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New releases: 'Lore' tests a teen girl in postwar Germany

Lore

Music Box, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Available on VOD May 28.

Australian writer-director Cate Shortland garnered international attention with her 2004 debut feature, "Somersault," about a teen runaway discovering the power of her sexuality. Shortland's long-in-coming follow-up adapts the Rachel Seiffert novel "The Dark Room" (with a screenplay co-written by Robin Mukherjee), about another adolescent girl, who helps her brothers and sisters travel across postwar Germany after their Nazi parents are arrested as war criminals. The style and stories are markedly different, but like "Somersault," "Lore" too is about a young woman forced to come of age, while learning truths about the adult world as grim as any fairy tale. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes.

Cleopatra

20th Century Fox Blu-ray, $24.99/$34.99

Because the 1963 epic is as famous for its out-of-control budget and backstage scandals as for what actually made it onto the screen, the new 50th-anniversary Blu-ray edition is primarily worthwhile for its special features, which include extensive documentaries and commentary that put the film in a larger historical and Hollywood context. But "Cleopatra" itself has a lot to recommend it, from the charismatic lead performances of Elizabeth Taylor (as the lusty Egyptian queen) and Richard Burton (as her Roman lover Mark Antony) to the massive spectacle of multiple ancient empires. It's classic early '60s cinema pageantry: overblown yet still entertaining.

Life Is Sweet

Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

After nearly two decades of making edgy television plays for the BBC, writer-director Mike Leigh started gaining renown as a filmmaker in the '90s, thanks to movies like this, which explore class conflict and family life with a rare wit and honesty. A pre-fame Jim Broadbent stars as an amiable but somewhat hapless chef, who with his cheery wife (played by Alison Steadman) tries to keep his daughters and his friends happy. Even now, the film is a remarkably vivid character sketch, full of memorable people whose anger and affection toward one another are both perpetually in play. Criterion's set comes with a Leigh commentary and a selection of his short films.

Longmire: The Complete First Season

Warner Bros., $39.98

Craig Johnson's series of mystery novels about Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire has received a worthy adaptation with the AMC drama starring Robert Taylor as the taciturn hero. The 10-episode first season — now available on a DVD set that adds deleted scenes and a short documentary on the show's outstanding location shooting — follows Taylor's Longmire as he cracks cases often involving the local Native American population while dealing with contentious underlings and his own grief over the recent loss of his wife. Fundamentally, "Longmire" isn't terribly different from any other crime-solving TV show, but Taylor is appropriately soulful in the lead, and the local color brings some new shades to a familiar picture.

And …

Beetlejuice: The Complete Series

Shout! Factory, $99.99

Dark Skies

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD May 28.

The Numbers Station

Image, $27.97; Blu-ray, $29.97

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