Tag Archives: marvel

My Top 5 Favourite Film Comebacks



‘Everyone loves a comeback story’ – that old adage that rings true throughout all entertainment, sports and media. But of course the most distinctive and popularised is that of the comeback movie. Whether it be a director returning to their roots, a franchise reinvigorated or a troubled actor finding their place amongst the stars again – film lovers and critics alike find a certain new adoration and pride for the ‘comeback kid’ when it all comes to fruition.

Without question, this can trace back as far as the 1970’s. But in recent memory there have been some standouts that not only won me over, but redefined careers.

5. Bill Murray (‘Rushmore’)



After possibly one of his greatest films ever, ‘Groundhog Day’. Murray’s form fell flat through a gauntlet of comedy misfires. But he found his second calling in the form of young filmmaker Wes Anderson in 1998. Co-starring in his second feature ‘Rushmore’ as rich tycoon ‘Herman Blume’. Garnering an entire new audience to the King of deadpan delivery. Additionally, he starred opposite Scarlett Johansson in the rather lovely ‘Lost In Translation’, further cementing his return to form. Subsequently, Murray has featured in some capacity in all of Anderson’s subsequent works and continues to be one of the all-time greatest workers in the business.

4. Ben Affleck (‘Gone Baby Gone’)



Before 2007, Affleck couldn’t shake off the gremlins that were plaguing him since the less than favourable reactions to Hollywood turkeys like ‘Gigli’, ‘Jersey Girl’ & ‘Daredevil’ (although I will argue that the director’s cut of the latter being an honestly decent film). After a string of average movies, Affleck took to the director’s chair.

He co-wrote the screenplay and directed the adaptation of the detective novel, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, triumphantly crafting an engrossing and prodding mystery thriller filled with great direction of tension, drama and acting. Affleck now appears to have moved away from that Matt Damon-sized shadow that had been cast over him for sometime. Becoming one of the most respected and impressive new directors of the last decade. 

He continued hitting home runs across the board with his 2010 film ‘The Town’, which he also starred and the multi-Academy Award winning ‘Argo’. Which everyone loves. 

Of course you do. 

3. Josh Brolin (‘No Country For Old Men’)



Josh Brolin is an interesting guy. While being an extremely talented & versatile actor, he never had been able to lose that ‘Goonies’ annotation that had latched onto him since the 80’s. 

In 2007, (opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) starring as man on the run ‘Llewelyn Moss’ in the Coen’s masterful modern Western ‘No Country For Old Men’ gave him the massive boost he deservedly received. 

Brolin is now enjoying a plethora of notable roles. Including turns in ‘Milk’, ‘True Grit’, a rather awesome one in ‘Men In Black 3’, ‘W.’ and ‘Inherent Vice’. Before the release of Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ last year. Josh was cast in a multiple picture deal as ‘Thanos’, considered to be one of the greatest comic book antagonists of all time.

2. Robert Downey Jr. (‘Iron Man’)



RDJ’s story is the ultimate comeback story. Falling prey to addiction in the 90’s up until the early 2000’s. He successfully recovered and went on to star in ‘The Singing Detective’ and delivered well-received performances in the comedy crime film ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, as well as one of my favourites in David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’.

Downey’s casting as genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist ‘Tony Stark’ aka ‘Iron Man’ for Marvel Studios has redefined what anyone would consider a Hollywood comeback. His casting was not only a great move by the studio, as the actor effortlessly declares on screen that he was born to portray the character. But also for the man himself. 

As the ‘poster boy’ somewhat, he has helped the studio achieve record breaking numbers in the box office and is one of the most overwhelmingly adored figures at the heart of the franchise at the fresh age of 49. You know who he is.

1. Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’)



It’s one thing to make a comeback, it’s another to make one in an Academy Award winning movie. Yet it’s another to make one in a narrative that perhaps parallels that of your own career to an extent.

I’m not going to detail what Mr Keaton had been upto since his Batman days. All I will say is – bravo. One of the most heavily debated movies of the last few years is ‘Birdman’, which scooped the top honours at this year’s Oscars. Keaton unfortunately lost to Eddie Redmayne for the Best Actor gong, which I really felt was a travesty. Not taking away anything from Redmayne’s performance. I just felt ‘The Theory Of Everything’ was purely made to win awards based on its biopic nature. The other brewing argument that surged the internet was whether ‘Boyhood’ or ‘Birdman’ were the more deserving of the Best Film Award. 

