NOC Review: ‘The Suicide Squad’ is Pure Comic Book Punk Rock

You’ll have to forgive me for geeking out just a bit here. But I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this insane movie twice now, and I still want more. I cannot begin to describe to you all how much I enjoyed this movie the first time, and even how much more I enjoyed it the second time around. The Suicide Squad is James Gunn off the leash! And I think comic book movies will be better for it!

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‘Snake Eyes’ Rolls High With Experimental Take on Classic Character’s Origin

I couldn’t tell you much about the G.I. Joe universe. I know the pamphlet description: a group of U.S. anti-terrorists militants devoted to truth, justice, and never skipping leg day. I know that there are not one, but two live-action movies that I remember seeing, but couldn’t recite either premise even under pressure. And now, I know that whatever those other movies were doing, they were definitely focusing on the wrong Joe.

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NOC Review: ‘Snake Eyes’ is a Win for the ‘G.I. Joe’ Franchise

Disclaimer: I would like to apologize in advance to everyone out there who is a huge G.I. Joe fan, because you’re about to read a review from someone who isn’t a hardcore fan. I have heard mixed things about the film from a hardcore fan perspective, and I know some of the fans aren’t happy the mythology was changed. I would like you to know that if that’s the case, I’ve been there.

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NOC Review: This ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ is Unfortunately Bland

If there were two words I would use to describe Gunpowder Milkshake it would be “wasted talent.”

I really wanted to like this one. These are some of the finest actresses ever to grace the screen. Karen Gillan is a badass. Lena Headey is incredible. Angela Bassett is a talent powerhouse. Carla Gugino has always been one of the most underrated character actresses ever. And Michelle Yeoh is simply a legend. But unfortunately the awkward direction of this movie fails them hard in a film that should absolutely be better than it actually is.

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‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ is For the Children (and Pop Culture Fanatics)

It was only 25 years ago when a major movie studio decided to take the world’s greatest athlete and put him in the world of Looney Tunes. Back in 1996, Space Jam was a phenomenon that sprung action figures, merchandise, comics, and video games.

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‘Black Widow’ Thrives on Epic Action, Family, and Legacy

We’ve needed a Black Widow film since the character was first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Throughout the eleven years with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), audiences have learned so much about the character’s difficult upbringing in the infamous Red Room to her time with the Avengers and her  ultimate sacrifice in Endgame. In Black Widow, we are given a glimpse into Natasha’s past and how that made her into the badass assassin we know today. 

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NOC Review: ‘F9’ is F-ing Ridiculous… Yet Still Sorta Fun!

I’ll say it upfront right now, this is probably the most ridiculous installment yet in terms of what they try to get away with in this one. I mean even for a franchise where someone can crash a car through three skyscrapers and survive without a scratch, they do stuff here that just makes zero sense, and it’s incredibly laughable because of it. But let’s be honest, we know the franchise is going to try crap like this, because the filmmakers are blissfully aware about how stupid all of this is, and that makes it honestly a lot more acceptable.

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Jumping In With the Cast and Creators of Pixar’s ‘Luca’

One of the most wonderful things about working with The Nerds of Color is that I find myself constantly in the most fortunate position of getting to meet some of the best, most talented individuals working today. And when you think about talent in Hollywood, few brands come to mind greater than Pixar Animation Studios. In celebration of the release of its newest masterpiece, Luca, which hits Disney+ today, I was fortunate enough to meet with the director and producer of the film, Enrico Casarosa and Andrea Warren, as well as legendary comedian, Jim Gaffigan (who voices Lorenzo in the film), and two of the most talented young actors working in the industry today: Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Alberto, and Jacob Tremblay, who plays the titular character, Luca Paguro.

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NOC Review: Pixar’s ‘Luca’ is Molto Bello

I’ve done several Pixar reviews for this site already, dating back to Toy Story 4 through to Soul. And every single one I cover tends to start with the usual: something something unique, something something they set the standard, etc. By now you know the drill. They’re still considered the best in the business. And while several other animation studios are worthy of the mantle (particularly Laika, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Sony Pictures Animation are coming for it), at this juncture, Pixar’s only greatest competition is Pixar.

