FilmDrunk

Your Mid-Week Guide To DVD And Streaming: Battleship, And Lots Of Other Low-Budget Indie Flicks

Maybe I’m going soft, but there are a lot of new movies hitting DVD this week, and quite a few of them are indies/low-budget/foreign films that actually look good, which is fortunate because the mainstream Hollywood fare is stuff like Battleship and Think Like A Man.  Don’t get me wrong, they don’t all look amazing, it’s just unusual to find so many that don’t look too bad. Probably has something to do with the sheer volume of new DVDs this week.  In fact, there are so many movies this week that I’m mostly featuring the ones that either look legitimately good or -regardless of quality- star somebody you’ve heard of -and just to give you an idea of just how wonderful this week is, I’ll even give a quick rundown of some of the new DVDs that I am NOT featuring.

The Featured DVDs:
Battleship
The Lucky One
Think Like A Man
The Pirates! Band Of Misfits
Darling Companion
L!fe Happens
A Beginner’s Guide To Endings
The Moth Diaries
Citizen Gangster
Blind Revenge
Monsieur Lazhar
The Heineken Kidnapping
The Viral Factor
Fist Of The Reich
Nate & Margaret
Apartment 143
Battleground
The Newest Pledge
Below Zero

The Not-Featured DVDs:

Starship Troopers: Invasion -Casper Van Dien executive produces this all-CGI flick, even though somebody else is voicing Johnny Rico.

I Am Gabriel -Dean Cain stars in this flick about a town that’s brought to Christ when a mysterious young boy shows up.  Is he the angel Gabriel?

Jersey Shore Shark Attack  -Dustin Rowles mocked this SyFy original over at Warming Glow, and they returned the favor by misspelling his name in the critics’ blurb on the box cover.

Blood Money -A martial arts flick starring Pitbull.  Yes, that Pitbull.

Lovely Molly -A partially found-footage flick from one of the directors of The Blair Witch Project.  I’m guessing he was the one responsible for all the sh*tty parts.

Penumbra -Devil worshipers trying to raise the antichrist (I’m assuming) during a solar eclipse. Actually looks pretty decent.

Area 407 -Found footage Jurassic Park.  So, basically a preview of Jurassic Park 4.

Apocalypse of the Dead -Zombies, of course.

One Hour To Die: You Have All Been Poisoned -Approximate running time: 80 minutes.

Shark Week -For those who like their SyFy reality rip-offs more like Survivor and less like, well, Jersey Shore.

Rewind -Irish thriller.  I got nothin’.

Neverlost -Can’t find my notes about this one.

Sex Money And You Already Know 2 -The first one sucked.

Holy crap, that’s a lot of detail for ‘not-featured’ flicks.  Just imagine what’s in store for you if you keep reading about the featured DVDs. (And don’t worry, I do take the time to poop on a few of ’em.  I know you like that sort of thing.)  If you’re already tired of all of this, at least hit up the Netflix page by following the link here.
Battleship

You all know what this is, and you all know how it performed at the box office, and now it’s time for Battleship’s journey to end.  Did you know we’ve been gleefully mocking this film for a full three years?  It’s true: Vince broke the news that Peter Berg would be directing a movie based on the board game Battleship exactly three years –to the day- before Battleship opened in U.S. theaters. Those really were some innocent times.  For example, Vince speculated that the bad guys would be North Koreans.  None of us could’ve guessed that Universal would stray so far from the ‘source material’ such that it would actually be about aliens. As for myself, I’m of two minds about this flick: On the one hand, I didn’t want to buy a ticket and encourage the obnoxious licensing deals that led to this film, but on the other hand, if it were the exact same movie but NOT based –albeit superficially- on a board game, I’d probably go see it.  Well, it bombed at the box office and if we tread carefully (we don’t need an ironic cult classic on our hands), now we can watch it safely.  Assuming you do want to see it.  (Alexander Skarsgård plays a dude named Stone Hopper, how could you not want to see it?  Oh god, I hope they call him ‘Skipper’!)