While being a truly good piece of filmmaking, and certainly a labour of love of director Richard Linklater. For me, ‘Boyhood’ and its scoping of American life narrative didn’t break new grounds in what I love to see in film. Inarritu’s movie is as ambitious as it is gloriously compelling. Keaton being the driving force behind it. 

Fly high, my friend.


5 Reasons Why ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Rocks My Proverbial Socks Off

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***SPOILER WARNING***

Grossing over $90 million dollars on its opening weekend in North America. ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’, the 7th entry in the Fox Studios’ X-Men franchise, based on the Marvel comic book characters/books of the same name – Has received global acclaim. And in my humble opinion – richly deserved.

Here are 5 reasons that Days Of Future Past absolutely killed it for me….. Killed is good in this context, by the way.

 

1. THAT Quicksilver Scene.

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Fuck, I really hate saying it that way. ‘THAT’ Quicksilver scene… Ugh. It’s a great moment for not only the movie itself, but for the cast too who had really supported and pushed out just how good Evan Peters’ performance as the mutant speedster was. Though we can all say how shite his character design was (Singer….), it truly was a great demonstration of his abilities, his personality and the use of pop culture – As Maximoff’s walkman plays out the delightfully apt ‘Time In A Bottle’ by Jim Croce. Evan Peters’ performance throughout his time in the movie was no less greater. Leaving a lot for Joss Whedon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s depiction of the character to live up to in ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’.

 

2. Wolverine’s Role

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Hugh Jackman – The cornerstone of the X-Men franchise. Appearing as a lead character in 6 of the 7 movies to date. With a cameo in First Class, simply because – because… Yeah.

I’ve always found issue with Logan in these movies. Not only are the movies marred by the sheer amount of focus that is lavished on the character, alienating others. But also because it almost becomes detrimental to the overall story. In DOFP, the movie progresses and develops through the narrative and each character is a driving force for that. Though we closely and prominently follow events and actions of certain characters – namely Charles (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) – Wolverine is without question the lead. However he is part of the story, rather than the story being a part of him. His scenes with Charles and Hank (Nick Hoult) after his initial regression to 1973 are some of my favourite moments in the entire film. There’s great chemistry between the 3, and this is much more apparent after Logan manages to convince Charles to get his shit together. I also found the much maligned ‘swap’ between himself and Kitty (Ellen Page) had proven to be a great move on the part of Singer and Kinberg.

 

3. The Screenplay

"X-Men: Days Of Future Past" World Premiere - Outside Arrivals

Simple as it seems. And is… Simon Kinberg wrote one damn good movie. Within the X-Men community, I’d argue that First Class is the superior film based on writing – Perhaps due to the more traditional, linear plot. With DOFP, there is so much going on that you could easily be stepping into Last Stand territory. It just felt from watching though, that everything had its place within the story – it was relevant, cohesive, served purpose and ultimately wasn’t wasteful fanboy nonsense thrown in for acknowledgement. I’d wholeheartedly recommend a second viewing if this wasn’t your immediate conclusion.

 

4. The ‘Reset’

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Spoilers ahead. Of course, you’ve all seen the movie by now? Before production had completed, director Bryan Singer went on record to say that the beauty of time travel movies is that there is scope to undo, change or get rid of certain elements from the established timeline. In other words – He brought back Cyclops and Jean! So what does that mean for future appearances for people like James Marsden, Famke Janssen and Kelsey Grammar? Well we know now that younger versions of original trilogy characters will appear in the next movie ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. Though we’ll never know for certain until that time, it was still great to see those characters back  – almost a sigh of relief. Especially after the massive injustice done to Cyclops in all the movies prior.

 

5. Groundwork For The Future

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Though I was pretty disappointed in the shelving of half the cast of First Class. Carrying over James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nick Hoult to DOFP in hindsight is a great sign of potential things to come. With Charles and Hank seemingly becoming more reliant on each other from events prior to the movie, and Erik and Mystique being ‘set loose’ essentially to build ‘The Brotherhood’. We could potentially see some great stories featuring these characters at loggerheads once again. Because of the dynamics and events that have occurred within the relationships of these 4 – I think we should anticipate for much more emotionally driven, tense and personal X-Men sequels. Here’s to 2016, and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ .


The Problems Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (SPOILERS)

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Evening all. Some people reading this will know, from my activity on Twitter and on the Bastnerds podcast, that I have been an avid Spider-Man fan for the best part of 25 years. I recently took part in a spoiler podcast with Chris Byrne, Christopher Ejizu and Amon Warmann for Marc Webb’s latest effort – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’.

On the recording, I was pretty critical and decidedly negative about the movie as a whole. Give it a listen here.

