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…)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the kid vs. zombies flick ParaNorman (Universal, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP), but I knew it was from the same studio that realized Neil Gaiman’s brilliant Coraline as a modern animated classic. Well, not only is this a fun, heartfelt story with a lot of punch, it’s also a visually stunning triumph of modern stop-motion techniques that only reinforce there’s still a place in this CG world for hand-crafted animation. And do get the 3D edition, because as with Coraline before it, the filmmakers use it with flair. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and animatics.
Featuring an adjustable 27″ long gooseneck and a universal holder for your smart phone or handheld music player, the Smart Phone Sleeper ($34.99) has a base that slips under your mattress, allowing you hands free ability to do whatever you might like to do with your devices in bed in a convenient fashion.
I do believe I have almost as many copies of Blade Runner (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$64.99 SRP) as I do of Goldfinger, but I hope the new 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition is as definitive as it seems to be, incorporating as it does Ridley Scott’s final cut, the original theatrical cut, the international theatrical cut, and Scott’s 1991 director’s cut. If four versions of the same film weren’t enough, you also get a rare workprint, the documentary Dangerous Days, and a massive still; gallery. To make it all perfect holiday gift material, the set also contains a collector’s book packed with info, art, & images, as well as your very own toy version of Deckard’s Spinner vehicle.
After the lackluster second outing followed by years passing without a sequel - and a very visible aging of the two leads - I was quite wary regarding the prospect that Men In Black 3 (Sony, Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$55.99 SRP) could recapture the simple sci-fi fun of the first outing. To my surprise and delight, the film comes pretty close to that high water mark, and is certainly an improvement over the last film, while also featuring one of my all-time favorite devices - time travel - and a turn into a pleasant 3D experience. Bonus materials include featurettes, progression reels, a music video, and a gag reel.
There were some that had issues with it, but I played through and enjoyed the first Epic Mickey, which not only brought Mickey Mouse into the modern video game era, but managed to bring Walt Disney’s first major character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and a lot of Disney history along for the ride. And now we have Epic Mickey 2 (WiiU, Disney Interactive Studios, $59.99 SRP), which brings Mickey, Oswald, and all that Disney history back in a new adventure that takes full advantage of the WiiU with HD visuals plus a much-appreciated vocal experience from the characters. And if you’re into taking Mickey on the go, you can snag Epic Mickey: Power Of Illusion (Nintendo 3DS, Disney Interactive Studios, $39.99 SRP), featuring the Mouse in a fun platformer that’s just as equally packed with Disney nostalgia as its console brother.
Earlier this year, Paul McCartney ventured into the Capitol Studios to record an evening of him performing his album of standards, Kisses On The Bottom, live and with special guests. Live Kisses (Eagle Vision, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP) captures that evening, along with interviews with collaborators Eric Clapton, Stevie Winder, Diana Krall, and Tommy LiPuma. Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, music videos, a pair of short films, and an in-depth interview with McCartney and Tommy LiPuma.
The number of cases on the docket are dwindling fast, as we come to the first volume from the penultimate eighth season of Perry Mason (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$55.98 SRP), which finds Raymond Burr back in action trying to clear his accused clients. The 4-disc set contains the first 15 episodes of the season.
If you’re in the mood to see a horror movie that doesn’t work and would be a strong candidate to be featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, then The Apparition (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP) is for you. It’s a convoluted mess, but it essentially boils down to a group of college students who conduct an experiment that unfortunately summons an malevolent entity, and action which is made worse decades later by another group of students who accidentally allow the entity access into our world. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes.
Once a staple of the holiday season, two classic festive episodes of The Danny Kaye Show have been brought together on Christmas With Danny Kaye (Inception, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), featuring guests Mary Tyler Moore, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, & Wayne Newton. Bonus features include a clip of Danny reading from A Christmas Carol.
It’s not the show that I love, but kids today are who will want to partake of their generation’s robots in disguise with the second season of Transformers Prime (Shout Factory, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.99 SRP), containing all 26 episodes in high definition. Bonus materials include a San Diego Comic Con panel spotlight on Peter Cullen, plus interviews with the creative team.
A postapocalyptic band of survivors (including Shawn Ashmore & Dominic Monaghan) holed up in an abandoned farmhouse find themselves having to defend themselves from vicious predators in The Day (Anchor Bay, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), a spry little horror film that managed to sustain my interest throughout. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and more.
Baseball nuts will probably want to pick up the official Major League Baseball presentation of the World Series 2012 (A&E, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.95 SRP), featuring a comprehensive overview of the series that pitted the Cincinnati Reds vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, featuring highlights, interviews, and more. The disc also includes the complete Game 7.
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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