‘The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special’ is a Heartwarming Stocking Stuffer

This year has been a busy blur for Marvel Studios. They’ve released three theatrical films and debuted four streaming series. But this year for Christmas, there’s something fans would really like from Kevin Feige. So if you can hear those sleigh bells coming around that Disney+ bend, then consider watching James Gunn‘s The Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special to mark this year’s end. Because Christmas Time has come, and that means MCU joy for everyone.

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‘Strange World’ Has Tons of Heart Despite its Few Shortcomings

Many of today’s comics were inspired by the page-turning action-adventure pulp comics of the past. The characters leaped off the page as they ventured into uncharted territory, where all sorts of dangerous creatures awaited them. Some fearlessly took the lead, while others provided a supportive role. And while most were one-dimensional and stereotypical, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Strange World subverts what we know about the genre with its relatable characters, modern themes, and a wholly engaging story about the legacy. 

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NOC Review: ‘The Menu’ is a Delightfully Devilish Delicacy

Elitism is a disease for which there is no cure. Despite the need for people to work towards the collective good of supporting one another, society has a tendency to try and hold rankings and create conflict out of those rankings based on wealth, power, and opportunity, resulting in humanity immersing itself into the throes of these ridiculous constructs of social hierarchy that elevate one individual over another. It’s a disease that also impacts how we view art, lifestyle, business, and politics, contributing to increased levels of human arrogance and self-satisfying entitlement. Which is why I’m grateful for a movie like The Menu that attacks this problem head on.

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NOC Review: The Knives are Out and Sharper Than Ever in ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’

How great is it that we have a Benoit Blanc cinematic universe? Given the major critical and commercial hit that Knives Out was, it was easy to see why the demand for more adventures with Daniel Craig’s super sleuth were inevitable.

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NOC Review: When Grogu Met the Soot Sprites

It’s been three years since the first-ever Star Wars live-action series, The Mandalorian — as well as the platform it lives on, Disney+ — debuted. In celebration, viewers received a little treat, by way of a collaboration between two beloved studios.

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NOC Review: The ‘Black Panther’ Lives On in ‘Wakanda Forever’

How do a filmmaker and his crew pick up the pieces of a story shattered by the heartbreaking loss of a fallen family member, who was both a protagonist and king? That was certainly the question left several days after the death of the incredible Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from colon cancer in August 2020, shortly after writer/director Ryan Coogler had just finished the first draft of his script for the sequel to 2018’s Black Panther.

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Background and Filler Stories Unfold in ‘Tales of the Jedi’

One of the positives — in my opinion, anyway — to come out of streaming services creating their own original content is making space for short films to be created and to live on. Whether they be standalone tales or bits and pieces of a larger franchise, they are opportunities for filmmakers to tell a moving story within a short span of time.

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‘Black Adam’ is Less Than the Sum of its Parts but Still a Fun Time

“The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change,” we’ve heard for weeks on end from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Did it really change that much with the release of Black Adam? Honestly? Yeah, kind of!

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NOC Review: ‘Werewolf by Night’ is a Bloody, Brilliant Good Time

We’ve talked at length about how Phase 4 is the most controversial of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while I’ve been perfectly satisfied with it, not everything has worked for everyone, even many of the entries I’ll proudly defend. But for the most part, if there’s one thing you simply cannot deny about this phase, it’s how ambitious it’s been; both in the risks Marvel Studios has taken, and the creative liberties it has given its directors. Case in point, the latest risk the studio has to offer, the terrific Werewolf by Night!

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One Way or Another ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ Will Get Ya

Hocus Pocus kids of the ’90s have waited a long time for a sequel to happen. Its poor critical and commercial reception wouldn’t have justified a sequel. And yet, since its release, it has gathered a rather powerful coven, one that demanded a sequel be made. So, after nearly three decades of waiting, Disney has delivered Hocus Pocus 2, which brings the Sanderson sisters back for some wicked good fun while also building upon the mythology with a modern and emotionally nuanced story. 

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‘Ramy’ Season 3 is As Funny and Engaging As Ever

Ramy is never an easy show to watch. It’s compelling and funny, but it never shies away from showing the (many) faults of its title character, and occasionally those of his family and friends.

