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“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.”
See My IMDb Live Polls Here Below:
A. Poll 1-10
1. Most Influential Decade Defining Actor
2. Spider-man vs. Spider-man vs. Spider-man?
3. Favourite Frequent Acting Collaborations
4. Best Opening Scene In A Movie
5. The Limit Does Not Exist: 'Limitless' vs. 'Lucy'
6. Improvising is the... uh... the best!
7. The Worst Batman Villain with whom to Share a Bunk Bed
8. Those Villains... They're So Predictable
9. Face-Off: 'Spirited Away' vs. 'Grave of the Fireflies'
10. Best Opening Scene In A Movie - Part 2
B. Poll 11-20
11. The Greatest Movies About Hollywood
12. The Movie, The Myth, The Legend
13. Best Original Screenplay Winners in IMDb Top 250
14. Face-off: Spike Jonze vs. Spike Lee
15. Sword-and-Sandals Films
16. Movie Poster Clichés - Part 2
17. Best Adapted Screenplay Winners in IMDb Top 250
18. Mysterious Movie Characters
19. Combine 2 Movie Titles, Get 1 Film!
20. Face-Off: 'Donnie Darko' vs. 'Harvey'
C. Poll 21-30
21. For Pete's Sake! (Part 1 - Non-fictional)
22. For Pete's Sake! (Part 2 - Fictional)
23. They Are Innocent!
24. They've Never Even Been Nominated!
25. Fantasy Movie Tropes
26. Cinematic Sophie's Choices
27. Let's Play Scrabble!
28. Combine 2 Movie Titles, Get 1 Film! - Part 2
29. IMDb 250 Face-Off: Hitchcock vs. Spielberg
30. Classes Taught by Superheroes
D. Poll 31-40
31. Movie Creations That Turned Against Their Creators
32. Face-Off: OLDman vs. NEWman
33. Treacherous Movie Mentors
34. Alternate Movie Endings
35. IMDb 250 Face-Off: 'Fargo' vs. 'Trainspotting'
36. Most Romantic Disney Kiss
37. Powerful Movie Scenes With Minimal Dialogue
38. Chaplin Face-Off: 'City Lights' vs. 'Modern Times'
39. Movies Told in Flashback
40. Spoofed Movie Moments
E. Poll 41-50
41. Top 10 Breakout Stars of 2016
42. Col Needham's Best Films of 2016
43. Fictional Movie Serial Killers
44. Best Movie Fraternity/Sorority
45. Funniest Pixar Moments
46. "In Their Head" Movie Characters
47. 25 Trailers Better Than the Movie
48. Films Nominated for the "Big Five Academy Awards" that Won 0 of Them
49. The Fourth Day of Christmas
50. Face-Off: How Important is the Re-Watchability Factor?
F. Poll 51-60
51. The Seventh Day of Christmas
52. Bomb Defusing Movie Moments
53. MORE Powerful Movie Scenes With Minimal Dialogue
54. Top 20 "one-word" titled 1960's Movies
55. AFI's Top 10 Animation Films
56. IMDb All-Time Top 250: Biography
57. IMDb Poll Board: Movies Destined to Become Classics
58. Face-Off: Supergirl vs. Batgirl
59. Best Opposites Attract Movie Couples
60. Oscars 2017 — Best Motion Picture of the Year
G. Poll 61-
61. Oscars 2017 — Best Achievement in Film Editing
62. Movie Villains Falling to Their Death
63. Paul Newman & The Academy
64. Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Movies
65. YES! Yees!! YESSS!!!
66. When you add '-ing' to movie titles...
67. Face Reveal Scenes in Movies
68. Hardest to Kill Movie Characters
Total Number of Votes: 130,000 (as of March, 2017)
Achieved Poll Maker Badge: Dec 29, 2016 (165 days)
My Poll Making Began in: July 17, 2016 -
Polls Featured at IMDb Home Page: 8
Polls Featured at IMDb Facebook Page: 4
My Other Lists:
1. Favorite Actors of the Hollywood Golden Age
2. Favorite Film of Each Year I've Been Alive
3. Favorite Directors of All Time
4. Favorite Film of Each Genre
5. Favorite Film of Each Decade
6. TV Series I've Seen Entirely
Most frequent directors: Billy Wilder - 7 films Alfred Hitchcock - 7 films Martin Scorsese - 7 films Steven Spielberg - 7 films Christopher Nolan - 7 films Woody Allen - 7 films Stanley Kubrick - 6 films Charles Chaplin - 5 films Hayao Miyazaki - 4 films Frank Capra - 3 films Ingmar Bergman - 3 films Sidney Lumet - 3 films Francis Ford Coppola - 3 films David Fincher - 3 films
Recently Added/Disappeared: NEW ENTRY The 400 Blows (1959) (1959) NEW ENTRY The Grapes of Wrath (1940) (1940) NEW ENTRY The Last King of Scotland (2006) (2006) NEW ENTRY The Artist (2011) (2011) NEW ENTRY The Big Sleep (1946) (1946)
Which of these film franchises that changed lead characters is your favorite?
