Monday, December 31, 2012

366 Days, 406 Movies, 267 Posts...2012 As It Was For Me

So this is somewhat of a tradition around here to end the year with a post looking back at the year on the blog. I won't get much into the specifics of 2012, but I will say that this year has gone SO FAST. I know it sounds cliché but it literally does feel like just yesterday that I was writing my post like this last year. It really does. However, I'm beyond excited for 2013. So many opportunities await me: in a week, I'll be going to Japan, then there's all the Head Girl duties, and also, we have another good year for film on our hands. Just maybe, at the Oscars in February, I might see Jessica Chastain with a statue (Oscar or not, I'm excited to see what she wears). Matthew McConaughey may blow our minds with The Dallas Buyers Club (here's hoping). I'll finally get to see films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower (maybe), Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Les Miserables, Django Unchained...and also my most anticipated 2013 releases like The Great Gatsby, The Place Beyond the Pines, Only God Forgives, The Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby His & Hers, Iron Man 3, Now You See Me, Side Effects, the two Terrence Malick films, Twelve Years a Slave, Mud...the list could go on and on. So before I wave 2012 goodbye - and it has been a mostly fantastic year - it is time to look back on the best moments on this blog, month by month. This year I'll also add what songs were my faves during that particular month.

January - 'What If We Could?' by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
As with most January's, this month was filled up with Oscar Oscar Oscar. Before then, though, I finally left the country and went to Melbourne for a holiday, which also meant I could catch up with a few movies while I was over there. Oh and hey, I became the literal only person on Earth to love War Horse. I still like to remind people of its glorious existence because most people have forgotten about it.

February - 'Man or Muppet' by Bret McKenzie
Oh hey, the Oscars happened this month. It feels like just yesterday I saw Jessica Chastain in that beautiful gown. Again, that makes up for 75% of my excitement for the 2013 Oscars. I did my predictions with poetry again this year. I can't wait to hopefully have enough time to do them again next year. I also brought back my 'A Conversation with...' feature with The Beaver. I remember that day, as that was when I found out that I was gluten intolerant. Good times. I also changed my rating system. I was watching the Downton Abbey Christmas special when I did that.

March - 'Under Your Spell' by Desire
This month started out awesome, coz I was supposed to be directing the school production, but at the end of the month they cancelled it. I was actually so sad for days. Mind you, this month was kinda known as Jessica Chastain month (even though every month of my life is Jessica Chastain month), since it was her birthday, and I got to see The Debt and Take Shelter. I also started another feature, known as 'Lame Trailer Clichés', with kettles. Really.

April - 'Talk Show Host' by Radiohead
April was an interesting month, filled with many gems of posts. This Conversation with Puss in Boots has always been one of my favourites. So is this review of I Melt with You, which I still have a few LOLs over every now and again. I also did my 50 Cinematic Wishes, had an interview with the Kid in the Front Row, made a desperate plea to anyone who would listen about how The Cabin in the Woods should've been given a proper release here, and I saw The Avengers, which was apparently very exciting.

May - 'No Church in the Wild' by Kanye West and Jay Z (featuring Frank Ocean)
It would seem that I was nominated for a whole lot of LAMMYs at the end of this month. That was really exciting. I started off the month with this review of Tyrannosaur, which is probably my favourite review that I've written. I also wrote about how The Muppets was actually a very gutsy movie, shared some of my early photos I took and listed my ten favourite Cillian Murphy performances.

June - 'Unravelling' by Harry Escott
June was a real gem of a month. I got a couple of LAMMYs, I did my French New Wave month, I shared my 15 favourite redheads, for my 900th post I shared some blogging tips, I saw Shame, and I also did that '100 Film Facts About Me' post which unintentionally (but awesomely) turned into a blogathon. I am so proud of how this month went, but it makes me sad because I'll never be able to have another month like it.

July - 'Rise' by Hans Zimmer
July, however, was probably my favouritest month ever. Mainly because it had the best DVD releases EVER. I mean, one night I took home six movies to watch before they were released, and on another day I watched five releases. One of those releases was We Need to Talk About Kevin, which caused two earthquakes and made me fall in love with Ezra Miller. I did my Anime month, even before I knew I was going to Japan. I posted my speech online...which for some reason, people still talk about. I started my 'Dear Hollywood' feature with J. Edgar. I finally got to see The Dark Knight Rises, which also saw me write an appreciation post on Christopher Nolan. Before I went on my "I'm burnt out" break, I finally did my 2011 retrospective lists, with my favourite directors, actors, actresses and films.

August - 'Why Do We Fall?' by Hans Zimmer
This month wasn't very exciting as I spent most of it on break (and watching the Olympics until I felt like my eyes were going to bleed), but I was brought back when I got nine of those Liebster Award things, so I had to answer a crapload of questions. I turned 17, too, which was rather un-exciting (bring on 18!). And I really got obsessed with Ezra Miller. And I did this really weird post.

September - 'It's Time' by Imagine Dragons
Pretty much nothing happened on the blog in September because I was too busy with Little Shop of Horrors. I did do some funny Photoshops, though.

October - 'Radio' by Lana Del Rey
Things got back on track in October, with my horror month keeping me on my toes (ironically while I was 'dipping my toes'), and also the third birthday celebrations, which were counted down to by 'My Movie Biography'. Among other things that happened in this month were my Prometheus home musical (which my friends now use against me when I say that I'm actually awful at singing), I saw Margaret, and I did some more funny Photoshops the night before my Photography Folio was due, which is when I coincidentally got really sick with a virus. Lovely.

November - 'Ride' by Lana Del Rey
IDK why, but this month feels like it was years ago. However, Nic November happened, I made a very pretty gallery of my favourite colourful movies, and I also did my movie alphabet. There were a few birthdays this month, so I listed my favourite performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and shared a brief biography and a few facts about Vivien Leigh. Plus, I saw Killer Joe on the 13th of November, which means that was the very date that Matty M went from zero to hero in my heart.

