October 31, 2013
[IMDB link] [Netflix link]
PEOPLE: Written and directed by Adam Green, who’s written & directed a good 10 or so films. None that I’ve heard of.
Starring Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers (who played a kid in In The Mouth Of Madness, haha) as the couple, and Shawn Ashmore (who, ironically, was Iceman from the X-Men movies) as the 3rd wheel. It’s pretty much these 3 actors on screen the entire time.
Maybe 1% of screen time is devoted to the ski lift operator, Ed Ackerman, who played a highschool cop in 17 Again.
PLOT SUMMARY: Kids get stuck in a ski lift. And nobody’s coming back to help them anytime soon.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Negligent ski lift administration leads to satiated wolves.
QUIRKS: Man vs. nature survival horror psychological thriller. Do you go on ski trips? Hang out on ski lifts that sometimes get stuck? Make sure you’re not the last one when the resort closes…
VISUALS: Pretty much 3 people in a ski lift for the entire movie. The lack of a change on focus greatly increases the tension. While not overly gory, there are a few cringeworthy gore moments that are a must see. The movie as a whole doesn’t really have much blood–but people at the Sundance film festival nonetheless fainted, vomited, or had to leave the theatre crying or shaking. Carolyn was shaken up by this film too… I had to hold her hand, awwwww.
The movie was shot without any greenscreen or CGI. They really were up on a ski lift. The hired camera crew was in fact too scared to dangle up there, so the director and director of photography ended up doing a lot of the camerawork themselves.
Even the [highlight for spoilers]→ wolves were “real”. There was no stunt double. When the black wolf went up to Keven Zegers’s face, and he looks away — that was him in real life looking to the animal trainer for help. The wolf had to be pulled away. The spot where they shot it is supposedly where someone committed suicide, too. Just to make it creepier.
MORALS: Pay for your lift ticket.
GOOD STUFF: Horrible hopeless unbreaking tension. Total cringe moments of horror. With very few cuts, you rarely have a moment to take a breath and calm down. Things just get worse… And worse… And worse.
BAD STUFF: In actuality, [highlight for spoilers]→ the ski resorts that Carolyn has gone to all send down some skiers, prior to shutting down the lift machine, to ensure that nobody is stuck on the ski lift. I also wonder if [highlight for spoilers]→ ski lift cables are really “razor sharp”.
CONCLUSION: While kind of minimalist, this was actually a riveting psychological thriller survival horror movie. Sure, man vs. nature has been done again and again, and you could argue this is simply a more modern To Build A Fire. But goddamn, this was a cringe-worthy movie of sucky suckiness. This felt a lot like an episode of I Shouldn’t Be Alive.
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10. She was shaken up by the movie.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.5/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–WRONG!!).
RECOMMENDATION: I almost decided not to watch this. That was a mistake! SEE IT!
FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Jon B recommended this, so I know he liked it. OutlawVern’s review.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS BY CAROLYN:
Good movie.. It is unlikely, but it can and has happened in real life.
I was reading some message boards to find out what you should do if this does happen in real life. Most of them agree, “Sit tight and wait for help.” But of course, it doesn’t help if [highlight for spoilers–>] the mountain is going to be closed for 4 days, and the help doesn’t see you and it’s just a horrible situation all around..
At Snowshoe, they make it a point to make you realize that one of the lifts closes at 4:00pm and you better damn well make sure you don’t get stranded over there when the lift is closed. Signs are everywhere… They block off the slopes.
In Vermont, we ended up having ski patrol following us along because the mountain was closing and they basically had to escort us. But we weren’t on the lift. We were already heading down the mountain and the ski patrol caught up to us and were like “We’re closing now.”
October 30, 2013
[IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix. I don’t get it. Why not?]
PEOPLE: Produced by Twisted Pictures (Saw 1-7, Repo! The Genetic Opera). Starring Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker from John Tucker Must Die, Tristan from Loaded (2008), Desperate Housewives) and Erika Christensen (Traffic, Veronika Decides To Die).
