Four Letter Nerd

Author - Cody Russell

Movie Review- 300: Rise of an Empire

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Being the father of three children typically means that I don’t get the chance to go see a movie in the first week that it is in the theater, unless it’s made by Disney Pixar. So when Stephen said he had a free ticket to go check out 300: Rise of an Empire, I quickly texted back “Heck yes!”. 300 is one of my favorite movies, so I was very excited to get the chance to see the sequel actually IN THE THEATER. Now that I’ve actually seen it, I thought I’d share with you what I thought.

First let me say that I have a lot of mixed emotions about the film.

Story Line: 300: Rise of an Empire, while technically is a sequel, actually is portrayed as a parallel story to the original 300. You follow the story of Athenian General Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) as he is charged with commanding the Athenian naval fleet against the the god king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his malice and vengeance filled naval commander Artemisia. I’ll admit that in the opening scenes of the movie Stephen and I were somewhat confused as to when the story took place. Let me lay it out for you…

The first scene opens with the image of the blood splattered Spartans laying defeated in a pile and King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) sprawled out dead in the middle of them. We hear a voice over of Queen Gorgo (Cercei Lanister… I mean… Lena Headly) delivering a rather uninspiring speech to what we suspect is the remaining Spartan army. We then see Xerxes approach the body of Leonidas on horseback.  Xerxes takes a battle axe and decapitates Leonidas as she delivers the line ” A tidal wave of heroes blood will be had.” and we see the title screen. It then bounces to another battle that happened years earlier, before Xerxes was the god king, where Themistokles kills the Persian king and thus begins the origin story of Xerxes. After some back story on Xerxes, It then bounces to present day with Themi (there is no mention of it being present day, we just had to figure it out) being forced into an alliance with the other Greek cities that are soon to be in the path of the Persian army.  Somewhere along the way you realize the story is in fact parallel to King Leonidas’ suicide mission to face the Persians and the world is much clearer. Other than that interesting, and slightly confusing, angle of telling the story it felt mostly like a copy/paste underdog sword and sandal flick. I think part of the reason for this is that the first film had The 300 graphic novel to rely heavily on, and this film was pretty much left to be delivered without the brilliance of the follow up novel Xerxes, because it hasn’t been released yet. It also could be because Zach Snyder didn’t direct on this.

Acting: Acting overall was pretty solid. Eva Green nailed the role of blood thirsty and vengeful Artemisia. Lena Hadley and Rodrigo Santoro both returned and delivered just like the first time. I think Xerxes is one of the most intimidating characters, and that has a lot to do with how Santoro protrays him (or maybe his crazy voice). The only down fall of the acting was the Aussie newcomer Sullivan Stapleton. Honestly, he did a great job. I’m still wrestling with myself on whether his performance was a lack of authority, or a lack of story telling to really give the viewer who they were watching. His character compared to Leonidas seemed very tame, but not like a purposeful “calm in a storm” tamed. I say that because there would be moments that you felt like his lines were supposed to inspire you right out of your seat, but they just fell flat and felt somewhat on repeat from the last movie. I don’t think this is the actor’s fault. In the first movie the story really set up what it meant to be a Spartan, and Leonidas’s role as the king of them. In this film we are just thrown into a battle with the lead and you only understand two things about him. He’s a risk taker, and a pretty tactical guy. You dont get the story about how he became the best of the Athenians. You also had no real back story on how he became so smart in battle. His character paled in comparison to the antagonist so much so that you almost rooted for Artemisia to defeat Greece.

Imagery: With the original 300 film, the colors and imagery left you feeling like you were watching a painting, or comic panels, come to life; a lot like Sin City did when you first saw it. With brilliant contrasts of black, gold, white, and crimson, every image could be made into art to be hung in a museum. I’m a big art guy, so this stuff is very important to me; equally as important is consistency. If you are going to make a sequel to a film like 300 it has to have the same look. The look alone is what made the first movie so enjoyable to watch. There were moments you couldn’t tell if it had been drawn or if it was live action, and I think that is just so cool. In 300: Rise of an Empire they seemed to tone that back while amping up the blood. There was a lot of blues and purples and blacks that all seem to get lost and not give you that wow factor as you watched. This may be a small thing to most, but I was let down with this.

