Movies and TV

From left, Tamara Bass, Meagan Holder and Mekia Cox appear in the satisfying drama “If Not Now, When?,” an in-depth look at Black women’s emotional lives. (Courtesy Vertical Entertainment)
From left, Tamara Bass, Meagan Holder and Mekia Cox appear in the satisfying drama “If Not Now, When?,” an in-depth look at Black women’s emotional lives. (Courtesy Vertical Entertainment)
Kelly Reichardt’s minimalist “First Cow” is set in the 1820s American Northwest. (Courtesy A24)

The best movies of 2020

Critics laud dramas by Spike Lee, Kelly Reichardt, Steve McQueen, Eliza Hittman and Chloé Zhao

Kelly Reichardt’s minimalist “First Cow” is set in the 1820s American Northwest. (Courtesy A24)
People who are shunned because they are physically unattractive are the subject of “Happy Face.” (Courtesy Dark Star)

‘Happy Face’ takes in-depth view of individuals deemed unsightly

Clunky but genuine film tackles rarely addressed subject

People who are shunned because they are physically unattractive are the subject of “Happy Face.” (Courtesy Dark Star)
Chloë Grace Moretz is a woman on a major mission in “Shadow in the Cloud.” (Courtesy Vertical Entertainment)

Get ready for anything in ‘Shadow in the Cloud’

Demented WWII-set flick has nimble filmmaking, girl power, monsters

Chloë Grace Moretz is a woman on a major mission in “Shadow in the Cloud.” (Courtesy Vertical Entertainment)
Drawing from his own life, Kemp Powers cowrote “Soul,” the new film from Pixar about a music teacher and jazz player. (Courtesy DeborahColeman/Pixar)

Kemp Powers brings his expertise to ‘Soul’

Playwright adds authenticity to Pixar’s latest offering

Drawing from his own life, Kemp Powers cowrote “Soul,” the new film from Pixar about a music teacher and jazz player. (Courtesy DeborahColeman/Pixar)
Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha are convincing couple in “Sylvie’s Love.” (Courtesy Nicola Goode/Amazon Studios)

‘Sylvie’s Love’ a sexy, old-fashioned melodrama

But classy, engaging film with a Black cast lacks depth

Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha are convincing couple in “Sylvie’s Love.” (Courtesy Nicola Goode/Amazon Studios)
Gal Gadot reprises the title role in “Wonder Woman 1984.” <ins>(Courtesy Warner Bros.)</ins>

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ saves the day in 2020

Appealing superhero brings laughter, cheers and sighs

Gal Gadot reprises the title role in “Wonder Woman 1984.” <ins>(Courtesy Warner Bros.)</ins>
The funny nostalgic “A Christmas Story” airs, starting Christmas Eve, in 24-hour marathon broadcasts on TBS and TNT; it’s also streaming. (Courtesy TBS/TNT)
The funny nostalgic “A Christmas Story” airs, starting Christmas Eve, in 24-hour marathon broadcasts on TBS and TNT; it’s also streaming. (Courtesy TBS/TNT)
Atsuko Maeda plays a Japanese TV show host who visits Uzbekistan for work in the affecting “To the Ends of the Earth.”(Courtesy Kim Stim)

A Japanese TV host journeys in evocative ‘To the Ends of the Earth’

‘The Last Blockbuster’ an engaging, nostalgic documentary

Atsuko Maeda plays a Japanese TV show host who visits Uzbekistan for work in the affecting “To the Ends of the Earth.”(Courtesy Kim Stim)
Billy Bob Thornton perfectly plays the title character in “Bad Santa.” (Courtesy Columbia)

Yule jewels: 14 Christmas movies break with tradition

Holiday films with a twist are online for streaming pleasure

Billy Bob Thornton perfectly plays the title character in “Bad Santa.” (Courtesy Columbia)
Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis are excellent in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a new film based on a play by Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson. <ins>(Courtesy Netflix)</ins>

