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Bml93's Film Experiences for 2018: First Half

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People who added this item 979 Average listal rating (576 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0

- Rewatched | Second time

Frankenstein's greatest asset lies in its characterization of The monster and Boris Karloff's portrayal of him. He embodies a monster that is truly horrifying in its simplicity. The scene that have him drown a little girl after harmlessly playing with her is truly terrifying. Yet he manages to evoke some sort of sympathy through his constant look of confusion and fear. It's truly an iconic performance.

Sadly I think the film itself has lost some of its magic. At least since the first time I saw it. Aside from a few scenes, most notably the famous creation-scene, I think the film drags too much and it's occasionally hampered by logical decisions from some of the human characters that makes very little sense. Even for that time and moment. The human characters are the weakest aspect and very little of their interactions with each other are as interesting as The monster himself. In many ways, I actually think Frankenstein would have benefited from being a silent film. Just so that the mood and atmosphere would be allowed even more space than what it currently has.
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Like the other The Mummy films, the special effects of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor looks rather outdated. This is a much severe issue here, seeing as there's a seven year gap between this one and The Mummy Returns. Though they have improved since that, if only slightly. That is however not the biggest problem with this film. A film that more than likely killed Brendan Fraser's career and hope of future stardom. The issue is that they had to replace Rachel Weisz with Maria Bello. A lot of the heart of the two predecessors comes from the chemistry and relationship between Fraser and Weisz. Bello does her best, but chemistry is something that you can't force. It has to come naturally, and the energy that Fraser and Weisz shared is something that can't be duplicated. This naturally affects Fraser's performance as well and he comes across as a very limited actor. Naturally, it doesn't help that the script is a lot worse than what they've usually been.
In other word - this film should have been shelved the moment they realized Rachel Weisz wouldn't return.
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People who added this item 134 Average listal rating (126 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 0

I don't have any knowledge of the source material, so I don't know what this adaptation of The Dark Tower has omitted in its journey from the pages and on to the screen. It's a fast-paced action film with some interesting ideas in it and some cool action sequences, but more than anything else, The Dark Tower oozes of studio meddling. There are so many aspects in this film that seems unexplored and left out. The film is just the very bare bones of what I think it actually was. The story is crystal clear and it moves quickly from one beat to another, but it moves so quickly that there's no room to dwell on any of the ideas that are lurking beneath. There's also no room for any emotional connection whatsoever.

There is a talented cast here, who does the best they can with the material they're left with, but none of the characters have any depth to them. While being a film that should overthrow you with ideas, themes and emotion, The Dark Tower feels shamefully hollow.
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People who added this item 3521 Average listal rating (2296 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 0

- Rewatched | Third time

The special effects of this film are even more outdated than they were in its predecessor. The Rock as the Scorpion King looks like something taken straight from an early Playstation 2 title. That being said, The Mummy Returns is a lot of fun. It carries over the same pace, energy, humor and eye for exhilarating action that made The Mummy such a good time. It's also surprisingly emotional due to the characters being extremely likable. The film is dumber than a pile of rocks, but it works astonishingly well as some sort of guilty pleasure.
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People who added this item 4813 Average listal rating (3255 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 0
The Mummy (1999)

- Rewatched | Third time

This modern update of The Mummy is basically a display in special effects and ludicrously over-the-top action. It replaces the mood and atmosphere of the 1932 version with fast-paced action and an enjoyable sense of humor. There's not a lot of depth here and the special effects are rather outdated when compared to films of today, but that doesn't take anything away from how much fun this film is. It's a roller-coaster ride of thrills and fun.
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People who added this item 84 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0

I don't give a crap about all the hysteria and politics surrounding this film. I think people on both sides of this are complete morons. That being said, this was yet another refreshing Marvel film. It's easily one of the more well-written and well-directed superhero films to date. All of the characters are properly fleshed out and their relationships are between each other are well-developed. Particularly Michael B. Jordan, who is the most complex and sympathetic villain we've gotten from the MCU.