Note: I will be excluding superhero characters, as the identity of these characters is consistent between sequels even if their is a recast of the actor portraying said character.
After voting, you may discuss the poll here.
In your opinion, which of these films that feature both great and awful performances is your favorite?
[Note: In order for these performances to be eligible, the great performances must have been met with either an Oscar, Golden Globe or BAFTA win/nomination, while the bad performances must have won/been nominated for A Golden Raspberry Award.]
After voting, you may discuss the poll here.
Which exit would you like to pull off the most?
SITUATION: You are climbing the stairway to heaven. At the top, you are stopped and greeted by The Deity. You have your pick of one divine being that has been portrayed in film.
Out of all the characters who have portrayed The Almighty in a film, which character would you most want to meet up at the Pearly Gates?
After voting, you may discuss the poll here.
From this list of films below, which do you think would have the most amazing Broadway musical?
Exclusions: Films that have either already been adapted to a musical (Lion King, Aladdin) or have enough music in them to make the Broadway transition fairly easy (Jungle Book, The Nightmare Before Christmas).
After voting, you may discuss the poll here.
With which of the 35 Highest Rated Film-Noir Feature Films With At Least 1000 Votes would you most like to decorate your room?
After voting, you may discuss the poll here.
Which of these moments was the most memorable to you?
After voting, you may discuss the poll here.
La La Land (2016)
The stuff that dreams are made of...
"La La Land" is the kind of movie that you can't help but fall in love with for the sheer energy that oozes out of every frame, every note and every second its on the screen. It really puts you into an inexplicable kind of trance, you become completely lost in its lust and aesthetic beauty. Director Damien Chazelle, already the youngest winner of the Best Director Award in the history of the Golden Globes, may very well accomplish the same feat tomorrow at the Oscars.
The premise of the film is simple: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. We've heard it before, but what "La La Land" actually creates with a rather hackneyed plot line is anything but unoriginal. In fact, Chazelle deserves a ton of credit for creating a completely original musical, one that bursts with toe-tappingly poetic songs and melodies that will be entrenched in people's mind for a long time. He even pays homage to the more classic films of the Hollywood Golden Age by showing us alternate endings (many films of that era were known to film two endings) but how Chazelle masterfuly juxtaposes the fiction to reality merits an Oscar alone.
Aside from the incredible acting, cinematography and writing, one thing I must comment on about "La La Land" is the beautiful jazz score. This soundtrack is near close to perfect, especially for those that adore jazz. It perfectly encapsulates all those idealist thoughts people have when daydreaming about cities like LA or NYC. Have you ever listened to jazz music and, to quote fellow IMDb user ElMaruecan82, just felt nostalgic over a time you weren't even born in? Like "La La Land", Jazz has all the elements that pulls you in as a viewer: it has melody, it has harmony, it has rhythm, but most of all, it has soul. And boy, does this film have soul. It's energy is relentless and simply undeniable.
Coupled with the beautiful musical score and exceptionally well written songs ("City of Stars", in particular, is enchanting) is first-rate acting by Gosling and Stone. Gosling can really do so many roles but where I find him most effective is in his minimalism - he's really one of few actors who can show so much with so little. His subtlety and nuances create such depth and mystery in a character like Sebastien you could find yourself spending hours pondering over what he is merely thinking. Stone was great as well, seemingly effortless in her ability to project a charm and likability. Together, their chemistry was electric; they really just looked like they were having a great time out there (for anyone who says they couldn't dance/sing well).
