Features
Interviews
Columns
Podcasts
Shopping Guides
Production Blogs
Contests
Message Board
RSS Feed
Contact Us
Archives

 

holidayshopping2010.png

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 2015 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!)

holly.jpg

Do you hear an alarm going off? That’s probably the sound of The Force waking up. So, let’s kick off this year’s holiday shopping guide with the two characters used as emotional bait to lure damaged fans into getting excited about the sequel by flashing back to them in their prime via a pair of incredible collectibles. And when we think incredible collectibles, it’s the dynamic duo of Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles. So, of course, they’re the ones who have given us a 1/6th-scale Han Solo & Chewbacca (Sideshow, $479.99). These are a truly incredible pair, from the Harrison Ford sculpt to the near-miraculous rendition of Chewbacca’s hair, I daresay we’ll not get a better version of these characters, particularly Chewie. And the exclusive inclusion of their headsets keeps the hope alive that we’ll one day see an official release of the Millennium Falcon cockpit diorama.

holiday2015-01.png

holiday2015-02.png

holiday2015-03.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

I never thought we’d ever get to the point where there would be less than 30 episodes left until the entire run was available on home video, but thanks to the miracle workers at Shout Factory, Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXIV (Shout Factory, Not Rated, DVD-$59.99 SRP) brings us four episodes closer to that seemingly impossible goal. Whizzes at clearing up rights red tape, this set continues the Joel/Mike episode split, with Viking Women Vs. The Sea Serpent, War Of The Colossal Beast, and The She-Creature, plus new intros from Frank Conniff and a documentary on AIP.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

But let that not be an end to your festive riffing season, for the fine folks at Rifftrax are releasing a pair of their holiday live shows for you to watch and revel in - Rifftrax Live: Santa Claus Conquers The Martians & Rifftrax Live: Santa Claus (Rifftrax, Not Rated, DVD-$12.95 each). You like to laugh, right? Well? DO YA?

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Sometimes, there are “collectibles” that make me wish I were a kid again. If I had gotten the Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile (Thinkgeek, $79.99 SRP) as a kid, I never would stopped playing with it. Scaled to the recent 7″ line of action figures from the classic animated series, it’s over two feet long, beautifully sculpted, and included numerous light-up features, from the instrument panels to the headlights, and even the rear engine. In a word, it’s pretty darn spiffy.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Gifts for the LEGO lover on your list? If they’re keen on the history of those wonderful building blocks, then they can thumb through Great LEGO Sets (DK, $40 SRP), a coffee table tome chronicling the 60+ year evolution of sets from simple houses to massive castles. And because this is also the season of Star Wars, Small Scenes From A Big Galaxy (DK, $24.99 SRP) collects the lovably quirky Star Wars LEGO photography of Vesa Lehtimaki.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Do you feel like you’ve reached the outermost limits of emotional release that a simple NERF dart blaster can achieve? Are you eager to deliver a decisive defeat from a ridiculous distance during the inevitable competition that your family visit will devolve into this holiday season? Well, NERF has heard your plea, and introduced the Rival series of blasters, that amp up distance and accuracy to plaid. The chief difference between the entry level NERF Apollo Blaster (Thinkgeek, $29.99) and the step-up NERF Zeus Blaster (Thinkgeek, $59.99) is the delivery system and ammo capacity. Oh, and no more darts - Now you’re firing small, fluorescent yellow ball, The Apollo blaster has a 7-round capacity and is a manual single fire device. The Zeus? Fully motorized 12-round affair. Oh, and be prepared to walk a fair distance to retrieve these balls. And they travel an average of 100fps, so you’ll always fear you’ll lose them, too. But are they fun to play with? Heck, yeah.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

As a kid, I ate loads of brittle, borderline inedible gum as a byproduct of my desire to get full sets of all of the various pop culture trading cards Topps released during my geeky childhood. Little did I know that all I had to do to avoid that hunt entirely was wait nearly 40 years and simply buy a book like Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series Volume 1 (Abrams Comicarts, $24.95 SRP), which prints all of the cards from A New Hope in a single volume.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