The Lucky One

Speaking of insulting audience intelligence, this is that movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book that would have us believe that Zac Efron is not only a Marine, but a Marine that has served three tours of duty in Iraq.  Was he part of the twink battalion? I don’t mean to imply that gay dudes can’t or shouldn’t serve in the armed forces (Efron’s gay, right?), it’s just that for a movie to work we have to accept the initial premise, and Efron doesn’t fit the type.  Put Channing Tatum in the role and everyone would buy it.  Hell, most FilmDrunkards would buy it twice. In fact, if you want someone effeminate with soft lips and bedroom eyes, why not just go ahead and cast a female. How about somebody like Rachel McAdams? I mean, why not?  If Zac Efron can pass as an Iraq War vet, why couldn’t she?  In fact, she did.  It was in a movie called The Lucky Ones, I’m sure you remember it.


Think Like A Man

Basing a movie on a self-help book written by the host of The Family Feud might actually be a dumber idea than Battleship.  Casting Chris Brown in this relationship ‘comedy’ kinda tips it over into ‘definitely’  being dumber. (Also, OMG Chris Brown and Rihanna each have new DVDs out today!)  That all being said, Think Like A Man made more money than Battleship (in the U.S.), and on a much, much smaller budget.  Think like a movie studio and guess if they are already planning a sequel.


The Pirates! Band Of Misfits

This is that flick from Aardman Animation (Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run) that got into trouble for featuring a leprosy joke in the trailer.  Watching that trailer, I’m shocked more people didn’t find things to bitch about.  There was a fat joke in there –isn’t that cruel?  And what about that shot of the pirates in dresses?  Surely they are misrepresenting the cross-dressing community. Also, real life pirates were nothing like those shown in the film, kids will get the wrong idea.  MONKEY BUTLERS?  That’s animal cruelty! Oh god, won’t somebody think of the children? There’s a difference between ignorant hatred and innocent humor.  Nobody involved in this film set out to disparage lepers, and I don’t believe any reasonable person believes that lepers were really mocked in any genuine way.  Just because somebody finds something offensive doesn’t make that thing offensive.  Just so, even if something is intended to be offensive, its power to offend lies solely on those who let themselves be offended.  For example, calling someone a ‘retard’ is not offensive because if you are offended, then you are too cognizant to be a retard, and if you really are a retard you’re probably too busy drooling all over your helmet’s chin strap to notice that anyone called you a retard. Plus, you’ve got that retard strength, so count your blessings. And if you find all of that offensive, congratulations; most retards are illiterate.  Your ability to read these words makes you king of the retards.  (In all seriousness, if anyone reads this paragraph and was offended, I would like to point out that it was written by one Vincent Mancini, and all complaints should be addressed to him.)


Darling Companion

You remember this flick?  I’m sure you don’t even though it stars Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Elisabeth Moss, Sam Shepard, and Mark Duplass.  It only made $793,815 at the box office.  That’s a shame, too because this was supposed to be the triumphant return to film making for director Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado, Grand Canyon), whose last film, Dreamcatcher, came out nine years ago.  Anyhow, here’s the scoop: Diane Keaton loves the stray dog she found more than anything else in the world.  But when her husband (Kevin Kline) loses the dog, she enlists the help of the guests at her daughter, Elisabeth Moss’s wedding to find the dog. She also hires a dog psychic.  IMPORTANT BREAKING DOG NEWS UPDATE: F*ck that shit, there’s a much more awesome looking dog movie hitting DVD this week. It’s called I Heart Shakey and it’s about a little girl, her dog, and her dad.  They move to a new city and a new apartment but dogs aren’t allowed in the building.  They hatch a series of crazy schemes to hide the dog from the building’s cartoonishly evil manager while trying to find a suitable home for the mutt.  Also, it co-stars Steve Guttenberg as some sort of crazy war-vet dog kennel owner.  I repeat: Steve Guttenberg is a crazy war-vet dog kennel owner. Trailers for both films included below.  Try to guess which one has the record scratch sound effect (among so many other awesome sound effects).


