Movie: Nope
Plot: Two siblings running a horse ranch in California discover something wonderful and sinister in the skies above, while the owner of an adjacent theme park tries to profit from the mysterious, otherworldly phenomenon.
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Brandon Perea
Director: Jordan Peele
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Studio: Universal Pictures
HCA Overall Grade: C

Megan McLachlan says, “Jordan Peele continues to prove that he’s one of the most exciting and original filmmakers working today. It was such a pleasure to see Nope in the theater on the big screen and reminded me of what it was like seeing thrillers in the ’90s. Unlike today’s onslaught of IP material where you can see where the story is going, I had no idea what was going to happen in Nope, which was truly a thrill. Plus, it’s filmed with extreme care, including top-notch cinematography and a cinematic score.”

Grade: A

Patrick Stoner says, “There’s less going on than the intertwining scenes suggest but it’s still complex, beautiful, and eerie.”

Grade: A

Nikki Fowler says, “Jordan Peele gives us an eclectic unique story and viewing experience with Nope and leaves you questioning everything. Loved the cinematography, color, script, wardrobe, and cast. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya are phenomenal. Peele is simply brilliant and Nope is an ultimate think piece. It reminds me of the creative freedom in ‘Brother From Another Planet’ and proves black direction/cinema doesn’t have to fit into one box. Nope makes you uncomfortable, pushes buttons, and celebrates Black artistic expression. It was slow to pick up speed but panned out to be an interesting film that understandably isn’t for everyone, as many will be craving more unexplained details.”

Grade: A-

Saloni Gajjar says, “Nope is mesmerizing. It demands your attention from the first frame and takes its horror to all kinds of levels—bloody, mortifying, metaphorical, literal, and weirdly grounded. Keke Palmer is a bonafide movie star, delivering a career-best performance here. Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya prove they’re a director-actor duo to look out for.”

Grade: A-

Kathia Woods says, “Nope is more of a psychological thriller. It plays cleverly with stereotypes. It’s also a great ode to nineties fashion and family dynamics. Per usual Peele gives us a great soundtrack.”

Grade: A-

Francisco Cangiano says, “Nope is fantastic! Now my favorite Jordan Peele film so far. Hooked me from beginning to end with great performances, immersive sound, and amazing cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema. A thought-provoking ride with shades of Spielberg, Hitchcock, and Shyamalan. Really enjoyed it.”

Grade: A-

Michael Lee says, “Nope is a beautifully written love letter to the spectacles of Spielberg Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws. Despite its strong start, it loses momentum towards the third act. And its underdeveloped subplot doesn’t add much to the total film. Still, the sense of wonder had me hooked. And Palmer shines!”

Grade: B

Clarence Moye says, “Jordan Peele is a tremendously talented and original creative force who has delivered an enormously entertaining sci-fi film in Nope. It is his weakest film, but you won’t care thanks to Peele’s vision and strong performances from Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya.”

Grade: B

Mark Johnson says, “Nope is at its best when it delivers tense, quiet moments: A brooding Kaluuya arches his neck to the side, standing in the middle of the desert road. He stares out at what appears to be a row of oncoming headlights. We watch his face grow from curiosity to suspicion to fear as he begins to realize things aren’t always what they seem. The hair on our neck stands straight up and our legs nervously begin to bounce in our seats as we wait for what comes next. That’s the magic of good filmmaking.”

Grade: B

Fiona Underhill says, “A lot to love – strong performances from Kaluuya, Palmer, and Yeun. Some stunning and memorable images. Has a lot to say about Hollywood, particularly regarding performing animals and drawing parallels with human performers. Mythmaking in an age when anyone can record and upload images. How we capture images – from CCTV to the hand-cranked camera. I really loved the Gordy subplot, it’s my favorite element of the film. The true horror is to be found here. The sound design – particularly inside Jean Jacket is also particularly good.”

Grade: B-

Abbie Bernstein says, “Nope is an unevenly mixed bag. Director/writer Jordan Peele has several good ideas, but by the time he brings them together into the same story, we’re not as invested as we ought to be. it’s more intellectually intriguing than visceral.”

