Romance ‘Ovid and the Art of Love’ to Bow May 19 on Digital, VOD and On Demand From Level 33

The romance Ovid and the Art of Love will be released on digital, VOD and on demand May 19 from Level 33.

Set in a mash-up of contemporary Detroit and ancient Rome, the story follows a young Ovid who enrages the brutal emperor by writing a provocative guide to love and runs for his life. In a world filled with togas, hip-hop, sneakers, oration and poetry slams (think Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet or Hamilton), Ovid and the Art of Love traces the life of the popular, witty and controversial Roman poet.

The film stars Corbin Bleu, John Savage, Tara Summers, Tamara Feldman, Sam Haft, Joseph McKenna, Lailani Ledesma, Amanda Lewan, Kimberly Cruchon Brooks, Michael D. Ellison and Ashlee McLemore.

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Director Touts First Feature ‘Spy Intervention’ as a Light-Hearted Fable to Counter Difficult Times

Director Drew Mylrea says his first feature Spy Intervention is a nice diversion from the economic and COVID-19 woes plaguing the world.

“Considering everything that’s going on, our movie is a romp,” he said. “It’s a total romp, and if you just want to kick back and relax and not think about the world and what’s going on in the world for an hour and a half, this is a great way to do it.”

Spy Intervention, available now on VOD and digital, comes out on DVD March 31 from Cinedigm.

It follows Corey Gage (Drew Van Acker), the world’s greatest spy, who suddenly meets the woman of his dreams (Poppy Delevingne) and decides to abandon his adventurous life and settle for the security of suburbia — a quaint existence he’s never known. When an evil plot to ruin the world pushes his former spy friend (Blake Anderson) to enact a “spy intervention,” he returns to his old life of adventure, deceiving the wife he loves.

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“We wanted to do something different,” Mylrea says. “Spy intervention isn’t a Hollywood spy film, and it’s also not a parody. It’s a modern fairytale.”

To accentuate the artificiality of the spy world versus the suburban reality, Mylrea employed shifting aspect ratios and music, among other things.

“We used a lot of the same techniques that you’d see in the really old Batman show with Adam West [for the spy scenes], and we had these models that look obviously fake and we used the same aspect ratio as a lot of those old TV shows to kind of tell the audience that this world is artificial, a silly fantasy and no place that a real person can live,” he says.

The aspect ratio shifted to a wider screen for the hero’s life with this wife.

“We filmed that in the more conventional aspect ratio, more conventional framing that you would see in a modern movie or a movie about modern relationships,” Mylrea says.

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Like any fable, Spy Intervention has a moral lesson, Mylrea says, even if it’s just to question how one navigates a life of security versus adventure.

“I think the best movies present questions, so they don’t tell you what to think,” Mylrea says. “I think the moral of the movie is kind of a question to the audience asking where do you fall on this spectrum of security versus adventure and how did you get there? Are you happy with the ratio that you have in your life?”

‘Looking for Alaska’ Traveling to DVD April 21 From Paramount

The limited series Looking for Alaska will debut on DVD April 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Based on author John Green’s (The Fault in Our Stars) award-winning first novel of the same name, the series, which debuted on Hulu in October 2019, is a story of friendship, love and loss.

Looking for Alaska follows Miles “Pudge” Halter (Charlie Plummer) who is searching for a deeper perspective on life and decides to enroll at the boarding school Culver Creek Academy. He finds a loyal group of friends and falls in love with Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth). After an unexpected tragedy, the close group of friends tries to cope with everything they’ve been through and find some answers along the way.

The three-disc DVD set includes all eight episodes, plus more than 40 minutes of bonus content, including 18 never-before-seen deleted scenes and two featurettes that incorporate an exclusive interview with John Green.

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The novel, released in 2005, is a New York Times best seller, a USA Today best seller, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist and one of TIME Magazine‘s 100 Best Young Adult Novels of All Time. Green was awarded the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award for Looking for Alaska, which was also named as one of America’s Best Loved Novels in a national survey conducted by PBS’ The Great American Read initiative.

