Men of the Year 2014

David Oyelowo

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You may or may not recognise the name, but you will sure as hell recognise the man. Mr Oyelowo has been in some of the biggest films of the last five years – The Help, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Lincoln to name just three – and this year was no different. With roles in Interstellar and A Most Violent Year, David’s career seems to be getting bigger and better, culminating in a brilliant performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in the highly recommended Selma. As our very own Sarah put it, he’s come a long way since Spooks.

Chris Pratt

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Whether he’s Fat Pratt or Six Pack Pratt, we’re smitten with the Parks and Recreation star – his turn as Star-Lord in Guardians Of The Galaxy has seen him go from (please excuse this next word) cuddly, cute comedy actor to bonafide box-office banger. And before you say it, no it’s not *just* his looks that have us hooked – Pratt’s hilarious performance as Emmet in The Lego Movie appealed to viewers of all ages and his voice was perfect for the earnest and enthusiastic hero. And good lord was it difficult to make a decision on which picture of him to use for this post. I spent HOURS researching…

John Boyega

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Since the end of November, there’s only one film anyone has been talking about, and it doesn’t even come out for another year – Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. The trailer opens with a young man popping up on screen looking panicked and exhausted – that’s our John Boy(ega)! With a lead role in arguably the most hotly anticipated film of next year, we’re so impressed that the star of Attack The Block and Half of A Yellow Sun has seen so much success so early on in his career – and he’s still only 22 years old!

John Oliver

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When Jon Stewart took a break from hosting The Daily Show this summer to direct his film Rosewater, he could have picked any of the show’s correspondents to stand in for him, and he chose the only British one. John Oliver did a fantastic job of hosting the show; he was already hugely popular with the audience, you could tell this from the rapturous applause he received whenever he hosted a segment. His brand of super-sarcastic, verbose humour was wasted on the absolutely dire Mock The Week, and he’s much better suited and appreciated in his role as a correspondent on a fake news show. Sure, he looks like a Jim Henson muppet come to life, but he actually did such a good job that he was given his own show on HBO, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which is similar to The Daily Show but with even more sarcasm and a British accent – what more could you want? And speaking of The Daily Show alumni…

Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

This year, Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman’s replacement for when the talk-show king steps down in 2015. While the DTSFT ladies agree that it would be nice to see someone other than a white, middle-aged man hosting a late-night chat show, we’re still pretty pleased with the choice that’s been made. Stephen has come a long way since his days as a correspondent on The Daily Show, landing his own show in 2005, The Colbert Report, which sadly came to an end in December with a final episode packed full of callbacks to earlier episodes and a sing-along with his favourite recurring characters and guests. It’s going to be weird to see him hosting as himself rather than the conservative character (also named Stephen Colbert) that he has played for so long, but we’re definitely excited to see what he has to offer.

 Kailash Satyarthi

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Along with Malala Yousafzai, Kailash was the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize for his tireless campaigning for children’s rights. The access to education, which we in the Western world take for granted, has been a focus point for Mr Satyarthi, and his Nobel Prize was well-deserved.

Peter Capaldi

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Here at DTSFT, we were delighted with the casting of Peter Capaldi as The Twelfth Doctor, as he made a nice change from the potato-faced Matt Smith. His turn as Mr Curry in Paddington also brought him to the attention of a new and younger audience, who will hopefully be tuning in to be utterly terrified by Doctor Who.  Mwuhahahaha!

Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, and Anthony Mackie

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Yeah I’m lumping them all in together because otherwise this post will go on forever – it’s the Captain America: The Winter Soldier gang! With Hannah’s insatiable lust for Sebastian Stan, there was no way the DTSFT ladies were going to leave this trio off the Men of The Year list. While we’ll have to wait for Captain America: Civil War to see the boys back onscreen together, you could check out ‘Playing It Cool’ for a cheeky helping of Evans and Mackie. We’re especially proud of Evans for his directorial debut, Before We Go, as well as his role in the dark action thriller, Snowpiercer – give it a UK release date, god DAMMIT!

