take Ivy to a toy store. Her father replied, “Add it to the pile”, as other cast/crew members had felt the same. According to Smith, the next time that Ivy saw Kerry was two days later at the Craft Services area. Ivy got a scared look on her face and said, “You’re not going to act again are you?”
  • Smith originally planned to have the first “prisoner” executed with a goat’s head on top of his own. The special effects director told him that he might be thinking of a ram’s head, because a goat is actually very small. Smith found out shortly thereafter that the ram’s head would cost $5,000 – his entire budget – and scrapped the entire idea. He came up with the plastic wrap and top-down shot because he thought it would contain the most “blood” and therefore not require much cleanup between takes.
  • Smith has said that there are ten “Easter Eggs” (hidden jokes or surprises) in the film. He plans to only discuss each one as they are discovered by fans. The first is that Sheriff Wynan “enters and exits the film with a shot to the face.”

Talking Points:

  • Horror?
  • Does it come across as a Kevin Smith movie?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Love thy neighbor
  • People just do the strangest things when they believe they’re entitled. But they do even stranger things when they just plain believe.
  • Crosses can be bought in dollars or common sense.
  • Be careful meeting someone in a trailer at night.
  • Teenagers can be really stupid.
  • The Feds fabricate things? That’s shocking!
  • Craigslist is Craigslist for people who want to get fucked.
  • When parents block porn sites, they make socially awkward kids

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: The acting was great, the shooting was great, the directing was great, the editing was great, the sound was great. With that being said, this movie was very . . . whelming.
Ray: Ultimately a disappointment for me.. Strong start, awful finish. I had high hopes for this one, that ultimately didn’t pan out. I guess it’s worth a rent, but don’t expect it to do anything unexpected.
Steve: Thoroughly enjoyed! Not exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I definitely thought the acting was amazing and the characters were extremely memorable. Lots of good ol’ shoot’em up action, too!

The Present: The Devil Inside
Rotten Tomatoes: 6% Rotten, 25% Audience

Director: William Brent Bell

Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth

Trivia:

  • The film was shot in 2010 in several different locations, including Bucharest (Romania), Rome (Italy) and Vatican City.
  • It is in the genre of “found footage” and so is a movie of a fictional story that tries to give the impression that it actually occurred
  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider brought the movie to Paramount Pictures, and their low-budget branch, Paramount Insurge acquired the film for the first release from that low-budget branch, hoping it would be its next Paranormal Activity.

Talking Points:

  • I want to apologize…I didn’t know it was found footage (Steve)
  • Found footage…has it officially jumped the shark yet?
  • The Ending.

What We Learned:

  • Science can’t explain everything…
  • When it’s a real possession .. you will know.
  • Different accents are like speaking in tongues.
  • The Church isn’t in the business of healing people.
  • Better restraints? yeah that might be a GOOD idea.
  • Stressed out? Drown an infant.
  • Possessed people need to be in the trunk.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Meh, had a couple of nice startling surprises. David was quite nice to look at. A little disappointed he blew his brains out. You know, I’m starting to get annoyed with these movies that have a tragic ending. I was hoping at least Ben would have survived and defeated the Devil.
Ray: I am officially over found footage films.. the Vatican doesn’t endorse film’s about exorcism.. with this one I can see why.
Steve: I am sorry about this one. While I liked the look of it and the scares, even I wasn’t impressed with it. Predictable, found footage, multiple possessions, and a crappy ending. All in a less than a hour and a half movie. I give.

The Future: The Woman In Black

Release: February 3, 2012

Director: James Watkins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds

Summary:

A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Trivia:

  • Mark Gatiss was asked to write the screenplay.
  • Adrian Rawlins –who played Daniel Radcliffe’s father in the Harry Potter series– played the same character in the 1989 version as Radcliffe plays in this film.

Talking Points:

  • onnnneeee twoooooo freddieees comming fooor.. oh wait wrong movie!

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s another haunting movie. Would be nice to see Daniel Radcliffe in something non-Harry Potter, but I don’t think this is it.
Ray: Trailer has me somewhat interested..only because I feel there might be an actual story to engage you. I could care less about Daniel, but I’m sure he will be a draw for some.
Steve: The story doesn’t seem new, but the environment set by the trailer really draws me in. I’ll see it!