 

Jane Austen Series ‘Sanditon,’ ‘Howard’s End’ Miniseries Among Titles Streaming on Masterpiece Prime Channel in January

The Jane Austen series “Sanditon,” a miniseries of the classic E.M. Forster novel “Howards End,” and the new murder mystery series “Vienna Blood” are among the programs that will land on the Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in January from PBS Distribution.

The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Writer-executive producer Andrew Davies completes Jane Austen’s last piece of work — unfinished due to her death in 1817 — with the PBS series “Sanditon,” streaming beginning Jan. 12.  New episodes debut the Sunday of each following week, and on Feb. 23, fans can binge-watch the program in its entirety.

Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Les Misérables,” “Little Dorrit”) takes the first 11 chapters of the final Austen masterpiece and creates an epic drama. Set during the Regency Period, the story follows Tom Parker (Kris Marshall), who is obsessed with turning the sleepy seaside village of Sanditon into a fashionable health resort. He enlists the financial backing of the local, curmudgeonly wealthy widow, Lady Denham (Anne Reid). Through a mishap while traveling through the countryside, Tom and his wife Mary (Kate Ashfield) make the acquaintance of the Heywoods, a local farming family. While describing his plans for Sanditon, their eldest daughter Charlotte (Rose Williams) is intrigued and excited and Tom invites her for an extended stay at the seaside town. Upon her initial arrival, the sensible and naive Charlotte observes hypochondria, avarice and attempted seduction run amok. Lady Denham is playing matchmaker for her destitute nephew, Sir Edward (Jack Fox), who is determined to seduce Lady Denham’s ward, Clara (Lily Sacofsky), and become the primary heir to his aunt’s estate. The arrival of wealthy, mixed-race heiress Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke), under the guardianship of Tom’s upright brother Sidney (Theo James), due to a promise he made to Lambe’s father on his deathbed, adds an interesting complication. Eligible men naturally find Miss Lambe fascinating, while Charlotte is intrigued by Sidney. Charlotte Spencer also stars as Sir Edward’s scheming sister, Esther

Even as Austen was succumbing to her fatal illness, she chose to lampoon the contemporary fad for tonics, sea water cures and other medical remedies. Undiagnosed at the time, her malady was probably Addison’s disease, which today is easily treatable. Austen died at age 41, on July 18, 1817.

“Howard’s End”

Streaming beginning Jan. 13 is the four-episode miniseries “Howards End,” starring Matthew Macfadyen, Julia Ormond, Hayley Atwell, Philippa Coulthard and Tracey Ullman. The series follows Margaret Schlegel (Atwell), an intelligent, idealistic young woman who is courted by the older Henry Wilcox (Macfadyen), a self-made conservative businessman. After his wife Ruth (Ormond) dies unexpectedly, he becomes the owner of Howards End. Meanwhile Margaret’s passionate and capricious younger sister Helen Schlegel (Coulthard) takes up the cause of Leonard Bast, a young bank clerk who falls on hard times at work and at home with his partner Jacky. In the absence of their late parents, the sisters’ loving but interfering Aunt Juley (Ullman) tries to keep the young ladies and their brother Tibby on the straight and narrow. The adaptation is written by Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea, Gangs of New York).

“Vienna Blood”

Cultures and ideas collide in 1900s Vienna, Austria, in the series “Vienna Blood,” with six episodes hitting screens Jan. 20. Opulent cafes and opera houses set the scene for heated discussions about philosophy, science and art. Max Liebermann, played by Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game), is a brilliant young English doctor and one of Sigmund Freud’s young students. He encounters Austrian Detective Inspector Oskar Rheindardt, who is struggling with his latest murder case. Max decides to help Oskar investigate the unusual and chilling string of murders.

Two “Walter Presents” international series are also beginning to stream in January, “Home Ground: Season 1” and “The Blood Pact, Season 1.”

