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Posts Tagged ‘SuperMovie of the Week Club’

IM poster

Dis would have been a great movie if it had been half an hour shorter. And made a lick of sense.  Monster can imagine script notes session went someting like dis:

Producer: Dis skript full of plot holes and not make much sense.

Writer: Dats okay.  Me fix it.

Producer: By applying logic so it easier to understand?

Writer: No.  By making it so complicated dat audience simply assume dey too stoopid to understand.

Well, me have news for makers of Iron Man 3.  Monster not stoopid. Me have GED from Pyongyang Institute of Higher Learning and Dance!

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Alternate nicknames included Satsuma, Valencia, and Clementine.

Movie begin wit Tony Stark seeing a therapist because he suffering panic attacks after Avengers movie.  How dese panic attacks figure into plot and pay off at end of movie.  Spoiler alert: Dey don’t!

Meanwhile, U.S. government rocked by string of bombings orchestrated by villain called de Mandarin!  Why he called de Manadarin?  Well, in original comic books, he called de Mandarin because he be of Chinese descent and adopt title of Chinese bureaucrats of Imperial China.  In de movie – well, he not Chinese but Middle-Eastern so he called de Mandarin because…mebbe he named after de orange?  It was either dat or Tangerine?

When Tony’s bodyguard get injured in an explosion dat, in retrospekt, not make any sense at all (we’ll get to dat), Tony vow revenge and dare Mandarin to come after him.  So bad guy respond by blowing up Tony’s cool mountain-side home.

Oh, Timmy!  You little scamp!

Oh, Timmy! You little scamp!

At dis point, fairly more-or-less straightforward movie take a hairpin turn when Tony end up in Tennessee to investigate similar bombing there.  He befriend lovable little rascal of a kid who all sorts of quippy and cute and no doubt shoe-horned into story to appeal to young audience.  Dudes, it’s a movie based on a comic book character!

While Tony enlist brilliant kid’s help to recharge his armor, he investigate apparent suicide bombing by local soldier and pay visit to his mom at local bar. COINCIDENTALLY, she happen to be waiting for someone to give dem a top sekret file on her son.  A top sekret file dat, for some reason, also contain information on other soldier blown up in similar explosion.

Why mother have dis information on other soldier?  Why bad guys need to get deir hands on dis file?  Why dey just not go over to her place and take it instead of arranging meeting in a public place?  How Tony be so lucky as to just happen to walk into bar and approach soldier’s mother on exact night she be planning to meet bad guys and hand over file?  How possible – LOOK!  EXPLOSIONS!  COOL!

Tony fight bad guys who turn out to be super soldiers wit super-strength, agility, and healing powers.  And, for no apparent reason later on, super fire breath.  He defeat dem, but barely.

In one of movie’s many ridikulous moments, Tony learns all about super soldiers by hacking into super seckret database containing convenient video recordings of experiments on soldiers wit someting called Extremis.  Sometime it work, making dem superhuman.  Other times it not work, making dem blow up. BUT….

We see one soldier blow up because his body unable to accept Extremis.  Dis be explanation for explosion.  But den how to explain explosion of soldier in Tennessee? If his body rejekted Extremis, he would have blown up in lab, not in public?  And what about soldier who exploded, injuring Tony’s bodyguard?  Why he blow up?  If it delayed reaction to Extremis, what all dat nonsense about him getting a briefcase from bad guy?

Tony track bad guy to Miami and get drop on Mandarin who…turn out to be aktor hired to play part of a wanted terrorist.  Very funny – except for fakt dat, even though he be seemingly goofy and unwitting accomplice who assumed deaths were fake, he couldn’t be stoopid enough NOT to be aware of news reports on terrorist acts in his name. Also, he SHOT a guy on video!

Dis little twist bring up another point.  In comic book, Mandarin be one of Iron Man’s greatest villains – but he played for a joke here.  So dis pretty much rule out any appearance of real villainous Mandarin in future Iron Man movies…unless he be some supervillain who just decide to name himself after a laughingstock rube.

Tony captured.  But get his armor back.  But Pepper kidnapped.  And President!  And Air Force One blow up but Iron Man manage to save flight crew in one of movie’s more inspired sekwences.

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Boy!  Dem some spicy nuts!

It all culminate in big extended impressive but over-long climactic battle pitting Tony and his buddy, Rhodey, against bad guy and super soldiers.  Pepper, who now a super soldier because she be injected wit Extremis, help save de day.  And Tony celebrate by blowing up all his extra Iron Man suits, assuming he won’t need dem because bad guys all dead even though he thought he had killed dem before and dey turned up very much alive later.  Also, FYI,  some of dem not really injured and just fell into ocean so chances are – LOOK!  EXPLOSIONS! SO COOL!

