Features
Interviews
Columns
Podcasts
Shopping Guides
Production Blogs
Contests
Message Board
RSS Feed
Contact Us
Archives

 

weekendshopping.png

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…)

Sometimes, it seems like Disney has a toybox that is positively overflowing with properties, which becomes abundantly and delightfully clear when two actual toys - well, high-end collectibles (SUPER-TOYS!) arrive hot on the heels of each other, each representing a circle in the Venn diagram of the company’s IP. Not only do these two figures come from powerhouse franchises Marvel & Star Wars, but Hot Toys has delivered them in the form of two of the best figures they’ve ever produced.

From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes Doctor Strange (Sideshow, $234.99), as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. From the exquisitely tailored reproduction of the film’s ridiculously intricate costume to the eerily lifelike head sculpt and paint-ops, this is magical realization as befitting Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. In addition to numerous hands (including a few in spell-casting gestures, but sadly non in his more comics-accurate gloved form, as seen in the mid-credit sequence), you get his sling ring, two versions of the Eye Of Aggamoto (open & closed), and numerous spell attachments. This is a truly spectacular figure.

weekendpicks20170929-01.png

weekendpicks20170929-02.png

weekendpicks20170929-03.png

weekendpicks20170929-04.png

.

blankguide.gif

Not to be outshone by Stephen Strange, we transition from the mystical to the mechanical for the breakout star of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, K-2SO (Sideshow, $229.99 SRP). I love me some robots, and the endearingly acerbic K-2SO immediately earned himself a place in my heart. The deceptively simple sculpt is a perfect scaled reproduction, and the engineering of the figure delivers a surprising range of movement and poseability. While he’s light on accessories (just a blaster and a grenade), the light he does get - adjustable light-up LED eyes - certainly makes up for it. And now, he can team up with Dr. Strange because, I don’t know, multiverse and dimensions and magic, or something. You figure it out.

weekendpicks20170929-05.png

weekendpicks20170929-06.png

blankguide.gif

It was inevitable that there were dark days ahead for its protagonists, but the third season of Star Wars: Rebels (Walt Disney, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$45.99 SRP) is when we finally get a sense that many of these characters would not have a particularly happy ending in their future, as the Empire closes in and we approach the show’s junction with Rogue One. Bonus materials include audio commentaries and featurettes.

blankguide.gif

Ten years in the making, Ken Burns & Lynn Novick’s 18-hour documentary treatise on The Vietnam War (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$129.99 SRP) is every bit as comprehensive and compelling as you’d expect from the documentary duo. It truly is a gripping, often harrowing account of a dark period in American history. Bonus materials include a making-of featurette and additional content.

blankguide.gif

While bootlegs and original vinyl rips have been floating around the internet for ages, I am giddy beyond measure that we finally have a fully remastered, expanded release of the songs and score to Robert Altman’s unjustly overlooked Popeye (Varese Sarabande, $12.99 SRP). Not only does it contain all of Harry Nilsson’s songs, but a bonus of all of his demos, including songs cut from the film.

blankguide.gif

Granted, the Zach Snyder DC superhero films have set the bar ridiculously low, but for all its faults (and there are plenty of faults), director Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$34.99 SRP) succeeds in being a bright, colorful, and just plain enjoyable film that is unashamed to be unabashedly heroic. It’s a start. Bonus materials include an epilogue, featurettes, extended scenes, bloopers, and more.

blankguide.gif

And while we’re talking Diana, I can’t recommend enough the PVC statuette of Wonder Woman from Diamond Select Toys ($45.00 SRP). Based on her Bruce Timm-designed appearance in the [Justice League] animated series, it’s maquette quality sculpting at a ridiculously accessible price. All indications is that Diamond is going to continue this line, with an animated Flash on its way soon, and I hope the line dive even deeper, because it’s sterling stuff.

weekendpicks20170929-36.png

blankguide.gif

I love it when a book comes out and exhaustively explores a topic that has been oft-overlooked and profoundly underappreciated, and both can certainly be ascribed to the unsung artists chronicled in the exhaustive and engaging Ink & Paint: The Women Of Walt Disney’s Animation (Disney Editions, $60 SRP), which examines the roles women filled in the Disney studio from its inception to the modern age.

