It’s that time of year again, when sites the web-over compile helpful holiday shopping lists to guide you into the deepest, darkest pits of retail with a map that will hopefully get you out alive. Here now, without further ado, is the 2013 FRED Holiday Shopping Guide.
(If you see anything you like, please support FRED by using the links below to make your holiday purchases - it’s appreciated!)
It’s been a long time coming, but fans can finally buy a high definition release of The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash paired with its sequel, The Rutles: Can’t Buy Me Lunch (VSC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.95 SRP). The Rutles, if you don’t know, were a brilliant Beatles parody crafted by Eric Idle and Neil Innes in the 1970’s for their show Rutland Weekend Television (which was Idle’s follow-up to Python). After Eric showed the brief “Hard Day’s Night” parody crafted for Rutland during one of his many SNL hosting gigs, producer Lorne Michaels asked Idle to craft a longform network special based on the Pre-Fab Four, and so he did. Ex-Bonzo and brilliant songwriter Neil Innes was tapped to write the songs which, while brilliant pastiches of Beatles tunes, were wholly original and bloody marvelous compositions in their own right. The continued success of The Rutles is due in no small part to Innes’ songs, and so Idle taps the songs released on Innes’s 1996 Rutles: Archeology album for Can’t Buy Me Lunch, which acts as a parody of the constant regurgitation and repackaging of the Beatles story, complete with numerous celebrities chatting about the importance of The Rutles and their work (celebrities like Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, David Bowie, Billy Connolly, Conan O’Brien, Bonnie Raitt, Steve Martin, and more). Bonus materials include a new interview with Idle and the original SNL clip, but sadly no commentary track with Idle and Innes - which is a damn shame.
It’s no longer got the pleasant clunk that used to accompany the depression of its massive buttons - in fact, there are no moving parts anymore, just light-sensitive pads and a much thinner profile - but the fun and memory challenge of Simon (Thinkgeek, $24.99) remains as addictive as ever.
Mourn not the end of Futurama but instead celebrate it with the gift of your very own vinyl Hypnotoad (Thinkgeek, $49.99), featuring hypnotic lenticular eyes. And if you want to be insulted with gusto in order to drown the tears, you may as well pick the Talking Bender ($24.99).
If you want further proof that we live in a golden age of breathing new life into obscurities, I offer up the little known trivia nugget that the original Star Trek cast had their own newspaper comic strip. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. Launched to coincide with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and intended to chronicle the crew’s second 5 year mission, you can now experience the complete run in a beautifully hardbound pair of volumes - Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume One - 1979-1981 & Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics Volume Two - 1981-1983 (IDW, $49.99 SRP each) - which collects all 20 stories.
He’s about to make his big screen debut in the next Avengers film, so the timing of Sideshow’s premium format version of the villainous robot Ultron ($349.99) is perfect. Equally perfect is how well the massively hefty piece - in both weight and dimension - captures the character’s malevolence, particularly as he’s posed sitting on a throne whilst holding the helmet of his creator, Hank Pym (aka Ant Man).
While the original Popeye newspaper strips from creator E.C. Segar have been made available in collected form in recent years, it’s only now that the equally fun comic book adventures of the spinach-loving sailor - crafted by Segar’s successor, Bud Sagendorf - have been brought together in fine form by editor/designer Craig Yoe. So, yes, do get both Popeye Classics: Volume 1 & Popeye Classics: Volume 2 (IDW, $29.99 SRP each), and onward to Volume 3!
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 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.