In the Norwegian series “Home Ground: Season 1,” hitting screens Jan. 20, after leading her team to sensational results in European women’s football, coach Helena Mikkelsen finds her achievements ridiculed by the male experts of the footballing world. When a newly promoted Norwegian football team loses its coach just before the start of the league season, the team scrambles to find a new head coach. Michael Ellingsen, a former football star puts himself in the running with Helena as his assistant coach. However, fueled by everyone’s lack of trust in her, Helena demands to also be considered for the lead position. She soon learns that the club is in bigger trouble than they realized, and despite his initial hesitation, the club director decides to give Helena the historic opportunity to be manager. Still, Michael and the team don’t attempt to hide their bitterness.

In the Danish series “The Blood Pact, Season 1,” hitting screens Jan. 31, two years after becoming a widower, work-obsessed Hugo is struggling to balance his work life with fathering his two daughters. His 8-year-old has become best friends with the daughter of a prolific ex-criminal, Marius. Soon after being released from prison, Marius is involved in a freak accident with Hugo. They become friends, but the friendship draws Hugo deep into a dangerous web of crime.

FandangoNow Celebrates 15th Anniversary of ‘The Notebook’ With Sale

In honor of this week’s 15th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Notebook, FandangoNow is offering the romance for purchase at $7.99 in SD or HD through July 1.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Fans of the 2004 love story can also find a collection of other movies featuring the film’s stars, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, as part of the FandangoNow Flashback anniversary collection at https://www.fandangonow.com/list/flashbacks.

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Also, as part of the celebration, Rotten Tomatoes’ 21 Most Memorable Movie Moments series is featuring a special video devoted to the iconic “Kiss in the Rain” scene in “The Notebook,” narrated by director Nick Cassavetes.

Romance ‘After’ Coming to Digital June 25, Disc July 9 From Universal

The steamy romance After will arrive on digital (including Movies Anywhere) June 25 and Blu-ray combo pack, DVD, and on demand July 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film made $12 million in theaters.

Based on a best-seller from author Anna Todd with more than 1 billion reads on social storytelling site Wattpad and 23 million copies sold in more than 40 countries, the film stars Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) and Josephine Langford (Wish Upon), supported by Selma Blair (SkyscraperCruel Intentions), Inanna Sarkis (Boo 2! A Madea Halloween), Pia Mia (“East Los High”), Jennifer Beals (“The L Word”) and Peter Gallagher (American Beauty, “New Girl”).

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The film follows Tessa (Langford), a dedicated student, dutiful daughter and loyal girlfriend to her high school sweetheart, as she enters her first semester in college. Her guarded world opens up when she meets the dark and mysterious Hardin Scott (Tiffin).

The soundtrack includes “Out of Love” by Alessia Cara and “Bitter Love” by Mia. Sarkis, who plays Molly in the film, performs the track “Best You’ll Ever Have.”

Bonus features on Blu-ray, DVD and digital include deleted scenes.

Romance ‘Five Feet Apart’ Blossoms on Digital May 24, Disc June 11 from Lionsgate

The romance Five Feet Apart will come out on digital May 24 and Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand June 11 from Lionsgate.

The film follows 17-year-old Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) who has to spend much of her time living at a hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. When she meets Will (Cole Sprouse), a fellow patient, she feels a powerful connection — but restrictions dictate that she and Will maintain a safe distance between them. As their feelings grow, Stella and Will face a life-changing question: How does love feel when even a single touch is off limits?

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Bonus features include four making-of featurettes, an audio commentary with director Justin Baldoni, deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

RLJ, Xenon and Aflik Join Allied Vaughn MOD Service

RLJ Entertainment, Xenon Pictures and Aflik Films have joined the Allied Vaughn manufacture-on-demand service.

Coming April 23 on Blu-ray from RLJ Entertainment and Acorn TV are three series sets of “The Heart Guy,” about gifted but arrogant heart surgeon Hugh Knight (Rodger Corser) who leads a charmed life in Sydney and believes his talent lets him live outside the rules. When an incident involving drugs and alcohol brings his world crashing down, he’s placed on probation and banned from performing surgery. He retreats to his rarely visited hometown of Whyhope in rural Australia to work as general practitioner.

