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…)
While the conversation about the 1/6th-scale figure market usually focuses on the work being done by the ridiculously skilled artisans at Hot Toys and Sideshow, quite rightly, there are a few companies that have come on the scene in the last few months that deserve collector attention. Of course, it helps that the folks at StarAce are being distributed by the folks at Sideshow, because it means easy accessibility to their remarkably awesome line of Harry Potter figures, starting right at the ground floor with the Philosopher’s Stone versions of Harry Potter (StarAce/Sideshow, $185) & Ron Weasley (StarAce/Sideshow, $185). As you can see, this is the youngest versions of Dan Radcliffe and Rupert Grint iconic roles, with head sculpts perfectly capturing the youthful exuberance of that first film. Both figures sport a nice clutch of accessories. Harry’s got his wand, broom, the Philosopher’s Stone, the Sorting Hat, and Hedwig, while Ron gets his wand, broom, homemade sweater, Scabbers, and the Wizard Chess board and pieces. These are a great start to what is shaping up to be a lovely line.
And speaking of companies making their mark, ThreeZero has done a stunning job capturing Peter Dinklage’s likeness for their 1/6th scale Tyrion Lannister (Thinkgeek, $129.99), as seen during his brief tenure as Hand of the King in Game Of Thrones‘ 2nd season. I mean, honestly - This figure is just plain awesome.
Patience has been rewarded for fans of Hayao Miyazaki, as his brilliant animated classic Spirited Away (Walt Disney, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$36.99 SRP) finally makes its high definition debut, looking spectacular and featuring a bevy of bonus features, including featurettes, storyboards, trailers, TV spots, and an intro from John Lasseter.
A cult cult classic, Wet Hot American Summer (Universal, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$19.98 SRP) finally gets a bit of the respect it deserves with its high definition debut via an extras-packed special edition, just in time for the forthcoming Netflix prequel series. Bonus features include a live reading, highlights from the 10th anniversary event, audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, and more.
Leave it to Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman to do for the spy genre what they did for superheroes in X-Men: First Class by injecting a bit of vim and vigor into their adaptation of Kingsman: The Secret Service (Fox, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), which reinvents Colin Firth as a kick-ass action hero. Bonus materials include behind-the-scenes featurettes and image galleries.
There’s a special kind of joy to be found when cracking open and becoming invested in a book a part of you knew always should have existed but finally does. We Don’t Need Roads: The Making Of The Back To The Future Trilogy (Plume, $17 SRP) is such a “FINALLY” book, as author Caseen Gaines interviews cast, crew, and filmmakers alike in a lovingly researched attempt at a definitive history, in which it most definitely succeeds.
Celebrate America’s birthday with the most comprehensive restoration and stunning presentation of a musical classic with the high definition debut of 1776 (Sony, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP). Re-instating nearly all of the once-excised material, and then some, the disc presents both a director’s cut of the film, as well as an extended cut. Bonus materials include an all-new audio commentary, deleted/alternate scenes with commentary, and screen tests.
Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy return with a brand new batch of short form hilarity with Rifftrax Shorts: Shorts Assemble! (Rifftrax, Not Rated, DVD-$9.95), featuring 10 new slices of fun with scary clowns, accidents, animals, nutrition, discipline, and more.
He still lives in a pineapple under the sea, but The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (Paramount, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$52.99 SRP) finds our beloved Squarepants fighting a thieving pirate (Antonio Banderas) on dry land and in the 3rd dimension. It also features voice work from Matt Berry and Alan Carr, so deserves brownie points for excellent taste. Bonus materials include featurettes, storyboards, deleted scenes, sing-alongs, and more.
Every month brings a new clutch of iconic films given the high definition treatment by movie mavens at Criterion, with June’s must-have titles being Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King (Criterion, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP) and Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces (Criterion, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP), featuring one of those legend-making Jack Nicholson roles (and a memorable diner scene). Bonus materials include audio commentaries, interviews, featurettes, and much more.
Over the past year, Paramount has been providing a boon to coompletionist fans of beloved TV shows by releasing complete series megasets from their rather deep catalogue of classics. The latest programs to get the uber-massive treatment are The Odd Couple (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$59.98 SRP) and Laverne & Shirley (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$79.99 SRP). Sadly, neither set brings any new bonus materials to the table, but they do carry over the pre-existing special features from the original individual season sets, including audio commentaries, intros, gag reels, and more.
Another month brings another sterling entry in Disney’s remastered and expanded Legacy Collection of soundtrack re-releases, with the latest being the film that out a creatively and financially shaky post-war Disney studio back in the black, 1950’s Cinderella (Walt Disney Records, $14.99 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.
I do enough traveling that I’m always drowning in cords and desperate to find the perfect combination of cords to streamline my terribly complicated existence. Thankfully, Thinkgeek has a pair of nifty items that have now made their way into my travel bag. First is the Trio Cable (Thinkgeek, $29.99), an all-in-one solution that features a trio of adapters - lightning, 30-pin, and micro USB - all connected to a single USB cord. And what if you have an iDevice and need some more distance? How about the 12-foot lightning connector Colossus Cord (Thinkgeek, $14.99).