L!fe Happens

Of course Darling Companion‘s $793, 815 sounds like a lot compared to the box office numbers for L!fe Happens.  This flick only managed to earn $30,905, which is really sad because it looks like a genuine classic.  Krysten Ritter (the titular bitch on that Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 sitcom, and more memorably, Jane on Breaking Bad) co-writes and stars in this comedy.  She called all of her BFF’s to show up as well –there’s Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, Geoff Stults, Justin Kirk, Andrea Savage, Kristen Johnston, Jason Biggs, and even Oscar-nominee Seymour Cassel. As for the plot, it’s a sobering dramatic study about the difficulties one faces after a one-night stand results in a pregnancy, and in turn, a child.  Oh wait, no that’s not right; it’s a wacky comedy about how much life sucks when you get knocked up and you’re still in your twenties and you just want to sleep with every douche bag you meet at a bar because you’re young and need your freedom and you never asked for this, so why can’t you have fun and lie about having a kid, until the last twenty minutes or so of the movie and you realize that you really love your little rugrat, and it’s all good anyhow because that dude with the over-sized jaw loves you all the more because you are a mom and everything works out for everyone and nobody resents anyone ever, just like in real life.  Look, I’ll be honest, I’m predisposed to hate this movie, and you should be, too.  You know why?  Because that’s not a typo; there really is an exclamation point in the title.  I’d rather watch a movie about a bunch of frat boys trying to raise a baby instead of this crap.


A Beginner’s Guide To Endings

What’s this, yet another somewhat star-studded (OK, actors-you-recognize studded, the point is…studs) flick that seems to have come to DVD out of nowhere?  It must be our lucky day!  Three brothers played by The Daily Show’s Jason Jones, Hawaii Five-0’s Scott Caan, and that guy you recognize from Road Trip, Paulo Costanzo, all find out upon the death of their dead-beat dad, Harvey Keitel that they each only have a few days left to live.  Why?  Plot contrivances, that’s why.  That’s not the point, the point is that they each take their last remaining moments and…does anyone actually believe that this movie has the balls to kill them off?  I’m sure they find out that while they were subjected to medical testing as children, they were part of the placebo group, or something like that, but that’s OK because through the experience of facing their imminent deaths, they learned to love each other or something.  Oh yeah, and J.K. Simmons plays their uncle, I guess. The trailer does have its good points, though ; Jason Jones’ mustache is pretty righteous and Tricia Helfer’s in it.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve seen her in, but the only thing I’ve ever seen her in was Battlestar Galactica, so I guess what I’m saying is, Battlestar Galactica is pretty good.


The Moth Diaries

Here we have yet another teen vampire movie.  But wait, there’s more- it’s from Mary Harron, director of American Psycho, and the teens are all girls at an all-girls boarding school.  So, it went from ‘absolutely never gonna watch it’ to ‘are there sex scenes?’ in one short sentence. It also co-stars Scott Speedman as that one teacher all the girls have a crush on. At one point in the trailer, Speedman’s teacher character says, “There are three things you find in every vampire story: sex, blood, and death.” The same could be said for every abortion story, but I digress.


Citizen Gangster

Speaking of Scott Speedman, he stars in this true-story bank robber tale from Canada. This flick co-stars Brian Cox, Tom Cruise’s cousin (a.k.a. William Mapother), and Kevin Durand, who you’ve seen a bunch, even if you don’t recognize his name. I have to admit, this one actually looks kind of good to me, but to be fair, I’m a sucker for these old-timey bank robber stories. I guess I just long for a simpler time when the person waving a gun around in public really didn’t intend to use it to kill people.  I’m old fashioned that way. Plus, when they rob banks Speedman’s character is wearing some makeup on his face and it makes him look like  former Frotcast guest James Adomian.


Blind Revenge

Acclaimed Chilean director Raoul Ruiz gives us this by-the-numbers thriller starring Daryl Hannah and Tom Conti.  (Don’t know who Tom Conti is?  He was Oscar-nominated for his role in 1983’s Reuben, Reuben and more recently he played ‘Prisoner’ in The Dark Knight Rises. Wait, was he the dude that took care of Bruce Wayne when he was in that pit?  Also, no that isn’t a spoiler, so just shut up.  The point is, he went from Oscar nominations to playing ‘Prisoner’; his career’s been on a bit of down-swing is what I’m saying.) Tom Conti is some rich blind writer and Daryl Hannah is the lady he hires to assist him.  She’s got other plans, though, as she starts moving his furniture around and just f*cking with him in general.  Obviously she’s there to get revenge…blind revenge.  Because he’s blind see?  That title doesn’t really make sense, though, does it?  He’s blind, the revenge isn’t.  She knows exactly what she’s doing.  What would blind revenge even be anyway?  Maybe it would be like reverse-karma where you decide to just be a random dick to people, figuring that they must have done something to deserve it.  Of course what makes the most sense is if the person exacting revenge was the blind dude, but again, the revenge isn’t blind, the person is.  They should’ve just kept the original title, A Closed Book, and then I could’ve made a joke about judging this book by its cover and leaving it closed, but they didn’t so I can’t.