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‘In the Heights’ Captures the Beauty of Washington Heights and the Community Behind It

It seems like only yesterday when national treasure and lyricist genius Lin-Manuel Miranda graced the Richard Rodgers Theatre as Usnavi in the Broadway production of In the Heights. Now, 13 years later, the Tony Award-winning musical is finally premiering on the big screen next month. 

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NOC Review: A Worthy Return to ‘A Quiet Place’

As I came up with the title for this review, I got emotional. It’s been a long, difficult time for me not being able to enjoy a film in a darkened theater. You see, film is my second passion (behind superhero comic books of course), and while going to the cinema is an absolutely necessary sacrifice in the name of public health and safety, I can’t deny I’ve missed it. And A Quiet Place Part II represents the first film I’ve seen in a theater since March of 2020.

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HBO Max is Hosting a ‘Mortal Kombat’ Watch Party with the Kast Tonight

Heyyy NOC Readers! It’s Kuya P and I just got word from my friends over at HBO Max that they have gathered some of the amazing cast to do a watch party for Mortal Kombat currently in Theaters and streaming now on HBO Max!

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A “Short” Conversation with ’22 Vs. Earth’ Director Kevin Nolting and a Mini-Review

They may have won the Oscar this year, but Pixar has not lost its “Soul.” That’s right! As we reported recently, this Friday, Pixar is debuting its latest short, 22 Vs. Earth on Disney+. The film is a prequel to last year’s Oscar winner for Best Animated Film, and recipient of the highly coveted “Mike Manalo’s Favorite Movie of the Year Award,” Soul. It reunites us with the hilarious Tina Fey as 22, as well as the unborn souls and the Jerrys, prior to 22 meeting Joe Gardner. And to commemorate the return to The Great Before, The Nerds of Color was given the opportunity to participate in a short press event with other members of the press, to speak to the short film’s director, Kevin Nolting.

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NOC Review: ‘Mortal Kombat’ is Not a Flawless Victory

It’s ironic that this would be a review I’m covering following Godzilla Vs. Kong because it actually has the opposite problem. It’s great from a POC standpoint. But it’s just not a very good movie, I’m afraid. Yes, it’s my unfortunate responsibility to tell you that Mortal Kombat is a dud. It’s a bland entry to the list of barely passable video game adaptations that would ultimately leave Shang Tsung starving, because it has no real soul to suck from it anyway. While not completely atrocious, it is about as forgettable and lifeless as, say, 2018’s Tomb Raider reboot.

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NOC Review: ‘Stowaway’ is Thought-Provoking and Soulful

We’ve seen it a lot in our lifetimes, but after decades of films like The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, or The Martian, studios are finding that there’s something about space movies that usually allows for filmmakers to speak more profoundly about universal truths regarding humanity. Much of the time, it is about the strength of the human spirit, and the will and determination to survive. And Netflix’s Stowaway, is no exception. However, interestingly enough, where Stowaway deviates from the formula, is that it introduces the twist of a philosophical conundrum that says more about humanity than many other films I’ve seen in years: what if literally not everyone actually can survive? What options do you have then?

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NOC Review: The Snyder Cut is Good, Actually

Long time readers of this site will know that I have a a complicated history with Zack Snyder’s take on DC’s most iconic characters. While my opinion on his first foray, Man of Steel1, has waxed and waned over the years, I’ve never been able to see Batman v Superman as anything more than a convoluted mess of bombast and pretension feigning to be more profound than it actually was (Batman’s fight in the warehouse was cool, I guess). Moreover, the ferocity of the online debate about these films — both the religiosity of Snyder’s fans and the unnecessary cruelty of his detractors — turned me off to the whole enterprise. Talking about these movies on the internet was not worth the hassle or the harassment (says the guy who actively engaged in online arguments defending Last Jedi for at least three years).

In other words, I didn’t come into my screening of Zack Snyder’s Justice League (the official title of the Snyder Cut which will finally be streaming on HBO Max on March 18) with a lot of high expectations. Well dear reader, I am as surprised as anyone to say that not only did I like what I saw, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing how a proper sequel to this version might play out. Oh my god, am I actually hopping on the #RestoreThe Snyderverse bandwagon?!