Honestly, I could go on for days about the magic of this film and this likely won't be the final copy of this review for reasons of continuing to think over and re-phrase my thoughts of the film; I get what people are saying about how the film finds a way to stick in your head. Case in point, "La La Land" is the stuff that dreams are made of. And whether you're part of the group that despises the film or not, one can't deny the elegance, style and melodic magic the film possesses, and the ability it has to totally immerse you in all its jazzy glory; and isn't that, by some measure, what any film really aspires to do?
A chef-d'oeuvre served by the Pixar-Disney combo
One thing that Pixar has always done exceptionally well, and that has distinguished them as the preeminent animated storytellers (with the exception of maybe Disney and Studio Ghibli), is put the story and characters at the forefront of each of their films. One of the most fascinating legends out there is the "Pixar Theory", which is the belief of a "shared universe" in which all the Pixar characters, and their stories, reside in. One certainty is, however, that all Pixar films are connected by their true-to-life themes, exploring subject matter that will never manage to be obsolete and always manage to tug at those heart strings.
When I first heard of "Ratatouille", I expected the usual, formulaic Pixar routine: A mismatched pair of partners embark on an adventurous journey. There will be a colourful ensemble of supporting players amidst the "hidden world" brought to life by everyday objects. But "Ratatouille" took the mismatch concept to refreshingly new heights. A rat is a virtual antithesis to humans and so we are enticed by the story to show us how similar these two characters are despite their inherent differences.
"Ratatouille" is carried by great storytelling and characterization, fuelled by the instant conflict between our titular rodent, a bumbling kitchen boy and his impromptu ascension on the food chain (no pun intended). Remy (Patton Oswalt), is a Parisian rat whose dream is to be a grand chef in "The City of Lights". He has quite the sophisticated palate and appreciates the art of fine dining. One day he finds himself astray and arrives at one of Paris' finest restaurants. And this is where the real story begins. Could we genuinely buy into the idea that a boy can befriend and cook with a rat? Usually no but Pixar, and their exquisite weaving of such dreams, makes this feat imaginable.
There is so much heart in this film and the usage of Paris as its backdrop adds a charming, exquisite touch to its telling. Remy's occasional musing gazes at the view of Paris invite us to similarly admire the visual allure Pixar has presented us with. The animation is simply superb the dark, polluted areas where the rats reside almost feel like a separate world when entering the dazzling, colourful city-scape of the Parisian neighbourhoods. The painstaking details of the rat are also impressive, from the movements of its fur against the wind to the functioning of the rest of its body parts like its ears, nose and eyes.
There is an undeniable realism felt throughout the film, largely achieved by the stellar voice acting present throughout. Patton Oswalt is someone I would not have pictured in the role as Remy but, after experiencing him, I could not have imagined anyone else capturing the pathos as well as he did. Same goes for Lou Romano, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Garrett, Ian Holm (and Peter O'Toole!). Overall, "Ratatouille" may serve up the conventional themes we have come to expect from Pixar, but it is able to deliver them with such depth and magic that I place it on a pedestal by itself as a cinematic masterpiece. "Ratatouille" is a dish best served to everyone!
Love and Death (1975)
One of Allen's funniest, and most underrated, creations
"Love and Death" is arguably one of, if not, the funniest Woody Allen film to ever be created. Allen plays Boris, the politically ambivalent, pacifist and neurotic soldier whom, against his will, must fight for the Russian Army. He's in love with Sonja (Keaton), his "cousin twice removed", whose never expressed any kind of mutual feelings towards him. But with their intricate, existential conversations, you'd think they're a match made in intellectual heaven.
This film offers us snippets of those who have inspired Allen's career. Ingmar Bergman, the acclaimed Swedish director, has always been a huge influence of Allen's work, with both men showing this kind of fascination with death. The scenes with the Grim Reaper (dressed in white, not black) and Boris are a wonderful homage that calls to mind Bergman's "The Seventh Seal", though done in a satirical manner which is more Allen- esque. He also pays tribute to Charlie Chaplin with the likes of a hilarious slapstick gag.
