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…)
Until Hot Toys decided to turn their uncanny gaze her way, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a good collectible representation of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa (Hot Toys/Sideshow, $204.99 SRP). Sure, there have been plenty of figures and statue that come close - and a multitude more that were horrifyingly inaccurate, but Hot Toys 1/6-scale take, depicting the rebel leader as she appeared in Star Wars: A New Hope, is the gold standard. Take a look at the photos below and see for yourself - they’ve nailed it. I just hope they tackle her various looks from Empire, Jedi, and The Force Awakens.
The second season of Star Wars: Rebels (Walt Disney, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$45.99 SRP) not only doubled down its connections to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it tripled and quadrupled them with Mandalorians, Darth Maul, and Ahsoka’s tale. Bonus materials include “Rebels Recon” featurettes, a featurette on references and easter eggs, and a look the journey of Ahsoka and Vader.
Shane Black knows how to craft a buddy action-comedy, and that’s exactly the kind of skill that makes The Nice Guys (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) such a delight. The fact that it stars a sparking Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as a pair of mismatched detectives trying to find a missing girl while dodging both bad guys and each other certainly helps out, too. Bonus materials include a pair of featurettes.
It’s not the best John le Carre adaptation, but The Night Manager (Sony, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$40.99 SRP) really shines in the performances from Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in what is most definitely an engaging spy thriller that hits enough notes to elevate it to the upper tier.
A live action take on your animated take on The Jungle Book (Walt Disney, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP)? Directed by Jon Favreau? Okay, Disney. Whatever. You’re drunk. But wait. Shockingly enough, the final result is actually a delightful flick. I mean, come on - Bill Murray as Baloo? Who thought that would work! But it does! I don’t know what to think anymore. Bonus materials include an audio commentary and a trio of featurettes.
The remake of the original film was a forgettable mess, but the first season of Ash Vs. Evil Dead (Anchor Bay, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$49.99 SRP) all of the bloody swagger and gory good time that made the original franchise such a memorable cult favorite, and all due credit for that must go to the return of the mighty Bruce Campbell as the titular goofball. Bonus materials include audio commentaries and featurettes.
I haven’t quite decided what’s more remarkable - that we’ve already had nineteen seasons of South Park (Paramount, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$42.99 SRP), or that Matt & Trey have managed to keep it as smart and funny as they have. Sure, I don’t agree with every position they take on a topic, but there are certainly more hits than misses. Bonus materials this go round include their usual mini-commentaries, -plus deleted scenes, #SocialCommentary, and a trailer for the upcoming Fractured But Whole game.
A few months back, Doc Hammer (of Venture Bros. fame) giddily told me about the miraculous existence of a bluetooth device that perfectly re-created both the look - and more importantly the function - of an old school Star Trek: TOS Communicator (Thinkgeek, $149.99). Well, he wasn’t just delusional - the folks at The Wand Company have actually managed to craft such a bluetooth device that is every bit as accurate as a prop replica as it is an honest-to-goodness bluetooth device for your phone that allows you to flip up the antenna and make/answer calls. It even comes pre-programmed with a few sound bites from the original crew, if you weren’t already having enough of a nerdgasm. The first thing I did when I got mine? I called up Doc and we talked for over an hour on them. Like nerds. Giddy, giddy nerds.
As much as the products inside, stores can hold a place in our emotional landscape. For music lovers, none hold more nostalgic pull than the late Tower Records chain. From its fascinating founding and rapid rise to its tragic demise, Colin Hanks’ documentary All Things Must Pass (MVD, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP) is an emotional journey worth taking.
I don’t mind that some of quite legendary Warner films have been relegated to their specialty direct order catalogue, because I’m just delighted they’re finally getting the high definition treatment they deserve. Case in point is the high-def debut of the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall classics Key Largo, Dark Passage, and The Big Sleep (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$21.99 SRP each). If that weren’t enough, they’ve also released Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$21.99 SRP), Liam Neeson in Michael Collins (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$21.99 SRP), and Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$21.99 SRP). Cheers and kudos, Warner Archive! MORE!
