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…)
Strike that godawful Fantastic Four film from your mind with a piece from the brill folks at Sideshow, who have managed to capture perfectly the might and majesty of the one true ruler of Latveria with their Doctor Doom Premium Format Figure ($389.99). This 1/4-scale mixed media monarch stands atop his high-tech battlements, surveying lording over his domain. Thankfully, this piece captures the classic styling of Doom, right down to his sidearm, and features a fully-poseable cape and hood (wire-lined) so you can adjust for your desired dynamic look. And, for the true comic book nerds, the exclusive contains a swappable head featuring his old-school facemask design.
Wow. The Complete Peanuts: 1997 to 1998 (Fantagraphics, $29.99 SRP) represents the 24th, and penultimate, volume collecting the entire 50-year run of Charles Schulz’s brilliant comic strip. No longer groundbreaking, by this point the strip was a warm blanket, comfortable in its humor and still very much able to bring a smile and a laugh. This volume also sports an introduction by Paul Feig, producer of the new Peanuts Movie.
While I’m still wary, I admit that my position on the upcoming Peanuts movie has softened considerably, to the point that I’m now actually looking forward to seeing it. A large part of the impetus for that change of heart can be found in the pages of The Art & Making Of The Peanuts Movie (Titan Books, $34.95 SRP), which does an excellent job of detailing just how much reverence the filmmakers had for adapting Charles Schulz’s style and tone.
The folks controlling the mighty Carson archive have dipped back into the vaults for the next batch of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson: Featured Guest Series (Carson Entertainment, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP each), each volume of which devotes an entire disc just to episodes featuring a specific luminary. The second three volumes in the series spotlight Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and Burt Reynolds. These releases include the full, uncut shows, along with commercials. They continue to be truly wonderful time capsules. And once again, I repeat my request - Can we please, please, PLEASE get a Jim Henson-centric volume? PLEASE?
It’s been a crime of Biffian proportions that we’ve been without a proper book celebrating the making of the Back To The Future Trilogy, but now we’ve been gifted with two must-have volumes. First is the unauthorized, wholly candid We Don’t Need Roads, and the second is the officially sanctioned Back To The Future: The Ultimate Visual Guide (HarperDesign, $50 SRP), which is one of those keen making-of books that also incorporates reproductions of props and ephemera from the film, from the “Save The Clock Tower” flyer to the letter Marty wrote Doc Brown to warn him about the Libyans.
I think we’re all in agreement that NERF has pretty much gotten their whole NERF dart thing pretty well sorted when it comes to their various NERF guns. So how do they put a new variation on their delivery system? Howzabout a slingshot? With a pullstring release, the single-fire Nerf N-Strike Elite SlingStrike Slingshot (NERF, $10.99 SRP) is a pretty fun piece of kit. While it certainly isn’t a rapid-fire weapon, it has remarkable range and accuracy.
The key to measurement is accuracy, so the eTape16 (Thinkgeek, $34.99) is just what the anal-retentive DIY nerd ordered, because it makes accuracy easy. Accurate to 1/16″, or 1mm, it’s one of those great gadgets you’d never thought you’d need until you use it for the first time and can’t imagine what you’d do without it. Probably just sit in a sad stupor, probably.
It’s raining Rickles, as Time Life has gone and delivered The Ultimate Don Rickles Box Set (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$49.99 SRP), featuring both volumes of The Don Rickles TV Specials and the complete two-season run of his 70s sitcom CPO Sharkey. Bonus materials include new introductions, outtakes, rarities, and more.
Featuring all 107 episodes completely unedited, My Favorite Martian: The Complete Series (MPI, Not Rated, DVD-$99.98 SRP) is exactly the kind of high-concept, loveably goofball show that somehow made it on to the small screen in the 60s, whose appeal lies squarely on the shoulders of the endearing chemistry of Bill Bixby and Ray Walston, as his Martian “uncle” Martin. Bonus materials include home movies, cast commercials, interviews, animation & effects reels, pilots, and more.
Based on the WWI memoir of Vera Brittain and starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harrington, Testament Of Youth (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP) paints a portrait of that conflict from a unique perspective not often seen in accounts of that period, namely a female perspective. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, deleted scenes, and a featurette.
Have you ever wanted to see the three films of the original trilogy summed up in a dozen words with a dozen vignettes, all constructed out of felt? OF COURSE YOU DO. And that’s just what Star Wars: Epic Yarns delivers in the most delightful way in its trio of books, for A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi (Chronicle Books, $9.95 SRP each).
And if that weren’t enough unbelievably cute Star Wars for you, then there’s also the special edition boxed release of Jeffrey’s Brown’s Darth Vader and Son & Vader’s Little Princess (Chronicle Books, $35 SRP), which also contains a pair of exclusive art prints.