August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ pierces the soul

Chadwick Boseman’s brilliant, poignant final performance is in ively musical drama

Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis are excellent in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a new film based on a play by Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson. <ins>(Courtesy Netflix)</ins>
Diego Luna and Sienna Miller star in “Wander Darkly,” a psychological romantic drama by Tara Miele. (Courtesy Lionsgate)

Tara Miele’s ‘Wander Darkly’ fascinates and frustrates

‘76 Days’ looks at COVID-19 crisis in Wuhan, China

Diego Luna and Sienna Miller star in “Wander Darkly,” a psychological romantic drama by Tara Miele. (Courtesy Lionsgate)
Lucas Hedges and Meryl Streep star in “Let Them All Talk.” (Courtesy HBO Max)

Amusing ‘Let Them All Talk’ tells of literary folks with things to hide

New Yorker readers will particularly enjoy Soderbergh’s latest

Lucas Hedges and Meryl Streep star in “Let Them All Talk.” (Courtesy HBO Max)
Mads Mikkelsen stars in the entertaining “Another Round,” which celebrates the joy of drinking. <ins>(Courtesy Samuel Goldwyn Films)</ins>

‘Another Round’ amusingly addresses alcohol consumption

‘Mayor’ an engaging profile of the leader of Palestine’s Ramallah

  • Dec 3, 2020
Mads Mikkelsen stars in the entertaining “Another Round,” which celebrates the joy of drinking. <ins>(Courtesy Samuel Goldwyn Films)</ins>
Gary Oldman is excellent as the screenplay writer of “Citizen Kane” in David Fincher’s “Mank.” <ins>(Courtesy Netflix)</ins>

‘Mank’ glorious for movie buffs, good for everyone else

David Fincher at long last releases his homage to ‘Citizen Kane’

Gary Oldman is excellent as the screenplay writer of “Citizen Kane” in David Fincher’s “Mank.” <ins>(Courtesy Netflix)</ins>
Paul Bettany, right, and Peter Macdissi are excellent in “Uncle Frank,” a cliché-packed melodrama.<ins> (Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>

‘Uncle Frank’ is both moving and clichéd

‘Zappa’ a sprawling doc about a unique rock artist

Paul Bettany, right, and Peter Macdissi are excellent in “Uncle Frank,” a cliché-packed melodrama.<ins> (Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>
“The Croods: A New Age” is a pleasant sequel to 2013’s cartoon adventure about cave people. (Courtesy DreamWorks Animation)

New ‘Croods’ is colorful, comfy

But cartoon sequel is less funny than original

“The Croods: A New Age” is a pleasant sequel to 2013’s cartoon adventure about cave people. (Courtesy DreamWorks Animation)
“Home for the Holidays,” starring, from left, Charles Durning, Holly Hunter and Anne Bancroft, is a quintessential Thanksgiving movie. <ins>(Courtesy Paramount)</ins>

15 great Thanksgiving movies (and one turkey) to watch at home

While many families won’t be getting together during this pandemic Thanksgiving holiday,…

“Home for the Holidays,” starring, from left, Charles Durning, Holly Hunter and Anne Bancroft, is a quintessential Thanksgiving movie. <ins>(Courtesy Paramount)</ins>
Riz Ahmed, left, and Paul Raci are superb in the powerful “Sound of Metal.” <ins>(Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>

‘Sound of Metal’ tells an emotional story of deafness

Darius Marder’s debut feature has strong characters, performances

Riz Ahmed, left, and Paul Raci are superb in the powerful “Sound of Metal.” <ins>(Courtesy Amazon Studios)</ins>
Guy Pearce makes the most of a showy role in “The Last Vermeer.” <ins>(Courtesy Jack English/TriStar Pictures 2020 CTMG)</ins>

Guy Pearce elevates ‘Last Vermeer’

‘Born to Be’ sensitively documents transgender surgery

Guy Pearce makes the most of a showy role in “The Last Vermeer.” <ins>(Courtesy Jack English/TriStar Pictures 2020 CTMG)</ins>