PLOT SUMMARY: Parents get revenge for the torture and murder of their child.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Tax evader commits suicide after vigilantes torture him.
QUIRKS: Torture-based revenge flick. If you think the death penalty is too good for child molesters, you should have to watch this movie.
VISUALS: Some pretty gruesome torture. But, since the movie is so quick, and they only have one victim — not nearly as much torture as I was expecting. I was expecting something on the same level as the Saw or Hostel movies.
MORALS: This movie is quite morally interesting, as it’s a reversal of typical horror movies. In this movie, the victim is the monster, and the ones doing the torture are arguably justified in their actions. Of course, [highlight for spoilers]→ the twist completely changes things, turning the moral into one about how revenge is not right because mistakes can be made. But it seems the only way they can say revenge is not right is by showing someone taking revenge against the wrong person. In reality, mistakes are made by police, both letting murderers go away, and convicting people of murders they didn’t commit. So I think they failed at achieving the moral statement they were trying to achieve.
POLITICS: Plea bargains. A bad idea. Letting murderers off early in exchange for showing us the locations of the bodies? Really lame. Surely there’s another incentive to get murderers to show the locations of missing bodies without giving them a less harsh sentence.
And torture? A bad way to get information from people, as they will tell you anything you want to be told; they will confess to crimes they didn’t commit. History has shown this again and again, and this movie [highlight for spoilers]→ helps make that point with the false confession letter the guy wrote before hanging himself.
GOOD STUFF: Rooting for the torturer?!!? This movie put me into situations I haven’t really been in before: Wanting to see someone tortured because they deserved it.
BAD STUFF: Some possible plot holes involving [highlight for spoilers]→ the somewhat predictable and somewhat unnecessary twist. For instance, [highlight for spoilers]→ it seems odd that the police would stop their huge search the second they found the murderer, and then not make any effort whatsoever to find the tax evader guy. Wouldn’t the dogs be able to track him down too? Or maybe the police only targeted the dangerous murderer. It just seems like the main characters had a great possibility of getting caught. Especially since the real killer got away, and possibly saw the father for a minute when he talked through the internal window on the police van. You know, later, they saw the news, realized they had the wrong guy, realized the confession note was a fake confession under duress of torture, and probably had to live with a lot of guilt that would have caused problems for them down the road. And maybe they were even caught later.
CONCLUSION: For a movie about torture, I was expecting *a bit* more torture and gore. For a movie about vigilantism, I was expecting a more neutral moral to the story. This movie wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it’s short (80 minutes), and is over soon enough. It entertains; it’s intense; it’s fucked up; it puts you in the situation of rooting for the monster instead of the victim. This film, while not living up to its potential, has definite value.
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
TwoBeans: 3/5 stars.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.6/10.
RECOMMENDATION: Worth seeing.
SIMILAR MOVIES: Plot is similar to the book 7 Days Of Revenge, which is currently being adapted to film. (more…)
October 29, 2013
[IMDB link] [Netflix link] The requisite straight-to-dvd sequel of the movie we reviewed last night. Watched with TwoBeans, who also watched 30 Days Of Night 1 with us.
PEOPLE: Directed by Ben Katai, who did not direct the original, but did direct the two spinoff web-series. He also co-wrote it with Steve Niles, who did at least do the original comic and screenplay for 30 Days Of Night 1.
Stella is no longer played by the original actress, and is now replaced with less-hot Kiele Sanchez (Lost). The new vampire-hunting crew includes Rhys Coiro (Sean Hillinger from 24, Entourage) and Diora Baird (Stan Helsing, Young People Fucking, Fifty Pills, Wedding Crashers). The vampires are now led by a sexy female named Lilith — played by Mia Kirshner (The L Word, Mandy from 24 S4, Not Another Teen Movie, Exotica, Party Monster, Dracula:The Series). The douchebag human who wants to be a vampire is played by mostly-TV actor Troy Ruptash. Good vampire Dane [not Cook, fortunately] is played by Ben Cotton (Fweddy in Stan Helsing).
