Vincent Schilling

Indian Country Today

Hello #NativeNerd readers, I appreciate you coming yet again to peruse the musings of your friendly neighborhood Native Nerd.

A lot of great stuff in the Arts and Entertainment world has been happening, some of which you have likely heard and/or read about. It is exciting to see that one of my all-time favorites “Rutherford Falls” has been given the green light for season 2. And though the show didn’t get a nod for this year’s Emmys, the forces that be will likely become more versed in the world of Jana Schmieding, Michael Greyeyes and Ed Helms and give a nod next season. Congrats to the cast and crew!

Another positive note is that the 2021 Cordillera International Film Festival this year will be featuring six Indigenous films. Stay tuned for my coverage.

This week, I have a cool film I just watched on Netflix titled “Gunpowder Milkshake” starring Karen Gillan (of “Dr. Who,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jumanji” fame) who blasts her way through a highly-stylized over-the-top thriller.

Here we go.

A note about my #NativeNerd scoring system

When reviewing movies, I employ the decimal system to a tenth of a point. So instead of 7 stars, I might give a 7.4 out of 10. Some movies aren’t an eight but deserve a little more than a seven.

Gunpowder Milkshake

9 out of 10

My quick quote: “An impressive and even unapologetically stylized film, with great action and funny moments, Karen Gillan is a gem.”

Gunpowder Milkshake

Synopsis: To protect an 8-year-old girl, a dangerous assassin reunites with her mother and her lethal associates to take down a ruthless crime syndicate and its army of henchmen.

I haven’t seen anything like “Gunpowder Milkshake” as far as I can remember. Sure, there are movies that might come close in terms of the wild colors or interesting cinematography, but Karen Gillan’s latest film by director Navot Papushado is a wild ride.

Gillan, who has starred in such films as “Jumanji” alongside Duane Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart and my personal favorite, as Nebula in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” films, brought an interesting and fun energy to this film.

The film I describe as interesting for the fact that I think some critics might not get it. I think I did. The director Papushado really went for the over the top and dramatic moments in this film such as: The super close-up as the man (Paul Giamotti) ordering the hit hangs up the phone, the messy-haired bratty nephew to the big boss sent to kill the killer, and of course, the librarians, who have a range of hilarious items hidden in books.

The colors were beautiful, the choreography was a blast. The film was not so much a main course, but more like a dessert, as there were no genuinely serious moments to ponder with pain in your heart, but more so it was like eating cake, ice cream and candy, followed by, of course, a vanilla milkshake.

There were just a few moments where I thought things were a little corny, like the hoodlums laughing in the dentist's office, but I just know that that is exactly what the director was going for, and for that I have immense respect for him for sticking to his vision.

I really do think the director wanted the viewer to simply enjoy a wild movie for all its true movie-ness.

And when I say a movie, the purest essence of a movie, the dramatic looks, the bwa-ha-has of the evil villiains, the yellow “I love kittens” duffle bag filled with guns, the grenades blowing up, a suitcase of money, blood stains over a plethora of white surfaces and so on and so on.

Don’t overthink anything, do as the director wants you to. Just like we may not need a milkshake in life, do we need over dramatizations in a film? No, not necessarily—not in a literal sense—but who doesn’t love to have a heaping teaspoon or milkshake glass full of overindulgence once in a while? Overindulgence is the essence of what Papushado meant this film to be.

For all it’s violence, it was lighthearted. In some ways, I can't explain why I appreciated the film so much, but I just really did. I really enjoyed all of the women seriously kicking all the mens’ butts with every kind of weapon imaginable.

Fun shout outs to the librarians Carla Gugino who played Madeleine, Angela Bassett who played Anna May and Michelle Yeoh as Florence and Lena Headey as Sam’s mom. Another shout goes to Chloe Coleman as Emily, the hilarious young actress who played opposite Dave Bautista in “My Spy.”


Gillan has portrayed some cool roles over the years, for the record, Nebula is literally one of my all-time favorite characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and now with “Gunpowder Milkshake,” Gillan can proudly add her role as Sam the assassin to the list.

Now playing on Netflix