Author Topic: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)  (Read 117961 times)

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2011, 03:22:55 PM »


Firewall (2006) Region A/B/C UK Blu-ray

Overview:
It's an ordinary day at Landrock Pacific Bank - ordinary for everyone but I.T. expert Jack Stanfield. His wife Beth and children are being held hostage back at home. Their kidnappers have one demand: Jack must heist $100 million from the ultra-secure system he designed. And they'll be watching every move he makes.

Thoughts:
This is my second viewing of this movie having previously watched the DVD and it was just as good the second time around. Harrison Ford plays the character of the banker whose family is being held hostage very well but the real star performance here  is Bettany as the head of the criminal gang trying to steal $100million. Although it differs from your regular heist/hostage movie by using technology rather than going in all guns blazing it doesn't fail to let up on the action, with rarely a dull moment. Characters are developed reasonably well for the genre and the dialogue was also sufficient. The supporting cast, including Alan Arkin, Robert Forster and Mary-Lynn Rajskub also put in decent performances and are well cast in their roles. 3.5/5

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #76 on: July 07, 2011, 08:02:08 PM »
His next project is directing a remake of Deep Red so we'll see how that pans out...
No need to wait to see it to know it will be a piece of shit. What an useless and insulting idea :thumbdown:

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #77 on: August 17, 2011, 04:16:03 PM »
Double Impact (1991) R2 UK DVD (Second Sight)

Shortened Review:
From the late seventies through to the early nineties, action films became extremely popular. Starring the likes of Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme, these movies were made with one thing in mind. Out and out violence. Studios and filmmakers threw out the importance of a good script and the importance of acting skills, instead opting to concentrate on the actual action/fight scenes, a move welcomed by a young male crowd who knew exactly what they wanted when they went to the cinema and knew what they were going to get if they recognised particular actors on the posters, or in the trailers. Although not as popular as they once were, these actors are still churning out several films a year (even if they are direct to video) and the likes of Wesley Snipes and (bizarrely) Cuba Gooding Jr have joined their ranks. The late eighties and early nineties were the heyday of these guilty pleasures with the likes of Under Siege, Kickboxer, Bloodsport, Nico and Universal Soldier among the best of the bunch. Double Impact came in 1991, and this time, we got two Van Dammes.

In the film, Jean Claude Van Damme plays two main characters, Chad and Alex. They were twins seperated at birth when their parents were brutally murdered by members of a feared Hong Kong criminal gang. The pair are re-united by their family bodyguard (Geoffrey Lewis - The Devil's Rejects) twenty five years later so that they can avenge their parents death. Although Chad and Alex are completely opposite personality wise, they must team up against Kara (Cory Everson - Natural Born Killers) and assassin Moon (Bolo Yeung - Enter the Dragon) to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

The story is your typical revenge one and everything about the movie shouts cheese but, as with most Van Damme movies, there is something wholly enjoyable about the whole experience. Bolo Yeung is excellent as Moon, the assassin, and seemingly it was Van Damme who demanded Yeung play the bad guy after the rapore they had built up together on the set of Bloodsport. This does show and Yeung is the perfect bad guy with a look alone that would turn the toughest of men into stone (let alone his martial arts skills). The dialogue is hilariously hammy with such classics as "I hear all sorts of bullshit everyday, pal. You want some advice? Take your fancy clothes and your black silk underwear and go back to Disneyland" and "Why, because he looks like me? I'm going to change that" but it all adds to to the charm. The action is rather standard for Van Damme with some enjoyable fight scenes that show his skills. At the end of the day, Double Impact didn't set out to win any awards or become a piece of socially relevant, thought provoking cinema. The film is what it is: cheesy fun. If you're a fan of Van Damme, you'll dig it. If you aren't, you won't.

Full review:
http://www.dvdcompare.net/review.php?rid=2497

Released 19th September 2011.

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #78 on: August 18, 2011, 02:05:07 PM »
The Last American Hero (1973) - R2 UK DVD

Shortened Review:
Films that are loosely based on the true stories of people from underpriviliged backgrounds or of people being general underdogs going on to become successful sporting heroes are two a penny. Usually these films have some relation to Disney and include Coach Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), Glory Road (Josh Lucas), Remember the Titans (Denzel Washington) and Invincible (Mark Wahlberg). Usually these films relate to sports like basketball, american football, football and ice hockey but very rarely do we get a similar film related to motorsport racing. In fact, whilst the more imaginitive racing/car related films have a history of popularity, from The Cannonball Run to Death Race 2000 to The Fast and the Furious, the racing films that strive for seriousness are few. 1966's Grand Prix was one such film I enjoyed focusing on the lives of formula one drivers though this isn't based on a true story. I entered The Last American Hero knowing that I enjoy this particular genre and looked forward to watching it.

