Ahead of the 2017 OSCAR nominations being announced, here's my picks of who'll get a nod come awards night...
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea
Hell or High Water
Casey Affleck for Manchester By The Sea
Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge
Denzel Washington for Fences
Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Dev Patel for Lion / Joel Edgerton for Loving
Natalie Portman for Jackie
Emma Stone for La La Land
Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins
Amy Adams for Arrival
Isabelle Huppert for Elle / Ruth Negga for Loving
Damian Chazelle for La La Land
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester By The Sea
Denzel Washington for Fences
Garth Davis for Lion
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershalla Ali for Moonlight
Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins
Lucas Hedges for Manchester By The Sea
Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals
Best Supporting Actres
Michelle Williams for Manchester By The Sea
Viola Davis for Fences
Nicole Kidman for Lion
Naomie Harris for Moonlight
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Best Animated Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Little Prince
Linus Sandgren for La La Land
Rodrigo Prieto for Silence
James Laxton for Moonlight
Bradford Young for Arrival
Greig Fraser for Lion
Best Original Screenplay
Damian Chazelle for La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester By The Sea
Noah Oppenheim for Jackie
Mike Mills for 20th Century Woman
Effthimis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster
Best Adapted Screenplay
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
August Wilson for Fences
Jay Cocks for Silence
Andrew Knight and Robert Schenken for Hacksaw Ridge
Luke Davies for Lion / Eric Heirsherr for Arrival
12A, 128 Mins
I say all this as ‘La La Land’ sings, swaggers and saxophones its way into cinemas on the back of knockout five star reviews loudly proclaiming “feel-good film of the year”. Damian Chazelle’s much-anticipated follow-up to his drum-pounding debut ‘Whiplash’ (2014) has already knocked the Golden Globes off their feet and looks set to achieve the same staggering results at the upcoming OSCARS. Undoubtedly it will also take the Box Office by storm as the uber-packed screening of universally aged screaming females most definitely indicated (I had to see three seats back from the front row!). In a film starring two of the most attractive, seasoned faces in the form of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, what is there not to like?
It is with great displeasure to say that rather than making one skip with whimsical joy, ‘La La Land’ left me with something of an uncomfortable sickly feeling that comes from first tasting a tub full of M & S sticky toffee pudding- combined with something of a bitter aftertaste.
‘La La Land’ takes place in modern-day Los Angeles and comes drenched in sun-draped colours yet has the old-fashioned style of 1940s and 50s black-and-white Hollywood productions. Ryan Gosling stars as Sebastian Wilder - a depressed, failing jazz musician who- despite immense talent- doesn’t seem to get anywhere thanks to a musical genre that seems to be fading into obsecurity. Meanwhile Emma Stone takes on the role of Mia- a rose-faced, natural-looking, aspiring actress trying to make it big in a film industry populated by fake-tanned, superficial leading ladies. Given studios have a tendency to go for “hot” rather than just “pretty”, naturally Mia doesn’t get the role of her dreams and falls into Depression.
Perfect timing then that Seb and Mia should coincidentally and miraculously meet at one of Seb’s dreary bar gigs just as Seb’s blunt boss (J.K Simmons) rather forwardly fires him. With the two both having seemingly nowhere to go, Seb and Mia find company in each other and- through a series of wild song-and-dance routines and heaps of PDA- inspire each other to pursue their wildest Hollywood dreams.
Quite frankly, ‘La La Land’ was never a film written for me. Musicals have regularly made me bury my head in my hands simply due to one’s inability to focus on the drama underneath. Despite sitting through ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939), ‘The Sound of Music’ (1939) or ‘Oliver!’ (1969) countless times, there’s something about the addition of musical numbers that somehow robs the classic source materials of narrative depth.
Oddly enough the songs aren’t ‘La La Land’’s biggest misstep. Frankly- if it weren’t for it’s sun-stroked L.A setting and nostalgic shots of the city’s famed film industry- ‘La La Land’ would be little more than a riotous chick flick rather than the nostalgic throwback to early Hollywood and Jazz that it has been widely heralded as.
