HTF REVIEW: Austin Powers "Goldmember" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    Studio: New Line Cinema
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 94 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English

    He's still evil... He's still deadly...
    and he's still surrounded by frickin' idiots!

    It's my absolute belief that Mike Myers is the
    most creative individual within the movie
    industry, continuing to deliver intelligent and
    innovative comedy. His passion and dedication
    for producing quality work has placed him amongst the
    most legendary comic filmmakers of our time. His
    greatest creation is Austin Powers, a simple
    spoof on the James Bond films with its own unique
    set of characters and fans that has managed to
    develop its own identity outside of the Bond realm.
    Count me in as one of the many that were huge
    fans of both the first and second Austin Powers
    films. The idea of yet another shagadelic romp with
    Myers' swinging refugee from the '60s espionage set
    seemed like a great idea, and I was anxiously awaiting
    the release of Goldmember, the third and final
    installment of the Austin Powers series. Unfortunately,
    high hopes were met with a film that lacked Austin's
    usual Mojo.
    Nobody can deny that the opening sequence of
    Goldmember is one of the funniest and
    irreverent of the movie season. It's a 'Hollywood
    version' of Austin Powers complete with an A-List
    of cameos that shows how popular this series has
    become and how eager these stars are to be seen
    under the same glitter ball as Austin Powers.
    However, soon afterwards, the film starts to head
    downhill, resembling a disjointed series of sketches
    placed end to end in order to fill 90 minutes of
    film. Don't get me wrong -- there are still some
    very funny moments here, but the series definitely
    feels worn out when it begins to constantly repeat
    its own lame gags, sluggishly regurgitating some of
    the best bits from the previous two films.
    And though credit must be given to Meyer's talent
    of playing four of the film's major characters, you
    can't help to be disappointed in his title character,
    Johan "Goldmember" van der Smutt, a balding dutch
    man in golden sportswear and a dodgy accent who is
    about as interesting as watching dust collect on
    furniture. This villain who has double-jointed
    knees, eats pieces of his skin and asks everyone
    if they feel 'toight', is the most unfunny and
    annoying character of the series.
    This third film brings back most of the favorites
    that have appeared throughout the series. Mike Myers
    plays the new villain and returns as Austin Powers,
    Dr. Evil, and Fat Bastard. Robert Wagner, Seth Green,
    Mindy Sterling, and Verne Troyer as Mini-me, reprise
    their roles as Dr. Evil’s sidekicks. Michael York
    returns as Basil, Austin’s agency boss. Beyoncé
    Knowles plays Foxxy Cleopatra, a parody of Pam
    Grier’s 70’s tough girl. In this installment,
    Goldmember teams with Austin's archenemy Dr. Evil
    on a plan to destroy Earth using a giant meteor
    made of gold. Austin takes another time-travel
    journey to 1975 to rescue his dad, legendary agent
    Nigel Powers (Michael Caine). While there, Austin
    hooks up with old flame Foxxy Cleopatra, a spy
    working undercover in Goldmember's disco.
    How is the transfer?
    Just when you thought transfers couldn't be any
    Goldmember is the best non-direct-digital
    transfer on DVD to date both in video and audio
    quality. The transfer is absolutely so pristine
    that I can't think of one thing negative to say
    about it.
    So let's talk about the positive things...
    First, this picture is bright and bold, with highly
    detailed razor-sharp images. There's absolutely no
    visible film grain or noise, and blemishes are totally
    nonexistent. Black levels are very deep, giving the
    picture a very nice texture. It's amazing how close
    to hi-def this transfer looks.
    The most eye-pleasing factor of this transfer is its colors.
    You would almost swear from the film's opening
    credits that you were watching a Technicolor film.
    There is such a kaleidoscope of colors vividly
    represented throughout this film. But you really need
    to go no further than the film's opening 10 minutes
    to get a taste of how gorgeous this transfer looks.
    The first thing you notice is Austin's red, white &
    blue Shaguar which literally looks 3-dimensional
    against the desert landscape. Next, check out how
    wonderful Austin's dark purple, red & blue suit is
    vividly detailed. Then there's the tribute to
    Singin' In The Rain where you see a
    multi-hued spectrum of raincoats that are intensely
    vibrant. Finally, check out Austin's swingin' 60s
    pad (as he sings Daddy wasn't there), to
    see a show of ever-changing colors like you have
    never seen before. With such intensity within the
    film's color scheme you never see any oversaturation
    and flesh tones remain dead-on accurate.
    There are several sound options available on this
    DVD: Dolby Digital EX 5.1, DTS ES 6.1, or
    2.0 Dolby surround. The DTS track was the one
    I opted to select for this review.
    The most impressive aspect of this surround mix is
