action, crime, drama, movie, movie review

March 29th, 2018 Movie – Truth Or Consequences, NM

truth or consequences nm

You ever go looking at a DVD and wonder why you own it, or how for that matter? That is the first thing that comes to mind regarding today’s movie. I mean, obviously I bought the movie but I don’t remember when or why for that matter. I have never seen this movie before so I can’t really say what would have motivated me to buy a movie I have never seen, with a subject matter that would not necessarily make for a leap of faith purchase like this. Well, no choice but to go ahead and see what I have with today’s movie, Truth Or Consequences, N.M.

The plot: Raymond Lembecke is getting released from prison and is met outside by his girlfriend Addy Monroe. 8 months later, Raymond and Addy meet with Marcus Weans and Curtis Freley at a diner, then head across the street to a photo shop. Sneaking around to the back, Raymond picks the lock to reveal it is the hideout for a drug dealer named Eddie Grillo. Raymond and his group are shocked to find Eddie and another man there, as the place was supposed to be empty at that time of day, while Eddie is pissed at seeing Raymond there. Eddie accuses Raymond of betraying him but Raymond tells him that he had gone to prison for Eddie and Eddie’s way of repaying him was to give him a lousy job. As tempers start to flare, Curtis shoots Eddie, then the other man and as he searches him, discovers that the man was an undercover cop and wearing a wire. Grabbing the cases of drugs, the group make a run out of the shop, getting in a shoot out with three police officers that show up and killing them as they make their escape. As they travel down the highway, they all begin arguing over what they should do, with Marcus blaming Curtis for putting them in the situation by shooting Eddie and the cop. Realizing that they need to switch vehicles, though Curtis doesn’t want to get rid of his car, they come across a couple, Gordon Jacobson and Donna Moreland, having a picnic and decide to steal their car but when they realize that they have an RV, they decide to take the couple with them. Meanwhile, the police are going over what they know of the incident and the people involved and it is revealed that Marcus is a deep cover fed working for the DEA. As Raymond and his group make their way towards Vegas, intending to sell the drugs and get away, Marcus attempts to leave notes for the police whenever he gets the chance. As the days pass, with a couple of close calls from the police, Gordon starts to develop a case of Stockholm Syndrome towards the group, which worries Marcus. When they stop at a rest stop, Marcus attempts to lead Gordon and Donna away from the RV so they can get away but Gordon yells out for Curtis when he goes looking for them. When a suburban pulls up at the rest stop, Curtis wants to kill the man and steal his car but Raymond and Marcus both tell him not to kill the guy so Curtis knocks him out and they place him in the RV while they all get in the suburban and leave. The police locate the RV and put an APB out on the suburban, resulting in Raymond driving the suburban off road to escape the cops. Pulling into a motel, they quickly switch cars and drive away, with the police driving right past them. They reach Vegas and Raymond, Marcus, and Curtis go to see Tony Vago to make a deal for the drugs, only to learn that Eddie was working for Vago, meaning the drugs were his. Curtis starts to apologize and says they will give back to drugs, then suddenly kills both of Vago’s bodyguards. As Curtis holds Vago at gunpoint, Raymond and Marcus loot his safe and they leave, with Curtis shooting Vago on the way out. Later, as Vago’s men try to figure out what they should do, a man named “Sir” shows up and says he has been sent by Vago’s boss to deal with the situation. The group head over to Raymond’s friend Wayne’s house and hide out there for a while, and Donna gets upset with Gordon over his wanting to imitate and befriend Curtis and the others. When Raymond, Curtis, Marcus, and Gordon go out to get some food, Gordon gets into an argument with a guy that bumps into him. The man starts to beat Gordon up when Gordon grabs a broken bottle and cuts the guy’s throat, shocking Raymond and the others. Curtis quickly grabs Gordon and shoves him towards Raymond, then finishes him off, then they head back to Wayne’s house to grab Addy and Donna and leave, with Raymond telling them they are heading to his brother’s place in New Mexico. Meanwhile, Wayne returns to his home to find Sir and some men waiting for him and they proceed to torture Wayne to learn where Raymond and the others are going, then kill him. Raymond and the others arrive at Raymond’s brother’s house and head inside, unaware that Sir’s men have the place under surveillance. That night, Marcus attempts to call his boss to let him know where they are but is forced to hang up when Raymond walks out of the bedroom. Getting suspicious and paranoid, Raymond has Marcus call the number back to verify what he said but Marcus’ boss, understanding the prearranged signal Marcus had used when he hung up, is able to convince Raymond Marcus was telling the truth. The next day, Raymond gets spooked and wants to go ahead and leave, especially after Addy tells him that she is pregnant. Curtis finds Sir’s lookout on the hill and captures him, just as the men show up to make the deal for the drugs. As the deal commences, Sir and his men arrive and begin shooting up the place, killing Curtis, the dealer, and his bodyguard. Marcus, who told Gordon and Donna the truth about him, tells them to follow his lead and get out of there. Raymond and Addy try to escape and get pinned down and as they exchange fire, Addy is killed while Sir goes to kill Donna but ends up being killed by Gordon. The DEA arrives and finish off the rest of Sir’s men, and Marcus goes to arrest Raymond, who is carrying Addy’s body. Seeing one of Sir’s men attempting to shoot Marcus, Raymond shoots him, prompting Marcus to fire and shoot Raymond but after realizing what happened, feels bad about it and walks away.