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV086: “Be Brave, Fear God, Honor the King”

Join Jeff, Steve, and Ray on the inaugural reel of 2012 as the boys take a jump back to 1942 and watch Casablanca, exploring all the ways that this movie has influenced popular culture. Is it worth the hype and stand the test of time? From one world war to the next, the boys jump over the Mediterranean and back into the trenches of World War 1 to discuss Spielberg’s take on the 1982 Children’s novel, War Horse. Is this trip into No Mans Land worth the price of admission? Finally from the distant past we warp into the future to look at the new trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The long anticipated return to a genre he helped define in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Is it enough to get our butts into the seat? All this and news about Akira’s development nightmare, Zombie Trilogies, and the return of the debate, to post convert or not on this 86th reel of COL Movies “Be Brave, Fear God, Honor the King”

News:

The Past: Casablanca (1942)
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% Fresh, 94% Audience

Director: Michael Curtiz

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Trivia:

  • The Allies invaded Casablanca in real life on 8 November 1942. As the film was not due for release until spring, studio executives suggested it be changed to incorporate the invasion. Warner Bros. chief Jack L. Warner objected, as he thought that an invasion was a subject worth a whole film, not just an epilogue, and that the main story of this film demanded a pre-invasion setting. Eventually he gave in, though, and producer Hal B. Wallis prepared to shoot an epilogue where Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains hear about the invasion. However, before Rains could travel to the studio for this, David O. Selznick (whose studio owned Bergman’s contract) previewed the film and urged Warner to release it unaltered and as fast as possible. Warner agreed and the premiered in New York on November 26. It did not play in Los Angeles until its general release the following January, and hence competed against 1943 films for the Oscars.
  • Michèle Morgan asked for $55,000, but Hal B. Wallis refused to pay it when he could get Ingrid Bergman for $25,000.
  • The script was based on the unproduced play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”. Samuel Marx of MGM wanted to offer authors (Murray Burnett and Joan Alison) $5,000 for it, but MGM boss Louis B. Mayer refused; Irene Lee of the Warner Brothers story department praised it to Jack L. Warner, who agreed to buy it for $20,000.
  • Dooley Wilson (Sam) was a professional drummer who faked playing the piano. As the music was recorded at the same time as the film, the piano playing was actually a recording of a performance by Elliot Carpenter who was playing behind a curtain but who was positioned such that Dooley could watch, and copy, his hand movements
  • Captain Renault’s line, “You like war. I like women,” was changed from “You enjoy war. I enjoy women,” in order to meet decency standards
  • Reportedly, many of the shadows were painted onto the set.
  • In the German version, the immortal line “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”, became, “Ich seh’ Dir in die Augen, Kleines” which translates as “I look in your eyes, honey”.
  • Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany
  • The letters of transit that motivate so many characters in the film did not exist in Vichy-controlled France – they are purely a plot device invented by the screenwriters.
  • In the famous scene where the “Marseillaise” is sung over the German song “Watch on the Rhine”, many of the extras had real tears in their eyes; a large number of them were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out.
  • Casablanca, Morocco, was one of the key stops for refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe, which is why the original playwrights chose the city for the setting of their play (though initially they had opted for Lisbon)
  • Rick’s Cafe was one of the few original sets built for the film, the rest were all recycled from other Warner Brothers productions due to wartime restrictions on building supplies
  • Humphrey Bogart had to wear platform shoes to play alongside Ingrid Bergman.
  • It is never revealed why Rick cannot return to America. Julius J. Epstein later said that “My brother and I tried very hard to come up with a reason why Rick couldn’t return to America. But nothing seemed right. We finally decided not to give a reason at all.”
  • It is unclear where the line, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” originated, but it definitely predated both Casablanca and earlier stage work by Bogart. On March 9, 1932 – 10 years before Casablanca – Eddie Cantor signed his name in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and wrote, “Here’s looking at you, Sid” (referring to Sid Grauman, owner of the theater). Cantor certainly meant it as a take-off on “Here’s looking at you, kid”, which evidently was a line in circulation at the time.
  • Given the extraordinary chemistry between the two leads, it’s curious that Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman never appeared in another movie together, this being their one and only joint venture.
  • No one knew right up until the filming of the last scene whether Ilsa would end up with Rick or Laszlo. During the course of the picture, when Ingrid Bergman asked director Michael Curtiz with which man her character was in love, she was told to “play it in between”. Since the ending was not the final scene shot, there are some scenes where she *was* aware of how everything would turn out, and these include the scene in the black market with Rick and the scene in the Blue Parrot where Ferrari offers the Laszlos one exit visa.
  • Ingrid Bergman considered her left side as her better side, and to the extent possible that was the side photographed throughout the film, so she is almost always on the right side of the screen looking towards the left regardless of who is in the shot with her. However, there are several shots where she is to the left and Humphrey Bogart is on the right

Talking Points:

