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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A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Untitled Baby Play’

I will always cherish plays, especially original plays, that have global majority actors be the leads in content that have nothing to do with their race/culture but rather other pressing issues of life, which in this particular case is an upcoming baby shower for a group of friends and the “baby question” that all the women in Nina Braddock’s Untitled Baby Play individually grapple with. Presented by IAMA Theatre Company and currently playing at the Atwater Village Theatre, the play does a tremendous job giving each of the ensemble members a chance to shine.

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NOC Review: ‘The Black Phone’ is the Best Modern Ghost Story Since ‘The Sixth Sense’

This will be a weird way to start a review, but there’s a part of me that’s mixed on how I feel about Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill departing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. On one hand, though I enjoyed the Marvel Studios romp, I can’t help but wonder how much better it would have been if they had stayed on board to write and direct. On the other, and most importantly, I’m glad they were able to leave, because it meant that we got The Black Phone — honestly one of my favorite movies this year so far!

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‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ is a Great Entry Point and an Even Greater Legacy Series

What even is a “diehard” Star Wars fan? Back in the early days of the franchise, when it wasn’t a franchise, a “hardcore” fan would be the ones camping out at their local theater the night before — a tent and sleeping bag to fight back the cold. All was worth it to be among the first to see Luke’s adventure come to a triumphant conclusion (for now).

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‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is a Sweet and Savory Animated Murder Musical Comedy

At some point in time of an animated TV sitcom’s life, fans wonder when their beloved show will make that leap from the small screen to the big screen. But unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily happen to all of them. Then there’s the worry about justifying the film’s existence or if it’s a sign that the sitcom is jumping the shark. And when all is said and done, it may have taken too long to figure it out.

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A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Hamlet’

You would be hard pressed to find me wanting to watch a Shakespeare production willingly. While I am painfully aware his works are considered the echelon of fine performance arts training, my distaste for it only grew as a vast majority of Shakespeare productions only utilize white actors for the meaningful parts.

Until now.

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The Projection of ‘Men’ May Lead to the Projecting of Men

I don’t doubt that when Alex Garland began work on his latest project, Men, that he suspected it would release at such a relevant time. Civil unrest is at an all-time high for a number of reasons — one of which involves a large percentage of the population daring to ask for basic rights over themselves — really any time since the founding of this great nation could be considered a relevant time. But it’s true, Men was already shaping up to be quite the controversial movie before the general audience got a chance to see it.

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NOC Review: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is a Fun, Feel-Good Flight

Once again, audiences will feel the need! The need for speed! So thank god Tom Cruise exists. There’s no stopping the nearly 60-year old supersonic super star. And even after a generation of iconic roles and box office hits, he still keeps on soaring.

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‘Inbetween Girl’ Shows How Maturity Sometimes Means Accepting Your Mess

The road to adulthood is messy, imperfect, and unkind. Media depictions of adolescence tend to rule these realities out, or otherwise forgoes depicting representation of this demographic at all. But the truth is, sanitizing the experience does not hide the mistakes and many questions that will inevitably be made along the way. 

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The Healing Magic of ‘Marvelous and the Black Hole’

The “face” of the coming-of-age story has been changing: It is not that teenagers have changed — far from it in fact, when the woes of adolescence remain one of the most universal parts of the human experience — but it is apparent in recent years that the default notions of what a “teenager” should look like has changed to be better reflective of what the viewing world needs today. 

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‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ is Far from Perfect

Ever since audiences were introduced to the multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, storytellers had to figure out a way to incorporate that into future storylines. With Marvel’s Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home, it made sense to include multiple worlds and versions of our favorite characters, while also providing a little bit of fan service along the way. 

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‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ Explores the Multiverse with Chaotic, Emotional Range

Reading the synopsis for the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once, it already hints at a story that starts off simple enough that immediately takes a left turn: An overwhelmed, middle aged woman is trying to file her taxes when she suddenly finds herself in the position of having to save the world, by borrowing skills from her multiple alternative universes.