Chadwick Boseman

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Chadwick made waves last year with his role as Jackie Robinson in the magnificent 42, and it looks like the next few years are going to be no different for this versatile actor. After portraying soul legend James Brown in the biopic Get On Up, Boseman is set to star as the Marvel character Black Panther in not one but TWO upcoming Marvel movies – Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther. Chadwick, you complete and utter BANGER.

Jack O’Connell

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Unlike some actors who seem to love the limelight more than the craft, Jack O’Connell is a young actor who has worked hard at his talent and is finally starting to get some recognition. After making his name with a role in Skins and films like Private Peaceful and Harry Brown, this intense young actor’s star has continued to rise and this year saw him in three of the most talked about films – ’71, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken. From interviews I’ve watched, he doesn’t seem all too comfortable on the chat-show circuit, which I think makes for a better actor – the less we know about him, the more believable he’ll be in his roles.

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Superhero Sunday: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) is due to start filming…soon? Its start date has been pushed back repeatedly but it should be starting in the not too distant future. And with the announcement of Robert Redford joining the cast (replacing the heavyweight presence of Tommy Lee Jones from the first film) I thought it would be worth revisiting Captain America: The First Avenger. None of the Marvel films have been panned so to speak, but some are regarded as the weaker films. For a lot of people this includes Hulk (2003), The Incredible Hulk (2008) and Captain America. I am not a fan of the Hulk films but I do think that Captain America has got a bit of a bad rap. It’s not perfect, sure, but it has some great performances and wonderful moments – all setting up the development of the Steve Rogers character.

Captain America: The First Avenger

With a film that is so firmly based on the origins of one character, it’s important to cast the role as well as possible. When Chris Evans was first cast the only issues that fans had was due to his previous role as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four films. As complaints go it is fairly limited and, by now, seems irrelevant – especially with the reboot of the Fantastic Four on the way. The first meeting of Steve Rogers shows him as short and very skinny. These are possibly the most disturbing images of the film – seeing Evans so emaciated is very unnerving. And then you move onto Captain America Steve. Easier on the eyes but still the same sweet endearing character. Out of all of the Avengers he can be regarded as boring. He isn’t cocky like Tony Stark, not arrogant like Thor (even if he has developed since his first introduction) and not quite as “damaged” as Bruce Banner. Rogers is a weak man with great inner strength and character who was given great physical strength as well. Plus, who doesn’t love a gentleman?

Peggy Carter

Another great aspect? Hayley. Atwell. I’m quite clearly obsessed infatuated adoring of her. I don’t even need to mention how much I love Peggy Carter.

"The Howling Commandos"

The rest of the cast are also top notch. Tommy Lee Jones as a gruff Army General. Stanley Tucci as the well meaning, intelligent Doctor. Sebastian Stan as Rogers’ best friend with all (or most of) the luck, Bucky Barnes. Dominic Cooper as the third actor to play Tony Stark’s father Howard – and setting up a possible love triangle. Toby Jones as the weedy scientist. Rogers’ team of soldiers – never fully claimed as The Howling Commandos. And then there’s Hugo Weaving as the deranged Johann Schmidt/Red Skull. Doing crazy Nazi to the full but never quite camping it up like Cate Blanchett in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Which is a good thing.

Bucky Barnes

Howard Stark

The problems? Mostly relating to the plot, in my mind. I don’t know the full details of Captain America in the comics or the origins of Red Skull. All I can go in is what I make of the film. Aside from the fact that there is a general accepted suspension of disbelief regarding superheroes anyway, the Red Skull story seems…just too insane. (I have no problem with the plot of Thor though.) And the end… It is both heartbreaking (I love Peggy!) and also unsatisfying. The best moments of the film come with Rogers being a solider. Whether that’s in battle or just interacting with the other soldiers and Stark. And Peggy. Anything with Peggy. (Undeserving of just a side note, but Anna B. Sheppard’s costume design is also incredible. But I may just be distracted by that red dress.)

