Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | February 21, 2010

Gamer: Movie Review | Cinemaroll

Gamer: Movie Review | Cinemaroll

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Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | December 26, 2009

Please check out my new blog!

Hi, everyone!

This is my previous blog and I moved every post to my blog under my own domain name. For new posts, you can check out http://pinartarhan.com/blog

Thanks!!

Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 30, 2009

Beuwolf and Grendel (2005)

 

Beowulf and Grendel with Gerard Butler as Grendel

Gerard Butler as Beowulf the Hero

 

 

The Danes are in big trouble. The troll Grendel (Ingvar E. Sigurosson) is angry and keeps attacking their village, killing men at random.  The famous hero Beowulf (Gerard Butler) takes his men and comes to help. Most men in town are dead, the king (Stellan Skarsgard) is depressed and killing the “monster” seems harder than Beowulf has initially thought. So he occasionally asks the town witch Selma (Sarah Polley) for guidance. The King however might have left some crucial information out. Something we see in the opening scene: Danes corner and kill Grendel’s father, with the young troll witnessing all of it.

I have actually no idea whether you will like the movie or not. I didn’t. Sure the landscape is amazing and Butler always makes a convincing and charismatic hero (300, Atilla) but there is so much missing from the film. If you are not particularly fond of the mythical tale, there is not much to be enjoyed here. The characters aren’t likable, the king doesn’t quite have many leadership attitudes, the witch’s accent is totally different from the rest…It is of course  a weird story with many odd aspects. Aside from the revenge-seeking outcast Troll, you have the most depressed king you have probably ever seen, a “monster” that you don’t sympathize with and aren’t afraid of and mostly men dying in a vain attempt to kill a beast, while you can think of quite a few strategies on how they could have killed him so easily…

Maybe you can just give yourself 15-20 minutes into the movie. Whatever vibe you get from the beginning is likely to continue. And I can think of many mythical stories that are more engaging. The current IMDB rating is 6.2, voted by over 6000 people. Your call.

Beowulf and Grendel scene

Scene from Beowulf and Grendel

Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 28, 2009

Actor musicians and musician actors, part 3

You might find it odd that I am writing about Shane West and David Bowie in the same post. Their fame levels and target audience might seem different but they fit the criteria of the post and I guess there can be people who know and like them both, since I’m one of them.

DAVID BOWIE

David Bowie during his Space Oddity days

David Bowie during his Space Oddity days

 

David Bowie is a cult musician. His songs are featured in over 200 films. His first album was released in 1967 so it is safe to say he has been around for over 4 decades now. His music is influential and his songs have been sung by other artists, such as Nirvana. Given Nirvana is probably the most popular grunge band and Bowie’s unique rock/pop sound has influenced them also, it becomes quite clear he is a universal idol. Do I like all his songs? No. They are all so different from each other. But there is a Bowie song to be found to suit all your moods and a Bowie picture to fit any kind of fashion statement; from contemporary to glam and flamboyant. But Bowie’s artistic talent is not limited to singing and song writing. He has also appeared in many films. I last saw him in the 2006 movie The Prestige, playing the role of Nikola Tesla. He has also appeared in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), The Hunger (1983), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Basquiat (1996); in addition to many other film and TV appearances. He has even played Andy Warhol, the leading man of the pop art movement. Sure, his acting might be critically praised but his name will probably never be mentioned as one of the most influential actors. But to this day, he remains as a musical icon. Below is The Hunger movie poster.

 

The Hunger

The Hunger

SHANE  WEST

Shane West as Landon in A Walk to Remember

Shane West as Landon in A Walk to Remember

Shane West is a young and promising actor. He is singing and playing the guitar for the band Jonny Was. Now, Shane isn’t insanely famous neither as a musician nor an actor, but he is building a strong movie resume bit by bit. He is only 31, and he has a bit of a baby face that gives him the advantage to play younger parts if he wants to. He totally passed for a high schooler in A Walk to Remember, at the age of 24. He has gotten to play Tom Sawyer alongside Sean Connery in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and he has scored one of the major roles in the long-running hospital drama ER. He has played in Echelon Conspiracy – an action movie that has quite a clever script, which is not so easy to find nowadays. This year he has starred in The Lodger, a high-paced thriller. So he has proved that he can undertake many different characters, and not just a romantic sweetheart, like he did in A Walk to Remember. Shane has a long way to go as an actor but things have been promising so far.