Truth Or Consequences, N.M. met with mostly negative results from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that it was a decent thriller, though somewhat unoriginal in it’s scope. Despite the title of the movie, no filming took place in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, as all the filming took place in Utah and Nevada. The movie received a limited theatrical release, which some feel is why it didn’t get more critical reviews, and only earned $122,046 during it’s run.

Going in unawares, I have to admit that this is not that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty good, with Vincent Gallo (Raymond), Mykelti Williamson (Marcus), Kim Dickens (Addy), and Kiefer Sutherland (Curtis) all doing good jobs in their roles. I have to admit that Kiefer pretty much stole the show with his performance while Mykelti showed a much wider range of acting, which probably will surprise most people that only know him as Bubba from Forest Gump. I will admit that the story was a little unoriginal and honestly felt like it was kind of a poor man’s Tarantino movie stylistically. That being said, this was a pretty solid, albeit slow-paced, thriller. The drama was pretty good while the action scenes added some intensity to suck you in even further into the story. It might not be something that knocks your socks off but this is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 27th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man

the amazing spider-man 2012

After all of the teasing Sam Raimi did with having Curt Connors in his movies, we finally get to see the Lizard make an appearance on the big screen; and all it took was 5 years, a reboot, and a new director. Yeh, 5 years after Raimi’s trilogy ended, Columbia Pictures decided to Columbia Pictures decided to cancel the proposed 4th Raimi movie and recast all of the characters. Now I had considered going to see this movie in theaters but I ended up passing after hearing what some of my friends thought about it. However, that obviously had no effect on my purchasing it and thus, I have today’s movie, The Amazing Spider-Man