blankguide.gif

The cycle of release and re-release is the economic circle of life that Disney has seared in our collective consumer brains for generations, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve released a brand new edition of The Lion King (Walt Disney, Rated G, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP) in their resent “Signature Collection”, which augments previous releases with new footage from the recording sessions, archival footage from the story room, an artistic view of the villain Scar, and a sing-along version of the film.

blankguide.gif

I admit that I had zero expectations for Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$44.95 SRP), but damned if it didn’t turn out to be a fun-filled rollercoaster ride with definite style and a cast of character actors that made the whole thing pop. I’m not really concerned where this cinematic universe goes from here, but this was a great little film. Bonus materials include an audio commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes.

blankguide.gif

You’d think that every nook and cranny of Walt Disney’s history and legacy would have been covered by now, but then along comes a book like Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World Of Disney Food (Disney Editions, $35.00 SRP)which details the cuisine that influenced Walt and what was served at the studio and Disneyland during his lifetime. Packed with vintage menus and scads of rare photos, it’s a feast for Disney fans.

blankguide.gif

Featuring 16 episodes from across its 11 seasons, The Best Of The Carol Burnett Show (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$59.95 SRP) is a 6-disc set collecting the best of the best, complete uncut, including the 2-hour series finale. Packed with guest stars and newly-produced bonus featurettes and bloopers, it’s a great one-stop set.

blankguide.gif

And while we’re talking Burnett’s show, while most of the attention went to the always flashy Tim Conway, I think I liked the man he so often tried to crack up more - and who finally gets his proper spotlight with The Carol Burnett Show: The Best Of Harvey Korman (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP). The disc features 4 episodes of prime Korman.

blankguide.gif

As someone who revels in the ability to peek behind the creative curtain, I loved diving into They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art Of Disney’s Late Golden Age - The 1940s Part Two (Chronicle Books, $45.00 SRP). The third volume in what I hope continues to be an ongoing series, it deep dives into the Disney archives to unearth and present the artwork drawn by studio artists that served as inspiration for Disney’s iconic films and shorts.

blankguide.gif

Celebrating its 40th anniversary with a collection of 40 short stories seemed like a fun and interesting way to mark the occasion, and Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View (Del Rey, $35.00 SRP) delivers on that promise, focusing on characters central, side, and obscure and written by luminaries like Paul Dini, Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Wil Wheaton, Gary Whitta, and more.

blankguide.gif

Geared towards ages 10-and-up, the second volume of Ben Acker & Ben Blacker’s Star Wars: Join The Resistance series, Escape From Vodran (Lucasfilm Press, $12.99 SRP) manages the same tricky feat of the first volume, which is to craft a tale that manages to be an entertaining read for both kids and adults.

blankguide.gif

In the lead-up to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, there are quite a few stories being released to fill in some of the canon. Claudia Gray’s novel Leia: Princess Of Alderaan (Lucasfilm Press, $17.99) follows a 16-year-old Leia as she prepares herself for a life in service to her homeworld and confronts a difficult choice regarding her future.

blankguide.gif

I’ve made it quite clear that I’m a sucker for “Art Of” books, and I would expect Steven Universe: Art & Origins (Abrams, $29.95 SRP) to be every bit as quirky and endearing as the show itself. To my un-surprised delight, it is, and is the perfect companion for fans of the show, chronicling not only its development, but also jam-packed with illustrations.

blankguide.gif

I remember enjoying watching the show every evening after it made its debut on Nick At Nite, and now I’m just as delighted to be able to watch the glorious comedy time capsule that is Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete First Season (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP), totally uncut for the first time since its original late-60s airing. Bonus features include bloopers, 25th anniversary cast reunion highlights, an interview with creator George Schlatter, and the original pilot.

blankguide.gif

Both Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron are capable of making funny movies. Some, even unintentionally funny - but funny nonetheless. I don’t know how a meta nostalgia pic like Baywatch (Paramount, Unrated, 4K-$39.95 SRP) manages to be a largely unfunny affair, despite its best efforts. It’s a shame, really, because I was hoping for another 21 Jump Street surprise. Bonus materials include featurettes and deleted/extended scenes.

blankguide.gif

Like a long-lost child finally coming home, Mickey’s older sibling was returned back to the Disney company (thanks to some corporate horse trading) and is celebrated in the gorgeous Oswald The Lucky Rabbit: The Search For The Lost Disney Cartoons (Disney Editions, $40.00 SRP). This book provides not only a history of the character, but also extant images and information on cartoons thought missing.