As for his band, I am not sure how many of his fans are just from the music scene only. I really enjoyed A Walk to Remember, an adaption of the best-selling Nicholas Sparks novel. The movie’s soundtrack was quite good, despite some of the songs were sung by Mandy Moore. Which reminds me she does act and sing, but her music is too standard pop for my taste. This soundtrack, however also contains a song by Shane’s band, known as Average Jo back then. It is modern rock with some punk energy in it and it is fun. Nothing you haven’t heard of before but it is the stuff I’d like to hear when I’m out with my friends and just want to dance and have a good time. And Shane’s movies are good for pure entertainment.

Shane is right in the middle, posing with his band Jommy Was

Shane is right in the middle, posing with his band Jonny Was

 


Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 28, 2009

Actor Musicians and Musician Actors, part 2

Some people are multi-talented and well, it’s annoying. While us the normal folks struggle our way through a karaoke song, they can act and SING (and/or make music). I mentioned Jon Bon Jovi, Kevin Bacon and Keanu Reeves in my previous post. Now it’s time to talk about John Travolta and Bruce Willis.

 

BRUCE WILLIS

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Bruce Willis as his possibly most popular character to date- John McClane in Die Hard

Maybe I shouldn’t write much about his acting skills and how popular his movies are. I should just name a couple of his movies. Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Sixth Sense, The Whole Nine Yards. But to top all that, he can sing. He seriously has a really cool rocknroll voice. He can also play the harmonica. Back when Jon Bon Jovi was doing his solo album Destination anywhere in 1997, he shot a short film in which Demi Moore starred. Back then Demi and Bruce were still married and Jon became good friends with them both. So we know that Jon can sing, play the guitar and the piano. Bruce can sing and play the harmonica. Jon always talks about what a blast they had singing and playing all the time. Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Willis partying together…That’s sight I wish I could see. He is so much fun. Oh, I almost forgot. His nickname is Bruno. And here is a song from him:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKtt5oeKa8w

 

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Bruce Willis as Bruno...

 

 

 

JOHN TRAVOLTA

John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

John Travolta' s amazing come-back to film

Now with John, things are a bit more complicated. He made it big in movies with Saturday Night Fever, where he showed all his disco dancing skills. Then he played in Grease, which became even a bigger hit. And we already knew h was a talented singer and a dancer. Of course when you play in such big hits consecutively when you are 23 and 24,  your later movies aren’t likely to be just as successful. But he did manage to make two comebacks. One with Look Who’s Talking in the late 80s and one with Pulp Fiction in 1994. Acting always came first for him but since his most popular movie has him singing, people don’t have trouble taking him seriously as a singer. I mention Grease as his most popular flick, because it is what put on the map, the DVDs still sell 31 years later and it has been known my generations. Bu t I like his bad guy roles even more. I know it is a weird way to compliment someone but I mean it affectionately: he makes a wonderful psycho. Broken Arrow, anyone? Half of Face Off?

 

Remember a time when John was young and skinny?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHFbhhi_XVc

 

John Travolta as Danny Zuko in Grease

John Travolta as Danny Zuko in Grease

 

 

 

COMING UP NEXT: SHANE WEST AND DAVID BOWIE

 



 

Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 27, 2009

Actor Musicians and Musician Actors

I am really jealous of these people. They get to do the most fun jobs on the planet – at least in my opinion. There are actors who are in bands and musicians who act. Of course whatever profession they have gotten into later, doesn’t usually provide them as much fame and credibility as the first one. Sometimes the second profession might become more prominent, but still, one is always going to get more credit. Let’s go.
 

