Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Our First Convention Experience

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

Penguins live a simple life, believe the world is flat and nothing exists beyond the icebergs surrounding them. Jasper is a young penguin that doesn't conform to their beliefs. One day he sees a huge cruise ship which disproves the theory that only penguins exist. Jasper, unfortunately, does not succeed in his attempt to show this to the other penguins. In doing so, he is shunned.

While being tasked to watch his brother, Junior, Jasper loses sight of him. He later finds him making his way towards the cruise ship. Junior boards it followed by Jasper. While onboard, they meet nine-year old Emma and a cat named Lucifer. Together, they all vow to help the Kakapo parrot retrieve his stolen eggs from a passenger named Doctor Block and his helper Rolf. Can these four misfits work together to save the eggs from harm? Can the penguin brothers and Emma each earn their parent's respect? You'll have to watch the eighty minute DVD to find out.

While Jasper: Journey To The End Of The World is family friendly and earns its "Family Approved" seal on the front of its case, I did notice a couple of issues.  There is a scene where the Kakapo parrot falls down a laundry chute and into a washing machine.  Emma shouts OMG, spelled out.  In another incident the parrot says "Oh ca ca."  Last but not least, there's a margarita reference in the end.

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Austin Stone Worship – Everflow

 

My wife and I, a few scant days prior to V-day, sat down and watched a film that is new on DVD called, "The Song."  It is produced by AFFIRM Films, a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment and I believe it was released straight to DVD and digital download.  It was newly released, coming out on the 10th of February.

So, what were my expectations going in to what I predicted to be a Christian-themed "chick-flick" almost strong-armed upon me by my wife?  Well, I expected a cookie-cutter predicable plot with cliche-ridden sappy dialogue; or the usual experience of such films as "the Notebook," "Sleepless in Seattle", or even (heaven help me) "The Proposal."  Thankfully, I was quite surprised.

"The Song" may be a comedy in the literary sense, but it is not a "romantic comedy" in the vein of "The Proposal" (or any other Sandra Bullock film), "50 First Dates" (or any other Adam Sandler film), or "Runaway Bride" (or any other Julia Roberts film).  Instead, the closest film I could compare it to would be "Walk the Line."  It's much more dramatic than any romantic comedy I've ever seen, with a depth of character that isn't really found in most rom-coms.

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Sonic The Hedgehog

"Do you Believe" is a film from Pure Flix, the creators of "God's Not Dead," about how 12 people's lives are changed and impacted by a small number of people truly living out their faith.  This was a very ambitious story which took at least 6 different story lines and wove them together.  The result was an impressive and inspirational film that I genuinely enjoyed.  

It's set in Chicago, with many areas of the city clearly recognizable to those of us who have lived there.  The film opens with a man wheeling a wooden cross down the street asking people he meets if they believe in the cross of Christ.  This man is unnamed, and never seen again until after the resolution of the movie, but it is ultimately his action that sparks the chain reaction in the various stories through the movie.

There are 12 main characters in this movie, but its easier to think of them as groups of two or three or four.  These groupings form the heart of the story, since all the groupings are based on the needs that the group exhibits.  These needs are then met at the end as a result of the active faith of the members within the group.

This movie deals with issues of illness, barrenness, the loss of a child, abortion, adoption, homelessness, crime, murder, suicide, PTSD, and workplace evangelism in the lives of the characters.  It does a very good job of making these issues real for the people involved, and reveals the miraculous handiwork of God in resolving those issues.  Not all of the issues are resolved at the end.  The movie makes it clear that faith is not a cure-all for every circumstance in life, but it can empower you to live your life not as a victim, but as a faithful believer.

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Why market research in the gaming industry matters more than ever

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this movie to review!

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks takes place after the Equestria Girls movie that was released in 2013.  While I recommend seeing Equestria Girls first, it's not required since there are a couple of flashbacks to fill in the story gaps.  Most of the seventy-minute movie takes place in the parallel human world where each pony personality resides in humanoid form.  

Canterlot Highschool has gotten three new students that seem to be mesmerizing everyone they come in contact with.  Instead of a peaceful musical showcase, these newcomers convince the school to host a Battle of the Bands.  Will the newcomer's band, The Dazzlings take the crown, or will The Rainbooms (with the help of Princess Twilight) win the contest?

The music from both bands is catchy and fun to listen to. My kids liked the music, visuals and character personalities.  Even my son enjoyed the movie.  There are some good messages taught including the power of forgiveness and friendship.  Any fan of My Little Pony or Equestria Girls should consider adding this movie to their library.  The blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy sells for $17.99.    

