‘Star Trek: Picard’ — That’s Not How Accents Work

Mercifully, Picard is not hiding the ball. A recurrent problem with a lot of serialized shows is setting up a lot of mysteries that are slowly dripped throughout the season and you have to hope the mystery at the end is worth it.

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NOC Review: ‘Quantumania’ is a Solid Start to The Kang Dynasty

Phase 5 is finally here and so is Kang! After the mixed reception of Phase 4 from the critics and fans, does the MCU still have what it takes to excite audiences and set them on a path towards another epic franchise-spanning narrative? With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the answer is a resounding “potentially!”

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Thoughts and Reactions to Watching ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ For the First Time

Two months to go until the latest chapter of the John Wick franchise drops. I’m moving right along as I continue exploring its three predecessors for the first time.

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NOC Review: ‘That ‘90s Show’ is a Pretty Fun Return to the Basement

Hello, Wisconsin! The Formans are back, and so is the basement. Set 15 years after the events of That ‘70s Show, Netflix’s That ‘90s Show is a direct sequel to its predecessor. Season 1 takes a bit to get off the ground, but once it finds its footing, the sitcom mostly succeeds at being a fun, nostalgia-filled time.

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Say ‘I Don’t’ to ‘Shotgun Wedding’

It’s hard to believe that rom-com royalty — Jennifer Lopez (The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan) and Josh Duhamel (Life As We Know It, When in Rome) — have never made a movie together until Amazon Studio’s Shotgun Wedding. It makes sense to put these two together in a romantic movie as both are beautiful people with experience in the genre. But unlike their sappy romantic films that follow the same formula, Shotgun Wedding gets mixed in with some action and adventure with pirates, money laundering, and lots of explosions. 

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NOC Review: ‘The Last of Us’ is a Game Changer

If yesterday, you were to tell me the best video game adaptation ever put to any screen was Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the truth of the matter would sadly be that you’d likely be accurate. The subgenre has been suffering ever since the first Super Mario Bros movie from 1993 caused Nintendo to embargo any film rights to their games for at least three decades.

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‘House Party’ 2023 Struggles to Keep the Party Going

Written by Jamal Olori & Stephen Glover and directed by Calmatic, House Party tells the story of two freshly fired house cleaners — club promoting best friends, Damon and Kevin — as they decide to host the most exclusive party in California at LeBron James’ exclusive mansion, the site of their last cleaning job. While the film does deliver on its premise it isn’t until the later half that it comes into its own.

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NOC Review: ‘Plane’ is Just Plain Offensive

January is often said to be a dumping ground for studios to release their pretty terrible films. And in some cases you’ll see a movie like M3GAN and be pleasantly surprised when it’s actually quite good. But then a movie like Plane comes along that’s just so horribly offensive and, simply put, bad, that it reinforces the stereotype of this being the month for garbage movies.

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NOC Review: ‘M3GAN’ is a Hilarious Horror Hoot

Oh man. I haven’t laughed this hard in a theater in a long time! I once said in my review for James Wan’s Malignant, that sometimes you don’t know which “Wan” you’re going to get: “serious Conjuring Wan” or “silly Dead Silence Wan.”

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NOC Review: ‘The Fabelmans’ is Fine

It’s award season, which means every studio is going to tout their maudlin batch of contenders that qualify as “cinema” all over town. Trying to get voters to desperately nominate them for every award, while name-dropping the who’s-who of bait-worthy talent — all while every self-important and self-proclaimed “cinephile” pretends to preach about the difference between true “art” and “garbage” as if they invented the concept of “film” and are the authorities between what “real filmmaking” is and isn’t.

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‘The Hater’ Has an Earnest Heart

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 showed that real life had become more like a season of television than ever before. Two years into Joe Biden’s presidency — and in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection — our identity as citizens in this country has become increasingly fragmented from each other. What is best for our communities has fallen to the wayside as it has become harder to find common ground. So when The Hater — written, directed and acted by the multi-talented Joey Ally — finally ended and credits began to roll, I finally realized what had been missing in so many other pieces of media about politics in the world of Fake News and political team sports. 

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‘Hot Blooded: Once upon a Time’ is Intriguing But Disjointed

How much are you willing to pay to become king? Is the price of having wealth, power, or respect worth the pain or death it brings? Hot Blooded: Once Upon A TIme In Korea succeeds in tackling these themes, as well as the perpetual cycle of violence, with a poetic focus that left me intrigued with what it was trying to say, even though I’m not sure if it was clear enough.

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NOC Review: ‘Babylon’ is a Vulgar, Messy, and Compelling Cinematic Cacophony

I’ll tell you this. You’re not going to find a more insane movie this holiday season than Babylon. From its opening minutes, the glitz and glamour of 1920s Hollywood is utterly shattered as the film showers its viewers and characters in filth. I kid you not, there’s at least three to four scenes in those opening minutes alone where… bodily fluids… are expelled at or on various characters (which by the way continues sporadically throughout the movie).

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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Sinks More than It Floats

When James Cameron’s Avatar premiered in 2009, it represented a landmark moment in visual effects for film. Cameron made some of the most effective use of CGI and motion-capture performances since Andy Serkis’ brilliant portrayal of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Na’vi, as alien and as CGI as they were, felt real to audiences as their animation took realistic form, as did the stunningly beautiful planet of Pandora. But while these visual effects were a spectacle, the story itself, while moving at times, was simplistic and derivative of other films in the realm of colonists and Indigenous peoples.

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NOC Review: ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’ is the Best ‘Shrek’ Movie in Years

Yes, it’s true that Dreamworks Animation has had to live in the shadow of Pixar Animation studios for some time. But I truly think audiences tend to underestimate them. The first two Shrek movies are terrific. The entire How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is a masterpiece (one of the few film trilogies ever where all entries are fantastic). And even the Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar franchises are well done. It seems the impact great filmmakers like Guillermo Del Toro and Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois has indeed (much like the fearless feline protagonist of the film this review is for) left an indelible mark. Because case in point, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is surprisingly quite good.

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‘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’

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 was 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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