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 there are certainly flashier characters from the original trilogy, like Darth Vader or Boba Fett, the true mark of just how impressive Hot Toys’ handling of the Star Wars license is turning out to be is their eerily pitch-perfect take on Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sideshow/Hot Toys, $219.99). From the perfect likeness of Sir Alec Guinness to the expertly tailored Jedi robes, this is the definitive 1/6-scale version of the venerable master. And because we’re gluttons for more, there’s no need to be content with just the figure itself, because they’ve plussed it with a swappable right arm that includes an in-built LED lightsaber that turns your display up to 11.
Pixar. Listen. Why do you want to make me cry? You’re absolutely brutal with the feels, and you know exactly what buttons to push. And you push them all with Inside Out (Walt Disney, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP). From happy to sad and all the emotions in-between, which is rather fitting, as that’s what this film is all about, showing the interior emotional workings of 11-year-old Riley. And I’m not going to spoil any more of it, because if you haven’t seen it already, you should. Bonus materials include the Lava short, the brand new Riley’s First Date short, featurettes, and more.
As a new Pixar film hits theaters, that also means we get a brand new tome chronicling the artistic journey from concept to final picture with The Art Of The Good Dinosaur (Chronicle Books, $40 SRP), featuring loads of artwork and insight. And, in a first, a companion book has been crafted for the short subject that runs before the movie with The Art Of Sanjay’s Super Team (Chronicle Books, $24.95 SRP).
And because we’re not quite done with Pixar yet, they’ve helped to craft the perfect gift for budding filmmakers eager to have a journal in which to chart the progress of their own creative project’s journey with The Animator’s Sketchbook (Chronicle Books, $18.95 SRP), which contains discrete sections on Concept, Story, Color Script, Characters, and Worlds with plenty of room to doodle and design with helpful words of encouragement and visuals for inspiration along the way.
I’ll admit, I got swept up in the emotional wave of celebrating October 21, 2015 - the “future” date Marty and Doc (and Einstein & Jennifer) traveled to in order to do something about Marty & Jennifer’s kids. So, yes, bring on a brand new Back To The Future: 30th Anniversary Trilogy box set (Universal, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP), which supplements all of the bonus materials from the last release with a brand new bonus disc featuring a Doc Brown short, a documentary on the restoration of the original DeLorean, 2015 commercials for Jaws 19 and hoverboards, and more.
The now-yearly specials are certainly building anticipation for a new feature-length adventure while managing to be fun-filled romps in their own right, and that’s certainly what last year’s Toy Story That Time Forgot (Walt Disney, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$14.99 SRP) is, as out heroes are deposited into an 80s action toy world full of delusional peril. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, the animated opening for the fictional cartoon Battlesaurs, featurettes, a karaoke video, deleted scenes, and more.
Whenever a new home theater technology arrives on the scene, there comes a home video release of a beloved property that’s meant to be the perfect showcase for said technology. With Dolby’s new Atmos sound technology, designed to make the viewer feel sonically immersed in the world they’re watching, the first television series to embrace it is HBO’s flagship show, Game Of Thrones. So what does that mean? That means we get brand new Atmos versions of Game Of Thrones: The Complete First Season and Game Of Thrones: The Complete Second Season (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$79.99 SRP each), packaged in lovely new steelbook cases featuring magnetic house sigils for the Starks and the Lannisters. Bonus features carry over from the previous releases.
While it seems this is the millionth release of the film on various media, you know in your heart of hearts that you’ll be purchasing Monty Python & The Holy Grail: 40th Anniversary Edition (Sony, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP) because you have always, and will always, purchase another edition of this film whenever the design to lob another one at fans. Which is often. And you know it’s true, and you know they know it. So buck up, and fork over the cash for this new edition, which includes all of the bonus features from the last edition, plus an all-new 30-minute Q&A with the Pythons who aren’t yet dead, hosted by John Oliver.
You have a lot of gadgets, gear, and gizmos to be carting around with you as cold descends on the land, so why not face the elements with all of your stuff safely stowed about your person with the SCOTTeVEST Hoodie Microfleece (Thinkgeek, $44.99), a hoodie which packs 10 pockets and a whole lot of warmth.
As someone who owns the vintage Making Ghostbusters, which explored the production of the original film, I was waiting for the day when someone would come along and offer up an updated and expanded look at the creation of the franchise as a whole, incorporating both films, the animated series, comics, video games, and more. Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History (Insight Editions, $50 SRP) does just that, while also being one of those books that incorporated reproductions of actual ephemera, including Gozer temple plans, the Ghostbusters’ business card, VFX notes, a Stay-Puft Marshmallows sticker, and much more.
You’d think there’d few variations left to mine in going meta on the slasher flick genre, but The Final Girls (Sony, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$30.99 SRP) manages to do it with a wink and heart, as a group of teen friends are mysteriously transported into an 80s cult film, Camp Bloodbath, that starred the late mother of one of the kids. Once inside the film, they must try and survive all of the tropes. Bonus materials include an audio commentaries, alternate endings, deleted scenes, featurettes, and more.
Yeah, well, don’t try and make sense of the Terminator timeline. By the time we’ve reached Terminator: Genisys (Paramount, Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$52.99 SRP), the continuity is just a confusing mess of who did what when and for why and how does that huh whatever. So, really, the way to approach the return of an elder Arnold Schwarzenegger to one of his most iconic roles is just to take it at face value and ask, “Is it an enjoyable flick on its own merits?” And it mostly is. In an odd, kitchen sink kind of way. But, that’s fine. Just don’t try to make too much sense of it all. Bonus materials include a batch of behind-the-scenes featurettes.
