The valedictory performance from the late Chadwick Boseman may well earn him an Oscar. He’s dynamic as a troubled trumpet player in the Netflix adaptation of August Wilson’s acclaimed play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” It tells the tragic story of an ill-fated blues recording session in 1927 and touches on themes of racism, sexism, faith and disparity. Viola Davis is impressive, too, supported by a solid ensemble. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is a challenging drama that hits some resonant notes.
Oscar-winner Hilary Swank stars alongside Michael Ealy in the neo-noir thriller, “Fatale.” A one-night stand with an obsessive woman leads to nothing but trouble for successful entrepreneur. Director Deon Taylor and screenwriter David Loughery mix in a few surprises to the formula to keep viewers off base. The sharp cinematography from award-winner Dante Spinotti is a big help, too. Although it’s overly familiar, “Fatale” provides some welcome chills for fans of the genre.
The Danish dramedy “Another Round” was the big winner at the recent European Film Awards, taking Best Picture, Director and Actor. Mads Mikkelsen stars in Thomas Vinterberg’s story about four high school teachers who agree to test a noted psychiatrist’s theory that maintaining a blood alcohol content of 0.050 results in maximum performance. Naturally, things get very complicated. “Another Round” is a thoughtful exploration of its bizarre hypothesis.
“The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is an informative documentary about the pheromonally successful Australian pop music trio that successfully traversed a number of musical genres. It touches on some of the difficulties and family squabbles the group endured while mostly focusing on the music. You don’t have to be a Bee Gees fan to appreciate the talent and skill that the brothers brought to their music. For fans, it proves their success is more than jive talkin’.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.