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Noah Howard
Noah Howard '21 is a sophomore from Sacramento, CA, who has been writing reviews since age eleven. He is interested in politics, hot sauce, and, of course, heated discussions about movies. Contact him at noah.howard 'at' stanford.edu.

The bizarre journey into ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’

When Netflix recently released it on its platform (the first time the show could be legitimately accessed online in years), it was all my various video game and sci-fi geek websites could talk about. “Why you HAVE to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion,” “Why Neon Genesis Evangelion is the Greatest Anime of All Time” and similar stellar headlines graced my Google News feed. I’d already known the show’s reputation as one of the first anime to gain a following in the US. And the premise? A show about giant robots (“Evas”) in far-future Tokyo that fight bizarre monsters (“Angels”) rooted in Jewish mythology? I couldn’t help it. I had to see it for myself.

‘Age of Resistance’ relights ‘The Dark Crystal’

"The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" turns down the darkness while elevating the artistry: it is a work of incredible beauty, far beyond the boundaries of the original film, "The Lord of the Rings" to Henson’s "Hobbit" It’s Netflix’s most ambitious, and arguably most successful, project to date, ten hours of limitless wonder in one of the most well-developed worlds since "Star Wars."

The warm welcome of Bay Area paganism

Remove your shoes out of respect before you pull back the curtain. The piece of cloth was thin, but it seemed soundproof; stepping through created a genuine sense of separation between the two tight-knit hotel rooms, one bustling with levity and conversation, the other a dark and serene meditation den. My ears were no longer…

‘Detective Pikachu’ is lightweight, but lovable

“He didn’t even change his voice,” Ryan Reynolds’s wife complains in one of “Detective Pikachu”’s numerous tongue-in-cheek parody trailers. “It just…sounds like him.” Like the “Deadpool” movies, “Detective Pikachu” is a film where the comedy heartthrob of Hollywood simply plays an exaggerated version of himself. The titular character is brash, spritely and naive, only a…

Golden-Age Hollywood: An interview with my grandmother

My grandmother had the fortune of living in Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood, moving to the City of Angels as a child in 1949 and living there ever since. Working at the star-studded Riviera Country Club as a professional ice skater and dancer, she had regular interactions with the social elite of…

‘Captain Marvel’ is almost marvelous

“Captain Marvel” is a movie in an awkward position. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) demands that it establish its most powerful, explosive superhero yet, explain Nick Fury’s eye, indicate the first hints of the Avengers, explore an Infinity Stone and introduce Ronin the Accuser (who we see in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie), all…

‘Death of a Nation’ is dead in the water

“Quality Flix” reads the opening logo in Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary. The first strike against “Death of a Nation”: false advertising. It was the first of many to come; this is a documentary that purports to expose Democrats as the true fascist racists in American society through a series of reductio ad absurda and reductio ad…

2019 ceremony shows that the Academy Awards are antiquated

First impressions from the Daily staff after watching the Academy Awards: “an emotional rollercoaster,” “very commercialized,” “I’m not surprised that Green Book won” and “‘Buster Scruggs’ was robbed.” Mine was not fit for print. Let’s not undersell the 2019 Oscars. There were plenty of adorable moments, from Olivia Colman’s flabbergasted speech to Spike Lee’s ecstatic…

Time to fly for ‘Battle Angel’

Famed producer Jon Landau, partner of James Cameron, has a long and storied career. He produced “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” “Dick Tracy,” “Titanic,” “Avatar” and the newly released “Alita: Battle Angel.” “Alita,” based on the manga by Yukito Kishiro and directed by Robert Rodriguez, made a splash because of its cyberpunk aesthetic, its martial…

‘Alita’ features angelic action

Robert Rodriguez was never meant to have this much money. This is a man who thrives on shlock, from his 7000 dollar action masterpiece “El Mariachi,” to the horribly animated thumb-people in “Spy Kids,” to the guns attached to breasts (“Machete Kills”) and penises (“From Dusk ‘Till Dawn”) that mow down hordes of angry vampires/zombies/goons.…

‘Bandersnatch’ is a gimmick gone to waste

Although “Bandersnatch” is about decision-making, I can’t decide what to make of it. Is it a brilliant analysis of both free will and the nature of technology’s influence on our minds? Possibly. Is it a dated, derivative take on well-worn ideas? Could be. Is it an extended, mildly amusing joke at the viewer’s expense? Sometimes.…

‘A Private War’ grounds a journalistic goddess

A rotating image of historical figures I admire, most casual history buffs could easily recognize the familiar faces that comprise my phone’s screensaver; LBJ, Roger Ebert, Hunter S. Thompson and Clarence Darrow are hardly niche figures. But one image has consistently stumped viewers of my phone’s background: a harsh photo of a woman in a…

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is a bizarre, epic journey

“Ascension?” Daryl exclaimed. “That’s all it’s about — ‘ascension?’” “What do you mean, ‘That’s all?’” I fired back. “We’re talking about a movie that covers the entire existence of humanity, past, present and future!” “Yeah,” replied Daryl, ”but that’s not actually being about anything. It’s so vague. That’s bull!” Such went the discussion I had…

‘Solo’ will satisfy Star Wars fans

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is two and a half hours of the Mos Eisley cantina scene from “A New Hope.” The screen abounds with elaborate costumes caked in grit and mud, juxtaposed against vivid blaster fire and corrupt opulence. Sleaze drips from every pore. Creatures grunt, brawl, and walk about with a hunched shuffle.…

‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ doesn’t one-up the original

In some ways, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is a beast as bizarre as the first. The original “Pacific Rim” was a movie thoughtfully designed to feel stupid. Its more brilliant choices blended into the background, hiding like an unnoticed picture frame and highlighting the thrilling action. It was the movie “Transformers” wanted to be, but never…

‘Rampage,’ the giant monster movie, is a colossal failure

“Rampage” is a 100-million dollar adaptation of a 1980s arcade cabinet. When was this film made? Judging by the quality of the CGI, about 2006, placing this 2018 movie about on par with Peter Jackson’s “King Kong.” Why was this film made? Warner Brothers acquired arcade developer Midway for 33 million dollars and apparently didn’t…

‘Black Panther’ steps up Marvel’s game

“Black Panther” is a far cry from the best Marvel movie, but it easily wins the title of best movie to carry the “Marvel” logo. Frequently hailed as a superhero masterpiece, Ryan Coogler’s film isn’t as fun, as funny or as fast as other recent superhero entries, but also not nearly as infantile and vacuous…

‘The Killer’ elevates the western to new poignancy

The word “badlands” has never held so much weight as in “The Killer.” Netflix’s original movie is easily the most uniquely creative Western since “Django Unchained,” and a close contender for the best of its genre of the past five years. Like the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960’s, Brazilian director Marcelo Galvão proves that you…

‘Downsizing’ needs to shrink to fit its narrative

“Downsizing” is a film too big for its small central concept. What would have made a standout short film or an entertaining episode of Black Mirror is instead stretched to a feature over two hours in length, and as it briskly marches along, it inevitably runs out of things to talk about. In Alexander Payne’s…
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