By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
A White, White Day
Iceland’s official Oscar submission “A White, White Day,” arrives on DVD/Digital Tuesday Aug. 11, from Film Movement.
An off-duty police chief (a chilling Ingvar Sigurdsson, who received Cannes Critics’ Week award for Best Actor for his performance) in a remote Icelandic town, begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife, who died in a tragic accident two years earlier. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth takes over his life and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones. Combining classic thriller tropes with a distinctly Nordic arthouse sensibility, “A White, White Day” is the second feature from Hlynur Pálmason. The film is in Icelandic with English subtitles.
The bonus feature is Pálmason’s dialogue-free short film “Seven Boats,” in which a man stranded alone at sea is suddenly surrounded by seven boats, and has to fight for his life.
Popular festival documentary “Big Fur” arrives on VOD and all digital platforms Tuesday Aug. 11, from 1091 Pictures.
Ken Walker is a world champion taxidermist. His specialty is re-creating extinct and endangered species out of other animal’s hides, like his famous saber-toothed tiger and giant panda. Wild animals are not the only way Walker can make a lifelike impression—he previously was a professional Roy Orbison impersonator. But these days, his “Pretty Woman” is eight feet tall and covered in fur— a re-creation of “Patty,” the female Bigfoot seen in shaky footage of a 1967 movie.
Filmmaker Dan Wayne documents Walker’s meticulous Bigfoot re-creation from start to finish, where it is unveiled at the World Taxidermy Championships. While the taxidermist would love to win the coveted Best in Show prize, his real hope is that putting Patty on display will prompt some hunter to open his freezer and pull out the proof that Bigfoot is real. Instead, it’s Walker’s love life that gets thawed out.
“Big Fur” is a wry portrait of an eccentric artist, with an unshakable belief that eventually he’ll find true love or, at least, the hairy, 800-pound validation of his life’s quest. It’s also an insider’s view of taxidermy as an under-appreciated art form. And finally, it’s a call to preserve the last wilderness, because when there is no mystery left in the deep, dark forest, humanity will have lost more than Bigfoot. It will have lost our sense of adventure.
How to Build a Girl
“How to Build a Girl” comes to Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Aug. 11, from IFC Films. Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein) is a bright, quirky, 16-year-old who uses her colorful imagination to regularly escape her humdrum life in Wolverhampton and live out her creative fantasies. Desperate to break free from the overcrowded flat she shares with her four brothers and eccentric parents, she submits an earnestly penned and off-beat music review to a group of self-important indie rock critics at a weekly magazine.
Despite being brushed off initially, Johanna clamors to the top of the ‘90s rock music scene by reinventing herself as Dolly Wilde, a venerable, impossible-to-please music critic with an insatiable lust for fame, fortune, and men. It isn’t long before the rapid pace at which Johanna’s life is changing, becomes overwhelming, and she runs face-first into a devastatingly real, existential crisis. She has to decide what kind of girl she wants to become.
Based on the best-selling novel by Caitlin Moran, “How to Build a Girl” is a sassy, sexy, and a profoundly touching coming-of-age comedy that traces the rocky road to womanhood through the lens of a unique and wildly hilarious protagonist. Co-starring Alfie Allen, Paddy Consindine, Chris O’Dowd and two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson.
The Blu-ray is available for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $29.98 and the DVD is available for $24.98 (SRP).
The horror movie “Monstrous,” arrives on DVD and On Demand Tuesday Aug. 11, from Uncork’d Entertainment.
Sylvia, a lonely 20-something woman, goes searching for answers after her friend mysteriously vanishes in Whitehall, N.Y., an Adirondack town known for its Bigfoot sightings. She sets off with a mysterious, charming young woman, Alex, hell-bent on getting to Whitehall for different reasons. Sylvia soon learns that hiding in the woods is an evil more sinister than she could ever imagine.
From director Bruce Wemple, and starring Anna Shields, Rachel Finninger, Grant Schumacher, Hannah McKechnie, Catharine Daddario, Dylan Grunn, Peter Stray, Rick Montgomery Jr., and Thomas Brazzle.
Valley of the Gods
“Valley of the Gods,” the latest film from award-winning Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski (“The Garden of Earthly Delights,” “The Mill and the Cross”), comes to Digital, Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Aug. 11, from Well Go USA Entertainment. Starring Josh Hartnett (“Pearl Harbor,” “Black Hawk Down”), Bérénice Marlohe (“Skyfall”) and John Malkovich (“Places in the Heart,” “In the Line of Fire”), “Valley of the Gods” juxtaposes abundance and poverty through the eyes of an anguished writer, a bizarre trillionaire and a struggling Navajo community armed with only a now-imminent ancient legend. The film features an original music score by Oscar-winning composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (“Finding Neverland”) and co-stars Jaime Ray Newman (“The Punisher”), Keir Dullea (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Madame X”) and John Rhys-Davies (“The Lord of the Rings”). Bonus materials include a “making-of” featurette.
The Blu-ray will be available for $29.98 (SRP) and the DVD will be available for $24.98 (SRP).
The German dramedy “Night Out,” will be available on DVD/Digital Tuesday Aug. 11, from Corinth Films.
Every Saturday night in Berlin is a non-stop, electrifying, eye-popping party. A colorful mix of hetero and gay singles, couples and polyamorous adventurers descend upon the legendary nightlife scene craving fun and satisfaction.