The action sequences manages to stay entertaining all the way through. They never feel mundane, repetitive or soulless. The visuals are also a step up from some of the earlier MCU films. The soundtrack is also killer. Screw the politics surrounding it, and just enjoy a well-made superhero film with great characters, action and an emotionally resonating story.
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People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 4.3 IMDB Rating 0

The Open House is everything wrong with horror films. It's also a result of what happens when incompetent and talentless people try to create atmospheric mysteries. It's dreadfully boring and lazily put together. Almost the entire film consists of aimlessly walking around in empty rooms, doors opening by themselves and shower scenes. It's so dull. There's no tension to any of it, nothing makes any sense, you're not invested in any of it so you're not really trying to figure it out either. Not that it really matters anyway, as the ending is so horrible that you'll have to see it to believe it.

It's almost laughable. The filmmakers have tried to compensate for their boring scenes by adding scary music and sound effects to almost everything - even if absolutely nothing is happening. Music is a great tool when it comes to creating a certain mood, particularly in horror (and particularly when its combined with silence), but The Open House use of music is either lazy or incompetent. I'll go with the latter, as everything else is just as awful. The acting is atrocious, the characters are beyond stupid (even for a horror film) and the script is rubbish. This is quite possibly one of the worst films I've ever seen.
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People who added this item 442 Average listal rating (297 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0

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The Wolf Man is almost all about Lon Chaney's performance as the cursed man. He is outstanding. His mournful eyes and overall panic-inducing performance lends perfectly well to the mood and atmosphere of The Wolf man, creating a film that's just as sorrowful as it is thrilling.

It's also shot very well and it makes great use of its misty forest to set the tone. It's all about building up the atmosphere and then to unleash it into the terror once the moment is right. There are not a lot of kills or creature action in it and in that regard, it might be slightly tamer than some of the other Universal horror films, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up in quality. The Wolf Man is an overall well-made horror classic and a very enjoyable film experience.
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People who added this item 1326 Average listal rating (842 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0

- Rewatch | Second time

Raising Arizona might possibly be something of an acquired taste. I know that I deeply appreciated it more now than when I originally saw it. The wacky jokes, bizarre characters and quirky situations may not land well with everyone, but I found it to be very entertaining this time around. The chase sequence is a masterpiece when it comes to comedy and Holly Hunter is a darling.
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People who added this item 3278 Average listal rating (2154 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0

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The dark humor of Fargo is so on point that it's actually quite unbelievable. That the Coen's manages to take situations and crimes that are truly tense and horrific, and imbue them with enough comedy to make them feel naturally funny is a tremendous achievement. Carried by strong performances by typical "character actors", gorgeous cinematography and a plot that is consistently unpredictable, Fargo is nothing short of a brilliant film.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 0
Leatherface (2017)

I'm not quite sure I get why someone had to make another Leatherface prequel, but here we are nonetheless. It's pretty bad though. It doesn't really feel like a film that belongs in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise either. That whole angle seems shoe-horned in. This is instead just a film about some crazy people doing disgusting things - for then to suddenly bring out Leatherface, completely out of nowhere without any proper character development, towards the end. There are a couple of nasty scenes that are somewhat enjoyable in an exploitative kind of way, but besides that, there's not much to root for here.
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People who added this item 1967 Average listal rating (1264 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Unforgiven (1992)

- Rewatch | Third time

What I love most about Unforgiven is how it overturns the conventions of its genre and even Clint Eastwood's earlier work. This is a film that takes someone who would in most other films be the bad guy and makes him the hero and someone we can sympathize with, while taking the typical hero and transforms him to the villain. The film is an emotional tour-de-force with captivating performances and beautiful cinematography. One of the best of its genre.
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People who added this item 257 Average listal rating (164 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0

Very much like the brilliant 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', A Most Wanted Man is a proper film for grown ups. A well-made and well-acted film that lures you in with its sombre tone and keeps you engaged with a clever plot that unfolds slowly, but satisfyingly.
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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0