The Last American Hero is loosely based on a series of Esquire articles written by Tom Wolfe, telling the true story of Junior Johnson, a moonshine smuggler who became one of NASCAR's first champions and an American sporting hero. After Junior crashes into a police blockade whilst delivering his father's moonshine, the police arrest Junior's dad and he gets a one year prison sentence. To raise some cash to help his family, Junior enters a demolition derby, and then a stock car race. Realising he has a natural talent, he progresses on the stock car circuit until he meets a promoter (played by Ned Beatty) who gives him his break on the NASCAR circuit.

When I first hit play, the first scene put me off slightly. I felt like I had just put on a random episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, except this time Bo and Luke were driving a black car instead of The General Lee. Whilst I enjoy The Dukes of Hazzard TV show, I was looking forward to something different with this film. Thankfully, after the opening scene, I got what I was looking for. Jeff Bridges is excellent as the overly cocky racer who knows he has talent, forcing himself on to the stock car circuit as an independent driver by winning local and regional races. Ned Beatty is great in his role as the promoter and Gary Busey suits his as Junior's brother (even if his screen time is rather limited). Yes the story is sometimes contrived and yes, it is obvious what is going to happen, but this is an enjoyable racing film with spirit and determination with good performances all round and some fun and well shot racing scenes.

Full Review:
http://www.dvdcompare.net/review.php?rid=2501

Released 12th September 2011.

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #79 on: August 19, 2011, 02:21:25 PM »
Juice (1992) R2 UK

Shortened Review:
Films about inner city life, and in particular, street 'thugs' or gangs, can go one of two ways. You get the good ones; gritty, close to the bone with violence shot in a certain way and with a story that can be quite deep about anything from revenge to sticking together. And then you get the bad ones; usually low budget knock-offs that use inner city violence and strong language with a formulaic story and a big name to sell discs whilst the film itself will generally have no real 'meaning' (Snitch'd being a great example). Usually, one thing both of these genre types have in common, is the appearance of a rap star, be it Ice Cube, Eminem (8 Mile), Snoop Dogg, Treach or Sticky Fingaz. Juice, has Tupac.

Tupac plays Bishop, one of four friends from the harsh streets of Harlem who spend their days in a local pool hall (ran by Samuel L. Jackson) hustling, playing truant from school, fighting and shoplifting. Although they take part in lower end criminal activity, they run away from anything more. However, hungry for power and happiness (which they refer to as 'the juice'), they decide to rob a local convenience store where Bishop shoots dead the owner. As things spiral out of control, their lives are changed forever.

Omar Epps (TV's House), Tupac Shakur (Poetic Justice), Jermaine Hopkins (Lean On Me) and Khalil Kain (TV's Girlfriends) play the four friends; Q, Bishop, Steel and Raheem well and their characters gel together perfectly. The characters themselves are developed throughout the film enough to get you to know their personality strengths and weaknesses fast, especially in the opening few scenes. We also get cameos from Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown) as the owner of the local pool hall/arcade where the kids hang out when cutting school and from Queen Latifah as the owner of the club holding the Mixxmaster competition that Q enters. Both Jackson and Latifah appear a couple of times and although their screentime is short they are both welcome additions.

Director Ernest R. Dickinson, who was cinematographer on Spike Lee's early films, made a good first impression for his first feature length movie, working well with cinematographer Larry Banks to give the film that gritty, dark feel. As he also co-wrote the screenplay with Gerard Brown, it is obvious he achieved the look and feel he was aiming for.

As far as the story goes, it isn't the most original, however the character development, above average cast and gritty feel make this one of the better films based around inner-city life and what people feel they must do for respect of the nineties.

