Tracee Ellis Ross Makes Musical Premiere In ‘The High Note’, ‘The Vast Of Night’ Debuts On Amazon – Specialty Streaming Preview


The Focus Features musical dramedy The High Note is looking to hit exactly that as it lands on-demand starting today. Directed by Late Night‘s Nisha Ganatra from a script by Flora Greeson, the film was originally set to hit theaters on May 8 but, like many films, the film adapted and shifted to a digital. However, with theaters slowly opening their doors, the film will be singing its way to approximately 100 theaters — most of the drive-in theaters.

Set in the world of the Los Angeles music scene, The High Note follows singing superstar diva Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) and her overworked personal assistant Maggie (Dakota Johnson) who has dreams of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change their lives forever.

As it fuels the feel-good energy into the summer, The High Note is becoming quite an event when it comes to its marketing. Prior to lockdown, Ross joined the one and only Oprah Winfrey for a stop on her WW Vision tour to give a sneak peek at Ross singing in the film — which is the first time she has ever sung professionally and recorded original music. Musical talent runs in the family as we all know that her mom is legend Diana Ross.

The film’s soundtrack was produced by Rodney Jerkins, who has worked with artists like Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, among others. The movie also includes songs written by Grammy-winner Corinne Bailey Rae as well as 25-year-old phenom Sarah Aarons. Ross released the first song from the film, “Love Myself” on May 15 followed by a music video on May 20.

Ross also partnered with the PushBlack charity and Fandango to donate 500 codes of the film to children and families in underprivileged and underserved Black communities. PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices and building the largest online community of Black Americans.

Leading to the film’s release, The High Note has leaned heavily into social media with the TikTok #TheHighNote Dance Challenge and finally, tonight at 5pm PT/8pm ET the cast will host a Twitter watch party where viewers watch the film on their on-demand platform of choice and interact with the cast and director.

The film also stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Zoe Chao, Eddie Izzard, June Diane Raphael, Bill Pullman and Diplo. It is produced by Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The film’s executive producers are Nathan Kelly and Alexandra Loewy. Watch the trailer below.

Andrew Patterson’s directorial debut The Vast of Night hit 34 drive-in theaters nationwide for the past two weekends before dropping on Amazon Prime Video today.

Written by James Montague and Craig W. Sanger and starring Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Bruce Davis and Gail Cronauer, the film debuted last year at Slamdance where it won the Best Narrative Feature prize. From there it went on to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, Fantastic Fest among others.

With its Twilight Zone-ish energy, The Vast of Night is set in the ’50s at the dawn of the space race over the course of one night in New Mexico. The film follows a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ as they uncover a strange frequency that turns their small town — and the future — upside down. The Vast of Night  tells this unique story via dropped phone calls, AM radio signals, secret reels of tapes, switchboards, crossed patchlines and an anonymous phone call.

Watch the trailer below.

Gravitas Ventures debuts its latest indie drama End of Sentence starring John Hawkes (The Peanut Butter Falcon), Logan Lerman (Hunters) and Sarah Bolger (Mayans M.C.) starting today on VOD and digital.

Directed by Elfar Adalsteins from a script written by Michael Armbruster, End of Sentence follows the recently widowed Frank Fogle (Hawkes) who reluctantly goes on a journey to honor his wife’s last wish of spreading her ashes in a remote lake in her native Ireland and a promise of taking his estranged son, Sean (Lerman), along for the trip. Between a disconcerting Irish wake, the surfacing of an old flame, the pick up of a pretty hitchhiker and plenty of unresolved issues, the journey becomes a little more than father and son had bargained for.

Famed sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard gets the documentary treatment with Daniel Traub’s Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own which will make its virtual premiere exclusively this weekend at the New York City’s Film Forum before expanding to more cities June 5.

As one of the few women in the world who works in monumental sculpture Von Rydingsvard’s pieces have been featured in some of the world’s greatest museums including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Even so, she is best known for her work in public spaces. Traub’s docu gives an intimate behind the scenes look at the artist as she and her collaborators produce new work.

Also opening this weekend is a new 4K restoration of Canadian classic western The Grey Fox from director and Francis Ford Coppola protégé Phillip Boros.

Based on a true story of “The Gentleman Bandit” Bill Miner, the film was written by John Hunter and stars Richard Farnsworth as the aforementioned bandit as he is released from jail after a 33-year prison sentence for robbing stagecoaches. He finds himself living in a new world and tries to turn over a new leaf by leaving his life of crime behind while settling down in Washington state with his sister.

After a while, he realized that a quiet life isn’t for him and soon falls into his old ways with his new partner, Shorty (Wayne Robson). They rob a couple of trains and while hiding out in British Columbia, he meets the beautiful,  photographer Kate Flynn (Jackie Burroughs).

The film will open virtually in Los Angeles via Kino Marquee at American Cinematheque, Autry Museum and Laemmle Theatres.

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