Some of the humour is straightforward while other jokes require that extra knowledge of classic literature and/or European cinema. But the humor is relentless and done with such care - every scene with Allen and Keaton together is absolute gold. And with the occasional 4th wall breaks, in classic Woody style, we are given that perfect dose of introspection that will make you question much of life's ambiguity once all the laughs have faded away. A near-perfect film by Allen.
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
"I've been looking for you, lone star."
Dallas Buyers Club is a great film for so many reasons but what will win your heart over is the level of authenticity and honesty shown in the various character portrayals. McConaughey and Leto are simply spellbinding in their roles - both completely immerse themselves into both the physical and psychological state of their characters and show just what commitment to a role should look like. Together, they bring a sense of realism that elevates this biopic to first-rate material. The way both themselves, as well as their relationship with one another, evolves is a sight to be seen and done plausibly so. The on-screen text is a wise technique that makes us feel the passage of time and so we can understand how McConaughey's Woodroof has transformed from the sleazy, impudent person he was to the compassionate, altruistic individual he becomes. The movie is marvellously executed with its great writing, compelling themes and beautiful cinematography that captures the run-down, gloomy feel of the Dallas neighbourhood. It feels almost as a place of regret, where people's dreams have died in its shadowy abyss. The town's sense of lifelessness contrasts the sheer determination and vitality of Woodroof, a hero who defied all odds and whose relentless effort to merely cure himself developed into an inspiring story that showed the effect one man's resilience can have on others.
The Reader (2008)
An unforgettable and moving read
There is something extremely dangerous about internalizing the shame or embarrassment a person might have. They can act stoic, sure, but eventually what they tried to suppress will come back to them and at that point, it becomes all the more difficult to finally confront those demons when it does. "The Reader" shows us just how damaging such secrets can be, not only for the person keeping them, but also to whom they're keeping them from.
Its story is told in three distinct parts by Michael, including flashbacks that begin at the time when he was a reserved 15-year old kid, falling ill, being helped by and setting eyes on Hanna for the very first time. Their ensuing romantic relationship is a complex one - enigmatic but endearing, abnormal on paper but validated by the fervent, undeniable lust they show for one another. The conflicting forces of their bond are, in a way, what seemingly draws the two together. Below the surface, however, it would appear that their vulnerability plays an important part in it as well.
The film is not unpredictable per se, in that certain elements of the film, like Hanna's feelings towards Michael, are viewed skeptically due to 1. The inherent peculiarity of their situation and 2. Winslet's extraordinarily nuanced demeanour. Our consciousness of the situation allows us to more clearly analyze and understand it and so we are granted the time, amidst their time together, to ponder the psyche of each individual. This element, of its subtext being masked by a rather straightforward situation, makes "The Reader" all the more thought-provoking and powerful.
The direction and writing also play an integral role in bringing out the humanity of its characters. The shift in tone, beginning with its brevity and high pace, then gradually slipping to a more pensive, poignant feel, effectively divides its story into its own distinct parts but manages to flow seamlessly by the weight of its characters emotions that seem to never relent and so humanely evolve. This is thanks to masterful performances by David Cross, Ralph Fiennes and, of course, Kate Winslet.
The story of Hanna Schmitz is reflective, regretful and truly heartbreaking, as we watch her being slowly swept away by the uncompromising ugliness that stems from keeping her own her secrets. Perhaps confessing to her shortcomings may serve as the proverbial key to her freedom, but it is ultimately her shame which has imprisoned her for life. And in that sense, she can never truly be freed, only endure what has irreparably damaged her for so many years.
An exquisite journey of self-reflection and contemplation
Every once in a while, there comes a film that makes you question a lot about your own existence. In "Sideways", we are given a firsthand look into the lives of two men reaching middle age, both of whom are searching for something, yet neither of them are entirely certain what that something is. Miles (Giamatti) is a struggling writer, and wine enthusiast, who takes his engaged friend Jack (Church) on what he thinks will be a nice, tranquil trip through the California vineyards.
"Sideways" is very bold mainly because it focuses on in-depth conversation between its characters. The sharp, introspective dialogue present throughout the film is beautifully written and does an excellent job of allowing us to not only comprehend, but identify with, its characters. By the end I felt as if I truly knew these friends inside and out, showing the compelling results of such a true-to-life story whose soul focus is to help its audience better understand its two vastly different male focal points.