Full Review:
http://www.dvdcompare.net/review.php?rid=2503

Released 3rd October 2011.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 02:23:49 PM by samuelrichardscott »

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #80 on: August 26, 2011, 05:21:29 PM »
8 Million Ways to Die (1986) R2 UK

Shortened Review:
Hal Ashby started his career in Hollywood as an editor, hitting the big time when he was awarded the Academy Award for Film Editing for "In the Heat of the Night" in 1967. Three years later, Ashby made his directorial debut, "The Landlord" taking with him the editing styles he had learnt in his previous years. Over his directing career, Ashby made a couple of fantastic films including "Harold and Maude", "Being There" and "Shampoo", however it would be for "Coming Home" with which he would be most successful, earning Ashby and Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Towards the tail end of his career, Ashby earned a reputation for being unreliable, reclusive and eccentric, mainly due to drugs. Unfortunately, his erratic behaviour affected his films, getting fired from "The Slugger's Wife" due to 'creative differences' with Neil Simon and then finally making "8 Million Ways to Die", a film from which he was sacked on the final day of principal photography with the film becoming a commercial failure.

The film stars Jeff Bridges as an alcoholic LA drugs cop, Matthew Scudder, who shoots an unarmed suspect in a drugs raid in front of his family. His life quickly spins out of control resulting in Scudder losing both his job, and his wife. Trying to clean up his act and quit drinking, he is thrown into the deep end when a prostitute begs him for protection and winds up dead. As Scudder is drawn back into the world of vice, he hunts down the hookers' killer among LA's seedy underbelly of pimps and drug dealers.

With a screenplay by Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers, World Trade Center), the script for "8 Million Ways to Die" is surprisingly tame and formulaic and seemingly strays from the original novel by Laurence Block. Oliver Stone however, is not to blame and was reportedly displeased with the end result as the studio wanted a more "Miami Vice" feel rather than a gritty cop drama, and so Robert Towne was called in to rewrite Stone's screenplay. It also didn't help that Ashby improvised many scenes. Executive producer Mark Damon once stated that Ashby even through the script out, forcing everything to be improvised and whilst I feel this may be an exageration, it would still account for the disjointed feel. Still, as far as the genre goes, the story is a by the numbers affair and certainly passable.

The cast, is another story altogether and is likely the saving grace to an otherwise muddled affair. Jeff Bridges is joined by Rosanna Arquette and Andy Garcia and all put in reasonably good, but not career best, performances. I would've liked to see more scenes with Bridges and Garcia together though. The supporting cast, including James Avery, Lisa Sloan and Randy Brooks, also put in respectable appearances.

I'm not sure if I could out and out recommend the film, as there are many gritty cop dramas from the eighties that are better (see Charles Bronson's filmography). However, despite the disjointed feel, and on-set problems, the end result isn't as bad as the lack of commercial success would suggest.

Full Review:
http://www.dvdcompare.net/review.php?rid=2513

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #81 on: August 29, 2011, 02:42:47 PM »


Ninja Assassin (2009) Region Free UK

Overview:
Fear not the weapon but the hand that wields it. The filmakers behind The Matix and V for Vendetta bring new blood to martial arts movies in this smashing adventure. Korean pop star Rain plays heroic, deadly Raizo. Trained from childhood in the way of the Ozunu Clan ninja, he is stalked by fellow warriors and their dojo patriarch (martial arts legend Sho Kosugi)...and is on the run with a Europol agent (Naomie Harris) who has proof the clan sells assassination services to governments.

My Thoughts:
James McTeague's follow-up to the enjoyable "V For Vendetta" brings an Eastern martial arts feel and combines it with a Hollywood storyline. Starring Rain, Rick Yune, Naomie Harris and Ben Harris it is full of non-stop, and very gory, action sequences which are stylish, well edited and a joy to watch. The storyline itself isn't anything we haven't seen before and the script is rather average, but overall, it's a lot of fun. I can't wait for McTeague's third film, The Raven with John Cusack. 3.5/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #82 on: August 29, 2011, 04:55:17 PM »


The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) R2 United Kingdom

Overview:
BASED ON THE TRUE-LIFE case of the incarceration of Dr. Samuel Mudd (Oscar-winning Warner Baxter), The Prisoner of Shark Island is a fast-paced and stirring account of the victimization of a simple man. Regarded as a personal favourite by the director, it was also the film he was said to be most happy with.

Written by Nunnally Johnson (The Grapes of Wrath, Tobacco Road), The Prisoner of Shark Island dramatizes the fatal shooting of Abraham Lincoln (Frank McGlynn, Sr.) and the subsequent visit by the assassin John Wilkes Booth (Francis McDonald) to Dr. Samuel Mudd’s house to fix his broken leg. Unaware of Booth’s treason, Mudd is later arrested...