December - 'Victim' by Win Win
This month has been so incredibly difficult but there were a few good points on the blog, including this review of Magic Mike which I'm rather fond of, I did my first blogathon which was called 'Making the Case' and I reached 1000 posts. Recently I've been reflecting on the year, with things like my unofficial favourites of the year and my obsessions of the year.

So there's 2012 for ya. This also marks the end of an era for Cinematic Paradox: while I'll be around in 2013, it'll be to a much lesser extent, since school is really going to be busy this year. Still, I'll be working hard at Annual Awards Nerdism for the next two months! I hope you all have a wonderful 2013, and let's make it awesome!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December in Movies + 2012 Movie Watching Stats

So here we are, at the end of the year. I'll get more into the year end stuff tomorrow, but for now, I don't know how the hell it is December and there are only two days left of this year. This month has had an extreme high and an extreme low, and everything has been going kinda slow (I did not mean for that to rhyme), but I didn't get a whole lotta movies watched like I wanted to - I still have a little over 24 hours to get watching, including my only watch of Inception this year tomorrow before midnight. However, I'm working with what I've got now, and I'll also share some stats of my movie watching in 2012.

Movies I hadn't seen until the month of December...

Love Me Tonight - A 1932 musical I'd always wanted to see, and eventually found while strolling through YouTube. Man, I love YouTube. They always have the greatest discoveries.
Love Crime - It was on TV so I decided to give it a go, mainly because I am somewhat interested in the remake, Passion. This one was okay, but it was extremely frustrating.
Bernie - I literally sat through this entire film going "my lord, this is such a bizarre, but really good story". And then at the end I found out it was true. Probably one of the bigger "WTF" moments I've had this year.
Weekend - I adored this film. It was so well scripted and acted. One day I'd love to make something like this.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - So, this happened. It took itself way too seriously.
The Grey - I have a poster of this to put up in my room (because I always get Liam Neeson posters since he's my Dad and all...but I probably won't be getting one of Taken 2), but I don't want to take down any of my other posters. Ah, the times and trials of my life.
Total Recall - I honestly don't remember any of this. Which I guess is ironic...
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding - I saw it just because Felicity Jones was in it. She was lovely, but the film wasn't particularly memorable.
Vamps - I actually loved this film. It was so funny. And Dan Stevens was so adorable in it, too. But your adorableness in this movie doesn't make me at all happy about your recent decision...
Your Sister's Sister - I just love this movie.
Iron Sky - This also happened. How, I'll never know.
Take This Waltz - This film keeps popping up on 'Worst of' lists, which I think is a bit far, but a little unjust. It wasn't very good, yet it wasn't terrible. I did really like Seth Rogen in it, though.
The Campaign - A lot funnier than I thought it would be.
Starter for 10 - This movie seemed to have literally everyone in it: James McAvoy, Alice Eve, Rebecca Hall, Benedict Cumberbatch...oh, those Brits know how to make anything better.
Step Up 4: Miami Heat - The dance scenes were really good, but as always, the story and the acting wasn't at all feasible.
Bellflower - I wasn't all that taken by the story, but the cinematography in this was really cool. Plus, it was made for around $10,000, which is insane.
The Bourne Legacy - Man, I love Jeremy Renner. I didn't quite love this movie, but I did love Jeremy Renner.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - So, this was weird...
Hope Springs - Maybe it was just because I watched this the night after Grandma passed so I wasn't in the best headspace, but this movie was actually terrible.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - However, I did see this one straight after (ironically on the night before the world was supposed to end) and I really liked it. So maybe Hope Springs was just terrible.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - It was a shade too long, but it was so beautifully shot. Roger Deakins in the best.
High Fidelity - I will definitely check this out again, as I wasn't all that focused on it. I did like what I could understand, though.
The Expendables 2 - I'm actually sure that this is the US version of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Moonrise Kingdom - This movie made me very uneasy. Still, I quite enjoyed it, considering I'm not the hugest fan of Wes Anderson.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - Decided that I may as well watch it, just to see a young Guy Pearce at work. He did not disappoint.
300 - Decided I may as well see it some day. As someone who isn't a fan of slow-mo, this didn't quite work for me...

Movies I've seen before but felt the need to watch again because I'm cool like that...

Love Actually - Because Christmas happened and this was the only way of reminding me of that fact.
21 Jump Street - Because I needed some LOLs and this movie has approximately 134 of them.
The Dark Knight Rises - Because it was Christmas Eve and that's always a good time to watch this movie, along with the other 364 days of the year.
Meet Me in St. Louis - Because it was Christmas and I watch this every Christmas.
Lost in Translation - Because I'm going to Japan in 9 days. Which is not something I get to say every day.

Interesting statistics of the year:
I've seen 404 movies all up (bound to go up to maybe 407 by tomorrow's end), with 361 different titles all up. I achieved my New Year's Resolution of watching 300 new-to-me movies, as I've seen 315 thus far. The first movie I saw this year was The Piano Teacher, the last will be Inception.

These are all of the movies I saw in cinemas:
-The Muppets - January 6th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn - January 6th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - January 12th, Crown Casino Cinema Complex, Melbourne
-The Descendants - January 15th, Crown Casino Cinema Complex, Melbourne
-Hugo 3D - January 16th, Hoyts Melbourne Central
-War Horse - January 25th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-The Hunger Games - March 22nd, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-Titanic 3D - April 15th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-The Avengers - April 29th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-Brave 3D - June 22nd, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-The Dark Knight Rises - July 19th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-The Dark Knight Rises (again) - August 10th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-Looper - October 4th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North
-Skyfall - November 29th, Downtown Cinemas Palmerston North

Movies I've seen the most this year:
21 Jump Street - four times, the first watch was on July 16th
The Dark Knight Rises - four times, the first watch was on July 19th
Drive - four times, the first watch was on January 11th
The Muppets - four times, the first watch was on January 6th
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn - three times, the first watch was on January 6th
Shame - three times, the first watch was on June 26th
We Need to Talk About Kevin - three times, the first watch was on July 3rd

