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C. O'toole "bigcon" (co. down N ireland)
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Life of Pi [DVD]
Life of Pi [DVD]
Dvd ~ Suraj Sharma
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.48

5.0 out of 5 stars A Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner like odyssey through the soul, 2 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Life of Pi [DVD] (DVD)
“Digital Technology raised to an art form”

The Life of Pi is a truly unique cinematic experience. The film is based on the 2001 Mann Brucker Prize winning Yann Martel novel and is the yarn of a shipwreck survivor and how he survives 7 months drifting across the Pacific Ocean in the company of a Bengali Tiger! A Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner like odyssey through the soul.
The film adaptation of the book has long been planned but has been stymied whilst Hollywood awaited the Digital Technology required for a photo real depiction of the said tiger. The sea itself is a digital marvel and is a character in the film showing the full spectra of mood from a crystal clear pond to a raging boiling stormy inferno!
The reason why this film is so unique is because Martel, an exquisite writer had something solid in terms of an idea to benchmark his writing against, a quasi spiritual tale of a boy displaced from former French India with family and animals to move to a new life in Canada. His father, the zookeeper in Pondicherry selling his animals at their destination to help the family make a new start. The ship sinks in the Marianas area of the Pacific and the boy Pi must survive a 7 month odyssey alongside Richard Parker (the tiger!)
The film opens in Pondicherry with beautiful exposition of French India amid gorgeous Tamil music. The special effects team start earning their crust with the sinking of the Tsinstum, where digital water is seamlessly blended with water in a tank where the ship’s bridge is mounted on a gimble. The net result is that this looks photo real. Because the digital technology is so subtle , it gives the artists the opportunity to slightly tweak features to comedic effect such as the impossible barrel chested swimming instructor of Pi’s childhood. The way the same instructor seems to fly through the crystal clear water of the Piscine Molitor pool in Paris!!
The psychedelic scene where the mill pond flat ocean shows the life boat apparently floating in an orange fluffy sky with its mirror image reflected underneath, the phosphorescence from jellyfish in a nocturnal scene where a day glow humpback whale breaches the surface beside Pi’s raft, a shot from above the lifeboat where a whale shark is seen to languidly undulate under the boat unbeknownst to the occupants. A flying fish scene where the said fish seem to erupt out of the screen towards the hapless viewer!! The strange Meerkat covered carnivorous island which may exist in Pi’s imagination!!
The film visually and wordlessly expounds the psychological narrative of Martel’s prose. The Life of Pi is a novel to rival all the seafaring classics and this film more than does the book justice.
Rent/buy immediately


50/50 (2011) [DVD]
50/50 (2011) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Film, 2 Jan. 2013
This review is from: 50/50 (2011) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a unique film.
In this age of vaccination and antibiotics there is only one true bogeyman yup the "C" word. This is a fantastic emotive provocative film from Jude Apatow's usual suspects, yet it's so much more than that.
Joseph love Hewitt is a benign everyman who doesn't smoke or drink, he has dated a series of women who fancy him less than he has them. He is inoffensive. He thinks he has pulled a muscle in his back.......
The scene where he is told he has a Neuroschwannoma ( a locally growing malignant spinal tumour) by the most inept communicator in a physician that I have ever seen is beautifully and powerfully done. as our scientific nerd rambles on about how interesting a case this is, he blurs out of focus. As he looks forlornly out of the Physician's office, the unmistakeable drum opener of Radiohead's "High and dry" commences in a synergy so powerful you will not remember this classic before this film.
The film explores a fragile relationship with his girlfriend and a strained one with his mother (an excellent Angelica Huston) who's also caring for his father who has Alzheimer's.
As he begins his Odyssey he is introduced to his therapist(an excellent Anna Kendricks)he is initially guarded and obviously in shock. His buddy is reliable stoner Seth Rogen (kyle) who seems not to cope with his diagnosis and keen to capitalise on the opposite sex due to the sympathy vote.
As the film progresses, he sheds his layers and his hair.He connects with his cancer stricken compadres as they chat each day hooked up to their chemotherapy. He extolls the joys of dope, he loses his girlfriend, he is peeled back to his core....
This film watches a good looking hirsuite youth become stripped off all of life's paraphenalia yet as he does, he gains insight into what is important. As he primal screams towards the film's end he remarks that he's never been to Canada or told a girl he loves her..
This film humbled me and made me laugh and made me cry. It made me think of the legions of otherwise healthy people receiving chemotherapy and quietly battling this scourge. The fact that I have a dear friend battling cancer added to the film's poignancy.
Without meaning to be maudlin, this film is a masterpiece based on the real directoir's battle against the same illness. The actors are superb in their roles.
A film you have to see.