Featuring a blistering performance by John Carradine as a sadistic prison guard The Prisoner of Shark Island was nominated for Best Picture by the American National Board of Review, and has rarely been screened over recent decades. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present The Prisoner of Shark Island for the first time on UK home video in the 70th-anniversary year of its original release.

My Thoughts:
John Ford directed 146 films in his long and illustrious career and at this point, I have unfortunately seen very few of them. Prisoner of Shark Island is loosely based on the life of Samuel Mudd, a doctor who unwittingly helped Abraham Lincoln's killer (John Wilkes Booth) by fixing his broken leg. He was sent to prison for aiding Booth where he helped battle an outbreak of yellow fever. Warner Baxter is excellent in the lead role, and the story is well written and presented. The characters are well developed, albeit in a short space of time but for me, the real star of the film was John Carradine as Sgt Rankin, a character who changes a lot throughout. Although Ford has been very creative with regards to the historical accuracies, this is still a well made biopic worthy of a purchase, mainly due to the strength of the cast and the direction. 4/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #83 on: August 29, 2011, 07:09:21 PM »


Relative Strangers (2006) R2 United Kingdom

Overview:
Dr. Richard Clayton (Ron Livingston) has it all: a loving fiancée (Neve Campbell), two wonderful supportive parents, a successful career as a psychiatrist and a self-help book on anger management climbing the best seller list. Everything in his life is right on course, including a wedding date only a few weeks away. Until one fateful night when his jealous brother tells him the truth about his upbringing... he was adopted.

Enter Frank and Agnes Manure (Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates), a rude, crude and offensive pair who embody the term 'white trash'.

From the creator of MEET THE PARENTS, RELATIVE STRANGERS is an outrageous comedy about a successful psychiatrist whose world comes crashing down when he is reunited with his biological parents.

My Thoughts:
Written and directed by Greg Glianna who created the "Meet the Parents" series of films, "Relative Strangers" is pretty much more of the same focusing on an initial meeting of family members. Whilst "Meet the Parents" was about meeting the in-laws, "Relative Strangers" stars Neve Campbell and Ron Livingston as Livingston meets his biological parents (Kathy Bates and Danny DeVito) for the first time. His real parents are poor white trash whilst the family that brought him up are rich and upper-class. Obviously, the comedy comes from the actions of Bates and DeVito as they meet their upper-class son for the first time. Everything about the film is average, from the cast to the story. If you enjoyed "Meet the Parents" you'll likely get a kick out of this. 3/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #84 on: August 29, 2011, 09:01:25 PM »


Scary Movie 4 (2006) R2 United Kingdom

Overview:
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to watching movies...Scary Movie 4 rears its ugly head and delivers the outrageously hilarious extended and unsanitized version, never before seen in cinemas. It's no-holds-barred as this laugh-packed hit spoofs Hollywood's most frightening blockbusters...and stars Anna Faris (Scary Movie 1-3, Lost In Translation), Regina Hall (Scary Movie 1-3, Malibu's Most Wanted) and Craig Bierko (Cinderella Man), with uproariously funny cameo appearances by Carmen Electra, Michael Madsen and Leslie Nielsen! Remember, no grudge is strong enough, no village is safe enough, no saw is sharp enough to keep these laughs from killing their intended victims!

My Thoughts:
I'm sure most people here have seen an entry of the Scary Movie franchise at some time or another and there really isn't that much to say other than if you enjoyed the previous films, you'll enjoy this, as it's just more of the same. For me, the comedy was more miss than hit with the best scene being the opening one with Shaquille O'Neal and Dr. Phil in a parody of the first Saw movie. The acting is pretty bad throughout, especially that Tom Cruise lookalike Craig Bierko. However, the bad moments are split up by some funny ones and it is enough to stay moderately entertained. According to imdb, a fifth is in production and I'm sure I'll eventually see it, but the fourth gets a 2.5/5

Previous editions of the series:
Scary Movie - 3/5
Scary Movie 2 - 2.5/5
Scary Movie 3 - 2.5/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #85 on: August 30, 2011, 05:42:38 PM »


Sleeping Dogs (2006) R0 United Kingdom

Overview:
Life is going just great for regular girl Amy.
Adored by her parents and her golden-boy fiance, her future looks bright too...until her fiance suggests they tell each other their darkest secrets... things they have never told anyone.
When Amy finally relents and reveals that her pooch was. ahem, a little more than a man's best friend, everything falls apart.

