Settle in for a serenade in the top new DVD picks for the week of Aug. 11.
"The High Note": Personal assistant Maggie Sherwoode (Dakota Johnson) has a dream of becoming a professional music producer. This is a no-no for her day job, to be at superstar singer Grace Davis' (Tracee Ellis Ross) side more or less every minute of the day. But after secretly producing a cut of her boss's new live album, she meets an overwhelmingly talented singer, David Cliff (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), in a grocery store and lets him think she's a "real" producer to convince him into teaming up.
Directed by Nisha Ganatra and written by Flora Greeson, it's a simple, cute riches-to-more-riches Los Angeles story, one best told by the daughters of Hollywood queens Melanie Griffith and Diana Ross, respectively. The songs are catchy, and the cinematography by Jason McCormick is bold and bright, giving the glitz an extra pop amid scenic backdrops.
And the script has a degree of playful self-awareness not often seen in the entertainment biz big break subgenre. As Maggie's doctor roommate (the very funny Zoe Chao) shows Maggie and David a phone video of her first open-heart surgery as the pair are working on a song, Maggie grins as she says, "Everything we do is meaningless."
Not exactly, but nevertheless, the beat goes on.
ALSO NEW ON DVD AUG. 11
"Archive": A scientist (Theo James) works on creating sentient AI in an effort to interact with his deceased wife. Also stars Stacy Martin and Rhona Mitra.
"Are You Afraid of the Dark?": Three-part Nickelodeon series follows a group of kids who tell scary stories that come to fruition in their town.
"G-LOC": After fleeing the planet, a man (Stephen Moyer) heads to planet Rhea, where settlers are homicidally hostile to Earthen refugees.
"Gold Digger, Season 1": Six-part BBC miniseries follows a romance between a wealthy woman in her 60s (Julia Ormond) and a man in his 30s (Benjamin Greene), who may have ulterior motives.