Coco is Pixar at their absolute best. A heartfelt tale that delves into themes of cultural importance, family and death with utmost perfection. It's visually dazzling, charming, funny and emotionally satisfying. Coco is one of few films that managed to make me shed a few tears. The narrative doesn't offer any surprises, particularly if you're familiar with other Pixar films, but that doesn't take anything away from the achievement that Coco is. It's quite simply a wonderful film.
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It's loud and chaotic, but amidst the chaos it forgets to be actually funny. I've never been much of a Steve Martin fan and this film just cemented that fact even more. In addition to the lack of laughs, it's also overly schmaltzy and quite possibly on the wrong side when it comes to morals and the message it sends out, as it glorifies and ultimately lets disobedience win.
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People who added this item 1557 Average listal rating (1014 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 0

This is one of the weirdest films I've seen and on that point, I strangely enough liked it. Oh, it's by all means horrible, but it amused the crap out of me just to watch how off the rails it would go.
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People who added this item 111 Average listal rating (146 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0

I absolutely adore the simplistic approach of It Comes at Night. I love that it just tosses you into the setting without much of an explanation of what's going on and with the exception of it hinting to the idea that there's some sort of plague that's destructed the world, it leaves everything vague and open. It doesn't bother to explain things that is actually unnecessary for the plot to work. This allows you to share the same feel of fear and paranoia that the characters go through, making It Comes at Night a very effective horror film. It didn't particularly scare me, but it definitively got under my skin.
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People who added this item 354 Average listal rating (237 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0

- Rewatch | Second time

The Mummy is all about the mood and atmosphere. It does a good job of establishing a slightly eerie feeling and it keeps that feeling running all the way through. Boris Karloff is a wonderful mummy and the rest of the cast is fine as well. It moves at a frisk pace and it never feels like it drags along. The ending is a bit too rushed, but I guess that with the limitations of that time, one can't expect too much.
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People who added this item 1128 Average listal rating (632 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0

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I would say that Porco Rosso is a lot more 'mature' than many of the other Studio Ghibli films, but it still comes with all the heart and emotion that you've come to expect Hayao Miyazaki's films. It's also thrillingly exciting and wonderfully subtle in its themes. It's a treat.
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People who added this item 233 Average listal rating (140 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 0
Heavyweights (1995)

It's just not funny. I'm not a big fan of Ben Stiller and this film just reminded me of why. It's disgusting, obnoxious, annoying and dumb. But not only is it unfunny, it's themes and morals are also painfully wrong, unhealthy and dangerous.
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (122 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 0
Bright (2017)

Bright is a mess. It's a bad mess. A film that tries to mix so many elements into one thing, but instead of it ending up as a seamless action film with fantasy elements, it falls flat on its face. The problem is that it suffers from an identity crisis. The hard-hitting buddy cop action thriller with racial allegories doesn't work well together with all the exposition of magical mumbo-jumbo that Bright also has to offer. The fantasy elements really bring this down. You could make a film like this, with orcs and elves, and so forth - but when so much of the screenplay is dedicated to exposition it detracts from the experience. There's a scene, like 20 minutes before the credits starts rolling, that has one of the characters still going into huge plot explanation. You would think, at by that point, the plot would be set already?

The screenplay is awful. It's written by Max Landis, a man who has now completely disappeared from his regular Twitter posting following allegations of sexual assaults. The dialogue is consistently bad. The majority of dialogue consists of tedious exposition. The characters acts inconsequential of who they've been set up as all the time. Only doing what the plot requires them to do. The action sequences are dull and uninspired. Will Smith seems like he just wants to take a nap, while the soundtrack is just annoying. In the hands of a better writer and director (can we stop imagining that David Ayer is a great director now?) the core premise of a buddy cop film with an orc and a human could work. But here it doesn't.
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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is pretty much everything I want from a film. Brilliant performances by the actors, clever writing, gorgeous cinematography & music and a story that manages to be emotionally engaging with interesting themes sprinkled around it. The film manages to carefully and skilfully balance dark comedy with a truly heartfelt story that explodes into emotionally devastating moments. It's such a wonderfully crafted film and a very satisfying experience.
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People who added this item 575 Average listal rating (424 ratings) 3.9 IMDB Rating 0

- Rewatch | Second time

The premise of sending Jason up to space is slightly idiotic, but in its stupidity it should have been very entertaining and humorous. Sadly, with a few exceptions, it's not. It's mostly just long and boring. It lacks spark and imagination. The kills are mostly dull, the humor doesn't work and the characters are more annoying than they usually are in these films. The upgraded Jason look is also dumb. He looks way better at the start of the film. Jason X is a bad film in every sense of the word.