Written and directed by Stratos Tzitzis and winner of the “Achtung Berlin! – New Berlin Film Award” at the Berlin Film Festival, home viewers are invited along on one such night, joining an eclectic group on a frenetic all-night journey as they explore the trendy metropolis, where anything and everything goes.
“Night Out” follows art gallery owner Felix, who’s showing his star artist Michael and his enterprising wife Sarah the hottest clubs, while free-spirited Lena and her lover Ingrid meet Amir, whose initial shyness excites them to play new erotic games. Martha and Sebastian try to find an investor in the nightlife and the young Layla searches for the father of her unborn child under neon light and driving bass. Ultimately, and for better or worse, their paths cross in the beating heart of the all-night city—Berlin’s notorious and vibrant KitKat Club—where their passions, relationships, and sweat intermingle in one unforgettable, never-ending night of possibilities. The film is in German with English subtitles.
The DVD/Digital will be available for $24.95 (SRP).
An enthralling portrait of Hollywood and the dark side of fame, the acclaimed and enduring classic “Sunset Boulevard” celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Directed and co-written by the legendary Billy Wilder, the drama was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won three for Best Art Direction, Best Music and Best Writing.
Originally released in August of 1950, “Sunset Boulevard” was among the first films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry and is in the top 20 of the AFI’s Greatest American Films of All Time.
Gloria Swanson and William Holden give riveting performances as two of the silver screen’s most memorable characters: the aging silent film queen Norma Desmond and struggling young screenwriter Joe Gillis. The bizarre and twisted story that unfolds between them is a brilliant combination of noir, black comedy and character study, as well as a scathing and pitch-black commentary on Hollywood.
The film classic also features masterful performances by Erich von Stroheim as Desmond’s ex-husband/butler and Nancy Olson as the wholesome script reader who falls for Gillis, along with cameo appearances by director Cecil B. DeMille, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and silent film actor Buster Keaton.
“Sunset Boulevard” is available now to rent or buy on Digital platforms as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The High Note
The music-filled drama “The High Note” arrives on Blu-ray, DVD Tuesday Aug. 11, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. It also is available now on Digital.
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Blackish”) stars as Grace Davis, a music icon who elevates her career to the next level with the help of Maggie, her ambitious assistant (Dakota Johnson; “Fifty Shades of Grey” franchise), in the delightful and glamorous film that brings a lighthearted humor to the illustrious and trendy L.A. music scene.
Directed by Nisha Ganatra (“Late Night”) and written by Flora Greeson, a former personal assistant in the music industry, “The High Note” features an all-star cast alongside Ross and Johnson including Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Luce”), Bill Pullman (“The Sinner”), Zoë Chao (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette”), and June Diane Raphael (“The Disaster Artist”) with Eddie Izzard (“Ocean’s Thirteen”) and Ice Cube (the “Ride Along” movies).
Showcasing brand-new original songs and soulful covers, “The High Note” on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital features breathtaking musical performances by Ross and Harrison, and comes packed with never-before-seen exclusive bonus content including an all-new original music video, deleted scenes and featurettes with cast and crew taking audiences deeper into the alluring story of Grace Davis and her captivating music career.
Set in the dazzling world of L.A.’s music scene comes the story of Grace Davis (Ross), a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights. Maggie (Johnson) is Grace’s overworked personal assistant who’s stuck running errands, but still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Grace must choose between playing it safe or listening to her heart in a decision that could change her life forever. The film inspires audiences everywhere to follow their dreams.
Unraveling Athena: The Champions of Women’s Tennis
The sports documentary “Unraveling Athena: The Champions of Women’s Tennis,” arrives on Digital for Watch-at Home Tuesday Aug. 11, from Shout! Studios.
Chronicling the lives of some of the world’s most extraordinary athletes, the documentary explores the interweaving lives and narrative of female tennis royalty. Featuring extensive interviews with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Pam Shriver, Martina Hingis, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Monica Seles, Kim Clijsters, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sania Mirza, Dinara Safina and Tracy Austin, this is an inspirational story of perseverance, trials and tribulations, and remarkable achievements, told in their own words to create a single, unified narrative of the female heroine of today. The movie provides an extraordinary insight into the mind of the professional athlete and the ultimate exploration of what it takes to make a champion.
The Acorn TV Original series “Gold Digger” arrives on DVD Tuesday Aug. 11.
On her 60th birthday, Julie (Emmy winner Julia Ormond, “Mad Men,” “Legends of the Fall”) hits it off with handsome young Benjamin (Ben Barnes, “The Chronicles of Narnia” films, “Westworld”). But their whirlwind romance is marred by the disapproval of Julia’s adult children, who suspect Benjamin may be nothing more than a gold digger. The six-episode series originally premiered on Acorn TV. The DVD is available for $39.99 (SRP).
Playing for Keeps
The Australian series “Playing for Keeps” arrives on DVD Tuesday Aug. 11, from Sundance Now.
A fresh, contemporary, and glamorous murder mystery set on the side lines of football, told from the unique perspective of the real power players: the women. It’s love, power, and status all the way—until the death of a team member adds investigation into the mix. This bold and brassy Australian series depicts the lives of the rich and famous, in a world full of lies, scandals, and possibly even murder. Having premiered on Sundance Now, the eight-episode series is available for $34.99 (SRP).
Spend some time in quarantine watching Poland’s “Valley of the Gods.” Front Row Features is giving away a copy of the fantasy/sci-fi drama on Blu-ray to one lucky reader. To enter the contest, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org by Aug. 17 for your chance to win. Good luck!