Dogstar vs   BON JOVI &  KEANU REEVES vs Jon Bon Jovi

Do you know Dogstar? Keanu Reeves played the bass and toured with the band for 11 years. The band was founded in 1991 and broke up in 2002. But Keanu has been in movies since 1985.

 

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Dogstar. First from the right, Keanu Reeves

 

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Keanu Reeves became even more popular with the Matrix Triology. Dogstar what?

 

 Dogstar even has a picture with Bon Jovi, at the backstage of a concert where the band performed as the supporting act. And how many of you think Jon Bon Jovi as an actor? Sure, he has done some interesting films like The Leading Man and Little City but to most people, he is a rocker, a musician, the frontman of his band Bon Jovi.  Keanu Reeves always remained as an actor who liked to play bass and play rocker in his free time to his fans and the name Jon Bon Jovi can sell shitloads of concert tickets but it ain’t that strong when it comes to box office.

 

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Bon Jovi have been together for about 25 years.

 

 

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One of the many movies Jon has starred in.

 

KEVIN BACON vs The Bacon Brothers

Kevin Bacon has a band called The Bacon Brothers where he plays with his brother Michael. They have 3 albums but I didn’t even have a clue before I watched a special on the actor’s life. His movies? His movies are good. He is a theater trained actor who can play the good guys (Footloose, a classic dance movie) but thanks to Hollywood, he made a name for himself as the actor who best plays the bad guys. He has played good guys (Footloose, She’s Having a Baby, wrongly convicted and/or sexually molested prisoners (Murder in the First, Sleepers), kidnappers , murderers…the list goes on. You probably heard of Mystic River, JFK, A Few Good Men, Flatliners, Stir of Echoes… Did you by any chance get a hold of his albums? I actually heard him play during that show about his life. He sings and he is good. But it is OK. I know quite a lot of singers with great voices. But I think Kevin Bacon is a uniquely talented actor. I for one am glad he stuck with his acting career.

 

bacon

The Bacon Brothers

 

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Here's the mean-looking Kevin we all know and love

 

 COMING UP:  John Travolta, Shane West, Bruce Willis and David Bowie

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 26, 2009

The Nines (2007)

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the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5mFAc1OTVM

 

Prepare yourself for a weird, compelling and interesting story. Well, stories actually. The movie consists of three parts, all interconnected somehow but even though they provide some answers to your questions, ultimately you will have to come up with your own explanations. It is safe to say, the story is pretty much interactive. How?

 

theninesukposter

 

 

The movie is written and directed by John August, who is known for his screenplays of the movies Big Fish, Go and  the animation Corpse Bride and the 2005 version of Charlie and Chocolate Factory. Apart from Go, all three were directed by Tim Burton.

Gary (Reynolds) is a popular yet depressed Hollywood actor. He decides to burn all his girlfriend’s stuff but ends up burning the whole house. He gets on his car, and drinks while driving. He also uses crack and sees what appear to be hallucinations: two guys sitting at the back of his car: two guys that look exactly like him, only slightly different: one wearing glasses and one with darker hair and beard (check out the poster above). Then he crashes his car, is put under house arrest and meets his over eager yet determined publicist Margaret (McCarthy). He also has an attractive neighbor Sarah (Davis) – who flirts with him in interesting ways. Gary can’t quite get used to the house arrest because odd things keep happening to him. He finds notes and voices that tell him to look for number 9 and the frequency he comes across the number freaks him out. Margaret and Sarah also seem to despise each other. Sarah tells Ryan that she can get him out of the situation whereas Margaret has a very interesting explanation for what’s happening. She claims that she and Gary have been friends for a long time, only Gary doesn’t remember it. And this is only the first part of the bizarre story…

Reynolds plays three different versions of himself. The characters are all him, only with different jobs, names and styles. Melissa McCarthy and Hope Davis also appear in all the stories, again all of them playing different versions of themselves. In the second part, Reynolds plays a TV show creator/writer named Gavin who is best friends with actress Melissa (McCarthy). This time Hope Davis is called Susan, the TV executive who is helping  Gavin out with the project. Gavin is one of the “hallucinations” Gary saw in the beginning when he was driving at the beginning. Melissa and Susan have contradictory interests, just like the first part- each thinks Ryan’s character is better off without the other one in his life.