There are three things in it that are somewhat enjoyable though. The bizarre cameo by David Cronenberg, the ice head smash kill and the virtual reality cabin scene. Aside from that, Jason X is one of the worst entries in this franchise.
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People who added this item 2198 Average listal rating (1403 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0

I've never liked Will Ferrell. He just doesn't strike me as being funny. So I've sort of avoided most of his films like the plague I think they are. But I'm glad that I saw Stranger Than Fiction. It was a well-crafted original piece of work that were just mere minutes away from reaching true greatness. Safe to say, I think the film should have ended ten minutes before it actually did. I appreciate that Will Ferrell is quite toned down in this film and I actually thinks he delivers a pretty good performance. So does Maggie Gyllenhaal. But that's not a surprise. She's wonderful in everything.
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 0
Darkest Hour (2017)

Darkest Hour is the Gary Oldman show. It's a film that feels like its only existence is for Gary Oldman to finally get himself an Academy Award. His performance is worthy of one. He completely vanishes in the role of Winston Churchill, and his performance is masterful (and so is the make-up that has aided in transforming him).

The film itself is fine. It's certainly well-made, even if it doesn't really do anything to distinguish itself from all the other World War II biopics that exists. There's a bit of "been there, done that" fatigue to it. But it's fine.
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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 0

If you've seen any of the other films that Liam Neeson have done with director Jaume Collet-Serra, in particular Non-Stop, then you more or less know what to expect from The Commuter. It's a film that doesn't really offer anything you haven't seen before, other than a change of location. This time on a train.

Liam Neeson is as wonderful as he always is in these roles. He adds a lot of gravitas and makes you care way more than you really should care. There's not a whole lot of surprises here and the final reveal is slightly predictable. It all comes down to if you enjoy watching Liam Neeson being a bad-ass or not. I do, so I enjoyed The Commuter quite a bit. Despite its flaws.
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I love that Norwegian filmmakers finally are starting to dig up these fairy tales as material for live action feature films. There is so much rich Scandinavian folklore that it's really a disgrace that this is the first time that we've gotten a proper big screen story with Espen Askeladd from Asbjørnsen & Moe's famous collections of fairy tales. So I'm all for this film existing, yet I can't shake of the fact that I find the film to be subpar of what it should have been. It's ultimately a disappointment.

The two biggest issues with this film lies within the script and the visual look of the film. Being an expensive film (in terms of Norwegian filmmaking) the film looks shockingly cheap and it lacks contrast. Everything is overly saturated and it fails to capture the magic that you would expect from the beautiful Norwegian nature. It's a shame, as there are many paintings they could have drawn inspiration from. The script is however the worst offender. Norwegian film dialogue have a tendency to come across as unnatural. Here it feels very odd, as the screenwriters have sort of mixed the more old, traditional way of speaking with modern expressions and slang. Another issue is the characterization of Espen Askeladd. In the fairy tales he's usually sort-of-lucky and you could argue that he's not a proper hero, but his character traits are nonetheless easily definable as he's both cunning and good-hearted. In this film however, there's not much to hold on to. We're left with a sort of blank slate.

I like that the film incorporates several other elements from Scandinavian folklore, such as the Hulder and the Neck. Yet, it doesn't feel organic to the story. Askeladden has a quote he says quite a lot, which is "I found, I found". This is something that the screenwriters have clearly lived by, as the film is disjointed by trying to include too much without naturally integrating it in to the story.

