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MY OCTOPUS TEACHER (Netflix) and GUNDA (Neon) I’ve long been a sucker for animal-centric


movies, and these two documentaries satisfied my humane disposition and then some. The first film details an unlikely, yearlong friendship that develops between a disenchanted diver, Craig Foster, and a wild South African cephalopod. It is gor- geously photographed and unexpectedly moving. Gunda, produced by newly minted Oscar winner and animal-rights advocate Joaquin Phoenix, is another black-and-white beauty that without humans or dialogue says everything about the daily plights faced by a mother pig and her offspring, two cows, a herd of horses and a one-legged chicken living on a farm together. Both docs serve as visual definitions of the word compassionate.


HAMILTON (Disney+), THE PROM (Netflix) and MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (Netflix) We have three spectacular big-screen


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transfers (or perhaps small-screen, depend- ing on the size of one’s device) from the Broadway stage. One can argue that Ham- ilton is merely a recording of the theatrical blockbuster, but the results were uniquely cinematic in many ways. Meanwhile, Ryan Murphy’s star-studded adaptation of the LGBTQ-themed musical The Prom is nothing short of spectacular, while veteran director George C. Wolfe's film of August Wilson›s classic play Ma Rainey’s Black Bot- tom incorporates stunning performances by Oscar winner Viola Davis, out actor Colman Domingo (Fear the Walking Dead) and the gone-way-too-soon Chadwick Boseman.


22 ragemonthly.com | JANUARY 2021


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