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 had no expectations for Small Apartments (Sony, Rated R, DVD-$22.99 SRP), which is good, because it wound up being a quirky, heartfelt little film that delighted me no end with its simple humanity led by a winning performance from Matt Lucas as a man with big dreams in a small place surrounded by the similarly disillusioned. Bonus materials include a pair of featurettes.
Rejoice, fans of wit and sequential art, for the great Michael Kupperman has given us a second volume of Tales Designed To Thrizzle (Fantagraphics, $24.99 SRP), filled with the adventures of magicians, Mark Twain & Albert Einstein, jungle princesses, ghosts, and Cowboy Oscar Wilde. Go. Get. Now.
What more needs to be said about the absolutely stunning visuals and insight contained in the BBC’s breathtaking nature documentaries? All of those superlatives and more apply to their latest, Africa (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP), which focuses on the disparate ecosystems of that massive continent, all of which are presented by the eminently affable Sir David Attenborough. Bonus materials include a making-of featurette for each episode, interviews, outtakes, and deleted scenes.
It may not be the same kind of highbrow fare as one might get from Pixar, but Hotel Transylvania (Sony, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$55.99SRP) is one of those flicks that exists many to string together a lot of fun gags and characters at a quick pace with enough heart to not make it all seem crass, and that’s fine. That fact that it’s directed by the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Lab, Samurai Jack) certainly helps matters. Bonus features include an animated short, deleted scenes, and audio commentary, music videos, and more.
Surprisingly, Nickelodeon’s relaunch of the franchise is actually pretty snazzy, as you’ll find in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise Of The Turtles (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$14.99 SRP), which includes the double-length pilot introduction to the updated heroes on the halfshell, plus an additional four episodes and animatics.
Watching the documentary Bully (Anchor Bay, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), it’s both shocking and depressing to see the verbal and emotional brutality that exists amongst today’s youth, that I don’t recall being nearly so vicious when I was a kid, compounded by today’s prevalence of social media interaction and dissemination. Very depressing. Very sobering. Very much worth your time to see. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, featurettes, and a special version of the film edited for younger audiences.
Above all else, The Master (Anchor Bay, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) is a sly, sometimes unsubtle, but eminently watchable portrait and ultimate condemnation of the cult and its ability to sway under the guise of assistance - No matter the specific organization or charismatic master in question. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is, as usual, gripping in his role of the aforementioned charismatic, Lancaster Dodd, while the audience is drawn into his world via Joaquin Phoenix’s PTSD-suffering WWII vet. Bonus materials include outtakes, featurettes, and John Huston’s 1946 documentary on WWII vets, “Let There Be Light”.
When a pair of engaged young lovers (Gael Garcia Bernal & Hani Furstenberg) venture into the Georgian wilderness on a backpacking holiday with a local guide, an incident creates a rift between them that threatens to undo both their vacation and their life together in The Loneliest Planet (MPI, Rated R, DVD-$29.98 SRP). Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes documentary, mountaineering photos, and a trailer.
This week’s soundtrack selections? Brian Tyler’s limited edition score to John Dies At The End (La-La Land Records, $24.25 SRP) and Marco Beltrami’s score to A Good Day To Die Hard (Sony Classical, $11.99 SRP).
In The Client List (Sony, Not Rated, DVD-$45.99 SRP), Jennifer Love Hewitt stars as a struggling single mom who finds she can earn a lot more from her job at a local spa by offering extra “services” on the side. Yes. Those kind of services. The 3-disc set contains all 10 episodes, plus outtakes and deleted scenes.
An unexpected and terribly fraught May-November romance develops between a respected older journalist and a young journalism student in Madrid 1987 (Breaking Glass, Not Rated, DVD-$21.99 SRP), after a they find themselves both locked in a bathroom, naked and at odds.
Every so often, it’s lovely to see a straightforward look at a pair of people who need each other in unexpected ways, such as in A Simple Life (Well Go USA, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP), which finds a young filmmaker having to care for his family’s multigenerational caretaker after she suffers a stroke.
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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