Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Deadpool 2

(MA15+) ★★★½

Director: David Leitch.

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić Leslie Uggams, Karan Soni, Shioli Kutsuna, Eddie Marsan, Terry Crews, Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgård, Rob Delaney.

"What do you mean 'revoke my licence'?"
It's pretty tempting to re-run my review for the first Deadpool here, because all the same stuff applies.

Flipping the bird at the po-faced seriousness of the DC Extended Universe and the slightly lighter seriousness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Deadpool is the head-stabbing swear-tastic superhero we need right now. He's here to save the day but he's going to rub his junk on it a little bit too.

Nothing has changed in the world of caped capers since Deadpool came out in 2016 ... except for the fact that Deadpool came out. It was always going to be hard to break new ground when you're the sequel of a groundbreaker, ie a hilarious 'fuck you' to superhero movies that is emphatically definitely still a superhero movie.

So there's a heavy sense of deja vu here, which is a good thing if you liked the first film. Just like before, Deadpool 2 steadily spurts more meta-gags at the expense of other superhero movies, more dick jokes, more creative swearing, more blood, and more wonderfully OTT moments of mutant mayhem (aided this time by a bigger budget and bigger cast).

This time around, the Merc With The Mouth (Reynolds once again, in the role he was born to play) is up against Cable (Brolin), a futuristic super-soldier hellbent on killing a mutant child named Russell (Dennison). Deadpool decides the only way to stop Cable is with a super-team. Enter X-Force.

Probably the biggest criticism of Deadpool was its lack of plot - two-thirds of the film is a car chase/fight sequence intertwined with a massive flashback - and an underwhelming villain. Deadpool 2 fixes both those problems. Firstly, despite feeling somewhat scattershot to start with, it gets a groove in its story and once Cable arrives on the scene it really hits its stride.

Which brings us to the second point, and Cable, who is a more interesting and well-rounded character. There are some other villains here (no spoilers!) that again play with Deadpool's notion of the grey areas between good guy and bad guy, which is what this film is really all about. There's a sliding scale of goodies and baddies, as well as a fascinating perspective on who is good and who is bad, who could be good and who could be bad, and how people end up in these locations on the moral compass.

But really this is all about the dirty jokes and the fourth-wall breaking shenanigans. Once again, Reynolds and his co-writers put their fist through that wall and then stick their dick in the resulting hole. If you don't laugh early on, this film is gonna be a too-long ride for you. If your sides split in the first movie, you're in for a treat.

Sure, some of it feels like going over old ground - Wolverine is again a target of laughs, as is DC (and Marvel for that matter), and Deadpool's power of regrowing body parts is taken to grotesquely funny new places. But if you're still amused by superheros that swear and leave a bloody trail of chaos behind them, then this is for you.

It can't match its predecessor for originality, but the Merc With The Mouth once again brings the mirth.

Friday, 11 May 2018


(M) ★★★★

Director: Simon Baker.

Cast: Samson Coulter, Ben Spence, Simon Baker, Elizabeth Debicki, Richard Roxburgh, Rachael Blake.

Everyone was really happy about what the day would bring.
The last Australian movie I saw at the cinema was The BBQ, which was so bad it could make you lose faith in the entire Aussie film industry. Breath, on the other hand, is good enough to restore your faith in the industry.

Based on Tim Winton's ninth novel, it's the coming-of-age tale of Pikelet (Coulter) and his mate Loonie (Spence), who live in the fictitious Western Australian community of Sawyer circa the '70s. Their lives consist of riding their bikes, going to school, and getting up to adolescent mischief; that is until they discover a passion for surfing.

With some shitty boards under their arms, Pikelet and Loonie begin spending every spare second in the surf, eventually crossing paths with older waverider Sando (Baker) and his American wife Eva (Debicki) - a meeting that will change everyone's lives.

Having not read Winton's book, I can't comment on the closeness to source material, but the story of Breath the film is intriguing. It floats along at a predominantly gentle pace, and its main dramatic moments are low-key - you spend a while wondering where it's all going and when it gets there it delivers with a minimum of fuss. Despite this at times meditative quality, it never feels dull.