It hasn’t always been a fun ride being a Harry Nilsson fan. For many years, much of his catalogue remained unavailable on CD, save staple albums like Nilsson Schmilsson and Son Of Schmilsson. Then, starting in the UK and Japan, more of his remaining albums began to see the light of day, often accompanied by the stray, very tantalizing bonus track of an unreleased tune, alternate take, or demo. I recall many long years of desperately hunting these rarities and scraps amongst other likeminded fans on the interwebs, & the accompanying joy of each new discovery… And then wondering why more people weren’t familiar with this wonderful artist. Better late than never, the fine folks at Sony Legacy, with Andrew Sandoval and Rob Santos, have put together the definitive box set of Harry’s 10-year tenure at RCA - Nilsson: The RCA Albums Collection (Sony Legacy, $99.29 SRP). Containing 14 fully remastered albums - Pandemonium Shadow Show, Aerial Ballet, Harry, Nilsson Sings Newman, The Point!, Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, Nilsson Schmilsson, Son Of Schmilsson, A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night, Pussy Cats, Duit On Mon Dei, Sandman, That’s The Way It Is, Knnillssonn - plus a trio of fully packed “Sessions” discs of unreleased tunes, demos, takes, and more, this is the set I dreamed would one day be a reality… And now it is. At its best, Harry Nilsson’s music is an open wound - A raw glimpse at life. It’s both the deep pain and glorious rapture of being alive. This set should be in your collection. Right now. And you’ll hear why I’m well and truly correct in my assessment of his genius.
Criminally unavailable on DVD in any proper and suitably loving presentation until now, the loveable chaps at Shout Factory have released The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$29.93 SRP), which brings together 18 episodes of the legendary comedian’s television show not seen since their original broadcast over 50 years ago. As if the material itself weren’t brilliant enough, the episodes have also been fully restored. Bonus materials include interviews, bits from Benny’s television specials, and Hearst newsreels. If that weren’t enough Benny for you (such a thing is not possible!), if you order direct from Shout you get a special bonus disc of The Horn Blows At Midnight - the live TV adaptation of the feature film, starring Jack as the trumpeting angel sent to destroy Earth.
And what better Jack Benny chaser is there than Craig Ferguson: I’m Here To Help (New Wave Dynamics, Not Rated, DVD-$12.95 SRP), the late night wonder’s latest stand-up special. And if you only know Craig from The Late Late Show and haven’t seen his stand-up before, treat yourself to this outing, as it starts strong and never lets up.
The art of animation reduced down to its most primal level is the magic to be found in Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks (Disney Editions, $60.00 SRP). The box set contains 9 squarebound flipbooks - each picking an iconic character or scene animated by Walt Disney’s legendary cadre of artists - Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Woolie Reitherman, Les Clark, John Lounsberry, Eric Larson, Milt Kahl, and Marc Davis. They’re beautifully presented and deeply illuminating… So much so, that I’d love additional sets in an ongoing series.
Sadly out of circulation for nearly 15 years, there’s nothing that stirs up good memories of a much-missed television show quite like a beautifully produced book, which certainly applies to Babylon 5 At Twenty: A Visual Celebration (B5 Books, $134). Running at 256 pages and measuring 12″x12″ on museum-quality paper, the slipcased hardcover contains 753 behind-the-scenes production images detailing everything from sets and costumes to make-up and candid moments. All with running commentary from creator J. Michael Straczynski. I’m not going to wade into the whole B5 vs Star Trek debate, because I love both series dearly, but what becomes abundantly clear - and what this incredible tome displays so well - is the remarkable world Babylon 5 was able to convey on a relative pittance compared to the much larger budgets of Trek. If you act quick - and I do meant quick - you can head over to B5Books.com and snag what remains of the first printing at a ridiculous discount that you’ll be kicking yourself later if you’re fool enough let pass by. So yes - Go get it. And then revisit one of the finest serialized science fiction shows ever to grace the pop culture firmament.
I’ve long beat the drum for the brilliance of The Thick Of It (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$79.98 SRP), recommending it to my fellow Americans as a rare slice of satirical brilliance brought to life by a stellar cast. And the timing of the long-awaited US release of the entire series just so happens to coincide with the announcement that star Peter Capaldi - who plays the foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker - just so happens to be the new Doctor in Doctor Who. Ah, coincidence. Regardless, pick up this set and watch it all. Twice. Then again, for good measure. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, outtakes, and more.
