NinjaGO or NinjaNO? – A LEGO Ninjago Review

Following the success of the first two films comes the newest sibling to the LEGO world: The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Was it as full of color and artistically beautiful as the first two?

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Review: X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse.

I swore I wouldn’t write a review for the film. Primarily because any review I penned would pale in comparison to the excellent piece penned by my buddy and fellow N.O.C. colleague, Valerie Complex.

Seriously if you haven’t read it, go do so now. Val snatched so many wigs and edges, you would’ve thought Director Bryan Singer and Fox were members of the Charles Xavier Cosplay Appreciation Society.

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X-Men Apocalypse: Fox Wins But People of Color Lose

Don’t expect this movie to rely heavily on the source material. Director Bryan Singer presents a film that’s a hodge-podge of various stories made up by people who know nothing about the X-Men. Aside from Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Apocalypse (Oscar Issac, doing well with whatever the hell he is given) being mildly entertaining, they can’t save the film from imploding. Everyone else is either used as filler or bores you to death with their on-screen presence. Choppy action scenes are put in place to mask the uninteresting, underdeveloped characters, cheesy dialogue, Playstation 2-quality special effects, and makeup that looks like it was bought from the bargain bin at Chapel Hill Beauty Supply. The worst part is the newcomers don’t get their chance to shine like the trailer would have you believe. Particularly the characters of color.

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These Actresses are Not Asian or Pacific Islanders

Depending on where you stake your claim on the internet, there has been a lot of chatter about a movie that tanked at the box office1 and another one that isn’t due in theaters for at least another year. The thing that links these seemingly disparate films is that both thought casting white women as characters who are written as Asian American and Pacific Islander was a good idea.

Last night, the director of one of those films — Cameron Crowe — finally broke his silence and offered this explanation for why he cast Emma Stone (Amazing Spider-Man) as a character called Allison Ng:

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Olivia Munn is Psylocke

On Monday, director Bryan Singer revealed on Instagram that he had cast Newsroom star Olivia Munn as Psylocke in the upcoming reboot/sequel X-Men: Apocalypse. And if you’re wondering, Pyslocke was previously portrayed by Mei Melançon in X-Men: The Last Stand, but everyone knows that movie doesn’t count (and after the events of the last X-Men movie, none of the other ones do either).

Due in theaters next year, Apocalypse continues the period-set aesthetic of the new X-Men franchise. While First Class was set in the 1960s and Days of Future Past in the 1970s, Apocalypse will take place during the 1980s, which is fitting since that’s the time period that saw Betsy Braddock go from a supporting role in Captain Britain to a full-fledged member of the X-Men. She’s also one of the first characters to undergo a convoluted, but canonical, race swap in the pages of the comic.

Anyway, some of the Nerds convened around the old Roundtable to talk about Olivia’s casting in the next X-Men film.

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Asian Americans Should be Movie Stars: an Update

So a few days ago, I wrote a thing. Maybe you’ve seen it. Ever since that post has been passed around, I’ve been taken to task about the stars I included (or didn’t include) on the list and whether or not I was basically proving Sorkin’s point by coming up with only three names.

On the first point, the names I included were not meant to be my casting suggestions for the role of Brad Katsuyama in a hypothetical Flash Boys movie. Instead, I was more concerned with Sorkin’s assertion that Asian movie stars didn’t exist. So I went to Box Office Mojo, and scanned their list of actors’ all-time domestic grosses and looked for the ones who were (North) American of Asian descent — whether or not you think hapas or Pacific Islanders should’ve been appropriately considered criteria is another matter1.

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There are No Asian American Movie Stars

Last week, North Korean hackers allegedly broke into the personal files of Sony Pictures execs as retaliation for the studio producing the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy The Interview, which is about a CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Normally, we’d be all over the nerd-friendly news about, say, Spider-Man coming home to Marvel Studios, but that’s been covered plenty of times on the web. Besides, we already told the world the best way to mashup Spidey and the MCU.

The thing to emerge out of the Sony leak that really bugged me was the assertion by Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that “there aren’t any Asian movie stars.”

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