REVIEW: NO WAY UP (AKA THROTTLE)

CAST

Grayson McCouch (As The Wolrd rturns)
Amy Locane (Secretary)
Adrian Paul (Highlander: The Series)

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Financial analyst Tom Weaver (Grayson McCouch) is a troubled man. He has recently broken off a potential affair with a co-worker named Rebecca. He is also arguing with himself if he wants to continue with a shady ten million dollar business deal with his boss. He has also discovered identical motel keys in his wife, Molly’s purse and his boss’s car, leading him to believe that she is having an affair. He confronts her about it and she denies this. He lies to her about where he is going and heads to his building to complete the deal to hopefully get himself rich.9308_005Under heavy levels of stress, Tom shouts at the kind old security guard, Eddie, before going into the building. At midnight, Tom goes five levels down in the building’s underground parking garage to E-6. Tom argues with his boss about it, who tells him that he has gotten in too deep to back out now, as millions would be lost should the process be interrupted. Tom quits the deal and leaves to his car. He tries to call his wife when he discovers that he is too deep in the garage to get service. Tom discovers that his car has been vandalized and left immobile. Tom realizes he’s not alone. Watching and waiting, a massive, 6000 pound second generation Chevrolet K5 Blazer SUV whose driver sits hidden behind a veil of tinted glass. The driver is a psychotic killer with only one goal: Not letting Tom get out alive. the driver at first taunts him, chasing him, honking the horn, and flashing its lights, and Tom goes to the stairwell. However, it has been chained shut from the inside. Worse yet, the elevators are shut down for the night. Tom finds a fellow co-worker who is leaving and begs for a ride. Frightened, the woman maces him and flees. Armed with only a tire iron, Tom goes into the bathroom to wash the pepper spray out of his eyes, and discovers that the driver has attached a hose to the truck’s exhaust pipe, and Tom flees his only safe place, which is quickly filling up with deadly carbon monoxide gas. Tom goes to a nearby truck where the driver appears and tries to mow him down with their truck. He manages to get away from the truck by hiding behind a construction truck. He climbs on top of the construction truck and manages to climb on top of the truck, where he discovers the dead body of the woman who had earlier maced him.hqdefaultThe truck’s driver is willing to kill anybody who gets in the way of their goal. Tom realizes that he must outwit his pursuer and escape the garage while trying to figure out who wants him dead before it is too late. The driver realizes that Tom is on top of the car and bucks him into another car, before ramming it into the wall. Tom manages to flee and discover a repo man who also sees him as a threat, since he is really a carjacker. The repo man attempts to attack him, but he is thrown onto construction equipment and is impaled on nails. Tom believes the man is the driver, but he was actually the only man who could help him. The carjacker shoots his pistol empty and attempts to tell Tom how he can start the car but he dies before he can get the information out. Tom takes the empty pistol and some other tools and the path of the oncoming truck and hides in a parked car, which he breaks into using some tools. He then sees Victor, the other security guard who knows his would-be mistress, Rebecca and appears to have a grudge against him. Victor sees the damage and attempts to arrest him, but Tom threatens him, right before Victor is mowed down by the truck. Tom flees and is nearly crushed behind a wall by the truck.9308_002A paranoid and terrified Tom realizes anybody could be a suspect. He escapes and manages to call Eddie on Victor’s walkie talkie. He hears a loud crash and the line goes dead, leading him to believe that Eddie has too been killed. He steals a gun from his boss’s car and finds his boss, who has been stabbed and tells him that his wife never went through with the affair, which she had no part in. He dies right as he tells Tom that he has made sure that he will not be leaving the garage alive. A suspenseful game of cat and mouse ensues as the huge truck chases him through the garage’s levels. Tom continues to hide and flee from the truck, before eventually hiding under the truck, which backs into his leg, pinning him to the ground.  The killer is revealed to be Eddie, who realized that Tom was only pretending to like him, when everyone else didn’t bother to mask their dislike for him. Combined with his long hours and stress from being lonely, Eddie snapped and killed everyone, saving Tom for last. The garage doors open and Molly comes inside. Tom, despite a broken leg, manages to rescue Molly, who had been bound and gagged inside the toll booth, right before Eddie smashes it with the truck. Eddie is about to run them both down right as the police, whom Tom had called earlier at the top where there was cell phone service, arrive. Tom makes sure Molly is safe before borrowing a police car to finally destroy the truck with. He totals the truck, grabs a gun, and prepares to shoot Eddie through the windshield. The police stop this and open the door to discover that Eddie has shot himself. Molly and Tom embrace at the top when Molly asks him “where did you park?”.1893321,lTM3MTHhzo_sgDR71EujbVzT1tVHNDXBtDcTPRhOeF9Nfy0hHaIQPp6vRaD3tDrYE_2UBxOz6o1JM5C5_9upqw==Richard Lerner’s slick, shadowy cinematography and Neal Acree’s stirring’n’spooky score are likewise fine and effective. A satisfying little action thriller.