Monsieur Lazhar

This is the latest (and last, incidentally) of this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar nominees to hit DVD. This Canadian film is about Monsieur Lazhar (duh), an Algerian immigrant who fills in to teach an elementary school class after their original teacher kills herself in the classroom. Focused on grieving and healing, the school community remains unaware of Lazhar’s  former life, as well as his risk of deportation. So the school goes from having a suicidal teacher to one that evidently isn’t even in the country legally, so kudos on whatever stellar interview process they have in place.  Plus, and I’m just taking a shot in the dark here, the trailer kind of implies that he might be a former terrorist. So, again, stellar work Montreal school system.  C’est magnifique.


The Heineken Kidnapping

Here we have our second ‘true story’ film of the week, and strangely enough, the second one I would willfully watch.  Everyone’s favorite grizzled old European (sorry, Michael Lonsdale), Rutger Hauer plays beer magnate Freddy Heineken. As you might infer from the title, in 1983 Heineken got kidnapped and was held for three weeks until a massive ransom was paid.  After his release, Heineken used his  even more massive amounts of money, resources, and power to seek out his captors and exact his revenge.  Was it blind revenge? I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s a Rutger Hauer revenge movie.  Have you seen Hobo With A Shotgun?  Now imagine that hobo with money and resources.  Yes I know, then he wouldn’t really be a hobo, but you know what?  F*ck you.  Rutger Hauer revenge picture.  What more do you want?


Headhunters

Wait, wait, wait, what?  Jaime Lannister is Danish?  Did other people know this, because it’s coming as a shock to me.  Granted, I just started watching Game Of Thrones earlier this month, but still.  As a good honest hard-working American, I proudly speak only one language (American) and it always creeps me out when people are fluent –down to the mother*cking accent- in multiple languages.   Just pick the language that god gave you and stick with it. Unless you come to America, in which case, learn to speak American.  The point is, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (oh my god, even his name is weird and foreign) stars in this Norwegian (OH COME ON! Do Danes and Norwegians even speak the same language?  How many skills does this handsome assh*le have?) heist movie.  It looks good because, well, it’s Jaime Lannister in a heist movie.  P.S. Yes there’s plans for an American remake.  Here’s hoping they get a true blue American for the role.  Personally, I think Christian Bale could pull it off.


The Viral Factor

Watching the trailer for this Hong Kong action flick should be enough to get your over-the-top action panties wet. None of it looks like it makes much sense, but there sure are a lot of gun fights and car crashes and explosions. It gets so much better, though, once you hear the synopsis:

International Security Affairs agent Jon is on a dangerous mission to escort a criminal scientist to another country. En route, a member of his team turns out to be a traitor and shoots Jon in the head while kidnapping the scientist. When Jon wakes up in the hospital, a doctor tells him that within weeks, the bullet in his brain will cause complete paralysis. Jon returns to Beijing to see his mother, who confesses that Jon has a brother in Malaysia who was raised by his father, a gambler. Jon takes a flight to Malaysia to find his brother, Yeung. On the plane he forms a bond with Dr. Kan, who promises to look into possible treatments for his condition. However, when they arrive, Yeung tries to kidnap the doctor and when Jon intervenes, he’s also taken hostage. The two soon realize they’re brothers, and decide to work together in order to keep the criminals behind the kidnappings from reinfecting the world of a disease long thought cured.

I guess it still doesn’t make any sense, but hot damn do I want to see it.  The only thing that could make this better is if it starred Steven Seagal as Jon Viral.


