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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…)

Hot Toys has been slowly rolling out their Avengers: Age Of Ultron figures over the last few months, with the bulk of our established heroes now available. Add to that list their latest, and greatest, 1/6-scale take on the god of thunder, Thor ($219.99). With three previous takes on the character, they’ve further refined the small nuances in capturing Chris Hemsworth’s likeness, and have also upped the ante with the delicate sculpting of his hair. It’s uncanny. Frighteningly so. As usual, the scaled costuming is spot on, and an extra wow factor comes from the internal light/glow gimmick built into a bonus version of his hammer, Mjolnir. It’s an impressive addition to the lineup, and has me even more excited to see what they’ve done with Marvel’s cosmic big baddie, Thanos.

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As his big epics have left me largely cold in recent years, I think I prefer the quieter sophistication of the Spielberg we find in Bridge Of Spies (Dreamworks, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), a true tale of a Cold War spy exchange starring the perfect pairing of Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, as a Brooklyn lawyer and the Russian spy he’s tasked with delivering to Moscow. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes on both the history and the production.

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It feels like there’ve been dozens of releases of Walt Disney’s first animated feature film, from VHS to laserdisc to DVD to Blu-Ray, but the latest Blu-Ray edition of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$36.99 SRP), the “Walt Disney Signature Collection” edition, manages to find even more bonus materials from the company’s archives, including an interview with Walt about the film, a never-before-seen alternate sequence of Snow White meeting the Prince, and more.

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Leave it to Robert Redford to make a potent and powerful modern ode to journalism with Truth (Sony, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP), which is based on the true story of the CBS News controversy that cost Dan Rather his position as the face of that organization’s news division. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes.

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The latest DC Comics direct-to-home-video animated feature adapting J.M. DeMatteis’ Batman: Bad Blood (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$24.98 SRP), as a hellish evening leaves Batman missing and the extended Bat-family of Nightwing, Robin, Batwoman and the mysterious Batwing to pick up the pieces. Bonus materials include featurettes and a sneak peek at Justice League vs. Teen Titans.

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The blood continues to flow freely as supernatural shenanigans persist in the second season of From Dusk Till Dawn (E1, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP), as relationships are changed up amidst complications aplenty. The 3-disc set is loaded with bonus features, including audio commentaries, featurettes, con panels, and more.

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This week’s deep dive into the many wonderful releases from PBS can be split into nonfiction and fiction. So let’s start off with a pair of prestige drams - the 6th and final season of Downton Abbey (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$59.99 SRP) and the Ridley Scott-produced Civil War miniseries Mercy Street (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$44.99 SRP). Bonus features on Downton include a trio of featurettes, while Mercy Street gets featurettes and deleted scenes.

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On the nonfiction front, we’ve got the beautiful photography of the BBC’s Earth’s Natural Wonders: Living On The Edge (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) and The Best Of Big Blue Live (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s examination of The Black Panthers (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), an exploration of the assassination of James Garfield in American Experience: Murder Of A President (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), the remarkable tale of America’s forgotten labor struggle in American Experience: The Mine Wars (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), and the Nova special Making North America (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), about the elemental forces which shaped our continent.

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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…

-Ken Plume

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