Wait a minute.  Pepper now a super soldier?  No, because Tony be a genius.  He fix her.  Uh, if Tony be such a genius, why he not fix himself?  Okay, because Tony be a genius, he also fix himself and remove shrapnel from his heart.  Happy now?  Uh, if Tony such a genius, why he not remove shrapnel from heart two movies sooner?

Wait another minute! What was bad guy’s plan?  To get Vice President in office?  But if dat de case, why not just assassinate President instead of going through big show of kidnapping him, stringing him up, etc? What was point of de Mandarin?  More me tink about it, more me hate dis movie.

VERDIKT: Great movie for people who love explosions – and not much else.

RATING: 4 chocolate chippee cookies.

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Boy, dere be nothing worse den doing someting really embarrassing like slipping on a banana peel and falling down a flight of stairs or making a really shitty movie.  Fortunately, dere be convenient way to cover such faux-pas.  Just adopt ye old “Me meant to do dat!” excuse. Ie -

Rosita burn down Mr. Hooper’s store during Cinque de Mayo celebrations = “Me meant to do dat!”

Bert and Ernie misplace Elmo during White Party in Miami = “Me meant to do dat!”

Grover pass out at strip club and wake up wit shaved ass = “Me meant to do dat!”

So Monster have sneaking suspicion dat, at some point during produktion of dis movie, producers realize Black Scorpion going to be a massive turd.  Instead of pulling plug, dey make tweaks to movie to make it seem intentionally cheesy.  Unfortunately, it such a slap-dash patchy job dat movie end up feeling like a schizophrenic Frankenstein monster who REALLY like to show her boobies.  A lot.

Movie begin wit cop father telling young daughter, Darcy, terrible age-inappropriate bedtime story about lying killer scorpion.  Monster suppose it could have been worse.  He could have told her de one about hooker and pirate wit peg leg.

After telling story, father go out and gun down some bad guys.  And an innocent ER doctor.

Years later, Darcy grow up to be a cop.  She be pretty good – until her father gunned down and she get kicked of police force for threatening killer wit gun.  It lead to dis fantastik exchange:

Police Chief: You’re suspended.

Darcy: It’s because I’m a woman.

Police Chief: It’s because you pulled a gun on a suspect.

Darcy: But he killed my father!

Oh.  Okay.

So what a girl to do?

Well, if you’re DIS girl, you dress up in totally inappropriate unwieldly outfit, don mask, call yourself Black Scorpion and go out and fight crime.  She beat up bad guys.  She use her energy boots to jump really high.  Wait.  Energy boots?  How she get energy boots?

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Dey call him Argyle because…er…search monster.

Eventually, our heroine confide her true identity to someone.  Her supportive detective partner she in love wit?  Of course not.  How about some goofy criminal.  Better!  But why she confide in him? Because she need him to turn her car into a poor woman’s batmobile.

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Percival J. Smogley III

Meanwhile, not-so-super villain who look like reject from de old Mighty Morphin Power Rangers t.v. series enact plan to bas entire city.  He warn everybody and tell dem to pick up gas masks at Bureau of Research and Engineering and Atmospheric Technology for Health. Yep, for some reason, BREATH corner de market on gas masks.  And no one de least bit suspicious.  Villain survey de street-level panic on his wall of twenty-four t.v. screens.  But because he too cheap pay for cable, all twenty-four monitors show de same channel.

Big anti-climactic climax take place at….BREATH headquarters! Surprised?  Me not want to spoil big reveal dat ER doctor shot by Black Scorpion’s father secret identity of villain so please do not read dis sentence.

Movie end wit partner telling fellow cops dat Darcy save de day!  And dey all laugh because, of course, Darcy a girl.

VERDIKT: Gratuitous nudity greatly appreciated, but not enough.

RATING: 3  chocolate chippee cookies.

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Crow posterFull disklosure: Monster not a fan of mimes.  It be a phobia me have (like heights, tight places, and Celine Dion) dat go all de way back to monster’s childhood.  Me often try to figure out why dis be, and always come up wit tree possible reasons: 1. Mimes be second-cousins of clowns who, everyone can agree, be creepy mofo’s.  2. Mimes never speak clearly mean dey have someting to hide.  3. When monster just a kid, me get punched in eye by drunken mime.  For dese reasons, me tink me not like mimes.  Also because, for many years, street mime dat perform outside monster’s apartment building always doing invisible wall gag.  It not so bad except dis particular invisible wall be bathroom stall.