The plot: A young Peter Parker is playing hide and seek with his parents but when he walks into his parent’s study, he finds the place has been ransacked. Peter yells out to his dad, who takes a look at the room and quickly heads over to the desk and pulls out a drawer to reveal a false bottom, with some folders hidden inside. Richard and Mary quickly pack some things for Peter and take him to Richard’s brother Ben and his wife May, asking them to take care of Peter, then they quickly leave. Years later, Peter is now in high school and attempts to stand up to Flash Thompson for being a bully but is quickly beat down. After returning home, he helps his uncle move boxes out of the flooded basement when he discovers his father’s old satchel and when he opens it, sees a newspaper clipping of his father with another man, but neither his Aunt or Uncle know who he is. Taking the satchel upstairs, Peter starts examining it some more and finds the hidden file and starts to look through it but quickly hides it when his Uncle Ben knocks on his door. Ben sits down to talk with Peter and tells him that the man in the picture is Curt Connors and after he leaves, Peter quickly looks up information on Curt Connors. Heading to Oscorp, where Connors works, Peter sneaks into a tour group of a bunch of interns and is surprised to see that Gwen Stacy, his classmate that he has a crush on, is leading the tour. As Connors introduces himself to the group, Gwen is shocked to see Peter there and questions him as to why he is there, asking him not to get into trouble, which could get her into trouble. As the tour moves on, Peter accidentally bumps into a man, Rajit Ratha, and as he picks up the folder Ratha dropped and notices it has the same logo on his father’s work and decides to follow him. After seeing Ratha open a restricted access door and speak to some men inside before they all leave, Peter sneaks inside and finds Oscorp is making a “biocable” using genetically modified spiders but when he accidentally bumps into it, the spiders start falling all around him. Peter quickly leaves and runs into Gwen, who takes his badge because he left the group, and as he goes to leave, one of the spiders that had fallen around him bites him in the neck. As he rides home on the subway, Peter has an altercation with some passengers, where he starts to display strange abilities. After things keep happening to him, Peter goes to see Connors at his home, telling him he is Richard Parker’s son. While not telling Connors about what happened to him, Peter helps him figure out the decay rate algorithm, which Connors needs as he is being pressured to use his work to help cure a dying Norman Osborn. Peter goes to Oscorp with Connors and helps him test the new formula and when it passes in the simulation, they test it on one of the mice. Peter heads home late, where he ends up getting into an argument with his Uncle Ben, due to Peter’s not being there to walk his Aunt May home when she got off work, and leaves the house. Ben goes looking for Peter, who avoids him and heads over to a nearby market to get something to drink but he is short two cents and the clerk won’t let him use the pennies from the tray. As Peter leaves, he witnesses the customer behind him rob the place and leave, not helping the clerk stop the thief. Ben, who is nearby, sees the thief stumble and drop a gun and goes to try and get the gun away from him but during the struggle, the gun goes off and Ben is shot. Peter, hearing the shot, heads over there and sees his uncle lying on the ground and calls out for help as he tries to save Ben’s life but Ben dies in his arms. Returning home with the police so they can tell May what happened, Peter hears their description of the killer and realizes it is the same man that he saw rob the market and let get away. Feeling guilty over what happened, Peter starts going out at night to hunt down his uncle’s killer, fashioning a suit so that he can keep people from knowing who he is. While not finding the murderer, he does capture several crooks and the police start labeling him as a vigilante, and Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father, makes it a priority to capture him. Meanwhile, Connors is facing pressure from Ratha to begin human trials, as the mouse has succeeded in regrowing it’s missing limb, but when Connors refuses to rush human trials, Ratha fires him and says he will administer the trial at the V. A. Hospital and heads off. Connors administers the serum to himself and does regrow his missing arm but when he starts to feel pain, he hails a cab and tries to head to the hospital to stop Ratha but transforms into a giant, humanoid lizard during the ride. Meanwhile, Gwen had invited Peter over for dinner and Peter ends up arguing with Captain Stacy over Spider-Man. Gwen takes Peter out onto the balcony to cool things down and so they can talk and Peter ends up revealing that he is Spider-Man before kissing her. As Gwen is told to come inside, Peter hears police sirens in the distance and leaps off the roof and heads