By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Audrey: More than an Icon
“Audrey: More than an Icon” arrives on DVD Tuesday Dec. 15, from Salon Pictures.
Written and directed by Helena Coan, this in-depth documentary on Audrey Hepburn delves into the life of the acclaimed actress and humanitarian who is universally recognized as a film and fashion icon from the Golden Age of Hollywood. This in-depth documentary looks back at the life, loves and career of this enigmatic star.
The 90-minute documentary also will be available on VOD and Digital Tuesday Jan. 5, 2021.
The Beach House
RLJE Films, a unit of AMC Networks, along with Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, will release “The Beach House” Tuesday Dec. 15, on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray.
The horror film the directorial feature debut of Jeffrey A. Brown who also wrote the screenplay. The film stars Liana Liberato (“Light as a Feather”), Noah Le Gros (“A Score to Settle”), Maryann Nagel and Jake Weber (“Dawn of the Dead,” “13 Reasons Why”).
Hoping to reignite their relationship, college students Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Le Gros) arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home but, after an indulgent night of partying, they’re awoken to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. A mysterious airborne microbe has infected the water and it’s making its way to the house.
“The Beach House” will be available on DVD for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $27.97 and Blu-ray for $28.96 (SRP).
The Dark and the Wicked
RLJE Films will release the horror film “The Dark and the Wicked,” Tuesday Dec. 15, on DVD and Blu-ray.
Written and directed by Bryan Bertino (“The Strangers”), the film stars Marin Ireland (“Hell or High Water”), Michael Abbott Jr. (“Mud”) and Xander Berkeley (“The Walking Dead”).
On a secluded farm, a man is bedridden and fighting through his final breaths while his wife slowly succumbs to overwhelming grief. Siblings Louise (Ireland) and Michael (Abbott) return home to help, but it doesn’t take long for them to see that something’s wrong with mom—something beyond her heavy sorrow. Gradually, they fall under a darkness similar to their mother’s, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that an evil entity is taking over their family.
A Fantasia Q&A with Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott Jr. is the bonus feature on both the Blu-ray and the DVD editions.
RLJE Films will release the film on DVD for an SRP of $27.97 and on Blu-ray for an SRP of $28.96.
A lethal creature hides in the woods that surround a suburban area and kills anyone who comes near it in “Dragon Soldiers,” arriving on DVD, Digital and On Demand Tuesday Dec.15, from Lionsgate.
When locals start vanishing from a small Colorado town, the mayor hires a squad of elite mercenaries to fight off the menace—whoever or whatever it may be. Leader Cameron (Ruben Pla, “Insidious”) and his team suspect a ruthless gang of mercenary survivalists, until they come face to face with a massive, airborne, fire-breathing reptile. Now, stopping the creature and surviving the attacks will take weapons, explosives, and gunfire, along with every ounce of courage they have left.
The “Dragon Soldiers” DVD will be available for $19.98 (SRP).
The action-thriller “Echo Boomers” arrives on DVD Tuesday Dec. 15, from Paramount Home Entertainment
Two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (“Knives Out:) stars in this gripping crime-thriller with pulse-pounding twists and turns.
Recent college graduate Lance Zutterland (Patrick Schwarzenegger) leaves school in debt, realizing everything he had worked towards was built on a lie. When he is pulled into a criminal operation, he finds his peers fighting the system by stealing from the rich and giving to themselves. With nothing to lose, they leave behind a trail of destruction but with the cops closing in, tensions mount and Lance soon discovers he is in over his head with no way out.
“Echo Boomers” is directed by Seth Savoy from a screenplay he wrote with Kevin Bernhardt and Jason Miller. In addition to the DVD edition, the action thriller is now in select theaters as well as available ON Demand and On Digital.
When a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor decides she’s lived long enough, she instead discovers surprising reasons to go on in the dark comedy “Frau Stern,” available Tuesday Dec. 15, from Omnibus Entertainment.
Stern (Ahuva Sommerfeld) is in remarkable shape for a woman her age. Her physical health is excellent, her daughter and granddaughter are doting on her, her hairdresser supplies her with recreational drugs and she is surrounded by friends who are still in their twenties. But this Holocaust survivor from Berlin has had enough, and she desperately wants to die. After surviving the concentration camps, all she wants is a peaceful exit as soon as possible, as she’s seen enough tragedy in her lifetime. Yet, while trying her best to find a way out of this life, she spends her time joyously with her spirited granddaughter, Elli, and her eclectic group of friends, living it up to the fullest which conflicts directly with her stated desire.
