Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is vital as a recorded piece of American-theatre history, and absolutely indispensable as a Chadwick Boseman farewell. Like Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, Boseman won't win an Academy Award next spring because he died. He'll win because he was likely going to win regardless.

For most of its length, The Prom is like an early, super-sized Glee episode with 100 percent fewer commercial breaks and 100 percent more Meryl Streep.

You kind of have to feel bad these days for David Fincher fanatics who genuflect at the brutal, testosterone-fueled altars of Seven and Fight Club and, to a lesser degree, Zodiac. They finally get their first new Fincher feature since 2014's Gone Girl, and it turns out that in order to even slightly enjoy the director's Mank (which premiered on Netflix this past Friday), they're required to have a pretty healthy working knowledge of Citizen Kane.

The animated-comedy sequel The Croods: A New Age is like an elongated, best-ever episode of The Flintstones, and I mean that as a compliment even though I never really cared for The Flintstones.

This morning, a New York Times article stated that eBay has seen a 215-percent increase in the sales of chess sets and accessories since the October debut of Netflix's limited series. If it's indeed true that The Queen's Gambit is responsible for the uptick, I wouldn't be surprised if similar sales spikes are soon reported for mod mini-dresses, digital compilations of '60s pop hits, and boyfriends who look like Dudley Dursley from the Harry Potter movies.

Even in its one-joke way, the premise sounded promising: a high-school slasher flick in the guise of a body-switching comedy. (Or perhaps it's the other way around.) Unfortunately, though, the mild fun of writer/director Christopher Landon's Freaky pretty much ends with its set-up, and once that central conceit is established, what transpires is so oddly dull that it's like being disappointed by the same movie twice. I was hoping for Halloween meets Freaky Friday. What we get is closer to Prom Night meets Vice Versa.

Is it possible that, in our pandemic era, the cineplex experience won't be saved by young audiences for presumed blockbusters that may or may not open, but rather by dedicated groups of older moviegoers who are happy with simple stories well and elegantly told?

No modern horror movie, not even last November's mostly decent sequel Doctor Sleep, should have to be compared to Stanley Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece The Shining. Writer/director Jacob Chase's Come Play, however, is pretty much begging for the comparisons, given that its child lead, in many shots, looks uncannily like the tormented Danny Torrance, and its title – one that instantly conjures images of creepy twin girls in a hotel hallway – all but demands to be followed by “... with Us, Danny.” Needless to say, though, Come Play is not The Shining. Sadly, despite boasting a bunch of fine elements, it's not even Doctor Sleep.

What's the most subversive thing about Sacha Baron Cohen's anarchic comedy sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm? Cohen's jackass journalist, in disguise as Donald Trump, interrupting a Mike Pence speech to offer the vice president Borat's 15-year-old daughter as a gift? Borat, this time in Texas disguised as a rotund country crooner, inspiring a group sing-along about the “Wuhan flu” and chopping up journalists “like the Saudis do”? Rudy Giuliani, in a widely discussed scene, caught on camera tucking in his shirt (or “tucking in his shirt”) while lying on a hotel bed in front of a young female reporter?

With the exceptions of 12 Angry Men and maybe the first two Godfather flicks, I literally can't think of another movie so abundant with exceptional ensemble acting in juicy character roles; you could expand the Oscars' Supporting Actor roster from five nominees to 10 and still pack it solely with deserving Chicago 7 performers.

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