Captain America: The First Avenger (May Contain Spoilers)

While there have been a lot of superhero films released in the recent months, normally a lot of which track the “origins” of that superhero and how they eventually become known as the famous whatever-they-are, there are some that do it badly and some that make it work. Captain America: The First Avenger does it in a style that, for once, is entirely unlike others.

Captain America manages to get a mix of a slow-burner of an origins story (rather than everything just “happening” a-la Green Lantern) with immediate pay-offs for other characters.  For instance, Johann Schmidt aka The Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving, who never fails to make an impressive and awesome bad guy, but especially so when he doesn’t have any skin on his face!), head of the HYDRA division of Nazi Germany, has his storyline dropped straight into the start of the film, and there is no explanation behind his character needed which works well as the exposition of his character doesn’t come until later anyway. Whereas, on the flip side, there is a slow burning storyline for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) before eventually becoming Captain America after undergoing the Super Soldier process and surviving, mainly because there is more of a personal story to his growth – Captain America always had a deeper character than some other heroes and that needed to be explained wholly in the film before anything else could move on. It needed to be seen that this Steve Rogers became Captain America for who he is and for his conscience, not just what he could do.

There were many things that I enjoyed seeing in Captain America: The First Avenger that didn’t need to be included but were made part of the overall story anyway. Firstly, there was the way they made Steve Rogers into a propaganda symbol before they actually put him in any kind of war zone, because in reality that is what Captain America started out as. Originally, the idea behind Captain America was used as propaganda to rally American troops and was used as a symbol of patriotism for the USA before it eventually continued on as a superhero comic and as part of The Avengers. Secondly, having Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark (Tony Stark/Iron Man’s dad, if none of you got that reference) as the main techie behind the Super Soldier process and creating some of Cap’s armour and his shield tied everything in the Marvel Universe together nicely, and goes to show how effective Marvel having their own film studios can be when everything comes together like that.

It would have been very easy for director Joe Johnston (of Jurassic Park III fame) Captain America: The First Avenger to totally milk the patriotism potential of a film like this, and turn it into a “Go USA!” kind of film (like Battle: Los Angeles turned out to be) instead of how it actually was by having it as an superhero film set in World War II and perfectly capturing the film noir-style of the era and managing to make it feel genuine rather than forced, and mixed the sci-fi with the historical in a seamless way. Also, the way they managed to make Cap’s suit more like that of the Ultimates series (i.e. a kind of Kevlar armour jacket and helmet rather than the all-in-one suit of yester-year) means that everything seemed more genuine rather than having him run round a warzone in a bright blue and red suit.

Tommy Lee Jones did amazing work starring as Colonel Chester Phillips in charge of the Super Soldier program, and Sebastian Stan was very convincing as Bucky Barnes even though they decided to kill him off in the film where he would otherwise go on to be Captain America’s sidekick. That being said, since Captain America: The First Avenger is mainly being done to tie in with The Avengers next year, there was obviously less time to indulge in Captain America’s WW2 years.

But all of this storyline, for how amazing it was, seems like nothing compared to the final scene of the film and the post-credits teaser. The final act of the film sees Steve Rogers waking up in a seemingly 1940’s hospital before breaking out of its fake walls into a modern day world and realising his situation with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), consequently cutting out the entire scenes of him being found frozen in the ice and being brought into the modern day world as it keeps the first-person knowledge of the film.

SPOILER ALERT: And then there is the post-credits teaser trailer for The Avengers next summer. Starting with Steve Rogers training in a boxing gym and knocking the punching bag off the ceiling, it continues on with brief glimpses of Loki in the S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ and other heroes like Thor, Iron Man and Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner, and it would seem he now gets a purple-tinted suit to wear as well) all out in action, with the tagline Some Assembly Required appearing in between the clips. Needless to say, if you’re even a fraction of the geek that I am, you’re bound to be excited about this first glimpse of one of the biggest films of next year.