Third story is the dark-haired,bearded version Gary saw in his car. This guy is called Gabriel and he is a video games designer. In this part, Melissa McCarthy plays  Mary, Gabriel’s wife and the mother of his kid, who incidentally plays in the show. Davis plays Sierra, a woman Gabriel asks for help when their car breaks down.

Complicated?  Yes. Open to interpretations? Hell, yes. Did I give any spoilers? Trust me I didn’t give away anything more than the trailer suggests. But I didn’t mention one of the key actors, or any of the suggestions the movie makes. Trust me, you will have your surprises and theories when you watch it. It is one of the movies you might have to think about after it’s finished. Have fun. I did.

Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 26, 2009

Foolproof (2003)

foolproof_ver2

 

How do you feel about heist movies? I personally have a weakness for the good ones. I love all that planning and gadgets, the adrenaline and excitement. And if the movie has characters that we can relate to, even better.

Here we have Kevin (Ryan Reynolds), Sam (Kristin Booth) and Rob (Joris Jarsky);  three buddies who have known each other since college. They are also a part of a secret society that theoretically plans and executes heists. They plan every single aspect: the timing, the chemical products needed, the athletic performance expected. It’s fun and harmless; until their robbery plan of a diamond store is captured by an actual bad guy (David Suchet). He is aware of the group’s genius. So he makes a plan of his own and delivers the perfect blackmail: Either the friends execute a 20- million- dollar-heist of bonds for him or he sends the plan to the cops and they go to jail.

Kevin and Sam seem to be taking it worse than Rob. Rob seems to like and respect Leo. And moreover he is getting more and more enthusiastic about his cut. Sam wishes Leo dead; she’s not the type to enjoy taking orders. Their nerves are pretty strained too. This time the heist is going to take more guts, more risks and it is a fun ride to watch the gang do all the tricky work.

I like Ryan Reynolds. I am not sure if he is a great actor, but he is no doubt good. I liked his comedic timing when he was one of the guys in the sitcom Two Guys and A Girl. He definitely has the built and charisma to play the action hero which he shows in Wolverine as Wade Wilson, Blade Trinity and many more. He has starred in some very interesting, not- so- easy- to- be- categorized films such as The Nines; which will in fact be my next review. He is cute and handsome enough to pull off romantic leads as well; such as The Proposal. He is one of my favorite Canadian actors. Speaking of Canadian actors, the other two leads are also fellow Canadians and so is the talented writer/director William Philips – the movie was shot in Canada as well.

My point? The movie has the perfect combination of action, comedy and friendly banter – leading to wonderful twists and suspicious behavior. It is fun and deserves a viewing. Go team Ryan!

 

for the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3qndVGGsM4

 

a7photo

An actual scene from the movie. Is it fun or what?

Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 26, 2009

Reality Bites. Always.

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Lelaina: I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.
Troy: Honey, all you have to be by the time you’re 23 is yourself.

Reality Bites is a sincere and funny movie about what really awaits us after college. No matter how well we do at the university or how enthusiastic we are about starting out our lives, things almost never quite turn out the way we expect them to be. The movie is from 1994, written by Helen Childress and Ben Stiller.