Fist Of The Reich

UWE BOLL DIRECTED THIS ‘SERIOSUS’ GERMAN BIOPIC ABOUT BOXER/LUFTWAFFE PARATROOPER MAX SCHMELING. Really though, they should have just made that the title; there’s no way it’s gonna sell more copies with just boring old Fist Of The Reich.


Nate & Margaret

Nate is a 19-year-old gay aspiring film maker.  Margaret (Crystal from Roseanne) is a 52-year-old aspiring stand-up comedian.  They are best friends because hipster filmmakers love Harold & Maude.  Nate gets a new boyfriend and  the socially inept Margaret can’t handle it. Hey Vince, I think I might know who stole your dream journal.


Apartment 143

I had the chance to see this found-footage horror flick a few weeks ago and I honestly think it might be the worst film I’ve seen so far this year, and just to be sure I’ve since watched both Alvin and the Chipmunks (f*ck you, I have kids) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (f*ck you, I have a wife), and yes, they are both way better films than Apartment 143.  I’m about to spoil the ever living sh*t out of this movie, so if you plan on seeing it, skip on down to the next flick.

This might be the laziest found-footage flick in the history of found-footage.  For example, there’s a scene of the father waking up the two kids for breakfast.  He tells the little boy that he made pancakes, and the little boy leaps out of bed saying that they are his favorite.  In the very next scene, everyone is eating a stack of pancakes, except the boy, who is eating cereal. Oh, and also, why does everyone make the kid stay in this environment?  He’s obviously freaked out and in danger.  Even more annoying –they finally do send him to his grandparents, but for no real reason other than they couldn’t afford to pay the actor anymore.  And the grandfather character picking him up inexplicably takes the time to bitch about what a hassle this all is, because his afternoon nap is more important than saving his grandson from death-by-poltergeist.  But wait, there’s more: take for example the scene where the two paranormal interns (or whatever they are) are reviewing video footage from cameras set up around the apartment.  While watching the replay on a laptop, they notice a ghost in the background of one clip.  Not maybe a ghost –definitely a ghost.  So they decide not to tell Dr. Danny-from-Caddyshack, because he’s asleep and it can wait until morning.  Lo and behold, the next morning, the footage has been deleted, so they all kind of shrug their shoulders and walk away.  WHY NOT SHOW HIM THE FOOTAGE OF YOU REVIEWING THE FOOTAGE THAT OBVIOUSLY SURVIVED THIS WHOLE ENCOUNTER BECAUSE IT WAS EDITED INTO THIS VERY SAME SH*TTY MOVIE THAT I AM WATCHING? Speaking of Dr. Danny-from-Caddyshack, he delivers a performance that can only be described as disinterested.  As in the actor, Michael O’Keefe, can’t be bothered to try, or maybe he’s actively trying to sabotage the film.  He goes from being completely nonplussed while literally every other character is being thrown around the room to randomly cussing out and badgering people.  “Why did you say that?  WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT TO ME?”  To be honest, his bizarre performance kind of made the film watchable for a while until the downright offensive ending and surprise twist.  Throughout the whole movie the general presumption –by the characters- is that the ghost is the family’s dead wife/mother.  But it isn’t.  You see, the teen girl is schizophrenic, and ghosts are the physical manifestation of mental illnesses.  FOR REAL, THAT’S IT.  F*ck science, we can say whatever we want.  You know werewolves, that’s just the physical manifestation of double-jointedness.  Heym, are you near-sighted?  Thanks a lot for that vampire that’s been lurking in the neighborhood.   Hey, did you know that zombies are just the physical manifestation of leprosy?  How did Dr. Danny figure this out?  HE KNEW ALL ALONG!  BEFORE HE EVEN GOT THERE! HE JUST FELT LIKE LETTING THINGS PLAY OUT!  For real, at one point he explains how -sight unseen- he knew the girl was schizophrenic and that that was the cause of all the paranormal activity by saying, “You think I don’t read the case-file before accepting a case?” as if that excuses his complacency while people –children- are beaten senseless. Plus, what case-file?  Who prepared it for him?  Lastly, they decide to leave one last camera ‘for the cops to clean up’ (in other words,  for one last scare before the credits) and sure enough, some freaky ghost lady does that sudden-rush-towards-the-dutch-angled-camera bit that ends all of these movies.  Even though they’ve established that the ghosts are part of the teen girl, and that they follow her wherever she goes, and she was no longer in the apartment.  God damn, this movie sucked.