As a cinematic experience, ‘La La Land’ certainly has its qualities. The film is a gorgeous feast for the eyes in the way of delightfully kinetic editing and swoon-worthy cinematography. Director Chazelle clearly shows passion for the project and for L.A itself in the film’s lovingly warm pallets of gold and dark blue- perfect for a film essentially at the heart of cinema itself. It’s shame then that the film ultimately opts for overused tropes typical of a clichéd and largely dated American love story.
Everything about Seb and Mia’s love affair has been repeated timelessly over cinema history to frankly far better effect. It’s not that I mind sentimental schmaltz when done correctly- in fact I’ll admit to being something of a sucker for feelgood rom-coms. However ‘La La Land’’s attempts to elicit a teary response from audiences verges on saccharine and self-indulgent in the extreme- frankly enough to put off even the most sweet-toothed of viewers.
There’s a distinct lack of meat to ‘La La Land’’s portrayal of the Hollywood dream- not only in the film’s disappointing “whitewashing” of a music genre considered a hallmark of African American history and culture. Essentially the film’s crucial message that it seems to scream out loud at every turn is that it’s possible to achieve your dream whoever you are. While such a concept would feel perfect for most underdog stories, ‘La La Land’’s ultra-materialist setting somewhat undermines the film’s “you can accomplish anything” vibe.
For a film set amongst the paradise of American wealth, ‘La La Land’ does surprisingly little to highlight the flaws in a film industry known for destroying the hopes and aspirations of those who don’t fit in with the classic celebrity looks or style. In fact, it all too often over-indulges in the vacuous vanity of the celebrity lifestyle. Admittedly Director Chazelle shows some signs of thinking outside the box with the casting of Emma Stone- an actress who simply oozes natural beauty and sweet nature. Stone has all the makings of a classic “pretty girl”- pasty white with rosy lips, cheeks and obviously hair. In many ways, she’s the walking poster child of 40s and 50s sensations like ‘Casablanca’ (1942) and ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952). Stone gives her all to the role mixing sassiness and status dissatisfaction with panache. In doing so, she gets to the heart of every young woman fighting passionately to stay true to themselves in a media-dominated society which seems to shove cosmetics and plastic surgery in their faces as if to say they are less womanly without them.
It’s a crushing disappointment that the film doesn’t seem to know what to do with the immense passion Stone brings to the role as it throws her into a series of hackneyed, agonisingly safe seen-it all-before conventions. Neither does Director Chazelle seem to have much in store for that of Ryan Gosling. Gosling is undoubtedly a devastatingly dapper presence - and a supremely talented actor at that – yet his trademark brooding, silent intensity feels distractingly out of sync here. Gosling seems stiff and awkward in the company of Stone and his gloominess often dampens the film’s upbeat sensibility. On top of this, one can’t help, but wonder whether a black actor like Michael B. Jordan would have been better suited given the film’s context. Gosling’s casting seems frustratingly a ploy to lure in swooning female high-school admirers . It certainly won’t help the #OSCARS-so-white row!
As clichéd as it sounds, I truly wanted to love ‘La La Land’ . Yet leaving the cinema, I found myself bafflingly bathed in sweetness and indulgence yet strangely empty and rather cold. Yes. This will no doubt be an absolute winner with movie-dating couples and excitable women on a blotto night-out if the gazes of fondness and first love from the chock-a-block cinema crowd are any indication. But is it really the fascinating exploration of the decline of the American film and music industry that so many have claimed it to be? Categorically NO!
18, 113 Mins
All these are majestic examples of Scorsese’s masterful knack for morally ambiguous drama. However none display his quality as a cinematic auteur with quite the unique, original, disturbing brilliance of ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976) – the film I consider to be Scorsese's finest hour and amongst my 5 favourites of all time.
With the film having celebrated its 40th Anniversary last year and currently re-released in cinemas in conjunction with the release of Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ (2017), what better time to look back at one of the 20th Century’s greatest works of art.