This is due to it's assured storytelling and interesting characters, all overseen by confident direction from Baker, despite it being only his first time helming a feature film. Only a couple of shots that move away from Pikelet's perspective as narrator, momentarily breaking the narrative tone, distract from an otherwise great job by Baker.

He's also solid in front of the camera, as are newcomers Coulter and Spence as the lead teens. While not mindblowing, Coulter and Spence do a great job in their roles, handling the dramatic needs as well as the physicality required for the surfing scenes, and carrying the film in general (Coulter in particular is in every scene).

Debicki's performance is the standout though. Eva is a complex character and Debicki makes her believable for all her frailties, flaws and contradictions.

Breath effortlessly captures that distinctly Australian way of life that bridges the bush and the beach. It's also an ode to the life of the waverider - it lingers over its slow-mo surf sequences, which look great. Shot around Denmark and Albany, it makes the most of the scenery. It's also quintessentially Aussie but rarely ocker. Pikelet and Loonie offer some wonderful turns of phrase that ring true and never wander of into "fair dinkum Strine" territory.

The film works best on a thematic level. It's a coming-of-age tale but really it's about fear. It's about the limits we will push ourselves too, and how people seek out those thresholds as a way of feeling alive and understanding themselves.

Baker is to be commended for bringing this story to the big screen and delivering it so well. Across all areas it's a success, making it one of the better Aussie films in recent years.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Life Of The Party

(M) ★★

Director: Ben Falcone.

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Molly Gordon, Gillian Jacobs, Luke Benward, Maya Rudolph, Matt Walsh, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Debby Ryan, Julie Bowen, Heidi Gardner, Jacki Weaver, Stephen Root.

"Anyone wanna just go home and watch re-runs of Friends?"
Is there a genre called "mom-com"? If so, this is a mom-com - an American comedy about a "mom" aimed at "moms".

While some mothers and others may get a few laughs out of this, Life Of The Party is so predictable and cliched that it quickly and repeatedly becomes boring, and it's more the shame that McCarthy can't get this party started.

She plays Deanna, who is thrust into a mid-life crisis by a sudden divorce from her husband of 22 years Dan (Walsh). The separation comes as their daughter Maddie (Gordon) begins her final year of college, sparking a renewed desire in Deanna to complete the degree she dropped out of when she became pregnant 21 years ago.

So guess what? Mom's going to college!

On paper, it's a winning recipe. You've got the usually funny McCarthy (who appeals to young and old alike) in the lead, but you've also got a college setting to appeal to the teens. and a broad-enough style of humour to appeal to pretty much everyone else over the age of 14.

But it's exactly as you expect it to be, only not as funny as it should be. Life Of The Party's "mom goes to college" premise suggests wild parties, sorority initiations, unwitting drug ingestion, bizarre sexual encounters, fish-out-of-water antics, and a generation gap big enough to drive a school bus through, and the film has all those things. But it rarely surprises, it never shocks, and it is lacking in laughs for too long. As a result, the whole thing is somewhat tiresome.

Written by McCarthy and her director husband Falcone, the movie is at its best when doing the unexpected and pushing its characters a bit harder. A subplot revelation late in the film is a winner, as is any scene featuring Rudolph.

In some ways it's a relief the film steers away from gross-out humour, or Old School-style OTT antics, and even that it keeps its mother-daughter awkwardness to a minimum. But what's left is so safe as to be soporific in spots, and the film's predictability continually undoes its potential appeal.

It's not a total loss. Its themes about mid-life crises and the sacrifices women make for their families are interesting, although they are dealt with all too fleetingly.

The real highlight is a handful of performances. The aforementioned Rudolph steals every scene she's in, Jacobs is great as one of Maddie's friends, and Bowen and Walsh are suitably hissable. Unfortunately Weaver and Root are wasted, and McCarthy's character waivers too much between annoying and adorable in places.

The film eventually hits something of a stride, but there's never enough at stake and it's never funny enough. This college film doesn't get a pass.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

(M) ★★★½

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo.

Cast: Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel.