Red Skull

But let’s not forget another wonderful aspect of the film. This:

And that’s why I went as a USO girl for a fancy dress film night.

The USO Girls

Let’s cut Captain America a little slack and look forward to The Winter Soldier!

The Winter Soldier

S x

Superhero Sunday: DTSFT (Nearly) Survived The Prince Charles Cinema’s Avenger’s Marathon

(Yes, it’s Monday and not Sunday but it’s that time between Christmas and New Year so who can blame me for being a little late?)

The title is a little misleading. The ‘nearly’ refers to the incomplete team (we missed you Helen!), not ‘nearly’ surviving the marathon. WE SURVIVED! Now that’s out of the way, we begin.

The Prince Charles Cinema is located in Leicester Square in London. It has two screens. And it’s wonderful. I know that’s fairly widely noted but there’s no harm in saying it again. I’ve been able to see some great films there. Some that didn’t have a wide release (Woody Allen: A Documentary), some that I missed on their original release (Anna Karenina) and  events, such as Rex Manning Day (a special screening of Empire Records). The whole place has a love of films and so do all the attendees.

Another sidenote about The PCC is that they are one of the only cinemas that still has a 35mm projector. This might not mean that much to a lot of people but as someone who has worked as a projectionist, this is a pretty big deal. Most cinemas have fully converted to digital and those that haven’t are either in the process or emphasise their use of 35mm prints. Vinyl has had a resurgence, hopefully this new love for 35mm will take effect before too many projectionists are made redundant. (This is a little off topic but will be referred to later on, including my knowledge of film projection – super limited knowledge.)

The PCC runs a number of marathon events but this has been the first one that I’ve gone to. Friday 28th December. Starting at 7pm. Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man 2. Thor. Captain America: The First Avenger. Avengers Assemble. (Not Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, calling it Avengers Assemble is difficult enough.)

Iron Man – 7pm (approx)

'Iron Man'

We started the night with the first. The beginning. The reason that Avengers Assemble exists. The first film to be shown at the marathon in 35mm. A fairly dirty print. I mean, I’ve seen worse, but it wasn’t great. The biggest cheer during the film? Stan Lee’s cameo. Friday was his 90th birthday don’t forget. Second biggest cheer? For Agent Phil Coulson. At this point just Agent Coulson. In a pretty ugly suit. This film had so much enjoyment to give the audience. The laughs were bigger, there were cheers for so much. First one done.

The Incredible Hulk – 9.25pm (approx)

'The Incredible Hulk'

Yes, this isn’t a poster to go with the Edward Norton film but that would’ve ruined my Mondo poster theme. Plus, Ruffalo is better.

The film that people were looking forward to the least. You could tell by the number of empty seats. (This marathon was sold out.) And by the comments throughout the film. If the film had come later in the evening I’m pretty sure I would’ve taken those two hours to nap. But it was too early! The only saving factors were the subtle mention of Captain America (super soldier reference) and Tony Stark’s appearance at the end. Not really worth it. But the 35mm print was in much better condition than Iron Man. I think that’s cos it doesn’t get as much use. Harsh or just true?

Iron Man 2 – 11.30pm (approx)

'Iron Man 2'

Excluding The Incredible Hulk, which I’d only seen at the cinema, Iron Man 2 is the film of the marathon I’ve seen the fewest times. (Or something in better English than that.) It has a lot of problems but watching it I remembered the fun factors. Mostly Sam Rockwell. Any time he is on screen it lights up. Then there’s Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff. Her hair when in ‘that’ catsuit isn’t as good as in Avengers Assemble, but her being the ‘new’ Pepper Potts is pretty great. I mostly love the costumes. But I would. There is a lot of humour in this, whether it’s Downey Jr., Favreau as Happy Hogan, Rockwell, Gregg (more cheers for Coulson) or even some of Rourke’s lines. It just makes me excited to see what Shane Black will bring to Iron Man 3. (Five months away now…) Then there was the post-credit scene. The excitement was building and building at this point. Side note: another dirty 35mm print. I was saddened.