for the bridge, where he sees The Lizard throwing cars off the bridge as he goes after Ratha. Spider-Man webs the cars to the bridge to keep them from falling, then goes after The Lizard but when he hears a man saying his son is trapped in one of the cars, he goes and rescues the boy before the car explodes. The next day, Peter goes to see Dr. Connors and asks him about lizards, claiming it is part of a school project, but Connors evades the questions then escorts Peter out of his lab. As Peter is leaving, he notices that the mouse that was given the serum had mutated and developed lizard like qualities and he realizes that Connors is The Lizard. Peter heads to the police station and tries telling Captain Stacy his suspicions about Connors but Stacy ignores him and has him escorted from the building, but then tells one of his officers to get him all the files they have on Connors. As Peter leaves the precinct, he notices several lizards heading down into the subway and sewer tunnels and he follows after them, then uses his webs to try and figure out Connors’ location. Connors transforms into the Lizard again and as Peter tries to locate him, the two end up fighting, with a camera Peter had set up taking pictures of the two of them. Peter is overpowered and manages to get away from the Lizard but the Lizard sees the camera and discovers who Spider-Man really is. The Lizard attacks the school and as everyone flees, Peter ends up fighting with the Lizard but finds himself outmatched. When Gwen tries to help, Peter is able to web up the Lizard, then breaks a window and lowers Gwen to safety before returning to face the Lizard only to find he has disappeared. Peter follows after him, telling Gwen to head back to Oscorp and work on an antidote to the serum, but when he finds Connor’s video files, he realizes that Connors plans to expose the whole city to the serum and change everyone into human lizards. As the Lizard makes it’s way to Oscorp, he is attacked by the police but he uses some of the serum, which he made into a gas, to infect the police, changing them into lizardmen. Spider-Man gives chase but he is shot with a taser by the police. Captain Stacy and his men approach Spider-Man and Stacy removes the mask but Peter comes too and starts fending off the police while keeping his face covered. Stacy eventually corners Peter and Peter reveals his face, then tells Stacy that Gwen is at Oscorp and Stacy lets Peter go and tells his men to stand down but one of the cops shoots Spider-Man in the leg before he leaves. Meanwhile, the Lizard reaches Oscorp and breaks in and steals a gas dispersal device which Gwen had hidden but after he leaves, Gwen realizes the antidote is finished and heads outside. Spider-Man is having trouble reaching Oscorp due to his injury but is helped by the cities crane operators, who form a corridor for him to use to web swing to the tower. Spider-Man heads up to face the Lizard while on the ground, Stacy arrives and meets with Gwen, who hands him the antidote to give to Peter. On the roof, Spider-Man and the Lizard continue fighting but Stacy arrives and shoots the Lizard with a shotgun, distracting him enough for Spider-Man to pull out a hose of liquid nitrogen and the two knock him into an opening with some more nitrogen tanks, which Stacy shoots to keep the Lizard contained. Stacy then gives Spider-Man the antidote and keeps the Lizard at bay long enough for Spider-Man to insert it into the delivery system, but Stacy is mortally wounded by the Lizard. As the antidote is spread throughout the city and starts changing people back to human, the antennae, damaged from the fight, breaks and Spider-Man starts to fall off the roof but he is saved by Connors and dragged back onto the roof. Peter then goes to check on Stacy, who says that the city does need Spider-Man but makes Peter promise to stay away from Gwen in order to keep her safe. A funeral is held for Captain Stacy and afterwards, Gwen goes to Peter’s house to find out why he wasn’t there and when he says he can’t see her anymore, she asks if her father made him break up with her, taking his silence as a confirmation. However, the next day at school, as a teacher comments to Peter about not making promises he can’t keep, Peter says that those are the best kind, making Gwen smile as she realizes that he might still try and see her. Meanwhile, Connors is in his cell when he is visited by a mysterious man, who asks if Peter learned the truth about his father. Connors says he doesn’t know and begs that Peter be left alone but the man disappears from the cell.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-chosen cast and sure-handed direction allow The Amazing Spider-Man to thrill, despite revisiting many of the same plot points from 2002’s Spider-Man.” Director Marc Webb decided to have the majority of the stunts performed practically as opposed to using CGI, as he wanted them to look more realistic. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $757.9 million off of a $200-$230 million budget and spawned a sequel.