Overall: While the movie was decent, and had some very cool hand to hand combat scenes, it just fell short of the previous title. At first looks I thought it would be a for sure hit with everyone that was on board, but in the end it didn’t feel as original as the first, and seemed to miss on what made it original to begin with. For a movie that is really about being an underdog and taking on impossible odds, I left feeling uninspired to take on the world. After the first 300 I left the theater ready to take on any obstacle, Like I had a shield come back with or die on.  After 300: Rise of an Empire I just felt kind of “meh”. If I had to rate this movie on a “Rent It” to “Get Your Ass in the Theater for This One” I’d give it “If Your Friend has a Free Pass, Go See It.” If you don’t have any friends offering to take you for free, I’d just wait to see if it will come out on Redbox for a dollar.

 

 

GOT Paragraph Preview

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You know the saying “Good things come to those who wait”? Well for as long as all the Game of Thrones fans have been waiting (since July of 2011!) I sure hope George R.R. Martin’s sixth installment of  A Song of Fire and Ice is electrifying genius. While no one is sure when the next book will be out, Mr. Martin gratuitously released a small paragraph to quench out thirst for the next book.

TYRION

Somewhere off in the far distance, a dying man was screaming for his mother. “To horse!” a man was yelling in Ghiscari, in the next camp to the north of the Second Sons. “To horse! To horse!” High and shrill, his voice carried a long way in the morning air, far beyond his own encampment. Tyrion knew just enough Ghiscari to understand the words, but the fear in his voice would have been plain in any tongue. I know how he feels.

Do you feel better or more frustrated now that you’ve read that? Well, take solace in knowing that next month Random House is planning on launching a huge update to the World of Fire and Ice app where you will be able to read the entire chapter named The Winds of Winter which features our beloved Tyrion. What does this mean as far as the new book coming out? We don’t really know. It could mean that it’s taken George R.R. Martin nearly 3 years to write a single chapter.  If you’re not the type to pay for apps, and still want to read the new chapter, you can do so on the free version. Along with the update will come new character and location information. The app is available on both Iphone and Android.

If you’re keeping up with the show, what are you most looking forward to in this coming season? Don’t say winter.

 

Source:http://shelf-life.ew.com/2014/02/26/winds-of-winter-exclusive/

Keepin’ It Reel (IGN) Crispin Glover Talks Back To The Future

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So I was just scrolling through my Friday usuals (IGN, Twitter, Facebook, Comicbookmovie) and came across this interview on IGN with Crispin Glover. The Back To The Future fan in me thought it might be cool to share the interview with the rest of the 4LN family, until Glover started to talk about how he was not included in any of the sequels. I feel slightly bad that I didn’t know this, but apparently prosthetics were used to make another actor look like Glover. It’s a very interesting interview, and you can tell Crispin Glover is a very out of the box thinker. Enjoy!

 

Source: http://www.ign.com/videos/2014/02/27/keepin-it-reel-crispin-glover-talks-back-to-the-future

17 Off The Wall Valentine’s Gifts for Your Nerd

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It’s Valentine’s Day! In the spirit of the holiday we here at 4LN thought it would be a great idea to give you some weird and cool gift ideas for the nerd in your life. Whether you’re with someone or not today these are still really cool, and odd, gifts. So buy them for someone you love, or for yourself. It’s always good to love yourself right? Here we go.

 

 

1. I love you/ I know Cufflinks:

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Ever girl loves a sharp dressed man right? These cufflinks are the perfect thing for the Han in your life to take his suit to the next level this Valentine’s day.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/162a/

 

2. I Heart Heart Doctor Who Shirt

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I’m not a huge fan of the “I (pictograph) Direct Object” shirts, but seeing as my wife has an affinity for The Doctor, I thought this was a very clever shirt. At $21.99 it’s a great I <3 your nerdiness gift.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ea48/

 

3. Super-lady Undies.

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Ladies… buy these for the nerd in your life. The gift is seeing you in them.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/f218/

 

4. Leisure Deck Robes

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Maybe your Valentine’s day will be spent on the leisure deck of the S.S. Enterprise, or just on your couch watching Star Trek with your loved one (or alone). Either way, these bath robes help to put you in that  fantasy location you always wished you could visit.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e73b/

Available in Spock, Scotty, or Uhura

For those with a taste for the finer fabrics

*Bonus—Uhura Satin Robe http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/18cb/

18cb_uhura_satin_robe

 

 

5. Hello Sweetie Shirt- Doctor Who

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Look, I’m one of those guys that has a spouse that loves Doctor Who and I’m not all that interested, but I do know who Amy Pond is and thought my wife would think this is cool. So yeah….

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/11a7/

 

6. DC Valentine Story

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Most of you probably already know about this comic, but in case you missed it DC has released Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special. It’s filled with stories about Aquaman spoiling his wife, Wonder Woman seeking counsel about her feelings for the Man of Steel and other fun stories of our favorite super heroes and their romantic adventures. You can’t order this online, so go local and support a comic shop.