This film bristles with a certain 'je ne sais quoi' that is both charming and absorbing. Its inherent and forgivably episodic narrative takes you into the minds of its characters we are not merely watching Jack and Miles take a trip through California's wine country, but rather accompanying them for the ride. And the journey on the road is subtly symbolic of presenting us with two men at a crossroads whose lives until now are largely devoid of any real meaning. Jack is looking to sew some wild oats and Miles is, well, busy keeping his feelings bottled up as he continues to ironically open bottle after bottle of Pinot.
Paul Giamatti transcended himself to new heights with his performance of a stoic, withdrawn individual. He is able to inject his customary, animated self into the role, though it is far more subdued here. His sad, musing gaze helps to achieve a certain pathos and breeds further tension and vulnerability that shows the despair of a man that has struggled for years. Everything from the inflexion of his words to his character's nuances are so spot on, especially in the "Why are you so into Pinot?" scene, which was one of the film's most engrossing moments.
The supporting performances were also fantastic, including Virginia Madsen as the sweet, warm-hearted Maya, and Sandra Oh as the out-going, kinky Stephanie. But the real star was undoubtedly Giamatti, breathing life into a character with such profound depth that the fact he wasn't even nominated for Best Actor is a crime in itself. "Sideways" takes you on both a literal and figurative journey that provides an exquisite take on coming to grips with life's impromptu changes.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
"I used to know the words... I knew the words"
Were there any better words that could have so perfectly encapsulated the psyche of the deeply troubled, delusional woman that is Jasmine? Woody Allen has, of course, always had a remarkable perception of relationships and the human condition. But a true artist has more than just an amazing mind; they have that illustrative gift in which they can fully elucidate their thoughts to us, fully immersing us into their minds and allowing for us to take a look through their eyes and through the eyes of the characters in which they create.
In Blue Jasmine, our eponymous character begins and ends the film blabbering away about her once promising life, filled of excess and elegance. 'Ignorance is bliss' wouldn't do this woman justice; it becomes clear, from the moment we meet her, that she is doomed by her own misapprehension. One thing that I loved about this film was the parallels between the film's beginning and end; it lends a certain symmetry to a story that perfectly contrasts the unevenness of it character. The subtle, yet equally impactful, shifts in tone is another strong aspect of this film that shows Allen operating at the top of his ability as a filmmaker and storyteller.
I will not regurgitate the plot here, but I will say this: Cate Blanchett owns this role. Could another actress have so seamlessly captured both the strength and vulnerability of Jasmine? Could they have remained as true-to-life and exquisitely erratic as her? I reckon they'd be hard-pressed to do so. Hitting on all the right mannerisms and nuances, Blanchett breathes life into what could have played out as a very "been there, seen that" type of persona. The way she tries to force her thoughts into some semblance of order bears a strikingly similar nature to that of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard; each character refusing to accept their dismal circumstances, living in the delusion of their fantasies and whose denial of the facts will inevitably be their downfall. Like Gloria Swanson, it was Blanchett's theatrical flare that really managed to elevate her performance up a level.
Woody Allen does a fantastic job of creating a screenplay devoid of clichés, providing flashbacks that lend a surprising continuity to the film and also allows us to more deeply explore the profundity of Jasmine's misery. The story, along with its ebbs and flows, just feels so genuine and is anchored by great supporting performances from Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin and Peter Sarsgaard. It is interesting to watch how all of the characters interact differently with Jasmine, some understanding better than others how to read her and then act accordingly. With a beautiful musical score to boot, Blue Jasmine will simultaneously manage to challenge and dazzle you.
Sausage Party (2016)
Hilarious, raunchy and, yes, cleverly written
After watching Sausage Party, one thing is certain - You will never look at your food the same way again. In this film, Rogen and Co. employ all their humorous tricks in the book to bring to life a highly original idea. Along for the ride are fellow comedic gems including Jonah Hill, James Franco and Kristen Wiig to boot.
The film tells the story of a world of anthropomorphized food in the fictional grocery store Shopwellers. Life is great for all the food items, whose dreams are to meet the "gods" and to (relish?) the life outside their confined shelves. But when Frank the sausage learns the truth of their fate as human meals, he must warn the rest of the food items and find a way to escape and find their elusive freedom, free from humans.