blankguide.gif

The time capsule aspect of the uncut shows released within the ongoing The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$47.99 SRP) is what makes this series, which has been supplemented by a new 6-disc set, so incredibly appealing, with guests like Jack Benny, Dom DeLuise, Burt Reynolds, Paul McCartney, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and more. Here’s hoping there are more of these lined up. And if that weren’t enough Carson - trust me, there’s never enough Carson - they’re also releasing the 10-DVD The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny And Friends (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$79.68 SRP) features 28 uncut episodes with even more iconic guests, plus a plethora of bonus goodies.

blankguide.gif

After the explosive debut of its first season, Daredevil: The Complete Second Season (Marvel, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) stumbles a bit with a split narrative and a lackluster villain in The Hand, but redeems itself with a largely electrifying Elektra and the welcome return of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk. The real gem, though, is the first season of Jessica Jones (Marvel, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP), which is positively revelatory with a strong lead in Krysten Ritter and a powerful villain turn from David Tennant. Sadly, neither of these releases gets a single bonus feature, which is a real shame.

blankguide.gif

While their theatrical wing flounders from misstep to misfire (save for the glorious exception that is Wonder Woman), the television series based around the superheroics of the DC universe stable are a rather reliable bright spot. With their new seasons on the horizon, catch up on the complete third season of The Flash (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$54.97 SRP), the second season of Supergirl (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$54.97 SRP), and the complete third season of Gotham (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$54.97 SRP). Bonus materials include featurettes, audio commentary, gag reels, and deleted scenes.

blankguide.gif

For the first time since 1929, the complete, original 10-reel edition of the landmark film The Lost World (Flicker Alley, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.95 SRP) - utilizing Willis O’Brien’s groundbreaking animation that would soon become immortalized in King Kong - has been found, restored, and made available to the public in a beautiful high definition Blu-Ray release, featuring an audio commentary, deleted scenes, additional shorts, and more.

blankguide.gif

Guy Ritchie tackling the King Arthur legends? Sure, I’ll watch it. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$35.99 SRP) is ultimately disposable and largely forgettable, but while you’re on the ride, it’s enjoyable bombast anchored by a mostly-there Charlie Hunnam. Bonus materials include a handful of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

blankguide.gif

While the show as we loved it has now fallen, you can re-live the good times with The Great British Baking Show: Season 4 (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$13.99 SRP), in which Mary Berry and Mel & Sue are still pretending to like Paul Hollywood.

blankguide.gif

As a Disney fan who still holds a dear place in my heart for films like Mary Poppins and the songs of Disneyland, it’s delightful to watch a documentary featuring one half of the sibling duo responsible for that music, Richard M. Sherman: Songs Of A Lifetime (PBS, Not Rated, DVD-$24.99 SRP). Bonus materials include an additional interview and behind-the-scenes photos.

blankguide.gif

The 90s Nickelodeon nostalgia train has pulled into the station with another catalogue dive to delight the now-adult fans of that era - The Secret World Of Alex Mack: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, Not Rated, DVD-$29.98 SRP), which contains all 78 episodes.

blankguide.gif

While there’s a strong visual flair that’s evocative of the Wachowskis and Ridley Scott, the chief problem with Ghost In The Shell (Paramount, Rated PG-13, 3D Blu-Ray-$48.99 SRP) is that it’s just boring. Unrelentingly, forgettably boring. I’m not even sure I can pinpoint just why it’s so boring. The story? The direction> Even Scarlett Johansson seems bored. Bonus materials include a trio of featurettes.

blankguide.gif

When it comes to cult classic comedies, near the top of the list must surely come Bobcat Goldthwait’s alcoholic harlequin masterpiece Shakes The Clown (Mill Creek, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$14.98 SRP), which is making its high-def debut with a brand-new audio commentary from Bobcat and stars Tom Kenny and Julie Brown.

blankguide.gif

If there’s one element I dearly wish were present for the new animated film set in the Batman: The Animated Series universe, Batman And Harley Quinn (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$17.96 SRP), it’s writer Paul Dini, because the painfully awkward story found here is something that could have been avoided with a defter, more mature hand. What we have instead is a rather superficial, juvenile take on presenting “mature” material that comes across as largely tone deaf, especially for poor Harley. Bonus materials include featurettes and a sneak peek at Batman: Gotham By Gaslight.

blankguide.gif

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…

-Ken Plume

##

Comments:

Leave a Reply

FRED Entertaiment (RSS)