Months in order of movies watched, most movies to least movies:
July - 47 movies: 37 new-to-me, 10 rewatches
January - 45 movies: 36 new-to-me, 9 rewatches
October - 39 movies: 32 new-to-me, 7 rewatches
April - 34 movies: 26 new-to-me, 8 rewatches
June - 33 movies: 26 new-to-me, 7 rewatches
November - 33 movies: 25 new-to-me, 8 rewatches
March - 32 movies: 22 new-to-me, 10 rewatches
August - 32 movies: 22 new-to-me, 10 rewatches
December - 31 movies: 26 new-to-me, 5 rewatches
February - 27 movies: 20 new-to-me, 7 rewatches
May - 27 movies: 19 new-to-me, 8 rewatches
September - 24 movies: 22 new-to-me, 2 rewatches

So that's what I saw this month/year. What were some cool films you saw this month, and how many films did you see all up this year?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Unofficial 5 Worst and 10 Best Films of 2012

Oh hey, so since the year is ending and I've seen less than five 2012 movies (okay, that's a lie, but seriously, I haven't even seen Argo), I thought I may as well still do list the films I loved and loathed from the small selection I've seen. As I explained last night, these are films that had their American release date (or in the case of one of them, will probably not have an American release date so it is the NZ release date) this year, because I've already cleaned up 2011. First, let's look at the five worst films I've seen this year.

5. Rock of Ages
I really liked Adam Shankman's last musical, Hairspray. All I wanted was a nice, groovy musical with toe-tapping, feel good, sing-along songs. I got auto-tune piled upon more auto-tune. Gee thanks, Glee.
Tom Cruise was at least okay and really seemed to be in his element as filthy rocker Stacee Jaxx, but the rest were just people singing and dancing like they'd been boosted up on energy drinks. In other words, nothing was very good at all.

4. Battleship
Forgive me when I say that I didn't have very high expectations for this film, based on the board game. And those expectations were met: there were a lot of explosions for two hours, accompanied by a lot of slow-mo, and not much else. Oh Liam Neeson, what were you thinking when you decided to be in this movie for five minutes? You too, Alexander Skarsgard. I practically watched it just to see you being hot and you got killed off so I had to spend the remaining five hours with Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna. Yay.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Unofficial 15 Favourite Performances of 2012

So I'm continuing on my year-end yadda yadda, but this time, I'm restricting my list to just 2012 things and 2012 alone - my favourite performances of the year. Now just to clear things up: when I do "Best of" lists, they do not go by NZ release dates. Because to be honest, I don't think it is right to be talking about films like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or War Horse now because they feel so old, and I cleared 2011 up in July. However, there are a few 2011 films that came out after I did that, like Margaret and Carnage, but neither of them will be included here. As for 2012 films, I haven't seen a hell of a lot so this is a very unofficial list. I mean, there's no Jessica Chastain, and that's because Lawless still hasn't been released at all in NZ and barely anyone has seen Zero Dark Thirty. I couldn't add Ezra Miller, either. So what we have here is a colourful list, but one bursting with some great talent.

15. Dane DeHaan as Andrew Detmer in Chronicle
Dane DeHaan is a rather bright young actor who burst onto the scene earlier this year with the surprisingly good found footage film Chronicle. He was kind of like the male version of Carrie White, given special powers and using them against all of his detractors. It was a stunningly real portrayal of a teenager, which was something I definitely wasn't expecting from one of the earlier blockbusters of the year. I can't wait to see what the guy does next, he has a great future ahead of him.

14. Emily Blunt as Sara in Looper
Looper is a film that is filled with great performances, from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing two different sides of the same coin, and then some other little gems from Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano. Emily Blunt is a bit of a stand-out in the film, though. She's an actress of many talents, but she's been getting the wrong films lately and it has been stalling the fantastic career she was supposed to have after The Devil Wears Prada. In this film, however, she dons a perfect American accent and plays a character who is struggling to keep a handle on her son and her life in near poverty. She's just so wonderful, I hope she gets some more films of this quality.

13. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
To be honest, I keep forgetting that this film happened this year, but one thing has stuck with me: Jennifer Lawrence's extraordinary ability to carry one of the biggest phenomenons of the year. I'd say that a good 50% of the film's success rides on her and even though I was rather distracted by the amount of shaky-cam in the film, she never really missed a beat. Let's just say, she's a talented enough actress to not resent such a role, and also talented enough to make sure that she isn't just known for being Katniss.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My 15 Favourite New-To-Me Films of 2012

Sure, there are still four days left in the year and usually I manage to fill these last days up with some great movies, but I might as well list down my 15 favourite new-to-me movies I've seen this year. It was a rather hard task to whittle these down to so few, especially considering there were over 300 movies in contention - meaning that I achieved my New Year's resolution of seeing at least 300 new-to-me movies (how I found the time, I'll never know). So here we have my 15 favourite new-to-me films of the year, and what a good movie watching year I had.

15. The Heiress
Admittedly, this 1949 classic starring Olivia De Havilland and Montgomery Clift was one I watched because I couldn't go and see Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens in the stage production of it, currently on Broadway. However, this was a more than worthy substitute. Olivia De Havilland gave a firey performance as Catherine Sloper, a woman who is all too vulnerable to everything but eventually comes into her own. A really interesting portrayal of society ideals put to the test in the 1800s.

14. The Red Riding Trilogy
So technically these are three films, but you can't really judge the separate films on their own merits - they must be viewed as a whole. I watched the three British made-for-TV films over one night before I started school again, and I was so impressed with how intricately detailed this was and how everything came together. It was a stunning achievement for a made-for-TV project - in fact, TV just keeps getting stronger and stronger every year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My 15 Top Obsessions of 2012

You know me...I get obsessed with things rather easily. Like seriously, I have obsessive issues that sometimes need to be dialled back before people think I'm crazy (case in point: I get asked to put Christmas decorations up. The first thing I think of is to put up tinsel Batmans in honour of The Dark Knight Rises which came out four weeks before Christmas). However, here's some which I haven't been able to control over the year. The fact that I've made a list of 15 and still missed out a whole lot of them is rather disturbing.