Sure, the 3D conversion remains more of a gimmick than an artistic contribution to the film, but the effect works nicely in the high definition debut of The Little Mermaid (Walt Disney, Rated G, 3D Blu-Ray-$34.96 SRP) - but not nearly as nice as the restoration and high definition mastering, which makes the almost 25-year-old film look and sound sparkling and new. In addition to all of the bonus materials from the original Platinum DVD release, this release adds in a never-before-seen deleted sequence, a far-too-brief edit of a lecture that the late Howard Ashman delivered at the studio early in the film’s production process, a featurette on modern Disney animators, and more. Now bring on Aladdin! Quick!
What time is it? ADVENTURE TIME! And it most certainly is, considering you can now get both Adventure Time: Season 1 & Season 2 (Cartoon Network, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$32.07 SRP each) in brilliant high definition IN YOUR VERY OWN HOME, Bonus materials include audio commentaries, animatics, featurettes, a music video, and more.
Wipe the dour, depressive, bland Zack Snyder Man of Steel from your mind with the vibrantly weird and wonderful superheroics collected in Superman: The Silver Age Dailies - 1959-1961 (IDW, $49.99 SRP), which presents, for the first time ever, the first three years of the Last Son of Krypton’s daily newspaper strip, crafted by the likes of Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan, Wayne Boring, and Stan Kaye.
It’s somewhat hard to believe that it’s taken this long - 23 years after his untimely passing - that we’ve gotten a proper biography of Jim Henson. Well, not so odd when knows that an attempt was made in the 90s that was scuttled by the Henson family - but now, finally, author Brian Jay Jones has managed to pull together Jim Henson: The Biography (Ballantine Books, $35.00), which is as insightful, candid, and comprehensive an overview of both Jim’s personal life and career as we’re possibly going to get, warts and all. Highly recommended.
Due to its relatively low production budget, The Muppet Movie (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$26.50 SRP) is never going to look pristine, but the new high definition restoration has the film looking and sounding far better than it ever has, and for that - and the fact that it’s finally out - I’m terribly happy. The bonus materials are limited, but the extended version of the original camera tests for the film (a truncated version was available on the previous DVD release) and the uncut production footage of Doc Hopper’s commercial are much appreciated.
Close on the heels of the much awaited high-def debut of The Muppet Movie comes the release of my second favorite Muppet film - The Great Muppet Caper (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), which is paired for this debut with Muppet Treasure Island. Bonus materials are sadly limited to those found on the original MTI DVD release, including an audio commentary, featurette, and a music video.
There’s something sublimely elegant in Matt Jeffries’ design for the original U.S.S. Enterprise 1701 (Diamond Select Toys, $59.99 SRP), and it remains so even nearly a half-century after the creation of Star Trek. The fine folks at Diamond Select Toys have done a superb job of capturing the screen-accurate look of that original model in their electronic “Starship Legends” series, featuring accent and nacelle lighting, plus a selection of original sound and dialogue clips from the show. As with all of the other ships in this series, you have the option to either use the display base, which connects to a hole on the bottom of the ship, or swap out that hole-bottom plate for a hole-less version perfect for hanging up in aerial display.
For the past few years, the folks at Abrams Comicarts have been putting out some wonderfully unique volumes, and have now turned their fine eye upon everyone’s favorite Belgian reporter for Tintin: The Art Of Herge (Abrams Comicarts, $45.00 SRP). Dipping into the archives of the Herge Museum, journalist Michel Daubert looks at the evolution of both the artist and his famous creations.
The new iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all well and good - all well and very good, actually - but there’s something to be said for going back to the original comic book roots, the first 14 of which are collected in Eastman & Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics: The Works Volume 1 & The Works Volume 2 (IDW, $49.99 SRP each). Presented in color form and with copious amounts of bonus art and material featuring commentary from co-creator Kevin Eastman, they’re the perfect introduction into the origins of everyone’s favorite lean, green, fighting machines.
And while you’re exploring the classic Turtle lore, delve even further into the behind-the-scenes development and indie history of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s wildly successful creations with Kevin Eastman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artobiography (IDW, $49.99 SRP). Jam packed with rare art and insights, it’s the perfect supplement for the nascent and seasoned superfan alike.
