Digging Up The Marrow Review: Hit and Miss

I’ve not seen any of Adam Green’s films before but after watching this documentary-like horror film, I must say that I most definitely will be interested in catching up with the others he’s done.

Digging Up The Marrow follows Adam Green in the form of a documentary where he explores the story he received from a fan about the possibility of real monsters existing.  As he goes on this adventure with his cameraman and this fan, William Dekker (Ray Wise), he is brought to question if what he was seeing was real or a figment of imagination from a delusional fan.

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“It’s real! There are monsters out there!” Source: ArieScope Pictures

Featuring artwork from Alex Pardee, I thought that this film was good and it kept you glued to the screen all the way till the end (especially when the last twenty minutes gave me all sorts of panic attacks).  I found that the idea of monsters and them existing was an imaginative one.  Adam explored the idea of the origin of monsters which to me was something I have never thought about.  It’s common sense to think that even if we all know and fear monsters, they are bound to have come from somewhere; given an origin story.  So, when the film shows William Dekker explaining his theory of who this monsters could be, it struck me as an actual possibility.

Alex Pardee’s artwork was fantastic and detailed.  I’ve always thought that monsters were the usual sharp fangs, tall, ghastly looking creatures but in Alex’s artwork, I see intricate details of the monsters; some with everyday items as part of the monster’s get-up.  I particularly liked the artwork of ‘Vance’ and when they brought him to live – man, it was scary.  ‘Brella’ was another interesting artwork as well, using an umbrella as part of the monster’s look.

Despite all that, this film isn’t one of the best horror films I’ve seen.  It was a little draggy at parts but the jump scares were great.  All in all, Digging Up The Marrow is a film to catch if you’re interested in the concept.  If not, best to give this a miss.

Rating:

starstarstar

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Random Friday Ramblings: Ticket

“And for Justin, I leave this ticket.”

He looked up at the lawyer seated at the table, wondering why his name was called.  Sure, he used to be close to Aunt Sally but he wouldn’t have expected her to leave him anything.  Ever since his parents passed away, he stopped visiting his Aunt Sally so that he wouldn’t be reminded of his mother’s memory.  And that had been three years ago.

The lawyer pushed a sealed Ziploc bag towards him with a yellow-stained ticket inside.

He heard his cousin laugh.  “Aunt Sally sure was kooky. She left you a ratty old ticket from one of her super old amusement park dates.”

“Shut up, Gene.”  He heard his Aunt Betty hiss at his cousin and smiled triumphantly inside.

Aunt Sally had her quirks but Justin would never say she was weird. He often found her behavior endearing, like a replica of his mom.

“Justin?” The lawyer asked. “Do you accept?”

Everyone waited impatiently for Justin to reply.  He wasn’t even sure if he should accept it.  Maybe someone with more attachments to Aunt Sally should have it.

“Well?!” He heard Aunt Marge say.

“Maybe someone else should have this?” Justin said. “I don’t think I deserve this.”

“Because you think you deserve her plot of land or something more?” He heard his Uncle Bill’s thick Southern accent coming from his left.

The lawyer pushed it closer to Justin. “Unfortunately Justin, Miss Mckeller insists that you have her ticket.”

“Take it, sweetie.”

He felt his Aunt Presley’s hand on his as she guided his hand over to take the Ziploc bag.  Once he picked up the bag, the lawyer nodded once and started to re-arrange his documents.  Justin got up from his seat and walked out of the room. He wasn’t sure why he did but he just couldn’t take sitting in there for another minute more.  He wasn’t here to fight for any of Aunt Sally’s bigger inheritance.  He was here to fulfill Aunt Sally’s last wish of the family being together in one room.

Justin sat outside on a couch not far from the meeting room he had been in earlier.  He looked at the Ziploc bag and at the ticket inside.

‘ADMIT ONE – GONZO’S AMUSEMENT PARK’

He smiled.  Gonzo’s Amusement Park. He heard of that name before, when Aunt Sally was in her nostalgic mood.  She had spoken of this particular theme park – bringing back memories of when she took a job at the amusement park.  He remembered passing by the amusement park of the same name recently, and wondered if they were the same.

