I Hate My Blog, II: MC Frontalot, Baddd Spellah, Lex The Lexicon Artist, and Gm7 on ‘Net Split’

MC Frontalot’s new album Net Split: Or, The Fathomless Heartbreak of Online Itself dropped this weekend. (Or, is it still dropping? Is the moment of album-drop an indivisible quantum thing? Probably no one cares.) Five years in the making, Net Split is in some sense a concept breakup album, in which the Godfather of Nerdcore Rap wrestles with all the aspects of the Internet that are increasingly awful: memes, trolls, dating, stalking, dating/stalking, and of course, comments. It’s hooky and at times heart-wrenching, and here I chat about it with Frontalot, co-producer/beatsmith Baddd Spellah (Dave Cheong), guest verse-ologist Lex the Lexicon Artist, and frequent collaborator/keyboardist Gm7 (Gaby Alter).

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An N.O.C. Halloween: Our Children’s Edition

Amongst my friends and family, it is no secret that the only holiday I care about is Halloween. No, it isn’t just because the candy is free and flowing — although this is a huge bonus. What I love the most about he holiday is that there is this unbridled demonstration of ingenuity, creativity, and imagination. People get to step a little outside of their mundane lives and step into the realm of the fantastic.

Another thing I love are the costumes. I don’t think I’m alone in this, especially amongst my fellow NOC. While many of us were too busy to dress up, we made sure that our children did.

I would like to present to you the NOC Parade of Costumes: Our Children’s Addition.

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How Diverse is the Marvel Cinematic Universe? The Movies: Phase One

The Doctor Strange controversy — combined with the push to cast an Asian American actor as the title character Danny Rand aka Iron Fist —  has been buzzing for the last couple months. With the release of the first official trailer for Doctor Strange, Marvel’s next would-be blockbuster movie after Captain America: Civil War, the controversy has reached an all time high. So much so that a Marvel spokesperson gave this statement to Mashable regarding the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange:

Marvel has a very strong record of diversity in its casting of films and regularly departs from stereotypes and source material to bring its MCU to life. The Ancient One is a title that is not exclusively held by any one character, but rather a moniker passed down through time, and in this particular film the embodiment is Celtic. We are very proud to have the enormously talented Tilda Swinton portray this unique and complex character alongside our richly diverse cast.

Is this statement true though? Has Marvel Studios really pushed diversity in their movies? Have they increased the visibility of marginalized peoples in their film franchise or television properties? Has Marvel Studios subverted stereotypes? Enough to supposedly excuse recent controversies surrounding Doctor Strange and Iron Fist?

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NOC Reviews Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron was the perfect summer popcorn film. It’s a big, loud and frenetic superhero movie with a decent amount of heart.

[Ed. note: Not to mention the second biggest opening weekend in history. Who’s the first? The first Avengers movie, of course.]

The story was a bit shaky at times, but the performances were strong because of the cast chemistry and the trademark Joss Whedon banter. Meanwhile, the visuals were outstanding, the fight scenes were expertly choreographed, and there were a couple of interesting twists regarding one of the main characters.

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Some Thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron

It’s been a few hours, but I’m still processing what I thought about the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I know that my feelings and recommendations will have no bearing on whether you will go out to see this movie. It’s guaranteed to generate a couple billion dollars in box office — and that’s probably just for this weekend alone! And while I had a great time watching the thing, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the whole enterprise.

Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: This Is Ant-Man

For fans that follow superhero movie casting news, the role of Ant-Man — in Edgar Wright’s 2015 entrant into the Marvel Cinematic Universe — has been a source of speculation for years now. Interestingly enough, though it looks like Ant-Man will be heading up Phase 3 of the MCU, it was actually one of the first independently financed films greenlit and announced by the newly christened Marvel Studios (along with other obscure art films like Captain American and Iron Man) and Wright was hired to direct all the way back in 2006. Marvel teasing an Ant-Man film has been a staple of  Comic-Con ever since.

So, it’s been a pretty long ride to get to today’s news that Apatow-alum Paul Rudd (This is 40, Anchorman) is in talks to play the title role.I’m a big Paul Rudd fan so this could be pretty exciting. In fact, I must concur with my man Josh Wigler:

Picture Downey’s Stark, Ruffalo’s Banner and Rudd’s Pym hanging out at a S.H.I.E.L.D. lab, studying Infinity Gems and scarfing down shawarma. If that visual doesn’t get you going, then we can’t be friends.

Of course, not all the Nerds shared my sentiments. To the Roundtable!

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How Avengers is Ruining the Superhero Movie

As of April 2013, The Avengers had grossed more than $600 million dollars in the US, a box office performance that has nearly tripled its (already bloated) production budget. It would be fair to say that if you’re a Hollywood movie producer, The Avengers makes you very, very, very happy. In fact, you’re hoping to make as many Avengers franchises as you possibly can.

Against this backdrop of undeniable success, it seems major Hollywood production companies are hoping to do just that. For the last few months, the Internet has been a-buzz with casting rumours for Man of Steel 2: first with news that Ben Affleck was being tapped to play an aging Batman, and last week with the announcement that virtually unknown actress Gal Gadot (of Fast and Furious franchise fame) was assuming the mantle of Wonder Woman. Although fans have long clamoured for a live-action Justice League adaptation, the fact that all three members of the heralded DC Trinity will be making an appearance in Man of Steel 2 — a movie that we all expected would be just another Superman solo vehicle — is clear indication that WB/DC has drawn inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is looking to fast-track the Justice League movie by rapidly introducing other characters to the silver screen. Fans have since speculated that while Gadot might make a minimal cameo in Man of Steel 2, it’s likely that she will subsequently headline her own Wonder Woman movie that would further stoke the fires for a full Justice League film.

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