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 Captain America: Civil War is bring up theaters (and burning out the awful memories of Batman vs. Superman, the fine folks at Hot Toys are still releasing figures from the last major outing of Earth’s mightiest heroes, Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron Making their debut in that film (and returning in Civil War), you can now get the Age Of Ultron 1/6-scale The Vision (Sideshow, $219.99) & Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch (Sideshow, $229.99). We’ve come to expect miracles on these figures, and neither of these disappoint, as the likenesses and costuming are spot-on. And even though he didn’t make it out of Age Of Ultron alive, you’ll also want to make sure you complete your set of Maximoff twins with Pietro himself, Quicksilver (Sideshow, $209.99). Really, there’s something wonderfully precious about a figure wearing a perfect set of 1/6-scale running shoes. Truly, we live in an age of miracles.
A half-century ago, film legend Vincent Price and his wife Mary released what they termed A Treasury Of Great Recipes (Calla Editions, $50 SRP) which, in what may very well be the first celebrity cookbook, collected together recipes gathered from the couple’s globetrotting. From European cuisine to American hot dogs, the recipes run the gamut of tastes, all presented with introductory context of their travels. This new 50th anniversary edition features a retrospective preface from Vincent Price and a brand new foreword from Wolfgang Puck.
It’s brilliant that Abrams is genuinely committed to seeing that all 3 films will eventually get a book celebrating the iconic trading cards of our youth, as evidenced by the release of their second Star Wars volume, The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series (Abrams Comicarts, $24.95 SRP), which reproduces all of the images, and also includes a clutch of brand new cards exclusive to the book.
I dearly miss the Batman: The Animated Series maquette series that the Warner Bros. Store released years and years ago. But thankfully, that fine tradition has been carried on by Diamond Select with their stellar Mad Love Harley Quinn Resin Statue (Diamond Select, $150), which fits into that classic scale and perfectly captures Bruce Timm’s artwork from that Paul Dini/Bruce Timm masterpiece. And do yourself a favor and also keep an eye on their Batman: TAS bust releases, including their Almost Got ‘im Harley Quinn and Laughing Fish Joker (Diamond Select, $60 each). More!
While it’s a bit of cognitive dissonance to see Jennifer Lawrence playing a middle-aged woman, she’s just such an ace performer that she carries Joy (Fox, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) on her shoulders, as the titular real-life creator of the Miracle Mop, Joy Mangano, who faces nearly-insurmountable obstacles before establishing her personal and professional legacy. Bonus materials include a pair of featurettes and a gallery.
As a prelude to giving her the legendary variety show that would cement her place in comedy history, CBS gave Carol Burnett a prime time special in 1966. Now you can watch the Carol +2: The Original Queens Of Comedy (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$12.95 SRP) special, in which Carol reached out and secured an equal legendary guest star in Lucille Ball. Also included on the disc is the 1972 television movie version of Once Upon A Mattress, in which Carol reprised her original Broadway role, and a Burnett-introduced sketch from the 1963 special Carol & Company featuring the 1st appearance of her “charwoman” character.
The thing that I love most about Thinkgeek is that so many of the products that they develop in-house fall into the category of “Well, that’s pretty nifty and I think I want one”. Case in point? Their Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker (Thinkgeek, $39.99). It’s exactly what it says it is - a waffle maker that makes Death Star waffles. Because who doesn’t love waffles? Thinkgeek knows you do. And they love you.
Roger Corman’s low-budget cult classic ghost story The Terror (Film Detective, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$14.99 SRP) benefits from stars Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson, plus five uncredited directors, including Francis Coppola and Nicholson himself. It also benefits from a brand new high definition restoration.
It’s been 30 years since Maverick took the highway to the danger zone, so that means it’s the perfect time to release a brand new 30th anniversary edition of Top Gun (Paramount, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$22.98 SRP), the film that launched Tom Cruise into the stratosphere. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, featurettes, multi-angle storyboards with optional commentary, music videos, TV spots, and interviews.
Spanning two decades of travels and containing a trio of specials, Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$12.95 SRP) find the legendary comic traveling the globe and bringing his show packed with comedy and special guests to servicemen.