Thor – 1.45am (approx)

'Thor'

So we were getting closer, but tiredness was starting to sink in. But, have no fear, Thor is one of the best films and when you’re surrounded by extreme fans of Hemsworth and Hiddleston you have no chance of falling asleep. There were more cheers throughout this – Coulson, reference to Banner, Thor being a ‘fish-out-of-water’, and many of Loki’s shocked expressions at the beginning. We were hitting the final hurdle… (Thor: The Dark World is too far away.)

Captain America: The First Avenger – 3.45am (approx)

'Captain America: The First Avenger'

There were a number of disparaging remarks made throughout the night by various people (staff and audience) about the weaknesses of this film. “It’s not great.” “You won’t miss much by sleeping.” And the like. (I may have invented those quotes because I don’t remember what people actually said but you get the picture.) I still have a soft spot for Captain America. No-one who knows me is shocked. Even from reading this blog I bet it isn’t surprising. There are just some great moments and performances. And Agent Peggy Carter. This film also marked the third appearance of a different Howard Stark. And the first of the technical snafu of the evening/morning. During the scene where *spoiler* Peggy consoles Steve over Bucky’s death the film cut out. Now, this was a 35mm print and, given the short time between the film re-starting, I guess that the problem was something very simple and possibly just human error. There are no complaints. These things happen – they happened to me enough! Everything was sorted quickly and we only missed a few seconds – through re-starting the film. All understandable. But my favourite moment was Sarah telling me that she heard a customer ask a staff member if the film had stopped because the projectionist had fallen asleep. As if each reel needed to be changed during the film à la Cinema Paradiso. Bless. Then there was the post-credit scene. The teaser trailer for Avengers Assemble. Now we were getting somewhere!

Avengers Assemble – 6.30am (6am intended…)

'The Avengers'

…there was a delay. Avengers Assemble marked the only digital film shown in the marathon. And there were technical difficulties. I’ve been there. Where I worked at least, with digital you pretty much have to call someone from the technical department. The most common solution seems to be the ‘switch it off and switch it on again’ technique. But if you don’t check this with someone you could lose all of the films ingested on the projector. Meaning no screening. When there’s a problem with a 35mm projector/projection, you can generally spot the problem and fix it there and then. This was shown with Captain America. Here? A waiting game. But we were informed early on, and, after a wait, all was solved. Avengers assembled and we were appeased! More cheers, more ‘Coulson Lives, Fury Lies’, more laughter, more swoons. The film lived up to promise! Worst part? By this point, 30-second naps occurred. We were so excited, we wanted to be awake but…my body failed me a bit. But only for seconds! I swear! (I had contacts in so I was scared of actually failing asleep.)

The evening/marathon/morning ended at about 9am. We were all exhausted. There were survivor photos taken. We slinked away – none of us quite feeling up to having photos taken after a sleepless night. Did we fail there? I…don’t care! We survived the marathon! Would I do another? Possibly. It would definitely depend on the films.

Did anyone go? Anyone go to a similar marathon event at The PCC or somewhere else?

S x

Costume Plot: Agent Peggy Carter from ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’

*SPOILERS AHEAD!*

Damn right she gets her own poster.

I’m sure that most of the audience of Captain America: The First Avenger fell in love with Peggy Carter (and, in turn, Hayley Atwell) as I did. She’s brilliant. Now I have to admit that I’ve never read the Captain America comics so I cannot state whether she’s an accurate portrayal of the Peggy in the comics but I can say that she made a strong impact as a powerful and intelligent woman. Plus, she’s always so damn stylish. Now, most of this needs to be attributed to the costume designer Anna B. Sheppard (currently designing Maleficent) and the 1940s setting. Every outfit is carefully considered and smart. All the time. My re-watching of Captain America made me decide to start wearing red lipstick. And to actually commit to it. Why? Peggy. I won’t go so far as to grow my hair cos I’m too lazy to deal with it long and would never sustain a 40s hairstyle. But I considered it. This love made me decide to create a Costume Plot of Peggy’s costumes within Captain America: The First Avenger. So here we go…