The new judges of The Block were unimpressed with the feature staircase.
Look at all those names up there. That's almost every hero in the MCU, all Hulk-smashed together into one movie. Having already done the ultimate crossover with The Avengers (six superheroes!), and then upping the game with Avengers: Age Of Ultron (11 superheroes!), and then hitting it out of the park with Captain America: Civil War (12 superheroes!), Marvel have decided all the superheroes is the only place left to go.

After all, this is the moment Marvel has been waiting for (or, rather, one of the many moments). Ten years on since they rolled the dice with Iron Man, and six years on since they planted the first Thanos seed, the Marvel Cinematic Universe reaps what it has sown. And what a bumper crop it is.

The plot centres on big bad Thanos, who is hellbent on reducing the over-population problem he feels is crippling the universe. To do this, he requires the infinity stones - a series of MacGuffins that have been popping up throughout the MCU since Captain America: The First Avenger way back in 2011.

It's up to the heroes of Earth and space to stop Thanos from collecting all the infinity stones and wiping out half the universe. But are they up to the challenge?

If you don't know your Vision from your Falcon, than you may struggle to make head or tail of this. Avengers: Infinity War is that kind of mega-franchise movie that requires some prior learning (a la the latter Harry Potter films or recent Star Wars movies) to fully grasp what's going on. It's assumed you've seen at least some of the previous MCU films, but preferably all of them and that you know who and what Iron Man is, and who knows who and who doesn’t know who. Don’t expect to find out why there’s a wizard guy with a flying coat or a tree playing video games - this movie doesn't have those answers.

As such, Infinity War isn't big on character development or arcs, with one notable exception - Thanos. The Russo Brothers had said in pre-release interviews that this is Thanos' film, and they weren't kidding. The big purple titan, played by a mo-capped Brolin, is one of the most intriguing villains to grace the screen since Heath Ledger dyed his hair green and slapped on the grease paint.

Thanos' ambitions and motives are far from one-dimensional, and there are moments when you can almost empathise with him, which makes for a fascinating superhero movie. Marvel's villains have been regularly criticised for their one-note natures (except for Loki) but there is no such criticism here. Thanos is a great character and the film is his.

The rest of the characters - ie. the dozens of superheroes on display - don't get as much in the way of arcs or development, but we do get to see them placed under extreme pressure, which is fascinating to watch. The way they react and interact is the key here - after 18 films of the MCU, this is the place where many of our ultimate team-up fantasies come home to roost. Some of the best highlights come from seeing these characters talk to each other for the first time, not to mention fight side by side. That sounds super-nerdy, I know, but that's what has made these films work. It made The Avengers a giddy thrill, and Thor: Ragnarok such a blast.

But what's so special about this film aside from the fact it's got a busload of heroes and a decent villain? To answer this question fully would require spoilers, but the spoiler-free answer is that Infinity War makes some bold choices that render it not only surprising, but also devastating. It goes to the darkest places yet in the MCU, and while still brimming with the franchise's typical humour, this is no sunny walk in the park.

There is an utter confidence and comfortableness to Infinity War that comes with the MCU having rarely delivered a bad film over the past 10 years (I'd say only two are genuinely bad). The script is remarkably efficient, partly because it expects us to know who these characters are, but also because it knows how to use them. Add to that a cast who seem very much at home pulling on their supersuits and you've got a blockbuster that seems utterly effortless.

For fans, this is the pay-off you've been waiting for, which is saying something. The stakes are so high and the expectations are off the charts, yet somehow, they've pulled it off. What did most people want out of Infinity War? They wanted all their favourite heroes together on screen, taking on the ultimate big bad, cracking wise while cracking skulls. This is that film. It’s the most epic MCU film to date.

What's that you say? You want all the MCU films ranked from best to worst?

Friday, 20 April 2018

I Feel Pretty

(M) ★½

Director: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein.

Cast: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps, Tom Hopper, Lauren Hutton.

