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posted: 7/20/2013 5:38 AM

DVD previews: 'Trance,' 'Ginger and Rosa'

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  • Rosario Dawson stars as a psychiatrist in Danny Boyle's "Trance."

      Rosario Dawson stars as a psychiatrist in Danny Boyle's "Trance."

 

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, July 23:

"Trance" (R, 104 minutes, Fox): Danny Boyle plays fast and loose with reality in "Trance," a trippy thriller about an amnesiac man who gets hypnotized to remember where he has hidden a stolen, multimillion-dollar painting. You're never quite sure whether what you're seeing is actually happening or merely the result of a character's posthypnotic suggestion. That's one of the film's pleasures. James McAvoy plays Simon, an employee of an art auction house who, after a blow to the head, forgets what he has done with a canvas he's helping a gang of criminals steal. Vincent Cassel plays Franck, the suave yet ruthless mobster who will stop at nothing to get the painting. And Rosario Dawson plays Elizabeth, the opportunistic hypnotherapist Franck hires to unlock Simon's unconscious. There's a little too much happening in the film's violent, frenetic conclusion, which involves the retrieval of fractured memories, the confession of betrayals and so many narrative loops within loops that the film's big reveals never make satisfying sense. Maybe it's not supposed to. In the end, Simon isn't the only one who gets bashed on the head by "Trance." Contains violence and torture, obscenity, sex and nudity. Extras: "Hypnotherapy," "The Look," "The Power of Suggestion-Making Trance," "The Final Rewrite," Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scenes; short film: "Eugene" by Spencer Susser; a Boyle retrospective, "Danny's Film Noir;" and "Trance Unraveled" Easter egg.

"Ginger and Rosa" (PG-13, 89 minutes, Studio): This is an intimate, but utterly universal portrayal of a girl's coming-of-age in the midst of social turmoil and upheaval. In the 1960s, the phrase "the personal is political" became a familiar shibboleth; here, it just as easily pertains to a teenager as she grows into her own power and grapples with the end of worlds writ large and small. Elle Fanning plays Ginger, who as a 17-year-old in 1962 London is still inseparable from Rosa (Alice Englert), her best friend since birth. They do everything together. She's encouraged in her tentative activism by her father, a pacifist professor, as well as her godfathers, a gay couple. Her mother, Natalie, is more wary. The dynamics between her and Rosa become exponentially more complicated, as Ginger experiences a series of betrayals. As an affectionate but tough meditation on how political and religious dogma can blot out and distort basic human compassion, "Ginger & Rosa" simultaneously evokes its era and widens into a transcendent portrayal of youthful idealism and hard-won wisdom. Contains profanity and mature, disturbing thematic material involving sexuality, drinking and smoking. Extras: deleted scenes, cast interviews, an audio commentary with writer-director Sally Potter and two behind-the-scenes featurettes.

"Starbuck" (R, 108 minutes, in French with English subtitles, Entertainment One): Thanks to an unscrupulous sperm bank -- which over two years ended up giving out one pseudonymous donor's nearly daily deposits to all its female clients -- David Wozniak (aka Starbuck) wakes up 20 years later to discover that he has produce a seemingly miraculous 533 offspring. That news gets delivered to David (Patrick Huard) by a lawyer for the children, 142 of whom have banded together to file a class-action suit, demanding to know the identity of their biological father. Almost immediately upon receiving an envelope containing the identities of his progeny, David begins surreptitiously tracking them down. One by one, he begins bestowing a belated parental influence on them. David himself is transformed by the sudden announcement that his girlfriend (Julie LeBreton) is pregnant. After a lifetime as a commitment-phobic loser, David comes to realize that parenting actually begins before your child is born, not after the kid has graduated from college. It's silly and a bit sappy, but it works. Contains obscenity, nudity, illegal drugs and sexual content. Extras: Deleted scenes, bloopers, music video.

"Pieta" (unrated, 104 minutes, in Korean with subtitles, Drafthouse Films): Korean director Kim Ki-duk's film is dark and brutal, impressively crafted but difficult to watch. Mop-topped Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin), a collector for a loan shark in Seoul, lives and works in a shabby neighborhood full of small machine shops, whose power tools he sometimes uses to mangle people late with payments. Although he can show tenderness toward animals, Kang-do doesn't have much interest in other people, male or female. He's unprepared for the arrival of Min-sun (Cho Min-soo), who claims to be the mother who abandoned him when he was an infant. He repeatedly sends her away, but she always returns. Having someone to care about changes his behavior, and perhaps even his character. The transformed Kang-do verges on being nice, although Kim usually follows such moments with a blackly ironic kicker. Contains violence, profanity, rape and sexual situations. Extras: commentary with Kim, Cho and Lee; behind the scenes featurettes; interviews with Kim, Cho and Lee; footage from the Venice Film Festival, winning the Golden Lion award; Kim filmography; 16-page booklet.

Also: "The Silence" (2010, Germany), "Twixt" (2011, gothic horror tale directed by Francis Ford Coppola), "Welcome to the Punch," "Love and Honor," "The Wedding Chapel," "Babette's Feast" (1987, France, The Criterion Collection), "A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day," "Vanishing Waves" (Lithuania-France-Belgium), "House Party: Tonight's the Night," "New World" (South Korea), "Robotech: 2-Movie Collection" (1985/2013), "The King of the Streets" (China), "Kiss of the Damned," "The Gangster" (Thailand) and "Dora and Blue's Clues Double Feature: Dora's Musical School Days and Blue's Big Musical Movie" (Nickelodeon).

Television series: "Superjail! Season 3" (Adult Swim animated comedy) and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 3" (1989-90).

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