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…)
So influential is its dynamic of a single event having many different interpretations based on the observer that the very title of Akira Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon (Criterion, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP) has become a shorthand to represent in the subjective nature of human observation. As a film, its exploration of truth and justice in the wake of a murder remains a masterwork, heightened by a beautiful sound and picture restoration from the folks at Criterion. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, an interview with Robert Altman, documentaries, interviews, trailers, and Criterion’s standard booklet of essays and ephemera.
So what’s this week’s Thinkgeek goody? Howzabout a new bit of LEGO? The Uruk-hai Army set ($29.99), containing a battlement, Rohan soldier, Eomer, and a quarter of Uruk-hai, is intended as a supplement to the already-massive Helm’s Deep set. So get building and let the battle begin.
I hope you’ve got plenty of bubblegum to chew, because there’s more than enough kick ass to be found in the long-awaited high definition arrival of John Carpenter’s They Live (Shout Factory, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.93 SRP), starring Rowdy Roddy Piper as an everyman who finds a unique pair of sunglasses that allow him to see that some of the people around him are actually aliens bent on enslaving humanity. Oh, it’s just fantastic, and now it looks great, too. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, an interview, featurettes, and more.
If you’re going into The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) looking for a great film, best to probably look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for an actioner equivalent of Cannonball Run that funs and packed with all of your action heroes from the last 30 years, this is the sequel for you, as it adds in more Bruce, more Arnold, and even Chuck Norris. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.
How do you know an entire generation has come of age? When their childhoods are packaged up and sold back to them as nostalgia. The consumer nostalgia machine has just laid claim to Saban’s Japanese perpetual repurposing machine with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$119.99 SRP), which contains all 3 seasons of the original run, plus the Alien Rangers mini-series and a pair of bonus discs featuring rare archival materials and retrospectives. And if those 19 discs weren’t enough, you can pick up the complimentary Power Rangers: Seasons 4-7 Collection (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-SRP), which picks up where the last set left off with the successor seasons Zeo, Turbo, In Space, and Lost Galaxy, plus EVEN MORE archival materials and retrospectives, and is available only from powerrangersondvd.com. So yes, former kiddies now all grown up, this is the way to snap up your lost youth and sit your own children down in front of it, knowing that you’re right and that Adventure Time they seem to love so much doesn’t make any damn sense.
Kudos to Shout Factory for ensuring classic TV shows make their way to DVD in their entirety, rather than languishing as abandoned single-season releases - as had been the case with the still-sparkling 70’s cop workplace sitcom Barney Miller (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$159.99 SRP). Well, fear not, for it has been rescued by Shout and released as a complete series set, collecting all eight seasons plus interviews, commentaries, the original pilot, and even the entire first season of the spin-off Fish, starring Abe Vigoda. Thanks, Shout!
Oh, you can nerd out for hours, and hours, and hours while re-living scores of childhood memories perusing Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection (Chronicle Books, $40.00 SRP) - a massive tome containing details on every single Star Wars action figure Kenner, then Hasbro, has produced over the past 35 years. Incredible, and just a little bit frightening.
You knew once they wrapped that a big box full of the entire run was inevitable, so relive all of the merry misadventures of the rising star Vincent Chase and his tacky Tinsletown Trio via Entourage: The Complete Series (HBO, $249.99 SRP), which contains all eight seasons of the Hollywood insider bromance. Bonus features include audio commentaries, featurettes, a pair of panel discussions with the cast & crew, a series retrospective and more.
They’ve covered dozens and bands and eras, and while I view it through the filter of my own preferences, I always find the Under Review series fascinating viewing for a music fan. The latest is The Rolling Stones Under Review: 1975-1983 (Sexy Intellectual, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP), which looks at the first part of the Ronnie Wood years.
It was inevitable that Dreamworks couldn’t resist exploiting the successful - and quite good - How To Train Your Dragon, so we get a TV series whose introductory premiere gets a DVD release with the Dragon Riders Of Berk (Dreamworks, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), featuring 4 episodes of the further adventures of Hiccup, Toothless, and their pals.
How excellent is it that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (MGM, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP) is now in high definition? Totally excellent. Bonus features include an air guitar featurette, radio ads, a featurette on the real Bill & Ted relationship the film drew upon, and even an episode of the cartoon series.
There have been many cinematic attempts at Zorro (Somerville House, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.98 SRP), but one of the most enjoyable is one that I not only had never heard of, but also happens to be newly-available in high definition. Produced in 1975, this take stars Alain Delon as the titular masked avenger, and it’s worth a spin.
Only the BBC could produce a show like Call The Midwife (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.98 SRP), about a midwife from a privileged background who joins an order of nursing nuns in poverty-stricken East London in the 1950s. Bonus materials include cast interviews.
Previously available only on DVD, all 4 specials featuring Joss Whedon & John Cassady’s take on Marvel’s mutant superteam are collected together in high definition in Astonishing X-Men (Shout Factory, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.97 SRP), featuring a behind-the-scenes featurette, music video, and interviews with Joe Quesada and Neal Adams.
If you’ve got a toddler about to enter the scary world of preschool, let the Muppets help out by picking them up a copy of the social primer Sesame Street: Preschool Is Cool - Making Friends (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), which provides fun acclimation tips to make things easier.
For this week’s soundtrack round up, we’ve got a pair of releases from Danny Elfman and a film about a boy and a tiger in a boat. First up from Danny Elfman is the score to the biopic Hitchcock (Sony Masterworks, $9.99 SRP), along with Elfman’s score to Silver Linings Playbook (Sony Classical, $8.99 SRP). And as to that flick with the boy and the tiger on a lifeboat, that would be Mychael Danna’s score to Life Of Pi (Sony Classical, $12.99 SRP).
I would be far more accepting of the awful reality and fantasy series filling up their schedule if the History Channel and A&E would just admit it they were no longer History or Arts & Entertainment and just change their names already. But they haven’t, so we get backwoods show about duck call nouveau riche in Duck Dynasty (A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP) and the atrocious pseudo-history of Ancient Aliens: Season 4 (History, Channel, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP). But I suppose simple folk need something to watch.
Hot Toys is well on their way to releasing just about every character seen in The Avengers, so it certainly makes sense that we’d get a figure of SHEILD Agent Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye ($189.99). And as we’ve come to expect from Hot Toys, not only do you get a damn good likeness of actor Jeremy Renner, but it’s also loaded with a slew of incredibly detailed accessories, from his strung bow to a quiver packed with individual arrows, plus a selection of swappable trick arrowheads so you can customize your display. Heck, he’s even got his sunglasses.
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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