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The documentary “White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch” does more than look at the financial ups and downs of a retail chain that went from a stuffy outdoor outfitter (founded in 1892) to a shopping-mall staple 100 years later, with the arrival of CEO Mike Jeffries, who transformed it into an avatar of exclusivity and soft-core sex appeal. Make that an avatar of exclusion: The narrative spine of “White Hot” is the buildup to a 2003 class-action lawsuit against the clothing company, alleging racial discrimination in the stores’ hiring policies, which, as the plaintiffs argued, favored White applicants of a particular “look” — thin, preppy, “all-American,” in the words of an in-house manual — over people of color. It’s a fascinating tale of hubris, bigotry and, ultimately, social reckoning. Among the film’s taking heads is The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan, who brings insight and context to the saga of aspirational marketing. It’s a cautionary tale that is not peculiar to one company, either. As Givhan notes, A&F was just doing what many other merchants do in this age of quasi-addictive consumerism: “The goal is not to give people what they’re asking for,” Givhan says, “but to make them ask for what you’re offering.” TV-MA. Available on Netflix. Contains nudity and strong language. 88 minutes.

The rise and fall of Abercrobie’s ‘look policy’

In “9 Bullets,” Lena Headey plays Gypsy, a stripper turned author who goes on the run with a neighbor boy (Dean Scott Vazquez) after his parents are murdered by thugs working for the local crime boss (Sam Worthington) — who also happens to be Gypsy’s ex. According to Flickering Myth, the film suffers from “unfortunate corniness,” despite being “an otherwise solid on-the-lam thriller.” Unrated. Available on demand. 100 minutes.

The documentary “Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain” looks at the lives and careers of the members of the influential hip-hop group best known for such unapologetically pro-cannabis anthems as “Hits From the Bong.” In the film’s contemporary interview with the band, the New York Times says its members come across as “modest, soft-spoken, thoughtful and hardly at all burned out.” Unrated. Available on Showtime. 87 minutes.

Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows” is a documentary portrait of the late African American musician whose lengthy career spanned genres, leaving a legacy that many are still unaware of. The Hollywood Reporter writes: “About that legacy, a lead the film is happy to bury in its second half: The opening seconds of Johnson’s 1967 cut ‘Different Strokes,’ whose carnal grunt a layman might mistake for James Brown’s, became a fundamental scratch joint, a building block of hip-hop heard in tracks from Public Enemy to Jay-Z and beyond. Several stars give Johnson props here, but none is as helpful as RZA, who fleshes out the narrative of how Johnson turned into a litigation machine once he realized how many artists were sampling him.” Unrated. Available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Vimeo on Demand and other on-demand platforms. 120 minutes.

Syl Johnson, oft-sampled R&B mainstay, dies at 85

The documentary “Vinyl Nation” examines the vinyl record renaissance that, over recent years, has brought record collecting to new, younger fans. Film Threat calls the “visually stimulating” and “exhaustive” film a “lively, engaging affair, with excellent interviewees whose passion shines through with each answer.” TV-14. Available on demand. 92 minutes.



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