Justin stood up and looked at the closed door of the meeting room.  They looked like they were going to be in there for a long time so why wait outside?

~ * ~

Justin got out of his car and looked at the amusement park.  It looked like any ordinary amusement park except it had vintage looking banners hanging around the premises.

He walked over to the ticketing counter and pulled out his wallet.

“One ticket please.” He said to the girl at the counter.

She smiled. “Sure, Justin.”

The girl pulled out a ticket and passed it to him.  Justin was about to pay her when she pushed his hand back towards him. “On the house.”

Justin frowned a little, unsure of what to make of the ticketing girl knowing his name and giving him a complimentary ticket.  So he did the only polite thing to do.  He gave her a small smile and took the ticket from her hand.

“Thanks.” Justin murmured.

He made his way over towards the turnstiles and just as he was about to head in, he heard a familiar voice from behind him.

“You’ve got it!”

He dropped his ticket to the ground and turned to see his Aunt Sally standing there.  She looked the same as he last saw her only that she was now alive and well, looking younger than before.

“Hiya Justin!”

He blinked once. Twice. “A-Aunt Sally?”

“I have been looking everywhere for this.” She said. “How did you get it?”

“You-You gave it to me.” Justin said.

“I did? Oh! I did!” She said. “But I didn’t expect you to come visit so fast!”

“Wha- Aunt Sally, what is going on?” Justin asked.

“Listen. I know you’re still hurting and you’ve never stopped hurting since your parents passed. But you should know that your parents are still watching over you and they will never stop making sure you are safe.” Aunt Sally said. “It’s time you let go of your grief and pick yourself up.”

Justin tried to swallow the emotional lump that had suddenly wedged itself within his throat.

“I’m sorry I never visited you after their funeral.” Justin said.

Aunt Sally gave him a smile. “I understand, J-dog. Just know that I never blamed you and you were always my favorite nephew.”

Justin felt a wet warmth run down his cheeks and his Aunt reached forward to wipe the tears away.  She cupped his face and leaned in to give him a kiss on the cheek.

“Till we meet again, Justin.”

~ * ~

“Sir! Sir! Can you hear us?”

Justin blinked once, trying to turn his head to the voice but unfortunately, he couldn’t. With his eyes still closed, he tried to move his arms but were met with a sharp pain.

“Don’t move, sir! We’re going to get you out now.”

He felt two pairs of arms around him as they slowly pulled him out of his car and put him onto a stretcher.

“Can you hear me, sir?” The paramedic asked. “What’s your name?”

Justin nodded. “Yeah… I can hear you. My name’s Justin.”

“Good. You were very lucky, sir.” He said. “Your car was hit by an out-of-control truck. I don’t know what happened, but the truck didn’t do any major damage. You’re going to be alright.”

“Justin, I need to take this out of your hand, okay?” A female paramedic said.

She pulled a Ziploc bag out of the clenched fist of his right injured hand and showed it to him. “A vintage ticket, huh? Must be important.”

Justin couldn’t help but smile a little. “You have no idea.”

Random Friday Ramblings: Building

The sun was shining, I felt the warmth on my skin but I couldn’t see the warm ball of heat – not since this new building stood in front of me.  It’s been this way almost everyday since last February.  As if I thought this thing couldn’t grow any taller, it sprouted!  Great.  Thanks for blocking my daily intake of vitamin C, stupid new stylish-looking building.

Today was just like any other day.  People streamed in and out, eager to start their new day.  Truth be told, despite being employed and given a job, I was bored out of my mind with this daily routine.  It killed me to have to sit here without actually caring about what I was doing.  So why did I decide to continue?  The pay check… And Harry from Marketing.  What I would do to get his attention…  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the strikingly beautiful blond curls, bright blue eyes or big boobs that Yvette from Finance had.  With a red head, I wore glasses and had a big butt.  Hot to some lecherous dudes, boring to Harry.