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NOC Presents: A SEA Conversation about ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

With Raya and the Last Dragon out for about a week now, there are many thoughts and opinions being shared across the Internet about it. While a few of us here at The Nerds of Color have written extensively about Disney’s first Southeast Asian film, I thought it would be appropriate to gather together the Southeast Asian Nerds of Color writers and discuss it. Together with Laura Sirikul, Mike Manalo, and Patrick Michael Strange, in a conversation about as long as Raya and the Last Dragon itself, we go in-depth on everything from the film’s plot, how it tackled the topic of trust, the characters, the majority East Asian cast, the lack of Filipino culture and actors, and more.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers from Raya and the Last Dragon.

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Netflix’s ‘Moxie’ Should Have Been a TV Series

There is nothing wrong with a good ole’ fashion teen feminism story. It seems the appropriate time to show off the power of angry women at a time when men, who behave badly, still seem to get away with it, especially one targeted towards teenagers. Directed by Amy Poehler, who is known for her funny, tough characters, Moxie is a cute story about girl power that’s been done before but, this time, written to fit this generation’s wokeness.

Based on the 2015 YA book of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie follows a shy and very sheltered high school junior named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who lays low to avoid any attention. She has lived in the shadows of high school with her childhood best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai of Terrace House fame). It’s not until the arrival of a new student, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) who quickly becomes a target for speaking up against popular jock, Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger), that Vivian realizes how sexist her school is. Inspired by her mother’s (Poehler) teenage rebellion stage and a Bikini Kill song her mother used to play for her, Vivian creates her own anonymous feminist zine — ‘Moxie’ — calling out the toxic behavior from classmates and the school, led by Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden). The zine is a hit among the girls in school sparking a Moxie Club created to topple the patriarchy — or at least in the school.

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NOC Review: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is Relevant, Rollicking, and Remarkable

In 1937, Walt Disney debuted something that changed the history of cinema — the release of the first full length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This in turn gave birth to Walt Disney Animation Studios and a long history (at times problematic) of classic stories and adventures involving dragons and princesses that has, for the most part, arguably withstood the test of time from generation to generation. But generations change. Art and time change the world and, in turn, the world and time must also change art. Our expectations on the types of stories we can tell, and the cultural sources of those stories must evolve and expand, because life has become more complicated since 1937. And thus today (or rather this Friday), the world will see how far we’ve come since Snow White, when Disney introduces the world to it’s newest game-changer Raya and the Last Dragon. Now you’re probably thinking, “C’mon. Is it really a game-changer? How? Why?” And if you are thinking that, first off, that’s just rude (just kidding). And second, if you’ve been reading my reviews long enough I’m sure you’re used to my dramatic flair for hyperbole. However, to answer your question, yes. I believe it is.

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NOC Review: ‘Us Again’ Charms Right Before ‘Raya’

If you have the great fortune of seeing Raya and the Last Dragon in a safe, socially distant drive-in theater this coming weekend, I’m happy to say you’ll be treated to a neat little short from Walt Disney Feature Animation called Us Again.

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NOC Review: ‘They Call Me Babu’ Visualizes an Untold Story

The archival documentary filmmaking style is able to take us to times long past that can’t necessarily be recreated with the same sensitivity and grace through mere recreation — as opposed to just seeing footage of the actual subject matter in question. Unlike casting an actor to portray someone else’s experience or reinterpreting events through animation, using archival footage helps to see the real faces that once lived in spaces that no longer exist, to actual haunting, horrifying scenes of war in places where peace now exists. This synthesizes both the preservation of both art and history, because beyond just pinning names to a person on a list, archival footage can help better visualize untold stories and those who lived through them. 

They Call Me Babu is an documentary that composites archival footage to tell the story of Alima, a nanny who worked for a Dutch family in the former Dutch East Indies — Indonesia — during the 1940s. It originally premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) to audiences within the Netherlands. It was also slated to debut and tour in other regions in 2020, if not for the disruption of many events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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NOC Review: Optimistic ‘Flora and Ulysses’ Will Charm Even The Most Cynical

I gotta say, the cynic in me considers many family comedies to be easy cash grabs of slapstick energy designed to pull in a few bucks for multi-billion dollar studios targeting the wallets of easily amused kids and their parents … Continue reading NOC Review: Optimistic ‘Flora and Ulysses’ Will Charm Even The Most Cynical