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 long-established that HBO’s The Wire (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$199.98 SRP) is a brilliant piece of television that if you’ve yet to watch it, you must rectify such a grievous oversight immediately. And now you can do so in full high definition, remastered from the original 35mm elements. There has been some controversy and debate because, in addition to a stunning remastering, the series has also been adjusted from its original 1.33 presentation into 1.85 widescreen, in what series creator David Simon has dubbed an “alternate version”. So, does it work? It does. The show looks like it could be airing now. As far as bonus features are concerned, you get 22 audio commentaries, a trio of prequels, four behind-the-scenes documentaries - all from the original DVD releases - plus a brand new Paley Center reunion.
I was delighted to find out that the wondrous wonderkins at Sideshow were going to begin distributing the line of 1/6th-scale Harry Potter figures from StarAce, as it was one of those partnerships that seemed to make a ridiculous amount of sense. So, who is the first figure from this relationship to make its way to American shores? None other than the dark wizard himself, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-But-I’ll-Name-Him-Anyway, Lord Voldemort ($190). As you can quite clearly see, the figure sculpt and paint ops are absolutely stunning, perfectly capturing Ralph Fiennes’ likeness as it was portrayed in the series. And the sculpt is complemented nicely by the costuming, with the added element of being able to affix additional poseable cloth pieces to simulate Voldemort’s occasional wraith-robe effect. Your accessories include both Voldemort’s bone wand and the elder wand (with optional energy beam attachments), flame for his hand, and a swappable head. It would have been great if they’d been able to include Nagini, but hey - he’s still great, regardless.
Another month brings another sterling entry in Disney’s remastered and expanded Legacy Collection of soundtrack re-releases, with the latest being the 1955 animated classic Lady And The Tramp (Walt Disney Records, $20.99 SRP). In addition to the original score, there’s also a second disc filled with demos and “Lost Chords” re-creations of deleted material, plus extensive liner notes.
J.B. Kaufman’s epic Pinocchio: The Making Of The Disney Epic (The Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, $50 SRP) is an incredibly comprehensive tome that harkens back to the glorious making-of books of yore, full of rarities and providing a comprehensive insight into the films conception, development, production, and legacy.
As a child of the 80s, and a comic book fan, I was well and truly steeped in the Venn alignment of Larry Hama’s now-legendary run on Marvel’s GI Joe comic. That’s probably why I find IDW’s first class treatment of that run via their still-ongoing GI Joe: The Complete Collection (IDW, $49.99 SRP), which feature completely remastered archival presentations of those issues packaged in snazzy hardcover form, to be such a kick. The seventh volume has just hit, bringing us up to issue number #67, plus the 4th Yearbook and Special Missions #6-8.
If you’re keen on seeing Will Smith be all suave as a master con artist who gets involved with a young novice who then reenters his life years later as a master manipulator, upsetting both his game and his heart, then Focus (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP) is the weekend viewing for you. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, an alternate opening, and featurettes.
While they’ve offered his iconic question mark sweater and scarf in the past, now you can finally complete his ensemble with the Seventh Doctor’s Umbrella ($34.99), featuring its instantly-recognizable question mark handle. Brilliant.
Tweak your pop culture sweet spot with another bit of throwback wonderment, as Diamond Select Toys releases the second in their series of deluxe “Legendary Marvel Super-Heroes” figures, Captain America (Diamond Select Toys, $80). Not only do you get a retro-tastic re-creation of the original Mego Captain America figure in its original costume, but you also get an modern-style costume and head, a Steve Rogers head & costume, and both versions of Cap’s shield.
The fine folks at Olive have delivered another batch of deep catalogue high definition debuts with the release of Terry Jones’s Erik The Viking (Olive, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP), Graham Chapman’s Yellowbeard (Olive, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP), and the goofy 80s cliché Ski School (Olive, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP).
While Welcome To Me (Alchemy, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP) is a charming comedy, the real reason to plunk down to watch it is to sit and marvel at the unaffected charm of Kristen Wiig’s performance as an off-kilter woman who wins the lottery and decides to use the money to start her own talk show, much to the dismay of everyone else in her life. Bonus materials include a featurette, but sadly not another 90 minutes with Wiig.
Fantagraphics lovingly presented 7th volume of Floyd Gottfredson’s run on the Mickey Mouse newspaper strip, March Of The Zombies (Fantagraphics, $34.99 SRP). This volume brings the mouse’s adventures up to the second World War, with the focus being on Uncle Sam’s desire for Mickey’s “Lectro Box” laser weapon. Alongside their Peanuts collections, these books reinforce the assessment that no one is doing archival comic collections as well as Fantagraphics.
The modern Turtles recently made their triumphant comeback to the Big Apple, but you can flashback to their 3-part battle with the Shredder in the 2003 series with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$9.98 SRP).
While many today know him for his design work, that the legendary Alex Toth produced a barely-seen comic book about a dashing pilot that could exist in the same universe as The Rocketeer will come as a giddy surprise. And it should, because Bravo For Adventure (IDW, $34.99 SRP) is beautiful fun full of derring-do and flair to burn. It’s a shame he was never able to do any more, but the folks at IDW have presented this one in proper deluxe form.
Hoping to cut the legs out from under all of those awful-looking public domain releases floating out there, CBS has released another complete season of beautifully remastered Cartwright adventures on the Ponderosa with Bonanza: The Official Eighth Season (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$69.98 SRP). Bonus features include audio commentaries, Chevrolet commercials, a vintage interview and featurette, a lost short film, and more.
Catch up with a pair of post-apocalyptic TNT originals with the complete fourth season of Falling Skies (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) and the debut season of The Last Ship (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP). Bonus features include commentaries, featurettes, and the 2014 San Diego Comic Con panels for both shows.
We’re entering the home stretch of the long-running British staple with the release of Last Of The Summer Wine: Vintage 2004 (BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP), as the aging cast still manages to evoke a warm chuckle at their outsize antics in the show’s 25th season.
This week’s soundtrack round-up kicks off with Murray Gold’s score to Doctor Who: Season 8 (Silva Screen Records, $29.98 SRP), the inaugural run for Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Then you can take a trip to tomorrow, today with Michael Giacchino’s score to Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Records, $13.58 SRP). And finally, check out my buddy Joe Kramer’s score to Dawn Patrol (Lakeshore, $9.49 SRP).
While I have a cultural awareness, I do not have an emotional attachment to the late 90s/early-aughts era of wrestling dubbed by the WWE The Attitude Era (DK, $25 SRP). But my friend Hal? HUGE attachment. Ridiculously so. So this book - full of photos, factoids, and behind-the-scenes insights and reflections from those involved - is for superfans like Hal.
If your kids have been pleading for the return of Dreamworks Animation’s racing snail, their calls have been answered with the small screen return collected in Turbo Fast: Season One (Dreamworks, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP). The 3-disc set collects all 26 rip-roaring adventures.
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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