The female characters in the Marvel cinematic universe are certainly in the minority, so it’s a welcome addition to the half-dozen Black Widow figures that the folks at Hot Toys have given us 1/6th-scale SHIELD Agent Maria Hill (Sideshow, $219.99). It’s not a flashy, accessory-heavy release (you get a gun, a walkie-talkie, and an earpiece), but it perfectly captures Cobie Smulders’ likeness, and it exists. And that’s a wonderful thing.

holiday2015-10.png

holiday2015-11.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

I love a solidly fun children’s book that manages to stick the landing of sporting both an enjoyable story and great visuals, and Ryan T. Higgins’ Mother Bruce (Disney Hyperion, $17.99 SRP) sticks it perfectly. The tale, about a grumpy loner who begrudgingly embraces his nurturing side, is a joy from start to finish.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

If you feel the most recent iteration of the James Bond franchise tends toward the dour, the closest you can get to old school Bond action are the Mission: Impossible flicks, and the most recent, Rogue Nation (Paramount, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), keeps the energy cranked to 11 right from the get-go, right down to the signature Bond cold open showstopper. The story? Doesn’t really matter. It’s all fun. Bonus materials include an audio commentary and featurettes.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

While you’re reading up on the making of 007’s latest cinematic adventure with Blood, Sweat And Bond: Behind The Scenes Of Spectre (DK, $40 SRP), let it whet your appetite to deep dive into the artistic vision that has fueled with franchise with the lavish Bond By Design: The Art Of The James Bond Films (DK, $50 SRP).

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

If The Force Awakens is awakening an interest in your younglings for information about the ins and outs and characters and minutiae of the Star Wars universe, there’s no better primer gift than the book Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need To Know (DK, $19.99 SRP), which pretty much lives up to its title.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

While other highly-stylized vinyl collectible brands have never really captured my imagination, there’s something in the cartoony styling of Vinyl Sugar’s Vinyl Idolz (Thinkgeek, $14.99 each) that hit a sweet spot for me. And then you combine that styling with a pop culture license I love, like Ghostbusters? That’s an even sweeter spot. I mean, how can you not love Venkman, Stantz, and Spengler? And that’s probably one of the best toy depictions of Bill Murray, ever.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, together? Sold. Yeah, don’t need to hear anymore. Just, sold. Okay, fine - Trainwreck (Universal, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP) suffers from the usual Judd Apatow bloat, but I’m willing to let it slide, because Schumer and Hader. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, a gag reel, and more.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

It may not be wearing your Star Wars fandom on your sleeve, but the Star Wars Stormtrooper Molded Backpack (Thinkgeek, $69.99) allows you to wear it on your back, with a high quality pack that manages to be comfortable and roomy, and loaded with storage.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

If you feel that It’s A Wonderful Life is a bit too maudlin for you this year, why not partake of a beautifully remastered, high definition presentation of Frank Capra’s screwball comedy You Can’t Take It With You (Sony, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP)? Starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Lionel Barrymore, two very different families are delightfully bothered and bewildered. Bonus features include an audio commentary, a featurette, and the original theatrical trailer.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

While its presentation style has become a cliché in the quarter century since its debut, there’s a reason why Ken Burns’ The Civil War (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$69.78 SRP) became such an iconic documentary, and it still holds up to re-viewing in this new high definition edition. New bonus materials include a retrospective featurette, a look at the restoration process, Shelby Foote interviews, and additional interviews.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

It was inevitable that the undeniably appealing, banana-obsessed sidekicks would eventually be spun off into a feature of their own, so it’s an added bonus that the pre-Gru origin story Minions (Universal, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP) is actually a damn fine, funny film that is able to earn their spotlight. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, featurettes, a quartet of mini movies, and more.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