15. Independent cinema
I've always loved independent cinema, but moreso this year, because it has become increasingly easier to get my hands on. Luckily, a lot of the stuff is going through Madman (a supplier here in NZ), meaning I get to catch up on them a bit earlier on the preview discs. While I may not have seen bigger films like Argo or The Hobbit just yet (nor will I until they come out on DVD), I have seen wonderful films like Your Sister's Sister and Bernie already thanks to that wonderful preview drawer. Just keep 'em coming, Madman.

14. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
I've always loved JGL, too, but the guy has been really flying this year. Sure, there was Premium Rush, which must have been quite a big flop since it has been delayed until March next year here (meaning it will go straight-to-DVD), but he was also in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, and in The Dark Knight Rises - in a performance which I thought had its own wonderfulness about it. By far the best thing of his year, though, was Looper, which was a freakin' awesome film itself, but JGL, weird eyebrows and nose and all, was so badass it almost hurt. I also saw 50/50 for the first time this year, where I completely fell for him. He's also doing awesome stuff with his HitRecord project and he's just finished shooting his writing/directorial feature debut. Do the wonders ever cease? It would appear not - he also did some Magic Mike moves on SNL. Lawd.

13. The Great Gatsby
I finally read this whole book this year and it is safe to say, it is probably my favourite book of all time. F. Scott Fitzgerald really had a way with words. Also falling under this umbrella is Baz Luhrmann's forthcoming adaptation, which was my most anticipated movie for the year after The Dark Knight Rises. Why? Because a) haters gon' hate but I love Baz Luhrmann's films, b) the trailers were just effing divine and they literally inspired a 1920's phase I had going on for a little while, c) Leonardo DiCaprio looks fiiiiiiiiiiine and d) that poster with Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker also looks fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. I'm honestly so excited for this film I combust everytime I think about it.

12. Michael Fassbender
I loved him last year but seeing Shame and Prometheus this year just reaffirmed my love. Shame was by far the best performance I've seen all year, and one of my favourites ever. And even though David had a few issues in Prometheus, I couldn't believe I was watching my darling Fassy up there. Seriously, he is one of the best actors out there right now.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone/Christmas List

So yes, it is Christmas tomorrow. And I don't mean to sound like the Grinch, but I really couldn't give two flying cow-pats about it. As some of you may know, my beloved Grandma passed away on Thursday morning and I can tell you, it has hit me rather hard. I haven't really been eating or sleeping or doing anything properly lately, and even this blog post is a bit of a stretch. However, I remembered that the lovely Diana at Aziza's Picks made a blogathon that really cheered me up. Basically, she asks us to imagine if money/location/time wasn't an issue and what we'd buy our fellow bloggers for Christmas. Since giving people stuff always makes me happy, I thought doing this might do the trick. So here's what I get some of my fellow bloggers for Christmas:

Firstly, Diana. Since you've been sifting through quite a few foreign films, I'd love to get you Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colours trilogy, preferably the Criterion versions. I'm not sure if you've seen them yet, but they're really fantastic.

Tyler at Southern Vision, you would probably love Criterion DVDs too, but I'd rather buy you The Room, for LOLs.

Ruth at Let's Be Splendid About This, a life's supply of Coke. Because Coke is the best. And lot's of tea. And a big Totoro plush.

Sati at Cinematic Corner, I would actually love to get you a really nice kind of sketchbook/diary thing, so you can jot down any inspiration you have for the beautiful designs on your blog. And on the cover, I'd put pictures of Lee Pace and Idris Elba to remind you of the beautiful things the world is capable of, haha.

Nikhat at Being Norma Jeane, I'd give you magical powers so you could tell Johnny Depp to make better movies. And since you love Doctor Who, every time I saw this on Mighty Ape I thought of you.

Ryan at The Matinee, I'd also get you a life's supply of the best tea in the world. And more hours in the day, because I'm never quite sure how you watch so much and write so much!

Jessica at The Velvet Cafe, something rather simple: a huge hug for being there for me more than a few times this year. I suppose that could come with a ticket to NZ, so you can revisit us in all of our LOTR glory.

Mettel at Mettel Ray's Movie Blog, since you loved Looper so much, I saw on their Facebook that you can get a replica of the pocket watch Joe uses. And then you could put a picture of JGL in it!

Anna at Defiant Success, I'd get you all of the seasons of Downton Abbey because you need to be introduced to how sexy Dan Stevens is on that program.

Alex at And So It Begins, I'd get you this cool special edition of The Dark Knight Rises (assuming you have Blu-Ray) because you were one of the only people to vociferously stand by it throughout the year.

Asrap at Whoa, This is Heavy! - I think you'd get a kick out of this book I bought for one of my friends.

Mette at Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions, this may sound a little random but I would get you a duvet cover that is made up of all of these different, strange fabrics. Because that would reflect the feeling I always get from how rich and fashionable your blog is, especially with those fashion pieces you do.

And Lesya, formerly of Eternity of Dream, a Blu-Ray player, and all of Christopher Nolan's films on Blu-Ray to go with it.

As for me, I already know most of what I'm getting for Christmas - money for my trip to Japan in two weeks. I'd also love for Grandma's wedding and engagement rings to be enlarged so they can actually fit on my fingers instead of squeezing the crap out of my pinky finger, some frames to put her photos in and an Oscar for Matthew McConaughey. And to meet Jessica Chastain. And for The Dark Knight Rises to get a little more love. And Killer Joe on DVD because I'm still eight months too young to watch it and I really want to show it to my friends. Why yes, I am sadistic.