Go Here to find your nearest comic shop.

http://www.dccomics.com/comics/young-romance-a-new-52-valentine%E2%80%99s-day-special-2013/young-romance-a-new-52-valentine%E2%80%99s-day

 

7. Darth Father

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Being a dad, I’m always a sucker for these kind of things. What better way to give a gift of your love of your man, his fatherhood, and his nerdom than with this awesome Darth Vader father sculpture. It’s a little pricey, but very cool.

http://www.gentlegiantltd.com/product_p/80396.htm

 

8. The Nerdy Baker

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What’s Valentine’s Day without sweets? What better way to celebrate your nerdy baker than some nerdy cookie cutters? If you’re anything like me, we love to throw small premier parties for TV shows and what not. These are awesome for just that occasion.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/CookiePrints

 

9. Batman Motorcycle Helmet

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Look… I know I don’t drive a motorcycle, and yes this is very expensive, but fandom doesn’t have limits. This is awesome. I think could just sit around in my underwear at the house playing Arkham: Origins all day with this on. Too Cool.

http://www.helmetdawg.com/Products.php

 

10. Muscle Up Shirt

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Has your man, or lady that’s really into bulking up, been hitting it hard at the gym, but not getting the desired results. Well… now you can give them a boost of ego and cheat a little. This shirt, as you can see from the picture, has the desired muscle built in. Maybe they’re not where they want to be in their fitness yet, but this could be a good (or really bad) way to encourage them.

http://www.funkybod.com/funkybod-purchase.html

 

11. Moving Rorschach Ink Blot Masks

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This is just TOO FREAKIN’ COOL. You’ll understand after you watch the video, and if you have any huge Watchmen fans in your life they will love you for this. It’s only $30 and totally worth every penny.

 

http://www.rorschachmasks.com/products.html

 

12. Zombie Tomahawk

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You wife is going to need something to bash, smash, and hack all those Zombies with when the Apocalypse happens. Buy this and ensure her, and the human race, survival. What better way to say I love you?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FO5CXS//ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=duiwath-20

 

13.Make Your Fridge Bigger on The Inside

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This takes “breath, EAT, sleep” to a whole new level. Make your fridge bigger on the inside with this awesome wrap.

http://glasssculpture.org/artglass/holiday/police-box.html

 

14. Assassin’s Creed Jacket

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To all the fans of Assassin’s Creed your lover will look amazing in this jacket. To everyone else who is oblivious to the video game that is Assassin’s Creed, they might confuse them for the ring leader of a circus. It’s available in different colors, and is super cool.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AHTCB42//ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=duiwath-20

 

15. Don’t forget the dagger

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If you buy Assassin’s Creed jacket for your loved one, you might as well equip them with the hidden dagger. A psychotic evaluation may be necessary before gifting though, this could come back to haunt you.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Assassins-Auditore-Gauntlet-Hidden-Replica/dp/B009TJV6D8/ref=cts_ap_1_fbt

 

16. Periodic Table of Middle Earth

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New level of Nerdom: Chemistry and Lord of the Rings. Perfect for the Elvin Chemist in your life.

http://shop.legendarium.me/The-Periodic-Table-of-Middle-earth-OLP01-0007.htm

 

17. Zombie Survival Kit

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Lastly, buy this Zombie Kit to ensure that you both go down fighting together. This is a 3 day zombie survival kit and it’s the best way to say “Til death do we part.”

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009R7LQQE//ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=duiwath-20

 

Hope you all have a great Valentine’s day.

 

Sincerely,

 

Cody

Steam Punk Will Soon be Gaining Ground

ACTION-COMICS-28-When you hear the words “steam punk” it’s not a reference to a new genre of music where 5 skinny rebels play fast paced rock’n roll in a sauna room. It is a reference to a type of sub-genre of science fiction in the comic book world that is usually set in the 19th century America or Britain, and ultimately involves crazy inventions with brass clogs and sprockets. It is essentially a Jules Verne style of illustration and DC is about to release several comics in this style featuring your favorites like Batman, Supes, and Wonder Woman. Hitfix has an exclusive look at 10 covers that DC will be releasing in February, and I must say, they look awesome. Head over there and take a look for yourself.

http://www.hitfix.com/news/exclusive-10-delightfully-smashing-steampunk-comic-covers-from-dc

Marvel Tour Coming to a City Near You!