Inglourious Basterds [DVD] (2009)
Inglourious Basterds [DVD] (2009)
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.86

11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarrantino's Nazi Spaghetti Western!, 10 Jan. 2010
Tarrantino has hit the bull's eye with this "loose" remake of a 1977 Italian film of the (nearly!) same name and whose faithfulness to the original I frankly don't care about!
What it has been is a vehicle for his best work. His consummate knowledge of cinema with subtle references to various styles so craftily imbued into the fabric of the film, we hardly notice them. So why is this film so good?
Well it focuses Tarrantino's sometimes Mercurial talent into a fascinating important period in history. He is able to show his love of various types of cinema (Spaghetti Westerns, French 1940s -50s) and weave them into a fascinating narrative.
We begin in Nazi occupied France, 1941. Monsieur La Perditte a dairy farmer is visited by Col. Hans Landa "the Jew Hunter" , a Gestapo agent sent to round up all Jews in the area, a man able to think like a Jewish "rat" as easily as the German soldier's "hawk". The opening act set in a farmhouse kitchen is riveting as La Perditte sweats as Landa in piecemeal fashion uncovers that he is hiding the Dreyfuss family under his farm....
Act 2 the Basterds.
Brad Pitt (Lt Aldo the Apache Raine0 and his Jewish-American soldiers wreak fear and havoc among the Wehrmact as they slay and scalp their way to notoriety. Pitt excels as the baccy chewing Raine from the Appalachians. His band of brigands include the "Bear Jew" (A suitably muscular Eli Roth) an animal who beats his prey to death with a baseball bat.
Act 3"German Night in Paris" occurs in Paris in 1944. A French cinema owner attracts the attention of a German officer who is a regular patron at her cinema...That lady is Shosanna Dreyfuss sole survivor of the Dreyfuss family from Act 1 now disguised with a French name. The soldier is Frederick Zoller, Nazi poster boy and star of Joseph Goebell's "Nation's Pride" starring as himself as a celebrated sniper who single handedly dispatched over 200 enemy soldiers over 3 days.
His affection for Shosanna leads to Goebell's hosting the film in her cinema along with the Nazi top brass including Hitler himself..
Act IV "Operation Kino" British Intelligence under the faux parodying Mike Myers become aware of the Nazi Premier and hatch a plot to "blow up all the rotten eggs in the basket". Lt Archie Hilcox (an excellent as always Michael Fassbender) an agent who was a film critic before the war with excellent German is entrusted to attend the premier as the guest of Bridget Von Hammersmark (a shimmering beautiful Diane Kruger!) German Actress and double Agent. They are scheduled to rendezvous with the now notorious "Basterds" In La Lousianne a French rural pub.
The next scene involves a nail biting theatrical sequence in the basement of La Lousianne where the covertly meeting group chance upon a garrulous group of Wehrmact soldiers and a cold Gestapo officer. A psychological duel ensues under the auspices of charades where Fassbender's"odd" German accent is noted by the Teutons,A Western style shoot out ensues...
The penultimate act takes place at the Premiere where Bridget and her entourage with a few hilarious line up changes try to bluff their way!
As ever Tarrantino tears up convention with his soundtrack! David Bowie's "Cat People (Putting out Fires)" from Let's Dance is showcased as Shosanna readies herself for the evening. The Nazi Glitterati convene for the performance unaware that Shosanna has her plans to torch the cinema, The Basterds/British Intelligence have their plans and Landa entrusted with security at the event has an agenda of his own. These three conspiracies collide in an electric finale which doesn't exactly stick to history!
The film's strength is derived from its refreshing originality. It is narrated with old style cinema to the extent that it becomes such. The film is structures as a play in 5 Acts. The nuance of the actors' faces, the fascinating well rounded characters and the beautiful simplistic film making make this essential cinema! The authenticity is added to by the multi-lingual diet of French, German and English. It is noteworthy is that this film was knocked off start to finish in 9 months flat! This is the film where Tarrantino's prodigious talent has found a worthy topic with a sublime cast and all the ingredients gelled into a masterpiece!
Bravo Maestro!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2010 4:27 PM GMT


