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I upgraded the firmware on my tablet over the weekend to the 0.41 version so I now have access to Marketplace.
When I downloaded the Google Play Movies app, I get a message saying I cannot watch rental movies because the device is rooted.
Obvious question, but do I need to upgrade with the original method to "unlock the root"?
The issue you are having is not related to the method you used to flash your firmware, it's just because you are using a rooted firmware.
The stock firmware is not rooted so it would work for Google Play Movies, but unfortunately it has no Google Play support. One option that may work would be to build a custom firmware with Google Play but no root.
Also, while Googl'ing I've read about some apps/methods that should temporary "unroot" a rooted device to let it run Google Play Movies... but I haven't tried that yet.
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