"I ... will eat ... your ... soul!"
This feels like it could have been the uplifting "you go girl" movie of the moment; a tale of a "plus-sized" woman making a wish and getting what she wants - which is to "feel pretty". It's like an updated gender-flipped Big combined with a weird inversion of What Women Want. What Big Women Want perhaps? (Sorry, that's terrible, it won't happen again).

But if you find that confusing, then wait til you try to get your head around the message I Feel Pretty is sending out. I'm not a woman - and therefore I'm not the target audience - but I reckon most women would be perplexed by what's on display here.

Schumer stars as Renee, an ordinary woman with self-esteem issues who finds her life transformed when she suffers a head injury during fitness class. The concussion leaves her seeing herself differently - her physical appearance hasn't changed at all, but suddenly the face looking back at her from the mirror is the gorgeous goddess she had always dreamed of becoming.

You can get what writers-directors Kohn and Silverstein are trying to do. They're trying to make a movie about positive body image while getting across the idea that all you need is a bit of confidence and self-belief. These are very worthy ambitions for a film.

Sadly, these ambitions are not achieved because I Feel Pretty's script and delivery is constantly bodyshaming its main character (and a couple of side characters), in a sense belittling its target audience. It's repeatedly asking us to laugh at the misguided notion that Schumer's Renee isn't pretty despite the fact she feels pretty. In reality - and I'm not even going out on a limb with this one - Schumer is an attractive woman, but that's not even the point. Unless I'm reading this completely wrong, the central premise here is supposed to be that Renee is unattractive and we should be laughing at her for not realising she's unattractive.

The movie's obviously pushing a message about being confident and beautiful in your own body, but it continually undermines that message. Case in point is a bikini contest the overconfident Renee enters, competing alongside a lot of women who are conventionally more beautiful than her (at least that's the gag they're going for). We're encouraged to laugh at a woman flaunting her body because ... I'm not sure why. Because she doesn't conform with some kind of idea of beauty? Why are we being asked to laugh here?

Add onto this the film's climax, in which Schumer's character espouses the principle of being comfortable in your own skin, and embracing who you are, in between which she implores women to buy and wear her company's make-up, because, hey, a woman's gotta make a living. Or is it because you can only be comfortable in your skin to a point, and then you need make-up? Obviously there's a very complex discussion out there about the role of make-up, standards of beauty, and the difference between female and male expectations, but this weird mish-mash of commercial and societal ideals of how a woman should look mixed with a "be true unto thineself" spiritual mantra makes for a confusing mess. 

As a result, the film feels like its walking a fine line the whole time - important message about self belief here, laugh at the overconfident ugly-duckling-who-thinks-she's-a-swan there. And bam, the film isn't funny. It's hard to laugh when there's a message about confidence and being beautiful in your own body, while at the same time the film's poking fun at how its lead character looks and laughing at her overconfidence. What laughs there are come between long stretches of fidgety uneasiness.

It's a shame because Schumer is giving it her all. She's as funny as is possible in the situation. Williams is also great as the make-up empire heiress, who is as equally self-conscious as Renee but for different reasons. There is a bit of a feeling Williams wandered on to the set from a much better farce film being made next door. Scovel is also great, but largely the rest of the cast disappear into Schumer's shadow when they should be clamouring to chew the scenery.

I realise I'm not the target audience for this, and I realise there are some really complex issues and societal forces at play here, but I Feel Pretty doesn't nail many of them. And when they do hit a target, something happens to undercut the message, often within a matter of seconds.

Even leaving its big ideas to the side, the script has to work really hard to keep its high concept going until Renee's climactic revelation. By that point, things are getting pretty contrived.

There are moments where it feels like this could work, but by the end the overwhelming sensation is one of confusion. Maybe that says more about being a woman today than a successfully delivered message does.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

GIG REVIEW: Primus & The Dean Ween Group - The Palais, Melbourne, April 15, 2018

Primus & The Dean Ween Group
The Palais, Melbourne
April 15, 2018

Few bands exemplify what was great about the music industry in the '90s quite like Primus.