If you want proof of just how deep the well is at the Warner Archive Collection, look to their release of a quartet of titles from the Hong Kong studio Golden Harvest - Big Bullet, Blade Of Fury, Downtown Torpedoes, and Pedicab Driver (Warner Bros., Not Rated, DVD-$21.99 SRP each) - and all 4 are packed with the action and martial arts you’d expect.
They certainly didn’t think it was going to be the end of the road, but at least they filmed a version of the finale that gave Castle (ABC Studios, Not Rated, DVD-$45.99 SRP) and its supporting cast a proper bit of closure after a rocky eighth season. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, bloopers, and “The Great Escape” escape room featurette.
Shondaland’s bedrock Grey’s Anatomy (ABC Studios, Not Rated, DVD-$45.99 SRP) keeps chugging along, with the 12th season finding everyone mired in a constant miasma of drama, but then that’s what you expect. Bonus materials include deleted scenes and a gag reel.
As iconic as the original miniseries was, the modern take on Roots (History Channel, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) could easily have been a disaster for no other reason than feeling like a redundancy that falls short of its predecessor. Instead, it manages to be a powerful piece that stand as a worthwhile updating for modern sensibilities, often managing to pull even fewer punches than the original. Bonus materials include a documentary on the history of the material dramatized in the miniseries.
Over the years, The Doctor has adopted many new and updated versions of his trusty multitool on Doctor Who, and of course that means a new toy version, as well. So, as the last season introduced yet another new iteration, you can now get your mitts on The 12th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver (Thinkgeek, $29.99), full of flashy lights and multiple sounds. It’s just all kinds of spiffy.
There’s a bit of Marley & Me to the emotional arc of Me Before You (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP), about a relationship that is as celebratory as it is complicated, buoyed by ace performances from Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Bonus materials include a featurette, outtakes, and deleted scenes.
I love that every month the folks at Olive release another batch of catalogue titles I feared would never make the transition to high definition. This month’s clutch includes Otto Preminger’s Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (Olive, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP), the original American Ninja (Olive, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP), and the religious comedy Saved! (Olive, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP). As for bonus materials, American Ninja features an audio commentary and a making-of featurette, and Saved! sports a pair of audio commentaries and a pair of featurettes.
Like dancing? Like hip-hop? Like dancing and hip-hop? Then watch a pair of young lovers try and pull off their dream of a hip-hop version of Romeo & Juliet at a prestigious South African school in Honey 3: Dare To Dance (Universal, Rated Pg-13, Blu-Ray-$22.98 SRP). Bonus materials include audio commentary, extended dance sequences, deleted scenes, and featurettes.
Spend a few hours in Shondaland catching up before the new season’s debut with the complete fifth season of Scandal (ABC Studios, Not Rated, DVD-$45.99 SRP), as the season finds the Oval Office up for grabs and Olivia Pope is prepared to grab it. Bonus materials include an extended episode and bloopers.
Pull up a hay bale and commence to chewin’ your straw for an evening in with the 14-disc Hee Haw Collector’s Edition (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$199.95 SRP), which bundles together a trio of previously released collections into a single mega-set packed with more corn than a can from Del Monte. Bonus materials include favorite sketches, guest performances, interviews, and more.
If John Waters were to make a German film about a student who rents a bunker room from an odd family only to be sucked into a truly bizarre drama, then it would be Der Bunker (Artsploitation Films, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$22.99 SRP). It’s a quirky little fairy tale worth a spin. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and outtakes.
Fans waiting for the big screen iteration currently being concocted can whet their whistles by dipping into the complete season releases of Power Rangers: Megaforce and Power Rangers: Super Megaforce (Lionsgate, Not Rated, DVD-$14.98 SRP each). Bonus materials include a featurette and a Zord gallery.
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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