    the way the film's score and musical numbers are so
    evenly distributed across all the channels, wrapping
    you into its encircling environment. For instance,
    during the songs Daddy Wasn't There and It's
    a Hard Knock Life
    , the backup chorals are nicely
    placed in the rears while the main vocals and score
    play across the front. Of course, every effect noise
    used in the film is distinctly placed across all the
    channels, from credits that fly across the room front
    to back to the underwater scenes involving Dr. Evil's
    sub where air bubbles seem to emanate from every
    Sound is very clear and distinct with the front
    channels being extremely bass-heavy (you'll hear how
    much in the opening beats of the film score). The
    LFE channel also gets a complete workout providing
    thunderous low bass that I could feel beneath my couch.
    I suppose you could interperate from the above that I
    found the audio portion of this DVD to be just as
    impressive as the video. No doubt, folks, this is
    a demo-quality disc.
    Special Features
    Released under New Line's Infinifilm banner,
    this DVD has a wealth of supplemental material to
    browse through. But before we do, let me say how
    impressed I was with the layout of this DVD. You
    might call this a "DVD for dummies" as this entire
    disc is supplemented with help topics that explain
    everything from how to properly navigate through the
    DVD to why the film has black bars on the top and
    bottom. If you ever get stuck, there's always a
    question mark you can click on or a tutorial close
    at hand.
    Now the first thing you are going to want to do
    after watching the film completely through is
    to go to the Infinifilm area and select
    Play Infinifilm. As you rewatch the movie
    you'll notice a blue bar occasionally appear at
    the bottom of the screen enabling you to branch
    off and watch a clip of how that scene was put
    together. For example, as the movie opens, we
    watch Austin parachute from the sky. When
    prompted, click on your remote's ENTER key
    to watch a short clip featuring Stunt Coordinator
    Jack Gill talk about how the stunt shots were
    developed. A few moments later, you will be
    prompted again to look at another segment that
    actually shows you the filming of the sky stunts.
    Fortunately, it looks as if all these clips are
    neatly organized by chapter. Keep hitting NEXT
    on your DVD remote to go from clip to clip.
    Even better, there's a Select A Scene menu
    that breaks down all the individual branching areas
    so you can easily look for the sequence you wish
    to learn more about.
    Those of you that have been out to Paramount studios
    ought not to miss the branching clip of how the
    dance sequences were filmed outside its old main
    Okay, enough of that, let's take a look at the
    supplementals which are broken down into two
    categories, Beyond The Movie and All
    Access Pass.
    Let's begin with Beyond The Movie...
    A Fact Track sounded pretty cool until I
    realized there were no cool pop-ups of information
    such as in recent DVD films like Spider-Man.
    Instead, there's an equally informative text track
    that plays in the subtitle area of the film, giving
    interesting facts about the film and anything else
    closely related to it.
    MI-6: International Man of Mystery is a look
    at the upper-crust of society -- the gentlemen that
    made up the British Secret Intelligence Service
    which was born shortly before WWI. Promising
    glamour, this service was sort of an espionage
    fraternity of which books and movies so properly
    portrayed. Director Jay Roach talks about the
    old school ways of spy movies and how his films
    make such great light of it. (4:23)
    English, English explores the unique
    language that Austin and his father Nigel spew
    out while in Goldmember's chambers. You'd be
    surprised to learn that this is actually a real
    language spoken here, created by convicts in
    order to talk in front of English guards without
    them knowing what was being said. The cockney
    language soon spread quickly throughout London,
    with most of it spoken by the British army. You
    will really laugh as Mike Meyers explains how
    embarrassed he was in front of his friends as
    his Dad spoke this strange language. (2:25)
    Disco Fever takes us on the Studio 54 set
    as we meet Music Executive Danny Bramson who
    explains why the disco was the perfect representation
    for the sights and sounds of the 70s era. It was
    quite fortunate that both Myers and director Jay
    Roach had such love for that sort of music, totally
    embracing the idea of using as much of it as
    possible. This featurette slightly dwells into
    the history of disco and the dancing that it
    inspired. We also learn how several #1 disco
    songs of the time were all chopped up, pieced back
    together, and rewritten with new lyrics for this
    film. (4:21)
    Fashion vs. Fiction introduces us to
    Costume Designer Deena Appel and Head Hairstylist
    Candy L. Walken who gives us a brief run-through
    of the different costumes and hairstyles that so
    accurately represent the different eras this film
    takes place in. Many of the original conceptual
