New On DVD/Blu-ray This Week: Paranormal Activity 4, Downton Abbey, Seven Psychopaths

'Paranormal Activity 4' (Paramount Home Media Distribution)

Paranormal Activity 4

The global horror sensation that has mesmerized fans around the world continues to terrify and thrill audiences with the latest installment in the franchise, ‘Paranormal Activity 4,’ now available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with UltraViolet and a Digital Copy. ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ continues the shocking story of the evil surrounding Katie and her nephew Hunter as a new family begins experiencing unexplained events that quickly turn deadly.  Fans can be the first to own the newest chapter via Digital Download, which will be available on January 15, two weeks before the Blu-ray/DVD. The Digital Download is available in either the theatrical version of the film or an unrated version with footage not seen in theaters. The ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes both the theatrical version of the film and the unrated version, as well as “The Recovered Files” with nearly 30 minutes of new found footage. In addition, the Blu-ray/DVD combo available for purchase is enabled with UltraViolet, a new way to collect, access and enjoy movies. With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them – safely and securely – to a variety of devices. Buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.

Downton Abbey

The highly anticipated ‘Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Season 3’ is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. The return of the hit sensation and its all-star cast, along with the addition of guest star Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine, is sure to increase interest in the already phenomenally popular series. The DVD and Blu-ray feature the original U.K. edition of Season 3, more than two hours of bonus video and is available a little less than three weeks prior to the airing of the finale on PBS. The DVD and Blu-ray sets contain all of Season 3, including the finale which will air in the U.K. on Christmas Day. The program will also be available for Digital Download. The Great War is over and a long-awaited engagement is on, but all is not tranquil at ‘Downton Abbey‘ as wrenching social changes, romantic intrigues, and personal crises grip the majestic English country estate for a third thrilling season. The returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and a host of others, joined by Shirley MacLaine, who plays Martha Levinson, the very American mother of Cora, Countess of Grantham (McGovern). Years earlier, Cora rescued Downton Abbey with her riches by marrying Robert, Earl of Grantham (Bonneville). Now, new world and old world are about to clash as Cora’s mother locks horns with Robert’s redoubtable mother, Lady Violet, played by Maggie Smith. Last season closed with the reluctant heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley (Stevens), recovered from his war wounds and ready to tie the knot with the eldest of Lord and Lady Grantham’s daughters, Lady Mary (Dockery). Meanwhile, Mary’s youngest sister, Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), eloped to Ireland with the political-minded chauffeur, Branson (Allen Leech), and is expecting a child. Buy the Season 3 Blu-ray right here.

Seven Psychopaths

Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell  (2009, Best Actor – Comedy, In Bruges)  leads an all-star cast in the comedy ‘Seven Psychopaths,’ now available on Blu-ray and DVD with UltraViolet. Directed by Academy Award-winning writer/director Martin McDonagh (2009, Best Writing – Original Screenplay, In Bruges), the film follows a Hollywood screenwriter and his oddball friends, who all end up embroiled in an outrageous kidnapping scheme gone wrong. The acclaimed cast includes Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2), Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games), Academy Award winner Christopher Walken (1978, The Deer Hunter, Best Actor in a Supporting Role), Tom Waits (The Book of Eli), and Abbie Cornish (Limitless). Winner of the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, ‘Seven Psychopaths’ also features Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Michael Pitt (‘Boardwalk Empire’), Gabourey Sidibe (‘The Big C’) and Harry Dean Stanton (‘Big Love’).  The film also received two FIND Spirit Awards nominations for Best Screenplay and (McDonagh) and Best Supporting Male (Rockwell). The Blu-ray and DVD both come with six featurettes. “Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths” features the cast talking about both the story and director McDonagh’s vision for the film. “Colin Farrell Is Marty” features Farrell discussing his character from the film, while “Woody Harrelson Is Charlie” focuses on Harrelson’s character.  “Crazy Locations” highlights the various filming locations in LA and the Mojave Desert. ‘Seven Psychocats’ is a re-made trailer featuring a cast of seven “psycho-cats,” in which the cast is replaced by cats. “Layers” is a video mash-up of the film set to a rap beat. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Hotel Transylvania

Check in and party with Dracula, his daughter Mavis, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the rest of the gang with the release of ‘Hotel Transylvania‘ on Blu-ray 3D combo pack. From Sony Pictures Animation comes the story of Dracula and his daughter, Mavis, and their life inside a remote hotel that caters to monsters of all kinds. Mavis is about to celebrate her 118th birthday when Jonathan, a pesky human dude, stumbles onto the hotel grounds. Dracula and the hotel staff move into action, determined to protect Mavis, as well as the lavish resort sanctuary where monsters can vacation in safety far away from humans. This family monster box-office hit earned more than $270 million in theaters worldwide to date and features the voice talents of, among others, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade and CeeLo Green. Buy the Blu-ray 3D combo pack right here.