Grade: B-

Chris James says, “Jordan Peele knows how to deliver a thoughtful and engaging blockbuster, albeit with diminishing returns. So much of Nope works to draw audiences in, be it the gorgeous cinematography, tangible production design work, an engaging mystery, and strong personality of star Keke Palmer. Yet, the final act squanders the audience’s goodwill and patience for a metaphor that never seems fully baked. Good intentions and strong moments make this worth seeing, but it’s a far cry from his best work.”

Grade: B-

Stacey Yvonne says, “The acting is phenomenal, especially between Kaluuya and Palmer. They have an interesting sibling dynamic that shows that even when they’re at odds, they’re still family. Stephen Yeun does a great job, yet again, I have SO many questions about his character and storyline. The fact he and his younger counterpart made their parts so engaging that I was begging for more is really saying something.”

Grade: B+

Aaron Neuwirth says, “Nope has all the wonder one could want from a Spielbergian Summer blockbuster while still feeling utterly original.”

Grade: B+

Landon Johnson says, “Nope showcases Peele’s provocative and innovative storytelling talents. Kake Palmer is a riot and carries the film. As far as a movie about the art of filmmaking, the most fascinating thing is the idea of obtaining “the impossible shot.” Just brilliant!”

Grade: C

Jonathan Sim says, “This movie offers sci-fi direction at its best with some jaw-dropping spectacle perfectly suited for the IMAX screen. Everything builds to Peele’s biggest finale yet, with a heart-pumping ending and earth-quaking sound design. Unfortunately, the writing does not come to par with a story lacking momentum and characters that would have benefitted from stronger development.”

Grade: C

Rick Bentley says, “Nope would be a disappointing release no matter who directed this muddled mess of half ideas and failed attempts to create tension. The disappointment is magnified by the fact the film comes from writer/director Jordan Peele. The sharp focus he had on developing suspense, creating textured characters, and writing stories that were thought-provoking in Get Out and Us is nowhere to be found here.”

Grade: C

Scott Menzel says, “Nope is Jordan Peele’s biggest and most ambitious film to date but also his most inconsistent. While the film takes some big swings and pays homage to sci-fi films of the ‘70s and ‘80s, the script feels underdeveloped and uneven. While there is plenty to admire about Nope, including the performances and crafts, the film as a whole feels like there are pieces missing. It opens strong but by the second act, I started to lose interest. Nope has moments of greatness but when it comes to the script and the characters, there is a whole lot of room for improvement. It’s still worth the ticket but I would say see it at a matinee showing rather than an evening one.”

Grade: C

Ema Sasic says, “There are some fun parts in Nope, but collectively I don’t think they all mix well to form a solid whole. I also understand what Peele is saying about spectacles, the Hollywood industry, and today’s culture, but he never fully goes into these ideas. I also don’t think we’re given much of a deep dive into the characters, which might make it difficult for people to get invested in the story too. There’s great humor and performances from all cast members, but it significantly lacks in development.”

Grade: C-

Danielle Broadway says, “Even with a detailed analysis of the overall themes, inspirations, and references in Nope, the film simply misses the mark. It feels like two different stories meant to come together as a cautionary tale. However, it’s disjointed and ultimately a disappointment compared to Peele’s other works.”

Grade: C-

Don Shanahan says, “This escalation of frazzle and nerves also typifies the title of the picture. What a word! Go ahead and count how many times Nope is dropped when something wild happens or when a peer asks another if they’re doing good. We, the audience, borrow that word ourselves to select which points we would be packing up and running for the hills. At the same time, viewers get to extrapolate how many horrific events could have been stopped or prevented by the uttering of and subsequent follow-through of action sprung by that quick word of refusal and exit.”

Grade: C+

Anthony Digioia says, “Nope without question is well acted and well shot. It’s grand in places and appealingly intimate in others. It’s also highly engaging in stretches but it goes from 100% intrigue to 85% silliness over the course of its unnecessarily long runtime. Not great but still interesting and worthy of seeing on the big screen.”

Grade: C+

Nancy Tapia says, “The lack of real content made me lose interest within the first 20 minutes. However, I did sit through the entire film. Perhaps the mix of “wanna be” horror in sci-fi lost me.”

Grade: D

Demetri Panos says, “I came out of quarantine for this?? Big Nope for me!”

Grade: F

Nope is now playing exclusively in theaters