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REVIEW: LES MISERABLES

CAST

Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Russell Crowe (Man of Steel)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Helena Bonham Carter (Dark Shadows)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Grimsby)
Amanda Seyfried (Gone)
Samantha Barks (Dracula Untold)
Aaron Tveit (Premium rush)
Colm Wilkinson (The Tudors)
Josef Altin (Game of Thrones)
Charlotte Hope (The Nun)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones)

 

Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables (2012)In 1815, French prisoner Jean Valjean is released on parole from the Bagne of Toulon after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and trying to escape multiple times. On the outside, Valjean’s paroled status prevents him from getting work. He is offered shelter by the kindly Bishop of Digne, but Valjean steals his silverware. Captured by police and taken to the Bishop, Valjean is shocked when the Bishop says that he gave him the silver, telling him to use it to do something worthwhile with his life. Valjean breaks his parole to start a new life.Cavin Cornwall and Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Eight years later, Valjean is factory owner and mayor of Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais. He is shocked when a Toulon prison guard Javert arrives as his new chief of police. Javert suspects Valjean’s identity when he rescues an injured worker trapped under a heavy cart. One of Valjean’s workers, Fantine, is dismissed by the factory foreman upon learning she is sending her earnings to her illegitimate daughter Cosette, who lives with the greedy innkeepers, the Thénardiers. To support her daughter, Fantine becomes a prostitute but is arrested by Javert when she attacks an abusive customer. Valjean, learning who she is, rescues her and takes her to the hospital.Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Valjean learns a man has been wrongly identified as him, and reveals his true identity to a court before returning to the dying Fantine, promising to care for Cosette. Javert arrives but Valjean escapes, finding Cosette and pays Fantine’s debts to the Thénardiers. Valjean and Cosette flee Javert, hiding in a convent, aided by the worker Valjean rescued before. Nine years later, Valjean has become a philanthropist and helps the poor in Paris. General Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic to the poor, dies, and a group of revolutionists called the Friends of the ABC plot to rebel against the monarchy. Marius Pontmercy, a member of the Friends, encounters Cosette and they fall in love, asking Éponine, the Thénardiers’ daughter to help find her.Helena Bonham Carter in Les Misérables (2012)After Marius and Cosette meet and confess their love, Éponine prevents her father from robbing Valjean’s house. Valjean, believing Javert is near, makes plans to flee to England with Cosette. Cosette writes a letter for Marius, but Éponine hides it, intending on dying with Marius during the rebellion. During Lamarque’s funeral procession, the revolt begins and barricades are built across Paris. Javert pretends to be an ally to spy on the rebels but the street urchin Gavroche exposes him as a policeman. During the first skirmish against the soldiers, Éponine takes a bullet for Marius and dies in his arms, giving him Cosette’s letter and confesses to him beforehand. Gavroche takes Marius’ reply to Valjean, who joins the revolution to guard Marius.Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables (2012)Valjean offers to execute Javert but actually releases him, faking his death. By dawn, the soldiers are close to ending the revolution, storming the students’ barricade and execute everyone save Marius and Valjean, who escape into the sewers. Thénardier comes across Valjean and the unconscious Marius, stealing the latter’s ring, before pointing a way out. Valjean finds Javert waiting for him, ignoring his nemesis’ threats. Javert, morally confused by the mercy of Valjean, commits suicide by throwing himself in the Seine. Marius recovers but is traumatised by the death of his friends.Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne in Les Misérables (2012)Marius and Cosette plan to marry but Valjean, concerned his presence would threaten their happiness, makes plans to leave and reveals his identity to Marius, who promises to remain silent. Cosette and Marius marry but the Thénardiers crash the wedding to try and blackmail Marius, Thénardier saying he witnessed Valjean carrying a murdered corpse and produces the stolen ring. Marius assaults Thénardier who reveals Valjean is at the convent. The dying Valjean reunites with Cosette and Marius, giving them letters of confession, before peacefully dying, guided away by Fantine and the Bishop’s spirits.Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables (2012)This is a movie that both fans of the novel as well as fans of the musical can both fall in love with, since even though there are some deviations from the novel this is still the closest a film version has ever come to being completely faithful to the book. Additionally, this movie is a perfect chance for those who have never read the book or haven’t heard of or had a chance to see the Broadway show. I wholeheartedly recommend this film to everyone.

