New On DVD This Week: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Switched at Birth, Gunsmoke

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

A single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a battle unlike any other in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download. From the Oscar-winning visual effects team that brought to life the worlds of ‘Avatar’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ comes revolutionary new ground – a CGI ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, and epic battles on which rest the upended destinies of man and primate. James Franco (‘127 Hours’) stars as Will Rodman, a neuroscientist living in San Francisco trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by testing on chimpanzees, giving them a human level of intelligence. After a test subject’s baby, Caesar, is orphaned, Will decides to raise him at home on his own with his Alzheimer-stricken father (John Lithgow; ‘Dexter’). What begins simply as a continuation of his experiment quickly turns into a problem for Will, as Caesar is taken away from him and forced to live in a primate facility. As Caesar’s intelligence continues to grow, he begins to stake his claim as the leader of his new primate counterparts, which will ultimately lead to the ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’ Buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.

Switched at Birth

From the studio that brought you ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ comes ‘Switched at Birth,’ a groundbreaking new drama about the upheaval that two teen girls experience when they discover that they were accidentally switched at birth. Starring Lea Thompson (Back To The Future, ‘Caroline In The City’), Constance Marie (‘George Lopez’), Vanessa Marano (‘Gilmore Girls’), Katie Leclerc (‘Veronica Mars’), D.W. Moffett (‘Friday Night Lights’), and Lucas Grabeel (Disney Channel’s ‘High School Musical’). Bay Kennish (Marano), a talented graffiti artist with an edgy streak, grew up in a wealthy family with happily married parents and an older brother. Daphne Vasquez (Leclerc), an athletic teenager who lost her hearing at an early age, grew up with a single mother in a working class neighborhood. When the girls’ worlds collide, family bonds are tested, new romances are sparked, and they start to learn that it’s who they are inside that matters, not where they grew up.  Relive the girls’ journey and catch up before the premiere with ‘Switched At Birth: Volume 1.’ Including all 10 episodes plus exclusive collectible iPod skins, this two-disc set is a must-own for every fan. Buy the Volume 1 DVD right here.


America’s longest running, trail-blazing Western series, ‘Gunsmoke,’ returns to DVD with the second volume of the pioneering fifth season. The classic show is set within the tough, gun-slinging unruliness of the infamous Dodge City. James Arness stars as the brave Marshal Matt Dillon fighting to keep the peace amidst such problems as cattle rustling, gunfights, brawls, stand-over tactics, and land fraud. The fifth season of the popular, long-running series also features Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone.Buy the Season 5, Volume 2 DVD right here.

Vietnam in HD

Their story is in danger of being lost to history. The men who came home from the Vietnam War represent a second silent generation. These are the men who won every battle in a lost war. Using the same experiential approach to storytelling as ‘WWII in HD,’ History gives these veterans a voice with ‘Vietnam in HD,’ now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Through a collection of color Vietnam footage never seen by the public from private collections, museums, the US government, veterans and news organizations as well as sources from Vietnam, the veterans tell their stories and relive their struggles, courage and fears.  This six-hour miniseries spans the massive initial troop build-up in 1965 to the fall of Saigon a decade later and features an emotional, character-driven story narrated by Josh Brolin (True Grit) with an all-star voice-over cast including Blair Underwood (The Event), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Jennifer Love Hewitt (The Ghost Whisperer) and many more. Using never-before-seen color footage transferred to high definition, as well as a soundtrack filled with period hits from Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley, Vietnam In HD promises an intimate, experiential approach to Vietnam never before seen.Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Kung Fu Panda 2

The saga of Po continues in ‘Kung Fu Panda 2,’ the sequel that finds the newly anointed Dragon Warrior (voice of Jack Black) teaming with The Furious Five to safeguard the Valley of Peace. But when a new adversary launches a treacherous bid to seize control of China and obliterate the martial arts, Po must look back to his enigmatic origins in order to unleash his true potential, and defeat his most powerful opponent to date. Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Michelle Yeoh provide addition voices for this sequel directed by Jennifer Yuh NelsonBuy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.