Wodehouse Playhouse

Starring Oscar nominee Pauline Collins (Upstairs Downstairs, Shirley Valentine) and real-life husband John Alderton (Upstairs, Downstairs) as P.G. Wodehouse’s uproarious eccentrics, the sparkling BBC series, ‘Wodehouse Playhouse: The Complete Collection’ is now available on DVD. A deft writer of daft protagonists, P.G. Wodehouse (Jeeves and Wooster) has delighted fans with his razor-sharp wit and marvelously madcap plots for over a century. The DVD 6-disc boxed set shines with 20 of his hilarious tales, featuring introduction to the first seven stories from the celebrated writer himself—still twinkling with cosmic mischief in his 90s. Broadcast on PBS from 1975-1978 for three series, the new edition of this complete collection now features subtitles as well as photo galleries, P.G. Wodehouse biography, and an insert with background notes on the stories and characters. The Stories: The Truth about George; Romance at Droitgate Spa; Portrait of a Disciplinarian; Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court; The Rise of Minna Nordstrom; Rodney Fails to Qualify; A Voice from the Past; Anselm Gets His Chance; Mr. Potter Takes a Rest Cure; Strychnine in the Soup; Feet of Clay; The Nodder; The Code of the Mulliners; The Smile That Wins; Trouble down at Tudsleigh; Tangled Hearts; The Luck of the Stiffhams; The Editor Regrets; Big Business; Mulliner’s Buck-U-Uppo. Buy the complete collection right here.

Out in the Open

‘Out in the Open’ will, once and for all, destroy the misconceptions, fears, and myths about the LGBTQ community. This uplifting documentary is geared towards at risk youth across the world, as well as their families, friends, and teachers. Featuring interviews with celebrities, politicians, and everyday allies who openly embrace the LGBTQ community, this feel-good film asserts that no single person is the same and that all people should be celebrated. Special features include Lifeworks & OutSet Sizzle Featurettes, Bloopers, Extended Interviews, a Photo Gallery and a trailer. Look for celebrity appearances by Eric Roberts, Eliza Roberts, Carson Kressley, Josh Strickland and Greg Louganis. Buy the DVD right here.

Madly Madagascar

Your favorite Madagascar pals are back in an all-new adventure! Alex’s favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day, brings hilarious surprises and excitement for the entire gang. Melman plans a big surprise for Gloria, Marty tries to impress a new friend and everyone wants to get their hands on King Julien’s love potion. You’ll fall in love with ‘Madly Madagascar.’ Special features include First Play Trailers of Rise of the Guardians Trailer, Dragon Trailer Tuesdays, the Madly Madagascar episode and Extras that include Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure and First Flight. Buy the DVD right here.

Hey Arnold

Arnold and company are back for another season of adventure, mystery and fun down on the block with all 19 episodes from Season 3 of ‘Hey Arnold.’ Season 3 finds the gang getting a healthy dose of life lessons when Gerald gets his tonsils out, Helga reveals her true feelings for Arnold on his answering machine, Eugene and Arnold get trapped on a roller coaster, Arnold and Helga play best man and maid of  honor at Coach Wittenberg’s wedding and more! It’s that time again: Spend some quality moments with your friends in the big city with Hey Arnold’ Season 3. The series stars Toran Caudell (Recess), Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons), Francesca Smith (Recess) Jamil Walker Smith (SGU Stargate Universe) and Phillip Van Dyke (Halloweentown). Buy the Season 3 DVD right here.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot & Marple: Fan Favorites Collection