Lelaina (Winona Ryder) is the class valedictorian. She hangs out with her best friends from college:Vickie (Janeane Garofalo), Sammy (Steve Zahn) and Troy (Ethan Hawke).  Each has their own unique set of problems. Sammy has to deal with his sexuality, Vickie has AIDS concerns, Troy is the one with the tortured artist soul- which does make him popular with the ladies but his lack of a job and his negative attitude towards finding one pisses his friends off. After all, good looks and guitar don’t help pay the bills. As for Lelaina, the only job she could find has got nothing to do whatsoever with her ideals and dreams. Things are also complicated in the love department. She and Troy are very close and obviously attracted to each other. But they haven’t done anything about it. However Troy is not pleased when she starts dating Michael (Ben Stiller) – who is the exact opposite of Troy: He has a regular job as a TV executive, he wears suits to work and has a regular paycheck. He is also ready to have  straightforward, uncomplicated  relationship with her.

Reality Bites has been labeled with more adjectives than I can possibly count. Some of the negatives include outdated and pretentious. I don’t think so. I am amongst the group that finds the movie true to heart. If you are considered some sort of rebel and can’t help thinking outside the box, and have lived a part of your teens/pre-teens in the 90s, this movie hits home. It’s just the icing on top that the movie comes with a good soundtrack.

Not that things have changed so much since the 90s. We are still on the lookout for AIDS and other STDs. We still have hard time after college. Most of us still have a hard trying to convince our parents that we won’t be happy unless we follow our own desired lifestyle.

It’s not hard to identify with the artsy,brooding and broke Troy. Why should we have to work at jobs where we know we will be fired immediately because our hearts weren’t in it in the first place? Or how many times have been in Lelaina’s shoes, where we had to work at some shitty job, for an arrogant, intolerable boss- just because it was remotely related to our dreams or we simply needed the paycheck to pay for our bills and support our dreams? We go through heartbreaks and disappointments, crushes on friends and a million other complicated situations. At the end of the day, all we want is to have our financial independence and live by ourselves and hang out with our friends.

Maybe you are past the whole post-graduation depression where reality truly bites. Well, reality bites most of the time, but some people have given up on their dreams and therefore have no empathy. If you have, you may not enjoy the movie as the rest of us. But if you do remember what it was like and/or if you are still struggling to make sense of things, this is your movie. Trust me.

Here are some pictures and a scene links from the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvhw-uAzbVc

Hawke (Troy) and Ryder (Leilana)

Hawke (Troy) and Ryder (Leilana)

reality_bites3

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Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 25, 2009

Life Before Her Eyes (2007)

SPOILERS !! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!!

You should either have watched the movie, or you really shouldn’t mind spoilers. Because I’m going to dig deep with this one.

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the_life_before_her_eyes06666

Brett Cullen plays Diana's husband

When you really like a movie, you don’t really have to go out of your ways to find reasons to explain why you liked it. And when you really didn’t enjoy it, even little things bug you. For me, I really don’t know where I stand with this movie. During the first half, I found myself lost in the story. I was mesmerized.

Uma Thurman has become one of my favorite actresses to watch. She has grown up from the young innocent looking girl to this incredibly beautiful and talented woman. She was good to watch in her earlier roles in movies like Dangerous Liaisons, Gattaca, Tape and later on in Prime. She is versatile; like any good actress should be.

I was curious about Evan Rachel Wood. She became so popular lately and I hadn’t seen really seen her in anything before and this was a chance to see if she was a promising actress. She is.

The movie gave me a good surprise too. I didn’t know Brett Cullen was in it until the opening credits rolled and I have always loved seeing him. Seriously. No matter how big or small his role is, you bring Cullen on any time. Yes, I admit I have had a bit of a crush on him ever since I first saw him in Something to Talk About. He is handsome on a very classy level and has this aura that suggests you can trust him; which makes him good for the nice guy parts and even better for the not so nice parts, since you wouldn’t really see it coming.

So three good actors, a wonderfully sad& tragic event told in flashbacks. So far so good. Let me go over the story.

Diana is in her 30s, living in suburbia with her loving husband and beautiful little daughter. They have a beautiful home and a great family. But it is a tough time for Diana. 15 years ago, her school witnessed one of the worst tragedies ever. One of her classmates brings a gun to school and shoots almost everyone. Diana and her best friend Maureen are in the girls’ room when the boy finds them. He says that he is going to shoot only one of them so they have to choose. It is horrible. It is terrifying. Both girls are scared shitless, and in shock. But Maureen suggests that if he is going to shoot one, he should shoot Maureen.