The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button [DVD] [2009]
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.36

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quirky tale steeped in the deep south!, 17 Nov. 2009
A fantastically original film based on a novel by F Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of Benjamin Button, a man born on the close of WW1 as an 85 year old wrinkled and degenerate baby. Abandoned by his father after his mother dies in childbirth akin to Moses, He is raised by Queenie, an African American woman in New Orleans. As he gets chronoligically older, his body gets younger.
As a 7 year old geriatric, he is brought to the Preacher who "cures" him and gives him the power of his legs. He strikes a bond with Daisy (Cate Blanchett) a young girl of the same chronological but wildly different physical age. As they hide under a blanket together as "children", to the world it looks much different. Benjamin spends his formative years in an Old People's home where his age goes un noticed. As he gets older/younger, he takes work on a tug boat with Captain Mike(complete with dreadfull Ulster/Oirish accent which works spectacularly!)
WW2 arrives and the tug boat crew relocate to Murmansk in Russia to help the Arctic Convoys."As cold as hell" He embarks on a brief fling with Tilda Swinton, a British Diplomat's wife. The only direct action seen is an encounter with a German U Boat which has just sunk a Merchant Vessel.
He rekindles his friendship with Daisy after he meets her at Queenie's house after returning from the War , as their physical ages start to converge. Brad becomes recognisably Brad and Cate shimmers in her astounding beauty and poise. But we know tragedy will be inevitable. In a poignant intimate scene she asks him "will you love me when I have wrinkle" to which he retorts "Will you love me when I have acne, when I'm afraid of the monster under the stairs"
To their joy they become pregnant with a daughter and after a year or so he is forced to leave his family behind as Daisy approaches 50 and he 30.
The film is about life, about ageing about love and opportunity. The film is narrated in Flashback from the deathbed of an elderly woman Daisy to her daughter in A New Orleans Hospital on the eve of Hurricane Catrina in 2005.
This is the most poignant film that David Fincher has put to screen. Subtle nods are given to each era rather than overkill and the film moves with a grace and ease of effort. well worth watching


Big Thing
Big Thing
Price: £4.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duran's finest moment!, 27 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Big Thing (Audio CD)
Duran Duran like Elton John can never be counted out. Just when you relegate their songs to your local HMV bargain bucket, they pen a classic which puts them back in the A bracket. a tragedy that this 1988 album came out in a doldrums of their career because it's absolutely fantastic!!
A follow up to the seamless funk of "Notorious" the 3 piece Duran Duran shellshocked from the loss of two out of their three Taylors released this classic. Autumn 1988 saw U2's desire as well as "I don't want yout love" all dark funk which was no way related to the album that followed. A christmas present from Christmas 1988, I can remember my initial confusion at hearing the album... Big Thing, a big dirty innuenduous rap/funk/rock number which gives way to "I don't want your love". "All she wants is "is crazy acid rock at the bith of Acieeed and Ibiza blew me away. A psychedelic video drenched with innuendo and orgasmic grunts and Warren Cuccurillo's acid vamp guitar.The bass line throbs with synth beats."Too Late Marlene" is a soothing jazz inflected number with beautiful saxophone. "Drug" is average pop, "Do you believe in shame?" is their finest moment yet, a majestic beautiful melodic ride powered by shimmering guitar and a killer bassline which bemoans the death of a dear friend. "Palomino" is Arabic synthesised beauty with languid fluid guitar. "Land" is a georgeous lament to a loved one leaving with accoustic and howling feedback guitar."The edge of America" is a beuatiful sparse accoustic ballad of a dystopian America with "Vigilantes out on dawn patrol" which fuses into the Urban/Jungle/Rock hybrid that is "Lake shore driving."
This album is a perplexing work of art which I place among the ranks of "Seargant Pepper" without the accolades. It began a fertile p[eriod with the brilliant Warren Cuccurilo which would see the band's fortunes return a few years later with "Ordinary World" The worst thing they did was to re-hire the limited useless Andy Taylor again. Check out the fantastic "Live in Milan" concert from '89 which showcases this material.