Peggy addressing the new recruits

This is the first time we see Peggy and she’s wearing her standard army uniform: khaki fitted single-breasted jacket with brass buttons (seen in the poster at the top of the post) and worn with a belt at the waist, a khaki pencil skirt (shown above with a high pleat at the back – less risque than just a slit), a white/cream shirt with a khaki tie. The uniform is exactly that. A uniform. It is still 1940s in feel but Peggy’s job comes first. She takes a role in training these boys/men and must look the part.

Further training

Here Peggy wears the same uniform except that her shirt seems to be a light khaki colour rather than white and instead of two SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) pins on her lapels she has just one on her tie. This is when the official training starts – there is less ‘procession’ about it.

In this image Peggy is wearing trousers tucked into army boots. Much more down and dirty for serious army training. She still wears the fitted jacket and, to be honest, may be wearing trousers in the above picture (and probably was) but the film never shows us beyond the jacket.

Project Rebirth and Hydra’s attack

For this scene, I have a feeling that Peggy’s original costume has been adjusted slightly for filming purposes. This is the only time that Peggy is seen wearing an A-line skirt – and as she gets thrown to the ground by Steve it makes total sense. Total filming sense, while still not being out of character or too noticeable. Another interesting aspect is the return of the two SSR pins on her lapels. The Project Rebirth experiment was a big deal with many officials present (such as Senator Brandt) and Peggy needs to be as smart as possible.

Post Hydra attack

Peggy has changed out of her khaki shirt and tie into a white silk blouse. I have to say that I don’t really understand the purpose of this. I don’t understand the purpose of the change unless it is a different ‘story day’, although we are led to believe that it is the same day as the attack. I’m going to go with this is the day after the attack and that’s why Peggy’s changed.

USO tour When I was watching the film to track Peggy’s costumes I didn’t think that she was wearing her white shirt in this scene with Steve after his disastrous performance. This picture is much brighter than the light in the film though so it may be that the film makes the shirt appear darker in colour than it actually was. But, again we have Peggy in her standard uniform (complete with pencil skirt) with her two lapel pins.

In Stark’s plane

The first, poorly lit, photo is to show that Peggy is wearing trousers. Wouldn’t you if you were planning an attack? And the second photo shows her khaki shirt (the white shirt from before looking khaki in dark lighting?) with a floral scarf and a leather aviator jacket. I like the feminine touch of the scarf as Peggy tends to be very structured in all of her costumes – this far. And the aviator jacket is incredible. I like to think it’s a riff of Steve’s leather jacket and also the leather jacket he wears at the end of The Avengers/Avengers Assemble. (It’s period appropriate and I might be right about Steve in Captain America but I’m clearly reaching with the Avengers link.)

This is included because I’m making a link. There is a reason behind it. I’m not just using this as an excuse. We clear? Good.

Rogers’ return At this point, everyone thinks Steve is dead. Peggy is still dressed in her army uniform with the khaki pencil skirt, khaki shirt, khaki tie with the SSR pin but instead of her fitted jacket she’s wearing her leather aviator jacket. What she was wearing when she last saw Steve. The only item there she could ‘get away’ with wearing at work. Coincidence? Decide for yourself.

Mapping out Hydra locations Steve’s safe and planning attacks on Hydra. But was meant to be receiving a medal of honour. The reason for Peggy’s extra uniform effort? The two pins, the silk blouse? Trying to make a good impression for the latest war hero?

In the pub

Now. Finally we come to THAT red dress. She looks incredible. The 40s were made for Hayley Atwell and the biggest problem with this dress is that it’s barely on screen. Or maybe thats a bonus. If it was on for a few scenes the audience would forget how brilliant it is. And it’s so simple. (Although, saying that, I’ve been analysing images of this dress for ages trying to figure out how to make it. I can’t seem to see any seams or darts to provide shaping, apart from the hip draping. They MUST be there and I just cant see them. If someone knows where they are please tell me before I go mad. Or lose patience and just invent them.)

