Movies Update: ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and More

Plus, how the stars of 'Tenet' leaped tall buildings.

By Mekado Murphy

Hey, movie fans!

This week brings a couple more high-profile films to your home for the holidays. Netflix has its film adaptation of the August Wilson drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” featuring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. It’s a Critic’s Pick, with A.O. Scott calling it “a powerful and pungent reminder of the necessity of art.” Read an interview with the film’s creative team and watch Boseman and Davis in one of the movie’s key scenes.

Also, “Tenet,” the Christopher Nolan/Warner Bros. thriller that became one of the highest profile Hollywood movies to open theatrically worldwide during the pandemic, is now available on digital and Blu-ray. Watch Nolan discuss a scene that launches two characters up the side of a high-rise.

In other Warner news, Nolan’s “Dark Knight” was added to the national film registry while WarnerMedia’s chief, Jason Kilar, was added to the naughty list.

Also in the news, Sundance announced its slate, readers reacted to FKA twigs and her allegations of abuse against Shia LaBeouf, the Berlin Film Festival announced a delay and Tom Cruise had some choice words for the “Mission: Impossible” crew about adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

Enjoy the movies!

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NEWS & FEATURES

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Disney Plus, via Associated Press

critic’s notebook

Bumps on the Road From Broadway to Hollywood

Not for decades have so many plays and musicals been turned into movies. But even in the best of the new crop, a lot gets lost in translation.

By Jesse Green

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David Lee/Netflix

Viola Davis and Company on ‘Ma Rainey’ and Chadwick Boseman’s Last Bow

Members of the creative team discuss what it took to adapt the August Wilson play for Netflix and trying not to be “outdone” by the late actor.

By Reggie Ugwu

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HBO Max

Critic’s Notebook

How the Bee Gees Stayed Alive

The HBO documentary “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” traces the decades-long arc of a band that mastered a rare pop skill: adaptation.

By Jon Pareles

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Alexandra Von Fuerst for The New York Times

Emerald Fennell’s Dark, Jaded, Funny, Furious Fables of Female Revenge

A brilliant young show runner from “Killing Eve” unveils her first film, “Promising Young Woman,” bringing macabre feminist wit to experiences that no one wants to talk about.

By Carina Chocano

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Antoine d'Agata/Magnum, for The New York Times

Feature

What if the Great American Novelist Doesn’t Write Novels?

Frederick Wiseman’s documentary films offer an unparalleled, panoramic vision of society. His 45th feature, “City Hall,” is on PBS this month — and he’s eager to get back to work.

By Mark Binelli

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