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Taco Bell's Naked Chicken Chalupa

Thank you Pure Publicity for sending us this DVD to review!

After the death of his father and losing everything, Jake and his mom move in with her estranged father.  Neither of them realize that Jake's grandfather is a legendary surfer and known by all of the locals.  Instead of surfing the internet, Jake is encouraged by his grandfather and love interest to surf the ocean instead.    

Learning to surf isn't easy and to make matters worse, Jake isn't the only guy attracted to Kayla.  He is both physically and verbally attacked by the town bully whom she isn't even remotely interested in.  The town's surf shop owner Cody (American Idol's Jason Castro) is one of the only friends Jake has.  

The only other actor I recognized in The Perfect Summer was the mother's boss played by Louis Mandlylor from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.   The acting was decent but the sound quality was really poor.  Even with the 5.1 sound selected, we only had stereo sound and the voices were noticeably switching channels often.     The story was decent and had some Christian themes woven throughout.  The take away message is to try your best and not give up.

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Three classic games that the whole family can play online

Thank You Millenium Entertainment for sending us this Blu-Ray to review.  

John Luther (James Remar) is a prominent evangelist who has friends in high places.  One of his friends, Senator Donald Harrison (Bruce Davison), turns against John when he refuses to back a bill for religious equality.  This bill promotes equal time to be allotted to all beliefs on religious networks, even primarily Christian ones.  After John Luther puts his foot down and stands firmly in his faith that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven (John 14:6), he finds himself framed for the murder of an underage girl he had contact with.  

John is now a wanted criminal and must find out who his true friends are and prove his innocence.  Not only is John’s life in danger (Why didn't they just kill him instead of frame him?), his Catholic friends are targeted too.   

To make matters worse, John’s 20+ years younger wife is being hit on by the acting president of his religious organization.   Not only is this new president (Brad Stine) a scumbag, he’s greedy too and willing to compromise his morals for a bigger paycheck.  While Christians are shown in a mixed light, the government is portrayed as corrupt and incompetent in this movie.  
Even with the star studded cast, I recommend watching The Fugitive with Harrison Ford instead of Persecuted.  As a Christian I just couldn't connect with this film.  Yes, John Luther was being framed and that's not cool; however, I don't see this scenario happening any time soon.  When I think of persecution, I think of the Christians in the Middle East who are being killed or evicted from their homes for simply being Christian and not denouncing their faith.  Those are the truly persecuted people and their story needs to be told instead of rehashing another movie to put a Christian spin on it.

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Mistakes Way Too Many World Of Warcraft Beginners Make

Thank you Disney for sending us this Blu-Ray to review!

When I think of Disney, their animated movies come to mind.  Disneynature was founded in 2008, and focuses on independent nature documentary films.    They have produced many successful films including Earth narrated by James Earl Jones and Chimpanzee which was narrated by Tim Allen.  Bears is skillfully narrated by John C. Reilly and tells the tale of a first time mother bear, Sky, raising her two cubs, Scout and Amber.  

Given the personality differences between the two cubs (Scout is a handful!) and the dangerous Alaskan wildlife, motherhood is no easy task. Sky has several close calls to losing her cubs to wolves and hungry bears.  She must keep them safe and teach them how to defend and feed themselves.  Her goal is to help them eat enough salmon to survive the upcoming winter hibernation.

Unfortunately, the rivers loaded with fish have non-friendly bears there and Sky and her family must find a more peaceful area to gorge themselves on 90+ pounds of fish a day.  There are many neat facts taught in this movie and it’s both entertaining and educational to watch.  I highly recommend Bears to any animal lover out there.  My kids were skeptical at first but enjoyed the movie, especially my daughter, Amber.  We look forward to watching more Disneynature films!

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Dark Souls 2: When Less is More

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

Thunder and the House of Magic starts off with a family moving away and deliberately leaving a kitten behind to fend for itself.  Confused and unsure of where to go, the kitten makes his way to an unusual mansion.  The owner is a magician and takes him in and bestows the name Thunder to him because of the rain storm that brought them together.  The magician's rabbit and mouse pets are not as welcoming and plot to evict Thunder from his new home.  Tragedy befalls the magician and it's up to Thunder and the magician's helpers to team up to save the magicians house from being sold or destroyed by his greedy nephew.

While the story is decent, I was appalled at the language used within this movie.  Thunder and the House of Magic is not rated and does cite cartoon violence.  I was surprised to hear the word d*mn used multiple times (by the nephew) in this movie geared for families.  It's a shame since everything else about the movie is great.  