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NOC Review: ‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ is Not Bad, Not Quite ‘Fantastic’

The Wizarding World is in peril, both from a narrative standpoint, and a real-world one. Indeed, the franchise has had one hell of an uphill battle to conquer. What once stood as the crown jewel of Warner Bros. has been marred with controversy since the previous installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise debuted in 2018.

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‘Moonshot’ Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Enjoyable

Moonshot is the kind of rom-com that leaves you well-fed when it comes to cheesy goodness. It’s not perfect. Let’s clear that up, first and foremost. And I don’t expect perfection when it comes to rom-coms or for things to make sense. (The space fan in me was like, “That doesn’t make sense” every five minutes.)

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NOC Review: ‘Moon Knight’ Raises the Bar for What the MCU Can Be

Many new viewers may ask themselves “Who the hell are Moon Knight and Marc Spector?” The protagonist of the titular Disney+ series, Steven Grant, grapples with the same question as he’s swept on a psychological and mythological ride across the globe.

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‘Occupation: Rainfall’ is a Fun Sci-Fi Opera Hindered By its Own Weight

Occupation: Rainfall is a confusing enigma. At moments, it feels at home in B-movie schlock delivering campy actor performances that chew on scenery and heavy action sequences drenched in CGI screen filters and explosions. Other moments, there’s a sincerity in its attention to detail in the story it weaves. Crafting interesting cinematography to amplify its thoughts on trauma, war, and moving forward.

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NOC Review: ‘Better Nate Than Ever’ is a Small Scale Success

It’s hard to not fall in love with Broadway-inspired films, especially ones that focus on growing up and trying to fit in someplace. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Billy Elliott are coming-of-age musicals of kids who are different, but still found a way to follow their dreams. Followed by fantastic music and fun dance sequences, these musicals tell a story for the ages and allow some kids to feel seen. Disney+’s upcoming original film Better Nate Than Ever does just that with a sweet story with some good songs. 

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NOC Review: ‘Deep Water’ Feels a Bit Shallow

We love Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck. They’re terrific actors. And they elevate every project they’re in. No matter how repetitive and pointless it might be. And those are the two adjectives that come to mind when I think about Deep Water.

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‘The Midnight Swim’ Dives Deep into Grief and Depression

The journey through grief, loss, and depression can often be a solitary one. A moment in time where a world full of the diversity of life, people, animals, and color, is swept to the sea and you are left with an isolating void of muted memories and half remembered thoughts. The Midnight Swim — a 2015 film recently made available on home video and streaming — written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith, dives deep into the nuance of these feelings through poetic and graceful filmmaking.

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The Gift of Sanaz Toosi’s ‘English’

What goes into learning a foreign language for your livelihood? How does one prepare to become a foreigner in an unfamiliar country? Encapsulating the migrant experience through the microcosm of a TOEFL class in 2008 Karaj, Iran, Sanaz Toosi’s searingly beautiful play English, directed by Knud Adams, answers all of this and much more, running at The Atlantic Theater in New York City to critical acclaim.

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A Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘Celestial Events’

As in-person theatre is making more of a return throughout the United States and particularly in Los Angeles where I reside, there’s been a surge of plays that deal with traumatic topics of race when all or most of their cast members are that of Global Majority.

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‘Turning Red’ Finds Heart and Humor in the Messiness of Growing Up

Coming-of-age films are defined by what it means for their young characters to grow up. And, like the experience itself, no one story about growing up is the same as the next. It takes a special kind of film to capture the growing pains of a young person as they transition into adulthood. Turning Red, Pixar’s heartfelt and hilarious film, examines that journey through the lens of a 13-year-old Chinese Canadian girl who finds out that growing up may be a smelly beast — literally.

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Depths of Unexpected Emotions Unravel in Kogonada’s ‘After Yang’

It’s been five years since audiences were swept away by director Kogonada’s emotionally-driven debut, Columbus. Now, he returns to up the ante with the driving of emotions in his science fiction drama, After Yang; an adaptation of Alexander Weinstein’s short story, Saying Goodbye to Yang.

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