The weekend’s here. You’ve just been paid, and it’s burning a hole in your pocket. What’s a pop culture geek to do? In hopes of steering you in the right direction to blow some of that hard-earned cash, it’s time for the FRED Weekend Shopping Guide - your spotlight on the things you didn’t even know you wanted…
(Please support FRED by using the links below to make any impulse purchases - it helps to keep us going…)
For all its desperation to make itself a loving homage to Spielberg, Super 8 is a crass wannabe next to Nick Frost & Simon Pegg’s alien road trip Paul (Universal, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP), as it evokes all of the loving geek warmth the former wanted to evoke without the effort and with the added bonus of being funny. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, galleries, bloopers, and more.
Adding to the mystery presented to viewers all those years ago, the introduction of River Song in the episode “Silence In The Library” found the enigmatic Dr. Song in possession of her very own Sonic Screwdriver, given to her by The Doctor in the future and an advanced version, no less. Now you can own your very own Doctor Who: Future Sonic Screwdriver ($19.99) featuring both a blue AND red setting.
If you tend to think of Mickey Mouse as nothing more than a bland corporate spokesman, prepare to be both fascinated and delighted by the incredible comic strip adventures of the 30’s by Floyd Gottfredson, collected for the first time in Mickey Mouse: Race To Death Valley (Fantagraphics, $29.99 SRP), the first volume of hopefully the entire run. Get it! Now!
Oh, they’re coming fast & furious now. What, you ask? More classic Doctor Who adventures - this time the Tom Baker story The Sun Makers and the Sylvester McCoy story Paradise Towers (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$24.98 SRP each). Both are loaded with the usual complement of commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more. We’re so close to having all of the extant classic Who stories on DVD that you can almost taste it.
Let’s all forget about the American abomination and just re-watch the from-front-to-back enjoyable 16th season of the original UK Top Gear (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), which finds Jeremy, James, & Richard crossing the US, and then find themselves in Albania later in the season. Bonus materials include chats, behind-the-scenes footage, a studio tour, outtakes, and more.
Although only one of them was made as a period piece, enough time has passed that both Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Dazed & Confused (Universal, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$ 26.98 SRP each) are now both snapshots of their respective eras, and both making their high definition debut. Fast Times features a documentary, an audio commentary, and in-film behind-the-scenes materials, while Dazed has featurettes, deleted scenes, and retro PSAs.
If you’re a big fan of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett’s post-MST3K endeavor Rifftrax, you owe it to yourself to partake of the heightened energy of a pair of recent live show releases that were originally beamed to theaters around the country - Rifftrax Live: House On Haunted Hill Riffed Live From Nashville 2010 & Rifftrax Live: Reefer Madness Riffed Live From San Diego 2010 (Legend Films, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$17.95 each), both of which are now available in high definition. Heck, the Nashville show even has a special set from special guest Paul F. Tompkins.
With the recent resurgence in popularity of Nickelodeon’s 90’s line-up - or, at least Nickelodeon’s acknowledgement that there is a fanbase out there - it should come as no surprise that those fans will now be able to pick up the complete first season of Hey Arnold! (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$29.93 SRP). The 4-disc set contains all 20 episodes.
I’ve made no secret of my intense hatred - borne of even more intense disappointment - in Torchwood (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$129.98 SRP). Still, I know that there are wrongheaded fans of the ongoing mess who will probably want to snap up the complete series box set, featuring seasons 1 & 2 and the Children Of Earth miniseries, plus all of the bonus features from the original releases. So for you fans - have at it.
If Pineapple Express was a stoner action flick, than the rather obviously named Your Highness (Universal, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.98 SRP), you’ll not be surprised to learn, is a stoner swords & sorcery flick, which finds Danny McBride’s pampered prince forced to join his brother James Franco’s quest to find the bride stolen by an evil wizard. It’s got Toby Jones, Charles Dance, and a mechanical bird, so it’s at least worth a spin. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, and outtakes.
While Pixar and Dreamworks get most of the attention, let’s not overlook the equally enjoyable films from other studios that don’t get the attention, like Blu Sky Studios fun, funny tale of a domesticated macaw intent on returning to his roots in South America in Rio (Fox, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP). Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, music videos, and more.
I admit, there’s a fondness in my heart for The Fox And The Hound (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), as it was one of the first Disney films I saw as a kid. Now, don’t mistake that fondness for any belief that it’s one of the studio’s best animated films, as it’s often a plodding affair, but it does have some flashes of charm and I’m happy whenever a classic Disney flick makes its way to high definition. They also very rightly are packaging this with the high-def release of the forgettable sequel The Fox And The Hound II, as that’s the only way anyone would buy it. The 3-disc set also carries over all of the bonus features found on the original DVD release.