REVIEW: WILD CARD

CAST

Jaston Statham (Fast & Furious 8)
Michael Angarano (Empire State)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Dominik García-Lorido (The Lost City)
Anne Heche (Spread)
Sofia Vergara (Machete Kills)
Max Casella (Analyze This)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Chris Browning (Let Me In)
Hope Davis (Captain America: Civil War)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)

Jason Statham in Wild Card (2015)Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a recovering gambling addict who takes odd jobs in Las Vegas as a “chaperone” (his version of a bodyguard) to support his addiction. After helping a client impress a woman (Sofía Vergara), he accepts a proposition from a young man Cyrus Kinnick (Michael Angarano) to show him around Vegas and provide him with protection while he gambles. While eating at a diner, Nick’s waitress friend Roxy (Anne Heche) hands him a message from a woman he knows, Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido), who wants him to stop by her house. Holly, a professional escort, explains she had a date the previous night at the Golden Nugget. Afterward, she was brutally raped and beaten by three unknown men in their hotel room. Holly asks Nick to find out who they are so that she can sue them.Jason Statham and Sofía Vergara in Wild Card (2015)Nick discovers that the man responsible for raping Holly is Danny DeMarco (Milo Ventimiglia), a gangster. DeMarco had his two thugs dump her in a hospital car park. Nick goes to the hotel to confront DeMarco, disguised as someone sent by another criminal. A confrontation develops but Nick defends himself, overpowering DeMarco and his men, who are tied up as Nick calls Holly. In the room, Holly contemplates castrating DeMarco, who breaks down and begs her forgiveness, Holly decides to take the $50,000 from DeMarco’s desk and leaves. Holly splits the money with Nick and leaves Las Vegas. Nick takes Cyrus to a casino. Playing blackjack with dealer friend Cassandra (Hope Davis), Nick then goes on a huge winning streak with the next dealer, amassing over a half a million. But when he goes to the cashier, he has a sudden anxiety attack, and loses his winnings as well as his original $25,000 on a single blackjack bet with Cassandra. The next morning, Cyrus, revealed to be a self-made millionaire, wants Nick to mentor him on being brave, but Nick declines. At the bar, DeMarco’s men arrive to deliver Nick to DeMarco, but Nick beats them off.Jason Statham in Wild Card (2015)Nick meets with Baby (Stanley Tucci), the mafia boss of Las Vegas. Baby has received a complaint from DeMarco, who claims that Nick broke into his hotel room, pistol-whipped him, and killed two of his men – all to fund his gambling addiction. Baby takes Nick to a room with DeMarco, where Nick tells his side of the story: that DeMarco killed his own men later and that DeMarco bears a cut on his penis. Baby tells DeMarco to drop his pants to prove Nick wrong, but he refuses and leaves. At the local diner, Cyrus offers Nick a check for $500,000 and a plane ticket to Corsica for what he has learned from Nick. DeMarco and his men appear in the diner. Cyrus shows his newfound manliness by singing loudly as a distraction so Nick can escape. Nick thinks about his sailboat and then kills the thugs and DeMarco with his utensils behind the diner. Afterwards, Cyrus insists Nick take the check and the ticket, and Nick accepts. Nick then drives out of Las Vegas.While there are only but a few of them, the action scenes are incredible, exhilarating and eminently memorable. Even more to the film’s credit, each one is very different, both through their visual and musical presentations. All this makes for a perfectly serviceable film but one unfortunately stuck between two worlds. Which makes it quite a shame that Brian De Palma backed out of the project as his style would have no doubt elevated Wild Card to something pretty fascinating.

