Director Steve McQueen’s newest Prime Video documentaries on West Indian and Caribbean life in 20th century London are necessary viewing. In a style similar to Ava DuVernay’s 13th, the Academy Award-winning director stitches together archival footage and thoughtful interviews that spotlight the violent history of some of London’s most vulnerable communities. Subnormal: A British Scandal, Black Power: A British Story of Resistance, and Uprising document the racially motivated atrocities that plagued black and brown neighborhoods across London in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and captures the delicate maneuverings of McQueen’s cinematic eye.Continue reading “Steve McQueen Highlights Necessary Histories with New Documentaries”
This week on Shelf Conscious, Keith welcomes action figure photographer and collector, Greg from the Instagram account Deeez Action Figures!Continue reading “‘The Real Black Series’ with Deeez Action Figures”
Before he was briefly wielding Luke’s lightsaber, or taking down entire fleets of Stormtroopers, John Boyega was part of a little project called Attack the Block. “Little” of course being a massive understatement. Though it took a minute, Attack the Block became a smash success, developing a cult following thanks to its clever blend of science fiction horror and comedy. That, and its incredible cast that included John Boyega, Jodie Whitaker, and Nick Frost.Continue reading “Grab Your Baseball Caps: ‘Attack The Block 2’ is Official”
by Jamal Igle
(Warning: This essay is filled with spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)
After 42 years, the Skywalker Saga comes to a close with the release of The Rise of Skywalker. Keith was joined by Jamie Noguchi to screen the movie at Baltimore’s historic Senator Theater. Here are their instant reactions. SPOILERS!
Let’s be honest. The reason you, the skeptic who hated on The Last Jedi for two years (not me, but you know who you are!), went on this site and clicked on this review is to find out whether or not Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is any good. But the answer to this isn’t a simple one. Now before the cynic in you dismisses the movie entirely just because it’s not an overwhelmingly positive “yes,” just know that it’s not terrible either. To put it simply, in a year where we had Avengers: Endgame and the finale of Game of Thrones, The Rise of Skywalker, the conclusion to the 40 year Skywalker saga, is squarely in between: neither as amazingly uplifting and universally praised, nor as abysmally disappointing and anticlimactic as some other fantasy finales that pissed me off.
With Rise of Skywalker and the end of the Skywalker Saga at the end of the month to look forward to, Hard NOC Life is going to be a Star Wars podcast for the month of December. Because there aren’t enough Star Wars podcasts on the internet! Each week, Dominic and Keith will be breaking down a different trilogy that make up the beloved Star Wars franchise.
Finally, after weeks of anticipation — and one half of terrible football (unless you were a New England Patriots fan) — the world finally got to see the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and ultimately, the final trailer of the Skywalker Saga. And it did not disappoint!
On a new episode of Hard NOC Life, our intrepid Star Wars correspondent Constance Gibbs reports back on her snowy adventure in Chicago for Star Wars Celebration.
Are you freaking out? Because we’re freaking out.
Ever since Kelly Marie Tran was bullied off of social media by Star Wars fanboys, an age-old debate in nerd circles has reemerged: Why is fandom so broken?
Black Panther is to cinema as Rakim is to Hip-Hop.
I stand by this statement.
All week, rabid Star Wars fans have been debating the merits of the most recent entry into the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Directed by Rian Johnson and starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Kelly Marie Tran, Carrie Fisher, and Luke Skywalker, The Last Jedi has proven to be the most polarizing entry in the Lucasfilm canon. To break down what they thought of the movie, Keith invited his DC TV Classics co-host Britney Monae.
To properly analyze Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you have to go beyond the trappings of fandom and look at the movie as a part of a larger product of Disney/Lucasfilm storytelling. Approaching this as anything other than a corporate juggernaut mainly concerned with moving merchandise and building the next generation of consumers will result in total anger, confusion, and regret. This might sound cynical and cold, but it’s only the acknowledgment that Hollywood cinema is big business and sometimes actual art will slip through the image factory despite their best efforts to curtail imagination and wonder.
I’m not saying The Last Jedi lacks imagination or wonder, but there’s definitely a middling corporate influence throughout the movie that simultaneously keeps the movie in an inoffensive zone of bland character moments while setting up Rian Jonhson’s long-term vision for the Star Wars franchise.
