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What to watch in theaters and at home this weekend December 11-13, 2020

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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020): (L to R) Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Glynn Turman as Toldeo, Michael Potts as Slow Drag, Colman Domingo as Cutler. (Photo: David Lee / Netflix)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Please forgive my tardiness with this weekend's recommendations. We're trying to work in some vacation days for our co-workers and the release of "Cyberpunk 2077" was just too tempting for one of our assignment editors. So, I'm working a night shift while he adventures in CD Projekt Red's latest release (which apparently has a few glitches and bugs to sort out).

It's a short article this week. Half of what I watched isn't released until Christmas; we'll get to those in their time.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

A lot of attention has been given to Netflix's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," a cinematic adaptation of August Wilson's play about the legendary blues singer Ma Rainey. Viola Davis plays the title role with a wonderful sense of aplomb. Her presence demands attention. However, I'd argue that the story has always belonged to Levee, an innovative trumpet player with a keen sense of fashion who recognizes that audiences want music that is more ambitious. Levee is played by Chadwick Boseman. It's a powerhouse performance that will undoubtedly earn the actor a posthumous Academy Award nomination. A nomination that would have come his way, even if he hadn't died. He's electric, filled with life. A play set in 1927 shouldn't feel this relevant.

Where to watch: Theaters, coming to Netflix 12/18/20

The Midnight Sky

George Clooney stars as Augustine Lofthouse, a brilliant scientist with a terminal disease, who stays behind to warn an inbound group of astronauts returning home that Earth's surface is no longer habitable. I love all sorts of science fiction. "The Midnight Sky" feels like a lot of other movies ("Gravity," "Interstellar"). Of the three stories that are interwoven, I only really cared for one. The ending felt right. The journey getting there is a mess. Still, if you love science fiction, its beautiful to look at.

Where to watch: Theaters, coming to Netflix 12/23/20 (Full Review)

Wolfwalkers

"Wolfwalkers" has made its way to AppleTV+ and I highly recommend it. I had the opportunity to talk with director Tomm Moore and voice actresses Honor Kneafsey and Eva Whittaker and I'll be sharing those interviews next week.

Here's what I had to say when it was released in theaters last month:

Tomm Moore, co-director of "Wolfwalkers," was part of the creative talent behind the marvelous films "The Secret of Kells" and "Song of the Sea," a pair of magical animated films that were nominated for Academy Awards. I expect "Wolfwalkers" to be Moore's third Oscar nomination. The film sees Robyn Goodfellowe, a young girl, and her father Bill, a hunter, living on the edge of the Irish wilds. Bill has been hired to clear the nearby woods of its wolves. Robyn desperately wants to help rid the forest of wolves until she befriends Mebh Óg MacTíre, a wild girl her age who is a wolfwalker, a human girl who turns into a wolf when she falls asleep at night. I love this movie.

Where to watch: AppleTV+

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