You know, if it weren’t for Adam Sandler’s half-hearted performance, Pixels (Sony, Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$45.99 SRP) would probably have been a big, goofy, totally fun popcorn flick. However, with Sandler barely managing to show up, any scene he’s in sucks the life from this high concept film about aliens attacking earth while in the form of old school video game characters. But Peter Dinklage is great. And the effects do look spiffy in 3D. Bonus materials include featurettes and a music video.
Combining comedy, drama, short films, commentary, music, animation, and a highbrow sensibility, PBS’s Great American Dream Machine (S’More, Not Rated, DVD-$39.98 SRP) was experimental television both ahead-of-its-time and yet could never be done today. See for yourself, with this release of over 12 hours of material from its 1971-1973 run, with pieces from Charles Grodin, Chevy Chase, Kurt Vonegut, Albert Brooks, Martin Mull, Henry Winkler, Andy Rooney, and many more.
Few shows in recent memory have been as visually and artistically creative as Pen Wards Adventure Time, so it’s only right that fans can snag Adventure Time: The Original Cartoon Title Cards Volume 2 (Titan Books, $19.95 SRP), which collects together the memorable title card artwork featured at the front of every episode in seasons 3 & 4.
And speaking of the current renaissance on Cartoon Network, you should also definitely pick up The Art Of Regular Show (Titan Books, $29.95 SRP), which is jam-packed with designs, sketches, backgrounds, and more from Shannon O’Leary’s oddball series.
When a trained military dog is sent from Afghanistan to the U.S. and the family of his killed-in-action handler, the titular canine, Max (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP) forms a bond with his handler’s younger brother. And then they solve a mystery. Really. It’s like an old-school live action Disney film. Bonus materials include a pair of featurettes.
As his latest big screen adventure hits and the current actor portraying him has voiced his desire to move on, now’s the prefect time for Bond Vs. Bond: The Many Faces Of 007 (RacePoint, $28.00 SRP), author Paul Simpson’s unofficial guide to the actors who have played Britain’s number one spy, and their interpretations of the character, through the years.
Time and distance have done little to make 1999’s television fantasy miniseries event The 10th Kingdom (Mill Creek, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.98 SRP) any less of an odd duck, as the technology simply wasn’t there at the time to do such an ambitious fairy tale of magical lands meeting our world. Finally having it presented in high definition widescreen improves the experience, though. And it does have John Larroquette. And John Larroquette makes everything better. Bonus materials include a making-of featurette and an isolated score track.
I find her music disarmingly infectious and her live shows ridiculously energetic, and that’s all on display in her massive arena shows, captured on Katy Perry: The Prismatic Tour (Eagle Vision, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$19.98 SRP), which also contains bonus behind-the-scenes featurettes.
We’ll probably never get a Pirates Of The Caribbean TV series, so the closest we’ll come is the pirates a-plenty series Black Sails (Anchor Bay, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.99 SRP), whose second series arrives with a chest of featurettes.
Because the success of The Fault In Our Stars means that every thing that author John Green wrote will get a green light, his Paper Towns (Fox, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) arrives, starring Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne as a pair of childhood neighbors whose burgeoning romance leads to an unexpected cross-country mystery that proves something or another in an utterly charming way. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, featurettes, and a gag reel.
If you’d expect George Miller’s visually memorable Mad Max: Fury Road to have an equally eye-popping book packed with the film’s visual development artwork, your expectations would be met with The Art Of Mad Max: Fury Road (Titan Books, $39.95 SRP).
While the film may have been DOA at the box office, there’s no denying that there’s enough Guillermo del Toro visual flair and attention to detail there to justify Crimson Peak: The Art Of Darkness (Insight Editions, $50 SRP), a full-on making-of book featuring loads of artwork and tons of interviews with everyone involved in the production.
From their turn-of-the-20th century rise in power to their height of control in the 50s, The Making Of The Mob (Anchor Bay, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) charts the history of organized crime in the Big Apple, using archive footage, interviews, dramatic re-creations, and visual effects. Bonus materials include additional scenes and featurettes.
In 1946, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney began collaborating on an animated film. Postwar difficulties at the Disney studio eventually derailed the project and it was shelved, but it was revived decades later by Walt’s nephew Roy. The story of its origins, development, and revival are detailed in Dali And Disney: Destino (Disney Editions, $40 SRP), a lavish book filled with Dali’s production paintings, development artwork for the film, and more.
A streamlined relaunch of the venerable franchise, Transformers: Robots In Disguise - A New Autobot Mission (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$14.43 SRP) features the first 5 episodes of Bumblebee leading a team of Autobots tasked with rounding up Decpticons let loose on earth after the crash of their prison ship. The disc also contains a bonus behind-the-scenes featurette.
Frank Zappa was bizarre. His music was bizarre. But both were eminently compelling. See for yourself in the newly-recovered Roxy: The Movie (Eagle Vision, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$25.98 SRP), a document of 4 shows Zappa gave in 1973 which was thought lost to the ages due to massive technical problems with the sound, but now miraculously restored for your enjoyment.
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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