I’d say this is for the kids on your holiday list, but I think we all know that adults are just as much fans of the new animated version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the kiddies, and both will get a kick out of the new RC Ninja Control Shellraiser (Playmates, $49.99 SRP), which takes the Turtles’ vehicle of choice and jazzes it up with radio control action.
And on the figure side, snag the two 2-pack Ninjas In Training Figures (Playmates, $8.99 SRP each), which presents Michaelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo in their juvenile training forms. And boy, are they just cute as the Dickens.
Now that we have the complete runs of Bloom County, Outland, Opus, and all of his wonderful children’s books, it’s rather fitting that the man behind the mirth get a comprehensive spotlight that combines the whole lot in Berkeleyworks: The Art Of Berkeley Breathed - From Bloom County And Beyond (IDW, $59.99 SRP), which is positively packed to the rafters with art from all of these facets of his artistic life.
Anyone who wants to know the (mostly true) history of Marvel Comics should give a read to Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story (Harper Perennial, $15.99 SRP), which delves into the epic tale of a scrappy little independent publisher and the creative titans that turned it into a juggernaut. As with all tales told by outsize personalities, there’s an element of Roshoman to the anecdotes, but the overall tome is well worth a read.
A perfect companion piece to the Marvel book is PBS’s recent full-blown documentary Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), which explore the cultural origins and impact of the genre from its pulp roots to its current mainstream success, courtesy of a bevy of luminaries including Stan Lee, Joe Simon, Michael Chabon, Jules Peiffer, and even Adam West.
It’s always a worry when Pixar revisits their past films for a sequel. Will this be the time it all falls apart and the bloom is finally off the rose? Happily, that’s not the case with Monsters University (Walt Disney, Rated G, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP), which takes is back to their genesis of Mike and Sully’s friendship at the titular alma mater, and manages to be a snappy college comedy that evokes genre classics like Animal House and Back To School to enjoyable effect. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, a clutch of featurettes, deleted scenes, and the theatrical short The Blue Umbrella.
It’s been a long, beautiful ride, but with The Complete Peanuts: 1989 to 1990 (Fantagraphics, $29.99 SRP), we enter into the final decade of Charles Schulz’s sublime ode to the outsider. It’s rather delightful and apropos that the introduction to this volume is delivered by the equally sublime Lemony Snicket.
And if you’re picking up the latest volume of Complete Peanuts, you should also be sure to welcome Peanuts Every Sunday: 1952-1955 (Fantagraphics, $49.99 SRP) into your home. The oversize volume collects every Sunday Peanuts strip from the first 3 years in both glorious color and the original art size in a single hardbound must-have that I hope is quickly followed up by a second volume.
Join the Disney Ducks for a holiday classic crafted by the legendary Carl Barks with the latest volume of Fantagraphics dandy hardcover library collection of the Duck Man’s works, Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Christmas On Bear Mountain (Fantagraphics, $28.99 SRP). Of special note about this tale is that it also introduced the character of Donald’s Uncle Scrooge McDuck.
Having already collected his complete newspaper strip run in black and white form, we get the second and final volume of Floyd Gottfredson’s color Sundays with Mickey Mouse: Robin Hood Rides Again (Fantagraphics, $29.99 SRP), which makes for the end of an epic adventure for both the mouse and his fans.
Just when you thought every last scrap of ephemera related to The Beatles had been seen in public in heavily documented form, along comes a monstrous volume like The Beatles: The BBC Archives 1962 to 1970 (Harper Design, $60.00 SRP), which draws from the Corporation’s archives scores of rare photographs, memos, and much more relating to the Fab Four’s dealings with the Beeb. The hefty package, made to replicate an archival tape box, also contains facsimile documents and a photographic print.
One of the few memorable sequences in the mostly regrettable Superman III featured an ersatz dark version of the man of steel created after exposure to wonky synthetic kryptonite that many refer to lovingly as the Drunken Uncle Superman. Well, now the fine folks at Hot Toys have taken their already stellar Christopher Reeve Supes, given him the 5 o’clock complexion and darker outfit, and crafted Evil Superman ($214.99).