REVIEW: THE GREAT WALL

 

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Jing Tian (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Andy Lau (A Simple Life)
Zhang Hanyu (Operation Red Sea)
Pilou Asbæk (Ghost In The Shell)

Matt Damon, Andy Lau, Tian Jing, and Cheney Chen in The Great Wall (2016)Searching for the secret of gunpowder, twenty European mercenaries have traveled to China during the reign of the Renzong Emperor (AD 1010–63). A few miles north of the Great Wall, they are pursued by Khitan bandits, who kill some of the men. Upon escaping, they seek refuge in a cave but are attacked by an unknown monster, leaving only William and Tovar alive, with the former having slashed off the monster’s hand. The two decide to bring the arm with them. The next day, they stumble upon the Great Wall and are taken prisoner by Chinese soldiers of a secretive military sect, called the Nameless Order, led by General Shao and Strategist Wang.Tian Jing in The Great Wall (2016)The Nameless Order is a Chinese military order commissioned by the Imperial Court of the Song Dynasty as a special division of the Imperial Army conceived for the sole purpose of repelling a horde of monsters called Tao Tieh who rise every sixty years. The commanding officers are shocked upon seeing the monster’s severed hand, as the Order believed the invasion was still a week away. Suddenly, a large wave of monsters attack the Great Wall, and the battalions are mobilized.Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal in The Great Wall (2016)The Nameless Order is divided into five special units: the melee-specialist Bear Troop, the acrobatic-specialist Crane Troop, the archer-specialist Eagle Troop, the siege engine-specialist Tiger Troop, and the horse-mounted Deer Troop. Losses are sustained on both sides before the monsters’ queen recalls her warriors. During the battle, William and Tovar are freed by Sir Ballard, a European who, like them, had ventured east twenty-five years ago in search of black powder and had been serving as an English and Latin teacher. William saves Peng Yong, a warrior in the Bear Troop, from the attacking monsters. William and Tovar’s battle skills earn the respect of General Shao and Commander Lin, leader of the Crane Troop.The Great Wall (2016)Later, William and Tovar meet Sir Ballard. The three foreign mercenaries discuss plans to steal black powder from the storeroom and flee while the soldiers are occupied in battle. Later, Wang meets William and explains the situation: the monsters that he fought were Tao Tieh, which originated from a green meteor that crashed into Gouwu Mountain two thousand years ago. The Chinese believe the Tao Tieh were sent from the gods to punish the Emperor for abusing his authority over the Middle Kingdom and its people. They attack northern China once every sixty years, an invasion for which the Order has been training for their entire lives.Tian Jing in The Great Wall (2016)During the night, two Tao Tieh reach the top of the Wall and silently kill several watchmen. Shao and Lin lead the Deer soldiers to investigate, but are ambushed. The Tao Tieh are slain but Shao, wounded beyond recovery, succumbs to his injuries and dies, leaving Lin to take command of the Nameless Order. Around this time, an envoy from the capital Bianliang arrives with an ancient scroll which suggests that the monsters are pacified by magnets. Wang believes that the stone William carried all this time enabled him to slay the Tao Tieh he fought before entering the Wall. To test the hypothesis, William suggests that they should capture a Tao Tieh alive and agrees to help. This results in his delaying his escape plans, which puts him at odds with Tovar who nevertheless delays his escape plan to assist William, much to Ballard’s chagrin.During the next attack, the Tao Tieh are numerous enough to cause Lin to resort to using black powder rockets, whose existence had been kept secret from the Westerners until now. They manage to capture a living Tao Tieh and prove the hypothesis. The monster is taken to the capital by the envoy. A short while later, a tunnel is discovered at the base of the Wall, which the Tao Tieh queen has used to lead her hordes to the capital. While Lin investigates, Tovar and Ballard try to escape and knock William unconscious for resisting. William is then arrested by the Chinese soldiers, and despite being saved by a statement from Peng Yong, is locked up in the Wall. Some distance away, Ballard betrays and abandons Tovar, but is himself captured by the Khitans, who inadvertently kill themselves and Ballard after carelessly igniting the powder. Tovar reclaims the horses but is recaptured by the Deer Troop. At the capital, the envoy shows their theory to the Emperor, but the Tao Tieh wakes up and signals to the Tao Tieh queen.Tian Jing in The Great Wall (2016)Knowing that the horde is approaching the capital, Lin orders the use of unstable hot-air balloons to follow the Tao Tieh. Before setting out for Bianliang, the capital, Lin passes word to set William free, with Wang telling him to tell the outside world about the danger about to come. However, William decides to stay and boards the last balloon with Peng and Wang. They arrive just in time to see Lin’s balloon crash-landing in the now destroyed capital, and save her from being devoured. They land safely in the Emperor’s palace, where Wang proposes an idea to kill the queen by tying explosives to the captured Tao Tieh and giving it meat to be delivered to the queen. While transporting, a horde of Tao Tieh breach the sewers. Peng Yong sacrifices himself to save the others.Matt Damon in The Great Wall (2016)With the Tao Tieh released, Lin and William climb the tower to shoot a black powder rocket and detonate the explosives. Wang sacrifices himself to buy time for Lin and William to move to the upper floors. Two of William’s arrows are deflected by the Tao Tieh queen’s bodyguards, but William throws the magnet into the horde, creating a gap in the shields and allowing Lin’s spear to breach the defenses. The queen is destroyed, and the rest of the horde is frozen solid. With the horde destroyed, William is given an offer, forgoing the powder to instead free Tovar, much to the latter’s annoyance. The two, guided by cavalry, begin their journey back to Europe as Lin, now the General, watches from the Wall. William says that he wants to go back, but jokes that he doesn’t trust Tovar going home alone.Overall, the plot is quite linear and simple and is centred around one important moment. Character development was welcoming, but not impressive and definitely not unexpected. The best part was not fulfilling the love sub-plot, even though I half expected this and I would have been really disappointed if it had happened. It was an enjoyable film with better effects than I expected and many other films, so give it a try. But be open minded and admire what is to be admired.

