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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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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Ray Fawkes’ ‘One Line’ is a Visual Symphony

There’s something oracular about Ray Fawkes’ One Line — the whole One Soul series, frankly — but this book particularly stretches the boundaries of sequential art and meta-comics, and reading it gives me the sense that as I turn the pages, the book is also reading me. You don’t need to have read One Soul or The People Inside to enjoy One Line, though it helps in appreciating the journey of the series’ experimental, multilinear form.

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‘Never Have I Ever’ Charms as it Deals with Grief and Growing Up

Never Have I Ever returns this week for its sophomore season, and it seems like our protagonist, Indian American teenager Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), has not learned her lesson from last season on how to be a better person. As shown in the trailers, the second season starts with Devi having to deal with two romantic suitors — Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet) and Ben Gross (Jared Lewison) — and attempting to juggle them both. Of course we know it will lead to heartbreak for the trio and leaves Devi in a really difficult place trying to make things right. There were many times I felt aggravated watching Devi make mistake after mistake and felt like she was never really growing as a person. The thing is, nobody is perfect and as annoying as Devi is when mistakes are made, Never Have I Ever still finds a way to make it as charming and relatable as possible. 

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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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Flight School Studio’s ‘Stonefly’ is a Must-Play Indie Game

This week, the folks at Flight School Studios and MWM Interactive released their indie mech title, Stonefly. The adventure game is a chill yet wholly beautifully exploration of legacy, resource gathering and mech building, as players follow Annika Stonefly in her search for her father’s stolen rig. After a late-night excursion, Annika mistakenly leaves the garage door storing the mech wide open, leaving it victim to a theft that launches our main character on her journey through dangerous and captivating flora and fauna.

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NOC Review: ‘The Conjuring 3’ is a Solid ‘X-Files’ Episode

No, not literally (although, that would be pretty freakin’ amazing if there was a crossover). I realized I am aging myself quite considerably with the comparison (so if it makes you feel better, comparing it to a Supernatural episode would be no less apt). However, I bring it up because, in a lot of ways, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It actually reminded me more of an episode of The X-Files than a Conjuring movie. And, also in a lot of ways, that is a mostly good thing.

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Scholastic’s ‘Miles Morales: Shock Waves’ is Exactly What My Inner Teen Needed

*SPOILERS AHEAD!*

My earliest memories of my elementary and middle school Scholastic Book Fairs saw massive collections of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps, loads of nonsensical ’90s tech, and the burgeoning mystery genre before it really took off in young adult literature. Super hero graphic novels were almost nonexistent for kids and teenagers in school spaces in the late ’90s and early 2000s, so it goes without saying that best-selling author Justin A. Reynolds (Opposite of Always) and Eisner-nominated artist Pablo Leon’s Miles Morales: Shock Waves is a gift to the teen in me.

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‘La Mano del Destino’ Creates a Vivid, Action-packed Luchaverse

¡Mira! El Luchador is coming — and not just any luchador — La Mano del Destino, the champion with a mission, the fighter bent on reclaiming his rightful place in the ring, the man with the weight of revolutionary history upon him.

In La Mano del Destino, a new release from Top Cow and Image Comics, J. Gonzo creates a vivid, action-packed Luchaverse for us — an alternate 1960s Mexico that takes us into the Mexican sport lucha libre (literally “free wrestling”) and the home and memories of our hero, La Mano del Destino.

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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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‘Time Before Time’ Review: Leave Your Troubles Behind

What would you do if you could leave all your troubles in the past, literally? If starting over again was as easy as hopping in a rickety metal box, pressing a few buttons, and starting life anew in a completely different century? That’s the question posed in Time Before Time, a brand new series written by Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville with art by Joe Palmer.

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NOC Review: With ‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch,’ Filoni Triumphs Again

May the Fourth be with you!

Today, we commemorate a franchise that is loved unconditionally. From the biggest disasters (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Rise of Skywalker) to the biggest wins (Empire Strikes Back, Rogue One, The Mandalorian), Star Wars has been the one franchise whose highest highs make it simply impossible for us to quit. The Original Trilogy is, and always will be, regarded as one of the greatest film sagas of all time. The prequel trilogy and the sequel trilogy, however…?

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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: ‘Chad’ is Good, but Revels in Cringe

Being a Middle Eastern kid in an American high school can be an awkward experience. You may struggle to fit in and have an unclear sense of your identity, making friends and relationships as a result. With the new show Chad on TBS, in which she plays the titular 14-year old character, Nasim Pedrad seeks to encompass that experience through reveling in the awkwardness that being an insecure MENA teenager can often entail. And it works for the most part, though the humor sometimes falls flat, especially when it leans too much into the awkwardness.

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Action-Filled ‘Kung Fu’ Reboot is Relatable for Asian Americans

It has been almost 50 years since the premiere of 1972’s western martial arts series Kung Fu, which starred white actor David Carradine yellowfacing as a mixed Asian Shaolin monk. Back then, that was the norm for Asian character roles. But now, Kung Fu is getting a complete reboot/retelling of the story and righting the wrongs that were made from the original. Developed by Greg Berlanti and Wendy Mericle, the new series centers around a Chinese American woman, Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang), who returns home to San Francisco, after spending three years at a Shaolin Monastery in China to escape the familial pressure to be successful and marry into a nice Chinese family. Her time at the Monastery is cut short when her mentor/teacher, Pei-Ling (Vanessa Kai)  is murdered by a mysterious assassin. With nowhere else to turn to, Nicky returns home to face the family she abandoned and somehow find Pei-Ling’s killer. 

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Review: ‘Shadecraft #1’ Brings Some Light to the Darkness

As a teenager, it’s hard living underneath your popular siblings shadow. Zadie Lu knows quite well. She’s the little sister of the most popular kid in school who, after an accident, left him in a coma. It’s already hard being a teenager, but now be known as the girl with the brother who is in a coma. Despite the trauma of her brother’s condition, Zadie wants some normalcy in her life, but supernatural forces get in her way in the form of evil shadows.

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