Anyways, I'd like to wish everyone who reads this a very Merry Christmas. There is no certainty that I'll be back to blogging frequently, but I do want to do some year-end retrospectives. I hope that everyone has a great day, and thanks for everything this year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #44

What I'm watching tonight...

Well, it has been a strange week since I last had a Tuesday Movie Night. On Wednesday night, I was announced as Head Girl of our school. It was pretty much the happiest moment of my life because I can honestly say I wasn't expecting it at all. Apart from the party straight after the prize-giving, I haven't had a lot of time to celebrate because my 87 year old Grandma who has advanced dementia has recently become very sick. It has been an exhausting week, as she's been hitting rock bottom, but then she comes right again. And then there was the Connecticut shooting, which shocked me more than anything. My thoughts are with those affected - such an awful thing to happen.
So yes, seemingly everything is happening right now, and I'm immensely exhausted from it all. And it will just keep going. But I'm buying all of my Christmas presents tomorrow, which will most definitely cheer me up. That's after I settle down with some movies. The Bourne Legacy is the only release tomorrow (Hope Springs and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World are out on Friday, strangely), so I'll be watching that, alongside something else in my pile.

Video of the week...

Among the good things of last week was the fact that Genrocks brought out Filmography 2012. I have literally waited all year for this. And I will go on watching it at least 50 times throughout the year until the next one comes out. I'm not joking.

Josh breaks down his best screenplays from the 1940s. Man, there were some good writers around back in those days.

Dan writes about the terrific set design in Children of Men, one of the more terrifyingly realistic dystopian films.

Nikhat is on her way to celebrating her third anniversary with Being Norma Jeane, and she's celebrating with all kinds of lists. Her one on her favourite looking films is fantastic!

Local mega-site Flicks has their top 20 of 2012 (going by NZ release dates) up and the number one is pretty darn cool.

Sam reflects on the six best soundtracks of 2012 - you'll be wanting to fill your iPod up after reading this list!

The Film Experience has an interesting post up about the flaws within the Best Picture hopefuls this year. Not every film can be perfect.

Bonjour Tristesse shares their list of the best foreign films of 2012. A great guide to what I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for.

Andy shares his favourite male and female performances of 2012. Any mention of Matty M and Fassy is a win with me.

Candice was lucky enough to check out Zero Dark Thirty and she had good notices for Jessica Chastain. Still my most anticipated film, like, ever.

This will be my last links post for the rest of the year. Like most people I will doing a few retrospective posts (based on the few 2012 films I've seen, haha), but for now, if you've ever been linked on one of these posts during the year, thanks for being so awesome!

Final word...
Favourite and least favourite films of 2012?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Poster Trends of 2012

If there's one thing I know more about than I know about movies, it would be movie marketing. Working at a DVD store and being totally surrounded by a trailer disc and 6000 DVD covers, there's no escaping it. So as people start rolling out their top movies of 2012 and such (how, I do not know), I'll look at the things that sometimes determine whether we want to watch a movie or not: the movie posters. However, how can they determine our preferences when most of them end up looking the same? I break down some of the poster trends we've seen in 2012:

Alternative/foreign posters that were better than the ones they used for the majority of the advertising.
It seems as if the next big thing is to create totally rote, or sometimes very boring posters to advertise the movie, but then someone will create all of these alternate designs which are ten times better. The Dark Knight Rises and Killing Them Softly both had a lot of alternative designs. Killing Them Softly has a whole lot of American-themed, mostly minimalist or overly artistic designs. The Dark Knight Rises used a whole lot of propaganda posters featuring Bane. I like it when the posters reflect the universes in which the movies have created, instead of just advertising the movie itself. The Bourne Legacy's alternative design was actually quite beautiful, compared to Jeremy Renner holding a gun - how many times have we seen that before? Prometheus had an awesome IMAX poster (which actually didn't spoil the film unlike one of the other designs) and Brave got a very Studio Ghibli looking Japanese poster. It is a pity that they don't use these designs over the more 'safe' choices.

Friday, December 14, 2012

AAN: Thoughts on the Golden Globes Nominations with Silva, David and Joe

Well well well, the Golden Globes nominations happened. And I'm not sure why they get such a bad wrap. Sure, they nominated The Tourist for giggles and that showed how bad they were. But they've made amends. Remember that they were the ones who nominated Michael Fassbender for Best Actor for Shame last year. And they didn't nominate Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for giggles. And this year's line-up is pretty okay by my standards. I wouldn't say it is anything ground-breaking but it has created a few interesting possibilities. It is surprising how wide open this awards season is without having too many competitors. Now just in case you've forgotten how my new Annual Awards Nerdism ratings system works, here's a reminder:

Sparkling Silva - I'm generally happy about this line-up. I got what I wanted.
'Overjoyed' David - Meh. I knew it was going to happen. I'm neither here nor there.
Loopy Looper - No. Just no.

Best Motion Picture - Drama:
Argo / Django Unchained / Life of Pi / Lincoln / Zero Dark Thirty
Nothing new here, folks. Although Django Unchained needed that boost. The late release kind of hurt its chance at SAG, so it really did need it. But we can be sure that they'll all make Best Picture at the Oscars, so you may as well put your bets in now.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Making the Case for The Dark Knight Rises + Blogathon Links!

So this blogathon went rather well, considering it was my first real crack at one. Lots of great entries, I'm seriously impressed with the variety among them. Super huge thank you to everyone who participated! And while I have everyone's attention (hopefully), I have exciting news that deserves a line of its own:

I was announced Head Girl of my school last night!

Very exciting times. Alas, now I shall add my own case to the pile: the case for The Dark Knight Rises to win all of the awards. And I've got a few honourable mentions because I couldn't bear to leave them out. Here we go!