Battleground

After that admittedly too-long diatribe, allow me to be brief.  This flick is basically a First Blood-esque tale of a Vietnam War vet brutally killing anyone who invades his secluded home in the woods.  Yes, it looks awesome. Better watch out for mummies, though.  They’re the physical manifestation of PTSD.


The Newest Pledge

Remember when covering L!fe Happens I said I’d rather watch a movie about frat brothers trying to raise a baby?  Well, I didn’t mean this movie.  Besides the box art blatantly ripping off The Hangover (and that’s not even close to being the same baby as the one that’s actually in the movie), this movie is so full of stupid that both Jason Mewes and Andy Milonakis get their names above the title. They name the baby Kegston Omega and hold a fundraiser party or else they will lose the baby.  I…I don’t know where to begin.  Child protective services should’ve been called. Not in the fictitious world of the movie, but in real life.  This is one of those moments where you really question the nature of humor, and how there can be something that seems so totally unfunny to you, but at the same time, you know somebody finds it funny because that same person or persons went out and actually made this movie.   I haven’t felt this way since I spent an entire dinner being harassed by my wife’s friend’s husband for having never seen The Blue Collar Comedy Tour.


Below Zero

Edward Furlong and Michael Berryman (the ugly dude from the original The Hills Have Eyes) star in this horror flick.  I watched the trailer more than once and couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on, so I dug up the official synopsis, which claims this is based on true events with a ‘Fargo’ feel.  Oh f*ck you , it is not, and also, f*cking snow doesn’t make your movie Fargo.  Turns out, the screenwriter for this piece of sh*t actually arranged to have herself locked up in a remote slaughterhouse’s meat freezer and that’s what inspired this story.  They even shot the film at the same slaughterhouse!  Like I said, f*ck you and your pretentious typewriter. Use a goddamn laptop, you c*nt.

Here’s the streaming news: New additions include Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, Dark Tide, Best Laid Plans, Wreckage, Elevator, and Take Me Home. Assuming none of those float your boat (Jiro’s supposed to be pretty good actually), I’ve got things covered with a list of films from a director whose films are almost tailor-made for instant streaming: Uwe Boll. All of his movies are sh*t. They’re designed to be sh*t. Nobody watches them with any genuine interest, but rather to laugh at how bad they are, and that’s why they are perfect for streaming. Little to no effort is required to watch them, and you don’t have to pay a penny more than you have already spent on your subscription. Watch 10 minutes or the whole flick, it doesn’t matter. Anyhow, here are four lesser-known Boll flicks:

Attack On Darfur

Of today’s four Boll films, this is the only one I remember hearing of, but I felt it deserved a spot because it co-stars Below Zero’s Edward Furlong.  Funny thing about Edward Furlong, I can’t decide if I’m surprised that he’s already 35, or that he’s only 35.  Movie Trivia: For the sake of realism, no dialogue was scripted for this film.  I don’t quite know how that translates, but I’m guessing it has something to do with realizing that the on-screen talent can’t really act.

The Final Storm

Strange loaner Luke Perry takes shelter at a farm during a storm, but the farm owners find out that he used to live there and that he murdered his father there.  They fight for a while and it turns out the storm is actually the end of the world.  The End.  For real, that’s what happens. The last shot of the movie is the universe exploding.  So, final storm indeed.

Seed

A murderer survives two trips to the electric chair, but they declare him dead and bury him anyway. The dude then rises from the grave and goes on a killing spree.  Also, this is inspired by true events.  I’m not joking, click that green ‘Seed’ above and read the Netflix synopsis.  Boll, you magnificent bastard.

Rampage

A disillusioned young man puts on a black mask and some armor, grabs some semi-automatic weapons and tries to enact the largest killing spree in history. Sh*t man, just… sh*t.  For what it’s worth, this movie’s three years old, but that doesn’t make it any less creepy. For real, this five minute red band ‘trailer’ might be the most inadvertently disturbing thing I’ve ever seen.  I’m really sorry, you guys, I thought this Uwe Boll retrospective was gonna be fun. Again, I’m genuinely sorry for ending things on such a down note.

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