The computer animated visuals are astounding and lend themselves to 3D very well.  I wish I had a 3D  Blu-Ray setup to see what it looks like!  The characters are very expressive and the cat animations/behaviors are spot on.  However, I have yet to see a cat not want to eat or kill a mouse.   I found it amusing that the cover of the DVD boasts about having music from Selena Gomez in it.  While this statement is true, her song is not until the end credits. 

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Season of a Lifetime

Thank you Pure publicity for sending us this DVD to review!

Just as my Facebook stream has settled down from people dumping ice water on their head for ALS, I watched a movie that impacted me more than any celebrity getting soaked.  After seeing Season of a Lifetime I hope more than ever that a cure is found for this terrible disease.  I pray that the $113 Million raised from the ice bucket challenges is put to good use.

The tagline for Season of a Lifetime summarizes it quite well: “Faith, Family, Football”.  Since I am not into football, I had my doubts about this film, but rest assured, it’s more of a documentary than a sports film.   This movie is about a godly man, devoted husband and father who mentored Georgia's Greenville High School Patriots players and brought them from being laughed at to the state championships.  Many of the players come from rough backgrounds and coach Williams is like a father to them.  That’s doesn't mean he goes easy on them though!

Jeremy Williams is no stranger to football and is the current record holder for the most tackles as a defensive back.  Although he was undersized, he still managed to tackle over fifty players in one season.  After college, he didn't let his football know-how go to waste, and began coaching. Success didn't come right away though; it took a couple of years for the team to work and play well together.  Coach Williams prayed for adversity to bring the team closer together.  It was soon after that he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  

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Lost and Found

Thank you Affirm Films for sending us this movie to watch!

I have seen many Christian movies ranging from dramas, to documentaries and comedies.  The Remaining is very unique as it's the first Christian themed survival/horror movie I've seen.  It doesn't pull any punches and shows both believers and non-believers getting torn apart by prophesied abominations.  Because of the gore, this movie received a PG-13 rating.  I was surprised it didn't get an R.  The Remaining makes Left Behind look like a Disney film, and is bound to give young kids nightmares.  

The movie begins with a picture perfect wedding and the groom's friend is documenting it with his camcorder.  His footage gets really interesting at the reception when many of the guests suddenly collapse and die.  They are the lucky ones as the people left behind must deal with fire and hail raining from the sky, looting, mayhem, and demonic attacks.  

The wedding party must flee for safety, collect their wits and process what's happening to them.  Is this an alien attack or Biblical prophecy coming true?  Many characters realize that they have missed the rapture and solidify their faith in God.  It's not an easy decision as it comes with consequences as demons are attracted to and attack new believers.  Is the quick death worth the risk?  Is it the right choice?

Not everyone embraces faith though.  People on both side of the fence die in this film.  I was surprised to see how some characters were given the option to die despite Revelation 9:6 stating that death would not come to those wounded.  

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String Player Gamer: Rebirth

Thank you Pure Publicity for sending us this DVD to review!

Many kids look forward to summer camp and coming back to their families after it's over. What about kids who have no families or come from abusive households? For those kids summer camp is the only place where they feel loved, safe, and cared for. Camp is about a young boy named Eli who loses his neglectful mom to a drug overdose and his abusive father isn't a big part of his life. 

Eli is sent to an orphanage and gets the opportunity to go to summer camp. He almost was rejected due to lack of help; however, an investment adviser named Ken has volunteered to help in order to woo one of his potential clients. At first Ken doesn't fit in or care about his peers or Eli, as he spends too much time with his cell phone instead. Eli tests his patience and character several times and almost gets sent home for his bad behavior. Camp teaches about hope, forgiveness, and second chances along with the reality of abuse and the neglect that many children live through. There is some violence and since it is directed at children, it's hard to watch without flinching. These events earn the movie's PG-13 rating.

Camp is an emotional rollercoaster that will have you laughing and wiping away tears of sadness. I can see what it's categorized as a Drama/Comedy. I highly recommend this movie as it tells a wonderful story (inspired by many true ones!) and encourages people to make a difference in the lives of children in need. The special features include stories from staff at Royal Family KIDS camps who share true stories that inspired and made it into the film. There is also a testimony from a girl whose life was transformed after visiting Royal Family KIDS camp. I'd say more, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. I highly recommend seeing this movie for yourself.


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Full of Grace

Thank you Pure Publicity for sending us this movie to review!

Imagine if your college professor asked you to sign a paper stating that God is Dead. What would you do? Would you comply? Drop the class? Or take a stand? Matthew 10:33 states “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” After that powerful verse what would you do? Would you still take a stand for God if your grades and relationship with your significant other were at stake? That's what Josh did in the movie God's Not Dead.

