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Nisha Ganatra
Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ice Cube
Writing Credits:
Flora Greeson

A superstar singer and her overworked personal assistant are presented with a choice that could alter the course of their respective careers.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 113 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 8/11/2020

• Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes
• “The Dream Team” Featurette
• “Making a Legend” Featurette
• Music Video
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The High Note [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 9, 2020)

With 2020’s The High Note, we get a mix of comedy, romance and drama set in the world of show business. Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) enjoys her status as a legendary singer, one who continues to draw a huge audience.

A perk of the job, she employs Maggie Sherwoode (Dakota Johnson) as her personal assistant. The demanding Grace runs Maggie ragged, which leaves her little time to pursue her own dream to become a music producer.

This starts to change when Maggie meets David Cliff (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), a talented young musician. Maggie wants to bring his work to the masses, so they begin a collaboration – and perhaps a romance as well.

Like so many films, High Note lost its theatrical release to COVID. While it eventually made it out onto some screens, its May 8 2020 wide issue got scuttled.

In retrospect, this may not have been a bad thing, as a character flick like Note likely would’ve gotten lost in the Summer Blockbuster Shuffle. That would’ve been a week after Black Widow, so I doubt many would’ve noticed Note, whereas its essentially direct-to-video path allows it more exposure.

Which it might deserve – to a minor degree, at least. Note shows glimmers of romantic comedy energy, though the whole package can become a bit of a slog at times.

At its heart, Note really does seem to want to focus on the light, bouncy side of affairs. The tale shows greater investment and development when it concentrates on Maggie and David, as those scenes work the best.

A lot of that stems from the chemistry and easygoing charm between Johnson and Harrison. They connect well together and ensure that their mutual sequences offer a natural sense of warmth and wit.

Note struggles more when it leaves those two, and it bites off more than it can chew. It branches into other narrative elements that don’t develop especially well.

In particular, this makes Grace’s arc less than compelling. Maybe I could never dig into her story because I constantly tried to figure out the real world musical model for Grace, a task complicated by the fact Ross is actually Diana Ross’s daughter, so that draws inevitable comparisons.

I also found it more difficult to engage in Grace’s narrative because a lot of it didn’t make sense. Grace seems known to multiple generations and still absolutely beloved, but no one wants her to make a new album?

Sure, I understand that the music business can be unkind to older female performers, and the movie reminds us of that. Still, much of Grace’s arc doesn’t ring true, as her continued pop culture prominence doesn’t match her status as an oldies act. Grace apparently still appears in advertisements and on magazine covers all the time, which seems like the treatment that a younger, hipper act would get.

Note also tosses out some truly ridiculous twists at the end. I won’t reveal these, of course, but they’re silly to the point of absurdity.

Add to that a running time that pushes close to two hours, and Note comes with some self-inflicted wounds. Still, it brings occasional pleasures, so the movie turns into a moderate success.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

The High Note appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie delivered a solid transfer.

Sharpness looked strong. Only a smidgen of softness interfered in some wider elements, as I thought this was usually a tight, concise image.

I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, Note went with a mix of orange, teal and amber. It didn’t overwhelm us with these choices, but they dominated. Within the stylistic choices, the hues seemed fine.

Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked smooth and clear. Everything about the image worked well.

Though not exceptional, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack suited the story. This meant the soundscape accentuated general atmosphere and not much else.

Music added breadth to the proceedings, though, as concert performances and other musical elements used the various channels in an engaging manner. The effects lacked much impact, but that wasn’t a surprise given the movie’s focus.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness.

Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate. This ended up as an appropriate mix for a character tale.

As we shift to extras, we find two featurettes. The Dream Team runs five minutes, 16 seconds and brings comments from director Nisha Ganatra, writer Flora Greeson, production designer Theresa Guleserian, costume designer Jenny Eagan, and actors Tracee Ellis Ross, Dakota Johnson, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Zoe Chao, and Ice Cube.

“Team” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, music and costumes. This becomes a fairly fluffy promo piece.

Making a Legend spans four minutes, four seconds and offers a faux documentary that tells us about the “Grace Davis story”. It would’ve worked better as a real attempt at character backstory, but it’s basically another advertisement.

22 Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes occupy a total of 25 minutes, 48 seconds. All of these offer minor exposition or comedic beats. None of them add anything of note, but some seem amusing.

Finally, we find a music video for “Like I Do” by “David Cliff (Featuring Grace Davis)”. This takes the song from the movie’s climax and sets it to a mix of film clips and behind the scenes shots. It becomes a bland video.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Note. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

A romantic comedy set in the world of show business, The High Note fares best when it stays with love and laughs. The film’s narrative branches out into melodrama too often, though, and those moments make it sag. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals, appropriate audio and bonus materials headlined by a slew of cut footage. Though erratic, Note offers a moderately entertaining tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
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