Category Archives: Film Reviews

Interview | Hans Zimmer Talks 12 Years A Slave, Superhero Scores and More

Scott:

Zim, Zimmer!

Originally posted on AMONymous:

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A look through Hans Zimmer’s discography reveals a truly staggering body of work; The Lion King, Gladiator, The Dark Knight trilogy and countless other films have been blessed with his gift of musical storytelling. Now a 30 year veteran of the industry the film composer is still at the top of his game, and on behalf of HeyUGuys I was lucky enough to chat with him ahead of the home entertainment release of the brilliant 12 Years A Slave.

So vast and varied is Zimmer’s catalogue and so excited was I to to speak with him that the 15 minutes I was granted felt like 5. Nonetheless it was a fascinating conversation, and here he speaks about working with Steve McQueen, the challenges when coming up with superhero scores and a special edition re-release of his work on The Lion King. Have a read below.

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The Problems Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ (SPOILERS)

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Evening all. Some people reading this will know, from my activity on Twitter and on the Bastnerds podcast, that I have been an avid Spider-Man fan for the best part of 25 years. I recently took part in a spoiler podcast with Chris Byrne, Christopher Ejizu and Amon Warmann for Marc Webb’s latest effort – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′.

On the recording, I was pretty critical and decidedly negative about the movie as a whole. Give it a listen here.

Now, instead of a review. I decided it would be more ‘my style’ to basically talk about why I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. There are more issues than what I talk about here. These are the worst offenders, in my opinion.

So here it is, my ANAL-sis for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′. Yes there are SPOILERS, so don’t moan.

 

1. Jamie Foxx’s character is fucking wasted…. And I don’t mean drunk.

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Jamie Foxx plays electrical engineer Max Dillon at Oscorp, later transformed into the villain ‘Electro’. From the marketing (extensive within the first 6 months of promotion) of the movie, Electro is extremely prominent and was confirmed as the ‘lead protagonist’. However towards the tail end of the marketing campaign, I noticed that the focus shifted from Electro and more prominently to Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) and Oscorp. This seemed odd – but I remained excited to see the final product.

Now I’m not saying that Electro is a BAD character, or that Foxx doesn’t do a great job. Quite the opposite actually. The issue with Electro is that his character is built up to absolutely be a potentially awesome and dangerous villain for Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – but as soon as he’s built up, he’s left hanging in limbo. While Osborn’s ‘sickness’ plotline is fast-tracked through the movie’s midway point (more on that later). Dillon is the sympathetic, misunderstood man that becomes endowed with immeasurable power while struggling to fit in with the norms of society. Max, through his own admission,  just wants to be noticed. In terms of personality, being polar opposite of Spider-Man is a potentially fruitful plot device – As we could potentially see the character gradually unravelling through his jealousy of Spidey’s attention – THEN develop him into Electro, powers and all. Give him something to run with first. The direction they took the character was rushed and half-resolved until a convenient way to bring him back into the narrative was presented through Harry Osborn.

*Side note – that whole Doctor Kafka/Electro conversation felt completely ill-judged and seemed to be hammed up as fuck.*

 

2. Uncle Ben’s murderer…. Yes, remember now?

ftg

Ben Parker (portrayed by Martin Sheen) is the moral compass and strongest paternal figure of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. So whether you’ve seen the comics, the cartoons or the movies themselves, you know that he’s a prominent fixture in Spidey adaptations.

Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was pretty much a retread of Raimi’s original in regard to Peter and Ben’s relationship. Culminating in a robbery that Peter had the opportunity to stop, electing to ignore it. Which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting of his dear old Uncle. In ‘ASM 1′, there’s a meaty sequence where we see Peter attempting to find the killer, using a likeness as a template. Unfortunately, there’s no resolution. And Peter vows to find his uncle’s killer. So were we expecting to see this plot point, this massive part of Peter’s life at least continued? Of course……..

Barely even mentioned. That’s right.

 

3. Hollywood 101 – Using the last shot in the movie as the last shot in a trailer.

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Paul Giamatti’s  Aleksei Sytsevich is introduced at the top of the movie. Attempting to steal plutonium (why? who cares!), and is quickly and effortlessly thwarted by Spider-Man (again, spoiled by the trailers and tv spots). At the film’s end, we find out Oscorp made a big robot suit, and apparently Sytsevich is qualified to operate it….. Enter ‘Rhino’, his giant robot suit and its Transformeresque nonsense that pulls Spidey out of the doldrums and back into saving the day mode. Cue the dramatic final shot…. That we’ve all seen months prior. Killing any anticipation for the next movie.