Enemy at the Gates [2001] [DVD]
Enemy at the Gates [2001] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jude Law
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.82

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deadly game of cat and mouse!, 26 Sept. 2009
History has taught us that the bombed out ruins of Stalingrad are where the outcome of World War 11 was decided. The invincible teutonic superhuman germans had cut swathes through Russia effortlessly with their Blitzkrieg warfare, as they had done in every theatre of that war to date. Their pincers enveloped Stalingrad, the last obstacle and gateway to the Caucases and unlimited oil and resources...
The Russians just over 20 years after their revolution, its army beheaded by Stalin in the purges of the 1930s, aimlessly flung themselves to slaughter towards Nazi guns..or their own.
Enter a hero! Vassili Zaitsev(an excellent Jude Law) a peasant soldier from the Urals, adept with a sniper's rifle exploits the labyrithine ruins of the city to pick off German officiers to change the mood. Morale improves, Russians start to join the Sniper division in droves."Give them hope" proclaims Political Officer Danilov(Joseph Fiennes) citing Zaitsev as a hero to emulate.
The Germans retort with Major Konig (an excellent as always Ed harris) An Aristocratic seasoned sniper whose detail is to wipe out Zaitsev.
a deadly cat and mouse game ensues as two men pit themselves physically and psychologically against each other, an allegory for the two armies locked in combat...
this film is spectacularly realised by director Jean-Jacques Annaud. The Idealism of Zaitsev is played by Kruschev(Bob Hoskins) and the solidarity of Zaitsev and Danilov is strained by their mutual affection for the georgeous Tania(Rachel Weisz)This film is a must for history buffs and lovers of old fashioned cinema.


Foot Of The Mountain
Foot Of The Mountain
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.35

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a-ha come full circle!, 20 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Foot Of The Mountain (Audio CD)
a-ha, in my view have always been a supremely talented band, virtuous of instrument and capable of many a style.At last year's Royal Albert Hall concert , each solo member's band showcased the the diversity of the ingredients of what a-ha had become. It was also the event where the new album's songs were showcased, synth driven affairs derived from the infancy of their career "Take on me" and "Train of thought" were coupled with "Riding the Crest" and "Shadowside" The band has come full circle bookending their flirtation with Rock and Indie with the fresh Synth pop which influenced the likes of Keane.
What of the Album? ....I'm happy to report that it's probably their best to date! The opener "Bandstand" is reminiscent of Depeche Mode with Morten's voice even sounding like Dave Gahan! "Riding the Crest" has elements of Gary Numan in the keyboard refrain. "What there is" has a delightful melody and is followed by the title track, basically a cannibalised version of Magne's "The Longest Night" with a new chorus and is a Keane like masterpiece."Real Meaning" is gently beautiful and the studio version of "Shadowside" is excellence itself, a keyboard refrain against accoustic electric strumming and rising orchestrations at the end."Nothing is keeping you here" is excellent."Mother Nature goes to heaven" and "Sunny Mystery" are symphonic melodic pop with excellent U2 like guitar hooks."Start the Simulator" is the weakest melodically on the album.The production is crisp and Paul is more interested in playing chords on his guitar which complement the song structures rather than pointless Santana like riffing. Whilst a-ha could do the rock thing fine, it just felt a bit contrived from a band whose strength stemmed from symphonic electro-pop with chiming guitar chords.The production is unashamedly 1980s, more 80s than "Hunting High and Low" was! Melodically the album is flawless and has a uniformity that the last few studio efforts lacked. Footage from their recent South American concerts shows a band who have hit a new lease of life, dusting their early hits to their original synth pop glory rather than rockishly mauling them as seen in "A-ha live in South America" from 1991. This album is a must for fans and hopefully a legion of new ones will swell the ranks.


