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New to View: Aug. 11

by on August 7, 2020
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By Bob Bloom
The following titles are being released on Tuesday, Aug. 11, unless otherwise noted:

The High Note (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2020, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, language, suggestive references
The lowdown: Tracee Ellis Ross stars as Grace Davis, a superstar singer with an ego to match her talent.
Dakota Johnson is Maggie, her overworked personal assistant, who aspires to be a music producer.
Things change when Grace’s manager, played by Ice Cube, presents her with a choice that could change her career.
Instead, Grace and Maggie devise a plan that could alter both their lives.
The film is engaging and also offers some criticism of the male-dominated pop music industry. At 113 minutes, the film does drag in a few spots.
Critics were entertained by the film, giving it a 69 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 DVS; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and 2.0 DVS; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus options include deleted, alternate and extended scenes, a featurette on the creation of the movie, a look at creating the legend of Grace Davis and a music video.

NCIS: New Orleans: The Sixth Season (DVD)
Details: 2019-20, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The sixth season of this popular “NCIS” spinoff was marked by the unexpected departure of Lucas Black’s Agent Christopher LaSalle, who was murdered mid-season.
LaSalle’s death was a shock to many fans of the show, who were invested in his character.
The five-disc set, which features all 20 sixth-season episodes, also found star Scott Bakula’s Special Agent Dwayne Cassius “King” Pride going on a personal journey to uncover a mystery from his past and the introduction of new agent Quentin Carter (Charles Michael Davis).
As usual, this NCIS team deals with terrorism threats — both internal and from abroad — murder and cybercrimes.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include a season retrospective and a featurette on the buildup to the killing of Black’s LaSalle.

Tender Mercies (Blu-ray)
Details: 1983, Kino Lorber
Rated: PG
The lowdown: Robert Duvall won a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Mac Sledge, a down-and-out, alcoholic country singer, who finds redemption and love with a young widow and her little boy who run a small motel in an out-of-the-way section of Texas.
The movie was written by Horton Foote, who won an Oscar for best original screenplay, and directed by Bruce Beresford.
Duvall’s performance is the foundation of the film, but equally as strong is the quiet and determined performance by Tess Harper as the widow who captures the heart of Sledge and helps him overcome his demons.
The film also features the late Wiford Brimley, Betty Buckley and Ellen Barkin.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus options include a documentary on the making of the movie featuring interviews with Duvall, Harper, Beresford, Foote and others; and a commentary track.

Cry Freedom (Blu-ray)
Details: 1987, Kino Lorber
Rated: PG
The lowdown: Richard Attenborough (“Ghandi,” “Chaplin”) produced and directed this story, set in 1970s South Africa, about the unlikely friendship between black activist Stephen Biko (Denzel Washington) and white newspaper editor Donald Woods (Kevin Kline).
Woods uses his newspaper to expose the brutal Apartheid regime and deliver Biko’s message to the world. In doing so, he risks his own life.
When Woods learns that Biko has been silenced, he undertakes a dangerous journey to escape South Africa so he can tell the world about Biko’s courage.
The movie, based on actual events, was nominated for three Academy Awards, including best supporting actor for Washington and the two composers of the movie’s score.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: The main extra is a commentary track by film historian Eddy Von Mueller.

Lucky Grandma (Blu-ray)
Details: 2019, Kino Lorber-GDE Releasing
Rating: Not rated
The lowdown: A dark comedy that centers on a recently widowed 80-year-old, chain-smoking Grandma (Tsai Chin) who lives in the Chinatown section of New York City.
Despite the concerns of her family, Grandma wants to live the life of an independent woman. When a local fortune teller predicts a very promising day for her, Grandma heads to a casino where she loses everything.
Her predicament attracts the attention of local gangsters. Grandma, wanting to protect herself, employees a bodyguard from a rival gang.
Soon, she finds herself in the middle of a Chinatown gang war. The film, set in Chinatown’s alleyways and underground mahjong parlors, is a story about the issues of aging and unexpected friendships.
The movie garnered a 96 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Mandarin, English and Cantonese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The Good Doctor: Season Three (DVD)
Release date: Aug. 4
Details: 2019-20, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A five-disc set featuring the complete third season of this popular ABC medical drama about Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a brilliant surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.
Murphy uses his gifts to help save lives at St. Bonaventure Hospital. He also works to improve relationships with his colleagues as well as begin dating.
Despite skepticism, Murphy endeavors to prove to his coworkers that he is a talented surgeon who can and will save lives.
Highmore’s performance as Murphy has been singularly praised.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a blooper reel and deleted scenes.