Diana (Uma Thurman) has led a good life. A life that seems like Maureen would have wanted for herself, had she lived. You see, Maureen has been the good little Christian. She was a loving friend, a dutiful daughter, a church-going virgin who really wanted to get married and have kids. She was the one with romantic fantasies. Diana (young Diana is played by Evan Rachel Wood) on the other hand was a rebel. She smoked pot, wasn’t exactly the best student and she slept with boy(s). She even had to get an abortion. Maureen was there for her as always. They were really different, but they had a strong bond and a true friendship.

So Diana still feels guilty, 15 years later. She has stayed in town, like Maureen would. She has got the husband and kid and the teaching job. Hell, her daughter even goes to a school run by the nuns.

As the movie progresses, she starts to lose control. She remembers more and more about her time with Maureen and her mind frequently revisits the day of the shooting. She also seems to have hallucinations. Things seem a certain way for a moment and then…they don’t.

So I’m thinking, it should be the post-traumatic stress coming back. I mean, it might have been 15 years but it was an awful tragedy. Her best friend was killed by a psychopath. Hell, almost all of the school was killed by him. Moreover, he told her about his plans the day before and she didn’t take him seriously. So, it is OK for her to be “losing it”. It is expected. Half the movie, I expected her to open her bathroom cabinet and reveal to us that she has been using anti-depressants. Otherwise, how could she stay in the same town and drive by the same school everyday, on her way to drop her daughter off? You should have to be heavily medicated or well, some sort of a masochist.

We go back to that bathroom scene a lot. Too many times, in fact. And then voila! We go back there one last time and we actually find out that it was Diana who was shot, not Maureen. Because Diana tells the guy to shoot her, repeatedly. So the guy does what Diana asks. He shoots Diana. So apparently it was Diana’s life before her eyes- just not as flashbacks as most people admit to experience as they feel they are going to go but vivid, coherent (most of the time) flashforwards. So basically picturing her future life, she decides she can not live with that guilt. She chooses to save her best friend instead. While it is a noble act, it also naturally creates a controversy between the viewers.

I know movies always divide people but this one was actually more than asking for it. Some hate the movie because they believe it is a pro-Christian/anti-abortion movie. I honestly hadn’t seen that one coming. They feel like that the fact the good Christian lives and the “slut” dies insults them. Some believe it is a poetic movie with just the right ending. Some don’t have problem with the ending, they just find the whole movie boring. But having visited some discussion boards, I really didn’t come across anyone who thought Diana had to have a mental problem. I was actually hoping to explain the ending like this: She felt so guilty after all those years and that in order to get a closure , she pictured and/or wished a different ending for what happened.Otherwise, I really have to agree with the others who think that the fact that she can have such a flashforward is absurd. I don’t mean you can’t think your future when you are at gunpoint. I have never been at gunpoint, so I have no insight to what you may or you may not think. But I can claim that it is downright bullshit that she could have imagined all that. Because she had what? 10 seconds? And she had time to develop an alternate life in the future with so many details? It is humanly impossible to generate that many thoughts in such a little time. In fact, I don’t remember even a sci-fi movie with a character who could generate that much thought, in that little time.

This movie actually had the opposite effect on me, compared to the effect of watching The Sixth Sense. I thought that movie was slow to watch. But the ending paid off. The ending made it all worthwhile. But here, the ending made me feel like I wish I hadn’t seen it.

I am not saying you should stay away from the movie, but I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it either. I expected the movie to blow me away. And it did. Then it also put me off. Told you, mixed feelings. Maybe it is because I cared more about having Diana alive rather than Maureen. It just feels like one of those movies where you go with the flow and really enjoy it. And then the main character wakes up. What do you know!!! She had a dream. And you are like What the ….???

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