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…)
This week saw the home video release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and amongst the many familiar elements from the period just before A New Hope were a handful of new characters added to the mythos. Perhaps the most striking were the personal Storm Trooper squadron of Director Krennic, the imposing, black-clad Death Trooper (Hot Toys/Sideshow, $234.99). And, of course, Hot Toys has leapt at the chance to render the new Trooper in 1/6-scale form, and he looks like he just marched right off the screen. To add to the fidelity, he also sports a light-up feature, as you can flip a switch and illuminate the green chin nodules on the helmet. Now, if only we could get a Director Krennic for them to back up.
You can break out your crayons and pencils for the newest entry in Jeffrey Brown’s charming take on Star Wars‘ Skywalker clan, Darth Vader And Family Coloring Book (Chronicle Books, $14.95 SRP), full of images adapted from previous books plus all-new material.
Largely overlooked in favor of louder fare, Lion (Anchor Bay, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP) is worth giving a spin at home, as it features an inspiring true story of a young Indian boy who gets separated from his family while on a train, winds up at an orphanage thousands of miles away, is adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman & David Wenham), and decides, as an adult (Dev Patel), to try and find the family he lost. Bonus materials include deleted scenes and a music video.
I was there at the first midnight showing of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$ SRP), and I dearly wanted to love it. I was a Harry Potter fan, after all, and to be able to journey back into J.K. Rowling’s fictional world was an unexpected treat. Or so it should have been. Sadly, for all of the wonderful potential to be had in the premise, the film never quite delivers on the magic. It’s no disaster, certainly, but it doesn’t provide a firm foundation for the further adventures of Newt Scamander. Bonus materials include behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes.
I’d never seen it before, but once I found out that the new-to-HD release of the film Blast-Off (Olive Films, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.95 SRP) starred Burl Ives as P.T. Barnum, I was sold. That it also stars a handful of delightful vintage character actors all on a globetrotting farce is just icing on the cake.
The DC animated adaptations have been hit or miss, but their adaptation of Marv Wolfman & George Perez’s legendary Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) is largely a hit, despite some very odd hoops that had to be jumped through in regards to the team line-up. The tale of betrayal remains largely intact, however, and is worth a spin. Bonus materials include featurettes, bonus cartoons, and a sneak at the upcoming Batman And Harley Quinn movie. Oh, and if you pick up the gift set, it comes packed with a Blue Beetle figurine.
In an age where Broadway shows inevitably get lovely coffee table books to accompany their productions, it’s no surprise that Disney would celebrate their most recent Great White Way success with Aladdin: A Whole New World - The Road To Broadway And Beyond (Disney Editions$40 SRP). It’s a lush behind-the-scenes look at the development of the show from animated feature to stage hit.
I watched it once, and enjoyed its commitment to being an unsettling post-modern Kubrick, but I’ve never felt the desire to re-watch Donnie Darko (Arrow Films, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$49.95 SRP). But, for those who are devoted to it, and its disappointing director’s cut, a brand new special edition is available, loaded with bonus features as well as both cuts of the film.
Let me preface this by saying that the film was interesting, and Michael Keaton’s performance was nice, but The Founder (Anchor Bay, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) is a film about a jerk who succeeds wildly by being a jerk who screws over his business partners. That’s the story of Ray Kroc, and it feels particularly dirty in the times we find ourselves in, to encourage this kind of behavior. Yes, he was successful, but by being absolutely McAwful as a human being. Bonus materials include a press conference and galleries.
A 1933 vampire film starring Fay Wray from 1933? Yeah, that’s what you get with the newly-restored The Vampire Bat (Film Detective, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$19.99 SRP), about mysterious vampire attacks in a small village, and all of the eccentric suspects who may be perpetrating them. Bonus materials include an audio commentary and a featurette.
It’s difficult to watch Patriots Day (Lionsgate, Rated R, 4K Ultra HD-$42.99 SRP), as the events at the center of its dramatization of the manhunt following the Boston Marathon bombing still feel raw. It’s a solid film, to be sure, but an awkward viewing experience. Bonus materials include featurettes exploring the events and people involved.
In the grand pantheon of video game-to-film adaptations, Assassin’s Creed (Fox, Rated PG-13, 4K Ultra HD-$39.99 SRP) is definitely another one, almost entirely disposable, but very, very pretty looking in 4K. So, if you want a fine action adventure somehow starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard to show off your new TV, this film’ll work a charm. Bonus materials include a documentary, interviews, deleted scenes, and a gallery.
The fine folks at Flicker Alley continue their remarkable silent film restoration program with a unique film I’d never seen before, 1919’s Behind The Door (Flicker Alley, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP), a WWI-fueled tale of vengeance about a working class American persecuted for his German ancestry who enlists to go to sea but loses his wife after she stows aboard his ship and is captured by a U-boat captain. Bonus materials featurettes, outtakes, and the Russian export version of the film.
You could almost make a double feature - a turgid double feature - out of Collateral Beauty (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$22.21 SRP) and Live By Night (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP), two forgotten films of 2016 starring big names - Will Smith and Ben Affleck, respectively. The stories couldn’t be more different - one’s a super-serious drama, and the other is a violent period gangster flick - but they are both, again, sadly forgettable. Collateral Beauty contains a single making-of featurette, while Live By Night sports a handful of featurettes, a commentary, and deleted scenes.
So. Monster Trucks (Paramount, Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP). A kiddie film about trucks that are also monsters. Or monsters that are also trucks. And they costar with Matthew Lillard. Because, of course they do. It’s just… I mean… I am not the audience for this. I assume that kids are. Kids who love monsters who are trucks. And Matthew Lillard. This, then, is for them. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.
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