The plot sounds ridiculous and it is even more over the top than one might expect it to be, especially those last 30 minutes or so. The amount of crude humour and constant innuendos keep its free flowing story a hilarious one. But for a film that centres around food, there exists a great level humanity embedded in its plethora of characters, who are as endearing as they are vulgar, filled with the same urges, ambitions and fears that any normal person would have.
With its constant food puns and raunchy humour, it certainly isn't for everyone. But Sausage Party is special - it offers both humour and substance, some food for thought if you will. It has an extraordinary charm stemming from its lovable characters and occasional nuanced moments. A seemingly shallow storyline delves much deeper into the concept of religion, hope and perspective. The idea is highly original and provides a surprising dose of pathos and provoking moments.
An 'ate'/10 for me.
Spellbinding and a viscerally stimulating piece of art by Bergman
"Wild Strawberries", or Smultronstället (the original title), was one of two absolute gems Ingmar Bergman wrote in 1957, the other being The Seventh Seal. In both films, we witness the journey of a disillusioned man in pursuit of life satisfaction, an explanation to their existence. We are then introduced to a series of flashbacks, which will reveal a great deal about how they have been shaped into who they have become.
The story is of aging professor Dr. Isak Borg and his feelings of remorse near the end of his life compelling him to seek out answers or at least some type of meaning. "I hate resentful people" he ironically mutters, though we are given the brief impression that it is all people he despises. As he travels to Lund with his disarmingly candid daughter-in-law, Marianne, to accept an honorary degree, he will encounter both people and places that will elicit memories, both the good and the bad, of his past, as we watch his feelings of melancholy gradually morph into the affirmation of life of which he was always searching for.
So much of "Wild Strawberries" is, at its core, extraordinarily nuanced, with each new experience revealing another layer of our grouchy protagonist. "The place where wild strawberries grow", he gaily reminisces about at the film's beginning. I like to believe that, like 'Rosebud' in Citizen Kane, the wild strawberries serve as an emblem of the innocence in our youth, a memory that evokes hope and sheer joy, parts of life that many people will, as they grow older, seek to regain in some form or another.
This film had me in a complete lost for words. It is able to connect with you on such an emotional, profoundly deep level beyond explanation. The cinematography is done with such care, with each detail almost emerging with a consciousness of its own. There is so much life in every frame, whether it being in the forest, the wild strawberry field. The acting and direction is subtle and true-to-life, as we feel that we are witnessing the telling of a genuine life story rather than observing a film. It is, in simplest terms, pure cinematic art.
Suicide Squad (2016)
An entertaining bunch that succumbs to familiar formulas
Firstly, I think it is fair to say that Suicide Squad does not merit all the backlash it has received thus far, especially from critics. Certainly this film deserves a fate better than a 25% rotten tomatoes score that is akin to films like House of Wax and Howard the Duck. With such massive hype surrounding its release, DC was certainly hard-pressed to deliver. But alas, here we are and while this film isn't perfect, it does get some things right and provides its viewers with ample entertainment.
One aspect of this film I felt it struggled to offer us was an adequate backstory for many of its main characters. As a result, we're left with a flurry of personalities that frankly feels a little messy and disorganized. But perhaps it is somewhat paradoxical to learn about the psyche of characters who are anything but human. With visually fantastical super villains like Enchantress, Killer Croc and El Diablo, this film is certainly a treat for the eyes more than the brain.
There are certainly many plot holes and the occasional cringy dialogue. Even come the film's end, you feel like you have witnessed an under-developed, completely rushed plot that is certainly difficult to genuinely buy into. It fails where films like the Dark Knight have succeeded in creating a believable, sinister atmosphere that transcends the realm of comic book and enters suspenseful thriller material.
But if you temper your expectations a little, Suicide Squad presents itself as a fun, action- packed flick. Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto (among others) bring their A-game but unfortunately were given a sub-par script to work with. The story-line certainly tries to cram in many superfluous details, injecting Batman into the plot being one. I guess I felt with such a stunning array of characters at their disposal, S.S. left a lot to be desired.