We’ve had stormtroopers and sandtroopers and snowtroopers, and now Sideshow has released the air wing of the Imperial army with their updated take on the Star Wars 1/6th-scale TIE Fighter Pilot (Sideshow, $199.99). It’s a pretty straightforward piece, with most of the detail going to the intricate, iconic helmet and breathing apparatus, but they certainly have scrimped on the tailoring for the flight suit. And, of course, now you have a figure to send head-to-head with your X-Wing pilot Luke Skywalker.

holiday2015-22.png

holiday2015-23.png

holiday2015-24.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

We live in a golden age of universal remotes fashioned to break down all resistance by preying on our geeky hearts, with Harry Potter wands and Star Trek phasers. And because we’ve already had ones for the 10th and 11th regeneration, of course we’d get a Doctor Who: Twelfth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control (Thinkgeek, $119.99). Fully and easily programmable, it’s best to get it now before you’ll be turning around and getting the eventual release of the 12th Doctor’s newly revealed sonic.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

If you want your sword and sex Game Of Thrones fix with a little more actual history thrown into the mix, dive into Vikings: Season Three (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.99 SRP), as now-King Ragnar continues to lead his people on bloody adventures. Bonus materials include extended episodes, audio commentaries, and featurettes.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Harold Lloyd’s last silent film also happens to be one of his best, and now Criterion has given Speedy (Criterion, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP) a restoration fitting its status. It also happens to have a Babe Ruth cameo and some nifty vintage footage of New York, plussing a great comedy. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, archival footage of Babe Ruth, a video essay, and more.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

There’s a reason why Empire (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) has made quite so big an impact right out of the gate, as it manages to capture the crazy energy of 80s soaps like Dallas and Dynasty at their peak, with a memorable cast of characters and a modern feel. And Cookie. The key is Cookie. Bonus materials an audio commentary, an extended cut of the pilot, music performances, and more.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Lighting a candle for the holidays? What are we, in the dark ages? No! No, we’re not! We live in a modern age, where even candles must be worked over and made electronic with the miracle of LED. The Flameless Color Changing Candles (Thinkgeek, $24.99) are made of real wax - you know, for that old world feel - while being controllable via remote. Each pack contains a trio of candles in staggered heights.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Sublime doesn’t begin to capture the exquisite dynamic between Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie found in the Jeeves & Wooster: Complete Collection (Acorn, Not Rated, DVD-$59.99 SRP). It remains the perfect adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s crackerjack writing, and the perfect binge-viewing this holiday.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Sideshow’s take on Marvel’s merc with a mouth certainly captures all of the ludicrous pouches and weapons that so characterized comic characters in the 90s, but their 1/6th-scale Deadpool (Sideshow, $229.99) also captures all of the fun of the character, mirroring the loveably goofy take we’ll be getting from the upcoming film, as well, right down to the inclusion of an alternate cockeyed head sculpt and the ability to place word balloons around him in your display.

holiday2015-31.png

holiday2015-32.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

There’s plenty of eye candy to be found in Star Wars Frames (Abrams, $24.95 SRP), a box set featuring 100 postcards that capture iconic compositions from Star Wars Episodes I-VI in all of their widescreen glory. Heck, the selections even make the Prequels look good.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

And because postcards seem to be the new way to do pocket-sized art books, the Adventure Time Postcard Library (Abrams, $19.95 SRP) features 100 images including title cards, concept art, gallery art, and stills spread across 4 mini-books. Yeah, you probably won’t be sending these to anyone.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Deep dive into the lore of show with Adventure Time: The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook (Abrams, $24.95 SRP), a flipbook presentation exploring both the backstory of the show’s world via the lens of Marceline’s father, and the personal journal of Marceline herself. And, if you buy it from Thinkgeek ($), it comes with a bookplate signed by show stars (and authors) Martin Olson & Olivia Olson.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