The Sin of Nora Moran (Blu-ray)
Release date: July 29
Details: 1933, The Film Detective
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This pre-Code 1933 drama packs a lot into its 65-minute running time.
The movie stars Zita Johann, best known for her role as the young woman sought by Boris Karloff in “The Mummy.”
Here, she portrays Nora Moran, who is sentenced to death for a murder she did not commit.
The movie is mainly told in flashback as we learn of Moran’s hard-luck life, her affair with Gov. Dick Crawford (Paul Cavanaugh).
We learns that Moran can save herself, but she keeps to protect those she loves.
The restoration of the movie could not undo more than 80 years of wear, but it still is a decent effort.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is a documentary about Johann.

Valley of the Gods (Blu-ray)
Details: 2019, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This drama follows a trio of storylines that features a middle-class writer, played by Josh Hartnett, an eccentric billionaire, portrayed by John Malkovich and a struggling Navajo community.
Harnett’s John Ecas is a copywriter who undertakes the biography of Malkovich’s Wes Tauros, who is determined to mine sacred Navajo lands for uranium.
His drive comes face-to-face with legendary guardians of the land that even his vast wealth cannot overcome.
The cast also includes John Rhys-Davies, Keir Dullea and Jaime Ray Newman.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major bonus option is a making of featurette.

Michael (Blu-ray)
Details: 1996, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: PG, language, sensuality, violence
The lowdown: John Travolta stars as Michael, an angel who loves to party and dance, in this fantasy feature directed and cowritten by Nora Ephron.
A team of reporters from the sensationalistic tabloid “National Mirror” are tipped off about Michael and are assigned to meet and interview him.
William Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Robert Pastorelli are the reporters who join Michael’s orbit.
Michael has a plan that is a bit more divine for the news hawks in this mild romantic comedy, which also costars Bob Hoskins and Jean Stapleton.
The Blu-ray is a made-on-demand release from the Warner Archive Collection and can be ordered at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.

A White, White Day (DVD)
Details: 2020, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This Icelandic import focuses on a grief-stricken police chief who begins to believe that a local man had an affair with his late wife, who died two years earlier in an accident.
Soon, his suspicions grow into an obsession about discovering the truth, which leads to troubling consequences to himself and his loved ones.
This story of revenge and unconditional love features solid performances. It also grabs you until the final fade-out.
Technical aspects: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; Icelandic 5.1 Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A 10-minute Icelandic short film is the major extra.

Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
CRSHD (DVD) (MVD Visual Entertainment)
G-Loc (DVD & digital & VOD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
I Am Vengeance: Retaliation (Blu-ray + digital & DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Monstrous (DVD & VOD) (Uncork’d Entertainment)
Night Out (Corinth Films)

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
The King of Staten Island (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Unraveling Athena: The Champions of Women’s Tennis (Shout! Studios)
The Bureau: Season 5, Episode 9 (Sundance Now, Aug. 13)
The Fall: Season 3 (Sundance Now, Aug. 13)
The Secrets She Keeps: Episode 5 (Sundance Now, Aug. 13)
Upright: Episodes 3 & 4 (Sundance Now, Aug. 13)
Endless (Quiver Distribution, Aug. 14)
Project Power (www.netflix.com/projectpower) (Netflix, Aug. 14)
Represent (Music Box Films, Aug. 14)
We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest (HBO Home Entertainment, Aug. 16)
The Brilliant Bronte Sisters (Acorn TV, Aug. 17)
Churchill: Blood, Sweat and Oil Paint (Acorn TV, Aug. 17)
The Genius of Roald Dahl (Acorn TV, Aug. 17)
Narnia’s Lost Poet: The Secret Lives & Loves of C.S. Lewis (Acorn TV, Aug. 17)
Resolved (Sundance Now, Aug. 17)
The Sunshine Makers (Sundance Now, Aug. 17)
Even Money (MVD Marquee Collection, April 14)
Haven (MVD Marquee Collection, April 14)
Possession (MVD Marquee Collection, April 14)

Coming next week: Gamera: The Complete Collection

I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. I can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

 

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