The Dark Knight (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2008]
The Dark Knight (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Christian Bale
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £1.37

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I finally get it...!, 7 Jun. 2009
The most linear narrative that Chris Nolan has ever given us opens in a "Heat" like Vista of panoramic shots in a heist on a mob bank.
We are now a year or so hence from Batman Begins, Batman's long shadow lies over the city, the Mob are scared. Gordon projects the Bat light to the Gotham skies"just to remind them he's here!" Batman clad vigilantes take to the streets, things are on the up for Gotham. A new White Knight appears in the guise of Harvey Dent(Aaron Eckhart) a former IA investigator now DA who knows the rampant corruption of Gotham's police force. He is also new beau to Rachel Dawes(an Excellent Maggie Gynehaal)
In Dent Wayne sees a possible successor and way out of the Batman job which he is happy to relinquish. He still holds out hope for a future with Rachel after the cowl and cape are hung up.
A new menace lurks ...enter The Joker! As the Mayor congratulates Dent on successfully putting away most of Gotham's Mobsters, a reminder of The Joker's rise erupts in the form of a slain Batman vigilante in a noose striking the window. He is chaotic without rules, not motivated by money. Heath Ledger gives a genuinely unsettling challenging performance as a colourful psychopath completely different to Mad Jack's theatrical take on the same role in 1989. In life imitates art tragedy, Ledger met an untimely death from an apparent accidental overdose possibly caused by the rigours of this role shortly after the film stopped shooting. This dark sceptre hung over the project like a latter day Macbeth.
The Joker plans to kill Gothamites on a daily basis until Batman reveals his true identity. Batman's dubious support wanes but Dent puts himself forward as would be Batman to help lure The Joker out for the real Batman.The film takes a darker turn as after an apparent victory and incarceration of the Joker Dent and Dawes are taken prisoner by the very cops he knew to be dirty. Two major charcters are destroyed by the Joker in a grisly third act that rips up the optimism of the first one. Dent falls from grace spectacularly as his psyche fractures to mirror his physical transformation. His fall threatens all the good that his former noble self achieved.
The ending is as self sacrificial as "The Shawshank Redemption" as Batman becomes the villain to preserve Dent's reputation. Whilst bleeding and hunted by police with dogs, he becomes a fugitive because he must become the protector that Gotham needs, not the one it wants. As Albert says he is a true hero because he doesn't have to be popular.
Despite the most linear format that Nolan has commited to celluloid, this is another astounding film which has hidden depths. The DVD will only achieve true brilliance with an acceptance of Ledger's untimely death and a fitting tribute to him rather than an awkward and embarrassed silence on the issue.


Captain Corelli's Mandolin [DVD] [2001]
Captain Corelli's Mandolin [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Nicolas Cage
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.75