Robert De Niro stars as Travis Bickle- a disillusioned, porn-addicted, insomniac loner. Bickle once served his country with honour in the Vietnam War yet now spends his humdrum nights ferrying stinking rich egomaniacs around New York in his yellow taxi cab and barely makes an impression on anyone he meets. Bickle takes people to virtually every corner of New York regardless of the neighbourhood’s reputation. It is during these journeys that Bickle observes the sleazy going-ons that lurk beneath this stunning urban paradise. Sick of being the loser, Bickle decides to take matters into his own, violent hands.
Wildly controversial on it’s 1976 release for not only it’s graphic violence and uncomfortable insight into subjects such as teenage pornography and prostitution, but also due to the sadistic nature of it’s central character, it’s now near-impossible not to see ‘Taxi Driver’ in a top 10 greatest films list. It’s hard to rave about ‘Taxi Driver’ in any way that hasn’t been already raved about by virtually every movie buff on the planet. So just what is it about this grimy tale of urban filth that still casts such a lingering effect over millions of audiences worldwide?
For myself at least, it comes down to one’s own ability to relate to the loneliness, boredom and isolation of the central character. In Travis Bickle, we have the living embodiment of the average 1970s American everyman- the kind of boringly unexceptional worker who- despite working their arses off- fails to scratch the surface in any way. Bickle may have once fought heroically for his country in Vietnam yet his contribution to such a patriotic effort is wholly forgotten- the same for so many servicemen. Bickle’s almost obsessive-compulsive commitment as a taxi driver is portrayed as something of an addiction for him. Just as he feels almost compelled to spend his weekends at pornographic cinemas, Bickle views his job as something of an escape for him and observing the happiness of some of his passengers and passers-by presents a hard-hitting reminder of the life he so dearly wishes he could have. Upon witnessing the sleazy activities of New York’s nightlife, Bickle uses his disgust and contempt as his explosive shot at proving to the world he means something.
There’s something skin-crawlingly unsettling yet realistic about Robert De Niro’s ability to take a character so unassuming and manage to mutate him into a fully-fledged sociopath. It’s almost as though the character has a split personality. Bickle’s goosebump-inducing, 4th wall-breaking “you talking to me?” mirror monologue certainly hints at this while also giving the audience a chilling insight into the hideously homicidal fixations of his f**ked-up fantasies.
Bickle’s motives behind his violent vigilante escapades are never entirely clear. It’s quite easy to assume the Dark Knight-like motivation that Bickle genuinely felt the need to cleanse the so-called “scum” that exploit so much of the city’s youth. However actions such as Bickle’s public assassination attempt on newly-elected Senator Palantine- a man who seems to genuinely care about cleaning up New York- suggests a far more sinister motivation. De Niro portrays Bickle with something of a “school shooter” mentality. There’s a disquieting air of selfish neediness in his performance that rather ominously recalls the attention-seeking motives of infamous high-school massacrists. Crucial to this hypothesis is the film’s portrayal of Bickle as a mild-mannered yet misunderstood underdog- the kind of person who seems simply invisible to the rest of the world and one who’s outrageous activities come across as some kind of sick-minded shot at fame. The distressing fact that John Hinkley Jr. modelled his 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan on Bickle’s attempt to kill Senator Palantine only further emphasises the near-hysterical fears of copycat violence that the film evoked.
It’s easy to see why- therefore- that the OSCARS chose to award the Best Picture that year to the safer, more feel-good fare of ‘Rocky’ (1976). Similarly to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971), ‘Taxi Driver’’s outlook was not only bleak, but also presented audiences with a protagonist with little to no redeeming qualities and one who seemed to relish sadism in a way that had never been seen before.
Nonetheless Scorsese, De Niro and Screenwriter Paul Schrader somehow manage to make us root for Bickle regardless of his atrocities particularly in the film’s climactic brothel bloodbath which remains- to this day- one of the most satisfyingly shocking showcases of violence ever filmed. The most impressive yet simultaneously unnerving aspect of the scene is that the audience is left almost egging Bickle on as he wipes out a viper’s nest of New York’s most despicable.