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Well, if you’ve never had the chance to take a trip down to Universal Studios Island of Adventure and check out the Marvel area, now you you don’t have to. Marvel and Hero Ventures just released some information on what is being called The Marvel Experience Tour. If your not sure what to expect, well here is a little snap shot. “From the outside, The Marvel Experience resembles a temporary S.H.I.E.L.D. installation or “Mobile Command Center,” with the facility’s apex towering more than six stories high. Inside, a maze of connected Domes will lead guests through an array of interactive games and original animated short films including the first- ever traveling motion-based ride, where guests become immersed in this original adventure only found in The Marvel Experience.. “

They haven’t discussed what cities will be visited, but we do know that it will be a US and Canada event. Hopefully this will roll through our hometown of Nashville, or at least somewhere close.

Considering that they have Aaron Sims on board to help bring this thing to life, it should be amazing. Forget going to the movies! Find the Marvel Experience tour and live them.

For the full press release go here:
http://themarvelexperiencetour.com/press-release-010913/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dome&utm_term=&utm_content=

The Women of 2013

2013 was an inspiring year for women everywhere. Microsoft has taken the time to put together this awesome video of some very inspiring women of 2013. Enjoy, and let this drive you to new heights in 2014!

From The Vault (Movie Review)- Super

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I need to admit, that I’m not the most up to date guy on all things nerdy. With having three small kids, I tend to find new things to fall in love with after they’ve been out for a couple of years. With that being said, over the last couple of days (yes, it takes me that long to get through a movie) I had the chance to finally jump on Netflix and check out a movie I’ve wanted to see for quite some time, Super starring Rainn Wilson. Super is the story about a somewhat schizophrenic (that’s not intentional, but when you watch the movie you’ll totally agree.) diner cook, named Frank D’arbo, who becomes “divinely inspired” to become a super hero after his wife leaves him for a local drug dealer.

 

The only expectations I had as I started this movie were two things; it was probably going to be funny, and that the poster reminded me a lot of the movie Kick-Ass. I consider myself a pretty dark humored guy, but this had more of that Quentin Tarintino violent comedy about it. That stuff is funny, but I didn’t find myself laughing out loud that often. There were some good laughs here and there, specifically a scene where Frank(Rainn Wilson) has a detective show up on his door and he imagines what might happen in the prison showers, but for the most part there is a very serious overtone about it. Let me be clear, I really liked this movie. While it may not have been the overly funny comedy I was expecting, I genuinely enjoyed the story line.

 

From the beginning scenes you follow Frank through the pain and confusion of his wife leaving. There’s not a ton of clarity as to why Sarah (played by Liv Tyler) left Frank, but it’s clear that the new man she is with Jacques (played by Kevin Bacon) is not completely a good guy. What I love most about this part of the film is the acting by Wilson. I’m so used to him playing the power hungry Dwight Shrute on the Office that I never thought about how good of an actor he really is. He captures the sapless and frustrated Frank D’arbo perfectly. After an outright begging session in the middle of the street with Sarah, Frank retreats to his home and finds himself watching a Christian super hero TV show, The Holy Avenger. The Holy Avenger is honestly one of the funnier parts of the movie, because let’s face it Christian TV is about as sincere as a naked clown. This is the beginning of Frank’s adventure into creating his pipe wrench slinging alter ego The Crimson Bolt.

 

I don’t want to sit here and go through the whole story line with you, so I won’t. I do want to mention that Ellen Paige is in this movie as a psychotic fan girl who becomes the sidekick to The Crimson Bolt known as Boltie. She nails this role. Her over excitement about fighting crime, being a super hero, and trying to be sexy in her costume, made me think of what every nerd would feel like if they took the leap of becoming a super hero.

 

I think that’s why I love this movie so much. It really did a great job of showing how an average, slightly mentally unstable, Joe can become a super hero. They did a great job of making it realistic. HBO did a documentary on real people who actually dress up to fight crime called Superheroes (which if you haven’t seen that you need to). Super could have been substituted in its place because of how realistic it felt. On the first night that the Crimson Bolt goes out to fight crime he sits behind a dumpster for hours with no luck. I don’t think you could portray real life, amateur, crime fighting any better. He hand sews a suit together, grabs a weapon, and goes out to hide in the shadows; only to find that there isn’t that much crime that goes on. Another thing was that his weapon, a pipe wrench, inflicted real damage. In most super hero movies there isn’t much blood. You usually see punches, kicks, super natural hammers to the face, without much physical damage being done in super hero flicks; in Super that is not the case. Every strike thrown by The Crimson Bolt inflicted real world damage and you kind of felt bad for the people it was happening to. After watching Super, you realize superheroes would have to be some kind of crazy to deal the punishment that they do.