While the story told is not factual, it is based off of many recent lawsuits involving public universities and Christian students. Numerous popular Christians make an appearance including The Newsboys, Willie and Korie Robertson, and Kevin Sorbo who plays the protagonist professor.

There are a wide variety of characters including a vegan who is diagnosed with cancer and her successful yet unsupportive boyfriend. Several students from different backgrounds are portrayed including a rebellious female Muslim student who only wears her face covering around her father and sneaks it off at school. There's also a Chinese student in Josh's class who is intrigued by the possibility of God's existence, but when he talks to his father about it, he cuts him off every time.

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The Atoning

Ragamuffin is based off the life of Rich Mullins, who was a very talented Christian singer and song writer.  Although the title is unusual, it symbolizes “the burdened, the wobbly and weak-kneed, the inconsistent, unsteady disciples... the smart people who know they are stupid... the honest disciples who admit they are scalawags”*.  Rich Mullins was a little rough around the edges but he was clearly gifted, humble and on fire for God.  This movie depicts him in an honest light and shows him struggling with loving his father, drinking and cussing.  Because of this portrayal, I don’t recommend this movie for young children. 

The visuals are definitely low budget; they were going for the indie/ragamuffin look. (They succeeded.)   The story however is great and the musical talent of Michael Koch who portrays Rich is top notch.  If you’re a fan of Rich Mullins and his music (Awesome God, Creed, Elijah) I highly recommend checking this movie out.  

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Ragamuffin_Band

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4 Things You Should Never Say To A Parkour Athlete

Thank you Fox for sending us this DVD to review!

One of the most talked about TV shows from 2013 was The Bible Series.  While my family didn't watch it on Cable, we did purchase the series on Blu-ray and loved it!  Those who already own The Bible series on DVD or Blu-ray may want to pass up on Son of God if you’re looking for something different.  Most of the footage is re-used but re-arranged to focus on Jesus’ ministry, persecution, death, and resurrection. 

The movie is 138 minutes and there are lots of extras with commentary from Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Charles Jenkins, and Touched by an Angel’s Dr. Della Reese-Lett.  There’s footage from behind the scenes and a promotion for Compassion International

Son of God is rated PG-13 for violence due to the beatings and cruel death our savior endured for our salvation.  The message is bold and powerful, my kids were moved to tears for the suffering Christ endured for them.  While this movie isn't as child friendly as Miracle Maker, it’s not as gory as The Passion of the Christ.    I’d say it’s a happy medium and a great evangelistic tool.  


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Unofficial Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids: How to Stay Sharp, Have Fun, Avoid Bullies, and Be the Creative Ruler of Your Universe

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

Eli Shane and his friends are taking it easy after defeating the vile Dr. Blakk who used modified slugs for his evil purposes.  The Shane Gang get reports of similar type slugs in the 99 caverns and they head out there to investigate.  Eli confronts and does a battle with a new kind of slug that invades the mind, can he defeat him or has he met his match? This action packed adventure lasts 44 minutes and there is a cute slugisode in the bonus features titled Burpy & Friends Take a Dive. 

Fans of the Slugterra series will enjoy this DVD, but given how short it is, I’m not sure it’s worth the $15 asking price.  If you do see it on sale, it’s worth picking up though. 


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We Are Alright

Thank you Cinedigm for sending us this movie to review!

Matthew 10:30 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it

Jason Fields directs and stars in this Christian film about a college graduate balancing his newfound faith, family, and pursuing a career in professional basketball.  The main character, Damon Sharp struggles with temptations and tries to relate with his broken family still healing from their father/husband leaving them.    Damon’s mother isn't taking good care of herself and his brother Darrin (starred by “Day of Our Lives”, Sean Douglas) is still living a partying lifestyle with a young son depending on him.    

Damon is trying to relate to his brother and seeks advice on life and sports with his Christian athletic friends.  Several professional basketball players star in this film and share their faith filled testimonies.  The roster includes Corey Maggette, Allan Houston, and Anthony Tolliver.  Not surprisingly, there is rap music and it too, is Christian themed.  While it’s not my style, the artists who rapped were clearly talented.  Unfortunately this movie only offers stereo sound so people with 5.1 or better setups won’t be able to benefit from it.

The visual quality could be better, but the message of God’s love and grace is still shown clearly.  Midrange is only available in DVD format for less than $15 on Amazon. 

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Playing with Elsa is fun

The Princess Bride... The Goonies.... Flight of the Navigator...