    costume drawings are shown here, as well as an
    explanation as to why color is so important in
    defining an era. (1:57)
    It's now time to move on to All Access Pass....
    First up is the full-length commentary with
    Jay Roach and Mike Meyers. Ever want to know how
    much the actor weighs in stocking feet? You'll
    find out in the opening moments. Of course, you
    can't expect this commentary to be anything but
    extraordinary thanks to the non-stop wit of Mike
    Myers. Roach and Meyers talk about the eventful
    day that all the A-list actors showed up for the
    film, all taking time off from their very tight
    schedules. That opening scene that featured
    those actors was shot in a mere 6-8 hours, and they
    were all highly professional. One of the nicest
    stories told by Roach and Meyers is the day that
    Katie Couric showed up on the prison set to play
    a guard. She was really into what she was doing,
    but yet very vulnerable about how good her overall
    performance was. Throughout this commentary we
    hear about ideas that didn't quite pan out such
    as Dr. Evil's lair being inside an oil rig -- an
    idea that was later changed to a submarine. We
    also learn how props were rigged up and effects
    were pieced together with Mike and Jay complimenting
    just about every person they can along the way.
    You can tell that both these men were having a
    great time, just sitting back and talking about
    all the little elements that went into producing
    each scene.
    There are just about 25 minutes of deleted
    scenes presented here, broken down into
    individual chapters that range from approximately
    30 seconds in length to nearly three minutes.
    Even though these are all obviously gags that
    didn't quite go over as well as expected, they
    certainly are a joy to watch. In fact, these are
    some of the best deleted scenes I have had the
    pleasure of watching in a long time. Some of the
    deleted scenes include:
    * An extension of the film's opening musical
    number where Meyers has a bit of fun with a
    mirror matching tops and bottoms. This is actually
    a take-off of an old Benny Hill routine.
    * A very drunk Mike Meyers (reminiscent of Dudley
    Moore) not dealing very well with his father not
    showing up to the Knighting.
    * An absolutely hilarious scene with young
    Powers and Dr. Evil. Powers arises from bed with
    absolutely no clothes on, sporting his overly hairy
    chest. Dr. Evil's ever-changing text book blocks
    Power's dirty bits.
    * Another side-splitting sequence with Dr. Evil
    and Mini-me in prison, lifting weights and
    getting a little aggressive with their cell mates.
    * A very expensive Tokyo set built on Warner
    Brother's backlot has Austin signing autographs
    and being reunited with the Fook-Me/Fook-U sisters.
    * Some additional Fat Bastard footage was shot
    for test audiences. This is the complete footage
    before cuts were made.
    * A great idea and low-tech joke that never made
    the final cut features Dr. Evil giving the orders
    for his sub to make a quick rudder tilt, causing
    everyone to literally fly across the entire set.
    * Worth a watch! In a homage to many media references,
    the entire cast breaks into a Burt Bacharach song
    headed by the voice of Jay Roach's wife, Susanne.
    There's some really hilarious pieces of material here
    such as Mini-me in a baby swing and Frau Farbissina
    in bondage. There's even a really cool cameo spot
    here that I won't reveal. Awfully upsetting that
    this scene was removed, because it really is terrific.
    All of these scenes are presented in the film's
    original aspect ratio, and are in beautiful finished
    form. You have the option of playing these scenes
    with or without commentary from director Jay Roach.
    As always, I recommend you have the commentary on
    as it really does not interfere with the scene and
    you get an awfully good amount of information.
    Finally, in what appears to be the wrap up gag reel,
    we watch a montage of outtakes that contain
    flubbed lines, props that fail to work, and just
    plain silliness. There's even a little bit of Mr.
    Bigglesworth included here as well. There is some
    hilarious material here that you'll want to watch
    more than once.
    Now let's take a look at The World Of Austin
    Powers which is an entire area unto itself...
    Jay Roach & Mike Myers: Creative Convergence
    kind of reminds me of the phrase, "expect the
    unexpected" where just about anything can happen
    on an Austin Powers set (and you better have enough
    film in the camera to capture it). The cast talks
    quite fondly about Myers and his ability to
    improvise, as we watch him ham it up on the set,
    causing his co-stars to break into uncontrollable
    laughter. Fortunately, Director Jay Roach allows
    as much improvising from his actors as possible.
    He creates a very open environment where just about
    anything goes once the camera starts rolling.
    Confluence of Characters is broken down
    into individual segments that look at how characters
    were created as well as showing various rehearsal
    footage. In Goldmember we learn how the
    character was influenced by a real-life dutchman