Now, instead of a review. I decided it would be more ‘my style’ to basically talk about why I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. There are more issues than what I talk about here. These are the worst offenders, in my opinion.

So here it is, my ANAL-sis for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. Yes there are SPOILERS, so don’t moan.

 

1. Jamie Foxx’s character is fucking wasted…. And I don’t mean drunk.

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Jamie Foxx plays electrical engineer Max Dillon at Oscorp, later transformed into the villain ‘Electro’. From the marketing (extensive within the first 6 months of promotion) of the movie, Electro is extremely prominent and was confirmed as the ‘lead protagonist’. However towards the tail end of the marketing campaign, I noticed that the focus shifted from Electro and more prominently to Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) and Oscorp. This seemed odd – but I remained excited to see the final product.

Now I’m not saying that Electro is a BAD character, or that Foxx doesn’t do a great job. Quite the opposite actually. The issue with Electro is that his character is built up to absolutely be a potentially awesome and dangerous villain for Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – but as soon as he’s built up, he’s left hanging in limbo. While Osborn’s ‘sickness’ plotline is fast-tracked through the movie’s midway point (more on that later). Dillon is the sympathetic, misunderstood man that becomes endowed with immeasurable power while struggling to fit in with the norms of society. Max, through his own admission,  just wants to be noticed. In terms of personality, being polar opposite of Spider-Man is a potentially fruitful plot device – As we could potentially see the character gradually unravelling through his jealousy of Spidey’s attention – THEN develop him into Electro, powers and all. Give him something to run with first. The direction they took the character was rushed and half-resolved until a convenient way to bring him back into the narrative was presented through Harry Osborn.

*Side note – that whole Doctor Kafka/Electro conversation felt completely ill-judged and seemed to be hammed up as fuck.*

 

2. Uncle Ben’s murderer…. Yes, remember now?

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Ben Parker (portrayed by Martin Sheen) is the moral compass and strongest paternal figure of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. So whether you’ve seen the comics, the cartoons or the movies themselves, you know that he’s a prominent fixture in Spidey adaptations.

Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was pretty much a retread of Raimi’s original in regard to Peter and Ben’s relationship. Culminating in a robbery that Peter had the opportunity to stop, electing to ignore it. Which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting of his dear old Uncle. In ‘ASM 1’, there’s a meaty sequence where we see Peter attempting to find the killer, using a likeness as a template. Unfortunately, there’s no resolution. And Peter vows to find his uncle’s killer. So were we expecting to see this plot point, this massive part of Peter’s life at least continued? Of course……..

Barely even mentioned. That’s right.

 

3. Hollywood 101 – Using the last shot in the movie as the last shot in a trailer.

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Paul Giamatti’s  Aleksei Sytsevich is introduced at the top of the movie. Attempting to steal plutonium (why? who cares!), and is quickly and effortlessly thwarted by Spider-Man (again, spoiled by the trailers and tv spots). At the film’s end, we find out Oscorp made a big robot suit, and apparently Sytsevich is qualified to operate it….. Enter ‘Rhino’, his giant robot suit and its Transformeresque nonsense that pulls Spidey out of the doldrums and back into saving the day mode. Cue the dramatic final shot…. That we’ve all seen months prior. Killing any anticipation for the next movie.

Way to go guys, you fucking turnips.

 

4. Harry Osborn and The Mystery Of Harry Osborn.

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Dane Dehaan’s casting as Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, was particularly one of the movie’s strongest. Dehaan is absolutely commanding in his conveying of emotionally tumultuous characters. He does indeed showcase this as the young Osborn, later as this movie’s incarnation of The Green Goblin (never Christened/labelled). But like Max Dillon’s character, it’s underdeveloped and a hugely missed opportunity to demonstrate one of the key relationships in the life of Peter Parker. Harry just appears out of nowhere after a decade (?) away and there’s no real in-depth insight into their friendship or what’s been going on with Harry himself – the whole thing feels rushed and only as a servant to get things moving with the Sinister Six development. This becomes more apparent when Harry’s ‘sickness’ conveniently becomes more aggressive after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) is killed to death by the unnamed genetic disease. Peter and Harry’s brief time together feels vacuous because we, the audience, have seen Peter go through these differences and changes in his life, without Harry around. For the friendship to look and feel natural and resonate – Harry needed to be a figure in Peter’s life during the events of first movie.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcased the pair as school friends right from the get go. We knew exactly what motivations Harry had for going after Peter by the third movie, and it was an actual, properly constructed plot that made sense in terms of the story and its development of the characters. Here, it’s condensed into about 30-40 minutes.

