New on DVD: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' 'Kung Fu Panda 2,' More


Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Andy Serkis turns in an Oscar-baiting performance as the chimp revolutionary Caesar, a by-product of scientific tests that left his mother dead and him with super-intelligence that eventually deduces humans aren't all that, despite the affections of one geneticist named Will (James Franco). When he's shipped off to a primate facility, Caesar decides he's over being a second-class chimp--and leads the primates on a takeover of San Francisco and beyond. Extras: 12 deleted scenes; featurettes on the creation of a CGI Caesar/Serkis, visions of the future, mo-cap tech, the music/sound design and more; director commentary; ape factoids; trailers and more (BD) 

Kung Fu Panda 2 Some folks complained about this sequel--"it wasn't as funny" "the visuals weren't as good" "too many added characters" etc. Don't listen to them. It might be next to impossible to reach the standard set by Kung Fu Panda, but this sequel certainly has its laugh-out-loud moments, the action is exciting, the characters engaging (and Po's original crew are all still around), and it doesn't get much better than this when it comes to animation--the peacock villain's rippling feathers are a sight to behold. The concept is a little darker--Po wants to find his parents, who were killed by the peacock Shen--younger kids might find the scenes when Po's panda clan is killed too scary, so something to beware of. Extras: 3 deleted scenes; featurettes on new cast members; filmmaker commentary; real panda stories; "Kung Fu Shuffle" game; "Ni Hao" Chinese language tutor (learn how to say and write words from the movie) (DVD/BD); the BD adds an interactive animated journey through China with kid-friendly facts; animators interviews; trivia track.   

Fright Night This satisfying remake of a pretty corny '80s original stars Anton Yelchin as Charley, a popular high school senior with a weirdo of a neighbor in Jerry (Colin Farrell). Turns out Jerry's a vampire who's been sinking his teeth into just about everyone Charley knows (including his best friend), and now Charley has to save his mom and girlfriend from the Guy Next Door. Extras: Unrated gag reel, Kid Cudi music video, "Squid Man" uncut (DVD/BD); the 2- and 3-disc combo packs add a "How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie" guide, 5 deleted scenes and a mockumentary.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Tsui Hark directs this wuxia fantasy set in the 7th century, a Sherlock Holmsian, steampunky period piece about a Chinese empress whose main men have mysteriously combusted. She turns to a martial arts master and a fighting ace to help solve the mystery. Extras: Featurettes on the making-of, characters, weapons and action stunts, the history of the folk character Dee, stills and posters (DVD/BD)

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Fun Find: 2011 Movie Retrospective

Fun Find: 2011 Movie Retrospective