Narrated in the first-person voice of the main character Jenna’s blog posts, ‘Awkward.’ captures the humor within the struggles and experiences everyone can relate to from their formative years. The series picks up in the aftermath of the accident as she must deal with a new not-so-fun stigma, while at the same time managing the other daily drama that comes with being a teenager.  From a secret relationship with a popular guy, to being undermined by a mean girl, and parents who just don’t get it, Jenna’s misfortune will eventually serve as the catalyst for amazing change, but it’s not without some missteps and mishaps along the way. In addition to the 12 half-hour episodes, the first season of ‘Awkward.’on DVD will offer exciting special features for fans, including webisodes, behind-the-scenes tours of the set and wardrobe trailer as well as cast interviews about their characters and their real life most awkward high school moments. Buy the Season 1 DVD right here.

Family Guy

Bring the Griffins home this holiday season with the ‘Family Guy‘ Volume 9 DVD, now available in stores. The three-disc DVD set features 14 episodes from the hysterical eighth and ninth seasons including the popular 150th episode, an extended version of And Then There Were Fewer and never-before-seen extras consisting of: Uncensored footage, deleted scenes, Side-by-side animatics, 3 featurettes, an episode of The Cleveland Show with a special introduction from Mike Henry and audio commentaries. America’s most dysfunctional family, the Griffins, return with another outrageous and hilarious, uncensored volume.  Follow unconventional dad Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane) as he gets up to plenty of antics with the reluctant help of his caring wife Lois (Alex Borstein), their awkward daughter Meg (Mila Kunis), dorky son Chris (Seth Green), maniacal baby Stewie (MacFarlane) and Brian, the family dog who is both a ladies man and a heavy drinker. Buy the Volume 9 DVD right here.

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Spin City

Charlie Sheen’s second season with of ‘Spin City‘ as Charlie Crawford, the slick, suave and sarcastic replacement for the recently departed Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox) in the final season of ‘Spin City’ – Season 6. Caitlin (Heather Locklear), now a seasoned vet in dealing with the aloof Mayor Winston (Barry Bostwick), has no problem letting Charlie know who’s really in charge. And while their characters may not click at first, the chemistry between Sheen and Locklear is positively electrifying. Buy the Season 6 DVD right here.

The Rocketeer

Celebrate the 20th anniversary of director Joe Johnston’s (Captain America: The First Avenger) action-filled, witty ‘The Rocketeer.’ Now with state-of-the-art digital restoration and enhanced high definition sound, experience it as it jets off for the first time on Disney Blu-ray. The discovery of a top-secret jetpack hurls test pilot Cliff Secord into a daring adventure of mystery, suspense, and intrigue! Cliff encounters an assortment of ruthless villains, led by a Hollywood screen star who is a secret Nazi spy. With the help of his actress girlfriend, the young pilot battles enormous odds to defeat his foes who are anxious to use the device in an evil plan to rule the world. The dangerous mission transforms the ordinary young man into an extraordinary hero. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Fright Night

DreamWorks Pictures’ ‘Fright Night,’ starring Colin Farrell, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD,  just in time to take a bite out of the holidays. Inspired by the 1985 gothic horror cult classic and directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Mr. Woodcock), all hell breaks loose when High School Senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) discovers his charming new neighbor Jerry (Farrell) is a Vampire preying on his neighborhood. Charley (Anton Yelchin) is a high school senior who’s on top of the world—he’s running with the popular crowd and dating Amy (Imogen Poots), the most coveted girl in school. But trouble arrives when Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a nice guy––at first. But there’s something not quite right, and no one else, including Charley’s mom (Toni Collette) seems to notice. After his classmates start to mysteriously disappear without a trace, Charlie discovers that there is more to his new neighbor than meets the eye. Now he must do all he can to protect his mom and girlfriend Amy from meeting the same fate as his best friend Ed Thompson (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.