Finishing the paperwork I had at hand, I looked across to the new building to see a strapping gentlemen seated at the desk by the window.  He was diagonally across me and the building was close enough for me to gawk.  Of course I won’t be doing that openly – I am not a lion stalking its prey.  I think I was probably staring longer then I should have because what was just me appreciating the view alone, it became a two-way street.  We maintained eye contact for a bit and I looked away just as he smiled.  I hurriedly gathered up some papers and stood up.  But before I walked away, I turned to look and waved at him.  Surprisingly, he waved back.  Score, Regina.  I gave him a smile and walked away to the copier.

Maybe this new stylish building wasn’t that bad after all.

When I returned, I threw my papers on my desk peeved by the incessant whispers I heard on my way back to my cubicle.  I generally don’t bother about the hint of gossips I hear around the office whenever I walk into a room.  But having a real good mood this morning, the gossips were getting to me.  I sat back down and was about to sort through my papers when I felt someone staring at me.  I looked up to see my gorgeous next door neighbor looking at me.  I turned to look at him fully just as he stuck a paper against the window.

‘Hi there.’

Uh… hello to you too.  I smiled and picked up a plain paper, writing the words ‘hi’.  I stuck it to the window and upon reading it, he went back to scribbling at his desk.

A few seconds later, another paper appeared at the window.

‘Do you mind me telling you something?’

Well, that depends what it is.  Are you going to tell me I’ve got beautiful, fiery red hair? Or you find me attractive for a plain Jane?  I smiled and scribbled back.

‘Sure.’

He took another piece of paper and scribbled.  As I waited, I went through the many scenarios that was about to happen.  Was he going to tell me I am gorgeous and ask me out on a date?  Or was he going to give me his best pick-up line?

A new written note stuck onto his window, disrupting me from my thoughts.

‘Please don’t take this the wrong way.  But, you’ve got a stain on your butt.’

I don’t know what came first.  Me standing up with a face as red as a tomato or my face turning a bright shade of red before I stood up.  All I knew was I ran from my seat as fast as I could to the washroom, cursing the women in office and the white skirt I decided to wear.  My first encounter with a strapping gentleman has just soiled itself.

So much for a gorgeous neighbor in the building next door.. Now I’ll have to draw my curtains to block him from my view and say good-bye to the warmth the sun brought for the next few months to a year.

Damn you, stylish-looking new building… Damn you.

Insurgent Review: Disappointing

 

Caught this film yesterday with my pal, who watched the first one with me.  Having read the trilogy, we were pretty critical about the film.  With that said, I decided to lower my expectation this time around because the first movie disappointed me a fair bit already (the audience was not supposed to know the name of the location because it was only revealed in the third book! But at the start of Divergent; there it was, staring at me from the screen).

Insurgent is based off the second book of the same name from the Divergent trilogy.  It takes place after the destruction of Abegnation, where Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), Tobias ‘Four’ Eaton (Theo James), Caleb Prior (Ansel Elgort) and Peter Hayes (Miles Teller) escaped and took shelter in another faction – Amity, governed by Joanna (Octavia Spencer).

Since their escape, the leader of Erudite, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), got in her possession, a box that contained a message from the founders.  But, a divergent was needed to unlock and uncover the contents.  As such, Jeanine and her Erudite counterparts got to devising a serum test that would allow the divergent subjects to go through 5 faction tests in order for the box to be unlocked.  To achieve this, Jeanine sent out her Dauntless minions to test and pick up divergents from the remaining factions, including Amity.  Realizing that the soldiers are upon their doorstep, Tris, Four and Caleb escaped, leaving Peter behind.  The three of them eventually ended up on a train, heading back into the city where they came face-to-face with the Factionless.  Fighting ensued and the three of them nearly lost when Four told the Factionless who he was.

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“Run for your lives!” Source: Lionsgate

The three of them were taken to see the Factionless leader, Evelyn (Naomi Watts), who turned out to be Four’s mother.  She had faked her own death to escape her abusive husband – Four’s father.  It was there where they found out where the other Dauntless were seeking refuge.  Deciding to find them, the three headed out to Candor.  Halfway through the journey, Caleb decides to head back to his faction, Erudite.  Tris and Four were eventually reunited with the other Dauntless but their reunion was short-lived when the leader of Candor (Daniel Dae Kim) refused to let them stay, seeing that they were wanted fugitives.  Four managed to strike an agreement with him, letting the Candor leader administer the truth serum on them to prove their non-involvement with the Abegnation incident.  All goes well despite Tris’ painful confession (her killing her friend point-blank) and they were allowed to stay.  Unfortunately, their stay was short-lived when they were ambushed by Jeanine’s minions.  Four and the other Dauntless managed to save Tris and the other divergents that were held hostage (killing Eric, played by Jai Courtney and giving Jeanine’s minions the information she needed during the process).

