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December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'" 
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Major Aphasia wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
But I would like to see people understand that White's opinions, and sometimes my own, come from a deeper level of thinking and understanding than many other critics choose to explore. No one can be forced to explore this deeper level, but they should at least acknowledge that it's there.


You know, you're going to catch some hell for writing that but I'm in some kind of agreement with you. I haven't seen Hugo or The Artist -- I'm interested and believe they both look good -- but there are few things more insufferable than watching a gimmick get confused for anything other than gimmickry. Whether we agree on the quality of those films remains to be seen but there have been cinematic frauds (Dancer in the Dark, for example) that have gotten praise for the very thing that makes them hideous.


Yeah, films are too often praised for the concepts behind their "conceits." People like to see a movie they can wrap their head around, but that doesn't necessarily make it good. To me, what makes a film good is the visual implementation of a conceit to the point where a film isn't about a theme so much as it is a theme. The Artist isn't actually about anything. Hugo is about something, but it's far too literal.


Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:33 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
Major Aphasia wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
But I would like to see people understand that White's opinions, and sometimes my own, come from a deeper level of thinking and understanding than many other critics choose to explore. No one can be forced to explore this deeper level, but they should at least acknowledge that it's there.


You know, you're going to catch some hell for writing that but I'm in some kind of agreement with you. I haven't seen Hugo or The Artist -- I'm interested and believe they both look good -- but there are few things more insufferable than watching a gimmick get confused for anything other than gimmickry. Whether we agree on the quality of those films remains to be seen but there have been cinematic frauds (Dancer in the Dark, for example) that have gotten praise for the very thing that makes them hideous.


Yeah, films are too often praised for the concepts behind their "conceits." People like to see a movie they can wrap their head around, but that doesn't necessarily make it good. To me, what makes a film good is the visual implementation of a conceit to the point where a film isn't about a theme so much as it is a theme. The Artist isn't actually about anything. Hugo is about something, but it's far too literal.


I agree with you guys on this.

MGamesCook wrote:
But here's what not offensive: defending a personal idea with honest emotion to back it up. If you really care about an opinion, then harsh defense should not be frowned upon. Disagreeing is fine, but it's important that people understand different perspectives without dismissing them as "trollish." Using the label of troll is easy. Turning an opinion over in your brain until you see its point of view? That's harder


I don't recall you getting called a troll for taking a differing opinion other than when you insist on dropping Nolan-bashing into topics where it has no bearing. You get called a troll (like anyone else) when you name-call and bait people.

MGamesCook wrote:
Why do people like Drive? Because it appears to be iconoclastic; simple as that.


I and a few others went several pages of explaining our like for Drive, and iconoclasm -- as a word or concept -- never came up. Saying "simple as that" doesn't make it simple.

MGamesCook wrote:
Seeing why Hugo is far below the level of Tintin? That's harder, and it takes a deeper level of recognition and reasoning


But Tintin isn't better than Hugo. Not at all, and my level of understanding of film is just as deep as yours, so I can't be wrong.

MGamesCook wrote:
I would like to see people understand that White's opinions, and sometimes my own, come from a deeper level of thinking and understanding than many other critics choose to explore.


Again, though, I have an equally deep level of understanding as you do, and I see the brilliance of Drive. So maybe you need to come to a deeper level of understanding on that one. ;)

I'm kidding, dude, but don't you get it? Your defense for all your opinions is my opinion is better and deeper than yours. I was kindof joking with the tone of my Hugo/Tintin post, but I'm convinced the former is superior in every way. Could I be wrong? Certainly. Perhaps one day I'll see the light. You, on the other hand, speak of your "permanent, irreversible enlightenment" in your understanding of film and that you can't be wrong. Makes it tough to engage in real discussion.


Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:57 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Cinematic visuals should reveal themselves to the audience, not be placed on display. That is to say that the audience should be given the chance to look and figure things out, rather than having everything spelled out for them (a crime also committed by 'pointing out the obvious dialogue').

This is all 3D does; it's the cinematic equivalent of saying 'Ohhh, look at this! Isn't it purrdy!'.


Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:00 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Quote:
But Tintin isn't better than Hugo. Not at all, and my level of understanding of film is just as deep as yours, so I can't be wrong.