Essentially, Captain America: The First Avenger does a brilliant job of bringing the final piece of The Avengers puzzle into play, and was surprisingly more interesting as a film for all its set pieces and script writing than Thor turned out to be, and manages to avoid turning the patriotism dial into overload too. Captain America: The First Avenger gets 9 out of 10 for bringing everything in the Marvel Universe together and getting me appropriately excited for The Avengers.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Ok, so, this review has definitely been a long time coming, and I’ll be completely honest with what happened. I managed to get to see this film at a midnight opening with a packed-out screen and loads of people really excited to see it. Thing is, that was in a place that was nearly an hours drive away from where I actually live, and as such I didn’t get home until nearly 4 in the AM. Not only that, I worked over the weekend of it’s release and then went on a two week holiday immediately afterwards. So, while I realise that this review is pretty much going up just as the film itself is leaving cinemas, I felt that I should still put up a few short thoughts about it considering this is possibly the biggest film release of this generation and has managed to surpass all the box office records of any other film ever. If that doesn’t deserve a blog post, I don’t know what does!

Basically, I thought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 did a great job of tying everything up at the end. This is the film that people have been waiting 10 whole years to see, and it’s finally here and managed to leave everything behind without any regrets. The showing I went to, people came out in floods of tears at the fact that their childhood had practically ended, and it did make me think that the Potter films have been dominating box offices everywhere for some time now, so its likely that there will be a massive Potter-shaped whole in many cinemas takings for a few years to come now. Not only that, but there are many people around the world who will find it hard to let go of such a phenomenally huge franchise after actually growing up with it.

What I liked about the film (apart from the fact that I saw it in 2D and could appreciate all the visuals for what they were) was how much resolve you get to see throughout the entire film. So many different threads and storylines get tied up that you remember why you started liking certain characters in the first place. Top of the list, rightly enough, is Alan Rickman as Snape. Even though he dies, his journey comes full circle and you actually realise that he’s been one of the good guys the whole time.

While I was hoping for a bit more of a spectacle over Voldemort’s death, the fact that it did happen in a dramatic way and not just a magical *shazam* and he’s dead did make you feel like everything was finally over, even though he probably deserved a much more overblown ending to his evil ways.

One scene that annoyed me a little (and apparently some others out there too) was the very last scene, set many years later. It’s not the fact that it was in there, as it had to be to round everything off, but more how all the actors looked when aged. It was almost done in a bit of a lazy way as they mostly just gave them different haircuts and gave Ron a pot belly. I think many people were expecting something a little more from the very last scene of a worldwide phenomenon, but perhaps in hindsight it’s better that it was that scene that had people complaining rather than something much more significant.

Anyway, the fact is that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 got a 7 out of 10 from me for being the kind of ending to such a monumentally huge saga that can’t really draw any complaints, as it tied everything off in a satisfying way. And ending peoples childhoods in the process, too.

LISTED Film Previews – August ’11

Carrying on the big Summer Blockbuster hits of the season, I very nearly ran out of space in this months section as there was SO much that I wanted to write about these films, but had to limit what I could put for each of them. Never the less, all the best films (and worst) films for this month managed to get a mention, so get your great big dirty eyes round these and pick something to watch!

COWBOYS & ALIENS (12A) (Dir. Jon Favreau)

This neo-Western sci-fi epic set in Silver City, Arizona in 1873 sees Daniel Craig as a man on the run who wakes up in the wilderness to find an unusual mechanism attached to his wrist. After journeying back to town, the colonel (Harrison Ford, back in a hat again!) puts him in shackles. At that moment, the most unlikely of events occurs – an Alien spacecraft arrives in the town with bad intentions. Now, a posse of cowboys and Native Americans must band together to fight the extra-terrestrial invaders. Expect bucket-loads of epic action and effects in this comic book adaptation from the director of Iron Man. Released August 19th.

SUPER 8 (12A) (Dir. J.J. Abrams)

In a small Ohio town in 1979, a group of teenagers shooting a super 8 movie witness a train crash and capture it on film. But later they suspect that the crash was no accident as strange events start taking place in their town, and as their deputy begins to investigate, a monstrous phenomenon emerges. This highly anticipated film from the director of Star Trek and Cloverfield will have both cult followers and mainstream film-goers excited in equal measures! Released August 5th.