PLOT SUMMARY: The surviving wife is trying to convince the world that what happened in the first movie was caused by vampires. Nobody believes her… But she definitely gets the attention of the vampires.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Woman fails to convince world she is not crazy; is killed by her husband.
QUIRKS: Still based on the comics… Though some changes were made. In the comics, Dane actually hunts Stella, then they do it and fall in love.
Way more like a vampire/Blade type movie than a zombie-type vampire movie like the last one. This is not a survival siege; this is a hunt. More like most “Hellsing-style” vampire movies.
VISUALS: Lilith is really hot.
MORALS: [highlight for spoilers]→ Don’t be a dumb bitch and assume you can resurrect your vampire husband and NOT have him bite you. Stupid bitch.
POLITICS: The government covers up shit like this!
GOOD STUFF: When they shot that first vampire’s head a bunch, completely eviscerating his entire brain… that was really their high point… Then it was all downhill from there.
Definitely predictable at points. For instance, the [highlight for spoilers]→ thumb dislocation-related escape was totally predicted by Carolyn.
Amber’s drastic and sudden personality change was pretty lame. First she’s tough, then suddenly she’s helpless. It felt really contrived and forced.
Why not have a portable UV-ray gun? Why still use bullets?
The ending death was way too easy. And I feel like I’ve seen that exact same kill style before. And wouldn’t the vampires hear her heart beating anyway?
CONCLUSION: An expectedly disappointing sequel to the original. Psuedo-passable, but quite flawed.
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10.
Two Beans: Netflix: 2/5 stars. IMDB: 3/10. “It was like Blade, except these people didn’t know how to kick ass.”
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.6/10, Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.4/5 stars).
RECOMMENDATION: Vampire completists might still want to check this out … but don’t expect to be impressed.
SIMILAR MOVIES: Someone said this was a shittier version of Blade 3 .. haha
October 27, 2013
[IMDB link] [Netflix link]
PLOT SUMMARY: Repo! The Genetic opera without songs. Basically.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Lack of workman’s comp leads to theft of corporate property.
PEOPLE: Starring Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Parnassus, eXisitenZ, Gattaca, and many more) and Forest Whitaker (Phone Booth, Panic Room, The Crying Game, Fast Times At Ridgemont High) as partners. With Alice Braga (Predators, I Am Legend), Liev Schreiber as the douchey boss (Sabertooth from Wolverine, The Sum Of All Fears, Kate & Leopold, Scream 1-3, Sphere, and many more), Carice van Houten as the nagging wife (her next movie was called “The Happy Housewife” haha).
QUIRKS: Based on a book: Repossession Mambo. It’s not *actually* a copy of Repo! The Genetic Opera. But yea, movies about organ repossession aren’t exactly numerous.
VISUALS: Cyberpunk near-future. Cool, but not so different from the way the present looks. Closer to Surrogates than Blade Runner, for example.
MORALS: Maybe being a hit man isn’t moral simply because some corporation declares it so.
POLITICS: Worker’s compensation is a necessary right for workers to have!
GOOD STUFF: The future, lack of corporate morals, new technology (synthetic organs), techno-political moral repercussions.
BAD STUFF: It could have been a bit deeper.
CONCLUSION: Really good! A new cyberpunk classic! Not just Repo! The Genetic Opera without songs! Much more! Could have been deeper, but by the end, I was wow’ed!
Clint: Netflix: 4.4/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10. A higher version of Carolyn’s rating.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.3/10, Netflix: 3.2/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.1/5 stars–Netflix definitely knows this movie is up our alley!).
SIMILAR MOVIES: [highlight for spoilers]→ Brazil, in several ways. And there is a scene that is an obvious homage to a scene in Oldboy [rated the 110th best movie of all time on IMDB]!! I love that I called both of these without having to go to the IMDB movie connections page [though I ultimately did to prove myself right].