Anyhoo, all dis to say: me not like mimes.  So when presented wit dis movie about an undead mime (!), monster about as enthusiastic as Grover at a waxing bar.

But dis movie surprise monster.  In a good way.  Not like sucker punch in de eye.

Let's do the time warp agaaaaiiiiin!

Let’s do the time warp agaaaaiiiiin!

The Crow be a classic revenge tale.  Boy meets Girl.  Boy loses girl – and life.  Boy comes back from de grave and kill a bunch of bad guys.

After he and his girlfriend get killed by bunch of thugs, Eric Draven take it very personal.  He crawl out of his grave, don pancake make-up, and become…Super Mime.  No, scratch dat.  He become…De Crow!  But, er, why he wear pancake make-up?  He not exaktly trying to hide his identity.  He tell everyone who he really be: cops, a kid, de bad guys he about to kill.  It not as if police can go arrest him at his new cemetery loft.

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He be good at killing AND art.

Drawing inspiration – and power – from a crow, Eric, aka De Crow, start exacting revenge on thugs responsible for ruining his life.  One by one, he pick dem off, skewering one wit multiple knives, pincushioning another wit needles, taping another into his car before sending it speeding off a dock AND blowing it up, culminating in big shoot-out and Gothic rooftop swordfight in dead of night and driving rain!  It all presented as pretty straightforward revenge fare, but it very satisfying because all de elements work.  Solid direktion, a good skript dat only occasionally cheesy, and some very good performances.

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He like it spicy!

Movie work so well because it, at it’s heart, be a story about love and loss.  De Crow not be your typical vigilante but a tragik figure.  Dis conveyed in his backstory, his love for his girlfriend, in brilliantly broody performance by Brandon Lee, and in his relationships wit two secondary characters: a by-de-book cop and a street kid wit a chip on her shoulder.  On de surface, de latter seem as cliched as de movie’s plot but, like de plot, it transcend formula and stereotypes to deliver a film wit surprising heart and depth.

Verdikt: Puts almost every other bloated, big budget superhero movie to shame.

Rating: 8.5 chocolate chippee cookies!

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TA posterDis movie about as subtle as Grover at a stripper convention.  It take a potentially funny premise, den beat it into de ground wit de most obvious and heavy-handed execution possible.  It as if makers of dis film assume audience be so stoopid dey need to make absolutely certain dere be no doubt dis supposed to be a parody.  Norbit be a nuanced masterpiece in comparison.

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Neeeeerd!

Movie open wit PSA on dangers of toxic waste dumping.  We cut to Tromaville, toxic waste dumping capital of de U.S., where a nerd janitor, Melvin work at a health club.  “Nerd” actually be too kind.  He be a borderline brain dead Urkle.

Melvin get picked on by bunch of health club members who humiliate him, den chase him thru a window.  Melvin end up landing in vat of toxic waste, get horribly disfigured and run home.

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Dis be monster’s reaction when he realize dere still half hour left in dis movie.  Noooooo!

Once home, he transform – from idiot nerd to big brawny mutant. From dis point, movie just a collection of extended fight sekwences where new-look Melvin beat on thugs, most of who have basic knowledge of kung fu.  Along de way, Melvin reskue and fall in love wit a blind girl who move in wit him at toxic dump.  Me know, me know.  It sound sort of funny.  But trust monster.  It not.

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You know I’m bad, I’m bad, you know it!

Movie obviously made at a time when bar for comedy set super low. How low?  Well, “hilarious highlights” include: racism, gore, attempted rape, shooting of seeing eye dog, gun pointed at baby, and innocent young boy getting head crushed by a car.

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Incognito lover’s stroll

Dey sure not make dem like dey used to.  And dat because dey used to make dem real crap.

Verdikt: It have all de makings of a movie so bad it be good, but dis turkey so bad it aktually BE bad.

Rating: 1 chocolate chippee cookie.

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Abar - posterMonster am drunk reviewing dis movie.  Why not?  After all, me felt positively sloshed watching it.  It full of weird cuts, funky music, bizarre performances, interminable montage sekwences of people driving around, and a plot more ridikulous den Sam de Eagle’s cruising toupee.

Movie begin wit nice family moving into new home.  But neighbors not happy.  Not happy AT ALL.  Why dey not happy?  Becuz dis family be different.  Different how? Well, for one, de husband and wife talk like dey be reading off cue cards.  Barely. Either dat or dey be sekret robots.