Get your fix of manly-man movies in high definition with the release of both The Magnificent Seven & The Return Of The Magnificent Seven (MGM, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$16.99 SRP each), as well as Sergio Leone’s Clint Eastwood classics Fistful Of Dollars & For A Few Dollars More (MGM, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$16.99 SRP each). You know you want them all.
I’m a big fan of Berkely Breathed’s children’s book Mars Needs Moms (Walt Disney, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP), in which a young boy’s mother was kidnapped to the red planet. The movie version would have been a fun flick if not for producer Robert Zemeckis’s godawful motion capture animation, which despite his mighty protests to the contrary STILL have dead eyes and dwell firmly in the uncanny valley. The 3-D effects in the home theater are impressive, which is a shame, because they really deserve a better design style. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes.
During that period when Hanna-Barbera was just crankin’ out feature-length specials of just about all of their characters, George & Jane Jetson’s eldest daughter got her own, featuring a witch, a teen idol, aliens, and even Elroy. And the folks at the Warner Archive Collection have made Rockin’ With Judy Jetson (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$19.95) available.
Oh, the 80’s was just packed full of mediocre animated series that inspired dedicated fans who’ve grown up to have disposable cash and a desire to relive their rose-tinted memories - Which is why we have MASK: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$99.99 SRP), which features guys in masks who drove cars and trucks. And the good guys had a robot that looked like an ambulatory egg. So, yeah. Bonus materials include retrospective featurettes.
It’s still not The Hudsucker Proxy, but I’m still happy about the high definition arrival of The Big Lebowski (Universal, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP). The real key is the improved presentation of the film itself, as the bonus features are carried over from the last DVD special edition. So, yes - The Dude still abides.
Get your literary drama on with a pair of releases from A&E sure to delight the higher-brows amongst you. The first is the Thomas Hardy Collection (A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP), featuring adaptations of both Tess Of The D’Ubervilles & The Mayor Of Casterbridge. If adventure is more your speed, there’s Horatio Hornblower: The Further Adventures (A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$14.95 SRP), which contains the feature-length films The Duchess And The Devil & The Wrong War.
Curious how timing works out such that the 5th season of Spin City (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$29.93 SRP) gets its release during the year of Charlie Sheen’s flameout, as the 5th season is when Sheen was brought in to take over the lead from the ailing Michael J. Fox, carrying it on for a few more years.
See Brits survive a post-apocalyptic wasteland and make the journey to a distant planet to make a new start in Outcasts (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP). Suffice to say, life on the new world isn’t a cake walk, as events both natural and interpersonal threaten to destroy humanity’s future. Bonus materials incl7ude interviews and a featurette.
My nephews will be delighted to see another volume of the Frosty Freezy Freeze fans and crime-fighting duo back for another batch of episodes in Fanboy & Chumchum: Brain Freeze (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), which contains 7 episodes plus an animatic.
Some are fascinating, but I’m not one for re-living that horrible day, but from a historical perspective the documentaries collected in the September 11th Memorial Edition (History Channel, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP) are pretty comprehensive and are thankfully free of editorial or agenda.
If I were to choose the giant robot cartoon that left the biggest mark on my childhood psyche (after Transformers), it would have to be Voltron. Watching the 7 remastered episodes contained in Voltron: The Legend Begins (Vivendi, Not Rated, DVD-$12.99 SRP), the show still holds up as a fun adventure romp, supported on this new disc by a clutch of retrospective featurettes.
For the most part, I loathe the Spider-Man feature film franchise, but I will give them credit on one detail they nailed - the Spider-Man costume itself. One just has to watch previous attempts at making a real-world version of the costume in other productions to see just how poorly things can go, and see just how right they went in this instance (as opposed to the horrid redesign being employed in the upcoming cinematic reset of the franchise). Well, the costume I love has now been made into a Spider-Man 12″ Figure ($149.99) from the fine folks at Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles. Packed with a clutch of alternate hands (ranging from swinging to web-firing), a pedestal, and numerous web lines - and outfitted in a pretty snazzy small-scale version of the film’s costume - it’s a welcome addition to the collection of any diehard webhead.
So there you have it… my humble suggestions for what to watch, listen to, play with, or waste money on this coming weekend. See ya next week…
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