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…)
It took his arc in Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels to make Darth Maul an actual character rather than the cardboard villain of The Phantom Menace, and without that character work I wouldn’t have nowhere near as interested in the new 1/6-scale Darth Maul ($239.99). But I do have a newfound respect for ol’ Maul, and it’s fortuitous that it coincides with the release of what I consider to be one of Sideshow’s finest 1/6-scale figures, from the sculpt and paint ops to the tailoring of the outfit, he’s positively sublime. Kudos to the folks at Sideshow for a stellar effort.
There was a time when Disney’s in-house CG-animated future was looking downright bleak compared to Pixar (I’m looking at you, Chicken Little, but they’ve managed to find a modern voice and style and maturity in recent years, all culminating in Moana (Walt Disney, Rated PG, 3D Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP), a powerful tale that feels new even while trading on the we-trod tropes of Disney’s past. Bonus points for a great collection of tunes and a positively stunningly rendered world (see it in 3D). Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, a deleted song, and more.
Charlie McDonnell is brilliant. I’d say that even if he weren’t my friend. My proof? His new book, Fun Science (Quadrille, $22.95 SRP), in which he manages to distill and infuse his absolute joy in science into a tome that acts as a handy primer for life, the universe, and everything. Science is awesome, and Charlie presets scores of reasons why. Get this book, and gift it to everyone you know. Hell, gift it to people you don’t know.
That creator Derek Waters has crafted a series that smuggles genuine lessons in history into a comedy show full of drunk people is why I’m terribly impressed that we’ve made it to a 4th season of Drunk History (Comedy Central, Not Rated, DVD-$22.98 SRP), because surely such a positive work can not long persist in the this world. Bonus features include an election special plus deleted/extended scenes.
It’s ostensibly a canonical all-ages novel taking place in the post-Return Of The Jedi era of Star Wars, but the must-read fun of Star Wars: Join The Resistance (Disney Lucasfilm Press, $12.99 SRP) is that it’s written by the team of Acker & Blacker, of Thrilling Adventure Hour fame, and their wry sensibility and crackerjack story sense permeate would could otherwise be pedestrian juvenile fare.
Golly, but I sure did have a lot of the stickers collected in the Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book (Abrams, $12.95 SRP) plastered on every nook and cranny of my existence while growing up. Which is probably why this book - which collects 250 vintage stickers (actual stickers!) plus newly-produced ones for The Force Awakens - is such an evocative journey down memory lane. And boy, were those tickers hard to remove.
Like me, I’m sure you’ve been spending nearly every waking moment playing through Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. If you want to take a brief break and solve a puzzle of a different kind, try assembling the beautiful stained glass image in the Zelda: Windwaker Puzzle (Thinkgeek, $10.99). And THEN you can go back to playing.
While we wait for the television adaptation of his modern mythology American Gods, revel in Neil Gaiman’s spin on Norse Mythology (W.W. Norton, $25.95 SRP), in which he distills the legendary tales of gods and men and presents those timeless raw elements in a supremely engaging form.
I don’t care what it is - a film starring Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleason? I’ll watch it. Trespass Against Us (Lionsgate, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP) stars Fassbender as a reluctant criminal on the run from the law after a heist goes south, complicated by the fact that Gleason is Fassbender’s fearsome outlaw father-in-law.
Laika has a history of producing visually stunning stop-motion animated films, which is why devouring the behind-the-scenes tome from their latest - The Art Of Kubo And The Two Strings (Chronicle Books, $40 SRP) is such an utter treat. Chronicle knows how to put together a solid Art Of book, and this is a perfect entry in their ever-growing library.
The second volume of what I hope will be a continuing series, They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art Of Disney’s Musical Years (Chronicle Books, $40 SRP) uncovers and presents dozens of pieces produced during the development process of Disney’s musical features in the 1940s by the studio’s concept artists. Truly beautiful and a marvelous insight into the creative process of a landmark period.
I daresay that the current - and soon to be ending - animated version of the heroes in a halfshell is the best. For proof, simply dive into the episodes contained in the latest collection from the show’s fourth season, Tales Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Shredder (Nickelodeon, Not Rated, DVD-$16.99 SRP) and experience a level of nuanced and mature storytelling and artistry that will be sorely missed when this show comes to a close next season.
As alternate history tales seem to be all the rage now, check out Resistance (Film Movement, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP), about an occupied Britain after D-Day was lost, and the inhabitants of a valley forced to collaborate with the occupying Germans when a harsh winter sets in.
I admit, I always enjoyed Vicki Lawrence’s Carol Burnett Show spin-off Mama’s Family when I used to watch it as a kid, and there’s no better primer than The Mama’s Family Favorites Collection (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$669.95 SRP), which brings together episodes from all 6 seasons, specially chosen by Lawrence.
It’s no surprise that they were able to craft a special volume of The Carol Burnett Show dedicated entirely to The Best Of Tim Conway (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$12.95 SRP) is of little surprise, as there is such a surfeit of material to choose from that it’s shocking there just a single disc. Now, here’s hoping we also get a “Best Of Harvey Korman” volume, as well.
Stressed? Want to color? Disney has a batch of new Art Of Coloring books, each featuring a 100 images, ready to calm you. The new batch features The Muppets, Tsum Tsum, the new live action Beauty And The Beast, and even The Golden Girls (Disney Editions, $15.99 SRP each).
For a kick ass lead character, look to Eve Thorogood in Wolf Creek (Lionsgate, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP), an American college student who decides to hunt down the serial killer who brutally murdered her family in the Australian outback. Bonus materials for the first season include a clutch of featurettes.
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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