REVIEW: CITY OF FEAR

City of Fear (2000)

 

CAST

Gary Daniels (The Expendables)
Carol Campbell (I) (Nachtschict)
Richard Clarkin (Goon)
Bashar Rahal (Automata)

When reporter Steve Roberts acts on a call from his good friend, Dr. Charlie Venco, urging him to leave Seattle and report on a hot scientific story in Bulgaria, he ends up in a world of disappearance, death and deception. It begins with Dr. Venco’s suspicious death and funeral where he meets Alexa Campos, a beautiful associate of the doctor’s. A romantic liaison between Alexa and Steve is thwarted by local thugs and military police who are all after the meddlesome Roberts. Roberts discovers what he should not – that the supposed blood research is in fact the development of a 100% addictive drug “Blue Mist” – and that Charlie was in on the whole deal with the Russian Mob. Roberts and Alexa must find a way out: their only hope being some pretty quick thinking and the best martial arts to ever hit Bulgaria.hqdefaultThere’s a staggering amount of continuity errors in this film (microphones, camera shadows, extras grinning at the camera), and too many ‘wait a minute…how?’ moments for anything to be believable, but Daniels is likable enough (although he adopts a strange stance throughout this film…you’d have to see it to know what I mean)…there’s plenty of other Daniels films out there before you should try this one.