The most annoying thing was however how the used Edvard Grieg's musical masterpiece "In the Hall of the Mountain King". They had to include it in the film for natural reasons, but it felt misplaced. In the end, I wouldn't say that it's a disaster. It didn't necessarily bore me. But I had way too many issues with it.
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People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0

- Rewatch | Second time

It's not often I go to the cinema to see a film twice. Ticket prices are too high for that, but Paddington 2 is a film that I had too see twice in the cinema. Just to get that experience again. It's such a wonderful and joyful film. It's a film that leaves you in a much better mood and it makes the world seem like a much better place. It's just lovely.
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The Disaster Artist is a film about the making of The Room. It's supposed to offer insight into what happened during the production, insight into what drove Tommy Wiseau into making it and the relationship between him and Greg Sestero. I've not seen the entirety of The Room, but I've seen probably 30-40 minutes of various parts from it and I'm familiar with who Tommy Wiseau is. So I was really looking forward to this film. Unfortunately, it's a major disappointment and I think the biggest reason for that is that it's directed by James Franco, and not a true visionary director. Take a look at Tim Burton's heartfelt Ed Wood or even David Fincher's nightmarish The Social Network. There are many ways to portray these type of stories. Yet The Disaster Artist really just feels like a compilation of things you're already familiar with. It's empty and shallow.

It's obvious that James Franco loves The Room and that he really wanted to play Tommy Wiseau. I don't doubt that he has his heart in the right place. But for me, he doesn't achieve what he sets out to do. The film offers me nothing. It doesn't dare to delve deep enough in to Wiseau himself, or Sestero and not even the production of the film. It tells you that it's possible to achieve your dreams as long as you're determined and willing to work for it (and got six million dollars to spend), but it does so in a way that never stirs my emotions. I don't feel like I know Wiseau any more than I already did.

I've seen that a lot of people claim it's one of the funniest films of the year. I don't think so either - and whatever it has of humor in it is something that The Disaster Artist didn't earn itself. Whatever is funny in this film is simply because of the incompetence of The Room and the weirdness of Tommy Wiseau. The Disaster Artist brings nothing new to the table. There are references and scene recreations from The Room, but those are only funny because I know The Room. Not because of anything The Disaster Artist did.

James Franco is wonderful as Tommy Wiseau, but his performance is sadly brought down by a film that has nothing else to offer. It's impressive that they've managed to directly copy some of the scenes from The Room and it's amusing to hear James Franco say "oh hi, Mark". But in the end, I don't think Franco manages to capture what has made The Room such a cult hit. I don't think he manages to reach below surface level when it comes to character insight and emotion.

Add to that some really strange moments, like that it opens up with a bunch of Franco's friends saying why they love The Room. Yet no one says that the reason for that is because it's so bad it's good, which is the whole point. And that it turns ten years of slowly discovering and appreciating The Room as a cult night into just one night screening. There are other minor issues as well, but overall, The Disaster Artist gave me nothing that 30 minutes on Youtube wouldn't have given me.
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This is an outstanding horror film. And the best thing is that it's a completely original piece of work. The screenplay is clever. Using what's usually just extras and exposition (coroners in the morgue) in other films as the premise is a beautifully refreshing take. Yet it's the directing by Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal that makes The Autopsy of Jane Doe so wonderful. He's crafted a film that's tense, creepy and eerie all the way through. The film is grotesque when it comes to the characters performing the autopsy. As an autopsy should be. But Øvredal avoids the danger of having his film become stale and monotonous with inventive use of camera and sound. It also manages to not feel perverse or exploitative. It's handled with tact and care, and the methodical approach from the characters helps to that.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a terrifyingly claustrophobic and atmospheric horror film with unexpected revelations sprinkled throughout. I also love that the film is not overly long and that it doesn't feel the need to over explain what's going on. This was a delightful experience.
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People who added this item 799 Average listal rating (507 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 0

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Candyman is actually a pretty great horror film. It's a little corny, but at the same time it's very bleak and it features some rather unsettling imagery. It does a lot of interesting things with Virginia Madsen's character and I love that there's no immediate triumph here. Madsen delivers a solid performance, but the scene stealer is however Tony Todd as the title character. His look is very creepy in and of itself, but it's his soothing voice that delivers the most chills. There are a few moments towards the end that I think doesn't work as well as intended, but overall Candyman is quite solid.
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Another year. Another list for me to ramble inconsistently about all the crap I watch.

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Bml93's Film Journals (33 lists)
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