So I really don't need to say any more about it: I love The Dark Knight Rises. I love that movie so much I'd shout it from the rooftops but I can't be bothered doing that so I just made a whole Christmas window based around it. The Dark Knight Rises is just amazing to me, and it is a shame that people can't see it in the same light. I'm not going to get into the whole "ah everyone sucks because all they did was pick at the plot holes (which I contest didn't really exist)" thing. I just want to say that this was a movie that has played a huge part in my life. I've never been more excited to see a film, nor have I ever experienced the intense emotion I had when I first saw it. The only thing I was really sad about was something that was beyond anyone's control. However, this movie is something of a cinematic marvel: it shows a pretty brave and gritty social commentary through the eyes of a superhero movie. No, I didn't think it was better than The Dark Knight, but I still thought that Bane was an extremely good villain, looking like a human Hulk and getting on people's wrong sides in an extremely smart way. And don't even get me started on those final moments. I still cry every time I so much as think about it. The look on Gordon's face when the Batman statue gets unveiled - it gets me every time. In an ideal world, this is what I'd love for The Dark Knight Rises to be nominated for:

Best Picture - We used to be so sure it would get in. What happened? It was bad enough that The Dark Knight got snubbed all those years ago. Of course, this one can't stand as a consolation prize, but The Dark Knight Rises truly does deserve it. It is a modern epic that we'll remember for years to come.
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway - Sure, she'll be getting her fair share of awards for Les Miserables. But her performance as Selina Kyle was nothing short of amazing. Just her walk and her talk - wow. And people thought she couldn't pull it off.
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Caine - He made me cry. A lot.
Best Supporting Actor: Tom Hardy - I once saw a picture of him in his Bane costume and it said, "Still has more facial expressions than Kristen Stewart". And that's the outright truth. Even with a huge piece of machinery on his face, he managed to be wonderfully chilling. Not to mention that last scene with Marion Cotillard. Who on the flipside I've come to realise gave a truly terrible performance.
Best Director: Christopher Nolan - One day the Academy needs to get over the fact that he's better than the large majority of them.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan - Because that would be cool. Some of the lines in this film are so amazing I try and use them in day to day life, but people look at me strangely when I put on my Bane voice.
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister - It would be cool to see Pfister to have an Oscar nomination in this field once more before he turns his hand to directing. His cinematography is wonderful - the movie is actually darn pretty.
Best Original Score: Hans Zimmer - There's not a day that goes by when I don't wish that I could casually use 'Why Do We Fall?' and 'Rise' in a film of my own. The rest of the score is wonderful.
Anything else - I imagine that the film will at least get a whole lot of nominations in the technical categories. And I'll still be waving my little one-man fan club flag down here!

Other honourable mentions:

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe and Magic Mike - I never used to like old Matty M. But no-one can deny that this has been the year of Matthew McConaughey being bloody awesome at acting. His performance in Killer Joe is by far my favourite of the year. It is so blood-curdlingly great that every time I see so much as a picture of him in the film I cover my eyes. Which made watching Magic Mike very hard, but he was easily the best thing about that film. That SAG nomination snub hurt, but I just know that he'll make it to the Oscars. If he doesn't, I'll be very angry.

Michael Fassbender in Prometheus - One I reasons why I liked Prometheus was because of Michael Fassbender's stunning performance as David the android. Even though the character annoyed the hell out of me, Fassy's transformation into an android was actually terrifying. He was

Rosemarie DeWitt in Your Sister's Sister - Because Rosemarie DeWitt is just awesome and Your Sister's Sister so clearly shows that. She's so wonderful, as is the movie.

Jack Black in Bernie - Jack Black is another actor who I generally don't like but he was great in Bernie. He managed not to annoy me for once. And was I the only one who was absolutely shocked when I found out that this story was true at the end?

Rian Johnson's screenplay for Looper - Because Looper was utter awesomeness and it happened to be a great time travel film. As I said in my review, he created "a vision of the future, not a dream".

Matt Whelan in The Most Fun You Can Have Dying - A really huge longshot, but I thought I'd throw this one out there. The Most Fun You Can Have Dying is a NZ film, and a surprisingly good one (your move, The Hobbit). Matt Whelan gives a stunning performance as a man out to destroy himself on his last days of life. I've never actually seen a Kiwi perform so well as an average Kiwi. He was great.

Jessica Chastain for the newly incepted award called 'Most Awesome Person Alive' - I really need to appeal to the Academy for this award, just so Jess can win it every year.

Everyone else's entries, in no particular order:
-Sati @ Cinematic Corner makes her case for the awesome score by Hans Zimmer for The Dark Knight Rises.

-Anna @ Defiant Success makes her case for the three performances in The Deep Blue Sea from Simon Russell Beale, Tom Hiddleston and of course Rachel Weisz.

-Nikhat @ Being Norma Jeane made a case for The Avengers to get a Best Ensemble nod at today's SAG nominations, but unfortunately, her case went unnoticed. So she decided to make a case for The Perks of Being a Wallflower's Adapted Screenplay, adapted by Stephen Chbosky himself, and the performances by Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller. Even though I haven't seen the film, these choices are infinitely awesome!

-Nicole @ The Madlab Post saw Skyfall by chance since she'd missed the screenings for Argo and Lincoln - and lucky she did, because she wrote a beautiful piece about the score by Thomas Newman and the original song by Adele.

-Katy @ The Drama Llama also got on The Perks of Being a Wallflower train and made a case for Ezra Miller's performance. I can only imagine how wonderful he is!

-Courtney @ On the Screen Reviews makes the case for Dwight Henry's supporting performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. I'd love to see some new talent in the mix!

-Alex @ And So It Begins... makes his case for Edward Burns' screenplay for The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. It would be awesome to see him get nominated!

-Rich @ Wide Screen World makes his case for Frank Langella's performance in Robot & Frank. No amount of Langella love will ever go amiss!

-Drew @ A Fistful of Films made his case for Greta Gerwig's work in Damsels in Distress...and also making Greta Gerwig a thing!

-Nika @ The Running Reel makes a case for Moonrise Kingdom to get a whole slew of nods. I can't wait to finally see it at the end of this month!

-Josh @ The Cinematic Spectacle makes the case for Cloud Atlas, hoping to see its ambition rewarded.