THE SMURFS (PG) (Dir. Raja Gosnell)

Call me cynical, but the more films that try to rejuvenate classic cartoons from the past into CGI money-makers shows a growing lack of originality. Both Marmaduke and Yogi Bear went South, and it could be that The Smurfs being magically transported to New York could head down the same dangerous path. However, Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry as Smurfette and Hank Azaria as Gargamel could be what saves this from being a total smurf-up. Released August 10th.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (12A) (Dir. Rupert Wyatt)

Finally seeing a prequel to the famous Sci-fi film series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes stars James Franco as a research scientist working to create a cure for Alzheimer’s by experimenting on a chimp named Caesar. But the consequences of his research are bigger than anyone could have expected, and the development of animal intelligence brings around a war for dominance between apes and humans. Just the effects in the trailers are entirely mind blowing, and with Andy Serkis getting his primate on again after King Kong you can bet that this will completely re-define everything that was known about this series until now. Guaranteed, this will be a big hit on all accounts! Released August 12th.


Alright, so it may well be like a modern day Kevin And Perry Go Large, but considering that The Inbetweeners has been one of the biggest sitcom hits of recent years, the fact that the boys are getting their own movie comes as little surprise! Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) are all heading out on a group holiday to Crete. But, as with all the best laid plans of the foursome, things are bound to go awry. This could end up being the British answer to The Hangover, so don’t see this if you don’t want your sides split! Released August 19th.

As published in Listed Magazine and online at

LISTED Film Previews – July 2011

And so, another summer of massive blockbuster hits is apon us. But for those of you out there who are confused by it all, running around screaming “What, oh what, should I spend my hard-earned moola on to have a good time at the cinema??”, get help. You’re running around screaming to yourself, and it’s not healthy. The people in white will be round shortly to catch you with a giant butterfly net, and I hope for their sake you go quietly. For the rest of us sane people, here’s a short guide to the big films coming your way over the summer months. Enjoy:


The final instalment of the Harry Potter series will bring a close to all of the events from the past seven films in a grand finale which will see The Boy Who Lived confront He Who Must Not Be Named when Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts to destroy Voldemort’s final Horcruxes. Ok, so a majority of the world will already know how it ends by this point considering the popularity of the books, but that doesn’t mean this will be any less of an ending. Even the trailer for Deathly Hallows Part II is full of effects and suspense, and that’s only two-and-a-half minutes long – AND has dragons in it! While the first part may not have had all that much happen up until half an hour from the end, we all have to remember that Deathly Hallows Part I was mostly just a pre-cursor for the events that come together in this one. Do not take this for granted – this will be the ending of an era as far as this franchise goes. While other aspects of the Harry Potter world are being milked for all they’re worth (like The Harry Potter Theme Park), the films will be the beginning and the end of all the hype. As such, anything less than a truly massive, epic, Star Wars-meets-Lord Of The Rings battle to end all battles will just be a disappointment. Even if you lost the plot after the fourth film, Deathly Hallows Part II will hopefully be the ending a generation will remember. Miss it at your own peril! Released July 15th.

CARS 2 (PG) (Dir. John Lasseter/Brad Lewis)

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his pit boss Mater and crew are back for more great Pixar animation after the success of the Cars Toons series. This time round, the gang enter the Race of Champions – a multi-national competition taking them across several different countries. But at the same time Finn McMissile (Michael Caine), an operative from the British Intelligence, wants Lightning to take part in the race to help them uncover a threat to the world’s safety. It’s undisputable how much the Cars series has profited from the merchandising of the toy lines, seconded perhaps only by Toy Story, so it’s easy to see why a sequel got made. But on the flipside the line-up of star voices, the quality of animation and the one-liners from Mater make it hard to dislike Cars 2, so this will likely become another big hit for Pixar. Released July 22nd.