 

5. Richard & Mary Parker Became Sony’s Bitches

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Maybe not everyone felt this way.

We know Richard and Mary were both involved in Oscorp and the experimentation that was going down. Spider-Man himself being a successful result of this. To me, this all seemed irrelevant to the story as a whole. Peter just wanted to find out why his parents had to leave him and to understand the reasoning behind it. Now, as the second movie progresses, we find out that Richard worked with Norman on many ‘cross species’ experiments in aid of potentially curing Monster Mash and his fingernails. Eventually leading to Richard removing himself from the project and thus getting ‘removed’ permanently on an airplane during the film’s opening sequence.

From this, and the subsequent reveal of Oscorp/Ravencroft’s intention to create a group to, I dunno, take over the world… It felt like the true nature, the raw humanity and the effects of the Parkers’ absence from Peter’s life had been substituted, or rather discarded in favor of just a cheap. convenient method of pushing the establishment of more villains. Sequel bait, folks! $$$$$$$$$££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$ 

 

 

 

So there you go. Anyone agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.

 

Love you lots.


Inglorious Bastnerds Spoiler Podcast: ‘Captain America – The Winter Soldier’

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It’s time once again for another spoiler special for myself and the Bastnerd boys. Chris, Ian and I (@Celluloidical) are joined by regular guests, film journos – Amon Warmann and Mr Christopher Ejizu as we dive deep into the latest Marvel Studios outing – Captain America – The Winter Soldier. Which opens in the US on April 4th. (Sorry guys. We got there first – again!).

Aside from the obvious spoiler warning. I say this. Unlike Total Film, we actually have varying opinions. As opposed to just bitching and moaning. So, yeah.
Anyway, follow the guys and rate, subscribe to the podcast/sites and leave a review. Thanks and enjoy.

Click here to visit the podcast page.

 

@CinemaTronix (www.cinematronix.co.uk)

@i_nesbot (www.redbubble.com/people/inesbot)

@awarmann (www.amonymousblog.com)

@movieumpire (www.movieumpire.com)

 


Trailer Tidbits #4 (March 2013)

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After ANOTHER extended absence, here’s 3 of the latest trailers on the circuit. Hugh Jackman continues to add more meat to the bones of his typecast career in X-Men sequel/sidequel – ‘The Wolverine’, ‘White House Down’ gets a trailer, and Steve Carell – fresh of the heels off the lukewarmly received ‘..Burt Wonderstone’, returns as Gru in ‘Despicable Me 2’

‘Despicable Me 2’ – Dirs. Coffin & Renaud

So, in all honesty. The first outing was a real surprise hit. And I actually ended up on the bandwagon quite a long while after release. I cited the release of similarly plotted movie, ‘Megamind’ (another animation about a super-villain turned good), to be a possible reason why it didn’t grab my attention any sooner. Still, a solid animated film and great fun for the littluns.

In the sequel, Gru (Carell) is recruited by a superhero group in order to stop a new super criminal (possibly Russell Brand)…… Gee, they couldn’t have been any more creative, could they?

‘White House Down’ – Dir. Roland Emmerich

Everyone’s favourite city destroyer returns to an old friend, to finish them off once and for all. Jamie Foxx stars as the Prez, while Channing Tatum does more ‘acting’ to divert people’s attentions from his stupidly sounding name. This smells like a steady, but mediocre outing from all involved. Not even the ominous quotations at the beginning of the trailer stirs me…… Another movie, by the name of ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ – is a blood relation.

‘The Wolverine’ – Dir. James Mangold

Yes, after leaving us for such a long, long, long time – Fox give us what we want… More Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It’s hard to believe this role has been played by the man for almost 15 years.

I’d call for change, normally…. Though, I reckon this could be a great swansong for the partnership. But yeah, let someone else have a go, Hugh.


My Top Ten MCU Moments (2008-2011)

So last Thursday, in an extremely time-consuming preparation method for the soon to be released ‘The Avengers’ – I decided to watch all 5 films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. As most will know, the films are interconnected and will culminate in the ensemble piece this month. Here are my top ten moments, spanning all five movies, leading to ‘The Avengers’.

10 – Thor’s Exile To Earth (Thor)

Best quote from the entire film… Odin (Anthony Hopkins) – “HEEEEUUURGH!”

