Hard NOC Life 228: ScarJo Sues + ‘The Suicide Squad’ Set

Keith, Britney, and Dominic are back to celebrate Spider-Man Day, marvel over Scarlett Johansson’s decision to sue Disney, and Dominic’s visit to The Suicide Squad set. Also, shares how he really feels about Snake Eyes and they review the new Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer.

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NOC Interview: Olga Kurylenko on ‘Black Widow’

Incredibly excited to share this all with everyone. First of all, it’s the first Marvel Studios interview I’ve conducted in my life! And second, it couldn’t have been with a more wonderful actress — Olga Kurylenko!

Now for those of you who have not seen Black Widow yet, I not only encourage you to do so because 1.) it’s awesome (I really don’t care what the haters say!), and 2.) the below contains pretty heavy spoilers pertaining to the movie.

**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BLACK WIDOW**

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Hard NOC Life 225: ‘Black Widow’ Brings the MCU Back to Theaters

Keith returns to Hard NOC Life just in time to review the MCU’s return to the multiplex with Britney and Dominic. In addition to discussing what Black Widow’s box office dominance portends for the future, the crew also takes stock of the penultimate episode of Loki on Disney+.

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New Featurette for ‘Black Widow’ Reveals Connections to the MCU

This is it folks! This week, we’ll all finally get to see Black Widow! And in anticipation of the release of the film, Marvel Studios has released a new featurette for the film, featuring Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson talking about the film’s connections to the larger MCU.

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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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Springing into Action at the ‘Black Widow’ Press Conference

There’s honestly nothing in this world that makes me happier than Marvel Studios does. And naturally, we have not done a press conference for an MCU film since Endgame back in 2019. And I know we’ve had three shows to kick off Phase 4, of course; one of which I was lucky to attend a press conference for. But to be honest, there’s something different and special about the films that just represents everything we love about this universe. And to be able to say we’ll have the chance to return to theaters and see the MCU play out on the big screen again? That’s just incredibly exciting and wonderful!

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Updated: New ‘Black Widow’ Official Clip and Featurette Come In Hot + Tickets Now On Sale

This is it folks! Tickets for Marvel Studios’ Black Widow are now officially on sale! And while I got mine for the opening night event, I’ve noticed they are going faster than Quicksilver did in Age of Ultron (too soon?). However to celebrate our return to theaters and the release of real actual theatrical tickets, the good folks at Marvel Studios dropped another behind the scenes featurette highlighting the action from the film.

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New Look at ‘Black Widow’ Sneaks its Way Online

We’re almost there fans! Just a little over a month before we return to theaters (or Disney+ with Premier Access) for our next big MCU experience, Black Widow! With A Quiet Place Part II and Creulla lighting up the box office in a huge way this weekend, along with the excellent rate at which we’re getting people vaccinated, it’s not hard to speculate this could be the biggest theatrical opening ever in a post-pandemic world. And honestly, it’ll be nice to return to a theater again. We’ve of course loved WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Captain America and the Winter Soldier. And we’re absolutely sure we’re going to love Loki. But there’s honestly really nothing like the experience of seeing real MCU action on the biggest screen possible in a darkened theater. And Marvel Studios knows this!

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Marvel Studios Debuts Brand New Clip from ‘Black Widow’

Tonight during the MTV Movie Awards, Scarlett Johansson was honored with the MTV Generation Award for her contributions to Film and Television. And when you think about how much ScarJo has accomplished in her career at only 36, it makes you feel very unproductive. She’s barely older than me, and she’s ascended the ranks of SHIELD, stopped a Chitauri invasion, destroyed Ultron, fought Team Stark over the Sokovia Accords, fought Thanos, and avenged the world! In comparison, I review movies (which is admittedly a lot safer).

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New Character Posters for ‘Black Widow’ Appear

This morning Marvel Studios dropped a few really, really, really, ridiculously good looking posters for Black Widow showcasing the full ensemble! You can get a closer look at the Widow-family as well as Taskmaster and O-T Fagbenle’s characters below!

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Celebrate National Superhero Day with a New ‘Black Widow’ Featurette

Happy National Superhero Day, nerds! Today, in celebration of the “totally-made-up-but-shouldn’t-be” holiday, Marvel Studios has dropped a new look at Nat, Yelena, Taskmaster, etc. on us, further psyching us up for the film’s release in July (while also simultaneously taunting us about the fact that we haven’t seen it yet!). In the immortal words of Veruca Salt, “I WANT IT NOW!”

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New Trailer for ‘Black Widow’ Arrives

Oh man. In a perfect world we would have seen this movie almost a year ago. But for obvious reasons we just couldn’t. But make no mistake, our anticipation and desires have only grown stronger.

I miss Nat. And I’ve been dying to meet Yelena. And we all need to see the insanity that is The Taskmaster. So we need this movie in whatever way possible! Thankfully, it’s finally coming to theaters and now Disney+ with Premiere Access this July!