After the laughing stock Revenge of the Fallen made of the franchise, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Dark of the Moon could just be more of the same from Michael Bay – turning what was once a legitimate, classic animation into something that involved characters trying to appeal to the young generation, and failed. Also, it had Megan Fox. The good news? Dark of the Moon looks like it could well have corrected all the mistakes the franchise has made thus far. And it doesn’t have Megan Fox. During the space race between the USSR and the USA, there was a mission to find something that had crashed into the surface of the moon – something not of our world. Now, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his alliance with Optimus Prime and the Autobots will be put to the test against a common enemy – Shockwave. Dark of the Moon promises to delve deeper into the mythos of the toy line, while also developing the human characters relationships at the same time. Also, the sheer size and budget of the effects for this third instalment look like they could dwarf the previous two in comparison, so the fact it’s being released in IMAX 3D as well could make it the visual phenomenon of the year. And it doesn’t have Megan Fox! Check out the latest trailer for just a taste of the huge-scale action that goes on. Released July 1st.


The final piece in the puzzle before The Avengers assemble next year is finally here. After being deemed unfit for military service in World War 2, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) signs up for a top secret military research program and is given the Super Soldier serum. He becomes the armed forces secret weapon – Captain America, The Sentinel of Liberty. In his first mission he has to tackle the Nazi operations of Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), also known as the diabolical Red Skull, who is out to track down an all-powerful Cosmic Cube to throw the balance of power in favour of the Fuhrer. Originally, it looked like Thor would be the top-seller for Marvel this year due to Captain America being set solely against the backdrop of WW2 America (almost like a cross between Superman and Pearl Harbour) and could risk losing some audiences. But after seeing the way Cap throws his stars and stripes shield in 3D, and the fact that Joss Whedon is on board as co-writer before directing The Avengers next year to tie everything together, Captain America: The First Avenger could turn out to be the big hit of the summer for Marvel Studios. Released July 29th.

BEGINNERS (12A) (Dir. Mike Mills)

75 year old Hal (Christopher Plummer) decides after decades of being in the closet to tell his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) that he is gay and has a younger lover but, at the same time, has terminal cancer. Writer/director Mike Mills might well be on to a winner with the premise of this movie and it’s likely to become this year’s breakout hit. It’s a poignant story with lots of interesting characters and development, but with plenty of comedy to balance out the drama at the same time. Plus, you can definitely expect good performances from both Plummer and McGregor as a duo in this! Released July 22nd.

As Published in Listed Magazine an on

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (May Contain Spoilers)

After the diabolical flop of the second film, I haven’t been getting too excited about the third instalment in the Transformers series. I remember seeing the first one and being blown away by the effects of real-life transforming robots, even though the script suffered from a certain degree of the cheese factor, but the second film ended up being the black mark on the franchise. With Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Michael Bay swore that everything they did wrong in the second one would be rectified for the third, so I made the decision to give it a chance.

After the events of Revenge of the Fallen, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) the Autobots are working with the US Military on covert operations to keep the world safe while the Decepticons have gone into hiding. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is out in the world looking for a job along with his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley). But a conspiracy from the US moon landing and an Autobot ship that crashed there decades ago brings Sam out of his new life and back into the world of the Autobots. After Optimus and the others find out what the US Government have been hiding from them, they recover their old leader from the wreckage of the crash on the moon – Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy). But after they bring Sentinel Prime back to Earth, Megatron (Hugo Weaving) and the Decepticons make the move they’ve been waiting to make – to rebuild Cybertron on Earth.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon does manage to eradicate a lot of the memory of the second film by going deeper into the mythos of the original action figures and storylines, and manages to pull off a much more interesting plotline by mixing human and Autobot histories together with twists that really aren’t obvious, rather than subjecting people to 2 ½ hours of bad acting and confusing storylines like the second one did and did it with far less annoying characters, even though there had to be a couple to give smaller audience members something to laugh at. The fact that Leonard Nimoy does the voice of Sentinel Prime as well came as a surprise to me as I didn’t know this before I went to the film. But despite how good he is at voicing characters, apparently Michael Bay couldn’t resist having a completely shameless Star Trek Spock quote of “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” in there – not all that clever, but obviously too good to resist.