There are a lot of elaborate hoo-has on what is ultimately a straightforward straight shooter, which is ultimately the strength of Nerf’s N-Strike SharpFire Blaster (Nerf, $15.99 SRP) - it’s a Nerf dart pistol that shoots pretty darn accurately. And, when you’re locked in heated backyard conflict, sometimes that’s just what you need.
Oh, Jurassic World (Universal, Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP). You are such a goofball of excess. While Jurassic Park took the premise of resurrected dinosaurs somewhat seriously, World decides to go full meta B-movie with the whole affair, in the age of Sharknado. I mean, Chris Pratt has a raptor gang. Which is not to say this isn’t all enjoyable. It’s just that it’s pure popcorn, b-movie enjoyable. Bonus materials include deleted scenes and featurettes.
Didier Ghez is a brilliant illuminator of the often unexplored corners of the art and artists behind the Disney films, and he’s brought that the unique and wonderful skill to They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art Of Disney’s Golden Age (Chronicle Books, $40 SRP), which explores the works of a quartet of Disney’s first concept artists as the company’s horizons broadened rapidly in the 1930s.
PBS’s In Their Own Words is a unique spin on the biodoc format, which as the title suggests relies heavily upon quotes from the subjects themselves to guide the narrative, through archive footage and extensive interviews with intimates. Give a trio of cultural luminaries a spin, with episodes focusing on Queen Elizabeth II, Muhammad Ali, and Jim Henson (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP each).
I suppose every comic actor should get their chance to stumble into a redeeming dramatic part, and Jason Segel gets his portraying author David Foster Wallace in The End Of The Tour (Lionsgate, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP), about a road trip during which he’s interviewed by journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg). Bonus materials include an audio commentary, deleted scenes, interviews, and featurettes.
It got a disastrous blink-and-you-missed-it theatrical release, which is a shame, because Aardman’s Shaun The Sheep Movie (Lionsgate, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP) is a lovely, delightful little kid’s film that doesn’t feel like a kid’s film. It’s brill. Bonus materials include a flock of featurettes and more.
Sadly, it was our enjoyment of bombastic action flicks like Bad Boys 1 & II (Sony, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$26.99 SRP) that fueled the power and enduring pap of Michael Bay, as the seemingly innocuous purveyor of popcorn became the mad blowhard of endless awful pop culture bastardizations. But these two relics of a more innocent age are now packaged together in a 20th anniversary edition, loaded bonus features.
There’s nothing like the restoration of a pair of kitschy old-school genre films to make a cinephile go all warm and fuzzy, which is exactly the internal reaction generated by the restoration of the Vincent Price & Agnes Morehead thriller The Bat and Roger Corman’s A Bucket Of Blood (The Film Detective, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$14.99 SRP each).
Back when a pair of ideological rivals could have intellectual bareknuckle debates on the airwaves, the two greatest heavyweights were William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal. However intellectual it was, though, their verbal sparring, which began during ABC’s coverage of the 1968 Democratic and Republican Conventions, definitely laid the groundwork for the uncivil cesspit of television discourse we have today. To see exactly what I’m on about, check out the excellent documentary Best Of Enemies: Buckley Vs. Vidal (Magnolia, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP).
I would probably have not given a tie-in book to the show Vikings the time of day if I hadn’t discovered it was written by author, historian, and all-around great bloke Justin Pollard, which automatically elevated The World Of Vikings (Chronicle Books, $35 SRP) into a book worth checking out, as it deftly weaves the historical truth behind the drama into its background on the production.
Very few sitcoms have gotten the high definition treatment, and particularly not one that goes back over 10 years, but now you can snag That 70s Show: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$149.98 SRP) looks pretty darn good, even more so because it’s presented in anamorphic widescreen. Certainly worth checking out, , as it’s also loaded with bonus materials, including new-to-Blu-Ray featurettes, in addition to the materials from the original DVD releases. Groovy.
A powerful look at an all-too-brief life, Matt Shepard Is A Friend Of Mine (Virgil Films, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP) is a documentary that revisits the events of the tragic hate crime that took his life, but more importantly uses photos and rare footage to celebrate his life.
Starting in a small Pudding Lane bakery and eventually engulfing the city of London, the disastrous events beginning September 2, 1666 are dramatized in The Great Fire (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP), a star-studded affair that brings the events to life, from the actions and reactions of the common man right up to King Charles II.
The main problem with the modern quasi-sequel Vacation (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP) is that it has a mighty big family truckster to fill, and never quite manages to make enough of an impression that you’re not constantly thinking back fondly on the original, when Chevy Chase was at the height of his power and all of the creative powers behind the scenes were pure brilliance. So, yeah, while this is an affable trip down holiday road with Rusty Griswold and family, it just further reinforces how remarkable the original was. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.
Listen to a rocking set as Martha Davis & The Motels celebrate the legendary LA club’s 50th anniversary with The Motels Live At The Whiskey A Go Go (Vesuvio, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP), featuring almost 20 tunes plus a clutch of bonus features.
SwaySway and Buhdeuce fly their rocket van from their Nickelodeon animated series into brand new comic book adventures in Breadwinners #1: Journey to the Bottom of the Seats (Papercutz, $7.99 SRP), which is just as bonkers as the show itself.
This weekend’s turn off your brain and hop on the rollercoaster low-budget action flick is Operator (Alchemy, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP), as a city devolves into chaos, sparked by the kidnapping of a 911 operator’s daughter and estranged police officer husband. And it also has Ving Rhames in it. Because Ving Rhames.
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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