Yeah, I see where an argument can go nowhere unless we throw that aspect of it away. That permanent, irreversible enlightenment comes from the mere knowledge that the A-list films which get the most praise are often not the best movies around; that's as far as it goes, and while some viewpoints under that umbrella may seem extreme (Gamer better than Inception), I don't see how Tintin falls into that category. Since when is Scorsese a better or more accomplished filmmaker than Spielberg? Praising a Spielberg film just sounds deeper to me right off the bat. Anyway, as for specifics:

Tintin's art is in the visuals, whereas Hugo's rests entirely in the implications. Scorsese for some reason feels the need to include subplots involving Sacha Cohen and Richard Griffiths, while Spielberg keeps the focus squarely on the boy and his dog. Furthermore, Scorsese's project is too much of a departure from previous work to the point where it's a bit hard to take. Spielberg's movie harkens back to earlier films. The crane battle reminded me of the opening scene of War of the Worlds, and that statue at the end was a lot like the blue fairy in A.I. Scorsese tries to make it seem like his passion for film goes beyond that of his peers, but I'm sure that Spielberg and many other directors are just as passionate and knowledgeable. Scorsese just isn't special in this regard.


Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:26 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
Furthermore, Scorsese's project is too much of a departure from previous work to the point where it's a bit hard to take. Spielberg's movie harkens back to earlier films.


I have no idea why anyone would say that makes Spielberg's work qualitatively better

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Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:48 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
JamesKunz wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Furthermore, Scorsese's project is too much of a departure from previous work to the point where it's a bit hard to take. Spielberg's movie harkens back to earlier films.


I have no idea why anyone would say that makes Spielberg's work qualitatively better


That's because nobody would actually say that if they weren't being disingenuous and scavenging for reasons why Movie X must be bad. Like when Bush won in 2004: must have been the partially retarded Red State folk because there wasn't any possible way Bush could have won. It was fictional!

Unless, and this is only from a purely historic standpoint, Spielberg had made nothing but films about scat munching between the release of Raiders and Tintin.

Let's be fair, please. Scorsese, like him or not, is well-respected (even if someone believes it's for the wrong reasons) and has earned (in the estimation of many) the right to make whatever movie he'd like to make. Or: he doesn't really owe anyone anything. At all. Spielberg, too. There may be some people that actually believe The Departed is a rusty attempt to recapture the energy of early Scorsese and find Hugo to be an evolution. Those people would claim The Departed is disingenuous and Hugo, departure though it may be, is honest.

Or: Chuck Palahniuk has published the same awful novel at least seven times in a row. Some see this as evidence that a short-sighted and mediocre writer is fulfilling book contracts rather than expressing his voice. And if he is expressing his voice than... nothing is changed and he's still short-sighted and mediocre.

I welcome departures as they often mean "evolution" and not "twisted lie".


Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:50 pm
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Major Aphasia wrote:
Or: Chuck Palahniuk has published the same awful novel at least seven times in a row. Some see this as evidence that a short-sighted and mediocre writer is fulfilling book contracts rather than expressing his voice. And if he is expressing his voice than... nothing is changed and he's still short-sighted and mediocre.


Is this what you actually think?


Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:53 pm
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Major Aphasia wrote:
Or: Chuck Palahniuk has published the same awful novel at least seven times in a row. Some see this as evidence that a short-sighted and mediocre writer is fulfilling book contracts rather than expressing his voice. And if he is expressing his voice than... nothing is changed and he's still short-sighted and mediocre.


Is this what you actually think?


Oh good. Yes, that's what I actually think. Don't worry, though. I'm not mad at people for liking Palahniuk and, furthermore, I don't believe liking Palahniuk is a symptom of some mental defect.


Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:05 pm
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Major Aphasia wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
Major Aphasia wrote:
Or: Chuck Palahniuk has published the same awful novel at least seven times in a row. Some see this as evidence that a short-sighted and mediocre writer is fulfilling book contracts rather than expressing his voice. And if he is expressing his voice than... nothing is changed and he's still short-sighted and mediocre.


Is this what you actually think?


Oh good. Yes, that's what I actually think. Don't worry, though. I'm not mad at people for liking Palahniuk and, furthermore, I don't believe liking Palahniuk is a symptom of some mental defect.