Jeanine eventually gets the test results of Tris and needed her to complete the serum test.  With the help of Peter, who joined her Erudite army, they came up with a way to flush Tris out.  The plan worked with Tris walking into Erudite headquarters and giving herself up.  She was put through Jeanine’s serum test and eventually opened the box to reveal the message (albeit under different circumstances).  The movie ended with the message being broadcast across the factions and people moving towards the walls – to discover what was on the other side.

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“You’re from Candor. Tell us the truth. Is this going to be a hit with the fans?” Source: Lionsgate

Insurgent was pretty well done in terms of visual effects.  The portrayal of the characters from the actors were great too.  Ansel’s portrayal of Caleb often had me sniggering because of the not very flattering way that he ran.  If that’s his way of portraying a nerd running, then, kudos because it was really hilarious.  But besides that, there were definitely huge inconsistencies with the movie compared to the book.  For example, the main idea behind Jeanine’s capture of Tris was never about the message she so desperately wanted to view but about her desire to eradicate the entire divergent population.  Also, there was supposed to be more Factionless interaction in this installment but that didn’t happen.  Characters that were meant to have more screen time were overshadowed by Tris and the supposed breakdown of Four and her relationship never happened.  Instead he was supportive of her the entire time which wasn’t like the book.

All in all, as a fan of the trilogy, I felt Insurgent didn’t do the book justice.  Instead, it became another YA Hollywood movie, missing out on the key factors of the book.  There were scenes beneficial to the story that could have been included but instead, they were swapped out for visually stunning scenes and making it solely about Tris.  With that said, I have my fingers crossed in hopes that Allegiant won’t be as disappointing as Insurgent.

Come on Hollywood, let’s do better.

Rating:

starstarhalfstar

Cinderella Review: Not perfect but still enchanting

A beautiful and enchanting tale that never grows old.  Cinderella is a classic fairy tale following a girl named Ella (Lily James), who learns what it truly means to be kind to others despite what others have done. After her mother (Haley Atwell) passes, her father (Ben Chaplin) remarries and Ella’s family is whole again with her new stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and her two step-sisters, Drisella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger).  Unfortunately for Ella, her supposedly new family life falls apart when her father falls ill on a trip and passes on.  Lady Tremaine takes over the household, sending all the servants away and appointing Ella as the new ‘house-maid’.  While her daughters enjoy the life, Ella slaves away cleaning the house, washing the clothes and preparing food.  Having been treated unkindly, Ella leaves the house for a horse-ride where she meets the prince (Richard Madden).  Enchanted with the girl he met, the prince decides not to reveal his identity so as to be treated like a normal person; giving her his pet name, Kit, and telling her he was an apprentice at the palace.  However, Ella doesn’t reveal her identity, for fear that her stepmother would find out.  The chance meeting with Ella led the prince on a quest to find the girl who stole his heart.

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“Who said I can’t do manual work!?” Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The next day, Ella hears the announcement in the market about a ball in the palace.  Hoping to see the ‘young apprentice’ again, Ella informs her stepmother and step-sisters.  The night of the ball, her step-sisters and stepmother got dressed to the nines while Ella wore her mother’s dress.  Unlike Ella’s innocent idea of going to the ball to meet someone else, Lady Tremaine ruined Ella’s dress and forbade her to go to the ball.  Overwhelmed by sadness, Ella runs out of the house and cries while debating if she could carry on ‘having courage and being kind’.  It was at this moment when she meets an old lady, who turns out to be her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter).  With the help of her fairy godmother, Ella is transformed into a princess for the night where she could have fun and enjoy the ball.  However, she had only until the last bell when it strikes midnight, where she would transform back to how she looked like before.  And as the story goes, Ella would leave the party at midnight, leaving behind a glass slipper for the prince.  Fallen totally in love with Ella, the prince sets out on a quest to find the owner of the glass slipper.  Despite the difficulty faced by Ella (coming from her stepmother and grand duke, played by Stellan Skarsgard), the prince eventually finds her and reunites with his love, where they wed happily ever after.

