Astro Boy (2009)
The urge to be a real boy was at the heart of Pinocchio, and it's central to this computer-animated tale of a little boy robot, based on a series of Japanese cartoons. A grieving father (Nicolas Cage) creates Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore) with the DNA of his dead son, but rejects him, while the president of what's left of Earth (Donald Sutherland) seeks to capture the robot for nefarious purposes. The Globe's review said the story was overly familiar but "the family-friendly movie is smartly written, brisk and fun."
Good Hair (2009)
This funny-sad documentary is an eye-opener for viewers unaware of the degree to which southern U.S. black women in particular torture their hair to make it straight and silky rather than coarse and curly. The magic ingredient is hair relaxer, which, as narrator-interviewer Chris Rock notes, is sodium hydroxide. The celebrities (Nia Long, Maya Angelou, Ice-T) and others interviewed are both funny and (like the relaxer) caustic, and Rock and co-producer Nelson George talk over each other in an engaging commentary.
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