Over the weekend, the Twitter account for Burberry tweeted excitedly about actor Dev Patel at the British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony, who wore a custom Burberry tuxedo to accept his Best Actor in a Supporting Role award for his part in Lion. The picture that accompanied the tweet? That’s actor and Swet Shop Boys member Riz Ahmed… who is also not Dev Patel.
This week, rumours began circulating that Tilda Swinton was in casting negotiations for Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role. Swinton is being considered for the role of the Ancient One, a nearly-immortal Tibetan sorcerer who becomes the young Doctor Strange’s mystic tutor and personal mentor.
I went to see the new Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt science-fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, which is based on the Japanese novel and manga All You Need isKill.
The racial cross-casting of Cage’s character aside — he is inspired by Japanese protagonist Keiji in the manga — this film is phenomenal. Nerds and feminists — and especially nerd feminists — will adore this movie. It’s sharp, funny, entertaining, compelling, and visually stunning. Haters of Tom Cruise get to see Tom Cruise get killed about a hundred times in stunt scenes that Cruise himself described as “channeling Wile E. Coyote” on The Daily Show. Emily Blunt’s Rita is stellar: she is the aspirational super-soldier, and not the simpering girlfriend; she’s also got a bad-ass giant sword. Those who loved Pacific Rim‘s portrayal of a male-female peer relationship that was largely non-sexual will adore the relationship between Rita and Cruise’s Cage in this film.
Basically, it’s just really good. Go see it. I’ll wait.
After much effort to create a live-action version of Chew — understandably hampered by the story’s routine use of cannibalism as a central plot device — producers have decided to go in a different direction and create an animated feature instead (that is expected to go straight to home release). This, I think, is a good decision: the book has a very specific tone and atypical humour that I think would not translate very well through a live-action script.
As of April 2013, The Avengers had grossed more than $600 million dollars in the US, a box office performance that has nearly tripled its (already bloated) production budget. It would be fair to say that if you’re a Hollywood movie producer, The Avengers makes you very, very, very happy.In fact, you’re hoping to make as many Avengers franchises as you possibly can.
Against this backdrop of undeniable success, it seems major Hollywood production companies are hoping to do just that. For the last few months, the Internet has been a-buzz with casting rumours for Man of Steel 2: first with news that Ben Affleck was being tapped to play an aging Batman, and last week with the announcement that virtually unknown actress Gal Gadot (of Fast and Furious franchise fame) was assuming the mantle of Wonder Woman. Although fans have long clamoured for a live-action Justice League adaptation, the fact that all three members of the heralded DC Trinity will be making an appearance in Man of Steel 2 — a movie that we all expected would be just another Superman solo vehicle — is clear indication that WB/DC has drawn inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is looking to fast-track the Justice League movie by rapidly introducing other characters to the silver screen. Fans have since speculated that while Gadot might make a minimal cameo in Man of Steel 2, it’s likely that she will subsequently headline her own Wonder Woman movie that would further stoke the fires for a full Justice League film.
This is my recap for The Walking Dead season 4, episode 8 — the mid-season finale — titled “Too Far Gone.” Please also check out our live-tweeting session #NOCemdead, featuring me at @Reappropriate and J. Lamb through @TheNerdsofColor.
Welcome to my recap for The Walking Dead‘s season 4, episode 7, titled “Dead Weight.” Also look for our Sunday night live-tweet session: #NOCemdead, including J. Lamb through @TheNerdsofColor and me through @Reappropriate, with a quick guest appearance by Keith via @the_real_chow.
And without further ado, on with the recap! Be mindful of spoilers!
With the existing dearth of non-White faces in film, let alone comic book film, it’s safe to say that most of us can agree that cross-racially casting a non-White character with White actors is problematic.
Welcome to our recap of The Walking Dead, Season 4, episode 4! Please also check out archives of our live-tweeting coverage of the episode as it happened (#NOCemdead) from the official @TheNerdsofColor Twitter account, with bonus contribution by me through my @Reappropriate Twitter handle.
And now, on with the recap!
Spoiler alert! This is a recap. You know the drill.
I wrote in one post during The Nerds of Color’s Walker Week that The Walking Dead is noteworthy for depicting one of the most racially diverse zombie survivor casts to-date: it features a band of survivors that has included (among others) a Mexican family, an Asian Indian doctor, two Deep South “rednecks” (a pejorative term that the Dixon brothers would probably enthusiastically reclaim), a samurai-sword-wielding Black woman, and one of the most progressive characterizations of an Asian man on television. This is a show where women kick ass just as readily as men, and where the divisions of race and class have largely disintegrated in the face of humanity’s near-annihilation.
It’s ironic, therefore, that The Walking Dead could have such a blatant “Black Man problem,” one so obvious it has spawned a million memes.
(This post contains spoilers of all events in The Walking Dead up to Season 4, Episode 3. Please read on with care.)
Welcome to our recap of The Walking Dead, season 4 episode 3, titled “Isolation!” Hat-tip to Twitter user @LaJoliePoeta for inspiring the title of this post. Also, please check out #NOCemdead, for archives of our Sunday evening live-tweeting of this episode by resident NOC, J.Lamb through our @TheNerdsofColor handle.
Only read on if you’ve already watched the episode, or if you don’t mind spoilers. Because, y’know, this is a recap.
This month marks the 10th anniversary of Robert Kirkman’s ongoing epic The Walking Dead. Image Comics is marking the special occasion by releasing an anniversary edition of issue #1, colored by Dave Stewart. If you haven’t been reading this book — particularly if you are a fan of the AMC TV adaptation — then you should be. The Walking Dead isn’t just a great comic book, it’s a revolutionary comic book; one that fundamentally altered the zombie landscape and helped usher in the zombie Golden Age of today.