Without doubt, this comes down to the close bond between Bickle and 14 year old prostitute Iris (a young Jodie Foster in a career-making performance)- someone who brings out an uncharacteristic selflessness in Bickle and one who at least partially makes him feel as though he matters. His brotherly-like protective nature towards her is at least partially what motivates him to attempt to rescue her from a life of exploitation in the sex industry. The scenes between De Niro and Foster are beautifully played and amongst the film’s most human moments.
Ultimately though the core reason ‘Taxi Driver’ still packs such a pulsating punch after all these years comes down to that it is more than a human character study, but more a gruelling social critique of both New York and America itself. As the film’s titles- accompanied by the rich cinematography and Bernard Herrman’s nourish score- majestically portrays, ‘Taxi Driver’ is essentially the tale of a dazzling yet deeply flawed city seen through the eyes of one twisted individual- an individual who has been well and truly cheated by the so-called American Dream. With ‘Taxi Driver’, Scorsese truly made a New York a three-dimensional character in itself with Bickle’s taxi being almost like Scorsese’s toy camera- highlighting small yet deeply significant cracks in a city widely considered the heart of American prosperity. Yet it’s also a city where every Wolf of Wall Street, there’s always a Travis Bickle. This is something that has never felt more relevant than it does in this current age.
For me, ‘Taxi Driver’ is a reminder of exactly why I love film so much. It’s rare to find a film that says as much about American society as ‘Taxi Driver’ does. If you’re a true film lover, you have no excuse not to have watched Martin Scorsese’s jaw-dropping, essential piece of modern cinema. There truly is nothing quite like it!
12A, 108 Mins.
‘A Monster Calls’ sees 14 year old newcomer Lewis McDougal approaching the role of Connor O’Malley- a young boy living a life that couldn’t possibly be more of a living hell. Living in a run-down country house, severely bullied Connor is forced to be a carer for his Cancer-stricken mother Lizzie (Felicity Jones); while his divorced father (Toby Kebbell) lives far across the pond in L.A. Things take a harrowing turn for the worse when it turns out Lizzie’s cancer is terminal and Connor is forced to stay with his stiff, uptight grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) who he hates to his guts. How could things get any more tumultuous for poor Connor O’Malley?
Well perhaps the arrival of a giant, tree-like creature known as “The Monster” (Liam Neeson) in his back garden who demands Connor listen to his three meaningful stories before Connor tells him a fourth- a story that Connor is deeply afraid of. Does “The Monster” hold the key to solving Connor’s childhood crisis?
As someone with something of a soft spot for both dark, Burtonesque kid’s fantasies and soppy Spielbergian coming-of-age tales, ‘A Monster Calls’ certainly seemed right up my street. Coming out of the cinema, I was left with not only one MASSIVE lump in my throat that had stayed with me throughout the film, but also a rounded feeling of sadness, joy and nostalgia in equal measure.
To call ‘A Monster Calls’ fantasy seems almost unfair and likely to put off anyone who doesn’t find talking tree giants remotely interesting. Please don’t be fooled by the title. At heart, this is a gritty, thought-provoking and- at times- unsettling tale of one child’s use of wild imagination to escape the traumas of everyday life and one that will ring true to any child out there who has ever had to rely on their senses to get through a tumultuous period.
Some may argue that the film’s kitchen sink drama-like exploration of rural poverty, bullying and terminal illness will prove too intense for the youngest of viewers. While there is a degree of truth in this, for mature children; this is every bit a must watch as it is for the adults accompanying.
‘A Monster Calls’ makes every use of the words “magical realism” taking familial themes grounded in this world and producing something totally out of this world. While the film’s story will iinadvertently draw comparisons to the likes of Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’, Disney’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ and Tim Burton’s ‘Big Fish’ (2003), there’s something of a darker, more world-weary undercurrent here that has most common with the rich Spanish Civil War monster politics of Guillermo Del Toro’s astonishing ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ (2006).
It’s hardly surprising that- despite a quintessentially British setting- ‘A Monster Calls’ has many of the grungy Iberian aesthetics of a Del Toro production given Del Toro produced Director Bayona’s chilling Spanish language debut ‘The Orphanage’ (2007). The visionary Mexican auteur’s influence is very much felt here especially in the design applied to “The Monster” which uses a deliciously textured blend of physical practical effects and awe-inspiring motion capture technology to bring together a fantastical creature that is both terrifying and beautiful in all the best senses.
