This week’s home entertainment releases include the well-reviewed latest film in the PotA franchise, the penultimate seasons of The Legend of Korra and Justified, plus the Blu-ray debut of the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the first season of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain, as well as new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and My Little Pony animated offerings.
Theatrical Movies
The eighth Planet of the Apes movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Fox, “PG-13,” 131 min., $29.98, BD $39.99, 3-D BD $49.99) turns out to be one of the best in the series with a sterling critical rating of 91% positive on Rotten Tomatoes and worldwide box office revenues of $708 million.  Other studios should study what Fox has done, starting with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011, to revive the long dormant PotA franchise.  By applying the latest motion capture technology to replace the actors-in-ape-suits look of the previous films, and most importantly by taking the film and its premise seriously and exploring the emotional sides of its characters, both human and simian.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will surprise viewers with an intelligence seldom found in summer blockbusters.
The other film due out on Tuesday that found favor with the critics was The Hundred-Foot Journey (Disney, "PG-13," 122 min., $29.99, BD $36.99), which stars Helen Mirren in the “highbrow” commercial hit of the summer of 2014.  Director Lasse Hallstrom (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Chocolat) is known for the humanistic touches in his films, and this saga of a snooty restaurant owner (Mirren), who is upset that an immigrant has opened an Indian eatery near her Michelin-starred bistro, is predictably more romance than foodie-fodder.
Horror movie fans will have to make do with the found footage epic As Above So Below (Universal, “R,” 186 min., $29.98, BD $34.98).  The “found footage” gimmick is getting old, but this film, which has a ballsy Tomb Raider-like heroine played by Perdita Weeks, also provides some real scares along with all the genre’s requisite crappy camerawork.
This is good week for TV releases of special interest to geek viewers.  The Legend of Korra: Book Three—Change (Nickelodeon, 295 min., $19.99, BD $35.98), which includes all 13 episodes of the penultimate season of Nickelodeon’s successor to Avatar: The Last AirbenderThe Legend of Korra is simply one of the most inventive and well-mounted animated series on TV.
Another “must-have” release for animation fans is The Simpsons: The Complete 17th Season (Fox, 448 min., $49.98, BD $59.99), which includes 22 episodes from the longest running and most consistently humorous animated series on American TV.  The series was not broadcast in HD until Season 20, so it’s up to you whether you want to spend the extra money for the high-def version of Season 17, but it does look awfully good.
Other animated releases of note include the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 6: Showdown in Dimension X (Nickelodeon, 315 min., $19.99), a 12-episode, 2-disc collection from the second season of the new TMNT animated series that runs on Nickelodeon, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—Season 4 (Shout Factory, 600 min., $34.99), which provides an entire season at a very reasonable price, and, of special interest to Disney collectors, Mickey Mouse: Season 1 (Disney, 74 min., $15.99), which contains 19 new cartoons plus a “Making Of” feature.
There are plenty of live-action series that will appeal to various segments of fandom including the Blu-ray debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 7 (Paramount, 880 min., BD $129.99), which collects the final season of one of the very best iterations of the Star Trek TV franchise, along with what is an excellent collection of extra features.  This season includes the two-part “Gambit” story arc along with the series finale “All Good Things” as well as episodes directed by cast members Patrick Stewart, Levar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, and Gates McFadden.  The 2-part finale, Star Trek: The Next Generation--All Good Things (Paramount, 90 min., BD $29.99) is also available separately.
Other live-action series of note include the Guillermo Del Toro-penned The Strain: The Complete First Season (Fox, $49.98, BD $59.99), which includes the medical/thriller/horror series that has also spawned a comic book adaptation from Dark Horse, and the superb Justified: The Complete 5th Season (Sony, $55.99, BD $65.99), which is based on the work of Elmore Leonard and stars Timothy Olyphant as a U.S. Marshal operating in the economically depressed and always dangerous region of Eastern Kentucky.

As for vintage releases due this week, the most interesting is Sliders: The Complete Series (Universal, 3954 min., $179.98), which includes all 88 episodes of the science fiction series that aired between 1995 and 2000, and featured a group of travelers who “slid” between parallel universe.
Also of interest, especially to fans of TV westerns, are Gunsmoke: The 11th Season, Vol. 1 (Paramount, 700 min.,, $49.99), and Gunsmoke: The 11th Season, Vol. 2 (Paramount, 650 min., $49.99).  An older and lesser known western series, Zane Grey Theatre: The Complete 3rd Season (Timeless Media, 722 min., $29.93), was one of the very best western anthology series that benefited from strong plots derived from the novels and short stories of the famous author, and from performances from some of Hollywood’s very best actors.
This week’s top anime release is the both dubbed and subbed Fairy Tail: Part 14 (Funimation, 275 min., BD/DVD Combo $54.98).  Based on the popular manga by Hiro Mashima (published here by Kodansha USA), the Fairy Tail anime series has currently reached more than 213 episodes in Japan.  This latest set from Funimation, which includes commentary tracks for episodes 157 and 163 collects the “Grand Magic Games” story arc as the members of the Fairy Tail team attempt to gain the top spot among the guilds of Fiore Kingdom.   
Also new on Tuesday is the Diabolik Lovers: Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 195 min., $29.98), which includes all 12 episodes of the 2013 anime series produced by Zexcs and based on the mystery romance visual novel created by Rejet for the PSP.
The other new release this week is Queen’s Blade: Beautiful Warriors (Sentai Filmworks, 180 min., $29.98, BD $39.98), which collects all six OVAs created by ARMS in 2010 and based on the sexy action/adventure visual combat books published by Hobby Japan.
This week’s re-releases include the 39-episode Devilman: Complete Collection (Discotek Media, 1100 min., $69.95), which collects the classic 1972 Toei series based on the manga by Go Nagai.  Discotek is also releasing the Itakiss: Complete Collection (Discotek, 700 min., $49.95), which collects the 25-episode 2008 series produced by TMS and based on the shojo manga series by Kaoru Tada.  Both the Devilman and Itakiss collections are subtitles-only releases.
--Tom Flinn
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial staff of