‘Nope’ First Reactions: Director Jordan Peele Praised by Critics

The first reactions to Jordan Peele’s “Nope” are pouring in as the movie continues its premiere in Los Angeles, earning praises for the director’s turn to science-fiction and drawing comparison to filmmakers like Steven Spielberg.

Expectations are high for “Nope,” given Peele’s emergence as one of the most beloved directors over the last five years. His film debut, “Get Out,” earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture, director for Peele and actor for Kaluuya. Peele won the Academy Award for original screenplay. The film’s $255 million worldwide gross was matched by Peele’s follow-up, “Us,” which was praised by critics and sent fans into spirals of theories and explainers.

Even though he’s built a brand for himself with only two films, Peele assured that he went into “Nope” relatively unfettered by audiences’ expectations of him.

“We tried to make a big summer blockbuster that you can enjoy whatever you want,” Peele told Variety’s Angelique Jackson at the film’s premiere. “You want to go in and just smoke a big blunt and talk with a friend about societal issues, you can do that. If you want to come and just relax and get away from it all and see Keke Palmer in the midst of a UFO, then that’s what we got for you.”

“Nope” reunites Peele with his “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya in the story of two siblings (Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) who discover an alien spaceship hovering over their family’s horse ranch. The duo sets out to capture the spaceship on camera, but the mission doesn’t go according to plan.

Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott, Wrenn Schmidt and Keith David round out the “Nope” cast. The movie marks the first collaboration between Peele and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, best known for filming Christopher Nolan tentpoles “Interstellar,” “Dunkirk” and “Tenet.”

“Nope” begins screening for critics in most major markets Tuesday, but the film has already been seen in preview events by some members of the press.

Collider editor-in-chief Steven Weintraub kept his praise light on the details, but assured his opinion is a “big thumbs up.”

CNN entertainment business reporter Frank Pallotta called the film “out of this world,” peppering his praise with references to Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter and Adam McKay.

People senior news editor Nigel Smith called “Nope” a “resounding YES,” calling the film a “thrilling and strange spectacle.”

Daily Dead News managing editor Heather Wixson called the film “absolutely phenomenal” praising the blend of genre with “a Hollywood reckoning.”

Huffington Post senior cultural reporter Candice Frederick is still brewing on the film. It seems to have given her lots to chew on.

Hollywood Critics Association member praised the ambition of “Nope,” with the caveat that he believes the film marks Peele’s weakest effort so far.

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