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 always been an awkward little film that doesn’t quite work, but like many of its 80’s film brethren, it holds a special place in that generation’s hearts largely by dint of endless repeats on cable - and now Willow (Fox, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP) has arrived in high definition, looking and sound great and bringing with it brand new featurettes, retrospectives, deleted scenes, and more.
It’s a shame that Rise Of The Guardians (Dreamworks, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$54.99 SRP) tanked at the box office, because it’s the first animated film from the studio that felt like an ambitious tale worthy of the precedent they set with How To Train Your Dragon, wrapping in plenty of adventure in a strong action tale. But hey, that’s what home video’s for, right? Now’s your chance to see it. Bonus materials include an audio commentary and featurettes.
We’ve gotten so close to having all of the extant adventures of the Doctor on DVD that we’re starting to see more and more special editions of previous DVD releases, upgrading the mastering on the episodes themselves, plus adding in more bonus materials than were available over 10 years ago. Both new releases are special editions - Doctor Who: The Aztecs & Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP each), a Hartnell 1st Doctor and a Tom Baker 4th Doctor - and both add a full complement of wonderful bonus materials.
Push the awful Sylvester Stallone abomination out of your mind, as Dredd (Lionsgate, Rated R, 3D Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) brings fully and faithfully to the screen the brutal, unflinching comicbook lawman who stands as the only defense against chaos in a post-apocalyptic America gone to seed. Bonus materials include a clutch of behind-the-scenes featurettes and a motion comic.
Anthony Hopkins never really pulls off his performance as the great Hitchcock (Fox, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), but he’s saved by the story being told and the performances of those around him, notably Helen Mirren as his brilliant wife Alma, whose influence and drive helped on many a film, including the troubled production of the film which is the focus here - Psycho. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, deleted scene, featurettes, and more.
While not in the upper tier of Disney classics, you can tick off another pair of modern Disney animated features (and their originally direct-to-video sequels) from the list of unreleased in high definition titles with the now-released Hunchback Of Notre Dame/Hunchback Of Notre Dame II & Mulan/Mulan II (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP each). While not as revelatory as the restorations done for older classics like Pinocchio and Snow White, both films look quite nice in high def, and all of the bonus features from the previous DVD editions carry over.
And, as traditionally animated Disney classics go, it’s not one of their better efforts, but Brother Bear (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) will always be worth a watch for the comic relief casting of Dave Thomas & Rick Moranis as a pair of moose whose banter is moved front and center in the also-included sequel Brother Bear 2, both of which are now available in HD. Bonus materials include outtakes, deleted scenes/songs, featurettes, a music video, and more.
I know Life Of Pi (Fox, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) is supposed to be about a young man’s spiritual journey, but that’s the least interesting part of the film for me. Instead, I focused on the visual splendor to be had in the effects done by Rhythm & Hues, which are absolutely spectacular. And in 3D? Brilliant. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes, an art gallery, and storyboards.
Another lovely little Scholastic Storybook Treasures volume drops with the Springtime Collection featuring Max’s Chocolate Chicken (Scholastic, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP), plus another 12 stories, all narrated by wonderful actors from Lily Tomlin to Michael McKean.
A young woman’s relationship with her husband and her family is pulled into focus when her heavy drinking jeopardizes her job as a school teacher, leading to rehab & revelations in Smashed (Sony, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP). Bonus materials include an audio commentary, a Q&A, deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette.
I’m not a fan of the pretension inherent in Cirque du Soleil, but there’s no denying some of the beautiful acrobatics and choreography that goes into their shows, all of which is fully on display in three dimensions with Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D (Paramount, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$54.99 SRP). Bonus materials include a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes.
The BBC is unleash the thunder lizards with a trio of documentaries sure to delight kids and adults alike - Prehistoric Park (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$19.92 SRP), Predator Dinosaurs (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$19.92 SRP), and Extreme Dinosaurs (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$19.92 SRP). As usual, the CG is top-notch for TV and the information is presented in a fun way.
TCM proves yet again what a bastion of film history they are by putting together the Glenn Ford: Undercover Crimes collection (Sony, Not Rated, DVD-$54.99 SRP), which pulls together five films starring Ford in parts on both sides of the law - The Lady In Question, Framed, The Undercover Man, Mr. Soft Touch, and Convicted. All are beautifully presented and well worth a spin.
Jumping on the same bandwagon as Warners, Sony, and Universal, the fine folks at Fox have premiered their very own in-house MOD program to make their deeper catalogue titles available, all under the banner of the “20th Century Fox Cinema Archives”. The debut batch of titles include everything from musicals and comedies to drama and noir, and include Something For The Birds, A Message To Garcia, The Marriage Go-Round, Unfaithfully Yours, Warlock, Holiday For Lovers, Raiders From Beneath The Sea, Heaven With A Barbed Wire Fence, Remember The Day, Clive Of India, Lisa, Wabash Avenue, Wife, Husband, And Friend, Coney Island, Tender Is The Night, Wilson, Mister 880, Oh Men Oh Women, Apartment For Peggy, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, and 23 Paces To Baker Street (Fox, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP each).
There once was a show about a priest and a nun who solve crimes. And it ran for three seasons, starring Tom Bosley. You can now own the 3rd and final season of the Father Dowling Mysteries (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$59.98 SRP) and see that yes, I am telling the truth.
Jay & Silent Bob - well, Jay Mewes & Kevin Smith, actually - take the stage in the land of blarney for Jay & Silent Bob Get Irish (Industrial Entertainment, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP), which finds the duo performing their live show for an appreciative audience. Bonus materials include additional live shows and footage.
Football fans can re-live the big event with Super Bowl XLVII Champions: Baltimore Ravens (Vivendi, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP), which includes not only the game and more angles than you can shake a stick at, but also loads of bonus features including post-game ceremonies and more.
While their actor likenesses have occasionally been a bit naff, the sculpting and clothing that Sideshow has been doing on the aliens and various stormtroopers in their 12″ Star Wars line have been nothing short of spectacular, and you can add the brand new Snowtrooper ($149.99) to the brilliant list, from the armor to the accessories, to the slight scuff and dirt of the paint ops. They’ve even gone the extra display mile by adding an optional snow layer to the standard base.
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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