By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
AK-47: Kalashnikov (Drama)
“AK: 47: Kalashnikov” has arrived on DVD and Digital, from Capelight Pictures.
The Eastern Front, 1941: young tank commander Mikhail Kalashnikov is seriously wounded in battle. Unable to work and with no prospect of returning to the front, yet eager to continue to help his country, he begins developing designs for a more robust, effective and reliable assault rifle.
With the help of a few train welders, Kalashnikov’s first prototype catches the interest of a high-ranking military official. This opens the first of many doors for Kalashnikov, allowing him to take part in country-wide weapons design competitions—pitting his designs and ideas against the most renowned inventors of the Soviet Union. And in his pursuit of perfection, Kalashnikov does everything he can to ensure that the world’s most advanced and reliable weapon—the AK-47—goes into production.
Written by Sergei Bodrov, Anatoliy Usov and Aleksey Borodachyov, this Russian drama is directed by Konstantin Buslov.
Alone with her Dreams (Drama)
The coming-of-age drama “Alone With her Dreams” arrives on DVD and on Digital Tuesday Feb. 23, from Corinth Films.
Filmed on the rugged and stunningly beautiful Sicilian coast, “Alone with her Dreams” explores the universally timely themes of family separation because of emigration, generational conflicts and feminine repression, continuing the traditions of Italian neo-realist masters Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Ermanno Olmi and Vittorio De Sica.
Set in the late 1960s, the film explores the issues of immigration, community values and family devotion through the eyes of a young girl, Lucia, who is left behind with her grandmother, Maria, while her parents emigrate to France to find work. Lucia longs to be with her family as she struggles to learn her role in the tiny, traditional village under the watchful guidance of her stern grandmother.
As Lucia enters womanhood, her childhood innocence is lost to a hideous family secret and her world of childhood fragility and heartbreaking nostalgia melts into adulthood’s poignant understanding.
Dignity, strength and optimism become the traits that Lucia unknowingly inherits as she ultimately learns about her grandmother’s compassion and deep nurturing love in this poignant debut from filmmaker Paolo Licata.
A festival favorite and winner of the Best First Feature and Best Original Score at the 2020 Italian Golden Globes, “Alone with her Dreams” also was nominated for a Best Actress and Best Screenplay awards at that event.
The Belles of St. Trinian’s (Comedy)
Class is in session when the classic British comedy “The Belles of St. Trinian’s” arrives for the first time on Blu-ray, in a digitally restored edition from Film Movement Classics.
Best remembered as Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” Scottish character actor Alastair Sim became a leading star of British cinema after spending five years as a lecturer of elocution at the University of Edinburgh. One of the best-loved and most prolific actors in classic British comedy, Sim, who often appeared in multiple roles, starred in more than 50 films beginning in 1935 and was both critically acclaimed and unfailingly popular, regularly topping cinema-goer popularity polls.
“The Belles of St. Trinian’s” is the beloved 1954 classic directed by Frank Launder (“I See a Dark Stranger”) The anarchic schoolgirls of St. Trinian’s are more interested in men and mischief than homework and hockey, but even greater trouble beckons with the arrival of two new students: Princess Fatima of Makyad and the return of recently expelled Arabella Fritton, who has a kidnapping scheme in mind.
Based on the cartoons of Ronald Searle, “The Belles of St. Trinian’s” is one of the most celebrated British comedies of all time, spanning several sequels and featuring Sim in dual roles as headmistress Miss Millicent Fritton and her twin brother, Clarence.
Bonus features including a “Girls of St. Trinian’s” featurette, interviews with film historian Geoff Brown, Dr. Melanie Williams, a senior lecturer in film studies at the University of East Anglia, Sim’s daughter, Merlith McKendrick and Steve Chibnall, professor of British cinema at De Montfort University.
The Blu-ray/Digital will be available for the suggested retail price (SRP) $24.95.
Alexander Nanau’s (“Toto and His Sisters”) critically acclaimed and captivating documentary, “Collective” is arriving on DVD and On Demand Tuesday Feb. 23, from Magnolia Home Entertainment.
After an explosive fire claimed the lives of 27 people at the Colectiv Nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, officials reassure the public that surviving victims will receive care in facilities that are better than Germany’s state-of-the-art trauma centers. As the casualty count rises weeks later, intrepid reporters at the Sports Gazette begin to investigate the reason behind the increased number of deaths. As a crucial tip exposes Hexi Pharma, a pharmaceutical company at the heart of the scandal, the company’s owner dies under mysterious circumstances, leading the health minister to quietly resign amid the uproar – opening the first chapter in a thrilling, ever-twisting exposé.
