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…)
It’s because Warwick Davis is a brilliant actor and was such a delight in the guest role he had on Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant’s Extras that I looked forward to the three of them teaming up for Life’s Too Short (HBO, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP) and presenting a skewed version of Warwick himself that’s just as wonderfully uncomfortable as Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, featurettes, and outtakes.
The swan song of the great Douglas Adams’s tenure on Doctor Who was, for many years, never seen by the public. Due to an industrial action (strike), filming was never completed for the story, and it was shelved… Until many years later, the existing footage was resurrected with newly shot intros and context of the missing scenes provided by the story’s Doctor, Tom Baker. Now, Shada (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$39.98 SRP) comes to DVD, featuring that reconstructed version, as well as copious amounts of newly-produced documentaries chronicling the doomed tale’s creation, and its late creator. The set also includes a 3rd bonus disc featuring the documentary More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS, which is just the cherry on top of a must have release.
While he’s certainly a more assured filmmaker by the time you get to Hannah And Her Sisters (MGM, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP), I’m a much bigger fan of Woody Allen’s out-and-out comedy period, which is best represented by Sleeper (MGM, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP). With both now available on Blu-Ray, you can decide for yourself.
If you still have friends who dismiss the ukulele as a beautiful, versatile instrument (the fools), let them have a listen to Jake Shimabukuro’s new album, Grand Ukulele (Mailboat Records, $9.99 SRP), and they’ll hear a true master at work, who manages new and unique explorations in every track, even on well-established standards.
It’s been a few months, so like the seasons and the tide, it was inevitable we’d get another release from the denizens of Bikini Bottom in Spongebob Squarepants: Extreme Kah-Rah-Tay (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), sporting eight episodes, including the show’s transition to widescreen. Finally.
You’d never guess by its title that 30 Nights Of Paranormal Activity With The Devil Inside The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Fox, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) was the latest in the now-long line of everything and the kitchen sink pop culture parodies, would you? Thought not.
There are plenty of documentaries about what’s wrong with the world. That’s why it’s wonderful to have a genuinely joyous documentary like Searching For Sugar Man (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP) come down the pike. For almost 30 years, fans in South Africa had idolized a pair of albums from an artist named Rodriguez who never achieved success in the US, and was believed dead. Desperate to find out what happened to this mysterious idol, fans eventually found that he was, in fact, alive. And, well, just watch this. You won’t regret it. And while you’re at it, pick up the companion album.
After a routine traffic stop puts them on the wrong side of a vicious drug cartel, a pair of LAPD officers (Jake Gyllenhal & Michael Pena) do what they can to try and make sure they make it to the End of Watch (Universal, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP). Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes.
Nerdist guru Chris Hardwick gets his first solo Comedy Central stand-up special with Chris Hardwick: Mandroid (Comedy Central, Not Rated, DVD-$14.99 SRP), which finds him waxing geeky on all matter of topics both various and sundry. Bonus materials include a pair of Hard N Phirm performances (with the great Mike Phirman) and a super-secret Easter egg.
The latest slickly-produced big-ticket history documentary from the reality show producers The History Channel focuses on The Men Who Built America (History Channel, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) - which includes such groundbreaking industry titans like Vanderbilt, Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford. Also included is a clutch of extra material not in the original air versions.
Continuing to blend all kinds of stories from the comic book mythos, Iron Man: Armored Adventures Season 2 Volume 3 (Vivendi, Not Rated, DVD-$14.93 SRP) finds Tony Stark mired in the Armor Wars against Iron Monger, facing Iron Man 2099, and upgrading to Extremis. Bonus materials include production art and character galleries.
Scholastic continues to release their wonderful series of Storybook Treasures collections of fine children’s books, the latest being the collection Stories From African American Heritage Featuring March On! (Scholastic, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP) and Stone Soup …and Other Stories From The Asian Tradition (Scholastic, Not Rated, DVD-$14.95 SRP).
It’s almost a year past the centennial of the doomed ship’s sinking, but the arrival of the Clifton Webb/Barbara Stanwyck Titanic (Fox, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP) is still welcome, as it’s a lovely, if flawed, representation of the legendary journey. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, featurettes, and more.
Taken once, shame on you. Taken 2 (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP)? Shame on Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills, who finds himself taken hostage with his wife this go round, which can only mean we’re cruising towards Look Who’s Taken Now in the very near future. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending.
Assassins, monsters, and sorcerers are no match for the threat that Morgana’s ambitions pose to Camelot in the fourth season of Merlin (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP), as both Arthur’s future and the fate of the world hang in the balance. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and outtakes.
Our trio of aging pensioners age another year with Last Of The Summer Wine: Vintage 1997 (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP), the latest volume in Roy Clarke’s answer to those pesky kids with their shows.
The UK’s classy answer to CSI, Waking The Dead (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$39.98 SRP) returns for its seventh season, filled with more unsolved cases for the Cold Case Squad to tackle, from sex offenders to human trafficking.
The original, and superior, version of the monstrous roomie drama Being Human (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.98 SRP) continues to plug along with its fourth season, with new roommates, hunters on their heels, and Old Ones on their way. Bonus materials include prequels, interviews, deleted scenes, and featurettes.
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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