 

There are a lot of great things about this movie and honestly I can’t cover them all, but luckily for you this movie is on Netflix right now and is totally worth a watch if you’re looking for an original hero story.

What The Hell? Part 2 (The Ultimates)

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I know this is only the second installment of our “What the Hell?” series, but I wanted to approach it a little differently than @Bill_The_Intern did in his review of Red Lantern 21. I was kind of worried about trying to attempt this article, simply because I knew if I read the whole comic my mind would try to rationalize what really happened and make it not as funny (Also since this comic is the complete series wrapped in one book, it would work against me.) So I decided that I would play comic roulette and try and decipher what is going on in a story based on ONE image. You know? Flip, point, shoot! For those of you that have read this comic, please excuse my complete lack of knowledge in story lines, names, faces, and any other thing that I destroy writing this. I’m going to give you three theories of how we land here in the story and where I think it’s going. So let’s dive in….

 

Here’s the page I landed on.

photo

 

Theory Number 1:

 

What got us here?

It had been a rough week for Henry Pym (Giant-Man). He had been losing The Ultimates’ annual prank war by a wide margin. Thor and Captain America pulled out all the stops this year, and Pym was on the receiving end of most of them; everything from gallons of Log Cabin syrup being poured in his hair while he slept, to using his tighty whities as a hot air balloon. You have to be pretty crafty to prank a giant. I imagine this is where the commercials for Messin’ with Sasquatch came from. Pym was just an easy target. Everything had been pretty light hearted up until they decided throwing all his clothes away would go down in the prank war history books.

 

Where’s it going?

Little did Thor and Captain America know that their plan would completely back fire. Pym had been waiting for a moment like this and released an incinerating unfiltered fart that can only be explained as death. Filling the room to the brim everyone smelled the vengeance of Giant-Man. Since everyone in the room immediately passed out Pym immediately this should be used as a weapon for future battles. The SBD is now a calling card for all enemies to beware. (Look I know it’s just a fart joke, but you have a 40ft naked man. Come on, what do you expect me to say!)

 

Theory Number 2:

 

What got us here?

 

Jello Shots

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Where’s it going?

 

After devouring an unhuman amount of alcohol and completely disrobing in what he thought was all fun and games. Pym really exposed his terrible alcohol addiction. He’ll go on to eventually be summoned to a dimly lit meeting room at an Holiday Inn where he believes that he is meeting his long lost aunt, only to discover Janet (his wife) and The Ultimates all waiting with letters in hand to have an intervention. He’ll hang up his suit in exchange for sessions of Tai Chi and group counseling; ultimately finding happiness without the desire to scar little children by streaking his gigantic third leg around. That would be terrifying.

 

Pym- "Why's she waiting in a meeting room? I guess that's normal."

Pym- “Why’s she waiting in a meeting room? I guess that’s normal.”

 

Theory #3:

 

What got us here?

In an attempt to find new ways to fight off enemies on a restricted budget, The Ultimates wondered how mentally damaging it would be for Pym to fight naked. Several tests were done, and great success was seen by test subjects.

 

Where is it going?

While first tests of the mental naked warfare went well, it quickly dawned on the Ultimates how awkward a man fighting naked looks…specifically roundhouse kicks. Actually, most everything that Pym did while naked made everyone on the team extremely uncomfortable.  Only problem was that Pym had become accustomed to fighting naked and thought it helped make his hands look bigger. The Ultimates quickly made a plan to dissuade Pym from continuing his birthday suit antics and is scene in the final page fully clothed. Good thing too, as citizens were growing tired of having to explain to their children that they should not play super heroes outside when pretending to be Giant-Man. Oddly, sales in Giant-Man costumes tripled once he returned to his suit.

Miss Optimus Prime

Through the Halloween season I saw many a costumes, and even saw a couple of costume contests. I started to think that nerds/geeks never win at these because usually we dress as something that people don’t normally recognize. I don’t know how many times my wife was asked “Who” she was. She was Doctor Who of course. I think she’s a bigger nerd than I am. I’m not one to watch the Miss Univers Pageant, but a coworker of mine showed me the most awesome thing I’ve seen. Miss USA (Erin Brady) went all in and busted out Optimus Prime for the costume section of the pageant. SOOOOO COOOOL. Here’s a photo of her. We tip our hats to you m’lady. Great Work representing ‘MERICA.

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