    who ran a sex farm. Of course, Foxxy Cleopatra
    was inspired by the Pam Grier characters seen in
    soul cinema films of the 70s. Nigel Powers
    reveals how Michael Caine himself partly became
    the influence for the creation of Austin Powers.
    Masters Powers and Evil takes a look at the
    young actors who were selected to play the youthful
    versions of the film's lead characters. We watch
    some audition footage, as well as hear how excited
    these young men were to work on the film and meet
    Mike Meyers.
    (total length: 15:37)
    Opening Stunts repeats some of the branching
    material in the film by showing us how the high-
    flying stunt work was done using pre-video test
    footage and storyboards (2:16). The Cars of
    Austin Powers takes us through the fabrication
    of many of the great automobiles used in the film,
    including a tiny version of the Jaguar that Mini-me
    drove (2:21).
    Anatomy of Three Scenes is quite fun to
    watch in that it takes you behind the camera and
    totally dissects three main film sequences. First,
    there's Dancing at the gates which shows
    how talented of a dancer Mike Meyers really is.
    Once again we go to the Paramount lot where we
    watch the film's opening dance sequence being
    lensed, complete with Meyers on a film crane for
    added effect (4:54). Roller Disco takes
    us through the rehearsal process at a disco club
    where Michael directs his cast of dancers (2:18).
    Finally, Sumo Battle takes us to the arena
    set as we watch Fat Bastard rehearse as well as
    having additional hair and make-up applied to him
    Visual Effectsbegins with a lengthy
    introduction from Visual Effects Supervisor
    David Johnson who takes us through some of the
    elements that made up the illusions that were
    added to many of the effect stunts such as baby
    powder which was used as smoke for the Shaguar's
    ejection seat. We learn how green screens and
    high speed cameras were used to create an exploding
    helicopter sequence. We also see examples of
    background pictures being manipulated with added
    CGI on order to create an entirely new landscape
    (4:01). In a short effects sequence, you can use
    your remote to watch how various elements were
    added to a scene where Goldmember's car enters
    Dr. Evil's submarine (:08).
    Four Music Videos are included here: Work
    It Out
    (Beyoncé); Boys (Britney Spears);
    Daddy Wasn't There (Ming Tea) and Hard
    Knock Life
    (Dr. Evil and Mini-Me).
    You want trailers?! There's plenty here.
    First, there are four individual teaser trailers
    followed by the film's original theatrical trailer.
    DVD-ROM content consists of quite a few
    individual weblinks to various Austin Powers and
    New Line websites, with promised exclusive content
    in the near future. There's even a nice selection
    of downloadable desktop wallpaper here featuring
    your favorite Austin Powers characters.
    Now I have to talk about the Revoice Studio
    that is included in this DVD-ROM, because the nice
    folks at New Line really wanted me to try
    this out -- so much so that they sent me a microphone
    along with my screener DVD. I have to tell you, this
    is a wickedly cool feature that I had a lot of fun
    with. First, you plug a standard microphone into your
    computer. Friendly menus guide you through the
    process of setting up and testing the microphone,
    getting the recording levels juuust right.
    Now the fun begins....
    You have the option of selecting several scenes
    from the movie that feature various Austin Powers
    characters. The idea is to replace their
    voice with [/i]yours[/i]. The software couldn't
    make it any get a script, a practice
    session that counts down your cue, and several
    opportunities to synch everything correctly. In
    no time, I had Dr. Evil talking in my own voice.
    You can even rate and store your favorite performances
    for later playback.
    I really need to thank the folks at New Line
    Cinema for setting me up with a microphone and
    for encouraging me to try out this feature. It was
    a lot of fun to play with and I can imagine how
    cool it will be for kids 1/4 of my age.
    Final Thoughts
    I want to be sure everyone understands where I
    stand on this DVD release of Goldmember.
    Although the film did not meet my expectations, I
    still had an awfully good time watching it, and will
    forever remain a fan of Austin Powers.
    The DVD, on the other hand, absolutely exceeded
    all my expectations. I have to sit here and wonder
    how New Line was able to fit all this material on
    one disc (including commentary, fact track, branching
    and DVD-ROM content) and still produce the sharpest,
    most colorful transfer of any DVD in recent memory.
    If I could describe this DVD in one word, that word
    would be FUN. This is an awfully cool DVD
    that has a terrific assortment of supplements including
    some very funny deleted scenes. In addition, the
    DVD-ROM revoice studio was really a blast to
    play around with.
    Treat yourself to an early Christmas gift. Don't
    miss the opportunity to own the best Austin Powers DVD to date!
    Release Date: December 3, 2002
  2. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