I had the chance to see the sumptuous 3D remastering of The Wizard Of Oz during its recent limited IMAX run, and was struck by just what a fun, feisty flick it remains. Perfect, then, that its 75th anniversary celebration also brings The Wizard Of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion (Harper Design, $40.00), a deluxe celebration of the film’s creation and legacy.
If you’ve ever wanted to take a journey into the fevered enthusiasms of a filmmaker, gird yourself for the boisterously bizarre bits to be found in Guillermo del Toro: Cabinet Of Curiosities (Harper Design, $60.00 SRP), containing access into his notebooks, collections, and other obsessions. Going all the way back to Cronos and up through the still-unrealized At The Mountains Of Madness, the only notable exclusion I would have liked to have seen would be his personal notes for his version of The Hobbit. Still, this is a fun rollercoaster ride and well worth a gander.
If a high society holiday is more your cup of tea, catch up on the Crawley family and their servants with the limited edition Downton Abbey: Seasons 1, 2, & 3 Collection (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$89.99 SRP), which contains not only those first 3 seasons of class, but also bonus one-hour documentary, Secrets Of Highclere Castle. And if you still haven’t had your fill, you can also pick up the companion book Behind The Scenes At Downton Abbey (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99 SRP).
Not only is Terminator Vault (Voyageur Press, $40.00 SRP) a complete chronicle of the making of James Cameron’s original Terminator films, but it’s also one of those nifty books that comes packed with physical reproductions of ephemera related to the film, from original sketches and script pages to a crew badge for T2.
It doesn’t really have much heart beyond a by-the-numbers tale of a seemingly impossible dream that winds up coming true (you know how it goes), but Turbo (Dreamworks, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$48.99 SRP) is a fun flick that flies by as fast as the slug with a dream at the center of the flick, who wants nothing more to be fast - and wouldn’t ya know it, a freak accident makes him super fast, transforming him into a racing snail. Cue a 3D wonderland of high speed race sequences. Worth a watch? Sure. Bonus materials include featurettes and a deleted scene.
Allaying any fears that his genius may have dimmed in his advancing years, Bill Cosby sets the record straight with a sharp, snappy, and brilliant new comedy album - Far From Finished (Comedy Central, Not Rated, DVD-$ SRP / CD-$ SRP). It’s The Cos, people. LISTEN and LAUGH.
And speaking of stand-up, let’s not forget all of the wonderful stand-up DVDs coming out across the pond - Jimmy Carr: Laughing & Joking (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£10 SRP), Greg Davies: The Back Of My Mum’s Head (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£10 SRP), and Mickey Flanagan: Back In The Game Live (Channel 4, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-£14.30 SRP).
Ah, but don’t stop there! Also available for gift-giving is the first season of Ricky Gervais’s lovably sincere Derek (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£13.88 SRP), the third series of the exquisitely university dramedy Fresh Meat (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£11.33 SRP), the second season of Charlie Brooker’s deliciously dark satire Black Mirror (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£7.25 SRP), the first series of Matt Berry & Arthur Matthews’s thespianic Toast Of London (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£10.22 SRP), and the mind melt that is Derren Brown: Svengali (Channel 4, Not Rated, DVD-£9.00 SRP).
The joy of diving through each and every one of the massive clutch of shows contained in the 25-disc Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$249.95 SRP) - besides how funny they remain even 40 years later - has to be the literal who’s who of showbusiness royalty featured, from Jack Benny and John Wayne to Jackie Gleason and Johnny Carson… and on and on and on. Utterly and truly spectacular, from start to end.
As you would hope from a film with an extensive design process, Peter Jackson’s latest trip to Middle Earth gets the lavishly illustrated The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Chronicles: Art and Design (Harper Design, $39.99 SRP), packed with the altogether expected amount of sketches, renderings, and information chronicling the process of realizing the tale.