-SDG @ U, Me and Films also shares some love for Rosemarie DeWitt's performance in the brilliant Your Sister's Sister.

-Robert @ The Sketchy Details makes a case for Cosmopolis, a film which still intrigues me to this very day, and this article makes me even more intrigued.

-Brittani @ Rambling Film makes the case for Pierce Gagnon's show-stopping performance in Looper. I definitely thought of including this one - how great was he for someone who is only 5 years old?

If you have a case you want to be made, it isn't too late. Mail me in the next three days and I'll add you to the list! Who's case would you believe out of these wonderful entries?

AAN: Thoughts on the SAG nominations with Silva, David and Joe

Well, the SAGs certainly shook things up, didn't they? Mind you, that's what they do every year. And I guess we can kind of be happy about it. Unless they snub Matthew McConaughey. Therefore no one should be happy about it. Anyway, as you'll know I don't do nominations analysis the normal way. I pick three people to help me express my attitude towards the nominations. Last year I had 'Happy Fassy' for awards I was happy with, 'Lowkey Loki' for those I knew where going to happen, and 'Overwhelmed Owen' for those that I was shocked by. Here's this year's line-up:

Sparkling Silva - Just to creep everyone out. Well, when I am generally happy about the awards I do creepily smile and stuff. But I'm not like Silva. Obviously. So yes, this is for the awards that I'm really happy for.
'Overjoyed' David - The one that shows I knew it would happen, and even though I'm not entirely happy about the choices I'll try to be.
Loopy Looper - First because LOL at JGL's face. Second because that pretty much sums up my anger or surprise over some awards.

So here's my analysis of the SAG nominations:

Best Ensemble:
Argo / The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel / Les Miserables / Lincoln / Silver Linings Playbook
LOL. I actually made a throwaway comment that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel might make it in to this  category. And then it happened. Who's da man? I'm actually rather happy it made it in, since the movie is rather good, and I've seen it, and the ensemble as a whole is quite phenomenal. Anyway, this whole category went as I thought it would. There's no Zero Dark Thirty, which may hurt its Best Picture chances, but then again, that movie looks like a Jessica Chastain party with a whole lot of other people in the background. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with this line-up, especially with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel's inclusion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Links and Other Stuff #43

What I'm watching tonight...

This is a pretty weak week but I've still found three movies to watch. Take This Waltz is the one I'm most excited for, The Campaign is pretty much a time-filler and I want to see just how bad Iron Sky is. Unless it is really good. But I doubt it is when it has a premise like that.

Video of the week...

Oh hey there Anne Hathaway, didn't see you behind all of those awards!

A bit of randomness...

A couple of pics from the ball last week. It was a lot of fun. I liked dressing up and stuff. And I really liked my dress. I must find other excuses to wear it again some time. Like when I need to mow the lawn.


Remember that my blogathon happens in a couple of days. I've had a few entries already, you guys are awesome! Just in case you've forgotten the details, be sure to go here.

Leith has been working extra hard over at Ramble Film with a slew of great content, but I do love that he loved Killer Joe. Any person who loves that film is awesome.

The latest problem going around the film-loving folk at the moment is actually questioning how much film-lovers love films nowadays. Ryan and Jessica weigh in and both provide some of the most interesting reading in some time.

Anna saw and quite liked Silver Linings Playbook - I know I'll probably be the same.

Anyone got their Christmas spirit all sorted? I know I don't. Reel Insight does, however, with Jess and Rachel doing 25 days of Christmas with their naughty and nice Christmas movies.

Brittani quite liked Anna Karenina, a movie which pretty much flew under the radar after such a big build up.

Mettel saw Lola Versus, and had pretty much the same opinion as me on how disappointing it was.

And because no-one can get enough Jessica Chastain in their life, here is what is now my favourite photoshoot of hers (and I have a few), done for V Magazine.

Final word...
What movie gets you into the Christmas spirit?

Monday, December 10, 2012

AAN: What We've Learned From the Past Week's Awards

This past week has been extremely busy. Critics group after critics group has been announcing their favourites, providing the building blocks for what we can expect come the Golden Globes/SAG nominations later on in this week. Instead of going through all of the awards one by one, I'll link them all here (by now you're probably sick to death of hearing about them) and then show how the categories are changing. (NOTE: sorry for the lack of pictures - Blogger is being a MASSIVE asshole and I'm about to smash my computer so I'll give up trying to upload them)

New York Film Critics Online / Boston Society of Film Critics / Los Angeles Film Critics Association / Boston Online Film Critics Association / New York Film Critics Circle / National Board of Review

What we've learned about the Best Picture race:
Zero Dark Thirty topped everything apart from the LA Film Critics awards, so I think it is safe to say that this is pretty much a lock for a nomination, and perhaps a certainty for the win. We'll just wait to see how everything pans out in its wide release and for the Golden Globes to be sure. However, let's not rule out the possibility that either Argo, Les Miserables or Lincoln could win. The LAFCA chose Amour as their winner and The Master as their runner up. They gave The Master a huge boost, which means that it could be a lot more prominent in awards season than originally thought. Amour was also given a boost, so I wouldn't be surprised if it gets given a spot in the Best Picture race.
Other than that, the NBR did give us some alternative picks in their top ten with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Promised Land making the cut. I'm not entirely sure about the latter since practically nothing has been said about it and I doubt it'll have any traction. Django Unchained was also included, meaning that it could figure into the race, but I'm doubting it will be a major player. And I was definitely surprised and happy to see Looper included!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Live Or Die On This Day

The Grey (2011) / US / Out on DVD now / Directed by Joe Carnahan / Written by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers / Starring Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray / 117 mins.