Bringing together eleven of Agatha Christie’s most popular mysteries, as voted by the Queen of Crime’s fans, ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot & Marple: Fan Favorites Collection,’ now available on DVD. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have delighted PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery! viewers for years with their quick wits and uncanny knack for solving thorny cases. Now, fans can get a double dose of the famous detectives as played by the ever-impressive David Suchet in the role of Poirot, and Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie as the sweet and savvy Miss Marple. When it comes to solving crimes, two heads really are better than one. Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian detective is at his very best in this collection of favorite cases chosen by her fans. Resplendent with Art Deco detail, these six episodes from the Masterpiece Mystery! series star David Suchet as Poirot, Hugh Fraser as Captain Hastings, Philip Jackson as Chief Inspector Japp, and Pauline Moran as Miss Lemon, with guest stars including Eileen Atkins (Doc Martin), Toby Jones (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), David Rintoul (My Week with Marilyn), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Anthony Calf (New Tricks), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan), Donald Sumpter (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help). Behind her prim appearance, Miss Marple (played by Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie) hides a sharp mind and keen insight into human nature—all the better to outwit criminals and solve cases that perplex the police. Agatha Christie’s mild-mannered sleuth takes on five complex cases in this collection of favorite episodes from the Masterpiece Mystery! series, chosen by her fans. Guest stars include Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius), Peter Davison (The Last Detective), Francesca Annis (Lillie), Matthew Macfadyen (The Three Musketeers), Rupert Graves (V for Vendetta), Lindsay Duncan (Alice in Wonderland), Hugh Bonneville, and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous). Buy the collection right here.

The Liability

From an executive producer of Snatch comes a new action packed film, ‘The Liability,’ now available on DVD. ‘The Liability’ is a suspenseful story about a young man whose life is dramatically changed when he becomes the target of a hit man. Starring Academy Award nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy, Actor in a Supporting Role, 1995), Jack O’Connell (United),Talulah Riley (Pirate Radio) and Peter Mullan (War Horse), the DVD includes a “making of” featurette. After wrecking his stepfather’s car, Adam, in need of a job to pay him back, starts working as a driver for a hit man, Roy. His first day on the job takes him into a world of murder and revenge, as he is privy to Roy’s hits.  Intrigued and wanting to take part of the action Adam suddenly realizes what started as a hit could end with a bang as he becomes Roy’s next target. Buy the DVD right here.

Love Me

Anchor Bay Entertainment drops you into the twisted, teenage-angst filled lives of the students at Hampton Prep school with the DVD release of ‘Love Me.’ Sixteen-year-old Melissa Kennedy has been missing for almost three months and the town of Ridgedale is coming unhinged.  Sylvia Potter (Lindsey Shaw of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide’) wants so badly to be in love. Then sexy, quiet, rich kid Lucas Green (Jamie Johnston of ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’) transfers to Hampton Prep and the sparks fly – despite the warnings of almost every friend in her circle. But what seems like a love story hits a major twist when the police begin an investigation into Lucas’ involvement in the Melissa Kennedy case. What really happened to Melissa and how long can Lucas and Sylvia’s relationship last in the face of this mystery? Jean-Luc Bilodeau (‘Baby Daddy,’ ‘Kyle XY’) and Kaitlyn Leeb (Total Recall) co-star in this intense thriller. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Femme Fatales

Looks can kill in Season 1 of ‘Femme Fatales,’ the hit Cinemax anthology series about powerful, sexy and dangerous women inspired by and styled in the tradition of pulp stories, film noir and graphic novels. Season 1 is now available on DVD along with over two hours of never-before-seen bonus materials,  courtesy of Entertainment One. The half-hour program from creators Mark A. Altman (‘Castle’, ‘Necessary Roughness’) and Steve Kriozere (‘NCIS’, ‘Castle’) features stories inspired by such noir classics as Double Indemnity and Pulp Fiction and classic thriller TV series like The Twilight Zone.   In each stand-alone episode, women find extraordinary ways of coping with their problems, channeling their survival instincts and bringing out their inner guile.  Every episode is introduced by a mysterious and enigmatic host Lilith, played by Tanit Phoenix (Death Race 2, Lost Boys 3), and features different casts and storylines, some of which are intertwined as part of the series overall mythology. Episodes include “Behind Locked Doors (Part 1&2)” in which Hollywood starlet Lacey Rivers (Kit Wileese) finds herself in the big house and is forced to use her acting skills to survive;  a gorgeous, hard-working nurse discovers her inner strength during a hostage situation in “Bad Medicine”; “Til’ Death Do Us Part”, finds Rachel (Jordan Madley) waking up to a dead male stripper six hours before her wedding and “Speed Date”, which crosses After Hours and La Femme Nikita in an entertaining mashup featuring Isaiah Mustafa (The Old Spice Guy, Horrible Bosses) and Reggie Hayes (‘Girlfriends’).  Other stars stopping in after hours include legendary Oscar-nominated director Paul Mazursky, Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan, ‘Entourage’), Richard Kind (Argo, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’), Robert Lasardo (‘Nip/Tuck,’ Death Race), Charlie O’Connell (‘Crossing Jordan’), Dean Haglund (‘The X-Files,’ ‘The Lone Gunmen”’ and many more. Buy the Season 1 DVD right here.