In fact, I’d even venture so far as to say that Robert Kirkman is the zombie Frank Miller.
Wait, wait, wait: before your brain explodes from the nerd-rage, hear me out on this one.
This post contains a few spoilers of The Walking Dead comic. Please read on with care.
I don’t mean the zombie survivors. I mean the zombies.
Ironically, The Walking Dead is pretty racially diverse compared to other zombie movies in the genre. Remember Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Deadremake? There are, in that case, two sole surviving Black men, although one (Mekhi Phifer’s Andre) is singularly stupid. Meanwhile, there are no other notable characters of any other race or ethnicity among the survivors. And how about 28 Days Later? Sure, the main female protagonist is a Black woman (Selena, played by Naomie Harris), but why is she the main cast’s only character of colour despite the fact that London boasts a 20% Black and 20% Asian population. In fact, most zombie movies are typically populated by an almost all-White (with a token or two) surviving cast; against this backdrop, I’m relatively pleased by the racial diversity of The Walking Dead, One-Black-Man-At-a-Time rule notwithstanding (more on this later in the Walker Week).
But, here’s my gripe: where the heck are all the zombies of colour?
In honour of The Walking Dead‘s upcoming season 4 premiere this Sunday on AMC, I am re-posting this post, which originally appeared on Reappropriate in February 2013.
Spoiler alert: I’m going to be talking about the events of Walking Dead up until Season 3, Episode 10. If you haven’t watched yet and don’t want the plot spoiled, don’t read on.
Hours after his reunion with long-lost brother Merle, Daryl has chosen his brother over his new family of survivors. After escaping from Woodbury with a banished Merle, Rick and Glenn are unwilling to bring him back to the prison; Daryl decides to strike out into the woods with his brother rather than abandon him to the wilderness. Blood, after all, is thicker than water, right?
But, it turns out, that after a year on the road with Rick and the gang, Daryl now shares less in common with his brother Merle than he thought.
Vitals:X-Men #1-3 are the first three issues of the re-launched X-Men title, and serve as a natural jumping on point for anyone who hasn’t been reading. It made national news earlier this year for featuring the first ever all-female X-Men line-up.
Plot: We rejoin the X-Men to find that most of them are now teachers at the Jean Grey Institute for Gifted Children. Jubilation Lee, code-named Jubilee, has resurfaced as the caretaker of an adorable little baby boy and is seeking refuge in the home of her old teammates. Little does she know that she has unintentionally led one of the X-Men’s foremost foes — the sentient bacteria John Sublime who is capable of taking control of any organic being — right to the X-Men’s doorstep. It turns out that Sublime is also seeking help from the X-Men, this time to confront a long-lost evil twin, the sentient technoorganic bacteria Arkea who is capable of controlling all things technological. How does a bacteria do that? It’s a sentient bacterial cell, people. Let’s just go with it, okay?
The critics have been salivating over Alfonso Cuarón’s latest effort, the ambitious science fiction thriller Gravity. And don’t get it twisted: Gravity is pretty darned good. It’s visually and narratively haunting — one of the few contemporary movies that succeeds in marrying a high-concept story with the audience’s (admittedly low-brow) yearning to see things blow up. Also, Gravity is one of the year’s few films that fully takes advantage of 3D technology to establish the various environments that the characters encounter (although I confess I chose to watch Gravity in standard projection because 3D makes my head hurt).
So yes, Gravity is pretty darned good.
But, I just can’t shake the feeling that it could have been so much better.
Spoiler Alert! Please don’t read on if you don’t want Gravity spoiled for you.
As nerds of colour, we’re all too familiar with the conundrum: what do we do when our geeky fare is both awesome and offensive at the same time?
It’s a problem born of the simple fact that the creative teams behind some of our favourite nerd media — comic books, video games, board games, and movies — tend to be overwhelmingly White and male, fostering a sort of nerd-bro culture that too often gets the voices and narratives of women and people of colour horribly wrong (an issue well-discussed on last week’s epic Hard NOC Life podcast episode featuring industry insiders Larry Hama and Joe Illidge). Often, the arguably racist or sexist mistreatments of non-White, non-male characters — while offensive — is a symptom of a much larger weakness in a comic’s creative team, resulting in a book that can be easily dismissed as universally bad. Take, for example, the much-anticipated upcoming Mighty Avengers book, which Illidge predicted in last week’s podcast was unlikely to succeed due to both racial as well as creative problems. On the flip side, a book like Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese gets things right on all counts: it is on the one hand both well-written and well-illustrated, and on the other hand a compelling exploration of the Asian American identity.
In short, things are easy when the politics of a book also fit the overall quality of a book.
But, what happens when a favourite comic book or video game is both incredibly good, and pretty racist? Or, vice versa, how are we supposed to react when the politics of a book are compelling, but the execution leaves something to be desired?
Put another way, what happens when we find our identities as Nerds and People of Colour at odds?
This conundrum was brought to a head for me this past week when J. Lamb and I snatched up our copy of Grand Theft Auto V.
Vitals: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is an 81-minute feature-length animated movie based on the major DCU crossover event called Flashpoint, which happened two years ago and was helmed by writer Geoff Johns that resulted in a universe-wide reboot called “The New 52.” It can serve as either a stand-alone movie, or a primer for those who want a quick recap of how “The New 52” came to be without having to read all of Flashpoint in collected trades.