Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom ★★★

Such a straight adaptation of a stageplay that its theatrical qualities stick out like a sore thumb despite some proper filmmaking nouse (i.e. not letting the camera stagnate in one place). Chadwick channels some Chris Rock mania with an undercurrent of his trademark upset (don’t think I’ve seen him better) and Viola always looks like she could eat any one of the cast members at any moment, so it’s quite amazing that the film rarely lets them duke it out and stoke the fire that’s evidently raging in its belly. Most certainly an actors picture that lets the actors act, but never as satisfyingly as a wannabe Best Picture nominee should.