Of late, Liam Neeson has made a name for himself as a go-to action guy who has you sorted with his special skills. Taken seemed to have Neeson in a career path that would lead him straight up to being in The Expendables 3. However, we mustn't forget that Neeson made his name with an Oscar nominated performance in Schindler's List, and since then, he's shown a remarkable range of versatility that has been whittled down to action fodder. The Grey may not be a drama set up for Oscars, but it shows Neeson doing what he does best - not just ass-kicking, but carrying a film from start to end with dedicated conviction instead of using supposed invincibility as a mask. And through this, we get an utterly terrifying man vs. wild film that doesn't ramp up anyone's skills when faced with a challenge, instead examining how they deal with it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shelved: 28th November/5th December

So I'm starting out a new feature that will happen on Wednesday every other week - this week I stressed myself out by writing my reflection on my 'Dipping My Toes' series even though I had so little time to do it. However, this is a totally non-stressful feature that is not unlike the 'What's Happening Where I Am' feature I did last year, but it only focuses on DVD releases. I'll be highlighting the DVD releases in New Zealand for the week (two weeks, in this case, because I meant to start this feature last week but for once I have too much to post). Kind of because I never want to give all of them a full review - and I will highlight the ones I haven't seen also, and kind of as an unpaid advertisement for my work. And maybe it'll promote some discussion amongst everyone who has seen the films. Yay.

28th November DVD releases

Bel Ami (2012) / UK / Directed by Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod / Starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci / M: Contains sex scenes and offensive language.
Robert Pattinson is undoubtedly a talented actor, but sometimes it seems as if Twilight sucked the life out of him. Bel Ami possibly wasn't the
best post-Twilight choice for him, as it doesn't really offer him fantastic material to really sink his teeth into (no pun intended). All it really is is him swanning around, courting lady after lady to keep himself occupied and monetised. There's no real plot here, and that's the problem. Boring and self-indulgent stuff, and it isn't like R-Pattz is really trying.
If you liked this, then you might like Bel Ami: It is a lower rate Shakespeare in Love wannabe.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) / US / Directed by Christopher Nolan / Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman / M: Contains violence / Full review
This is still by far and beyond my favourite film of the year. Pretty much everyone has called it 'disappointing' and such, but I thought it was a great way to end a great trilogy. I like it most because it is a no-holds-barred social commentary, and because the final 20 minutes is one of the saddest/happiest moments I've had in my life. Anne Hathaway is surprisingly amazing as Selina Kyle, too. Christopher Nolan created something that was epitome of epic in every way. Oh and yeah, it isn't as good as The Dark Knight, but then, what is?
If you liked this, then you might like The Dark Knight Rises: Batman Begins is a lot closer to this film than The Dark Knight is. Also, don't try and go into this movie without seeing the rest of the trilogy.

Magic Mike (2012) / US / Directed by Steven Soderbergh / Starring Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Joe Maganiello, Matt Bomer / R16: Contains offensive language, drug use and sexual themes / Full review
Gets it wrong by being way more serious than it needs to be. However, there was far more male stripping than I initially expected. And Channing Tatum actually turned in a really good performance. But Matthew McConaughey, yet again, stole the show in a role that was just perfect for him. Don't go into this movie with huge expectations if you're unaware of who Steven Soderbergh is. It is his brand of independent film, not a big budget, flashy movie.
If you liked this, then you might like Magic Mike: Think of a more independent, less exciting version of Step Up.

Also on shelves last week was:
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (2012) - I keep forgetting about these sequels to animated films that I didn't care for in the first place. I keep getting this and Madagascar 3 mixed up (but then I remember that one has Jessica Chastain in it...) I don't think I'll catch up on this one, even for the sake of being a completist.
In Darkness (2011) - An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Feature earlier this year. I would really like to see this, but with it being in a different language and all I'll have to wait until it becomes available on Fatso.

5th December DVD releases

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) / US / Directed by Timur Bekmambetov / Starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie / R16: Contains horror scenes and violence
In an interesting rewrite of history, the plot is actually remarkably similar to the real story of Abraham Lincoln, just with more vampire hunting. The movie is filled with some great slow motion scenes best experienced in 3D, but unfortunately, that's about all it has going for it. The decision is whether to take the film as seriously as it takes itself, or whether to take it as seriously as the lurid idea it is based on suggests. A difficult choice, but either way, it is moderately entertaining.
If you liked this, then you might like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Sucker Punch. Takes itself far too seriously but does have some average 3D slow motion scenes.

The Grey (2011) / US / Directed by Joe Carnahan / Starring Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale, Frank Grillo / R16: Contains offensive language and content that may disturb
Liam Neeson's first truly great performance in years. In a true movie that reflects the whole Man vs. Wild phenomenon, Neeson goes head to head with a pack of wolves, showing just how badass the guy is. It is a largely philosophical film, mostly about the human condition when faced with an existential crisis. There are a few long-winded conversations that mess with the pacing of it all, but at the end of the day, it is a wonderful little film.
If you liked this, then you might like The Grey: Mostly if you're a fan of Man vs. Wild, but I kept getting vibes of The Blair Witch Project, minus the found footage stuff.

Total Recall (2012) / US / Directed by Len Wiseman / Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy / M: Contains violence, offensive language and nudity
I haven't seen the original 1990 flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I've heard that this movie more or less makes a shot-for-shot remake. I just felt it was a little too repetitive to be an effective and exciting action film. I was kind of numbed by how bland it was.
If you liked this, then you might like Total Recall: Any other blockbuster that has below 50% on Rotten Tomatoes in recent history.

Also out on shelves this week:
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding - It hasn't arrived at our shop yet but I think it is coming. I'm only seeing this for my darling Felicity Jones.
Marley - I will likely check this documentary about Bob Marley out soon. I've heard good things, despite the fact that it didn't make the shortlist for the Best Documentary category at this year's Oscars.
Step Up 4: Miami Heat - I will likely check this one out too, as I've seen all the rest and it will be pretty popular.

I will likely be absent from the blogging world for the next couple of days (although there is a chance that I could be back on Saturday if I'm not too tired/busy). Tomorrow night is the ball (or prom or whatever), so I'll be pretty busy. In the meantime, remember to take part in my blogathon! And what do you think of these movies?


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