However the influence from Spanish fantasy cinema goes beyond production design. Like ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, ‘A Monster Calls’ explores the concept of a child’s internal imagination providing refuge from an outside world that threatens to rob them from any hope of a happy life. However- in the place of 1940s Fascist Francophone Spain- here we have the even gloomier British countryside and what couldn’t be a grottier estate of sorts.
At the film’s heart, however, lies a heartfelt, career-making performance from Lewis McDougall. Director Bayona has already proved himself to be a master at getting terrifically versatile central performances out of child actors in both his two previous films and ‘A Monster Calls’ is no exception. McDougall effortlessly captures the screen by getting to the core of a young adolescent’s inner-turmoil bringing to the role a genuine mix of helplessness, intuition and escapism.
McDougall’s scenes with Felicity Jones- on reliably terrific form-as Connor’s mother are truly heart-wrenching and will leave even the most stone-faced of viewers struggling to hold back the tears streaming from their eyes. While such unashamed sentimentality could easily come across as mawkish in any other hands, Bayona gives the film’s mother-son scenes an almost brutal sense of realism that never feels in the slightest bit manipulative.
It’s not perfect. Sigourney Weaver’s dodgily forced English-accented grandmother figure feels uncomfortably stiff and out of place amongst the poignant emotional pathos and it’s not always entirely clear what is real and what is imagined.
However- do not be put off- this is a film rich in magic and mythology that will make everybody in the audience wish they were 6 once again yet simultaneously feels grounded in reality and the fact that Bayona’s next project is the ‘Jurassic Park 5’ is definitely something to be excited about!
15, 161 Mins
Perhaps most astonishing is that- while the majority of film-makers from the immaculate, pre-blockbuster New Wave of the 70s have largely faded into obscurity- Scorsese stands as one of the few remaining directorial heavyweights still producing complex, morally challenging dramas. A particularly impressive feat given the increasing lack of originality that clouds a film industry intent on spawning continuous sequels, prequels and reboots.
Uber-religious historical drama ‘Silence’ comes as arguably the veteran film-maker’s most personal and cinematically ambitious film to date- a passion project that has been in the works for close to 30 years and one that rings close to Scorsese’s strictly Catholic roots.
Based on Shusaku Endo’s controversial 1966 novel, ‘Silence’ sees Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver inhabit the roles of young, 17th Century Portuguese Jesuit priests- Rodriguez (Garfield) and Garrpe (Driver). The pair travel to Japan to locate their mentor Father Cristovao Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who has renounced his Christian faith due to horrific treatment at the hands of the Japanese and taken up Buddhism. However- despite the noble intentions of converting the veteran priest back to Christianity- the pair quickly discover that not only is Father Ferreira’s faith well and truly lost, but Japan in the 1600s is no place for Catholicism.
From the very outset, this is a very different Scorsese film. This is about as far away from the moody Mafiosos of ‘Mean Streets’ (1973) or the urban filth of ‘Taxi Driver’ (1976) as you can possibly get. It’s not that Scorsese hasn’t tackled history and religion before- one only has to look to ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ (1988) or ‘Kundun’ (1997) for that; yet ‘Silence’ feels far closer to Scorsese’s heart than both those earlier efforts.
Strangely enough ‘Silence’ feels as though it has most common with ‘Hugo’ (2011) in terms of being something of a heartfelt personal journey back in time for the legendary auteur. Just as ‘Hugo’ dazzlingly served as Marty’s passionate love letter to his childhood fascination with silent cinema, ‘Silence’ rather more sinisterly recalls the director’s tumultuous Catholic childhood. It's impossible not to see paralells in this hard-hitting tale of Christian persecution in a foreign country with Scorsese's family's own likely treatment as Italian American immigrants.
