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posted: 7/27/2013 6:00 AM

DVD previews: 'Filly Brown,' 'Teen Beach Movie'

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  • A street poet (Gina Rodriquez) raps about political issues and more in "Filly Brown."

    A street poet (Gina Rodriquez) raps about political issues and more in "Filly Brown."


Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, July 30.

"Filly Brown" (R, 100 minutes, Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): Gina Rodriguez, a versatile young talent, tries to rescue "Filly Brown" from mediocrity. She's asked to keep a lot of plates spinning in this Sundance Film Festival favorite -- and somehow avoids blame when most of those dishes fall to the ground and shatter. "Filly Brown" is a stage name adopted by Majo Tonorio (Rodriguez), a tough but sensitive L.A. street poet who frequents the studio of a popular Internet radio program because the hosts let her spit freestyle rhymes over electronic beats. Filly's natural talents lure a sleazy music producer whose first order of business is to sex up her act. That opens the door to a possible record contract, though Filly is ordered to burn bridges between her friends and family to make that dream a reality. Rodriguez, ripping through raps laced with political and ethical messages for and about the Latin American community, convinces us that Filly's voice needs to be heard. Contains strong language, some drug use and violence.

"Teen Beach Movie" (91 minutes, Disney): Disney Channel's perky made-for-TV musical is a time-warpy hunt for a few concepts that have been irretrievably lost, first among them being the carefree American teenager. Surfers Brady and McKenzie (Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell) have spent an endless summer shooting the curl and flirting, but now her guardian aunt has arrived to spirit her away to an elite prep school "back east." McKenzie sneaks out to face a series of megawaves; a worried Brady takes to the jet ski to rescue her from the undertow; they both get noggin-knocked and wake up, "Oz"-style, in an imaginary 1960s-era Frankie Avalon-style film set. Extras: behind-the-scenes footage of seven musical numbers.

"War on Whistleblowers" (unrated, 66 minutes, Disinformation): The latest film from Robert Greenwald, which had a limited spring run, follows the stories of four Americans who risk their personal and professional careers by coming forward to tell the truth of government or contractor fraud and illegal activity. With its subtitle, "Free Press and the National Security State," this documentary release comes at a time when news of the National Security Agency's systematic surveillance of innocent citizens is still making headlines. Extras: Commentary by Greenwald, extended interviews and footage of other whistle-blowers.

Also: "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "Black Rock," "Cloudburst," "The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh," "Blaze You Out," "The Devil's Backbone" (2001, Spain, The Criterion Collection), "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox," "Old Dog" (2011, Tibet), "Rushlights," "3 Businessmen," "The Bronte Sisters" (1979, Cohen Film Collection), "A Night for Dying Tigers," "War Flowers," "Fernando Di Leo: The Italian Crime Collection: Vol. 2," "Meet the Small Potatoes," "The Magic School Bus: Revving Up" and "The Magic School Bus: In a Pickle" (both Scholastic Storybook Treasures) and "The Wheels on the Bus: All Around Town" and "The Wheels on the Bus: Animal Adventures."

Television series: "Touched By an Angel Season Eight," "Banshee: The Complete First Season," "Midsomer Murders, Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5" (multidisc titles, sold separately, Acorn Media) and "Power Rangers Seasons 4-7."

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