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…)
We are spoiled for 1/6th-scale greatness, particularly with the Star Wars license. In just the last year, we’ve gotten stunningly pitch-perfect takes on Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO. The latest bit of wonderfulness is Hot Toys’ take on A New Hope’s Luke Skywalker (Sideshow, $229.99). From the spot-on Mark Hamill sculpt to the uniformly exquisite tailoring of his Tatooine togs, this is the best Luke we’ve gotten, bar none. It also features Hot Toys signature swappable LED lightsaber arm, which sports a healthy blue glow. In addition to that, we’ve got the blast helmet (with swappable under-helmet hair) and training remote, binoculars, a droid caller, and his deleted scenes bucket hat and poncho. Oh, and while you’re at it, be sure to also snag the latest delightful droid release, R5-D4 (Sideshow, $139.99). It even comes with a bad motivator, which you can trigger by pushing one of his visual sensors. Those 1/6-scale Jawas can’t come fast enough.
If Inside Out was Toy Story, then The Good Dinosaur (Walt Disney, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) is A Bug’s Life - a lovely, enjoyable film wholly overshadowed by its juggernaut predecessor. But now you can rectify your oversight with a viewing of this gorgeous, heartfelt little gem at home, which is packed with bonus features, including the theatrical short Sanjay’s Super Team, featurettes, deleted scenes, and much more. In fact, the copious bonus features hearken back to the heyday of the Pixar special edition DVDs.
I admit, I had my worries about The Peanuts Movie (Fox, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) after seeing the first trailer. Without the creative input of Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez, would they take these cherished characters down a crass path? Well, crisis averted, because the film turned out to be a delight that beautifully captured the spirit of Charlie Brown’s neurotic universe. Bonus materials include featurettes, music videos, and more.
You know to start ticking off the days to the new season when the previous season hits shelves, so let the arrival of Game Of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$ SRP) kick things off with a refresher course on all of the myriad and very near confusing plotlines. Where this 4-disc set really shines, though, is in the incredible bonus features, with the usual complement of audio commentaries and featurettes being bolstered by the endlessly fascinating animated histories of the show’s mythology. With a world as rich as the one crafted by George R. R. Martin, it’s a welcome dive into a deep well.
When you think of catchphrases for Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard. One is “Make it so.” Then you’ve got “Engage.” Sure, maybe “Shut up, Wesley.” Makes the cut, too. But certainly on that list is one that involves a certain beverage the good captain was fond of, and now the fine folks at Thinkgeek have made it so by offering a tin of Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. (Thinkgeek, $14.99). So now you too can sip the tea of a Starfleet legend while you contemplate your next negotiation.
That its true story of a group of canny investors that saw the mortgage crisis looming and gamed a system about to self-destruct plays like an ink-black farce makes The Big Short (Paramount, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) both painfully funny and a painful reminder of just how precariously stacked upon the backs of fools our financial system truly is. Bonus materials include featurettes and deleted scenes.
If there’s one thing that Drunk History (Comedy Central, Not Rated, DVD-$26.99 SRP) has taught us, it’s that we all would have learned a lot more in school if our teachers had been fall-down smashed. The 3rd season covers subjects ranging from the Civil War to the Cold War and more, and makes a great thing even better. Bonus materials include 5 unblurred episodes, extended/deleted scenes, hiccups, and more.
While the packaging tries to make the finality ambiguous, it certainly feels like the long, odd journey that has brought us to the 6th season of Community (Sony, Not Rated, DVD-$45.99 SRP) comes with a true sense of closure for both the characters and the audience. And as a fan of the show from the very start, I’m fine with that. All things must end, right? Unless you’re The X-Files. Which really should have stayed dead. Well and truly. Bonus materials include deleted scenes, a featurette, and a gag reel.
Following on his Oscar-winning performance as Stephen Hawking, Eddie Redmayne pulls off another remarkable turn in The Danish Girl (Universal, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP) as a young man who begins to express his long-repressed desire to live as a woman after his artist wife asks him to fill in as a portrait model. Bonus materials include a making-of featurette.
However, if you want a genuinely enjoyable show that exquisitely captures the awkwardness of its characters and the situations they find themselves in, try the first season of Togetherness (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP), from Jay & Mark Duplass. Bonus materials include a pair of featurettes and deleted scenes.