Set in modern-day Berlin by director Anatol Schuster, making his feature film debut, “Frau Stern” is a dark comedy filled with warmth—a meditation on life, death and everything in between. Sommerfeld gives a memorable last performance; she passed away shortly after filming. She posthumously won the Max Öphuls Prize for Best Actress and was nominated for the same award by the German Film Critics Association.
“Frau Stern” is in German and Hebrew with English subtitles, and is available for $24.95 (SRP) on Amazon.com. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M8HF1XV/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_y76ZFb4ZB7MHZ)
My German Friend
A German-Jewish girl and the son of an exiled Nazi colonel form an enduring bond in Argentina in “My German Friend,” arriving on DVD/Digital Tuesday Dec. 15, from Corinth Films.
An epic love story by director Jeanine Meerapfel, the drama distills 30 years of personal and political postwar history. It opens in 1950s Buenos Aires where Jews and Nazis, having fled Europe, are thrown together in a foreign land. As the children of affluent German emigrants, Sulamit Löwenstein (Celeste Cid) and Friedrich Burg (Max Riemelt) first meet as next door neighbors and become instant friends. Only later does Friedrich learn that his father was a high-ranking SS officer. Determined to break with his family, he moves to Germany to immerse himself in radical student politics. Sulamit follows and a romance briefly blossoms, but Friedrich’s commitment to political activism leaves no room for love. When he returns to Argentina to join an anti-government guerilla movement and disappears without a trace, Sulamit embarks on a search to find him, and heal her heart and the wounds of the past.
Partly based on people and events from her own life, German-Argentinian writer-director Jeanine Meerapfel delivers an intimate examination of a guilt-ridden generation seeking to escape the mistakes and legacy of their forbearers. Set against the backdrop of Patagonia, a talented cast, imaginative cinematography and a penetrating look at forces of the past come together for an unconventional love story you’ll not soon forget.
The DVD/Digital of “My German Friend” will be available for $24.95 (SRP).
Louis van Beethoven
This month, the world will celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), the creative genius whose music continues to inspire and enrich the lives of people all over the globe. On Tuesday Dec. 15, Film Movement invites home audiences to commemorate the musical prodigy’s rich and fascinating life with “Louis van Beethoven,” a lavish biographical drama, available on DVD/Digital.
Opening on the final stanza of the musical savant’s life, the period drama finds the older composer (Tobias Moretti) living on the estate of his brother Johann and his wife Therese shortly before his death in 1826. Despite his great successes, most recently with the Ninth Symphony, Beethoven struggles because his late work completely overwhelms his contemporaries. And now completely deaf, he looks back at missed opportunities throughout his life.
From his earliest years in Bonn, Ludwig, called “Louis” stood out as a genius, with an early life shaped by the singer and actor, Tobias Pfeiffer, and the Bonn court organist, Christian Gottlob Neefe. With their teachings in hand, Beethoven approached life and profession in his own way, much to the chagrin of those around him. Following a momentous encounter with Mozart in Vienna, and the political upheavals of the time culminating in the French Revolution, the young Beethoven became passionate about his calling, though an unrequited love and family tragedies nearly saw him put down his composer’s quill. However, when Beethoven finally arrives in Vienna to study under Joseph Haydn in 1792, the rest is history.
Revealing the life of a genius far ahead of his time, “Louis van Beethoven” shows that though his battles against musical and social conventions lasted a lifetime, his revolutionary music will last forever.
The DVD/Digital of “Louis van Beethoven” will be available for $24.95 (SRP).
The Opening Act
RLJE Films will release “The Opening Act” Tuesday Dec. 15, on DVD and Blu-ray.
Will Chu is stuck in a thankless job while trying to pursue his true passion in life, becoming a stand-up comedian. When he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the emcee slot on the road opening for his hero Billy G., the realities of life on the stage come crashing in. Between relentless hecklers, drunk comedy groupies and hard-to-impress morning radio DJs, things get off to a rough start. Even if he can learn from his idols and overcome the challenges, he’ll have to prove he has what it takes to make his dream a reality.