Existing in the period between the departure of William Hanna & Joe Barbera and the short run from the legendary Chuck Jones, Tom and Jerry: The Gene Deitch Collection (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$26.99 SRP) all 13 short subjects from this awkward, oft-maligned era. A bonus featurette with Deitch goes a long way to explain how ridiculously low budgets and other circumstances influenced his run.
Chris Vance returns as the titular high-octane deliveryman in the second season of The Transporter (Fox, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP), which finds Vance’s Frank Martin with plenty of trust issues as he attempts to deliver his high stakes cargo. Bonus materials include interviews, featurettes, and more.
Liam Neeson further cements his reputation as a man not to be trifled with in Run All Night (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP), in which he stars as a fading mod hitman who finds his steps dogged by a relentless detective (Vincent D’Onofrio). Bonus materials include featurettes and deleted scenes.
Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) continues his struggle to tackle the seedy underworld of Edwardian Whitechapel in the 3rd season of Ripper Street (BBC, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP), which launches in style with Reid and his team tacking a train heist.
Listen, I wouldn’t have pined for them, but both Tarsem Singh’s The Cell (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$14.98 SRP) and Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe match-up Virtuosity (Warner Bros. Rated R, Blu-Ray-$14.98 SRP) are guilty pleasure catalogue titles that I” perfectly happy have made their high definition debut.Virtuosity is featureless, while The Cell contains commentaries, deleted scenes, a documentary, featurettes, and trailers.
The folks at Mill Creek open up the Columbia vaults for another batch of reasonably-priced catalogue releases, with James Mason & Helen Mirren in Age Of Consent (Mill Creek, Rated R, DVD-$9.98 SRP), Paul Muni in A Song To Remember (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$9.98 SRP), the 2-disc Bulletproof: Tough Guys Of Action collection (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP) - which sports Last Action Hero, Universal Soldier: The Return, The Russian Specialist, Into The Sun, The Stone Killer, Silent Rage, Shamus, & The Anderson Tapes - Dick Clark in Because They’re Young (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$9.98 SRP), Samuel L. Jackson & Milla Jovovich in No Good Deed (Mill Creek, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$26.99 SRP), and Nicolas Cage & Tommy Lee Jones in Fire Birds (Mill Creek, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$14.98 SRP).
Get your reality fix this weekend with a pair of powerful documentaries, the first of which is director Robert Kenner’s Merchants Of Doubt (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$38.99 SRP), which lifts the curtain of spin and reveals the pundits-for-hire that shape modern American discourse. The other Doc is Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s The Salt Of The Earth (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$38.99 SRP), which follows photographer Sebastiao Salgado’s journey around the world working on a massive photographic project.
I was wholly unaware that Joan Rivers hosted her own syndicated daytime talk show in the late 60s out of New York City, so it was with keen interest that I dove into That Show with Joan Rivers (Film Chest, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP), a 4-disc set that collects 29 episodes from the show’s 1st season. Guests in the set include Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, Vivian Vance, James Earl Jones, Lily Tomlin, and more.
Promoting the then-recent It’s Hard album, The Who: Live At Shea Stadium 1982 (Eagle Vision, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$19.98 SRP) would be their last with drummer Kenney Jones and also their last major tour until 1989. It’s always nice to see a slice of music history from a band still very much a vital entity.
Finally getting a proper official release from the band’s archive, The Rolling Stones: The Marquee Club Live In 1971 (Eagle Vision, $29.98 SRP) is a 2-disc collection featuring a Blu-Ray video and audio presentation of their set, recorded at the legendary London club.
It’s a slight, toss-off little comedy, but Get Hard (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP) works as well as it does because of the onscreen comedic commitment of stars Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, the former playing a prison-wise mentor schooling convicted millionaire hedge fund manager Ferrell on how to survive an upcoming stint in San Quentin. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, featurettes, a gag reel, and more.
No one will ever mistake it for Citizen Kane, but there’s a certain affable charm to David Spade’s performance as the titular schlub searching for his parents in Joe Dirt (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP), which makes its high definition debut.
Even though outside success means that the days of Adam, Blake, and Ders are probably numbered, enjoy the merry misadventures of Workaholics (Comedy Central, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$21.99 SRP) in its fifth season. Two words: family funeral. Bonus materials include deleted/alternate scenes, outtakes, and more.
Mash together the world’s most famous cat & mouse combo with the globe-trotting adventurer Jonny Quest and you get the direct-to-video original feature Tom And Jerry: Spy Quest (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP). I know, right? Who saw that coming? Bonus features include a clutch of shorts.
Keep the kiddies occupied over the long summer holidays with Nickelodeon’s 3-disc Bunch Of Play Dates (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP), which contains themed episodes from their clutch of toddler-centric favorites under the headers Dance To The Music, Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West, and Once Upon A Rhyme.
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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