This movie had it’s faults but it wasn’t as bad of a movie as I initially thought. The acting was pretty good, with Andrew Garfield (Peter) and Emma Stone (Gwen) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Denis Leary’s portrayal of Captain Stacy but really liked Rhys Ifans’ portrayal of Connors, doing a pretty decent job of showcasing his humanity as Connors while also portraying the darker nature of himself as the Lizard. The story was ok, somewhat following the origin in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics more than the traditional comic series. One thing I did like in this reboot was the scene with Peter sending strands of webbing throughout the sewers and then sitting in the middle of the strands, trying to sense the vibrations through the webbing in order to locate the Lizard, as that showed Peter utilizing more of the spider aspects of his powers than he is normally shown to have used. I also liked how they had Spider-Man quipping during his fights with the lizard and when he was catching the carjacker, as that was an aspect of Spider-Man’s character that was missing in the Raimi trilogy. The stunt work was really good and while I didn’t particularly care for the first person views of Spider-Man moving through the city, I did like the parkour aspect of his movements through the alley’s, seeming to make a little more sense with how he would move throughout the city. To be honest, the main thing I didn’t like about the movie was the special effects, as there were several times where they didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. I will also admit that I was a little disappointed with how the Lizard looked, as I was hoping it would have a lot more of a saurian appearance than the end result did. Not a bad movie but worth a watch if for no other reason than to see how the direction the new director took it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, horror, movie, movie review