Way to go guys, you fucking turnips.

 

4. Harry Osborn and The Mystery Of Harry Osborn.

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Dane Dehaan’s casting as Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, was particularly one of the movie’s strongest. Dehaan is absolutely commanding in his conveying of emotionally tumultuous characters. He does indeed showcase this as the young Osborn, later as this movie’s incarnation of The Green Goblin (never Christened/labelled). But like Max Dillon’s character, it’s underdeveloped and a hugely missed opportunity to demonstrate one of the key relationships in the life of Peter Parker. Harry just appears out of nowhere after a decade (?) away and there’s no real in-depth insight into their friendship or what’s been going on with Harry himself – the whole thing feels rushed and only as a servant to get things moving with the Sinister Six development. This becomes more apparent when Harry’s ‘sickness’ conveniently becomes more aggressive after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) is killed to death by the unnamed genetic disease. Peter and Harry’s brief time together feels vacuous because we, the audience, have seen Peter go through these differences and changes in his life, without Harry around. For the friendship to look and feel natural and resonate – Harry needed to be a figure in Peter’s life during the events of first movie.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcased the pair as school friends right from the get go. We knew exactly what motivations Harry had for going after Peter by the third movie, and it was an actual, properly constructed plot that made sense in terms of the story and its development of the characters. Here, it’s condensed into about 30-40 minutes.

 

5. Richard & Mary Parker Became Sony’s Bitches

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Maybe not everyone felt this way.

We know Richard and Mary were both involved in Oscorp and the experimentation that was going down. Spider-Man himself being a successful result of this. To me, this all seemed irrelevant to the story as a whole. Peter just wanted to find out why his parents had to leave him and to understand the reasoning behind it. Now, as the second movie progresses, we find out that Richard worked with Norman on many ‘cross species’ experiments in aid of potentially curing Monster Mash and his fingernails. Eventually leading to Richard removing himself from the project and thus getting ‘removed’ permanently on an airplane during the film’s opening sequence.

From this, and the subsequent reveal of Oscorp/Ravencroft’s intention to create a group to, I dunno, take over the world… It felt like the true nature, the raw humanity and the effects of the Parkers’ absence from Peter’s life had been substituted, or rather discarded in favor of just a cheap. convenient method of pushing the establishment of more villains. Sequel bait, folks! $$$$$$$$$££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$ 

 

 

 

So there you go. Anyone agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.

 

Love you lots.


Special Feature | Summer 2014 Blockbuster #AMONTAGE

Originally posted on AMONymous:

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Hey readers!

Once again, summer blockbuster season is upon us! As the summer blockbuster mash-up I did last year proved quite the hit, I’ve decided to make it an annual fixture. For the past three months, I have toiled over the 2014 edition, and it gives me great pleasure to post the finished version today, EXCLUSIVE to AMONymous.  Enjoy, comment, share, and most importantly…ENJOY THIS YEAR’S SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS!

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Six Of The Best Literary Adaptations

Originally posted on Charlie Derry:

(Written for HeyUGuys)

If you’re a fan of literary adaptations then no doubt you’ll currently have your head stuck in a copy of Joyce Maynard’s emotional coming-of-age novel Labor Day, Nick Hornby’s heart-warming suicide drama A Long Way Down, or maybe even Veronica Roth’s debut dystopian Divergent. What we’re looking forward to most, however, is Richard Ayoade’s upcoming adaptation of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s dark comedy novella, The Double.

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Film Review | Khumba: A Zebra’s Tale

Scott:

Next up – ‘Foodfight!’ (Hopefully)

Originally posted on AMONymous:

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★½☆☆☆

As the recent critical and box office success of both the Oscar-winning Frozen (2013)  and The LEGO Movie (2014) can attest to, animated movies have seldom been more popular than they are today. Though noble in its intentions, Anthony Silverston’s Khumba (2014)  – the sophomore effort from the Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios – is a substandard digimated excursion that’s all the more dissatisfying when compared to the films that inspired it.

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Trailer Tidbits – March/April 2014

 

Greetings, fatherfuckers. Here’s a little recap of some of the hot new trailers to hit the net.

 

‘Godzilla’ – Trailer #3 (Dir. Gareth Edwards)

Here’s the latest trailer for the 2014 Godzilla movie starring Walter White and the Maximoff Twins. No, but seriously – this is gearing up to be one of most anticipated movies of the year. And tonally, the ‘Monsters’ director seems to have nailed a gritty, realistic feel as opposed to the Emmerichian approach of the ’98 movie. There’s a couple of shots of new footage in this one, but all in all it’s very much of the same we saw in the second trailer.