There is no other era in music in which this San Francisco trio could have been as successful as they have been. They're a bass-fronted band that blended rock, metal, funk, psych, country and jazz, often in bizarre ways. They sound like no other band, before or since. They played songs, delivered in Les Claypool's idiosyncratic nasal twang, about the joys of fishing, hungry and horny cats, and a woman with a pet beaver. Nothing about that screams "radio-friendly unit shifter".

But thanks to the likes of Nirvana, who stood on the shoulders of giants and helped kick down the previously heavily fortified wall between the "mainstream" and "alternative music", bands such as Primus were able to get swept up in the alt-rock gold rush that followed. They signed to a major label and had top 10 albums in the US. They played on popular TV shows and got significant airplay. They toured the world and played high up the bill of huge festivals. No other era of music would have allowed a band as wonderfully eccentric as Primus to flourish like they did. No other era would have afforded them the level of fame they received. Thank the gods for the '90s.

No matter how you describe Primus' music - "psychedelic polka", "funk-metal", "thrash-funk", "experimental rock", "a post-punk Rush" - it's most definitely not for all tastes. Of all the acts to emerge from the '90s and make hay in the alternative heyday, Primus are the least likely lads. They are the great musical underdogs - they were the oddest of the odd who arrived at a remarkable time in musical history where being odd was not only an asset, but it was extremely desirable.

One of the only other bands that could compete with Primus in the weirdness stakes was Ween. So having The Dean Wean Group opening for Claypool and co at The Palais on a rainy Sunday night was perfection - a celebration of peak '90s strangeness that brought a bunch nostalgic Gen-Xers (90 per cent male who most likely smoked weed in high school) out in force.

Deaner, joined by two of his Ween offsiders and an extra guitarist, opened with This Heart Of Palm from his new album rock2, before blasting through one of Ween's brownest latter-period cuts My Own Bare Hands. The one-two punch of these two songs summed up what was in store - lots of lengthy guitar jams (Waste Station 9, The Ritz Carlton) and a bit of Ween-style irreverence (Fingerbangin'). The set culminated in Claypool himself joining the band on stage for a couple of Ween classics in The Mollusk (which found Deaner in surprisingly good voice) and The Rift. All in all it was an enjoyable set of jam rock, better summarised in this piece by Double J's Dan Condon (which makes me somewhat sad because of its opening line).

Deaner, Dave Dreiwitz and Claypool performing The Rift to close The Dean Ween Group's set.

And then it was into the main feast, which opened with Larry "Ler" LaLonde's guitar-as-factory-whistle call to kick off Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers.

"I didn't realise we were going to be playing to a seated audience," Claypool said. "If I'd known that I wouldn't have written such a rockin' setlist." It was a little hard to believe given Primus played this very venue back in 2011 but it had the desired effect and we were all on our feet.

The set was indeed rocking, comprising almost every pre-Brown Album single. It made for a hit-heavy and enjoyable cross-section of their career - three songs from Pork Soda, Sailing The Seas Of Cheese, and Tales From The Punchbowl, as well as a couple from Frizzle Fry. Wynona's Big Brown Beaver was a highlight, as was the war-themed medley of Too Many Puppies and Sgt Baker.

Green Naugahyde cut Moron TV and the new album's The Trek were played for the only time on the tour. We were also treated to new album tracks The Seven and The Storm, which sat nicely in the setlist, being well suited to the long spacey jams their live sets are renowned for.

The visuals were the best of any Primus tour to date, utilising five big screens to show snippets of film clips or images from the kids' book The Rainbow Gnomes which their new album The Desaturating Seven is based on. The only downside was the band were largely kept in darkness for the show - good luck to anyone trying to figure out how Ler or Les do what they do.

While it would have been nice to hear a lot more of Claypool's vocals and a tad more bass definition in the mix, the show was deeply satisfying, all the more so for the appearance of Dean Ween to help jam out the encore Southbound Pachyderm.

Deaner and Les jam out a lengthy version of Southbound Pachyderm.

The hit-heavy set may have had some fans lamenting the lack of surprises - Welcome To The World was probably the deepest cut in the setlist - but that was the set we got in 2011 as a Soundwave sideshow. The 2018 show felt like the big reward for a seven-year wait. And it's a pretty safe bet a good proportion of Sunday night's crowd were there in 2011. Primus fans are fans for life. I'm sure most of us will be back to do it all again in a few years time (fingers crossed).