Then there is the much more impressive replacement to Megan Fox, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley. Putting aside for a moment (but never forgetting) that she used to be a Victoria’s Secret model, she actually manages to act in Dark of the Moon and comes across as much less annoying than Megan Fox was. For one thing, she manages to OPEN her mouth when she speaks, despite the ridiculous amount of pouting she still manages to do throughout the film. But the fact she’s British does redeem her a little bit from some of the bits that let her down – like towards the end, when she simply stands in the middle of a war zone with destruction happening all around her and stares blankly at something while she puts the pieces together in her mind. Still, at least she’s not Megan Fox.

One addition to this film that I really liked was the idea of robotic “gore” during the fight scenes. While some might argue that it’s a little bit too close to real gore for a 12A movie, what they’ve done for this instalment is add in the idea that if a character gets punched in the face, or shot in the chest or has an arm ripped off, there is engine oil and mechanic lubricants that spray everywhere like blood effects. It’s definitely a clever idea that hasn’t been approached before, but it could spark a debate as to how close to real gore you can get in what is essentially meant to be a kids film.

Even though the storyline is a lot better in Dark of the Moon and the action scenes are shot and imaged much better than the last film, two and a half hours is still an epic amount of time for what you actually get and a lot could have been shaved off the first half of the film since some parts aren’t relevant to the overall storyline and are mostly thrown in for continuity than anything else.

But it must be said, the most unrealistic thing of the entire film (which, let us not forget, has transforming robots that beat the crap out of each other) is that someone like Shia LaBeouf would end up with an ex-Victoria’s Secret model as his girlfriend, whether he’s saved the world with his robot car or not.

Overall, the big budget effects and storyline work well in Dark of the Moon and do for the franchise what was lost in the second film, but it seems there were only a few bits worth seeing in 3D and probably wouldn’t warrant the entire 3D upgrade, but IMAX might well be a different story. Transformers: Dark of the Moon gets 7 out of 10 for redeeming itself after the second film and having a better storyline and cast, but still dragging on in parts.

Bridesmaids (May Contain Spoilers)

The typical summer chick flick comes in many forms. Recent years have seen the travesties of Sex and the City not once, but twice, and weren’t quite met with the sense of “Oh, this looks like a good way to spend an evening for both the guys and the girls” than the producers had perhaps hoped. However, producer of 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig may well have gotten the mix just right with Bridesmaids.

Bridesmaids focuses on the broke and lovelorn Annie (Kristen Wiig) who is asked by her lifelong friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) to be Maid of Honour at her wedding. But in the process of organising various parties, showers and a wedding as well, Annie’s life begins to unravel as she tries to keep up with Lillian’s perfect new friend Helen (Rose Byrne) and things start going from bad to worse. At the same time Annie has to deal with various love troubles including her new interest Nathan (Chris O’Dowd) and her lack of money, but is still determined to show that she can be the best Maid of Honour there is.

The script, which was partly written by Kristen Wiig herself, is very witty and even stretches towards being pretty crude in some places, but doesn’t dwell on it too much and doesn’t turn the whole film into a two hour fart gag instead. What Bridesmaids does pretty well is capture a more sinister and competitive side to wedding arrangements, but keeps a similar comedy style to Knocked Up and other similar films. The comedy mostly comes from Kristen Wiig’s character flaws and her hopeless attempts at over-compensating for her downfalls.

Rather than playing on the crude (though, it must be said, the food poisoning scene is one of the funniest of the movie) which it would have been so easy to do, Bridesmaids goes for a more female-oriented style of comedy with jokes that men will find funny but are obviously made so that women will get them first, and laugh that much harder.

Essentially, Bridesmaids plays out a lot like a version of Knocked Up that has been tailored for women more than men, but also done in a way that guys won’t be entirely put off of seeing it. Plus, seeing familiar faces of British comedy like Matt Lucas and Chris O’Dowd (from The IT Crowd) in actual roles in this made it all the more interesting to watch, and even though Matt Lucas doesn’t have much of a part Chris O’Dowd’s character does get plenty of lines and plays a very likeable character and manages to keep his Irish accent a lot as well.