Amazing 🙂

09 – Banner Becomes The Hulk At Culver University (The Incredible Hulk)

Norton’s face @ 0.02 is a major grin win

08. Stark and Rhodey Take On Hammer Drones (Iron Man 2)

Probably shoe-horned in for fan service, but it’s still a cool scene to see on the big screen 

07. Loki finds out his true parentage (Thor)

Hiddlestone is absolutely divine here. Stellar chemistry with Sir Anthony

06. Birth of The Super Solider (Captain America: The First Avenger)

While this film didn’t live up to everyone’s expectation – this again was a great scene to see immortalised at last

05. The Hulk vs The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk)

A great climax to the often overlooked chapter in the MCU

04. The Star Spangled Man (Captain America: The First Avenger)

Probably not an obvious choice, but this sequence is fun, visually great and backed by a brilliantly composed song

03. Thor vs Loki (Thor)

Again, Tom Hiddlestone throws down some of the best dialogue of the movie. Intense and emotionally compelling. Also cements his ‘evil’ turn after a snarky “Haa haa!” when he takes Thor down. Niiiice

02. Nick Fury Approaches Tony Stark About The ‘Avenger Initiative’ (Iron Man)

This moment was the comfirmation that ‘The Avengers’ was happening. Geek out to the maximum

01. Iron Man – the entire film (Iron Man)

Sure, it’s not a ‘moment’ per se. And the Nick Fury scene wasn’t technically in the main film…But Jon Favreau’s brilliantly acted, written and produced Iron Man film that paved the way for the MCU, is damn near-faultless. 


‘New Release Nonsense’

"CAROL AAANNNE - DON'T STEP INTO THE LIGHT!"

 
Ah 2012, a year which will bring us a return of Middle Earth, a pseudo-Alien prequel, Christian Bale’s severed spine and a ragtag team up of immense nerdish proportions. Not to mention our impending deaths, whatever. Here, I rundown my personally most anticpated movies for this year.
 
1. Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
 
Admittedly, I’m not a great lover of Tarantino – albeit two of his movies. But the premise behind this latest offering , a tale of a slave’s revenge with the flavour of a spaghetti western, is extremely enticing  – and has begun to build up a credible cast list. This could be a sure fire classic. Get ready for thrills, spills and slick one-liners by the barrel-load!
 
2. Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott)
 
A massive movie event for any film lover. One of cinema’s great auteurs, and awfully jolly nice chap Ridley Scott finally returns to the genre that defined a generation. While we’ve seen the first teaser, a quick-cut montage harkening back to the visual and horror elements that a certain movie called ‘Alien’ included… It’s safe to say that this is most certainly a prequel to the sci-fi classic that will usher in a whole new audience of fans, and, we hope, deliver a faithful testament to the Alien legacy. 
 
3. The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey (dir. Peter Jackson)
 
Probably on the top of my list. This really is the big one people. Our Peter returns to Middle Earth with Tim from The Office and that bloke from Robin Hood for the big screen adap of Tolkien’s yarn of a young Hobbit’s adventure to the Lonely Mountain. The first trailer, introducing us to Bilbo Baggins and his 13 dwarf companions, and also reacquainting the more nostalgic folk with the returning Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) has got me fired up to unfathomable levels. Get some more cabinet space, Mr Jackson, I smell a busy awards season for you.
 
4. The Avengers (dir. Joss Whedon)
 
Geekdom shall rule come early May when Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, BAMF Samuel L Jackson et al team up in Marvel Studio’s biggest picture to date. Story leaks have been few and far between, but some early screen shots and a couple of nifty teasers that are doing the rounds gives the impression to me that this movie could either be a super failure or a super success. My concern for this one is the dynamics… How the hell are all these egos going to work on one stage? Time will tell… Either way, there’s some serious money going into some seriously fat pockets.
 
4. Total Recall (dir. Len Wiseman)
 
Eww, remake…. Fuck this for a laugh. But seriously though – I’m rather on the fence for this one. Colin Farrel assumes the role made famous by Arnie in Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi cult classic, while Underworld director, Len Wiseman takes the helm. I’m very cautious about how they treat this visually, since the original was stunningly complex vivid in its images and effects. I’ll keep my eye on this one. GET DOWN!
 
5. The Dark Knight Rises (dir. Christopher Nolan)
 
The man who can do no wrong brings us his closer to one of the most succesful franchise revivals in recent history. For Batman’s curtain call – Christian Bale squares off with Tom Hardy’s ‘Bane’ – a terrorist seemingly hell-bent on destroying Gotham City and crushing the legacy of The Bat in turn. The 6 minute prologue introducing us to Hardy’s villain, had the world in a moment of pure hysteria… The subsequent trailer? Off the fucking chain. July cannot come any sooner.
 
So, what’s top of everyone else’s 2012 list? Please comment below or like this post. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks for reading!

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