Of course, the very obvious answer is: Repo! The Genetic Opera. But without songs.
Remy: Almost every job I do ends the exact same way. Some whimper. Some cry. Some even laugh. But in the end, they all do the same horizontal mambo, twitching and thrusting their way into the great beyond.
Remy: At the end, a job is not just a job, is who you are, and if wanna change who you are, you have to change what you do…
FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Dan really liked it. (more…)
October 26, 2013
[IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Original Orson Welles 1938 radio play mp3] Another remake…
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Nothing mankind does makes any difference in mankind’s fate.
PEOPLE: Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning (Cassie from the movie Push, Coraline from Coraline, Jane from Twilight 2+), and Justin Chatwin (Goku from Dragonball Evolution–he had Dragonball toys in his room in the movie, what a coincidence!) as the son. Also with a disturbing Tim Robbins minor role. Also, in tiny tiny roles, are a couple people who were in the 1953 movie (and the woman was also in the 1980s TV series).
QUIRKS: Based on the 1898 novel. You could consider this a remake of the 1938 Orson Welles radio program that caused mass panic, a remake of the 1953 movie, or a new adaptation of the 1898 book. Take your pick, and start whining about the differences.
The biggest difference from the 1953 movie is that this is a one-person narrative. You see everything from the eyes of Tom Cruise, and nothing else. This is supposedly more faithful to the book. Several people have said this one is more faithful to the book than the 1953 one. Personally, I wouldn’t know.
VISUALS: Very few wide-angle shots. The method of filming was influenced by amateur video of the 911 attacks. Or Cloverfield :) I didn’t notice this when I watched it, but perhaps this is part of what made it so immersive at times.
SOUNDTRACK: Not going to talk about the music — but the SOUND EFFECTS were really good. Crank your subwoofer up and turn off the lights. If your system can generate real bass that vibrates your body, you will feel the fear.
WILHELM SCREAM: I heard at least two.
MORALS: In a real emergency, don’t expect anybody to act with any moral compass whatsoever. People will kill you for the smallest thing in an emergency. Stay away from crowds!
GOOD STUFF: The utter FUTILITY of it all — the depressing feeling that no matter what you did, you’d be fucked. The feeling that no matter what mankind does, he will not be able to save himself. The DREAD. This movie is full of such horrible DREAD. Much more than the 1953 version, wihch seemed to me to be a bit more along the “crush kill destroy” campy style of 1950’s sci-fi fear. That is to say, old movies simply aren’t scary or realistic. This movie is actually more realistic and brutal than the original. Such despair and hopelessness.
Dakota Fanning added a precocious comedic angle to things. Unnecessary, but it was nice to laugh in between scenes of utter dread. (“Are we still alive?”) Any other little girl would have made the movie worse, but Dakota Fanning is actually kinda talented, apparently. She was good in the movie Push, too. Yeah, her screaming was annoying. Welcome to how real life would happen if you had to carry a 9 year old girl around the remnants of an alien invasion.
Really, the whole family angle was probably the worst thing about the movie. But you have to make it about SOMEone, don’t you?
I’m sure someone would complain that the only way they survived the movie is by scraping through a bunch of situations that it was unrealistic to survive in. Much like John Cusack in the movie 2012. However, my point to those naysayers is always: No. Most people DID die in those situations. You don’t make a movie about the ones who died; you make a movie about the ones who were lucky enough to scrape through the situations alive. As unrealistic as it may be, for every survivor in this movie, there were probably 100,000 people killed. I’m not interested in the 99,999 stories where the person dies in the middle of an alien invasion which is never resolved; I’m interested in the story of the 1 in 100,000 person who survives until the end of the invasion.
