By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Ambushed (Action Drama)
The 1988 action drama “Ambushed” arrives on DVD and Digital Tuesday April 27 through IndiePix’s Retro Afrika Cult Classics.
With the odds stacked against them, a game ranger and his assistant launch a desperate attack against a gang of army deserters in an effort to rescue the ranger’s wife and son who’ve been kidnapped and kept in a hideout in this caper. Helmed by director Tonie van der Merwe, one of the most popular filmmakers among Black audiences in the 1970s and ‘80s, with 400 films to his credit, helmed this film starring Innocent “Popo” Gumede, who was featured in ay of Van Der Merwe’s films, as well as Hector Mathanda, Kay Magubane and Ngcebo Zungu.
The film is in Zulu with English subtitles.
The DVD/Digital will be available for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $24.95.
Best Summer Ever (Musical)
“Best Summer Ever” will be available to rent and own on North American digital HD internet, cable, and satellite platforms and DVD Tuesday April 27, through Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios.
Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli’s inclusive and heartwarming musical feature follows Sage and Anthony, who upon meeting and falling in love at a dance camp over summer break, think they won’t see each other again until the following summer. However, Sage, by a twist of fate, arrives unexpectedly at the same high school as Anthony. Now faced with the drama of high school cliques, an evil cheerleader and the illegal secret that keeps Sage’s family on the move, they are forced to reevaluate their relationship as Tony struggles to be both the high school football star and the dancer he’s always wanted to be.
A fresh and exhilarating take on the beloved teen musical genre, “Best Summer Ever” features eight original songs and a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities.
The film stars Shannon DeVido (“Difficult People,” “Insatiable”), Ricky Wilson Jr. (“Modern Family,” “This Is Us”), musician MuMu, Jacob Waltuck (“Bulletproof”), Emily Kranking (“Saylor and Selena”), Ajani “AJ” Murray (“Bardo Blues,” “Take a Look at This Heart”), Eileen Grubba (“SWAT”) and Holly Palmer (“My One & Only”). Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard and Benjamin Bratt also star in the film.
A Zeno Mountain Farms production, “Best Summer Ever” was directed by Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli who co-wrote the film alongside Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, and Andrew Pilkington.
Faceless Man (Crime Thriller)
The 1985 crime thriller “Faceless Man” arrives on DVD and Digital Tuesday April 27 through IndiePix’s Retro Afrika Cult Classics.
When Piet, an innocent man looking for work, gets roped up in an assassination on a local politician, he ends up working with police to bring the culprit who hired him to justice. But it is soon revealed that Detective Andrew, whom Piet is helping work the case, is in fact the criminal known as the “Faceless an.” It soon becomes a cate and mouse game to bring this corrupt officer to justice. Hector Mathanda, Dumisani Shongwe and Jabu Luthuli star in this thriller, directed by Carl Bleakley in his feature film debut. In Zulu, with English subtitles.
Searchlight Pictures and Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” an exploration of modern-day van dwelling life on the road starring Frances McDormand, will be available on Blu-ray Tuesday April 27.
Following the economic collapse of a town in rural Nevada, Fern (Oscar winning actress Frances McDormand) packs her van and explores an unconventional life in the vast landscape of the American West. Along the way, she forms unbreakable bonds with other nomads in this powerfully moving story of hope and resilience from Zhao, based on the book by Jessica Bruder. The film also stars David Strathairn (“Good Night and Good Luck”).
After premiering at the Venice Film Festival in September, “Nomadland” won the Golden Lion. It then went on to win the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, making it the first film to ever win the top prize at both festivals. The film was recently nominated for an Academy award as was its star.
Extras on the Blu-ray include deleted scenes, a featurette on “The Forgotten America” and the Telluride Film Festival Q&A with McDormand and Zhao.
“Nomadland” is available now through Movies Anywhere.
Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles (Documentary)
Via London, Versailles, and Instagram, “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles” arrives on DVD Tuesday April 27, from IFC.
The documentary follows famous chef Yotam Ottolenghi on his quest to bring the sumptuous art and decadence of Versailles to life in cake form at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He assembles a team—a veritable who’s who of the dessert world, including Dominique Ansel and Dinara Kasko—to help bring his vision to life. The pastry chefs create a true feast of Versailles complete with a cocktail whirlpool and posh Jell-o shots, architectural mousse cakes, chocolate sculptures, swan pastries, and an edible garden.
Ottolenghi acts as the guide throughout, disassembling pastries to give viewers the history of ingredients that we now take for granted, like sugar and chocolate. “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles “captures the heights of human achievement and the frailty of decadence, adding taste as one more sense with which to experience the Met. The DVD will be available for $24.98 (SRP).
Run For Your Life (Crime Drama)
The 1985 crime thriller “Run For Your Life” arrives on DVD and Digital Tuesday April 27 through IndiePix’s Retro Afrika Cult Classics.
While out on a cross-country run in unfamiliar territory, two friends stumble upon an illegal drug ring in the woods. Taken hostage by a notorious drug lord, they face the threat of becoming drug slaves themselves. Forced to work the plantation for “Cobra,” the friends will have to rely on their wits if they wish to feat the armed guards holding them captive.
Vusi Gudazi and Eddie De Croes star in this exciting escape drama.
“Run For Your Life” is in Zulu with English subtitles.
Vanquish (Action Thriller)
“Vanquish” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday April 27, from Grindstone Entertainment Group, a Lionsgate company.
From writer-director George Gallo (“Double Take,” “Middle Men,” “The Poison Rose”) comes this stylish, glossy action-thriller starring Morgan Freeman (“Se7en”) and Ruby Rose (“Orange Is the New Black”) that shows what desperation can drive a person to do. A mother, Victoria (Rose), is trying to put her dark past as a Russian drug courier behind her, but retired cop Damon (Freeman) forces Victoria to do his bidding by holding her daughter hostage. Now, Victoria must use guns, guts, and a motorcycle to take out a series of violent gangsters—or she may never see her child again.
The action thriller also is available now On Demand and on Digital platforms.
Wanted for Murder/Cast a Dark Shadow (Drama)
Two fully restored British noir classics: “1955’s Wanted for Murder” and 1946’s “Cast a Dark Shadow” arrive on Blu-ray and DVD, from Cohen Media Group.
In the Lewis Gilbert-directed “Wanted for Murder,” the polished exterior of a refined gentleman (Eric Portman) conceals the heart of a strangler. A young record shop clerk (Dulcie Gray) holds the key to his capture, which puts her at the head of the queue to become his next victim.
In “Cast a Dark Shadow,” Dirk Bogarde (“The Servant,” “The Damned”) stars as “Teddy” Bare, a smooth- talking cad who maintains a life of leisure by preying on a series of lonely, wealthy women. But the headstrong sister (Kay Walsh) of one of his late wives is determined to bring Teddy’s killing streak to an end. The thriller is directed by Lawrence Huntington.
The double-feature will be available on Blu-ray for $29.95 (SRP) and on DVD for $19.95 (SRP).