Okay just checking, as he's my favourite authour of all time :p

I'll jovially take this as punishment for calling David Fincher a charlatan (which I still stand by).


Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:12 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Major Aphasia wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Furthermore, Scorsese's project is too much of a departure from previous work to the point where it's a bit hard to take. Spielberg's movie harkens back to earlier films.


I have no idea why anyone would say that makes Spielberg's work qualitatively better


That's because nobody would actually say that if they weren't being disingenuous and scavenging for reasons why Movie X must be bad. Like when Bush won in 2004: must have been the partially retarded Red State folk because there wasn't any possible way Bush could have won. It was fictional!

Unless, and this is only from a purely historic standpoint, Spielberg had made nothing but films about scat munching between the release of Raiders and Tintin.

Let's be fair, please. Scorsese, like him or not, is well-respected (even if someone believes it's for the wrong reasons) and has earned (in the estimation of many) the right to make whatever movie he'd like to make. Or: he doesn't really owe anyone anything. At all. Spielberg, too. There may be some people that actually believe The Departed is a rusty attempt to recapture the energy of early Scorsese and find Hugo to be an evolution. Those people would claim The Departed is disingenuous and Hugo, departure though it may be, is honest.

Or: Chuck Palahniuk has published the same awful novel at least seven times in a row. Some see this as evidence that a short-sighted and mediocre writer is fulfilling book contracts rather than expressing his voice. And if he is expressing his voice than... nothing is changed and he's still short-sighted and mediocre.

I welcome departures as they often mean "evolution" and not "twisted lie".


Amen.

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Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:40 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Quote:
That's because nobody would actually say that if they weren't being disingenuous and scavenging for reasons why Movie X must be bad. Like when Bush won in 2004: must have been the partially retarded Red State folk because there wasn't any possible way Bush could have won. It was fictional!

Unless, and this is only from a purely historic standpoint, Spielberg had made nothing but films about scat munching between the release of Raiders and Tintin.

Let's be fair, please. Scorsese, like him or not, is well-respected (even if someone believes it's for the wrong reasons) and has earned (in the estimation of many) the right to make whatever movie he'd like to make. Or: he doesn't really owe anyone anything. At all. Spielberg, too. There may be some people that actually believe The Departed is a rusty attempt to recapture the energy of early Scorsese and find Hugo to be an evolution. Those people would claim The Departed is disingenuous and Hugo, departure though it may be, is honest.

Or: Chuck Palahniuk has published the same awful novel at least seven times in a row. Some see this as evidence that a short-sighted and mediocre writer is fulfilling book contracts rather than expressing his voice. And if he is expressing his voice than... nothing is changed and he's still short-sighted and mediocre.

I welcome departures as they often mean "evolution" and not "twisted lie".


Often, but not in this case. I don't think Scorsese has earned that right; nobody has. No more than any other professional has a right to do their job differently just because they've done it very well for a long time. Hugo was marketed to families; do you think a family unit would care what rights Scorsese has earned? Mine sure didn't. Why should we, as the top tier of movie buffs, appreciate a film that seems to have been made exclusively for us? What does it amount to? Wouldn't you rather have something that can be appreciated by everyone, even though you might enjoy it on a higher level?

Actually, I completely agree that Hugo is more honest than The Departed, absolutely. But that doesn't make it a good movie.

Quote:
disingenuous and scavenging for reasons why Movie X must be bad.


I don't see the practice as disingenuous. Are we not allowed to scavenge for reasons without being labeled as such? Are we not allowed to think? Sometimes, people see movies, don't like them, but can't quite explain why. What you call scavenging for reasons I call searching for answers, and for deeper truth. From a filmmaker's perspective: no one wants to make an unpopular movie, so you want to be able to wrap your head around what works and what doesn't. With Hugo, it's easy: you have to match material to tone. Cinema is an art, but it isn't a free for all. You can't just do whatever you want, anymore than you can play any hand in a poker game. You might as well set Goodfellas in Narnia or put Harry Potter in black and white. Fantasy and fact don't mix. There's really no arguing that. It's simply a question of good filmmaking vs. bad.

An example of good evolution might be a darker take on previous themes...or acquiring a bigger budget...or connecting the same themes between multiple genres...or just something as simple as exercising the same talent in vastly different storytelling situations. What Scorsese did is akin to a sex change, and if you want to argue otherwise, then you have to present very specific ways that Hugo ties into his earlier films. Otherwise, you have no argument.


Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:27 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
Often, but not in this case. I don't think Scorsese has earned that right; nobody has. No more than any other professional has a right to do their job differently just because they've done it very well for a long time.


So there's never any room for departure?

MGamesCook wrote:
Wouldn't you rather have something that can be appreciated by everyone


Not even a little bit. Mass appeal couldn't possibly mean less to me. As an artist, I'm trying to create good art, I'm not trying to appeal or produce stuff everyone will like. Now, I don't think it's honest to be intentionally obtuse either, but mass appeal or acceptance couldn't possibly matter less to me in the art I create or the art I love.

MGamesCook wrote:
What Scorsese did is akin to a sex change, and if you want to argue otherwise, then you have to present very specific ways that Hugo ties into his earlier films. Otherwise, you have no argument.


Actually yeah no not at all. If someone wants to counter your position from your perspective, then sure. But yet again, saying doesn't make it so, and there are plenty of reasons outside of this as to why Hugo is worthwhile and not a "sex change," in addition to why it's miles better than Tintin.


Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:51 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
An example of good evolution might be a darker take on previous themes...or acquiring a bigger budget...or connecting the same themes between multiple genres...or just something as simple as exercising the same talent in vastly different storytelling situations. What Scorsese did is akin to a sex change, and if you want to argue otherwise, then you have to present very specific ways that Hugo ties into his earlier films. Otherwise, you have no argument.


(bold is mine) Same talent is vastly different settings, eh? Like, say, Goodfellas and Hugo?

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Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:51 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Shade wrote:
Now, I don't think it's honest to be intentionally obtuse either,


I consider Hugo to be intentionally obtuse.

JamesKunz wrote:
(bold is mine) Same talent is vastly different settings, eh? Like, say, Goodfellas and Hugo?


No, I'd say it's vastly different explorations of a similar theme. For instance, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. Those movies are pretty different, but look at all they have in common: ethnic insecurity, moral ambiguity, violence as a method of relief, alienation, etc. These are simple ideas, but the fact that Scorsese connects them across different works is what made him an artist. How does Hugo tie into that? Actually, you know what it reminds me of? When Michael Jordan took a year off to play baseball. You guys act as though Scorsese successfully created a popular family fantasy film; he didn't. He was not being true to his own form.


Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:13 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
No, I'd say it's vastly different explorations of a similar theme. For instance, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. Those movies are pretty different, but look at all they have in common: ethnic insecurity, moral ambiguity, violence as a method of relief, alienation, etc. These are simple ideas, but the fact that Scorsese connects them across different works is what made him an artist. How does Hugo tie into that? Actually, you know what it reminds me of? When Michael Jordan took a year off to play baseball. You guys act as though Scorsese successfully created a popular family fantasy film; he didn't. He was not being true to his own form.


And you're acting like, to use your weak metaphor against you, Scorsese stopped directing films and spend a year writing operas. As long as he's still making films, he's not switching sports.

I mean, do you find Sidney Lumet to be loathesome because, hell, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Network, 12 Angry Men, The Hill, and Fail-Safe may be very good to great films, but gee they don't follow a unified theme and are therefore worthless?

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Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:32 pm
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Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
You guys act as though Scorsese successfully created a popular family fantasy film; he didn't. He was not being true to his own form.


I'm having difficulty understanding this "true to his own form" argument, I suppose. If popular culture is largely clever thievery than how is this not par-for-the-course Scorsese? And how does your argument consider something like The Age of Innocence?

That being said, Kubrick (and Danny Boyle, some others) have a unique style and tone across a wide range of genres and subjects. If the argument is that Scorsese plays chameleon with Hugo than I'm willing to consider your take.


Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:51 pm
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
JamesKunz wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
No, I'd say it's vastly different explorations of a similar theme. For instance, Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. Those movies are pretty different, but look at all they have in common: ethnic insecurity, moral ambiguity, violence as a method of relief, alienation, etc. These are simple ideas, but the fact that Scorsese connects them across different works is what made him an artist. How does Hugo tie into that? Actually, you know what it reminds me of? When Michael Jordan took a year off to play baseball. You guys act as though Scorsese successfully created a popular family fantasy film; he didn't. He was not being true to his own form.