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Dr. and Mrs. Robot

Soon, word gets out.  Breaking news report on radio inform shocked listeners: “A black family has moved into Meadow Park…”!

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Neighbors are clearly prejudiced against non-union aktors.

Gang ride to de reskue and scare off angry neighbors wit deir LED light bedecked jackets.  Dey led by guy called Abar who suggest Doc move back to his old neighborhood.  But doc refuse.  Mayor’s office swing by and offer to buy him out.  Doc refuse.  Even Doc’s crazy uncle break into home in middle of de night wearing creepy mask (what a joker!) and suggest he pack it in.  Doc say no way.

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Abar plays to captive audience.  And old timey wheelbarrow.

Doc’s son have weird (even for dis movie) dream about Old West shoot-out.  De next day, dis inspire him to try to outgun a car.  Car prove faster – and heavier.

Everybody sad.  Doc finally get around to _Oh, by the way! – informing Abar dat he created superhuman serum while working on a cure for heart disease (!).  Dis be very surprising – especially since we’re over one hour into ninety minute movie.  He offer it to Abar.  Why he not take it himself?  Well, uh, good qwestion.  See, Doc claim he have weak heart and, uh, look, do you want super powers or not?

Abar take it and develop powers like…well, Monster not sure.  He turn booze into milk, car into horse and buggy, spaghetti into worms, and drug addikts into high school graduates.  Instantly!  BUT we learn dat if he use his powers for selfish gain, he temporarily lose dem.  How he know dis and how dis figure into story?  Beats monster.  Mebbe dey have sekwel planned.

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Worms All’Amattricana.  See Big Bird for recipe!

Abar turn tables on angry neighbors.  He blow up bomber’s car.  He infest woman’s house wit rats.  He put snake in bed wit other woman.  He make neighborhood REALLY windy, den trap everyone in shrinking t.v. screen of death (?).

And to top tings off, we treated to surprising twist:

Bet you not see DAT coming!

Verdikt: Movie try to deliver message about evils of racism so heart in right place but you know what dey say: Road to Hell be lined wit good intentions.  And sitting thru dis movie definitely feel like one WEIRD road trip down down under.

Rating: 2 chocolate chippee cookies for unintended hilarity.

Today’s entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal and blog regular Tam Dixon!

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1Oooh, check ‘em out.  Macaron ice cream sandwiches.  They come in four flavors – strawberry cheesecake, coconut-mango, raspberry-pistachio, and chocolate on chocolate with cocoa nibs – now available at Payard.  Read all about them here: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/06/payard-macaron-ice-cream-sandwiches.html.  Thanks to sis for the heads up.

Also pursuant to our macaron discussion my macaron rant in yesterday’s blog entry, here’s helpful article to help you (or your celebrity chef friends) distinguish the difference between a macaroon and macaron: Macaron vs Macaroon – There’s No Place Like Oz

photo by Robyn Lee

photo by Robyn Lee

And here’s an article to help you (or your celebrity chef friend) know what to look out for when judging a macaron: Macaron vs Macaroon – There’s No Place Like Oz

Finally, to the celebrity chef judges of Masterchef (Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich) who have, apparently, never in their lives seen a macaron prepared with fresh fruit (which, frankly, shouldn’t be all that surprising since they can’t even get the name right), may I present the Pierre Hermes Ispahan:

After over a year and a half of film reviews here on this blog (and over on his own.  They’re all here: http://cookiemonstermovereviews.wordpress.com/) for our weekly superhero-themed Supermovie of the Week Club, it appears as though our resident film critic, Cookie Monster, has pretty much watched and critiqued every American superhero movie ever made and should be wrapping things up by August.  Yep, it certainly looks that way.  But, upon closer scrutiny, I couldn’t help but notice he missed a few. Namely:

Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)
Dr. Strange (1978)
The Toxic Avenger (1984)
The Toxic Avenger II (1989)
The Toxic Avenger III (1989)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1990)
The Guyver (1991)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Guyver: Dark Hero (1994)
Black Scorption (1995)
Darkman: The Return of Durant (1995)
The Crow: City of Angels (1995)
Darkman II: Die Darkman Die (1996)
Black Scorpion II: Aftershock (1996)
Star Kid (1997)
The Crow: Salvation (1999)
Citizen Toxic: The Toxic Avenger IV (2000)
The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)
Despicable Me (2010)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Man of Steel (2013)
Kick- Ass 2 (2013)
The Wolverine (2013)
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Now before Cookie reads this and has a nervous breakdown, I am willing to cut him some slack.  For instance, I won’t blame him if he’s unable to get his furry mitts on a copy of the 1977 Abar, the First Black Superman, and I certainly won’t force him to watch the Black Scorpion sequel, much less all three Toxic Avenger sequels – but I do expect him to make a concerted effort to at least watch the first installment in both glorious film series.
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To make things easier on him and (hopefully) wash the bitter aftertaste of some of these movies out of his mouth – and eyeballs – I’m going to suggest we alternate between these overlooked superhero movies and a movie to be voted on by readers of this blog.  So, let’s start taking nominations for a non-superhero film that Cookie Monster can enjoy review.
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Finally, a reminder to watch the 2012 pointless remake of the 2002 Spiderman in advance of this Monday’s Cookie Monster review:
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Oh, and since we’re on the subject, check out this oh-so-true rundown of 10 WTF Superhero Movie Monents YOu Won’t Believe They Got Away With: http://whatculture.com/film/10-wtf-superhero-movie-moments-you-wont-believe-they-got-away-with.php.  But be warned!  Spoilers abound!

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C - posterWhen is a found footage film not a found footage film?  When de makers mysteriously bail on de concept two turds of de way thru de movie.  Chronicle has distinktion of being de first (mostly) found footage superhero movie.  And dat about all dat make it distinkt.  It otherwise pretty standard fare.

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Hey, it be like Peter Parker x 3!

Our protagonist, Andrew, be a high school nerd.  His mother dying, his dad abusive, he bullied at school.  It a miserable life for him – but very entertaining for everyone else so he decide to start filming it.  He bring his camera everywhere, inkluding to a party he go to wit his cousin and jock friend.  After leaving party, trio find weird hole in de ground, investigate, and diskover strange glowy crystal holding squiggly black ting.  Having never watched a horror or science fiction movie in deir lives, dey trow caution to de wind and decide to touch it.  Crystal changes color and dey get nose bleeds!

Weeks later, dey are showing off deir new teliknetik powers, moving objects wit deir minds.  It all fun and games until someone gets hurt…

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Someone gets hurt.

Andrew uses his power to trow tailgating truck into lake.  Others tink dis is NOT cool and, after swimming into water and rescuing driver (instead of just using deir telikentic power to pull him out), dey agree to not hurt other people.

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I believe I can fly.  I believe I can touch de sky.  I believe I can make others die.

Dey also teach demselves to fly and go hang out in de clouds – until dey almost get run over by a plane (Mighty crowded up dere!).

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Wit great power come great irresponsibility

Dey celebrate by going to house party where Andrew trow up on girl. He humiliated and, next day at skool, he perform instrument-free dental surgery on bully who be picking on him.

Upset, Andrew fly away so he can be alone and film himself crying.  But jock manage to find him – me not exaktly sure how.  Mebbe he go to his favorite special place in de sky?  Jock try to cheer him up.  Andrew tank him by killing him wit lightning blast (Oh, yeah, he also apparently have lightning blast power).

Andrew start tinking he all special and superior, like Grover’s cousin ShaLaunda dat time she got her nails done.  He put on fireman suit and rob bullies and gas station to get money for medicine for his dying mother.

It be at dis point in movie where direktor decide “Fudge it!” and drop de found footage look.  But den seem to want to hedge his bets and inklude unnecessary security cam footage as well.  And, finally, seem to realize he being inconsistent so he go back to found footage look for movie’s ending dat involve Andrew vs. cousins vs a lot of parked cars in high-flying aktion.

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Stay down!  Don’t move!

For some reason, despite all de damage and havok dey cause, police not at all inclined to shoot de boys.  Every time dey toss around police cars and policemen, cops just keep yelling: “Stay down!  Down move!” And, of course, dey move and trow around more cars and cops, and fall down some more and de cops yell: “Stay down!  Don’t move!”

Dis process is repeated until cousin get as tired of dis movie as we do and simply impale Andrew wit a handy spear from a nearby statue.

Movie end wit cousin filming himself addressing Andrew as he arrive in Tibet.  Why?  Does he believe Andrew also have de superpower to watch movies from beyond de grave?

Verdikt: Dere come a point in every found footage movie where audience wonder “Seriously!  Why de hell dey filming dis?”.  It seem dat, late in film, direktor arrive at same conklusion and deeply regret de whole “found footage” ting.

Rating: 3 chocolate chippee cookies.

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