 

‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ – TV Spot #1 (Dir. Matt Reeves)

More monkey magic! Take a good look at Caesar and his chimp chums in this first TV spot for the sequel to the surprisingly decent Apes reboot.

 

‘Lucy’ – Trailer #1 (Dir. Luc Besson)

Fresh off the heels from the recent release of his crime/comedy ‘The Family’ – Parisian writer/director Luc Besson gives us a first trailer from his upcoming sci-fi thriller – ‘Lucy’. This one could be shit fucking hot, people.

 

”Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ – Trailer #1 (Dir. Jonathan Liebesman)

Aaaand finally. This is the long awaited first glimpse at the new TMNT movie as produced by my main man – Michael Bay. Starring Megan Fox (ugh) and Will Arnett (hooray!) plus a load of unknown actors that we don’t care about…(yeah). I’ll be wholeheartedly honest, I’m not really digging the baby faces with the nostrils thing. BUT, I am very much looking forward to seeing the movie. Plus of course more trailers and promo material.

 

 

 


Inglorious Bastnerds Spoiler Podcast: ‘Captain America – The Winter Soldier’

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It’s time once again for another spoiler special for myself and the Bastnerd boys. Chris, Ian and I (@Celluloidical) are joined by regular guests, film journos – Amon Warmann and Mr Christopher Ejizu as we dive deep into the latest Marvel Studios outing – Captain America – The Winter Soldier. Which opens in the US on April 4th. (Sorry guys. We got there first – again!).

Aside from the obvious spoiler warning. I say this. Unlike Total Film, we actually have varying opinions. As opposed to just bitching and moaning. So, yeah.
Anyway, follow the guys and rate, subscribe to the podcast/sites and leave a review. Thanks and enjoy.

Click here to visit the podcast page.

 

@CinemaTronix (www.cinematronix.co.uk)

@i_nesbot (www.redbubble.com/people/inesbot)

@awarmann (www.amonymousblog.com)

@movieumpire (www.movieumpire.com)

 


Bastnerds Go Raw – ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Review

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For the first time since I started contributing to the Inglorious Bastnerds podcast, I met up with host Chris (CinemaTronix) and Ian (i_nesbot) in Liverpool. We decided to check out the latest work from acclaimed writer/director Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel at the FACT cinema.

As usual. We do deviate away and talk general movie news etc. Whilst consuming a bottle of rum between the three of us in a hotel room.

Surprisingly. Myself and Ian (whom are both huge Anderson fans), didn’t immediately take to the overtly whimsical fare as we normally would.

Check out the podcast on this page – and don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe! Yarp.

http://cinematronix.co.uk/bastnerds-goes-raw/


#27 ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)

"SO, HOW D'YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS IN THE MORNING?"

“SO, HOW D’YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS IN THE MORNING?”

Cast:-

*Sam Neill

*Laura Dern

*Richard Attenborough

*Jeff Goldblum

*Ariana Richards

*Joseph Mazello

Director:- Steven Spielberg

With its recent 3D release I thought I’d mark my return to reviewing with a recap of the 90’s belter – Jurassic Park.

Surprised as many may be, before this past week the last time I saw the movie was back in 1993 in theatre at the tender age of 7 years of age. Possibly being the most immersive and awe-inspiring movie experiences in my entire life. The fact I haven’t seen the movie in its entirety for 20 years gave me slight reservations on how the effects, the performances and some of the film’s plot elements would hold up with time. Well, let’s face it – it’s all nonsense really, huh?

—– As the story goes – zillionaire genius, John Hammond, creates an attraction park boasting real-life dinosaurs. Which he has created through the gift of SCIENCE!!!. Inviting archaeologists, Neill and Dern, Jeff Goldblum, plus his two grandchildren to vet the park during a special tour. And all shit breaks loose.

The great thing about Jurassic Park is that it hits the notes so sweetly, it is simply pure unbridled and crazy entertainment from start to end. At a 2 hour running time, the opening half is an oddly well-matched combination of dread and wonder, as we are taken off the Pacific Coast into Costa Rica via air, captivated by the world Hammond has created. While still feeling the uncertainty of just how much a dangerous game he is playing. Spielberg pulls this off with his own unique sensibilities of creating a real experience that’s palpable and emotionally alluring.