  • All the pop culture items from this movie –
  • Play it again Sam – was never said in the movie.
  • Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” #65/100 greatest, #20 by AFI – often misquoted
  • “Round up the usual suspects” #32/100 by AFI
  • “We’ll always have Paris” #42/100 greatest movie lines.
  • “Here’s looking at you kid” #1/100 greatest movie lines. , #5 by AFI
  • “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” #67/100
  • “I Stick my neck out for nobody” #42/100 greatest movie lines – dont recall this one being as famous
  • “As Time Goes By” #2 on AFI’s 100 years / 100 Songs.
  • AFI 100 Years lists – http://www.afi.com/100years/
  • If this was made today – In the 1980s, this film’s script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, “Everybody Comes to Rick’s”. Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was “not good enough” to make a decent movie. Others gave such complaints as “too dated”, “too much dialog” and “not enough sex”.
  • A lot of the extras and actors had actually fled from Nazi Germany.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Morocco is full of vultures…vultures vultures everywhere.
  • Its ok to be a parasite, just not a cut-rate one
  • The winning side pays much better…maybe
  • Drunkard makes you a citizen of the world
  • You get much more than a penny for your thoughts in France.
  • No one is supposed to sleep well in Casablanca
  • Friends of Rick get the special discount!
  • The problems of three little people don’t mount to a hill of beans in this crazy world

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: There’s a reason this is #2 on AFI’s Top 100 movies and #3 on the 10th Anniversary Edition of the list. Brilliant story telling of the era and the acting was wonderful. Everyone should see this at least once. Some people may be turned off due to the black and white style and the acting style but it’s definitely earned it’s place on AFI’s list.
Ray: “I attempted to watch this movie once before when i was much much younger..and didn’t make it. I think now that I’m older I enjoyed this movie a lot more. I think everyone should watch or at least attempt to watch. If only for seeing where so many of these little influential pop culture things came from.
Steve: First time I’d watched this from beginning to end. I liked being able to see where some of the popular lines actually fit in with the actual movie! I liked it and actually found myself rooting for Rick.

The Present: War Horse
Rotten Tomatoes: 77% Fresh, 77% Audience

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis

Trivia:

  • Steven Spielberg’s first film to be edited digitally. He has famously held onto editing traditionally, by cutting films manually on a flatbed editing table.
  • Based on both a children’s novel of the same name set during World War I, by Michael Morpurgo, first published in the United Kingdom in 1982, and the 2007 stage adaptation, also of the same name.

Talking Points:

  • The First 30 minutes or so.. too slow? or necessary
  • The “Hidden” Violence leading up to the Front.
  • The Barbed Wire scene.
  • The Private

What We Learned:

  • If you’re going to plow, you need something solid.
  • There are big days, and there are small days.
  • There aren’t words for some things.
  • It’s good to be proud, when you done something good.
  • I might hate you more, but I’ll never love you less.
  • Time spent on reconnaissance is time rarely wasted.
  • The Germans spent their time in trenches reading books and knitting sweaters.
  • The women in Italy, are not as good as the food.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Brilliant epic and I think a return to form for Spielberg . . . in the live action sense considering he did come back to form with Tin Tin but that was animated. Definitely a worth see . . . but maybe more of a movie night at home verses the theatre, but that’s just because this isn’t my style of movie.
Ray: Beautifully shot, and if you give the movie enough time to actually engage you, it’s a pretty emotional flick, and I don’t even like horses!
Steve: OK, scenery was amazing. Story was annoying. I didn’t hate it like I thought I would, but I felt emotionally raped afterward because it was forcing an emotional response from the audience. Felt like Crash with horses.

The Future: Prometheus

Release: June 8, 2012

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson

Summary:

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Trivia:

  • Was originally intended as a prequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien, but Scott decided to turn it into an original film with Noomi Rapace (who was already set to star in the prequel) still in the cast as one of five main characters. Some time later however it was confirmed that while the movie will take place in the same universe as Alien, and greatly reference that movie, it will, for the bigger part, be an original movie and not a direct prequel
  • For the role of Vickers, Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie were considered. Theron got the role.

Talking Points:

  • Shared Alien DNA.
  • Title “Scroll”
  • Stone Edifice that look like egg chamber
  • The Space Jockey head / chair
  • Smoking acid in the space helmet
  • The Screaming sound effect
  • The ship.
  • His use of Strong Female Leads

Trailers:

Alien Trailer:

IGN Rewind:

Excitement:
Jeff: I need more. This was just a teaser and I couldn’t get off the fact that Alien was completely implied by the appearance of the title and the flash of a guy holding his helmeted head looking like he was screaming with the scream sound from the soundtrack playing. And it was only for a split second. Applause to Ridley Scott to get people excited by reminding everyone of Alien but I’m not quite buying it yet. Poo poo on this teaser, but HELL YEAH I’m seeing the movie, but not because of this teaser.
Ray: I have a raging sci fi boner for this movie….June cannot get here fast enough.
Steve: Definitely an epic looking trailer and clearly has a lot of similarities to Alien. A must see!

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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