Closely tracking the efforts of the Gazette team as they methodically discover layer upon layer of fraud and criminal malfeasance, “Collective” is a fast-paced, real-time detective story about truth, accountability and the value of an independent press.
“Collective” will be available on DVD and On Demand for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $26.98.
The Croods: A New Age (Animated Adventure)
DreamWorks Animation presents “The Croods: A New Age,” a colorful story, brimming with heart and hilarious moments, that is guaranteed repeat viewing for the whole family. Join Grug, Eep, Guy and the rest of the Croods as they face off against the more-evolved Bettermans, releasing on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Feb. 23, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
The first prehistoric family is ready for another rocking adventure! The Croods have survived fanged beasts, natural disasters, and even young love, but now they must face their biggest challenge yet: another family. In search of a new home, the Croods discover a walled-in paradise created by the sophisticated Betterman family (emphasis on the “better”). As they try to coexist, the differences between the two families escalate into a full-blown feud, but when a new threat forces both families to embark on an epic adventure, they must all learn to work together … or they’ll all go extinct.
Join the animated family comedy adventure of the year that is brought to life with a star-studded cast, including Ryan Reynolds (“Free Guy,” “Deadpool”), Emma Stone (“La La Land”), Nicolas Cage (“Face/Off”), Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”), Kelly Marie Tran (“Star Wars: Episode VIII”) and Leslie Mann (“Knocked Up”).
“The Croods: A New Age” is directed by Joel Crawford (“Trolls Holiday”) and produced by Mark Swift (“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”).
Go beyond the animated feature with two exclusive animated shorts, a gag reel, deleted scenes and activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Horizon Line (Drama)
Available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital is the adventure drama “Horizon Line,” from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Former couple Sara (Allison Williams, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”) and Jackson (Alexander Dreymon, “The Last Kingdom”) board a single-engine plane for a routine and casual flight to their friend’s tropical island wedding. However, within minutes of takeoff, their pilot suffers a fatal heart attack, leaving them with no idea where they are, and no clue how to land the plane. With nothing but miles of ocean and sky in every direction, and a terrifying storm that’s about to envelop them, Sara and Jackson have only one shot, and there’s no going back.
The Blu-ray, DVD and Digital of “Horizon Line” feature deleted scenes.
John Hughes 5-Movie Collection (Comedy/Drama)
Time to return to the fabulous ‘80’s as five essential John Hughes classics arrive in one content-packed Blu-ray Collection Tuesday Feb. 23, from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The “John Hughes 5-Movie Collection” comprises timeless favorites “Pretty in Pink,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” as well as the Blu-ray debuts of “She’s Having a Baby” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.” The Collection also includes access to a digital copy of each film.
Originally released on Feb. 28, 1986, “Pretty in Pink” celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. Produced and written by Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch, the film stars Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. Andie (Ringwald) is a high school girl from the other side of town. Blane (McCarthy) is the wealthy heartthrob who asks her to the prom. But as fast as their romance builds, it’s threatened by the painful reality of peer pressure. The disc includes a Filmmaker Focus with Howard Deutch, a featurette called The Lost Dance: The Original Ending and the original theatrical trailer.
Deutch returned to direct 1987’s “Some Kind of Wonderful,” which also was written and produced by Hughes and makes its Blu-ray debut. Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson star in the affecting story of young love in which Watts (Masterson) finds her feelings for her best friend, Keith (Stoltz), run deeper than just friendship. When Keith gets a date with the most popular girl in school (Thompson), the girl’s old boyfriend is unable to let go of her and plans to get back at Keith. The disco includes the featurettes Back to Wonderful: A Conversation with director Howard Deutch, Commentary by Deutch and actress Thompson (who are married), the making of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” Meet the Cast of “Some Kind of Wonderful” and a John Hughes time capsule.
Also celebrating its 35th anniversary is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” which continues to be enjoyed, quoted and revered three decades after its theatrical debut on June 11, 1986. Matthew Broderick stars as a delightfully charming high school student who, with his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and best bud Cameron (Alan Ruck), ditches school to enjoy one perfect day as a kid with no responsibilities. The disc includes “Getting the Cast Together: The Cast of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a making-of featurette, Who is Ferris Bueller?, The World According to Ben Stein, Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes and a class album.
