May 29, 2017

Chris Rock gets entangled in a hairy situation

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BY SEAN O’CONNELL

HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:

‘Good Hair’
Hair – the subject matter of Chris Rock’s latest picture – isn’t very funny, least of all to the people who are shelling out thousands of dollars each day to purchase it. Yet Rock, in his own inimitable fashion, is able to find the funny in a lucrative industry for the purpose of the documentary “Good Hair.”

The film teaches us that the human-hair industry generates somewhere in the vicinity of $9 billion a year. Even though sodium hydroxide, the chief chemical found in salon products, eats through aluminum cans. Rock hosts this first-class seminar, and takes the viewpoint of a concerned father of two beautiful daughters who one day might want to invest in good hair. He interviews prominent black celebrities (Raven-Symone, Al Sharpton and Maya Angelou, to name a few), raps with everyday folks, traces the modern hair trade to India and concludes his journey at the venerated Bronner Brothers hair show in Atlanta, where four outgoing stylists compete for a top prize.

It would have been great to see more footage of Rock at Bronner on the new “Hair” DVD, from Lionsgate. The stylists he tracks for that annual competition have flair to spare. Instead, we get an audio commentary track and the film’s trailer.
The movie – *** out of 4
The DVD – ** out of 4

‘The Spectacular Spider-Man: Volumes 6 & 7’
Sony recently announced its plans to reboot the “Spider-Man” film franchise, sending our favorite web head (previously portrayed on screen by Tobey Maguire) back to high school for a younger, fresher take on the Marvel superhero. But casual comic fans might not be familiar with Peter Parker’s early days. I suggest you pick up two new DVDs for a refresher course.

“The Spectacular Spider-Man” is an animated series which airs on Disney XD. And while it’s largely based on stories established by legendary Marvel creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, “Spectacular” isn’t afraid to mix in elements from the modern “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics or Sam Raimi’s film trilogy. This helps explain why Eddie Brock, who will one day become Venom, attends Parker’s high school.

But the series also acts as a great introduction, not just to our responsible hero, but also to the main supporting players in his universe. You’ll get a better understanding of the roles Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacey played in Parker’s love life (something Raimi botched from day one). You’ll learn about Peter’s rivalry with Flash Thompson – who needs to be a major part of this reboot – and his deep friendship with Harry Osborn, son of the original Green Goblin. “Spectacular” also showcases Spidey’s sarcasm, something that was woefully absent from Raimi’s films.

“Volumes 6 & 7” recently hit shelves, and while there are no supplements to speak of, the DVDs include three episodes each and feature such classic villains as Sandman, Shocker, Hammerhead, Doctor Octopus and Silvermane. Oh, and Venom is omnipresent, of course. If you need a Spider-Man cheat sheet, these discs are a great place to start.
The collection – *** out of 4

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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