It’s been quite a few years since Michael Moore’s last documentary, but his latest, Where To Invade Next (Anchor Bay, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) is one of his most positive, as it takes a tongue-in-cheek but sincere look around the world for how other countries have tackled some of America’s greatest problem and could help re-inspire the American dream.
The co-creator of Supergirl, Brainiac, and The Legion Of Super-Heroes, Al Plastino was a golden age artist who worked on characters including Superman, Nancy, Joe Palooka, and Batman, and is now the subject of the illustrated biography Al Plastino: Last Superman Standing (Twomorrows, $17.95 SRP). Packed with art, author Eddy Zeno’s tome is a fine celebration of a great artist.
Cut off from the world, the stranded residents of Haven (E1, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.98 SRP) face challenges across time and space as a cataclysm looms in the show’s final season. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, featurettes, interviews, and more.
It’s a fair trick for a comedian to be able to bring his well-established stage persona to a sitcom and be able to build a viable show around it, but Jim Gaffigan manages to pull it off with the affable first season of The Jim Gaffigan Show (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$26.98 SRP).
One of the greatest Blaxploitation films of all time gets a truly wonderful high definition restoration with the release of Dolemite (Vinegar Syndrome, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP), which has been mastered in 2k from a newly-discovered 35mm print. Bonus features include an audio commentary, a making-of documentary, featurettes, and more.
The Criterion high definition mastering for David Lean’s powerfully moving adaptation of Noel Coward’s play about doomed romance, Brief Encounter (Criterion, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP) is as beautiful to behold as it is to experience again. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, documentaries, an interview with Coward scholar Barry Day, and a trailer.
Betty White, Wendie Malick, Jane Leaves, & Valerie Bertinelli return for the 6th and final season of TV Land’s surprise hit Hot In Cleveland (Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP), featuring an impressive roster of guest stars including Craig Ferguson, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, Robert Wagner, and Huey Lewis.
Dakota Johnson doesn’t deserve the awfulness of 50 Shades Of Grey. If you’d like a much better vehicle for a charming actor, check out How To Be Single (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP), which teams her up with Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie, and Leslie Mann in a comedy about lonely hearts in New York City. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, and outtakes.
In order to prevent the destruction of the Earth, our heroes on the half shell journey into the farthest reaches of space in the 12 episodes found on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Beyond The Known Universe (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP). And best of all? Their guide is a robot voiced by The 10th Doctor himself, David Tennant. Oh, and we also get a full-fledged crossover with the old school animated turtles. Pretty nifty.
Mash up Sons of Anarchy and Deliverance and you pretty much have the show Outsiders (Sony, Not Rated, DVD-$45.99 SRP), about an isolated clan in the mountains of Kentucky that live an insular, pagan lifestyle that becomes threatened by the outside world. Bonus materials include deleted scenes and featurettes.
If you’ve ever wondered about the ludicrously complex mechanisms that control how we remember, dive into the Nova special Memory Hackers (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP), in which neuroscientists attempt to determine the mechanisms that make it all work.
Olive Films continues to drop “thank goodness someone finally released them” catalogue titles in HD, with this month’s pair being Russell Crowe in The Sum Of Us (Olive, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP) and John Lithgow in the Robert Altman-produced Rich Kids (Olive Films, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP).
Your toddler picks for this week are a pair of new Nickelodeon releases - Bubble Guppies: Fun On The Farm (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP) and preschool education friendly Let’s Learn STEM: Volume 2 (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), containing episodes from Team Umizoomi, Blaze And The Monster Machines, PAW Patrol, and Dora And Friends.
Those catalogue mavens at Mill Creek have mined the vaults for another batch of reasonably-priced releases, including complete series sets of the shows Dog House (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$9.98 SRP), and 10 Items Or Less (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), the multi-film Hammer Films Collection (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$8.99 SRP) & The Randolph Scott Round-up (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), and Doomsday (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP), which collects a trio of apocalyptic miniseries (Blackout, Meteor, Pandemic).
It’s no Pixar production, but there’s more plenty of charm in Norm Of The North (Lionsgate, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP), an animated feature about a polar bear who heads to New York City in order to save his arctic home. Bonus materials include featurettes, and deleted scenes.
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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