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“Isn’t weird that we both played characters from TV too?” Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Being a sucker for fairytales, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this movie immensely.  Even though Cinderella was never one of my favorite princesses, I always thought she was the classic princess.  I liked how despite this being a live-action movie, there were parts similar to the animation that they included – especially the pink dress she wore.  And might I add, I had no idea Agent Carter-wait, I mean Hayley Atwell could sing!

Lily James as Cinderella was a pretty good fit.  She wasn’t the ‘at all angles’ kind of pretty but she had the classic look Cinderella had.  Her portrayal of the gentle and kind nature of Ella instantly made me care for her character and basically become emotionally-attached to her (different from her Lady Rose character from Downton Abbey).  When she cried, I cried.  When she felt happy, I felt happy for her. I kinda felt like the human version of Gus-Gus.  She did a great job on a whole except for the scene when she had to show her sadness and disappointment about not going to the ball.  It felt a little unnatural to me when she sorta flung herself onto the side of the fountain and at the stairs to weep.  I know it is a cliche move to portray ‘weeping’ of that form in a movie, but do it right, it won’t look that bad. In Lily’s case, the way she did it made it look almost comical.  I had to actually stop myself from passing a sarcastic comment.  So, to the Beauty and the Beast production team, let’s try and not make Emma Watson do something like that, okay?

Without his Game of Thrones outfit, I must say.. Robb Stark-wait.. no.. Richard Madden embodies the spirit of a prince.  (And, it was surprising to see Xaro Xhoan Daxos- wait, no.. I mean Nonso Anozie as his Captain.)  Although it’s kinda a demotion from his King of the North, being a Disney prince is actually a step up.  I would like to point out that I do think his previous GoT experience kinda helped him with the character of the prince.  But!  I am not a fan of those tight, tight pants.

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“Oh.. That’s a lot of stairs.” Source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

A far cry from her days as Daisy in Downton Abbey, Sophie plays the step-sister, providing the laughs and horrible singing.  I thought both she and Holliday were wonderful as the step-sisters, with their bratty behavior and funny expressions.  Kudos to Holliday especially for her hilarious expression when she tried to squeeze her feet into the glass slipper.  Helena as the fairy godmother is as you would expect her to be.  Quirky, funny; Universe, I would like my fairy godmother to be like her please!  Cate Blanchett as the evil Lady Tremaine is one that I have to applaud.  Her controlled expressions and ability to make you hate and pity her at the same time made her the most well-played character of the movie.  The one thing I admired about Cate is her ability to convey the hate she had with just her eyes.

Despite this being a fairytale, I felt that there were certain parts of the movie which fit in with the modern world we are living in.  Like Helena’s voiceover said, we are all afraid to be seen for who we are.  That’s why we often hide behind our pretences.  Everyone of us are afraid of being rejected and when we’ve hidden ourselves long enough, it’s hard to separate the comfort of our masks.  I like to think that behind Lady Tremaine’s mask is a woman who hasn’t stopped grieving for the husbands she has lost; a woman who had felt that the world took too much for her, she needed to take back what she deserved.

All in all, Cinderella is a stunning movie to catch.  The visual is extremely wonderful (especially the transformation of Cinderella’s dress) and the cast is well-fit (despite it being a reunion of British TV actors).  Well done Disney, for your first of many live-action fairy tale films!

Rating:

starstarstarhalfstar

Frozen Fever Review: It’s still magical!

 

Frozen Fever is a short film based off the movie, Frozen.  Centering around the simple story line of a perfect birthday party for Anna, the creators and cast of Frozen have done it again; introducing a new song (and new dresses), to the audience in the process.