What makes The Last Jedi interesting, though, is that it deliberately erases the nostalgic underpinnings of the Star Wars saga being about the Skywalker clan. Now this is where you see a lot of online outrage regarding The Last Jedi (even when you remove the knee-jerk right-wing racist backlash to the movie being “too diverse“) with the main complaint is that it “feels different” than previous Star Wars films.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
As is customary whenever a new Star Wars film is about to come out, Vanity Fair runs a special edition with gorgeous photographs by the renowned Annie Liebovitz. The Last Jedi is no exception since the magazine just released four special variant covers to this year’s Star Wars issue. They’re all great, but one photo definitely stands out the most for us nerds of color:
This morning was the long anticipated Last Jedi panel at the annual Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, and it didn’t disappoint. In addition to seeing Force Awakens breakouts John Boyega and Daisy Ridley reunite on stage, the world was officialy introduced to Kelly Marie Tran. Even better? We finally got a sense of who her mysterious character is and how she fits in the saga.
Last week was a pretty discouraging one for the APA community — and for all POC folks — with Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi, Tilda Swinton as a bald Tibetan monk, and Nat Wolff as Light Yagami. There has been massive outrage on many fronts and thankfully, the concern has been taken seriously by major publications such as the Hollywood Reporter. Over here at NOC, it’s been covered numerous times, so it’s safe to say that the anger and frustration is still very much present for many of us.
Let’s, for the time being, look at a happier place; to a story where a relatively unknown Asian American actress by the name of Kelly Marie Tran has been cast to play the new female lead for Star Wars Episode VIII. Not much is known about the role but being an actor in Los Angeles, it helped knowing a few folks who went in when auditions took place last September. The role was open to ALL ETHNICITIES and was surely for the new female lead in the upcoming Star Wars chapter. Whoever would get the role had to have a chemistry test with John Boyega (whether it’s a love interest for Finn or someone who is best friends with him is unknown) and once they nailed that, the rest would be history.
Stormpilot: It’s the fandom pairing of the decade! And it just might come true.
“Girl, please,” you might be saying, but just listen to me! Not only could it happen, but if it does, it’ll change the game forever (and in a good way.) First let’s get into the timeline. Keep in mind: the timeline is intense. Let’s get into it:
Note: No big spoilers here, at least nothing beyond what’s shown in the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and what occurs in the first 15 minutes of the film.
The essential psychology of the Star Wars saga is mindfulness. “Using the force” is all about embracing the present moment. That’s what Yoda taught Luke and it’s something Anakin never picked up from Obi-Wan.
Mindfulness continues to be a part of J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I can’t get into specifics because things would get spoilery, but it’s safe to say the climax of the film is a moment of mindfulness. We also see new characters develop meaning in their lives, just like Han Solo did in the original trilogy. The way The Force Awakens honors the past mythology (and psychology) of Star Wars while also refreshing it for a new generation is a big reason why I’m a fan of the film.
by Jamal Igle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a juggernaut. Critically acclaimed and the current holder of the title of “biggest film opening of all time.” It’s an engaging film that engrosses the viewer and harkens back to the early days of franchise. As it is with all things pop culture, particularly in the age of internet piety, the film also has its detractors. The complaints range across the spectrum but one of the most pointed complaints have been towards Finn, the character portrayed by British actor John Boyega. Two writers whom I’m good friends with — Hannibal Tabu and Joe Illidge — have both written pieces complaining about the character for similar reasons, calling him inept, and even neutered.
I love you guys, you know I do, but I couldn’t disagree with you more. Now this is going to be a rather spoiler filled piece, so if you haven’t seen the movie, now’s your time to hit the eject button and go look at Buzzfeed.
You might not have known, but a little movie opens this weekend. It’s called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Heard of it? Well, it’s already shattering box office records worldwide, and it’ll probably be the highest grossing movie of the year. And there’s only two more weeks left in the year.
Anyway, a bunch of the NOCs have already seen the movie and want to share their thoughts. We’ll be updating this Roundtable throughout the weekend as more of us head out to the multiplex. In the meantime, know that anything and everything after the jump are massive Star Wars spoilers. Be warned.