REVIEW: TEAR IT DOWN

Tear It Down (1997)

CAST

Richard Eden (Robocop: The Series)
Samantha MacLachlan (NYPD BLue)
Glenn Plummer (Speed)
John Fujioka (Pearl Harbor)

 

Matthew goes to a hotel in the projects with the sole reason to commit suicide. But when a woman is in deep trouble with the neighborhood thugs he unwillingly gets involved, conflicted by his desires to end his life or to save the woman.

The whole film is set in a very run down apartment complex. It makes for some really interesting scenery. The place was definitely a beautiful building at one time and in each scene you can see how it has changed over time. The acting was fairly well done for a movie of this budget and full of unknowns. I would recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of grittier independent pictures. This film even has a few slightly funny moments ala Reservoir Dogs.

REVIEW: KAMEN RIDER EX-AID THE MOVIE: TRUE ENDING

Ex-Aid_True_Ending_Poster

Although Kamen Rider summer movies have been tying themselves into their respective series for some years now, when one comes along with a name like “True Ending” that immediately suggests that it isn’t going to be another parallel universe tale like the pre-Decade Heisei years were known for. Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending serves as the final conclusion to the 27th Kamen Rider Series, though given that both a crossover film and numerous V-cinema releases from that the title has become somewhat moot since then. But as far as Ex-Aid’s time in the spotlight goes this could indeed be considered the end, and what better place to do than on the big screen. Not only was the film released as part of double-bill with Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack, it also received a special Playstation VR preview which allowed fans to check out some of its fight scenes in glorious 360° vision.Kamen-Rider-Ex-Aid-True-Ending-Emu-VRFollowing the defeat of Masamune Dan/Kamen Rider Cronus, a new strain of the Bugster virus begins to spread across the population – distributed by the mysterious ninja Kamen Rider Fuma (Kagenari Nagumo). With its victims trapped inside a VR world, Emu must journey into virtual reality to save both his patients and his friends. Meanwhile CR also learn these events are the machinations of Machina Vision CEO Johnny Maxima, and that the virtual world is built as a means to save Nagumo’s own daughter Madoka from apotentially incurable disease.Kamen-Rider-Ex-Aid-True-Ending-Kamen-Rider-FumaUsing the new Mighty Creator VRX Gashat, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid battles Fuma to both saved those that are trapped and convince his foe that there’s still a chance for his daughter to be saved. However Maxima also has his own plans, harnessing the powers Madoka has manifested within the VR world to bring about the return of Kamen Rider Chronicle’s final boss – Gamedeus.Kamen-Rider-Ex-Aid-True-Ending-GamedeusWhen True Ending was first announced there was a lot of speculation on just how it was going to tie into the conclusion of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, and with very good reason. With the summer movies usually coming out a fair few months before the series themselves end the notion of one following on immediately from its conclusion was entirely unprecedented, so just what exactly was going to make this ending the “true” one when (at the time of release) the viewer would have no idea of how exactly the story was going to end? All of this makes True Ending sound particularly exciting.Kamen-Rider-Ex-Aid-True-EndingTrue Ending sees Kamen Rider Ex-Aid return to a patient-centric storyline similar to that of the show’s early episodes, with the stakes naturally higher due to its status as a feature length production. This makes perfect sense given Ex-Aid’s hospital setting.

Kamen-Rider-Ex-Aid-True-Ending-RidersRounding off the film in a post-credits scene is the obligatory appearance of Kamen Rider Build, which rather incredibly feels even poorly integrated than the usual routine of having the new Rider randomly show up to strut his stuff. That’s because this little scene has absolutely no connection to True Ending whatsoever and is in fact set-up for the pair’s encounter in Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL, as well as shedding a little more light on Build’s odd appearance in episode 44 of the show. Granted it works really well as a teaser for FINAL as it leaves the movie on a big cliffhanger,Kamen Rider Ex-Aid The Movie - True Ending [BD-720][EAFF4284]_4 Mar 2018 at 17.50.17 Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending is a great ending to a great Rider series, and with a crossover Ex-Aid/Build film coming it leaves you wanting more.