Rogers kissing Private Lorraine

This photo shows the soft gathering at the shoulder seams to allow extra shaping and detailing over the shoulder pads (a 1940s staple before ‘Dynasty’ got hold of them). You can also see the darts to create extra shaping and to emphasise the waist.

This photo is just to show the back gathering underneath the yoke. This blouse is just so beautifully constructed.

So, Agent Peggy Carter essentially propositioned you in the pub wearing THAT red dress and you chose to kiss Anne Boleyn. Really? Why? Idiot. Especially when Peggy walks around in a beautifully cut white silk blouse and a pencil skirt. Steve Rogers you are a moron. She was dressing down, loosening up. You ruined that. (That’s how I read it.)

Montage Back to serious Peggy’s uniform. I don’t really have much more to add to this.

Bombed pub We can’t see what Peggy’s wearing under her trench coat (with a nice flare at the waist, again to emphasise her hourglass shape) but I do assume that it is her regular army uniform – we can’t even see if the SSR pin is on her tie or there are two on the lapels!

Planning Hydra attack Serious uniform. This is war.

At Hydra’s base Back to the leather aviator jacket. I think it’s the same as before but this one doesn’t have any fleecing on the collar. So it might be a very slightly different jacket. The more I think about this I think it is a different jacket but probably only very slightly different and meant to be accepted as the first jacket. This “analysis” of Peggy’s costumes is not really that. It’s more of a description of her costume arc with some thoughts sprinkled about. But one thing to take away from this is how few items of costume Peggy has in the film, not taking into account doubles of pieces of course. She has distinct looks and manages to make every appearance look fresh and new. (By “she” I mean Peggy and not Hayley Atwell.) I LOVE her:

For more information on the costume design in Captain America: The First Avenger please read here. Clothes on Film interviews Anna B. Sheppard and does a much better job than I ever could.

(Screenshots mostly taken from http://superheroscreencaps.com)

S x

Five reasons why Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be more awesome than your mum

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1) The Dark World will be the first outing for these characters since the brilliant Avengers Assemble back at the start of the summer. Avengers, with its paint box colours and its schwarma, set a new benchmark for superhero films, proving that they didn’t have to be dark and moody to be entertaining. That said, fans will be expecting a LOT from what comes next. Everyone knows they need to bring their A game, and both films with reflect that.

2) The leading men. Have you seen Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans aka The Chrises aka Chris to the power of 2? Both are funny, sparky, passionate men who would probably giggle adorably if you tickled their feet, which makes them perfect. They fit their roles incredibly well, so it’ll be good to see them don their respective cape/shield for a third time.

3) BLAM. Another witty Stan Lee cameo fo’ yo’ asses. Well nothing is definite, but Lee and his silver mane are bound to crop up somewhere, which is always a treat for those in the know.  Can anything beat the Amazing Spider-Man or the Avengers cameos though?Spider-Man or the Avengers cameos though?

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4) Villainy, villainy, wondrous villainy. New superhero outings can only mean new baddies to screw with things. In light of the departure of Mads Mikkelson from The Dark World, there’s a massive nemesis- shaped gap to be filled to be filled in Thor 2. Who by? Anyone’s guess. But think about the phrase The Dark World. Numerous sources have suggested that the sequel will explore the more grim side of Thor’s home. Think of it as a trip through the hood of Asgard. Colour us intrigued!

The Winter Soldier might see the return of Steve Rogers’ supposedly late best friend Bucky, only the Russians have got to him and turned your man into the ruthless assassin of the title. Will Sebastian Stan come back for the part? Here’s hoping. And as the film described as the closest linked to Avengers – will he be calling on any of his super best friends to help him out?

5) As it stands, neither film will star Martin Lawrence. Which is always a plus.