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…)
Have you noticed which much-desired films have been largely absent on Blu-Ray until now? Don’t worry - I’ll tell you, because that gross oversight has been rectified in wonderful fashion with the 15-film Alfred Hitchcock: Masterpiece Collection (Universal, $299.98 SRP), which re-creates in glorious high-definition the excellent DVD gathering of the famed director’s American output in one easy-as-pie package. The restoration and mastering done for the films included here - Saboteur, Shadow Of A Doubt, Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy, and Family Plot - is top notch, trumping the lovely work done for the old DVD release. And thankfully, the bonus features from that set are also carried over, which include audio commentaries, featurettes, screen tests, interviews, storyboards, and more. Getting this is a no-brainer, so do it.
Thinkgeek time! You can never, ever have too many USB ports. You know this to be the case. That’s why something like the 28-port MondoHub ($89.99 SRP) is absolutely brilliant. With 4 USB 3.0 ports and 24 USB 2.0 ports, all of which can be turned on and off individually, it’s a perfectly useful piece of tech.
Shout Factory continues to prove themselves the ideal company when it comes to releasing classic television series, and kudos to Sony for turning over titles from their library, as it gives us remarkable definitive collections like All In The Family: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$199.99 SRP). Not only does the 28-disc collection feature all 9 seasons, but it also includes a bonus disc with two of the show’s original pilots, the pilots to the show’s spin-offs (Gloria, Archie Bunker’s Place, 704 Hauser, documentaries, an interview with Norman Lear, and more. Can we get lovely collections of Soap, Fernwood Tonight, Benson, and Newsradio now?
You know the holidays have arrived when the new-to-high-def catalogue releases start becoming holiday titles, which is exactly what we’ve got with the Santa Clause Collection (Walt Disney. Rated PG/G, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP), which brings together all 3 festive family comedies starring Tim Allen as the hapless divorced dad who finds himself the latest to take up the mantle of Santa Claus. Bonus materials are all carried over from the previous DVD releases, and include featurettes, deleted scenes, commentaries, and more.
I’m not a fan of Brendon Small’s off-putting egofest, but I know there are lots of people out there excited to hear that Metalocalypse: Season IV (Adult Swim, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$28.99 SRP) is now available, featuring 12 episodes in mind-numbing high definition.
Sadly, Copper (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.98 SRP) isn’t really a BBC show. It’s one of the first of a new breed of BBC America shows, as that network somehow felt there were slim pickings to be had in actual BBC fare and had to develop their own vehicles with largely American talent. Sad, really. The show itself - a crime series set in 1864 New York City - is decent if unremarkable, but certainly shows promise. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, and character profiles.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of films released in the last 20 years that did not make a big enough splash at the box office or on VHS that hopes for an eventual Blu-Ray release would seem to be rather dim, at best. Flying in the fact of that with an incredibly economical package is the clutch of new double feature Blu-Ray discs from Mill Creek’s distribution deal with Buena Vista - Color Of Night/Playing God, Mafia!/The Crew, The Doctor/Stella, A Simple Twist Of Fate/Unstrung Heroes, One Good Cop/A Stranger Among Us, Billy Bathgate/Blaze, The Good Mother/Angie (Mill Creek, $9.98 SRP each). There are no bonus features to speak of, but the fact that any of these films made it to high definition is bonus enough.
By the 5th and final season of The Streets Of San Francisco (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$48.99 SRP), Michael Douglas was long gone, replaced by Richard Hatch, who joined stalwart schnozz Karl Malden as they both set out to solve the crimes in the city by the Bay.
Right up front, I think we can all agree that Hot Toys has, for the last few years, been producing some of the best, if not the best, 12″-scale collector figures on the market. They’re simply stunning, from eerily lifelike sculpts and paint ops to perfectly-scaled and accurate costuming, they’re the folks to beat. And, every once in awhile, they decide to plus their already great work by releasing a DX figure - which is essentially their bells and whistles affair, usually with extra props, special displays, and their even-more-eerily lifelike dynamic eye system, which allows you to adjust the figure’s gaze. The latest figure to get this treatment comes straight from Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back, to be exact - and it’s Luke Skywalker in Bespin Outfit ($299.99), which is the tan flightsuit Luke wears on Dagobah and then on to Bespin. If you recall, Luke got pretty banged up during his fight with Vader, eventually losing his hand and plummeting down an exhaust vent. Well, Hot Toys gives you not one, but TWO Luke figures in this DX set - One nice and clean and ready to fight, and one bruised and bloodied and with the ability to swap out his arm for a handless one (you also get the severed hand, natch). So no need to swap costumes - You’ve got both options ready to go, right out of the box. And you’ve even got two display options, as in addition to a nicely-themed Bespin-architecture stand, you also get an elaborate recreation of the vane Luke dangles from underneath Cloud City, featuring LED lights and either displayable on a shelf or hanging up. How about that? Oh, and speaking of Luke’s training on Dagobah, the Sideshow Exclusive edition of this figure includes the severed Luke-Head-In-Vader-Helmet seen during the young Skywalker’s trial in the cave. Take a look at the pics below, and realize you’ll want to snap this one up while you can…
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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