Nickelodeon Favorites: Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West

Yee-haw! Preschoolers’ favorites from ‘Bubble Guppies,’ ‘Team Umizoomi,’ ‘Dora the Explorer,’ ‘The Fresh Beat Band,’ ‘Go, Diego, Go’ and ‘The Wonder Pets’ star in the all-new DVD ‘Nickelodeon Favorites: Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West.’ The episodes include ‘Bubble Guppies – The Cowgirl Parade,’ ‘Team Umizoomi – Shooting Star,’ ‘Dora the Explorer – Pinto, the Pony Express,’ ‘The Fresh Beat Band – Hip Hop Hoedown,’ ‘Go, Diego, Go – The Great Roadrunner Race,’ The Wonder Pets – Save the Pony Express,’ and ‘The Wonder Pets – Help the Groundhog.’ Buy the DVD right here.

That Obscure Object of Desire

A masterpiece of world cinema co-written and directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Luis Buñuel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), ‘That Obscure Object of Desire’ is now available on Blu-ray Disc, Digital Download and Video on Demand. Nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Writing, and nominated for one Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film, That Obscure Object of Desire stars Fernando Rey (The French Connection) and Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only). This sexy romantic drama centers on an aging Frenchman who falls in love with a young woman who repeatedly frustrates his romantic and sexual desires. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Bangkok Assassins

Choreographed by famed stuntman Somchai Munma (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,Ong-Bak), ‘Bangkok Assassins‘ is now available on DVD, Digital Download and Video on Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.  Featured as an official selection at American Film Market 2011, the action-packed film follows four friends who seek justice for the assassination of their Shaolin Kung Fu master. Four young boys are kidnapped from their families, and handicapped by their abductors.  Forced to become beggars on the street, they soon find refuge in a skillful Shaolin Kung Fu master who teaches them the art of his craft.  However, when tragedy hits the clan, they will soon unite and fight for justice to stop the man responsible for the death of their beloved master. Buy the DVD right here.

Stone Soup…And Other Stories From the Asian Tradition

Just in time to celebrate Chinese New Year and learn about some of Asian culture’s best loved tales, Scholastic Storybook Treasures has now released ‘Stone Soup…And Other Stories From the Asian Tradition.’ Highlighted by author/illustrator Jon J. Muth’s award-winning take on “Stone Soup”, the new DVD also features three other classic tales, as well as a Read-Along function which highlights the words as they are spoken, allowing young viewers to follow along with the narrators. “Stone Soup” is a classic folktale about the strength people possess when they work together. The three other stories on the DVD include “The Five Chinese Brothers”, “Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China”, and “Stonecutter”.  These colorfully animated adaptations of classic stories feature celebrity narration by B.D. Wong (Law and Order: SVU). The DVD also includes a behind-the-scenes interview with Jon J. Muth, the award-winning author/illustrator of “Stone Soup”, “The Three Questions” and other popular stories for kids. Muth also illustrated cards for Magic: The Gathering. Buy the DVD right here.

To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America

Professor Muhammad Yunus never wanted to be a banker and certainly never imagined winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet his quest to help the working poor invest in themselves led to both. Known as the creator of the revolutionary microfinance institution, Grameen Bank, Yunus brings his trailblazing program to the United States in the powerful documentary ‘To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America,’ now available on DVD. Also included in this release is the bonus feature “Sixteen Decisions,” Gayle Ferraro’s documentary about how committing to a charter in exchange for a microloan made a difference in a young woman’s life. Buy the DVD right here.

Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff

Nothing is off limits for Amy Schumer in her first original one-hour stand-up special, ‘Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff,’ now available on DVD. Before a live audience at the historical Fillmore in San Francisco, Schumer airs every hilarious, messed-up detail of her dating and sex life, from encounters with unexpected body parts to hate-filled personal grooming appointment. In her matter-of-fact raunchy style, at odds with her self-described “Cabbage Patch Kid” appearance, Schumer tells stories of a boyfriend who makes dirty requests over dinner, the way she outsmarts her birth control, and shocking ending to a seemingly innocent cab ride. 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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