A final thought: it would be great if Primus finally started playing some stuff from Antipop, but we can't have it all now, can we?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Meyerowitz Stories

(MA15+) ★★★★

Director: Noah Baumbach.

Cast: Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Marvel, Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, Candice Bergen, Rebecca Miller, Judd Hirsch, Adam Driver.

"The Cable Guy? Well, at least I didn't make The Ridiculous Six."
This may be stating the obvious, but Netflix is making us change the preconceptions we have about movies.

In the past, when a film didn't get a cinema release, it was presumed the film wasn't good enough. It would take the ill-fated straight-to-DVD route and end up filling the final spots on a 10-for-$10 video store mid-week special.

So there's a tendency for those of us old enough to remember video stores to expect a Netflix-made movie - ie. one that hasn't had a cinema release - to be a pile of crap. Even the Cannes Film Festival got on its high horse about the issue, banning films that haven't been screened in a French cinema from competing for the Palme d'Or, which is effectively a ban on films made for streaming services.

This ban came about because of two films - Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories - which were in competition for Cannes' top gong until they came up against a French law that mandates three years between cinema release and appearance on a streaming service (for reasons known only to the French).

This brings us to The Meyerowitz Stories, which is a great film regardless of the size of the screen it premiered on. While this modern notion isn't good enough for the folks at Cannes, it should be enough for the rest of us to help erase the preconceptions that a lack of cinema release denotes a lack of quality.

Baumbach's latest is a dissection of an upper-middle class New York family headed by almost-famous sculptor Harold (Hoffman). The return of his recently separated son Danny (Sandler) to the family home sparks a reappraisal of their relationship, particularly in regard to how Danny's half-brother Matthew (Stiller) always appeared to be the favoured son.

Floating around the edges are Danny's also ignored sister Jean (Marvel), Danny's college-bound daughter Eliza (Van Patten), and Harold's latest wife Maureen (Thompson), all of whom have their own dysfunctions.

Baumbach's script is a veritable shrink's couch worth of neuroses and issues, most of which stem from something a parent did or didn't do. The mistakes of Harold's past and his inadequacies as an artist and a patriarch create a spiral of tensions and problems that drive a story that wouldn't be out of place in a Woody Allen film.

While its narrative is a smidge too long - there's a repeated feeling of imminent endings during the final half hour - it's continually engrossing, and the characters, for all their foibles and idiocies, are worth watching. Only Jean is short-changed. Marvel does a great job as the most dour and ignored of the Meyerowitz clan, but her character is also largely ignored by the script. When her big moment finally comes, it's a clunky reveal that quickly shifts focus back on to Danny and Matthew.

The pairing of Stiller and Sandler as the at-odds step-brothers is an inspired piece of casting. Both are great when they get given strong dramatic roles, and both have rarely been better. Stiller in particular shows a depth unsighted since The Royal Tenenbaums, and it may be damning his performance with faint praise, but this is the best turn of his career.

As for Sandler, this is exactly the kind of film that makes you hate the majority of his output all the more. He's a great dramedy actor, as seen in Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, and Funny People, yet we spends the bulk of his time making shit like Grown Ups, The Ridiculous Six, Pixels, The Do-Over, Just Go With It, etc etc. If he would just stick to the straighter films, the world of movies would be a much better place.

The rarely disappointing Hoffman doesn't disappoint as the centre of the film's emotional turmoil. He's a jerk but Hoffman gives the role enough humanity to ensure we can never completely hate Harold Meyerowitz.

Baumbach conjures up a nice level of humour that's occasionally dark but always on the money. His trick of cutting scenes mid-sentence for laughs is funny although feels a little overplayed by the end, and his eye for character is spot-on. Overall its a strong and oddly enjoyable film, thanks in no small part to its top-shelf cast and Baumbach's quality script.

If this is the type of film we can expect from Netflix in the future, then Cannes might want to rethink their rules.