By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
86 Melrose Avenue (Action drama)
Lili Matt’s nail-biting thriller “86 Melrose Avenue,” the story of an ex-marine with PTSD who holds an art gallery hostage, will be available On Demand and Digital Tuesday April 20, from Gravitas Ventures.
The film stars Dada Elza (“Mystery Incorporated”) and Jim O’Heir (“Parks and Recreation”) who are among a diverse group of people at a gallery opening who are taken hostage by an ex-Marine suffering with PTSD and forced to confront their cultural differences, their pasts and their looming mortality as time ticks away. Anastasia Antonia, Gregory Zarian, Terri Ivens, Langstone Fishburne, Michael Polak, Andy Evans, Richard Sabine, Helen Kennedy and Gary Sturm also star in this illuminating film.
The Marijuana Conspiracy (Drama)
“The Marijuana Conspiracy” will be available On Demand and on VOD Tuesday April 20, from Samuel Goldwyn Films.
The drama chronicles the true story of a group of women who participated in a radical experiment in 1972, to determine the effects on them. Five young women looking for a fresh start in life become part of a radical experiment studying the effects of weed on women. Despite the agendas of the government, they use their unique strengths, and friendship to overcome adversity.
The impetus for the film came from Doreen Brown, one of the participants on whom the film is based upon. Years after the experiment ended, Brown shared her little-known story with the world. This led to the Toronto Star opening an investigation to find the results of this strange experiment, which are still unknown.
The film is written and directed by Craig Pryce (“Good Witch,” “The Dark”) and stars Julia Sarah Stone (“Honey Bee,” “Allure”), Morgan Kohan (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Brittany Bristow (“Good Witch”), Tymika Tafari (“Murdoch Mysteries”) and Kyla Young (“Alias Grace”).
The Mortuary Collection (Horror)
The Mortuary Collection arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, Digital HD and On Demand Tuesday April 20, from RLJE Films and Shudder.
Set in the phantasmagorical town of Raven’s End, nothing is as it seems. A misguided young girl takes refuge in a decrepit old mortuary. There she meets Montgomery Dark, an eccentric undertaker with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Montgomery chronicles the strange history of the town through a series of twisted tales, each more terrifying than the last, but the young girl’s world is unhinged when she discovers that the final story is her own.
Written and directed by Ryan Spindell (“50 States of Fright,” “The Babysitter Murders”), “The Mortuary Collection” stars Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Thor: Ragnarok”), Caitlin Custer (“Teen Wolf,” “Swingtown”), Christine Kilmer (“Hollywood,” “Shameless”), and Jacob Elordi (“The Kissing Booth” franchise, “Euphoria”).
Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray include a director’s commentary, 14 extensive behind-the-scenes segments, deleted scenes, in-depth conversations with the director, the crew and the cast, and more.
“The Mortuary Collection” will be available on DVD for $27.97 (SRP) and on Blu-ray for $28.96 (SRP).
White Shadow (Drama)
From executive producer Ryan Gosling comes the next IndiePix Classics release, “White Shadow,’ available on DVD Tuesday April 20.
The filmmaking debut of Israeli artist-turned-filmmaker Noaz Deshe, “White Shadow” tells the story of Alias (newcomer Jamisi Bazili), a young albino boy on the run. A Sundance Grand Jury nominee and winner of the Best Debut at the Venice Film Festival, this powerful drama is the next installment in the IndiePix Classics line, the distributor’s exclusive new imprint shining a light on films that celebrate the very best of their highly curated catalog.
In East Africa, the saying goes, “Albinos don’t die, they just disappear,” and hundreds of documented killings and attacks have occurred since 2007. Witch doctors in Tanzania offer thousands of dollars for albino body parts, believe to bring good fortune, prosperity and the ability to cure illness. As a result, albinos, including children, have been murdered by gangs of men who hack off arms, legs or genitals.
After witnessing his father’s murder, Alias’ mother sends him away to find refuge in the city and the boy is put in the care of his uncle, Kosmos, a truck driver struggling with a small business. Alias learns quickly, selling sunglasses, DVDs and phones. He is fond of his uncle’s daughter, Antoinette, although his uncle disapproves of their relationship. Even though Alias is in the city, he is still in danger and the same chilling rules of survival apply there just as they do in the bush.
The drama is in Swahili with English subtitles.