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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…)

Though the plot machinations don’t make a lick of sense if you think about them and it feels like more of a slog than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, there’s just enough bombast and verve to make Christopher Nolan’s button on his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP), a worthwhile spin as a film (and a ground-shaking home theater experience with a decent sound system). Bonus materials include a clutch of behind-the-scenes featurettes and a nice summation of Nolan’s franchise run.

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Thinkgeek time! We all know the awkward impossibility of trying to get a pair of massive power bricks plugged into the same wall outlet. Well, accomplish that feat and charge a pair of USB devices to boot with the brilliant little Pivot Power Mini ($24.99), which opens up to accommodate those bricks. Neat, huh?

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Flick by flick, Pixar is converting their entire catalogue to 3D, and you can strike another modern classic from the list as we get the 3D conversion (and its debut in high definition, to boot!) of Finding Nemo (Walt Disney, Rated G, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) plus the welcome bonus of Up (Walt Disney, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP), which finally gets a 3D home video release to match its original theatrical presentation. As its CG, the conversion process for Finding Nemo is entirely organic, and freshens the film nicely (not that it needed it, but it’s a pleasant bonus to be able to see it this way). All of the bonus features from the original Blu-Ray releases have carried over for both titles, including commentaries, featurettes, shorts, and more. As with Disney’s previous deluxe editions, both 5-disc sets contain the 3D, standard Blu-Ray, and DVD versions of the films. Here’s hoping we get the final clutch of Pixar flicks - including The Incredibles, Wall-E, Ratatouille, and A Bug’s Life - are converted soon.

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‘Tis the season to mock and riff with the residents of the Satellite of Love, as Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXV (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$59.97 SRP) arrives bearing another quartet of episodes many thought would never get a release, including season 1’s Robot Holocaust and Season 8’s debut Revenge Of The Creature. Also included are Kitten With A Whip and Operation Double 007 (retitled on the packaging as Operation Kid Brother), plus a pair of spotlight featurettes on Josh Weinstein & Bill Corbett, intros from Joel & Mike, and a look at Creature director Jack Arnold. Keep it up, Shout!

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After a few years of less-than-appealing films, Steven Spielberg rebounded with the enjoyable chase flick Catch Me If You Can (Paramount, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$22.98 SRP), starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the true-life tale of con man Frank Abagnale’s cat & mouse game with the FBI agent (Tom Hanks) hot on his trail. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes and photo galleries.

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Would you expect butter carving to be the root of all evil - from sex and blackmail to scandal and greed? Well, that’s just what it is in the enjoyably Midwestern-askew Butter (Anchor Bay, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), which finds a long-reining champion (Ty Burrell) asked to step down - a move unacceptable to his destructively social-climbing wife (Jennifer Garner), so she decides the enter the competition herself in order to reassert her family’s dominance. Her plans, however, are derailed when a 10-year-old prodigy enters the picture. So yeah… Butter carving. Bonus materials include deleted/extended scenes and a gag reel.

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I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a synchronicity where both of Matt Groening’s animated ventures have seen home video releases on the same date, but we’ve got it with The Simpsons: Season 15 (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.99 SRP) and Futurama: Volume 7 (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), both of which are available in high definition with the usual compliment of bonus materials, including what remains some of the best audio commentaries you’ll find, plus featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

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If you’ve never heard of one of Australia’s best-kept comedy secrets, dive into the character comedy of Chris Lilley’s We Can Be Heroes (HBO, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP), wherein he plays all 6 contestants competing for the title Australian Of The Year. Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes documentary, extended episodes, deleted scenes, and bloopers.

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And spinning off from Lilley’s We Can Be Heroes is his arrival in the US with the series Angry Boys (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.98 SRP), which focuses on 6 new brilliantly-observed characters, from a former surfing champion to a Japanese mother. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, music videos, and bloopers.

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Nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like the Francis Ford Coppola 5-Film Collection (Lionsgate, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), which brings together in one package the recent high-definition masters of Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux, The Conversation, Tetro, and One From The Heart (which is exclusive to this set).

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When a film comes along that’s just beautiful and unique and yes, magical, I hesitate to make it smaller by trying to describe it. Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Fox, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) is a film like that, and its young star, Quvenzhane Wallis, is perfect within that magical tale. Just watch it. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, auditions, and a short film.

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Every so often, a film comes along that’s unafraid of operating on a purely senior adult audience, hanging its drama - and comedy - on seasoned performers playing their actual age. Such is the case with Hope Springs (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP), which presents us with a calcified couple (Tommy Lee Jones & Meryl Streep) decades into their relationship who journey to a couples retreat in hopes that the counselor (Steve Carell) can help them rediscover what sparked them in the first place. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, alternate takes, featurettes, and a gag reel.

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After a sojourn south of the border Danny McBride’s crude Kenny Powers comes almost full circle as he heads to Myrtle Beach, SC to try and resuscitate his baseball career in the 3rd season of Eastbound And Down (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.98 SRP). Bonus materials include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and outtakes.

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After the piecemeal releases, you can now pick up Power Rangers: Super Samurai (Lionsgate, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP) in its complete form, featuring all 20 episodes plus featurettes and a music video.

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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…

-Ken Plume

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