Produced, written and directed by Hughes, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” stars comedy greats Steve Martin and John Candy. The comedy classic follows a businessman (Martin) who is struggling to get home for Thanksgiving, but burdened by one travel mishap after another, as well as the company of an annoying traveling salesman (Candy). Filled with outrageously funny situations and a generous helping of warmth, the film also features appearances by Michael McKean, Edie McClurg and Kevin Bacon. The disc includes the featurette Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” a two-part documentary on the late filmmaker, the featurette John Hughes for Adults, A Tribute to John Candy and a deleted scene.
Hughes also wrote, directed and produced the romantic comedy “She’s Having a Baby,” which arrives for the first time on Blu-ray. Starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern, the drama follows an aspiring writer who must face up to the responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood despite his persistent doubts and unfulfilled ambitions. This film notably used the Kate Bush song, “This Woman’s Work,” to great effect in a pivotal scene. The disc includes the featurette From the Archives: Kevin Bacon Interviews John Hughes and the theatrical trailer.
Lady Sings the Blues (Drama/Biopic)
Diana Ross gives a tour-de-force debut performance as legendary singer Billie Holiday in the classic drama “Lady Sings the Blues,” arriving on Blu-ray for the first time ever Feb. 23, from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Ross, this sensational biopic brilliantly captures the essence of Holiday, one of America’s most loved and memorable blues singers. Filled with Holiday’s most popular songs including “Lady Day,” the film won Image Awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Ross) and Best Actor (Billy Dee Williams), as well as a Golden Globe for Ross as the year’s Most Promising Newcomer—Female. Richard Pryor also stars as the unforgettable “Piano Man.”
The “Lady Sings the Blues” Blu-ray includes the previously released bonus content in standard definition: commentary by executive producer and Motown founder Berry Gordy, director Sidney Furie and artist manager Shelly Berger, a making-of featurette entitled “Behind the Blues: ‘Lady Sings the Blues,’” and seven deleted scenes.
Redemption Day (Action)
The action drama “Redemption Day” arrives on DVD Tuesday Feb. 23, from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Having just returned home, decorated U.S. Marine Captain Brad Paxton’s (Gary Dourdan) wife, Kate, is kidnapped by a terrorist group while working in Morocco. He is forced back into action for a daring and deadly operation to save the woman he loves. The film, from director Hicham Hajji, stars Dourdan, along with Serinda Swan, Martin Donovan, Ernie Hudson, Samy Naceri and Andy Garcia.
“Redemption Day” also is out now in select theaters, On Digital and On Demand.
Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob (Animation)
The Scooby-Doo gang is transported to the mythical castled city of Camelot in “Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob,” a brand-new, full-length animated family film set for release on DVD and Digital Tuesday Feb. 23, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, “Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob” takes everyone’s favorite teen sleuths on a trip to England to trace Shaggy’s family roots, where they suddenly find themselves in the Middle Ages and meet the legendary King Arthur and his noble knights. It’s an unforgettable adventure inspired by medieval legends and fantasy that the whole family can enjoy together.
Take a journey back in time to King Arthur’s court in this legendary saga of wizards, knights, dragons … and Scooby-Doo! An evil sorceress tries to seize power in Camelot, so King Arthur needs the help of everyone’s favorite super sleuths to save his throne. But will their valiant efforts only make things royally worse? This new movie serves up comedy on a platter, and Scooby and Shaggy are ready to dig in.
“Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob” features the familiar voice talents of Frank Welker as Scooby-Doo/Fred Jones, Grey Griffin as Daphne Blake, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy Rogers and Kate Micucci as Velma Dinkley. The film also features Jason Isaacs as King Arthur Pendragon and Nick Frost as Merlin. The film was directed by Atoms, Christina Sotta and Mel Zwyer, and was written by Jeremy Adams.
“Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob” will retail for $19.98 SRP ($24.98 SRP Canada) for the DVD. It also will be available for $14.99 SRP (US and Canada) on digital, which allows consumers to instantly stream and download to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices.
The Last Vermeer (Drama)
The art theft drama “The Last Vermeer” arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Tuesday Feb. 23, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
While Joseph Piller (Claes Bang), a Dutch Jew, was fighting in the Resistance during World War II, the witty, debonair art connoisseur Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce) was hosting hedonistic soirees and selling Dutch art treasures to Hermann Göring and other top Nazis. Following the war, Piller becomes an investigator assigned the task of identifying and redistributing stolen art, resulting in the flamboyant van Meegeren being accused of collaboration—a crime punishable by death. But, despite mounting evidence, Piller, with the aid of his assistant (Vicky Krieps), becomes increasingly convinced of Han’s innocence and finds himself in the unlikely position of fighting to save his life.