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‘Jojo Rabbit’ Sends a Timely Message via Satire, Fascism, and War

The 39th Hawaii International Film Festival is currently underway in Honolulu, and the 11-day event began with a stellar opening night screening last Thursday of Taika Waititi’s latest film, Jojo Rabbit. Set in Nazi Europe, the dark comedy loosely based on the Christine Leunens novel, Caging Skies, follows a 10-year-old Hitler Youth (Roman Griffin Davis) who finds out his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home. Through getting to know her, he comes to question his own beliefs, even in the midst of his imaginary friend, an idiotic version of Adolf Hitler played by Waititi himself, trying to tell him otherwise.

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The Middle Geeks Episode 3: ‘Ramy’ and Navigating Identity

In the third episode of The Middle Geeks, we review Hulu’s Ramy, an incisive and groundbreaking new series on the Middle Eastern-American experience. Listen to Swara and Mae as we talk about what we loved about the series, how it made us feel about our own identities, and how we think it could have done better. We also break down all the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DCTV news from San Diego Comic-Con and talk about how we’re excited about what’s coming forward!

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Hard NOC Life: Marvel’s Fantastic Phase Four

After a grueling week in San Diego, Dominic and Keith return to take stock of all of the bombshells that dropped during Marvel Studios’ lauded Hall H presentation. Plus, Keith speaks to A Wave Blue World VP of Sales and Marketing Lisa Wu and illustrator Steenz — who’s working on an upcoming anthology for AWBW this fall — live at the annual NOC Comic-Con meetup.

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Hard NOC Life: We’re in the ‘Endgame’ Now

After it demolished box office records around the globe, we finally talk about Avengers: Endgame! Though the film has been out for more than a week, you should be aware that the discussion will be filled with spoilers throughout.

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The Avengers Assemble for the ‘Endgame’

“We’re in the endgame now.” The ominous words of Doctor Strange rang in everyone’s ears almost  one year ago today. After months of crazy anticipation, and intense speculation by fans, we’re finally going to get closure and see what those words truly mean.

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The Only Whitewashing T-shirt You’ll Ever Need to Make a Statement

With the ever-growing list of whitewashed and white savior films and television series — including the recent release of the live-action anime film Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi — it’s no wonder many people are upset. However, a comedy troupe from UCB Los Angeles called Asian AF has decided a smart way to shed light on the whitewashing problem.

They created a shirt using just four words.

Scarlett. Emma. Tilda. Matt.

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Ghost in the Shell

Ghost In The Shell: Worse Than We Thought

On February 28, I saw a 15-minute sneak peek of the Hollywood adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. From the announcement of the project, this has always been a bad idea. But the announcement of the cast and story has made things much worse. Most noticeably, Hollywood adaptations of Japanese anime have yet to be successful. Either their stories veer too far from the source material, the director isn’t a good fit or the casting makes no sense. You would think Hollywood would learn, yet here we are, on the precipice of another anime-adapted flop.

Here are the takeaways from what I have seen of Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell so far.

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‘Ghost in the Shell’ and the Complexity of Cultural Appropriation

by Trungles

There is an old fairy tale popularized by Hans Christian Andersen as The Little Mermaid. I’m one of those odd first-and-a-half generation Vietnamese American immigrants, and tales of living in between spaces have always held my attention. The story goes that a little princess from a world under water wants to live on the land. She falls in love, exchanges her tongue for a pair of legs, and finds herself thrust into the unenviable circumstance of navigating a strange space where she literally has no voice. Ultimately finding no place for her in the world for which she had given up everything, she casts herself off the side of a ship into the ocean, drowns, and dissolves into sea foam. Victorian sentiments about Christianity and moralizing stories for children eventually got Andersen to amend the ending. This is more or less the state of Asian American identity politics. We’re always finding ourselves caught between “where we come from” and wherever we yearn to belong.

The buzz around the 2017 Ghost in the Shell film, among many other film and television projects of its ilk in recent memory, has ignited a bevy of thinkpieces about cultural appropriation and the nature of Asian American identity politics. The topic is complicated.

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‘Ghost in the Shell’ Trailer is Just as Racist as Everything Else This Week

by Dominic Mah | Originally posted on YOMYOMF

Wow, where to start with this trailer. It OPENS on a person in stylized Japanese esoteric garb to tell us how much we’re in that place Japan where things are weird. Who is this person? Don’t know, don’t care at all.

Then we get a pretty faithful live-action recreation of the original Ghost in the Shell’s elegant opening action sequence, pretty much nailing the point home that the only reason you aren’t aware of this seminal science-fiction already is because it didn’t have Scarlett Johannson in it, and now we fixed that for you.

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Jon Tsuei is Right: A #WhitewashedOUT Ghost in the Shell Misses the Cultural Mark

There’s been so much talk about Ghost in the Shell, Dr. Strange, whitewashing, yellowface, and underrepresentation I bet some of you out there are saying, “Man, I might be at my limit!” But wait, there’s more!

When the first look image of Scarlett Johansson as The Major came out, tons of people, Ghost in the Shell fans and regular movie fans alike, were dismayed that yet another opportunity to cast talented Asian actresses passed Hollywood by. Or to put it another way, folks were upset that Hollywood didn’t take the opportunity to advance itself into something better than it has been.

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