Written and directed by stand-up comedian Steve Byrne (“Always Amazing”) and produced by Vince Vaughn (“The Internship,” “Couples Retreat”) and Peter Billingsley (“Ironman”), the comedy stars Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”), Alex Moffat (“Saturday Night Live”), Cedric The Entertainer (“The Neighborhood”), Neal Brennan (“Get Him to the Greek”), Debby Ryan (“Insatiable”), Ken Jeong (“The Hangover”, Bill Burr (“The King of Staten Island”), Jermaine Fowler (“Superior Donuts”), Russell Peters (“Supercon”), Whitney Cummings (“Whitney”), Tom Segura (“Instant Family”), and Iliza Shlesinger (“Spenser Confidential”).
Bonus features include “The Making of ‘The Opening Act,’” “Getting Started in Comedy” and extended stand up scenes with Yang, Cedric the Entertainer, Cummings and more.
“The Opening Act” will be available on DVD for $27.97 (SRP) and on Blu-ray for $28.96 (SRP).
“Robo” arrives on DVD Tuesday Dec. 15, from MPI Media Group and Capelight Pictures.
Mitya is an imaginative 12-year-old boy who loves to draw comics of superheroes and dreams of becoming an artist. His parents, who have little understanding for Mitya’s creativity, however, work as robotic engineers. They have built and programmed a Universal Rescue Robot, a.k.a. Robo, to rescue people from dangerous situations. Soon after their final tests, Robo escapes from the research facility motivated to understand the meaning of “family.”
Due to Robo’s alleged malfunction, the director of the research facility deems the fled robot as a menace to society that should be destroyed at once. In his search for a family, the robot meets Mitya and the two form a true friendship while on the run from anyone who tries to deactivate and destroy Robo.
“Tenet,” Christopher Nolan’s latest time-shifting, mind-bending action drama, arrives on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Tuesday December 15, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Written, directed and produced by Nolan (“Inception,” “Dunkirk”), “Tenet” opened globally beginning in August and has grossed $350 million to date, with the much-anticipated theatrical openings in the major markets of New York and Los Angeles still to come. “Tenet” also is now available on Digital.
“Tenet” features an international ensemble cast led by John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman,” “Ballers”) as the Protagonist. The film also stars Robert Pattinson (the “Twilight” films, “The Lighthouse,” upcoming “The Batman”), Elizabeth Debicki (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “The Great Gatsby”), Dimple Kapadia (“Angrezi Medium”), Martin Donovan (“Ant-Man,” “Fahrenheit 451”), Fiona Dourif (“Cult of Chucky”), Yuri Kolokolnikov (“The Hitman’s Bodyguard”), Himesh Patel (“Yesterday”), Clémence Poésy (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“The Avengers: Age of Ultron”), with Michael Caine (“Inception,” “The Cider House Rules,” “The Dark Knight”) and Kenneth Branagh (“Dunkirk,” “Murder on the Orient Express”).
Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion.
The 4K UHD Combo Pack and Blu-ray exclusively includes the featurette, “Looking at the World in a New Way: The Making of ‘Tenet’—an hour-long exploration of the development and production of the film as told by the cast and crew. It will be available for $44.95 (SRP). The “Tenet” Blu-ray will be available for $35.99 and the DVD will be available for $28.98 (SRP).
IndiePix Films invites home audiences to an entertaining trip to Sollywood with an all-new adventure-filled DVD/Digital release of 1975’s “Trompie,” in its acclaimed Retro Afrika collection.
The only feature film adapted from Topsy Smith’s incredibly popular book series, “Trompie” is set in 1970’s Apartheid South Africa in the picturesque little town of Kwaggaberg, and follows Trompie Torien (Andre Laubscher), the leader of a neighborhood “gang,” and his three mischief-making pals: Blikkies, Rooie and little Dawie. Together, they’re known as the Boksombende. They’re typical 12-year-olds, full of brilliant ideas and escapades, and whenever they find themselves in a pickle, they talk their way out of trouble, repentant or not. The drama is in Afrikaans with English subtitles.
Hailing from Retro Afrika Bioscope, a label dedicated to locating, acquiring and restoring South African cult classic films from the ‘70s and ‘80s, “Trompie” ad other Apartheid-era films—never seen before outside their borders—have all have undergone a highly-specialized digital restoration process for optimal viewing.
The DVD/Digital of “Trompie” will be available for $24.95 (SRP). The film also will be available on IndiePix’s SVOD Platform, IndiePix Unlimited on Amazon Channels.