    Mar 5, 2002
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    Can't wait for this one! Great review, as always.
  3. Chris Farmer

    Chris Farmer Screenwriter

    Aug 23, 2002
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    Hmm, was on the fence of buying this sight-unseen in the 3-pack. Count me as off the fence and in the check-out line.
  4. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

    Jun 13, 2002
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    Great review. Never planned on buying this, but it looks interesting.
  5. KyleRoussel

    KyleRoussel Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 24, 2001
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    I always enjoy a DVD that looks great, but I really didn't enjoy Goldmember. You nailed it right on Ron, it comes off as a series of sketches put end to end to fill 90 minutes.

    Still...I already own 1 and 2, it would be a shame not to complete the set...
  6. Jason Hughes

    Jason Hughes Supporting Actor

    Oct 17, 1998
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    Jason Hughes
    Was anybody else hoping for a Ron Howard as Scott Evil cameo?
  7. NickFoley

    NickFoley Stunt Coordinator

    May 5, 2002
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    Im sold on this one. Gonna pick it up 12/3/02
  8. Jason Quillen

    Jason Quillen Supporting Actor

    Nov 1, 2000
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    Sounds great. I thought the movie was really funny. I've held off for a long time in buying # 1 and 2, but now with the new keep cases (goodbye, snappers) and the 3-Pack I think I'll be picking them all up at once.
  9. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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    Excellent review, Ron! Will definitely pick this one up. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    HOWEVER, that screenshot of Fat Bastard! Ugh! Giant man-breasts are such a turnoff. (Gagging!)
  10. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

    Jun 25, 2002
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    Ron, I agree 100% with your opinion of the film, point-for-point. A lot of fun, but without much substance to it. And I will be picking this disc up, that is as long as I have the money. Heheh, all the other must-have discs of the season are overwhelming my limited supply of cash.
    And I may be crazy, but the reissue of the first two titles in keepcase-form may prompt me to repurchase The Spy Who Shagged Me, the only one in the series I currently have.
  11. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    I have yet to get the dvds for first two Austin Powers movie (was about ready when they went on sell), but now I will definately get the three disc box set. Great reveiw Ron and enjoy your vaction (care to share the place's location?).
  12. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

    Oct 23, 1999
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    Glad to hear there's some Mr. Bigglesworth in the outtakes. What bugs me most about Austin 2&3 is that they replaced Mr. B with annoying Mini-Me. The lack of the cat was, I think, what made me dislike the second so much. It got better on video, though. But the first is still the best, in my eyes, and the most comprehensible as a movie.
  13. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

    Aug 13, 2000
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    I am very surprised how they were able to main such video quality with a DTS track and so many extras. Does anyone know how they were able to do this? It seems most movies suffer as a result.
  14. Dean Cooper

    Dean Cooper Supporting Actor

    Oct 23, 2000
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    Yep, count me in! Thanks for the great review Ron.

  15. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Cant wait to get this. I had a lot of fun with the 3rd installment of the series. 1st is still the best, but 2 and 3 are very funny.
    Had to love the kickstand comment. [​IMG]
  16. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

    May 11, 2001
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    Shagadelic review Ron, thanks.
  17. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Oct 31, 1997
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    Missed it in the theater because of some personal things that cluttered up my time, but count me in as a fan of 1 & 2 who will be picking this up to complete the set! I understand it wasn't received with the same enthusiasm as 1 & 2 but I like Mr. Myers' work and I'm willing to buy this one sight-unseen!
  18. Josh Sieg

    Josh Sieg Second Unit

    Oct 27, 2002
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    Good review! Too bad the first and second films were released in those cardboard cases. Whats this I'm hearing about a 3 disc set??
  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    0 though the transfer was good?
    I found the excessive Edge Enhancement horribly distracting.
    Just Kidding!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
    Just watched the *original* Austin movie 2 nights ago (had to get psyched-up for my Halloween costume...I was a 1960's gogo girl) and while it looked sharp and clear from a far viewing distance, anything within a 30 degree angle of viewing revealed MASSIVE compression artifacting in almost every scene. Really a shame (though interesting to remember how it was *the* demo DVD when it first arrived.
    I hope that New Line give us an SE of the original film soon...with a new compression job to do it justice. It *could* look SOOOO good on a 100" screen!
    dave [​IMG]
  20. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

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