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Due April 9 on MOD from Xenon, recognized in the home entertainment marketplace for creating labels focused on the African-American audience, are eight titles. The comedy How U Like Me Now (1992) stars Darnell Williams, Salli Richardson, Daniel Gardner, Raymond Whitefield and Debra Crable in a story that follows a group of young African Americans as they struggle for both financial and sexual fulfillment in early 1990s Chicago. A Day in Black and White (2001) stars Harold Perrineau and Anthony Desando in a comedy about two close friends, one black and one white, who get into a heated discussion on race relations, kicking off a series of interconnected stories that explore the racial terrain of New York City. Identity Crisis (1989) stars Mario Van Peebles, Melvin Van Peebles, Rick Aviles, Shelley Burch and Richard Fancy. In the comedy, a world-Famous French fashion designer Yves Malmaison and rapper Chilly D are both attacked by the same gang of dope smugglers, leaving one in a coma and the other not so lucky. When Chilly D wakes up from his coma several days later, he discovers that his body is also possessed by the soul of Malmaison, unaware that it has been placed there by a strange old homeless woman who witnessed the murder. Because both souls occupy the same body, Chilly D can change from tough black rapper to gay white fashion designer, or back again, anytime he is struck. Kitchen Privileges (2000) is a horror film starring Peter Sarsgaard about a housebound rape victim further terrified by news of a serial killer who preys on young women. Still, she thinks nothing of renting a room to a cook named Tom, who often drags heavy garbage bags into the house and locks the kitchen door while he prepares exotic meat dishes. The Luau (2002) is a comedy, starring Brian Hooks, Maia Campbell, Troy Winbush and Faizon Love, about a man who throws a luau to earn money for rent and pay off a gambling debt. Malibooty (2002) is a party comedy starring Brian Hooks, Stickey Fingaz, Kym Whitley, Traci Bingham, E-40 and Kent Masters-King. The Outback (2009) stars Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jesse Johnson, Ben Kermode, Natalie Walker and Christian Clark in the story of a group of friends who encounter horror in the Australian desert. Finally, Q: The Movie (1999) stars Brian Hooks, Kelita Smith and Darryl Brunson in a comedy about a man who throws a wild barbeque while his parents are gone.

Aflik, known for Nollywood movies and African-inspired content, is offering four MOD titles: three romances, Beauty of the Mind, Marriage or Prison and The Good Wife, and one drama, Marriage Rules.

Modern Take on Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ Rides to Digital March 19, Disc April 9 From Random Media

As You Like It, a contemporary Western retelling of Shakespeare’s classic story with an all-male cast, will come out on Digital HD and VOD March 19 and DVD April 9 from Random Media.

The film, from writer-director Carlyle Stewart and shot entirely in Death Valley using the bard’s original language, is a romantic adventure in which the courtship of characters Rosalind and Orlando play out against a backdrop of rivalry, banishment and exile.

The all-male cast — as was the Shakespearean stage tradition and emphasizing themes and ideas in the original work that have been lost in modern adaptations — includes Grant Jordan, Zach Villa, Joseph Haro, Stephen Ellis, Tom Bower and Graham Greene.

As You Like It – Official Trailer from Random Media on Vimeo.

 

‘When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Blessing’ Coming to DVD From Shout! Factory March 5

When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Blessing, a television special from the sixth season of the romantic frontier adventure, debuts on DVD from Shout! Factory on March 5.

The TV series from author Janette Oke, “When Calls the Heart,” stars Erin Krakow (“Army Wives”), Jack Wagner (“Melrose Place”) and Lori Loughlin (“Full House,” “90210”). In the TV special, when a group of orphans become stranded in Hope Valley for Christmas, their caretakers — sisters who have a mysterious backstory — lead Bill (Wagner) to investigate the circumstances of their arrival. He discovers the sisters and their orphanage are in jeopardy, so Abigail (Loughlin) and the other residents rally to make it a Christmas to remember for the orphans. Elizabeth (Krakow), who is preparing for the birth of her child, organizes her students to engage in selfless gift-giving.