BAD STUFF: From an action and story perspective, I’ve never particularly liked the ending of this one. That is to say, H.G. Wells’s ending. I understand and enjoy the point, but it’s not very exciting, is it? It’s more of a profound ending, than exciting. I knew it was coming, but Carolyn didn’t. She started to ask me what the hell happened, but then the Morgan Freeman voiceover explained things, just like in the original. I actually think they did a better job with it in the remake, except for the “God” part. Was that really necessary? FUCK God.
The beginning is a bit slow, showing Tom Cruise being a shitty father. Not completely necessary to the plot.
People are bound to be annoyed by the emo son. But hey, kids are annoying. That’s why I won’t have one. This is a modern adaptation, showing what douchebags modern kids are.
Yes, there are some things that are not explained. Like how the [highlight for spoilers]→ son survived. But that’s because we only see what Tom Cruise sees. In a real disaster like this, one isn’t always going to know the reason for why everything happened. By NOT telling us certain things, it actually inreased the effectiveness of this movie as a psychological thriller — not just a sci-fi bloodbath.
Yes, they changed things. If you’re going to do a remake, it’s kind of pointless if you do the EXACT same thing.
CONCLUSION: I gotta say, this one really surprised me and exceeded my expectations. I was expecting the distinct possibility of another so-so remake — like The Time Machine or Planet Of The Apes. I certainly figured if there was a family as the main characters, that it would automatically be worse, because families are kind of lame movie subjects. But this actually turned out really fucking awesome, despite the fact that it was not quite the same focus as the 1953 movie. The special effects were great — the *sound* was great. After seeing how people behaved in Hurricane Katrina — or in other emergency situations — the sense of dread you feel when watching humans act like such piece-of-shit assholes became that much realer. The sense of depression, desperation, and utter dread that you get when watching this filled me with adrenaline. I was quite surprised to be so affected by something so trite, but Carolyn agreed. We were both quite unsettled by the end of the movie. Gotta reluctantly admit this was a great remake.
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10.
Funny, both of us saying 8.6/10 instead of 9/10. It’s like we acknowledge that this is a 9, but don’t want to admit it to ourselves.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.6/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars).
The native public rating for the original is: IMDB: 7.2/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.9/5 stars).
So it seems that Netflix correctly realizes that, despite the fact the original is a bit more liked than the remake, that *WE* would like the remake better. (I haven’t seen it in decades, but my guess for my rating of the original would be: 4/5 stars, 7/10.)
RECOMMENDATION: Don’t skip this one simply because you expect it to be a shitty remake. At the same time, don’t expect to love it as much as we do. We liked this higher than average.
SIMILAR MOVIES: The movie 2012 had some similarly ridiculous surviving-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth-type scenes. But obviously this is most similar to the 1953 version.
MOVIE QUOTE: “It’s not a war any more than it’s a war between men and maggots.”
“This isn’t war; it’s an extermination.”
October 21, 2013
I hit 1,100,000 views on 10/21/2013. (7.5 months past my predicted 30-day window).
I hit 1,000,000 on 04/07/2012. (8 days past my predicted 30-day window).
I hit 0,900,000 on ~5/13/2011. (last day of my predicted 30-day window–victory! barely!).
I hit 0,800,000 on 08/28/2010. (23 days after my predicted 30-day window).
I hit 0,700,000 on 01/21/2010. (17 days before my predicted 30-day window).
I hit 0,600,000 on 07/07/2009. (within 1 week of vague “June” prediction–victory!).
I hit 0,500,000 on 12/04/2008. (no prediction).
I hit 0,400,000 on 05/24/2008. (27 days past prediction).
I hit 0,300,000 on 02/13/2008. (1 day before prediction–victory!).
300K-400K (2008) took 03.5 months.
400K-500K (2008) took 06.0 months.
500K-600K (2009) took 07.0 months.
600K-700K (2010) took 06.0 months.
700K-800K (2010) took 07.5 months.
800K-900K (2011) took 07.5 months.
