‘When I’m A Moth’ is Beautiful but Doesn’t Say Anything

Waking from a dream never felt so unfinished as it did when I reached the end credits of When I’m A Moth, an independent film directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak, written by Cotler. It’s a film that on paper has all the markings of being an arthouse darling — a small cast, eerie poetic dream visuals, pontifications on choice and fate with a going nowhere protagonist and yet, as I rose from my seat afterwards, it felt as if I was remembering a half dream. Unable to finish the thought of what it wanted to be but fascinated by the parts I could remember.

Continue reading “‘When I’m A Moth’ is Beautiful but Doesn’t Say Anything”

NOC Review: ‘Shang-Chi’ is Spectacular

Whether it’s an overall sense of fatigue from mainstream audiences who aren’t into comic book films, or perhaps a general sense of pandemic malaise from folks unsatisfied with the state of entertainment these days, it seems like the momentum and good will the MCU has cultivated the past 12 years has turned to mixed sentiment for most of this year.

Continue reading “NOC Review: ‘Shang-Chi’ is Spectacular”

‘Americanish’ Shines a Heartwarming Light on its Community

Iman Zahawry provides a refreshing and heartwarming romantic comedy centered in a community that is so often ignored in media. What might feel like a run of the mill indie film straight from the early 2010s, the films sets itself apart and elevates itself with its likable characters and message of trying to find one’s independence and what it means to be Americanish.

Continue reading “‘Americanish’ Shines a Heartwarming Light on its Community”

‘Unapologetic’ is an Unflinching Exploration of Activism

“What is this helping?” is one of the first sentences uttered by a white restaurant patron unsettled in Unapologetic’s first scene, where protestors express the reality of the recent deaths of Black residents in their community to unsuspecting people eating brunch at restaurants. The scene perfectly encompasses the themes and motives of this documentary: a large and triumphant call to arms to make a more honest and equal world while people sit quietly trying to ignore not only the performance, but the actual knowledge of those who are destroyed and subjugated by these injustices.

Continue reading “‘Unapologetic’ is an Unflinching Exploration of Activism”

‘Nebulous Dark’ Can’t Time Travel Enough to Be a Strong Movie

A nightmare-fueled time-traveling plot unravels in Shahin Sean Solimon’s new film, Nebulous Dark, a sci-fi movie about the world’s last human man as he wakes from deep sleep to find the Earth has been conquered by aliens. This sounds pretty straight forward for a plot, but this is only how I could fully understand the film after watching it and reading the synopsis again. If you were to watch Nebulous Dark after only seeing the trailer, as I did, you would find an almost surreal, nihilist nightmare of a film that I can’t tell if it’s poorly edited and poorly written, or if it’s actively trying to attack the viewer on a subconscious level. What I was left with was an art piece that genuinely intrigues me and is unintentionally funny, by a film that takes itself incredibly seriously.

Continue reading “‘Nebulous Dark’ Can’t Time Travel Enough to Be a Strong Movie”

NOC Review: ‘What If’ Recontextualizes the MCU

I’m going to do something a bit different for this one. You see, unlike the past three MCU shows we’ve been treated to (wow, I can’t believe we live in a world where I get to say something like that that!), What If takes more of an anthology approach ala Black Mirror and Twilight Zone. And that, essentially, was the spirit of the original comic book series.

Continue reading “NOC Review: ‘What If’ Recontextualizes the MCU”

‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ Burns Bright

Two cites, two fires, and rising temperatures flare up in Bring Your Own Brigade, an American documentary film by Lucy Walker, following the aftermath of the 2018 California Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire that destroyed Paradise and Malibu, California.

Continue reading “‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ Burns Bright”

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!

Continue reading “NOC Review: ‘The Suicide Squad’ is Pure Comic Book Punk Rock”

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “NOC Review: This ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ is Unfortunately Bland”

‘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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Ray Fawkes’ ‘One Line’ is a Visual Symphony”

‘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. 

Continue reading “‘Never Have I Ever’ Charms as it Deals with Grief and Growing Up”

‘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. 

Continue reading “‘Black Widow’ Thrives on Epic Action, Family, and Legacy”

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “Jumping In With the Cast and Creators of Pixar’s ‘Luca’”

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.

Continue reading “NOC Review: Pixar’s ‘Luca’ is Molto Bello”

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.

Continue reading “Flight School Studio’s ‘Stonefly’ is a Must-Play Indie Game”

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.

Continue reading “NOC Review: ‘The Conjuring 3’ is a Solid ‘X-Files’ Episode”

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.

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

‘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.

Continue reading “‘La Mano del Destino’ Creates a Vivid, Action-packed Luchaverse”

‘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. 

Continue reading “‘In the Heights’ Captures the Beauty of Washington Heights and the Community Behind It”

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.

Continue reading “NOC Review: A Worthy Return to ‘A Quiet Place’”