Velvet Goldmine

The Oscar-nominated film ‘Velvet Goldmine’ is finally making its long awaited debut on Blu-ray. Featuring an all-star cast including Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette, Eddie Izzard and Christian Bale, the film tells the story of a rock star who faked his own death to escape the spotlight of the glam-rock scene, and the investigative journalist who’s looking to get to the bottom of the odd disappearance. The Blu-ray comes complete with audio commentary with director Todd Haynes and producer Christine Vachon. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Swamp People

Deep in the heart of Louisiana lies America’s largest swamp — a million miles of inhospitable bayous, marshes and wetlands where nature rules and humans struggle to tame it. Many of its inhabitants are the hardened descendants of French refugees who were forced out of Canada in the 18th century and settled in this harsh yet majestic environment and the hidden world of the Atchafalaya Swamp is their Eden.  It’s a terrain where nature rules – and history lives.  And it’s here that master gator hunters Troy Landry and Junior Edwards return to for a second, adrenaline-pumping season of survival — Cajun-style — deep in the bayous of the Louisiana wilderness in ‘Swamp People‘ Season 2 captured in a dangerous 4-disc set. In the second DVD installment of this unique series, danger and excitement abound, along with a rich tradition of language, food, music and generations of shared family experience. A colorful cast of characters use techniques dating back to frontier days to live off the land, catching everything from frogs to squirrels and raccoons. Buy the Season 2 DVD right here.

Mob Wives

A runaway hit from the start, ‘Mob Wives‘ is a “docu-soap” that follows the larger-than-life experiences of four long-time friends in Staten Island as they struggle to pick up the pieces and keep their families together after the men in their lives have been imprisoned for mob-related activities. ‘Mob Wives Uncensored: Season 1; stars Renee Graziano, the daughter of Anthony Graziano, who according to the Federal Government was a high-ranking member of La Cosa Nostra; Karen Gravano, the daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, the infamous mobster who helped take down the notorious Gambino crime family; Drita D’avanzo, the wife of Lee D’avanzo, thought to be the leader of a Bonanno and Colombo crime family farm team; and Carla Facciolo whose father went to prison when she was young and whose husband was convicted for a boiler room scandal. In every episode, they battle their friends, relatives – and each other – as they strive to do what’s best for themselves and their children. Buy the Season 1 DVD right here.


Free-spirited Tehran teens Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) and Shireen (Sarah Kazemy) struggle with their burgeoning sexuality under the rigid rules of an oppressive theocracy in ‘Circumstance‘ this provocative drama from first-time writer/producer/director Maryam Keshavarz. Atafeh comes from a wealthy family, and thrives on the energy and creativity of the Iranian capital’s underground art scene. Her brother, Mehran, a former classical musician, has just returned from drug rehab. Determined to lead a righteous life, he renounces his former ways and seeks salvation through joining the morality police. Meanwhile, Atafeh and her best friend, Shireen, discover a love they never thought possible while railing against the restrictions imposed on them by the religious zealots who seek to govern their every thought and action. Recognizing their rebellion, Mehran becomes consumed with rescuing Shireen from his sister’s reckless influence, even at the risk of destroying his entire family. Buy the DVD right here.

The Life & Times of Tim

Everybody has a bad day now and then, but for Tim, every day is a bad day. The animated HBO series ‘The Life and Times of Tim‘ follows the adventures of this young New Yorker who usually makes an honest effort to do the right thing, but invariably ends up making things ten times worse. Whether he’s humoring the aging neighborhood prostitute Debbie with a heart-to-heart, or complying with the demands of his girlfriend Amy to look better in front of her friends, none of Tim’s deeds ever seem to go unpunished. Buy the Season 2 DVD right here.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

The documentary ‘The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975‘ presents archival footage of notable civil-rights activists like Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver and Stokely Carmichael, as well as recent interviews with artists and historians on the Black Power movement. Buy the DVD right here.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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