One would think that Asylum and Coven would have been about as bizarre as the series could go, but American Horror Story: Freak Show (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.99 SRP) cranks the bizarre-o up to 11, bringing a whole new level of disturbing to the longform anthology series. Bonus materials include featurettes and interviews.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

I’ve tried quite a few options to easily listen to music in the shower, but the best so far has been the Ion Sound Splash Wireless Shower Speaker (Thinkgeek, $29.99). A relatively small unit you can hang from your shower, this bluetooth speaker delivers clear sound and even allows you to answer your phone. Pretty neat.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

I’ve loved every book that’s been released as part of the Pixar Animation Studios Artist Showcase, which publishes illustrated stories crafted by the studio’s artists, and you can add Noah Klocek & Bonny Becker’s Cloud Country (Disney Hyperion, $17.99 SRP) to an already impressive list.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Thinkgeek has a laser focus on the kind of geeky tech that nerds simply must have for know other reason than its inherent geekiness, and now they’ve used that laser focus to craft a Tactical Laser Pointer ($29.99). Which is a green laser pointer that looks like you grabbed it out of a sci-fi film.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

The dynamic duo of director Paul Feig and star Melissa McCarthy continues to spin gold with the genre-bending Spy (Fox, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), which drops deskbound CIA support operative McCarthy into the field when the superspy she’s assigned to is killed by an agency compromising threat. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, deleted/extended/alternate scenes, featurettes, and a gag reel.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Up to this point, anyone wanting to round out their 1/4-scale Star Wars displays with their favorite Droids from a galaxy far, far away would have had to content themselves with the not-quite 1/4-scale versions released ages ago by Medicom. Well, now scale purists and fans alike can rejoice, because Sideshow has delivered one-half of the long-awaited duo in absolutely exquisite form with their R2-D2 ($149.99). Not only is the scale correct, but it’s ridiculously feature and accessory laden to encompass every little thing we saw the plucky little Astromech doing across the 6 extant films, from rocket jets to jettisoning Luke’s lightsaber, from cutting to interfacing, and even a full-on set to serve cocktails on Jabba’s sail barge. I mean it - it has EVERYTHING. And it even lights up! I mean, come on! And if you snag the Sideshow Exclusive edition, you get a table featuring a light-up Princess Leia hologram figure. Now we just have to be patient for the arrival of his protocol partner.

weekendpicks20150417-02.png

weekendpicks20150417-03.png

weekendpicks20150417-04.png

weekendpicks20150417-05.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

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.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

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.

weekendpicks20150703-01.png

weekendpicks20150703-02.png

weekendpicks20150703-03.png

weekendpicks20150703-04.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Now that we have cleared the Elmo storm that threatened to capsize the venerable institution known as Sesame Street, we’re able to refocus on the show’s true heart and icon, Big Bird, and the incredibly gifted performer who gave soul to both the bird and his emotional counterpoint, Oscar The Grouch, Caroll Spinney. The vehicle for this celebration is the brilliant documentary I Am Big Bird (Cinedigm, Not Rated, DVD-$19.97 SRP), and to say anything more beyond a hearty push for you to go see it, immediately, should not be needed. So go see it. Bonus materials include a far-too-small clutch of additional scenes.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

To say that Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros., Rated R, 3D Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP) is better than it has any right to be is not an exaggeration. That it is better by a long, long, longshot - I’d daresay it’s even great - is simply astonishing. These kinds of reboots aren’t supposed to work, but leave it to mastermind George Miller to craft the perfect gonzo revival of his original apocalyptic vision. Bonus materials include behind-the-scenes featurettes.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

While the recent must-have sets culled episodes from the show’s later seasons, we thankfully cleared whatever red tape hampered the release of The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$59.95 SRP) so we can finally view selections from the venerable show’s first 5 seasons. While I wish it was comprehensive, the 6-disc set contains 16 uncut episodes from across those 5 years, along with bonus material from Carol & the gang., including featurettes, interviews, and a blooper reel.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