While I have zero interest in seeing what the live action cinematic take will be on DC Comics’ mightiest heroes, I have nothing but love for the endearingly goofy LEGO adventure Justice League: Cosmic Clash (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.98 SRP), which finds the League teaming with the Legion Of Super Heroes against Brainiac. Bonus materials include a featurette and a gag reel.
Why get a wimpy rinkydink lunch box when the R&D braintrust at Thinkgeek have devised a heavy-duty Tactical Lunch Kit (Thinkgeek, $29.99). The black nylon bag has a waterproof lining, an adjustable shoulder strap, and comes with a 12oz button-flow thermos with cup lid. Oh, and it’s finished off with a massive velcro patch that says “LUNCH”, because that’s what’s in it.
Continuing their genuinely wonderful partnership of chocolate and peanut butter fun, LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales (Walt Disney, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP) brings C-3PO and R2-D2 front and center as they relate the Star Wars saga from their perspective following the Battle of Endor, with all of the off-kilter LEGO sensibility we’ve come to love.
The madcap misadventures of the prisoners of Germany’s most inept Stalag are yours for the taking in this massive 27-disc collection of Hogan’s Heroes: The Complete Series (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$79.99 SRP). In addition to all of the Colonel Klink-thwarting escape attempts, bonus features include audio commentaries, a photo gallery, and a gag reel. Now you’ll know everysink!
As a parody of the sweeping, bombastically self-important miniseries events that defined TV in the 70s and 80s, The Spoils Of Babylon (Anchor Bay, Not Rated, DVD-$24.98 SRP) comes awfully close to being a sublime success, but it never quite manages to gel into that sweet spot. Which is a shame, because so many of the elements are there, from its eclectically star-studded cast to many of the story beats.
After numerous duds at NBC, Fox got the live musical on TV right by realizing you had to have an audience present to keep the energy up, and that’s why Grease: Live! (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$21.99 SRP) is a fun romp of an awkward book with memorable songs. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes providing a fascinating look at what a logistical nightmare it is to pull off a live show on network TV.
I have a love/hate relationship with Ron Howard as a filmmaker. While the stories he directs tend to be powerful, I find the film’s themselves to often be sterile affairs that never quite achieve a launch velocity. His latest, In The Heart Of The Sea (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP), is based on the true-life tale of a rogue whale that inspired Melville to write Moby Dick. The tale is mighty, the visuals are pretty darn nifty in 3D, and the cast, led by Chris Hemsworth, bring their all, but it feels more a small curio than a truly great film. Bonus materials include featurettes and deleted/extended scenes.
It was always a mess of truly unlikable characters, but it’s in the fourth season of Girls (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$34.98 SRP) that the wheels really come off the bus, as plots just kind of devolve into indifference-inducing masses of dialogue. But it does have a lovely turn by Kylo Ren, laying the groundwork of his obvious family issues. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, featurettes, and deleted/extended scenes.
The second season of Turn (Anchor Bay, Not Rated, DVD-$49.98 SRP) finds the Patriot capitol of Philadelphia fallen to the hands of the British and General Washington besieged both without and within, as conspirators infiltrate his ranks. His closest ally? Benedict Arnold. Bonus materials include featurettes and deleted/extended scenes.
The franchise has become, much like Ice Age, a quick way to generate amiable enough stories sure to entertain the kids, and Open Season: Scared Silly (Sony, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$30.99 SRP) certainly fits into that mold as forest-dwellers Boog and Elliot return with an all new adventure about overcoming fear. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, and a blooper reel.
Want a goofball sword and sorcery romp this weekend? With a name like Dudes & Dragons (Momentum Pictures, Not Rated, DVD-$24.98 SRP), you can pretty much suss out exactly what you’re getting when a ragtag bunch of unlikely heroes go up against a wizard (James Marsters) intent on ridding the land of love. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel.
Because it’s a massive IP, it was inevitable that Nick Jr. would want its share of the Turtle pie, so we get the younger-skewing animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell Heroes - Blast To The Past (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$14.99 SRP), which finds our younger, pluckier foursome rocking to the dino past.
Strawberry Shortcake and her berry berry good pals return for more adventures in a pair of brand new releases - Strawberry Shortcake: Sweet Sunshine Adventures & Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Bake Shop (Fox, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP each).Bonus materials include printable recipes, coloring pages, a music video, and a featurette.
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…
Leave a Reply