So, what, we’re reviewing some new Suicide Squad movie? Close. It’s The Suicide Squad, this time, a standalone sequel and/or soft reboot of 2016’s Suicide Squad, now directed by James Gunn. But this isn’t your stepdad’s PG-13 Marvel space jam. Nope, this is an R-rated action comedy featuring a massive ensemble cast, which includes the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, but also new characters played by Idris Elba, John Cena, Daniela Melchior, David Dastmalchian, and the voice of Sylvester Stallone. Later in the show, we also review Leo Carax’s new arthouse musical Annette, which stars Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Then Vivo, a Netflix animated musical from Sony starring Lin-Manuel Miranda.
We’re sounding off this week for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the new Netflix film that has Oscars in its sights for Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. We also cover Nomadland, a Best Picture frontrunner from writer/director Chloé Zhao and starring Frances McDormand. And there’s also Greenland, the newest Gerard Butler disaster flick that is surprisingly decent! Last, we do a retrospective of Small Axe, a collection of five films from director Steve McQueen, which you can now stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Colman Domingo stars alongside Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which hits Netflix on December 18 after its limited theatrical release. In addition to his acting work in films like If Beale Street Could Talk, Assassination Nation, Zola, and the upcoming Candyman, Domingo brings a wealth of experience as a writer, director, producer and actor on the stage, making him an obvious choice for Ma Rainey, which is based on the August Wilson play. I talked about the film with Domingo over Zoom, as well as his acting influences, his camaraderie with the late Chadwick Boseman, and what film lovers might get out of George C. Wolfe’s latest directorial effort.
If you told me there was a movie being made about Ma Rainey, the legendary blues singer who inspired the likes of Bessie Smith and Langston Hughes, I’d sit back and buckle in for a jazz-filled good time. If you told me the movie was based off a play written by August Wilson of Fences fame, I would immediately unbuckle myself to go and grab a pair of tissues.