My Thoughts:
Jeez, how do you even start to talk about this one?  :hysterical: Basically, Melinda Page Hamilton listens to her mother who tells her not to keep things secret from her prospective husband. So she tells her boyfriend that one time, when she was at college, she gave a dog, ahem, fellatio. Darkly funny, I really enjoyed this movie from Bobcat Goldthwaite. It is funny in all the right moments and is a worthy pick-up for all fans of dark, off-the-wall comedies. 3.5/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #86 on: August 30, 2011, 07:53:01 PM »
Note for RossRoy: Current reviews are for the 2010 Disney movie, this is the 2001 movie. Can we get these listed with the year to avoid confusion? Cheers!


Tangled (2001) R2 United Kingdom

Overview:
Detective Anders has a case to solve. She's got two missing persons, Alan and Jenny. They could be hurt, they could be dying. The only person who knows for sure is their best friend David, who is badly beaten and suffering from amnesia.
As David's memory slowly returns, it becomes clear that the three friends were caught in a love triangle. Level headed David is attracted to Jenny, but Jenny has fallen for David's spontaneous and crazy best friend, Alan. Maybe Jenny's involvement with Alan was more than David could handle? Or maybe Alan and Jenny have turned on their best friend? Detective Anders must untangle a web of jealousy and deception to get to the truth.
Rachel Leigh Cook (She's All That) heads a star cast in this tangled thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

My Thoughts:
Your typical thriller aimed at the younger market, starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Shawn Hatosy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Estella Warren. Director Lowi doesn't add anything new or interesting to the genre, instead opting to play everything by the numbers and keep it 'safe'. It's not a bad film but this lack of ambition certainly makes it average. The cast also turn in average performances with nothing to get excited about but at the same time nothing to complain about. Worth a cheap buy or a rental. 3/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #87 on: August 30, 2011, 09:55:24 PM »


Twenty Bucks (1993) R2 United Kingdom

Overview:
TWENTY BUCKS is the story of a $20 bill, from the birth at an ATM to its final shredding at the bank, and the lives it touches along the way. Among those passing the buck are a prophetic bag lady (Linda Hunt, The Year of Living Dangerously), an about-to-marry-rich working stiff (Brendan Fraser, The Mummy), a New Age witch (Gladys Knight), a stuggling writer (Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas), a distracted cop (William H. Macy, The Cooler), a well-mannered stick-up artist (Christopher Lloyd, The Addams Family) and a hot-headed con man (Steve Buscemi, Big Fish). And while they may be strangers to each other, they do have one thing in common. When they passed the buck, they never expected change.

My Thoughts:
Well this was a nice little surprise. I picked this up a while ago because it stars two of my favourite actors of all time, Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy (and also stars many more big names) and I'm a fan of films which follows many different characters whose lives intertwine in some form (this film focusing on the travels of a $20 bill between people). Very well worked and well scripted with above average performances, this isn't a bad way to spend ninety minutes. My favourite scenes were those with Buscemi and Christopher Lloyd working together as a pair of armed robbers and Linda Hunt's character opens and closes the film perfectly. 3.5/5

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #88 on: August 30, 2011, 11:59:12 PM »


Waiting... (2005) R2 United Kingdom

Overview:
Always remember the first rule of eating out: Never mess with the people who handle your food!
Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder), Anna Faris (The Scary Movie Trilogy) and Justin Long (Dodgeball) star as the young employees of Shenanigan's Restaurant and collectively stave off boredom and adulthood with their antics.
Whilst some comedies never quite cross the line, this one steps right over it as the band of mischievous waiters, waitresses and cooks how the guests just how extraordinary the service at this restaurant can be.

My Thoughts:
I recently watched the comedy Just Friends starring Anna Faris and Ryan Reynolds so decided to check this one out which focuses on the pair waiting on tables in a restaurant, the difficult customers in the restaurant and the crazy mix of staff. The strongest cast member here for me was Luis Guzman as a chef. Always funny with his scenes. In fact, most of the cast fit their roles very well apart from Andy Milonakis and Max Kasch as Nick and T-Dog whom I cringed at everytime they were on screen. The comedic parts were funny, and I enjoyed the different array of characters bar the aforementioned Nick and T-Dog and I think I have to ultimately give this film a recommendation. 3.5/5
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 12:25:59 AM by samuelrichardscott »

Offline samuelrichardscott

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Re: Never Ending Movie Marathon (short reviews)
« Reply #89 on: October 09, 2011, 08:32:55 PM »
Apologies to RossRoy as about to post several reviews in a one go as catch up!