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the book!, 9 May 2009
The 2001 adaptation of Louis De Beniere's seminal war romance only suffered because it was compared with that book. The story revolves around the Italian Occupation of Cephallonia in 1941 after being beaten by the Greeks in Albania but propped up by their German Allies. Captain Antonio Corelli(An Excellent Nicholas Cage) is assigned to the Island along with the rest of his Artillery Batallion. The Italians though initially rebuked and hated by the locals prove to be convivial more interested in wine, women and song than in war. Across his back is slung a Mandolin, a man who has never pointed a gun at anyone.Pellagia (Penepole Cruz) is daughter to the Local Dr Iannis(an excellent John Hurt)in whose house Corelli is accomodated. She is engaged to Mandras (Christian Bale) a local boy who has left to fight the Italians. The character exposition in the early film is as good as any play, the chemistry between Cruz and Cage is genuinely electric as they fall for each other against the beautiful Meditteranean backdrop.David Morrissey excels as Gunther the "Good German" from the Austrian Tyrol who initially accepts the Greek Surrender as they refuse to surrender to the Italians in a hilarious sequence.
In September 1943 after the Surrender of Rome to the Allies, things got decidedly tricky in the Balkans where former allies now were at odds with each other, the tension is ramped up beautifully where the Italians bravely decide not to Abandon the Greeks to the Germans who are now rapidly consolidating their position in the Balkans. Cage and his battery stage a heroic stand against the invading Germans in a battle sequence as good as any war film where CGI Stukas strafe their gun positions.The Germans slaughtered thousands of Italian Soldiers in Cephallonia. Corelli is saved by his noble bodyguard Carlo and after medical treatment is safely smuggled off the island.
Although the film changes much from the book, Mandras is portrayed in a much more noble fashion and the ending is more fairy tale than the book but as a film, it is beautifully shot with great acting that builds up to an action packed battle sequence as good as in any war film. Cage who can be hit and miss beautifully evokes the nobility of the Captain who sees the futility of war and apologises to the local people for their role. Cruz sizzles as Pellagia and Bale evolves from a gawky local into a battle weary veteran and partisan. It's own beauty and merits can now be more easily appreciated when separated from the hype at the time. Worth adding to the collection.


Frost / Nixon [DVD] [2008]
Frost / Nixon [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Michael Sheen
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.44

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Character Exposition!, 24 April 2009
This review is from: Frost / Nixon [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Taken from the Broadway version(along with its Stage actors!) of the real life interviews between laconic host David Frost and disgraced recently impeached President Richard Nixon. Each viewed the interview as a chance to rehabilitate their respective careers, for Frost to resuscitate his failed American career, for Nixon to set the score straight on Watergate and give him another shot at political life "back East"
Michael Sheen is uncanny in the mannerisms of David Frost "Hello, Good Evening and welcome to the Show!", a man of impeccable manners but with evidence of superficiality. This contrasts with Frank Langhella's powerhouse performance of Nixon, a gruff wounded bear smarting from the humiliation of the Watergate trial and subsequent impeachment.
The seemingly unflappable Frost meets stiff opposition in raising the funding for this potential coup of an interview. His idea for it was fired by watching the live footage of Nixon leaving the Whitehouse in 1974, whilst in Australia.
The plot unfold akin to "A Few Good Men" At first the smooth Frost appears no match for the leathery "Stone Waller" that is Nixon.The Special was split into 4 sessions with the last being about Watergate. Kevin Bacon plays Nixon's trusted aide and protector who tries to intimidate Frost.Whilst Frost's research team immerse themselves in evidence, he is larging it up at a film premiere on the night before the showdown with a lovely brunnette.The first 3 sessions go disastrously, Frost is actually single handedly resuscitating Nixon's career on live TV. Nixon is confident, he parries seemingly awkward questions and monologues through precious tape time. Frost's team are despondent.A hiatus over the Easter period allows Frost to regroup. A drunken late night phone call from Nixon to Frost demonstrates the demons lurking within the man.Frost is in no doubt that this is a heavy weight showdown with one winner and one loser. Frost starts researching furiously. For the final bout Frost is a changed man, he commands the interview, doesn't let Nixon sidetrack and knows his facts completely. He metaphorically puts Nixon on the ropes and gets the confession from him that the Watergate tribunal couldn't.
Kevin Bacon's stunned face mirrors his scene in "A Few Good Men" when Mad Jack Nicholson's character told all. This is simply exceptional cinema and fascinating history.


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