Making Today a Perfect Day is the new song introduced in the short film.  Despite it not being as iconic as Let It Go, it still is catchy and after a few listens to it, I’m sure kids and adults alike will be making a new video in their car.

Being a fan of Frozen, I was absolutely delighted with this short film.  It was short and to the point, including two factors we loved so much from the film – song and the beautiful relationship between two sisters.  Having a sister of my own, I absolutely love the relationship between Anna and Elsa.  Having not been there for her sister (conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know), Elsa felt that it was her responsibility to make it up to Anna with the perfect birthday party.  But in doing so, Elsa neglects her own health, coming down with a flu.  And even with all the gifts Elsa prepared, Anna still prefers the one she gets later – the opportunity to take care of Elsa.

It’s suffice enough to say that I can’t wait for the Frozen sequel because, sorry people of the world, I’m not ready to Let It Go.

Rating:

starstarstarstar

Random Friday Ramblings: Comic

He sits across from me aboard the L-train headed for Jefferson Street.  I glanced at the comic that he holds tightly with his pudgy, little hands.  The title read, ‘The Flash’ and he had on a red t-shirt that showed his support for the character.  I smiled slightly to myself watching his face light up at what I assume must be an exciting fighting sequence in the pages.  He senses me watching and looks up.  Our eyes meet and I gave him a smile.  He looks at me curiously before returning to the colored panels.

I looked around the train cart at the different faces; each doing something to occupy their journey time.  I wasn’t one to judge – I had a report sitting between my hands, waiting for me to give it attention.

I once thought it was a monotonous transport behavior and never liked joining the crowd.  But since I’ve had my fair share of unconventional transport behavior, I’m learning to conform every now and then.

My report was about to get my undivided attention when my eyes caught sight of the little boy across from me.  His nose wasn’t buried in his comic anymore but was instead transfixed on two average looking middle-aged men, that had just entered the carriage.  Observing them, I realized they appeared surprisingly fresh for business men in suits.   Their hair still had the fresh coat of gel on, as opposed to the other men in suits in the carriage.  I know New York doesn’t sleep but it was 9 pm in the night, and most people here are ready to just jump right into bed.  These two however, seemed like they just got out of bed.  I studied them for a bit and caught a glimpse of the briefcases they were holding.  Silver… Interesting.

The next thing I knew, the train pulled to a stop and the two men pulled out their guns just before the lights in the carriage went out.  The last thing I heard before panic screams were, “Remember. 3-minute window.”

~ * ~

The lights all went out.  Mommy got up out of her seat almost immediately and pulled my hand as she moved away from our seats.  Everything happened so fast and I dropped my favorite comic.

“Mommy!” I said. “My comic!”

“It’s alright, sweetie. Mommy will get you a new one.” She replied. “We need to get out of here before the bad man catches us!”

But I didn’t want a new one.  I was just about to finish this one.  I wriggled my hand out of her grasp and moved forward, ignoring her frantic calls.  I just want my comic.  It was hard to see but I managed to feel the chairs as I moved.  My hand eventually landed on the soft pages of my comic and just as I held it fully, I heard a strange click, two steps away from me.  I backed away and fell over just as I heard the sound of punches being exchanged and the constant ‘whizz, whizz, whizz’ before me.

And that’s when I heard him.

“Don’t forget this.”

I felt my comic in my hands and someone helping me up.  But, I still couldn’t see who it was.

He ruffled my hair in the dark.  “Keep believing, little buddy.”

Almost like magic, the lights came back on and I turned to look for the man who spoke to me.  However, all I saw in front of me was the little burnt marks on the ground and the two bad men sleeping on the floor.  Their nice hair had been messed up and their faces had bruises on them.  One even had a bleeding nose.  It was cool to see them on the ground.  It was just like when The Flash took down those evil men in my comic!

“Xander!”

I turned around and was immediately bear-hugged by my mother.  I smoothed her hair to stop her from crying and looked up as soon as I felt someone watching me.  My eyes met with someone behind her – the man who sat opposite me.  He pushed his glasses up and winked at me with a smile.  I looked down at my comic and looked up at him again, as the surprised passengers hurried to find a way to subdue the bad men.

Could he be…?