There are a precious few movies that made one feel a sense of wonder as a child.  While there were many entertaining titles available, both on VHS, and for the classic 8 and 16bit consoles, very seldom did one truly cut through the monotony of school and the endless tedium of summer, when we could not afford to take trips, or it became too hot to even go to the city pool.  One movie however sticks out.  It is Explorers, starring River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke.  Released in 1985, it is the tale of three boys who begin sharing dreams of a circuit board schematic.  Little did they know however, but that single schematic would be the beginning of an adventure which would take them beyond the solar system.  Ben, the leader of the group is the first to have the dreams.  He writes down the diagrams as best as he can remember them, and immediately takes them to his best friend, Wolfgang(it's not his fault his parents won't let him change it), who builds the circuit on a breadboard.  Together with another boy named Darren, they discover the circuit generated an energy field which could not be affected by gravity or even a brick wall.  Emboldened by this revelation, they raid a junkyard and build a spaceship to search for the beings responsible for this wondrous technology.

 The movie, whole wholesome in general, does have some profanity, adolescent innuendo, and a scene involving beer, however the director labored to minimize such questionable content and mold what remained in such a way as to create a realistic portrayal of three kids nearing the end of childhood and trying to discern what was truly worth bringing into manhood.  The overall moral(yes there is a moral to this movie) is to never let go of one's sense of wonder.  This lesson is personified in a Sheriff's deputy who manages to track down their space ship, however he realizes almost too late that the kids he chased had held true to such wisdom far better than he had.  This, I believe is part of Christ's message, albeit in a different form.  He said to come to Him as a child, as in without fear or bias.  The sense of wonder we all knew staring up at the stars as children was lost in the frantic hustle called adulthood, and we have become blind to God's most awe-inspiring miracles.  Perhaps we, like the deputy in the film, just need to look up and truly see what's there.

This movie is in my opinion, appropriate for kids around 12 and up, since the characters are themselves between 12 and 14 years of age, however as with anything, use your own discernment. 

DC Tech 

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eniTAB360

The Hornet's Nest is a very powerful and scary look at the Afghanistan war from a journalist who was surrounded by enemy forces for nine days.   Very real, very scary, I highly recommend watching this before enlisting in the armed services!  Since it's an accurate documentary there is some foul language.  Truth be told, I'm honestly not sure what I would be saying if I had real bullets whizzing past me!  Definitely not a movie for kids, but for everyone else this film will open your eyes to what war looks and feels like and how strong of a bond soldiers have with one another and how precious life is and how we should appreciate our freedom that these heroes gave their lives for.  

I'm grateful for these brave soldiers and pray that the people in Afghanistan are liberated and get to enjoy the liberties we take for granted.  Please pray for the soldiers risking their lives and for the innocents impacted by this war.  

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Kingdom Hearts III Out of Context

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

Before King Arthur was seeking the Holy Grail, Spain's comic book hero, Prince Killian was entrusted with it.  Well, he had most of it.  The fabled Lucifer's stone was no longer there.  There is an evil army that wants to reclaim the Grail and make it complete again to bring Lucifer back into power.  This is a dangerous mission, but Prince Killian has the help of several friends including the young Crispin, and Goliath who is always hungry.  Prince Killian has escaped death numerous times when his attackers discovered his special marking on his neck.  (There are lots of occult symbols in this film!) This marking and his purpose in life are all revealed in this action packed 107 minute movie.

Make sure you check the audio settings if you want to enjoy this movie in English.  Spanish is the native language and when we watched it in English, the dubbing was obvious.  The voice acting was good, it just wasn't in sync with the lip movements.  The special effects were so-so and got better as the movie progressed.   Overall this was a good movie, but it didn't have the budget of the other popular super hero movies out there. 

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Animated Stories From The New Testament: The Messiah Comes!

Thank you Nest Entertainment for sending us this DVD to review!   This is a great DVD for the Easter season. 

The Messiah Comes opens up with Roman soldiers using their power to mistreat the Jews and they long for their Messiah.  The corruption has spread into the temple at Passover and Jesus is shown overturning the tables.  His softer side is revealed as He later heals a blind man. Upon seeing and hearing of these miracles the Jews start to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the priests are now upset with Jesus.     Nicodemus puts his reputation at risk and speaks with Jesus and truly believes that He is the son of God.  

Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is shown and the people sing Hosanna Halleluiah.   The singing and voice acting is well done.  Jesus is voiced by Ivan Crosland.  The art style is similar to many Disney films, but the quality could be better as this former VHS movie shows its age a bit.  Fortunately, the message is timeless.  Nest Entertainment offers this twenty-seven minute DVD with a downloadable interactive activity and coloring book for $21.95.    

 

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Allkeys

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