Slight setup spoilers for Ramy Season 3 follow:

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NOC Review: ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ is Not That Bad

I need to get something off my chest. We’ve gotten to a point where behind the scenes drama that has absolutely nothing to do with narrative, character, acting, etc. is affecting audience perceptions of movies, without audiences actually bothering to see a movie.

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NOC Review: The Truth is Disney’s Live-Action ‘Pinocchio’ is a Weird Movie

Disney remaking its classics has been a completely mixed bag thus far. Sure they make billions. But they’re incredibly hit and miss. And it’s so appropriate that I’m kicking off the review for the latest Disney remake, Pinocchio (2022), with such a statement, because it is a completely mixed bag. And a weird one at that.

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‘The Eightfold Path’ (An Endorsement)

If anything can be said about Abrams ComicArts books, it’s that they are undeniably beautiful. Aside from what lies within their pages, the books themselves are works of art. They are portable museums. The colors, the weight and heft of the paper used, the end paper designs, the cover images chosen, these make the books worth looking at. The stories being told? These make the books worth buying. Their Megascope imprint? These books are worth collecting.

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Jae-rim Han’s ‘Emergency Declaration’ Sticks the Landing

When a pilot declares an “emergency declaration,” everything is given priority to that plane as it is in the most imminent danger. All other planes are rerouted or grounded as resources are then directed to that plane until it can land safely. It is the first note to be shown in Jae-rim Han’s new film Emergency Declaration to establish the importance of this statement by the pilot.

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‘Tales of the Walking Dead’ is a Welcome Addition to the Franchise

I’m not gonna lie. I fell off The Walking Dead wagon years ago. Like a lot of fans, I checked out when Steven Yeun’s Glenn was killed off. And while the series, and its subsequent spinoffs, continued on, I never returned to the franchise. Until now.

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NOC Review: ‘I Love My Dad’ is Endearingly Funny and Real

Having a falling out with a family member you are close with can be difficult and the same can be said when you fall in love with a person you’ve never met online. Both experiences can leave you with the empty feeling of realizing you don’t really know them as well as you thought. In I Love My Dad, writer-director James Morosini crafts an endearingly funny and real film that displays that feeling honestly and cathartically.

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‘Bullet Train’ is Able to Find Hilarity in the Chaos

If there is anything that director David Leitch is good at, it’s that he is brilliant at finding the hilarity in the chaos. In his new film Bullet Train, based on the popular Japanese novel Maria Beetle by Kōtarō Isaka, Brad Pitt plays Ladybug, an “unlucky” assassin who is assigned to steal a briefcase from other assassins while on a speeding bullet train in Japan.

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NOC Review: Amber Midthunder Hits Her Target Dead On in ‘Prey’

The Predator film franchise centered on the clash between its race of a highly evolved race of aliens who hunt alphas for sport versus man. While its predecessors were as bloody and violent as the next, Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey goes back to basics with a primal and bloody David vs. Goliath story that not only is worthy of being a part of the iconic franchise but something could stand on its own thanks to Amber Midthunder’s astonishing performance that subverts tropes in a way that finally makes indigenous cultures the heroes of their own story.

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‘DC League of Super-Pets’ is a Menagerie of Laughs and Heart

Warner Bros.’ DC League of Super-Pets is a sweet, funny, and heartwarming story about the world from a pet’s point of view. The concept isn’t new. Plenty of films explore the relationships between a pet and its human owners. But director Jared Stern, who co-wrote the script with John Whittington, puts a playful twist on it by making it more about the pets rather than their superhero owners.

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NOC Review: If You’re Stuck Seeing ‘Paws of Fury’ It Could Be Worse

I’m not going to sit here and pretend Paws of Fury is a good movie, per se. But I will admit that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I assumed it was going to be. And the biggest reason you’ll be able to sit through it without a migraine comes down to one person: the legendary Mel Brooks.

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NOC Review: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ is Thunderously Entertaining and Full of Heart

Yeah. I know. We’re at a point with the MCU where critics and audiences are feeling fatigue, and becoming harder to please. And that’s totally reasonable. We get a Marvel Studios product at least once a month. And maybe some work better than others.

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NOC Review: Decent ‘Lightyear’ Doesn’t Quite Reach Infinity and Beyond for Pixar

At the beginning of this movie there’s a disclaimer briefly explaining that this was the movie Andy saw, loved, and became obsessed with when he got his first Buzz Lightyear action figure. Andy really needs to see more movies.

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