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…)
You find out that an asteroid is going to hit the Earth, and the end as we know it is in 3 weeks. What do you do? That’s the premise behind the heartfelt dramedy Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (Universal, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP), as an insurance salesman (Steve Carell) instantly abandoned by his wife when the announcement is made finds an unexpected kinship with a similarly broken young neighbor (Keira Knightly). Just give it a spin. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and outtakes.
Thinkgeek time, wizard-wannabes! No wizard sport cosplay is complete without a pair of Harry Potter Quidditch Goggles ($7.99 SRP), which strike a nice balance between looking authentic enough to the actual screen props while also being relatively inexpensive. And while we’re on the subject of cool, affordable Harry Potter merchandise, why not pick yourself up your very own light-up Harry Potter Wand ($19.99 SRP)? Or a beautiful replica - with display case! - of Hermione’s Time Turner ($49.99 SRP)? Or, if you’re in an evil but artistic mood, an accurately blank-page filled copy of Tom Riddle’s Diary ($39.99 SRP)? PLENTY of magic to go around.
It’s a growing trend to create books packed with reproductions of ephemera, and you can add the Harry Potter film franchise to that list with the re-release of Harry Potter Film Wizardry (Collins Design, $45.00 SRP) - newly revised and expanded to include the last two films in the series - which provides an overview of the tremendous amount of design work that went into the costuming, sets, props, and effects contained in the films, and includes reproductions of some of those props (like Harry’s acceptance letter, a Marauders Map, Yule Ball Ticket, and more). A perfect gift for the Potter fan on your list.
Supplement the original must-have collection with The Ernie Kovacs Collection: Volume 2 (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$29.93 SRP), which contains 8 more episodes from Kovacs’ morning show, 18 bonus sketches, a trio of episodes of his game show Take A Good Look, his rare TV pilot with co-star Buster Keaton, a rare interview, and a 2011 American Cinematheque panel. As a supplement if you order directly from them, Shout Factory is releasing Take A Good Look as a bonus disc, which brings together 7 episodes from Kovacs’ delightfully surreal panel quiz show, that’s very similar in spirit to Reeves & Mortimer’s equally dada Shooting Stars. Go get this.
Many, many, many years ago, Henry Beard and the late Doug Kenney of The Harvard Lampoon decided that the time was right to pen a scathing parody of JRR Tolkien’s massive, sprawling, often meandering epic trilogy, calling their effort Bored Of The Rings (Touchstone, $13.99 SRP). And it has just been re-released after many years out-of-print. And you should read it. Because it is pretty damn funny.
If you’ve ever been to a Disney theme park, you’ll know that nearly every single major attraction in the park - nearly since Disneyland first opened - has its very own promotional poster, which is very often a work of art unto itself. You can take a visual journey through these pieces in the oversized Poster Art Of The Disney Parks (Disney Editions, $40.00 SRP), which is a must-have not only for fans, but also aficionados of graphic design.
There have been many books prior, but The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey (Disney Editions, $60.00 SRP) is the first to take a comprehensive look at not only all 3 Toys Story films, but also the shorts and development that brought us up to the point of a viable feature-length computer animated film. With a foreword by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and an afterword by John Lasseter, it’s a wonderful portrait of creation.
I still can’t quite find a way to sum up exactly what Magic Mike (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP) is about. A heartwarming tale of a young, wayward kid (Alex Pettyfer) taken under the wing of an experienced, hack (Channing Tatum) with entrepreneurial dreams who decides the kid has the right stuff to be a star male stripper. Yeah - male strippers. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. And it’s all so, so awkward. Yeah, I’m shocked, too. Bonus materials include featurettes and extended dance scenes.
You’d think Disney would take a page from Dreamworks and bring back their pantheon of characters for holiday-themed specials, but instead they’ve left it all to the other Big D with releases like Dreamworks Spooky Stories (Dreamworks, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$25.98 SRP), featuring a pair of Shrek Halloween specials - Shrek’s Thrilling Tales & Scared Shrekeless - and Monsters Vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space.
I’m always delighted when an actual historical release manages to escape past the reality glut from The History Channel, which is why I enjoyed Disasters Deconstructed (History Channel, Not Rated, DVD-$49.95 SRP), which takes a look at and explains some of history’s greatest architectural disasters, from the Hindenburg to the Titanic and more.
How about another trip to beautiful Fantasy Island (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$39.97 SRP), as the third season of the original series starring Ricardo Montalban, Herve Villechaize, and whatever guest stars could be marooned by the Love Boat hits DVD. The 6-disc set contains all 23 episodes, plus Bob Denver. Yes. That’s right. Gilligan on Fantasy Island.
Created by Blake Edwards and featuring an iconic theme from the great Henry Mancini, it’s quite groovy to be able to pick up the complete series of Peter Gunn (Timeless Media Group, Not Rated, DVD-$99.99 SRP). You get all 114 episodes featuring the suave detective solving the hardest cases in a nameless city that’s full of them. The set even contains a bonus CD featuring more of Mancini’s jazzy score.
It’s living in the shadow of the far more acclaimed Downton Abbey, but the BBC’s new take on Upstairs Downstairs (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$24.32 SRP) has reached a second season which takes the story up to just prior to Britain entering the Second World War, as tensions rise both outside and inside the house. Bonus materials include cast and crew interviews.
I still can’t fathom the appeal of the Tinkerbell-starring Disney Fairies line of direct-to-video films, but there must be enough of an audience if they continue to crank them out - the latest being the feature-length Secret Of The Wings (Walt Disney, Rated G, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP), which has the distinction of being the first presented in 3D. Bonus materials include an additional short and music videos.
We’re yet another step closer to completing the seemingly-infinite run of Roy Clarke’s Last Of The Summer Wine (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP) with the release of the 1995 Vintage (season). The 2-disc set contains all 8 episodes, plus the 1995 special “The Man Who Nearly Knew Pavarotti”.
While Medicom has had a version of the fearsome bounty hunter as featured in Return Of The Jedi, the fine folks at Sideshow has taken it upon themselves to make a definitive version of the 12″ Boba Fett ($174.99) as we first encountered him in Empire Strikes Back. The usual high level of scale-costuming can be found here, from pouches and weapons to the original detailing of his jet pack and helmet. The figure also comes with a light-up base, styled in the architecture of Bespin’s carbonite freezing chamber.
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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