And you're acting like, to use your weak metaphor against you, Scorsese stopped directing films and spend a year writing operas. As long as he's still making films, he's not switching sports.

I mean, do you find Sidney Lumet to be loathesome because, hell, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Network, 12 Angry Men, The Hill, and Fail-Safe may be very good to great films, but gee they don't follow a unified theme and are therefore worthless?


Sidney Lumet isn't even interesting enough for me to comment. Just to clarify, I would consider Hugo as different from Goodfellas as an opera is from a James Bond film, so your example only reinforces my point. Onto another point, how exactly is Hugo superior to Tintin? Shots still matter in filmmaking, don't they? What shot in Hugo is more impressive than half the shots in Tintin? The opening shot ain't an argument; even though it looks more real than Tintin, believe me it isn't. How anyone can compare it to the Copocabana shot in Goodfellas just baffles me.

This seems like a good time to invoke Pauline Kael, paraphrased: unless you separate a director's good films from his bad films, you don't understand either. I'd be happy to offer a 1000 word tirade on why Anthony Mann's The Furies stinks to shit. I don't understand why no one is willing to recognize a misfire from someone like Scorsese. Age of Innocence is a perfect example. If you put Hugo on the same level with Scorsese's great films, all it tells anyone is that you don't even understand why the great films are great. What's the old saying? Like someone for their strengths, love them for their weaknesses? The fact that he would never have been inclined to make a stupid cliche like Hugo is what I used to admire about Scorsese. He gave up on his own gift.


Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:24 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
MGamesCook wrote:
Sidney Lumet isn't even interesting enough for me to comment.


AKA it destroys your argument so you're ignoring it.

MGamesCook wrote:
Onto another point, how exactly is Hugo superior to Tintin? Shots still matter in filmmaking, don't they?


Yes, they still matter, but are they all that matter? Even if I concede that Tintin is better looking (which I personally don't but I can see that viewpoint), Hugo supercedes it in storytelling, tone, emotional connection and editing. Do all of those things not matter?

MGamesCook wrote:
The opening shot ain't an argument


Oh, right: yet again you don't actually want to have a discussion, you want to chide on people from your allegedly superior viewpoint.

MGamesCook wrote:
I don't understand why no one is willing to recognize a misfire from someone like Scorsese.


You're making up a phantom argument when you make this point. No one has made a case that Scorsese has never misfired, but some do disagree with you that Hugo is a misfire.

MGamesCook wrote:
If you put Hugo on the same level with Scorsese's great films, all it tells anyone is that you don't even understand why the great films are great.


Besides the fact that that's a bullshit statement even if someone was saying that, who exactly is saying that? Who's labeling it among the best of Scorsese's work? Has anyone here done that?

MGamesCook wrote:
The fact that he would never have been inclined to make a stupid cliche like Hugo is what I used to admire about Scorsese. He gave up on his own gift.


Then what does that say about Spielberg making Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?


Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:16 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Shade wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
If you put Hugo on the same level with Scorsese's great films, all it tells anyone is that you don't even understand why the great films are great.


Besides the fact that that's a bullshit statement even if someone was saying that, who exactly is saying that? Who's labeling it among the best of Scorsese's work? Has anyone here done that?


Before he jumps to answer this, I did call it "top-level Scorcese" and "his best since The Age Of Innocence" when I first saw it in November. But I saw it for a second time today, and I stand by what I said.


Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:40 am
Post Re: December 27, 2011: "Reviewing 2011: The Death of 'Film'"
Blonde Almond wrote:
Shade wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
If you put Hugo on the same level with Scorsese's great films, all it tells anyone is that you don't even understand why the great films are great.


Besides the fact that that's a bullshit statement even if someone was saying that, who exactly is saying that? Who's labeling it among the best of Scorsese's work? Has anyone here done that?


Before he jumps to answer this, I did call it "top-level Scorcese" and "his best since The Age Of Innocence" when I first saw it in November. But I saw it for a second time today, and I stand by what I said.


That's fair enough. I wasn't trying to imply that it's impossible for someone to think that or that you're wrong, but I don't think that's what most people are saying. Still, MGames's statement is BS in trying to apply his opinion as the One True Opinion and trying to disparage your total opinion based on your opinion of Hugo.


Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:14 am
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