If you’d like a little piece of Middle-Earth on your shelf for a reasonably accessible price, the fine folks at WETA have crafted collectibles that are very nearly impulse buys, including a line of small Hobbit Holes (WETA, $39.99 each).
And WETA has also begun what I can only assume is a series of collectibles featuring the dwarves and Bilbo from the memorable barrel run scene in the Desolation Of Smaug, with the first two releases being Bilbo and Bombur (WETA, $65.00 each).
It is by no means a perfect device, but the fact that we live in a tech age where I can hold an android-based gaming device in my hands that allows me to play emulators and modern games to my heart’s content with a built-in deluxe controller and snappy Nvidia-based graphics is reason enough to dig the Nvidia Shield (Thinkgeek, $249.99).
In the not-too-distant past - about a quarter-century ago - a little cow town puppet show made its debut on a cow town local TV station in a cow town named Minneapolis. Celebrate that cow town puppet show with the Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$64.99 SRP), which spans from the show’s first season to its last with a total of 6 episodes - Moon Zero Two, The Day The Earth Froze, The Leech Woman, Gorgo, Mitchell, and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Bonus materials include a retrospective documentary, new featurettes, and MST Hour wraps. If that weren’t enough, it all comes packaged in a collectible tin.
And while you’re celebrating the anniversary of MST3K, partake of the brand new shorts collection from alumni Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy with Rifftrax: May The Shorts Be With You (Legend Films, Not Rated, DVD-$9.95 SRP). It’s 9 brand new short subjects packed with hilarity aplenty.
Did the Avengers movie leave you wanting to see the Hulk and Iron Man have an adventure together, you’ll get that in animated form with the feature Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United (Buena Vista, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), which finds Tony Stark and the green goliath take on the energy monster Zzzax. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes.
While its sixth season tended to be an uneven season, even an uneven season of Mad Men (Lionsgate, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.97 SRP) is still great viewing, especially as its end run of revelations for Don Draper kicked into high gear. Yeah, that end run? Jaw-dropping. Bonus materials include a featurette on Timothy Leary, a glimpse into the art department, and an interactive gallery.
I unashamedly love Mary Poppins (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), from it’s tale of fatherly redemption to it’s earworm tunes, I dig the whole supercalifragilisticexpialidocious shebang. And, after years of waiting, I get to enjoy the best-it’s-ever-been high definition debut of the film, all spiffy and sparking for its 50th anniversary. New bonus features include a conversation between composer Richard Sherman and Jason Schwartzman (who plays him in the film Saving Mr. Banks) and a Mary-oke sing-along, both of which join the preexisting musical reunion and making-of featurettes and the deleted song “Chimpanzoo”.
In the 30 years since its theatrical release, I imagine that maybe a handful of those years have gone by without Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$36.99 SRP) being part of the annual holiday viewing rotation. What makes the new high definition release even better than just having a sparkly version of the film is that they’ve also presented high definition remastered versions of a handful of classic holiday shorts (”The Hockey Champ”, “Corn Chips”, “Pluto’s Christmas Tree”, & “The Art Of Skiing”), plus the brand-new Mickey Mouse short “Yodelberg”.
Also making its high definition holiday debut is the festive special from that silly old bear all stuffed with fluff - Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$36.99 SRP). It’s not quite the classic that Mickey’s Christmas Carol is, but it’s a fine outing worth adding to the queue.
It’s hard to top the 2003 editions of his films, but Criterion has been doing just that with another film from the Charlie Chaplin library, the latest being Chaplin’s own beloved comedy City Lights (Criterion, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP), which finds the Little Tramp falling for a young blind woman selling flowers on the street who mistakes him for a millionaire. The film looks marvelous in high definition, and bonus features include an audio commentary, documentaries, archival on-set footage, and more.
Besides the film itself, each new Disney animated feature in recent years has come with a much-anticipated, lavishly illustrated “Art Of” book, which is why this year brings The Art Of Frozen (Chronicle Books, $40 SRP), which goes into the creation of the wintry tale of two sisters.
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