Bridesmaids gets a firm 6 out of 10 for being an incredibly funny comedy with plenty of material to poke fun at (especially with Melissa McCarthy’s uncouth character chipping in with random comments, and perhaps becomes the female Zach Galifiankis from The Hangover?) without relying on too many crude jokes to get its laughs.

Green Lantern (May Contain Spoilers)

Before the first teaser trailers, I had high hopes for the first film adaptation of one of DC Comics flagship characters, and after seeing early teaser photos I was interested in the direction the producers were taking Green Lantern. Although the teaser trailers left me unimpressed, I couldn’t not go and see what could be one of the big superhero hits of the summer.

Cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is grounded after a test mission goes wrong. But in his crisis of confidence, he is chosen by dying alien Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) to be granted his mystical ring. By accepting this, Hal gets transported to the planet Oa and initiated into an intergalactic police force charged with keeping the peace across the Universe using the power of the Emerald energy of Willpower. They are the Green Lantern Corps – and Hal Jordan is the first ever human to be placed among their ranks. But as Hal begins his training with the Corps to become a Green Lantern, an entity of fear known as Parallax is freed from his prison created by Abin Sur and is headed towards Earth, already embodying Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) to spread fear on Earth. In order to defeat this intergalactic enemy, Hal must gather together more courage than flying a jet could ever take, and master the powers of the Green Lantern ring to save his colleague and love interest Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) and ultimately the Earth from destruction.

The film managed to stay true to a lot of the Green Lantern mythos and original storylines of the Corps, but it felt like there were things missing from the film as a whole that could have done it a lot more justice – no pun intended!

What first made me question the look of Green Lantern was the copious amount of CGI being used. While it’s understandable that for creating the world of Oa and Corps members like Tomar-Re and Kilowog (voiced by Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke-Duncan respectively) CGI needed to be used to make them as realistic as possible, but using it for things like Hal’s Green Lantern uniform seemed a bit like overkill to me. But that being said, it was explained to me that in the comic books the Green Lantern uniform is part of the construct the ring produces, so it seems fitting that his suit was CGI too and meant it had the moving energy effect as well, so even though it seemed like a bit much it was done for a solid reason.

Also on the subject of Green Lantern’s CGI, it seemed to me that there wasn’t enough of him using his ring to create big constructs and that wasn’t very adventurous for a superhero with that kind of potential. It would have been understandable if they had, say, focussed their attention on creating more of a solid script to back the film with, but even that became predictable in places and a bit hollow overall – especially since Hal’s scientist friend got severely overlooked and even forgotten about in certain scenes! There are clearly plans for a sequel (set for release in 2013) with the clip during the credits of Sinestro (Mark Strong, who manages to not blink for the entire 40 minutes he is on screen. Fact.) putting on the Yellow ring of Fear, despite the fact that his last scene in the film was him congratulating Hal Jordan on being right and bringing out humanity in the Corps. It almost felt like there was no reason for him putting on the ring in this film other than to create talk of a sequel and because his name is Sinestro. If you let a guy with a name like Sinestro into your group, you can pretty much bet he’ll stab you in the back. The clue is in the name. Still, at least it means there is a lot of potential for the sequel compared to the lack of depth in this film.

The action scenes and one-liners that the trailer campaign for Green Lantern didn’t ruin did impress and made the film worth the ticket money, but there wasn’t much that hadn’t been revealed by the trailers by that point, and the retrofitting for 3D wouldn’t make all that much difference to the visuals to make it worth paying the extra for it.

Overall, Green Lantern came across a bit like the kind of stereotypical superhero movie you see people watching in other films, but there were still plenty of bits throughout to satisfy long term fans of the original comic books. The action scenes and CGI were impressive, but because there weren’t enough of them and the script got hollow in places, Green Lantern suffered a little from Take-Away Syndrome – you enjoy it while you’re having it, but two hours later you’ve forgotten all about it and want another. Green Lantern gets 6 out of 10 for being entertaining but lacking a lot of what people actually paid to see.