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 certainly seems to take quite a long time between Disney’s high definition releases from their animation catalogue, but when you look at the stunning, absolutely pristine restoration done for the new release of Peter Pan (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$44.99 SRP), the wait makes perfect sense, because this film has never - NEVER - looked better than it does here. In addition to all of the bonus materials from the previous DVD release, the Blu-Ray ups the ante with a pair of deleted songs (”Never Smile At A Crocodile” is a wonderful earworm), a pair of deleted sequences (presented in storyboard form), featurettes, and even an introduction from Diane Disney Miller. Brilliant, and a must-get.
As I am terribly old and can remember playing the original Legend Of Zelda on my original NES system when it was a new release before battling the ferociously difficult Zelda II and immersing myself for days into A Link To The Past, the arrival of the massively geeky The Legend Of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse, $34.98 SRP) is a cause for celebration. Collecting creator interviews, information, production artwork, and even an official timeline of the series, it’s everything a Zelda fan could hope for in one tome, made even more special via the limited edition being stocked by the fine folks at Thinkgeek, which presents the book with a faux-leather cover that would not look out of place in any of the games.
Eugene Mirman may not be a national treasure now, but he deserves to be. Or, at the very least, a fami9liar face to a much wider audience, which would certainly be the case if you gave a copy of his special Eugene Mirman: An Evening Of Comedy In A Fake Underground Laboratory (Comedy Central, Not Rated, CD/DVD-$ SRP). Because it’s very, very funny.
From the first time I heard “Rainbow Connection” as a small child, I had an affinity for the songs of Paul Williams. As I got older, I would hear his music all over the place, usually in the form of immensely successful interpretations by some of the most popular artists of the day, as well as seeing him in films and on TV. And I liked him there, too. Come to find out, I’m not alone in liking Paul Williams, as filmmaker Stephen Kessler shared the same love and decided to make a film about him called Paul Williams: Still Alive (Virgil Films, Rated PG-13, DVD-$19.99 SRP). Give it a spin. Tis brill.
For more years than I can recall, the amiable scholars at Twomorrows have been publishing a wide range of magazine and books chronicling every nook and cranny of the comics, creators, characters, and companies fans know and love. They’ve now taken that love and scholarly approach to the next logical step, by launching a must-have document of four-color history in the American Comic Book Chronicles (Twomorrows, $39.95 SRP), which will eventually chart from 1940 to today. The debut volume, The 1960’s: 1960-1964, looks at the origins of the Silver Age, from its launch at DC to its true blossoming in the halls of the newly-rechristened Marvel Comics. Get this book, then star setting aside shelf space for the rest - which can’t come fast enough.
It had a built-in expiration, but that - and a cast that includes the great Hugh Bonneville & Jessica Stevenson - is what makes the comedy series Twenty Twelve (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP) so great. Imagine The Thick Of It, but focused on the planning committee for the London Olympics, and you know exactly what you get from this gem.
Bit by bit, Criterion is revisiting its deep library of world cinema greats and giving them full-blown high-def audio/visual upgrades that make them a must to repurchase. The latest is Volker Schlondorff’s adaptation of Gunter Grass’s acclaimed satire The Tin Drum (Criterion, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP), about a highly intelligent boy who refuses to grow older past his third birthday as the world crumbles into the folly of a world war around him. Bonus materials include new interviews, featurettes, Grass reading experts from the novel, and more.
The wait is over, as you can now watch the entirety of the Gotham crusader’s last stand now that Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2 (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.98 SRP) has hit. Bonus materials include a pair of featurettes, 3 bonus cartoons, and a preview of Superman: Unbound.
Surprisingly, there’s nothing cloying about Celeste And Jesse Forever (Sony, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP), about separated couple (Rashida Jones & Andy Samberg) on the path of divorce who also happen to be the best of friends. But just as they begin to re-assess what they really mean to each other, a wrench is thrown into the works. There’s actually a strong genuine streak to the whole affair too often missing from traditional “romcoms”. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and featurettes.
Fox inaugurates their 2013 Studio Classics catalogue initiative with a trio of titles that certainly fit the bill - Wild River, How Green Was My Valley, & Gentleman’s Agreement (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP each). All are beautifully restored, with bonus features including audio commentaries, featurettes, trailers, and more.
I have to say, Flight (Paramount, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) is the first enjoyable Robert Zemeckis film in years. It’s like he’s woken from a vegetative state, returning with a tight drama about a drunken, drugged-out airline pilot (Denzel Washington) who manages to perform a heroic landing after an equipment failure, and the awkward situation that comes from it. I could have done without the tacky, heavy-handed religious angle, but the rest of it makes up for it. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes and a Q&A.
Fancy a bit of a starry nosh this weekend? Then look no further than the Dead Celebrity Cookbook (HCI, $19.95 SRP), in which Frank DeCaro collects dozens of recipes from the stars of yesteryear, from John Ritter’s favorite fudge to Bea Arthur’s vegetarian breakfast.
Anyone who’s ever been to a nice theater in a nature museum knows that seeing a beautifully-shot 3D nature film is just this side of actually being there, and a trio of new home video releases bring that experience right into your living room - Fascination Coral Reef 3D, Fascination Coral Reef 3D: Mysterious Worlds Underwater, and Amazing Ocean 3D (Universal, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP each).
A feature film usually works as a catalyst to unleash a flood of tie-in projects, but for the adaptation of a legendary stage musical, the options are somewhat limited. So, in lieu of action figures, we get a beautiful collectible tome like Les Miserables: From Stage To Screen (Applause, $45.00 SRP), which chronicles the history of the show from its earliest roots on the French stage to its massive success in London and Broadway, on to the recent big screen take. Additionally, the book contains reproductions of ephemera from original tickets and promotional flyers to posters and concept art.
Considering how inexpensive they are to produce, it should come as little shock that we’re already up to Paranormal Activity 4 (Paramount, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), which returns with an all new malevolent spirit and a fair share of genuine scares. So think of it as an anthology series! As for bonus materials, you get 30 minutes of additional footage.
The second season of Misfits (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$24.98 SRP) finds our 5 reluctant heroes on community service, all of which is being observed by a mysterious new figure with a secret that could affect them all. Bonus materials include additional scenes and featurettes.
Made on a shoestring but with verve to spare, All Superheroes Must Die (Image, Not Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.97 SRP) is a pulpy little film about a quartet of superheroes stripped of their powers and under the gun in a plot orchestrated by a villain from their past. Give it a spin.
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…
Leave a Reply