The first appearance of a dinosaur in all its glory is one of the most memorable moments in cinematic history – as Sam Neill’s Grant and Laura Dern’s Sattler almost look catatonic as the prehistoric creatures come into view on their arrival at Isla Nublar – with Hammond’s immortal words “Welcome to Jurassic Park!” soon following. It’s something I think most people seeing this film for the first time would relate to. The stunning work on visual and practical effects were and still are breathtaking, further enhanced by high-definition technology used to transfer the film onto blu ray form. There are some sequences that look slightly off-key but it’s nothing prominent or note-worthy.

The only issues I have with Jurassic Park are to do with its characters – A combination of stereotypical khaki wearing buffs, an old man with a God-complex, the ever-warning maths whizz and a whole host of generic cannon fodder park workers.

Grant and Sattler, while appearing well-intended and passionate about Hammond’s miraculous creations, eventually become an almost reluctant childminder and a constantly wailing unnecessary female lead respectively. Grant, being the prominent of the two, is our eyes and ears of the film. But the obvious awkward undertones of his suggested fear of relationships seem to prove he’s not the generic dashing hero that you’d expect. This is further accentuated through his interaction with Lex and Tim, whom incidentally are probably my favourite characters from the entire movie. And are respectfully portrayed by the actors in the film’s more frantically and dramatically terrifying sequences.

Ellie Sattler, on the other hand, is borderline annoying, stupidly self-assured and rather insignificant for the films narrative other than to be the representation of, what I believe to be, Alan Grant’s personal insecurities. If the character was far more of significant value in the Crichton novel – then I guess it’s a faux pas on the part of the screenwriters. I just couldn’t find anything remarkably likeable or screen time worthy about the character.

Goldblum and Attenborough deliver the token gravitas-laden performances with some clunky and groan inducing dialogue, and questionable motivations. That’s both of them, by the way ;-)

Spielberg’s direction is spellbinding. With the looming shots of the island filling us with a sense of foreboding and wonder, to the iconic T-Rex attack shots, this is really a movie that he obviously felt close to his heart. So much passion and attention to detail is apparent here, and with a timeless score from John Williams – I was really swept in with a real adventure ‘feel’ – but I honestly found it lacked a little bit in the adventure side as it blossoms into a survival/thriller/monster movie after the first half. Perhaps it would fair better, in this context, by focussing more on the kids as central characters. Deviating away from the frights and scares – opting for a more classic Spielbergian piece. But this just a major nitpick on my part. The creatures look beautiful, the lighting gives the daytime scenes a lush vibrance and tender tone to the more ‘friendlier’ dinosaurs. While the evening sequences, casted over by heavy storms and minimalistic score up the ante in tension and terror as we come to meet the more less favourable inhabitants. Makes for gripping stuff!

So yes, the answer is Jurassic Park still holds up as one of the greatest pieces of modern cinema. It’s issues are more noticeable these days, but it has not lost that wonderful essence that made us fall in love with the film all those years ago.

 

9/10


‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ – My Thoughts

"Gard Gard Gard Gard..."

“Gard Gard Gard Gard…”

So it’s been a little over a week since the long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s much-adored ‘The Hobbit’ (Part 1, mind) was released, and I’ve been itching to give my opinions on Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth…….

Spoilers ahead, here are the moments of greatness, and in some cases – shiteness of ‘An Unexpected Journey’…

 

What Was Great.

1. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A given, right? After the announcement of ‘The Office’ alum’s casting, I never stopped thinking it was nothing short of genius. His performance is laced with an air of naivety, disengaged charm, and an almost sense of self-preservation at the film’s beginning. Freeman captured everything I wanted to see in this character, and the encounter with Gollum and subsequent conclusion of the movie was some of the most entertaining and highly focal points for me.

2. The Design

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A lasting impression of the LOTR trilogy was the design work inspired by conceptual artists Alan Lee and John Howe. Their astounding and beautiful interpretations of the various locales, architecture and characters of Middle Earth are further realised in ‘The Hobbit’, and will receive a whole new audience of fans. Much to thank those guys for.

3. The Trolls Scene

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Take Freeman’s Bilbo, throw in a few ponies, add a couple of daft, bumbling Kiwi trolls with a hunger for bearded midgets…. And you get one of the most endearing, faithful sequences in the entire movie. Grinned from ear to ear during this one!

4. Gollum and The Return Of Andy Serkis

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How could I do this list without citing Gollum and Andy Serkis in some form…? I’d be lying to myself if I ever did. The show stealer in the LOTR trilogy, and the catalyst of the events that lead up to the epic Jackson saga returns to give us an uncompromising reminder of why he is such a memorable part of modern cinema. It’s weird to think that I will never see Gollum again on-screen in this capacity, so I’ve really taken Serkis’ performance in this film to be somewhat bittersweet. Alas, it’s an amazing reprise from Andy.