And speaking of Sideshow Collectibles, photographer Daniel Picard has taken several of the figures they’ve released over the years and used them to create some absolutely magical photographs by dropping them into exquisitely crafted tableaus that run the gamut from funny to poignant. Those photographs have been collected together into a hardcover coffee table book, Figure Fantasy (Insight Editions, $125), which features a foreword from Simon Pegg and an afterword by Kevin Smith. The deluxe hardcover limited collectors edition, available exclusively from Sideshow.com, sports an attractive slipcase, and includes a card of authenticity signed by Picard, as well as three digitally signed and embossed fine art photo prints.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

When most comic fans think of Donald Duck, they think of the comic book work of Carl Barks. The folks at IDW are looking to expand the appreciation of Donald’s comic adventures with the very first collection of Donald Duck: The Complete Newspaper Comics - 1938-1940 (IDW, $39.99 SRP). Featuring 750 consecutive strips by the great duck artist Al Taliaferro. It’s a beautiful addition to any library, and hopefully we’ll get the whole run.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

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?

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

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.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

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.

weekendpicks20151113-01.png

weekendpicks20151113-02.png

weekendpicks20151113-03.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

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.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

I love a film that can expertly blend comedy, action, and genuine heart, and last year brought two films that accomplished that hat trick with flair - Guardians Of The Galaxy and Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP). Gah, how I love Big Hero 6, from its visual design to the story itself, it really is a beautiful, memorable package. B9onus materials include the theatrical short Feast, deleted scenes, and featurettes. Now can anyone tell me why we didn’t get a 3D home video release?

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Every once in awhile, those endearingly insane purveyors of must-have collectibles at Sideshow decide to go truly bonkers and produce a massive collectible that hits every single nostalgia button with brutal accuracy. As they had recently announced they’d be releasing Hoth versions of Luke and Han in their 1/6-scale Star Wars line, it wasn’t truly shocking that they announced a 1/6-scale Tauntaun ($349.99), but it was most welcome nonetheless. Why? Because it’s friggin’ delightful. Yes, it’s essentially a static diorama statue - pretty much a display accessory - but it looks perfect and is perfectly complementary. And it’s just fun. With a pair of swappable heads (mild and excited expressions), swappable horns (so you can make it either Han or Luke’s specific mount), and equipment accessories, it’s kitted out to be screen accurate. But because Han and Luke haven’t arrived yet, I’ve had to let a whole slew of other characters have a go. Because… you know… FUN.

weekendpicks20150306-01.png

weekendpicks20150306-02.png

weekendpicks20150306-03.png

weekendpicks20150306-04.png

weekendpicks20150306-05.png

weekendpicks20150306-06.png

weekendpicks20150306-07.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

And because this is the holiday season, and you know you want to give the gift of Peanuts, Fantagrpahics has made it very easy with a pair of perfect gifts. Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron (Fantagraphics, $24.99 SRP) collects every strip featuring the beagle’s aerial derring-do from across the comic’s 50-year history. And Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking (Fantagraphics, $9.99 SRP) reprints in a single easily stocking-stuffed volume two classic holiday tales that haven’t been in print for decades.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

The 4th volume of The Dona Rosa Library, Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Last Of The Clan McDuck (Fantagraphics, $29.99 SRP), is the first installment collecting my favorite batch of Rosa duck stories, as they chronicle the history of Scrooge McDuck by expertly weaving the mythology established by Carl Barks into a cohesive narrative. As with previous volumes, there are extensive end notes and bonus material from Rosa that make this the definitive presentation of these duck tales.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

While DC Comics seems insistent on saddling their legendary superheroes with godawful redesign after godawful redesign, the fine folks at Sideshow continue to prove themselves exceptionally adept at presenting truly iconic versions of these characters in fine collectible form. The latest bit of awe comes in the premium format form of the Amazonian warrior herself, Wonder Woman ($399.99). Standing over 18″ tall atop a massive base, the sculpt is the quintessence of Diana, right down to the supremely confident pose. A truly wonderful piece.