Upside Down Magic
An enchanting twist on a classic story of friendship and self-discovery,” Disney’s “Upside Down Magic” is now available on DVD.
When 13-year-old Nory (Izabela Rose) discovers she can flux into animals and best pal Reina (Siena Agudong) can manipulate flames, they enter the Sage Academy for Magical Studies. But Nory’s wonky magic and tendency for turning into a “Dritten”—a half-kitten, half-dragon—lands her in a class for those with unconventional powers, and she and her classmates must prove that their upside-down magic beats right-side up.
The family friendly film is directed by Joe Nussbaum, and is based on the novel “Upside-Down Magic” by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins, with the teleplay by Nick Pustay and Josh Cagan.
Bonus features include deleted scenes, bloopers and two music videos.
Upondo & Nkinsela
IndiePix Films presents an all-new adventure-filled DVD/Digital release of 1984’s “Upondo & Nkinsela,” from its acclaimed Retro Afrika collection.
Opondo and Nkinsela are two haphazard, dysfunctional friends who end up going on a series of crazy adventures. From ruining a bride’s wedding day to destroying a client’s hairdo in a beauty salon, to escaping a ghost, talent agents and mob bosses, the two friends always seem to come out on top despite the havoc they cause wherever they go, in a feature-length series of 13 vignettes. In Zulu with English subtitles.
The DVD/Digital of “Upondo & Nkinsela,” written and directed by Bernard Buys, will be available for $24.95 (SRP). The film also will be available on IndiePix’s SVOD Platform, IndiePix Unlimited on Amazon Channels.
Where I Belong
The post-World War II era “Where I Belong,” arrives on DVD/Digital Tuesday Dec. 15, from Corinth Films.
As Hitler consolidated power, the politics of the Third Reich drove thousands into exile. After being forced to leave Austria, Rosemarie Kohschitz (Natalie Press) and her ailing father Friedrich (Matthias Habich) settled in England; unfortunately, when the war ended, the world they knew had changed forever, so the ‘50s finds the pair living together in a shabby English house, with the hard-working Rosemarie struggling to make ends meet by working in a garment shop and taking typing and dictation classes in the evening in hopes of landing a better job. When she gets home though, she becomes her father’s little Austrian daughter.
While Friedrich tries in vain to reclaim the estate that was taken from them in the war, Rosemarie’s life is split between evenings in the dance hall with her friends and the grueling routine of her work and the life with her father. Change comes for them both, however, when Anton, a charming but married man in his forties—and Friedrich’s old charge from the days in an internment camp—arrives and triggers love, loss and longing in this intense period drama nominated for Best Actress and Best Costume Design at the Austrian Film Awards.
“Where I Belong” will be available on DVD/Digital for $24.95 (SRP).
The untold story of how a motley crew of punk rockers stood up against racism and changed the world is the subject of the engaging documentary “White Riot,” available on DVD/Digital Tuesday Dec. 15, from Film Movement.
Britain, late-1970s. The country is deeply divided over immigration. The National Front, a far-right and fascist political party, is gaining strength. And countering this was Rock Against Racism (RAR), a movement that swept across the U.K. and Europe and culminated in a march of more than 100,000 people and a legendary concert event—Woodstock meets the March on Washington, punk-style. Capturing this incredible moment in time when music changed the world is the award-winning documentary from director Rubika Shah.
Expanding on her documentary short “White Riot: London,” Shah’s energizing film charts the rise of RAR, formed in 1976. The feature-length documentary blends fresh, engaging interviews with RAR staff and musicians with archival footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches.
As neo-Nazis recruited the nation’s youth, RAR’s multicultural punk and reggae gigs provided rallying points for resistance. The campaign grew from “Temporary Hoarding,” the movement’s fanzine to 1978’s huge antifascist concert in Victoria Park, featuring X-Ray Spex, Tom Robinson, Steel Pulse and, of course, The Clash, whose rock star charisma and gale-force conviction took RAR’s message to the masses.
The DVD/Digital of “White Riot” will be available for $24.95.
Front Row Features has more than a few reasons to celebrate the holidays. We have two giveaways available this week. One lucky reader will receive a copy of the Berlin-set dark comedy “Frau Stern” on DVD. Also, one lucky reader will receive a copy of the comedy about standup comedians, “The Opening Act.” To enter either of the contests, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 21 for your chance to win. Simply let us know which prize you’re interested in winning. Good luck!