5. The Location Shooting

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Since the release of ‘The Return Of The King’, the influx of green screen and blue screen has contributed to the exhausting cookie-cutter popcorn flicks that have littered Hollywood for a decade. However Peter Jackson, his team at Wingnut, New Line and WB persevered to keep the grandiose and breathtaking scale that the LOTR trilogy took on. The location shooting vlogs that were posted through the early parts of last year, gave us an incredible insight into the huge amount of work that is put into such a mammoth task. What we see on-screen are the fruits of that labor. Beautiful stuff.

What Didn’t Cut The Mustard (My opinion…)

1. The Dwarves (SPOILER ALERT)

"Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub"

“Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub”

Yeah, I know. Old record, old record. Certainly with the amount of characters that ‘The Hobbit’ boasts – it would be pointless to have a gripe about screen time for 13 dwarves. But mine isn’t about that – it’s the execution. Of the Company, with the exception of Thorin (Richard Armitage) – Balin (Ken Stott), Kili (Aidan Turner) and Bofur (Jimmy Nesbitt) are the dwarves with the most screen time/dialogue in the movie. We are also given a slight nod as if to suggest that these characters will be much more prominent and of greater importance in at least the second movie. What actually frustrated me was how forgettable they all were. Next to no characterisation for most of the Company, and when we do see some it’s either far too early in proceedings or just too little too late.

2. Old Bilbo (As Played by Ian Holm)

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Love Ian Holm – let me make that perfectly clear. Awesome beyond belief in the LOTR films, and perhaps one of my favourite actors of the entire trilogy. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing him return briefly in his scenes with Frodo (Elijah Wood), which allowed a nice bridging point between the LOTR movies and these new films. But something really bugged me. It’s a small nitpick – but it’s so fucking unbelievably obvious.

It’s the hair.

Ok, yeah – “What the fuck, Scott? Get over it…” – Well I fucking can’t, ok?

It’s been 12 years since we last saw old Bilbo in Bag End. So Weta digital have used their magic to ‘de-age’ the veteran act0r to make him look more similar to his younger self. The hairpiece however, is not Holm’s own hair we can easily assume. So why did they do this….?

Yeah, really... I'm moaning about this

Yeah, really… I’m moaning about this

I’m a big continuity buff, and a confessed moaner. But come on, really? The hair is completely different. The reference points are in the DVD cabinets of nearly every single person that worked on the movie!

On the left, a still of ‘Fellowship’, the hair is bushy, almost feathered, also fairly thick and at cheek length. On the right hand side, we see Bilbo as he appears in ‘The Hobbit’. The hair is thinner, lank and also nearly at CHIN length. Bilbo’s appearance in the new movie is one that precedes events in ‘An Unexpected Journey’ – but also takes place in the same time line period as the beginning of ‘Fellowship’… e.g THAT PICTURE ON THE LEFT. Come on, now. It’s a silly mistake that shouldn’t have been made. It’s absolutely glaring.

Meh…. Next….

3. The Seemingly Non-existent Use of Human Actors for Goblins/Orcs/Trolls/Whatever

Looks stoopid

Looks stoopid

I was excited to see more of the amazing work from Weta’s visual effects and makeup department. But sadly, we weren’t so lucky this time around. The creatures that are featured in the movie are beautifully realised. However it just didn’t have that same magic as having real actors in the performance. It didn’t really tarnish the film on an enjoyment scale, rather just made me question whether Jackson is heading down the same dark path as another certain filmmaker did a long, long time ago.

4. The Film’s Opening Hour

"WE ARE LAUGHING!"

“WE ARE LAUGHING!”

‘An Unexpected Journey’ has a run time which may agitate and even frustrate some theatre-goers. But personally, I didn’t mind it at all. But the first adventure of Bilbo and the Dwarves has such a slow build up, it really did test my patience for the first 45 to 60 minutes. In particular the meeting at Bilbo’s house. Christ… such… a…. fucking…. drag…. Leave already!

5. The Smaug Money Shot

rg

After a successful third act. I really was looking forward to finally getting a glimpse of the dragon, Smaug in all his hellish glory. This was not the case.

With the extreme lengths that Weta went to prevent us viewing folk from seeing the antagonist during the (seriously too long) prologue, I was convinced that we’d get to see him rolling around in his gold like a pig in shit. What we got was an eyeball…. Haha, a great eye. Maybe that was a little joke on their part. Well, you got us. Fuck you anyway :-)

—————————————————————–

Let’s just be clear on one thing…. I LOVED this movie. Thank you to everyone that worked on it!


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