weekendpicks20150313-01.png

weekendpicks20150313-02.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

When I first saw the prototype shots for this entry in Sideshow’s line of 1/6-scale DC Comics figures, I was overjoyed to see that its styling was evocative of my favorite comic artist, John Byrne. So yes, that made their Superman ($199.99) even more appealing than it already was just by dint of being the next in their line of iconic characters. It’s also one of their more versatile figures, coming with a total of three different head sculpts, ranging from happy (take that, Snyder) to determined to heat vision intense. All three are great, but the gong goes to the brilliant heat vision sculpt. There are two capes packed in - one free flowing, the other with hidden wire for poseability, plus a handful of hands for accenting that perfect pose. Niftiest of all, though, is the Sideshow-exclusive hand that comes clutching Metallo’s head. Boy oh boy, this figure is just great. See for yourself…

weekendpicks20150320-02.png

weekendpicks20150320-03.png

weekendpicks20150320-04.png

weekendpicks20150320-05.png

weekendpicks20150320-06.png

weekendpicks20150320-07.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

While Criterion has been releasing the features that he helmed himself, a similarly wonderful and much-needed restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s earlier work at other studios has been neglected over the years, even though there have been plenty of releases of the material. Finally, though, a definitive edition of both Chaplin’s Essanay Comedies (Flicker Alley, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.95 SRP) and Chaplin’s Mutual Comedies (Flicker Alley, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) has been produced, remastered and lovingly restored in high definition. The results? Revelatory. The 27 films spread across the two sets chart the rise of Chaplin as an artist and the development of his most iconic character, The Tramp, after the end of his Keystone contract. Each set also contains a selection of bonus films and alternate cuts, plus the Mutual set has a documentaries on the birth of The Tramp and Chaplin’s onscreen nemesis, Eric Campbell. Yes, so… Get these sets.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

The period covered in Peanuts Every Sunday: 1961-1965 (Fantagraphics, $49.99 SRP) is, arguably, the high water mark of Charles Schulz’s iconic run, as the still-protean strip of the 50s found its rhythm and began consistently hitting the beats that would define the rest of its tenure on the comics page. And it’s brilliant to see these Sunday strips printed in full color in a large, beautiful format. These volumes can’t come fast enough, especially as we come to the close of The Complete Peanuts releases.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

In the hallowed halls of cult films, there is most surely a lofty perch for John Carpenter’s unforgettable classic Escape From New York, starring Kurt Russell as one of cinema’s greatest antiheroes. Now, those collectible crack dealers at Sideshow have made an offer few could possible refuse by releasing a spot-on 12″ Snake Plissken (Sideshow, $ 159.99). From the lifelike sculpt of Kurt Russell and the exquisitely designed & tailored outfit - both his jacketed and t-shirted looks - right down to the snake tattooed on his stomach, it’s every fan’s dream. He also comes with every little accessory you’d expect, including tons of weapons, his wrist timer, president tracker, a cigarette, and more. Oh, and the Sideshow Exclusive version includes a bonus hand holding the Nuclear Fusion Information cassette tape. Now where’s my Jack Burton figure?

weekendpicks20150213-02.png

weekendpicks20150213-03.png

weekendpicks20150213-04.png

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

For those that missed the boat on the stellar prop replica put out by Master Replicas ages ago but wanted something more robust than the plastic alternatives currently available, Thinkgeek’s Star Trek Phaser Remote Replica (Thinkgeek, $149.99) is exactly what you desire. As a screen-accurate reproduction of both the Type I and Type II phaser as featured in Star Trek: TOS, it’s pretty darn spot-on. That it also functions as a universal remote control is just downright super science. And glorious. Yes. Glorious super science.

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

-Ken Plume

blankguide.gif

holly.jpg

Comments:

Leave a Reply

FRED Entertaiment (RSS)