Movies Update: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ and More

Plus, films for the lovers and haters of Valentine’s Day

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By Mekado Murphy

Movies Editor

Hey, movie fans!

This holiday weekend brings multiple movie options, from serious Oscar contenders to lighter pop confections. One of the biggest talkers is the William O’Neal/Fred Hampton biopic “Judas and the Black Messiah,” in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Read A.O. Scott’s Critic’s Pick review to see why it should be on your list, then watch a narrated scene from the film and read an interview with its director, Shaka King. And if you want to brush up on the history of the film’s events, check out our explainer.

Also opening is the Critic’s Pick drama “Minari,” about a family of Korean immigrants who settle in rural Arkansas. Read an interview with its star, Steven Yeun, and read a discussion with the film’s director Lee Isaac Chung and several Asian-American filmmakers about navigating Hollywood.

On Netflix is “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” the final installment of the teen romance trilogy. And on demand is the Kristen Wiig/Annie Mumolo comedy “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar.” (Read an interview with the two.)

Excited about Valentine’s Day? Or ready for it to be over? Either way, we have a movie list for you. And if that’s not enough to keep you busy, try one of the dozen or so other films that are new this week.

Enjoy the movies and the holiday!



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Graham Bartholomew/STX Films

‘The Mauritanian’ Review: A Tale of Truth-Seeking

Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster star in this dogged, uninvolving drama based on the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

By Jeannette Catsoulis

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Katie Yu/Netflix

‘To All the Boys: Always and Forever’ Review: Love Sweet Love

This final installment of the Netflix rom-com trilogy is earnest, bright-eyed and without a hint of cynicism.

By Maya Phillips

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Cate Cameron/Lionsgate

‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’ Review: Kitsch Fever Dream

The “Bridesmaids” writers Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo nix the raunch for an absurdist adventure complete with musical numbers, an evil underground lair, and a talking crab.

By Beatrice Loayza

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Lou Scamble/Sony Pictures Classics

‘French Exit’ Review: A Not-So-Merry Widow

Michelle Pfeiffer is sensational as a newly insolvent socialite in this strange, sad comedy.

By Jeannette Catsoulis

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Federico Cesca/Mubi

‘Dead Pigs’ Review: Tales of Class and Corruption

Cathy Yan’s film weaves together a colorful confection of stories set amid the corruption and class inequities of modern-day China.

By Devika Girish

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American Film Foundation/Virgil Films

‘Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words’ Review: Still Notorious

This documentary puts her words front and center, relying on clips to provide a sweeping view of her ideals.

By Ben Kenigsberg

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Merrick Morton/Vertical Entertainment

‘Music’ Review: A Woefully Misguided View of Disability

The pop star Sia’s feature directorial debut, about an autistic teenager, at times seems indistinguishable from mockery.

By Teo Bugbee

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‘There Is No “I” in Threesome’ Review: Monogamy Alternatives

A director and his fiancée chronicle their yearlong open relationship in this documentary that offers a clever examination of perspective.

By Natalia Winkelman



A Vision of Asian-American Cinema That Questions the Very Premise

Lulu Wang, Lee Isaac Chung, Bing Liu, Alan Yang, Justin Chon, Sandi Tan and Mira Nair talk forthrightly about staying true to themselves while navigating Hollywood and issues of identity.

By Brandon Yu and Justin J Wee

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The Golden Globes Celebrated Sia’s ‘Music.’ Autistic Activists Wish They Hadn’t.

Three decades after “Rain Man,” detractors say this new film about an autistic character is regressive and potentially harmful.

By Ashley Spencer

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Shaka King Goes to Hollywood

How the “Judas and the Black Messiah” filmmaker went from outsider to trailblazer with a studio movie about the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

By Reggie Ugwu

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Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo on ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’

The friends, confidants and collaborators explain why it took more than a decade between films and why Jamie Dornan is their dream co-star.

By Dave Itzkoff

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