Silence’ is a muscular film rich in lush imagery and lavish production design. Yet it’s a film that finds itself at its best in its quieter moments. Like similarly hyper-ambitious projects such as Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ (2014) or Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ (2011), ‘Silence’ greatly benefits from perceptive, deeply spiritual segments of reflection. From the whispered voiceovers to the pristinely calm close-ups of waves hitting the rocks, ‘Silence’ feels very much like a film that almost lives up to it’s name- a sleepy dream of a movie that- in it’s most muted moments- serves as an eerily beautiful exploration of faith prevailing against persecution and one man’s journey to meet God.
Despite posters seeming to suggest a film resting steadily on Liam Neeson’s broad shoulders, the gravel-voiced big man is far from the main draw here. Neeson’s role is disappointingly confined to a few short yet nonetheless tremendously powerful scenes which allow the actor to channel his typical “wise mentor” persona with relish. The heart and soul of the film lies with Andrew Garfield’s Rodriguez whose devout commitment to faith through what couldn’t possibly be a more soul-destroying ordeal is nothing short of heartbreaking. Garfield has long proved himself to be an outstanding character actor and- if this film does not at least secure him an OSCAR nomination- it will be yet another depressingly misguided year for the Academy Awards.
Scorsese pours his heart and soul into the project. It’s fair to say the director has never felt so unashamedly cinematic before. The cinematography stunningly realises the scenic Japanese countryside with grandiose wide shots that recall the oriental extravagance of early Japanese Samurai cinema. Scorsese rousingly evokes the spirit of Renaissance Era Japan as something of a fully-fledged-out character with the same dazzle yet underlying grit that he brought to New York in ‘Taxi Driver’. However- once again- the film’s most awe-inspiring visual flourishes lie in ‘Silence’’s Terrence Malick-esque focus on miniscule yet expressive elements of nature that give the film a fittingly spiritual feel.
Scorsese has always been a supremely unflinching film-maker when it comes to on-screen brutality though never in a pulpy, sensationalist manner. This is no different in ‘Silence’ which hits all the right buttons when it comes to being both harrowing and thought-provoking. Not since ’12 Years A Slave’ (2013) has human cruelty been this gut-wrenching to watch. The film delivers a truly gruelling depiction of Apostasy that will leave you squirming, squinting and shaking in disbelief at the price some pay for chosing their faith over all else. If you struggle to stomach witnessing real-life atrocities, ‘Silence’ most certainly won’t be for you. Balanced out against the eye-watering scenary, ‘Silence’ throws in a series of gruesomely realistic scenes of torture and executions which are sure to linger long after viewing. Scorsese doesn’t hold back when it comes to showing the atrocities in every detail. Yet- while in any other hands- such depictions of violence could come across either cold and cerebral or trashy and exaggerated, Scorsese evokes genuine emotion from them made all the more provocative by the viewer’s realisation that such religious persecution exists.
For all it’s strengths, it’s a grand disappointment that ‘Silence’ ultimately loses steam in it’s final act which slides dangerously close to being ponderous and self-indulgent. For a film that runs for close to 3 hours at 161 mins at such a delieberate pace, ‘Silence’ undoubtedly demands patience from its audience. However- for the most part- it justifies it’s mammoth length being a film of such narrative scope and scale. However- it is in the film’s last hour- that ‘Silence’’s hulking ambition begins to exceed it’s storytelling grasp and risks disappearing up its own fundament as the religious undertones becomes both muddled and rather too preachy for the film's own good. If you find films that scream Godly presence too full-on, then 'Silence' will not be the film to covert you. While it's clear Scorsese's emotional involvement with the film's themes is enormous, the director's personal passion for the project also somewhat hinders his ability to offer audiences the clarity they crave as he choses shouty Christian moralism over clear consistency.
Nonetheless such behemothic ambition is impossible not to admire. Amongst the artsy, non-mainstream crowd, anticipation for ‘Silence’ has matched that of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2015). It’s not quite the masterpiece it promised to be and will unquestionably baffle and puzzle as much as wow audiences. However - if it’s combined intellectual, visual and indeed spiritual spectacle you desire - ‘Silence’ most certainly delivers.
Meet Roshan Chandy
Freelance Film Critic and Writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in Science Fiction cinema.
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***** 2 Thumbs Up
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*** Waving Thumbs
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