Based on true events, the film is directed by Dan Friedkin, from a screenplay by James McGee and Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby, adapted from the book “The Man Who Made Vermeers,” by Jonathan Lopez.
Silk Road (Crime Drama)
Lionsgate will release the crime thriller film “Silk Road” on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Feb. 23.
Inspired by true events surrounding the rise and fall of the infamous darknet market website Silk Road—the biggest marketplace for illegal goods that the world has ever known—the film is based on the Rolling Stone article “Dead End on Silk Road: Internet Crime Kingpin Ross Ulbricht’s Big Fall” by David Kushner.
The crime drama stars an ensemble cast of Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Nick Robinson (“Love, Simon”), Katie Aselton (“Bombshell”), Jimmi Simpson (“Westworld”), Daniel David Stewart (“Catch-22”), Darrell Britt-Gibson (“Barry”), Lexi Rabe (“Avengers: Endgame”), Will Ropp (“The Way Back”), Paul Walter Hauser (“Richard Jewell”), Alexandra Shipp (“X-Men” franchise). The screenplay was written and directed by documentary filmmaker Tiller Russell (“The Last Narc”).
“Silk Road” also is now available on Digital, On Demand and can be seen in select theaters.
Wrong Turn (Horror)
“Wrong Turn” arrives On Demand, Digital, Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Feb. 23, from Saban Films.
The horror movie stars Charlotte Vega (“The Lodgers”), Adain Bradley (“Riverdale”), Bill Sage (“American Psycho”), Emma Dumont (“The Gifted”), Dylan McTee (“Rosewell, New Mexico”) and Matthew Modine (“Stranger Things”), and is directed by Mike P. Nelson (“The Domestics”) and written by Alan B. McElroy.
Backwoods terror and never-jangling suspense meet when Jen (Vega) and a group of friends set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite warnings to stick to the trail, the hikers stray off course—and cross into land inhabited by The Foundation, a hidden community of mountain dwellers who use deadly means to protect their way of life. Suddenly under siege, Jen and her friends seem headed to the point of no return— unless Jen’s father (Modine) can reach them in time.
Betty White’s Pet Set (Comedy)
“Betty White’s Pet Set,” a long-unseen series created by and starring the sitcom legend, will make its debut on digital platforms and on DVD Tuesday Feb. 23.
Celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary, “Betty White’s Pet Set” will be released by MPI Media Group in partnership with Darren Wadyko Media and Albets Enterprises.
In an unparalleled television career spanning more than 70 years, the beloved actress has brought laughter and joy to millions of fans of all ages via such hit series as “The Golden Girls,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Hot in Cleveland,” as well as countless game show appearances. In 1971, just prior to White’s sitcom superstardom, she created and hosted a weekly program celebrating her lifelong love of animals. Produced with her husband Allen Ludden (“Password”), “Betty White’s Pet Set” featured Betty welcoming celebrity friends with their dogs, cats and horses—in addition to a wide range of wild animals—both in the studio and on location.
The 39 episodes of series—unseen for decades—feature such entertainment greats as Carol Burnett, Doris Day, Jimmy Stewart, Mary Tyler Moore, Burt Reynolds, Shirley Jones, Michael Landon, Barbara Eden, James Brolin, Della Reese, Vincent Price, Rod Serling and others.
The actress has received eight Emmy Awards in various categories, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Grammy Award, among many others. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is a 1985 Television Hall of Fame inductee, and a 2009 Disney Legend. Dubbed “the first lady of game shows,” she was the first woman to receive a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host.
A television pioneer, she was one of the first women to exert control in front of and behind the camera and is recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom, “Life with Elizabeth,” which led to her receiving the honorary title Mayor of Hollywood in 1955.
Special features on the “Betty White’s Pet Set” DVD include a look behind the scenes of the series, original promotional spots, the featurettes “Betty White: Game Show Goddess” and “Daytime Hostess: The Betty White Show,” Betty’s Photo Album and her public service ads.
Grab your clubs as we venture back to the prehistoric era. Front Row Features is giving away a copy of “The Croods: A New Age” on 4K Ultra HD to one lucky reader, so he or she can enjoy this fun-filled animated adventure comedy sequel to DreamWorks’ 2013 box office hit. To enter the contest, simply email to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 2 for your chance to win. Good luck!