900K-1.0M (2012) took 11.0 months.
1.0M-1.1M (2013) took 18.5 months.
This last 100,000 was the slowest one ever… Man do people hate movie reviews, compared to political rants. This 2nd-to-last last 100,000 was slower than the previous two as well. That would put my prediction for hit #1,200,000 at around 6/20/2015 plus or minus 15 days. At this rate, 2014 will be the only year to not see a 100,000 milestone since 2004-2007. We’ll see what happens. I’ve been playing this game for awhile, but it’s getting harder to predict the future.
- ^older snapshot of monthly blog stats – 15,836 is for Jan, 2009
8/2010 snapshot below:
October 20, 2013
Posted by Clint under Carolyn
| Tags: 2013
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Clint: 1.2/5 stars, 3/10.
Carolyn: 1/5 stars, 3/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 4.3/10 IMDB.
Carolyn: This movie wasn’t that good. It wasn’t really that good to start with, and then it took a nosedive in the middle and there was no recovering from that. They didn’t really do a good job of introducing the characters, or the premise of the movie. Callum Blue did a good job of being a douche, especially towards his assistant, Jenny. Worst boss ever! But that was it. (Clint still doesn’t like him as much, and had a false memory of him playing Doomsday in Smallville, but no, he was Zod!)
Clint: So the gimmick was an interesting idea, and it was billed as a comedy. A comedy where somebody talks using only slogans from commercials. I was hoping for something with a kind of Dream On meets Liar Liar type vibe — something nostalgic yet funny, with lots of references.
And while I did get lots of nostalgic references to various commercials I’d thought about, THAT WAS THE ONLY REDEEMING QUALITY. (Well, that and looking at Posey and MacDonald.)
I had thought this was one of those low-rated comedies, but once again, IT’S AM AMBUSH DRAMEDY. It’s not a comedy at all. Some things that are occasionally funny happen. That’s true in horrors, that’s true in thrillers, that’s true in documentaries, and it DOESN’T MAKE IT A FUCKING COMEDY. Stop calling dramedies comedies. I should have researched this one more thoroughly. It was the perfect storm of me being tired of people underrating movies, and thus ignoring them when it counted the most. I apologize for blowing one of our alcohol-movie-watchings on this turd!
Back to Carolyn:
Then there’s some dumb speech consisting of advertisements and Callum is left there with a profound look on his face, but there was nothing profound about any of it! Karen and her daughter have some love-hate relationship going on, and “oh, he saved me from being raped, so let’s have a montage of a shopping ‘daycation’ or whatever the fuck they called it.” Oh so special! We’ll have a touching moment talking about the death of the father, and then quickly we’ll have some jokes about having sex with Adan and the advertisements that he would say in response…. and then we’ll have some guitar playing! Yay! Then the daughter joins in and oh wow, what a great movie. NOT! This movie was awful. Oh, and what is the main point? That Lucas is going to take over the company and find Adan unfit to be CEO? And then that happens, and neither Adan nor Karen seem that bothered by it. It just didn’t have any redeeming factors. I downgraded my rating overnight, and I still feel like downgrading it the more I think about it. I started at 2/5, 5/10, then this morning it became 1.6/5, 5/10, and now it’s 1/5, 4/10.
Directed by Zack Bernbaum. Written by Michael Hamilton-Wright.
Starring Bruce Greenwood (Pike from Star Trek (2009), Batman in Young Justice, Batman in Batman: Under The Red Hood, President in National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, I Robot, ) as Adan Kundle.
Parker Posey (Dazed And Confused, Scream 3, Clockwatchers, Superman Returns (2006), Coneheads) as Karen Hillridge.
Callum Blue (Zod in Smallville) as Lucas Foster.
Allie MacDonald (yum) as Meghan Hillridge, Karen’s daughter.
Allison Dawn Doiron as Jenny, Lucas’ assistant.
Howard Rosenstein as Senator James Allen.
LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2094762/combined
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