October 23rd, 2017 Movie – Spawn

spawn

Today marks the beginning of almost a solid week of superhero movies. Unfortunately, we start off with one that was a real disappointment. See, back in the early 90’s, there was a breakaway from Marvel of several of their top illustrators, who had wanted to maintain the copyrights for characters they created, thus giving birth to Image comics. One of the most popular comics in that new company was “Spawn”, created by Todd McFarlane. Now Spawn was a definitely a darker, and bloodier, comic than what most fans expected (similar to the Punisher) and it made sense that someone might try to make a movie off based of the comics. Unfortunately, the end result was a little less than desired and I, having a tendency to torture myself with my movie choices at times, decided to buy it just to work on my superhero movie collection. So let’s get this headache over with as I watch today’s movie, Spawn.

The plot: In Hong Kong, Special Forces operative Al Simmons takes over an airport control tower, where he then fires a missile to take out his target before detonating the launcher to remove all traces of his being there, unaware that he is being observed by a man named Cogliostro. Back in the US, Jason Wynn, the head of the agency that Al works for, is meeting with a demon known as Violator, who has promised to give Wynn world domination in exchange of certain favors and asks for one last favor, kill Al Simmons. Some time later, Al and his friend/partner Terry Fitzgerald are heading to work and after showing Al the paper discussing the civilian deaths in the latest operation, Terry comments about how several of Wynn’s ops seem to have more civilian casualties and that he is going to keep an eye on Wynn. Al goes to Wynn’s office and tells him he wants out, causing him to be taunted by Wynn’s bodyguard/assassin Jessica Priest, and Wynn tells him he will have him transferred after completing one last mission. Al is sent to North Korea to destroy a bioweapon facility but when he gets there, he finds the place is already prepared to blow and Wynn waiting for him. Al tries to stop Wynn from releasing the gas, as there is a village nearby, but he is shot by Priest, who then pours an accelerant onto him and Wynn sets him on fire. Al calls out his wife Wanda’s name before collapsing to the ground just as the plant explodes. 5 years later, a horribly burned Al is shown to be alive and in the top of an old church, where Violator is watching him. Al climbs down from the church and finds himself in an alley where the homeless live, and Cogliostro attempts to talk to him but Al shoves him aside so Cogliostro gives him a coat to help hide his burned face and skin. Al heads to his home to find Wanda is now married to Terry and they have a daughter, Cyan. When Cyan chases after her dog Spaz, who had recognized Al, and offers Al some candy but Wanda sees them and grabs her away from him. Wanda yells for Terry, who tells Al to leave and Violator, who was dressed up to perform for the party, grabs Al and leaves with him. Returning to the alley, Violator explains that Al promised to lead the Demon Malebolgia’s army in exchange for getting to be with Wanda again, taking Al to his grave to show him that he died. The pain causes Al’s necroplasm armor to emerge and Violator dubs him Spawn. Back in the alley, Spawn realizes the usefulness of his armor in getting his revenge on Wynn and he heads for Wynn’s new company only to be confronted by Cogliostro, who tries to stop him but when Spawn continues on his path, Cogliostro summons a blade and debates on if he needs to use it. Al breaks into Wynn’s new company, A-6, and steals some of their weapons, then follows Wynn and Terry to a reception at a nearby embassy. Spawn breaks in and confronts Wynn, who is shocked to see what Al has become. Spawn then confronts Terry and asks him how he could betray him and Terry, shocked at see Al there, tells him that Wanda was devastated when Al died and he was taking care of her when they fell in love. Priest and a security team arrive and attack Spawn and though he is shot, his wounds heal and he manages to kill Priest before being blasted out of a window, where he uses his armor to escape from the police. As Wynn watches Priest’s body being taken away, he sees Violator nearby and goes to talk with him, angry at what had happened. Violator calms him down and tells him that he should get a device attached to his heart which will release the Heat-16, the new bioweapon Wynn has developed, worldwide if his heart stops beating, which will serve as a deterrent from anyone killing him. Spawn heads to where Wanda is giving a lecture about the effects of Heat 16, realizing how Wynn has been using him all this time. When Cyan runs off after Spaz and falls, Spawn helps her up and carries her to where Wanda can find her, just as Terry shows up and takes them home but Spaz ends up staying with Spawn and returns to the alley with him. In the alley, Spawn starts to befriend a homeless boy name Zack when Violator shows up and Spawn attacks him. Violator then transforms into his demonic form and easily beats Spawn, eventually throwing him into the bent spires of an iron fence. Violator changes back into the clown and taunts Spawn about going to see Wanda before he leaves. Cogliostro appears and pulls off of the fence, then threatens to kill Spawn but when Spawn seems to have calmed down, he retracts his blade. Cogliostro then starts training Spawn in how to use his armor and abilities. Spawn then goes to save Wanda and Cyan from Violator, who stalls Spawn as he makes his way there. Meanwhile, Terry had made copies of Wynn’s files and was sending them to a local news channel in order to take down Wynn when Wynn shows up and takes them hostage. When Spawn shows up, he finds Wanda held captive, with Wynn threatening to kill her unless Spawn agrees to lead Hell’s armies. When Spawn refuses, Wynn stabs Wanda and Spawn proceeds to attack Wynn, threatening to kill him. Wynn says if he dies then everyone dies, including Cyan, and Spawn uses his powers to remove the device from Wynn’s heart, preventing the Heat 16 from being dispersed. As Spawn approaches Wanda’s body, she suddenly comes to life and attacks him, slashing his throat and revealing that she was actually a disguised Violator. Cogliostro appears and saves Spawn, chasing Violator back to Hell, and after Spawn heals himself, Violator grabs them both and drags them back to Hell. Cogliostro attacks Violator but he is easily beaten and thrown aside before Spawn starts attacking him and manages to stab him in the neck, causing Violator to retreat. Spawn is then confronted by Malebolgia and his army of hellspawn, who tells Spawn to lead his army or die. Spawn refuses, then uses his powers to attack the hellspawn but when he finds himself about to be overrun, he grabs Cogliostro and returns to Earth. As the two rest form their adventures, Cogliostro explains that he had been fighting the war for centuries and was waiting for a new Hellspawn to take his place and believed Al was that one. When Violator reappears and attacks Spawn, Spawn uses his chains to cut of Violators head, who taunts them one last time before disappearing back to Hell. Outside, Terry gives an interview to the press concerning Wynn’s activities while back in the alley, Spawn has taken up residence there as the homeless’s protector.

Spawn was panned by the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.” The movie originally had a budget of $20 million but due to all of the special effects needed in the movie, New Line cinemas decided to double the budget to $40 million. Despite the low ratings from the critics, the movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $87.8 million worldwide and a sequel was planned but it fell into “developmental hell” and ended up being cancelled but a reboot has been announced and is scheduled to start filming in 2018.

This was an absolute disappointment of a movie, made even more so by the fact that there was a successful animated series on HBO that was way better. The acting was ok, with Michael Jai White (Spawn) and John Leguizamo doing decent jobs in their roles. The plot was essentially an origin story and I know there were some changes compared to the comics but it has been so long since I read them that I don’t know what they all were. I do think the changes that they made to the movie to drop it from an R-rating to a PG-13 did hurt it a lot, as the HBO series did a much better job with the subject material. The special effects that they spent so much money on honestly looked terrible, which is surprising as the effects in some other movies that came out that year were much better with a smaller budget. I’m hoping that the reboot might be better but in the meantime, I will watch the animated series if I want to get my fix.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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