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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…)

(Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-rays I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.)
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As we barrel towards the release of a brand new Star Wars film, the wizards at Hot Toys continue to craft eerily lifelike 1/6-scale figures and release them at an almost cripplingly fast rate. I never thought I’d be so excited to see old man Luke Skywalker (Sideshow, $229.99), last seen in the final moments of The Force Awakens and soon to bring his wary world-weariness to The Last Jedi. And yes, while it’s great to have a Luke Skywalker figure, it’s even better to have a Mark Hamill figure on the shelf.

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Diving back to the original trilogy, Hot Toys has continued to fill out their Imperial ranks with the iconic Death Star Gunner (Sideshow, $204.99), whose most recent appearance was manning an almost-fully operational Death Star in Rogue One. The costuming on this figure is exceptionally faithful, and also allows for a couple of different display options, minus the chest protector and quilted vest, variations which were seen in the films. As giving him a console would be a bit cost-prohibitive, the only real accessory he gets is a blaster.

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Not to be outdone by Hot Toys, the fine folks at Sideshow have released an original trilogy 1/6-scale gem of their own, the reptilian bounty hunter Bossk (Sideshow, $210). Sideshow has been doing incredible work with the aliens in these films for years, and this is no exception. What’s truly impressive, though, is the work on his flight suit, and all of its attached tubing, wires, and geegaws. Incredible work all-around.

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Even nearly a year from its debut, I’m still trying to process exactly what happened in the first season of WestWorld (HBO, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$54.97 SRP) and whether or not I enjoyed it. It is a show deeply enamored of its own clockwork, often to its detriment, but remains strangely, ofttimes annoyingly, compelling throughout. As we meander towards its second season, it’s worth a re-visit, if only to be enticingly frustrated all over again. Bonus materials include featurettes and a gag reel.

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There are plenty of Christmas movies, but only a handful of Thanksgiving movies. The gold standard remains John Hughes’ Planes, Trains And Automobiles (Paramount, Rated R, Blu-Ray-$12.96 SRP), which contains - for my money - John Candy’s finest scene. I’ll let you try and think of the one I’m referring to. The new special edition contains a handful of featurettes and tributes, plus a deleted scene.

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I’m not entirely sure why The House (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$14.95 SRP) was a dud at the box office. It’s a comedy starring Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell, and that alone carries a heck of a lot of good will. The film itself is funny if unmemorable, finding Poehler and Ferrell as an empty nest couple who turn their suburban home into a casino to pay for their daughter’s high-priced college. Give it a spin. Bonus materials include featurettes, deleted/extended/alternate scenes, and a gag reel.

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If you’re wanting to fill up your lovely big HDTV with a beautiful nature documentary filled with stunning footage, try Big Pacific (PBS, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP), which explores the body that covers one-third of the Earth’s surface.

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One of the few Batman villains never to make the transition to the 1966 Batman television show finally gets his time in the spotlight via Batman Vs. Two-Face (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$16.99 SRP) - the second and, sadly, final animated film starring the late Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles as the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder. And, taking a page from the stunt casting of the original live action series, the film has cast none other than William Shatner as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Bonus materials include a clutch of featurettes and the Adam West tribute panel from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

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While a fair amount of their direct-to-video animated adaptations of comic book stories have fallen flat for me, one of the highlights of Warner Animation’s past releases is getting a lovely new release via the Justice League: The New Frontier Commemorative Edition (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$29.98 SRP), based on Darwyn Cooke’s award-winning graphic novel. As well as a steelbook case, bonus materials include audio commentaries, a quartet of featurettes, and a glimpse at the next animated movie.

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Long absent from high definition and very much needing some TLC, the Warner Archive Collection has stepped up and given a beautiful release of the best Dark Knight film of them all, Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$21.99). My only disappointment is that there are zero bonus features. Heck, they could have at least included the original HBO behind-the-scenes special.

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To be sure, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (Lionsgate, Rated PG-13, 4K-$42.99 SRP) is a beautiful film that is a brilliant way to show off your high definition home theater. As a story, though, it’s a jumbled mess that never quite achieves escape velocity from the void of its two leads, Dane DeHaan & Cara Delevinge, who seem to sleepwalk through the whole affair, rarely alighting on anything approaching chemistry. But those visuals? Gorgeous. Bonus materials include featurettes and trailers.

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Just when I think the Warner Archive Collection has run out of films to make available from the Warner vaults, they suddenly drop a massive bushel of new titles that make me go, “Hey! That’s great!” Their latest must-have batch includes The World According To Garp (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$21.99), Seven Days In May (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$21.99), The Gumball Rally (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$21.99), Time After Time (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$21.99), Victor Victoria (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$21.99), S.O.B. (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$21.99), Running On Empty (Warner Bros., Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$21.99), Midnight In The Garden Of Good & Evil (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$21.99), Michael Collins (Warner Bros., Rated R, Blu-Ray-$21.99), and Joe Versus The Volcano (Warner Bros., Rated PG, Blu-Ray-$21.99). I mean, come on! A funnyman Tom Hanks classic!

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The Warner Archive has also have been continuing to do TV releases, so fans of iZombie (Warner Bros., Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$39.99 SRP each) can now snag the first 3 seasons on Blu-Ray, featuring San Diego Comic-Con panels and deleted scenes.

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I’m not going to spoil It Comes At Night (Lionsgate, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$24.99 SRP), because it’s rare for a truly clever thriller to come down the pike, and this most certainly is one. So, by all means, check out its tale of a family isolated and seemingly secure in the woods, who faces upheaval with the unexpected arrival of a couple with their young child. Bonus materials include an audio commentary and a featurette.

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It may be hard to imagine that a show so intrinsically bleak could manage going even bleaker, but that’s exactly the feat accomplished in the seventh season of The Walking Dead (Lionsgate, Not Rated, Blu-Ray-$42.99 SRP), as it picks right up from Negan’s bloody arrival and sends our demoralized “heroes” (yeah, that’s a parenthetical) through the ringer. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, featurettes, and deleted/alternate scenes.

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There is no doubt that Power Rangers (Lionsgate, Rated PG-13, Blu-Ray-$29.99 SRP) exists. It is a film that was made. It also seems to have fallen into an uncanny valley between nostalgia and reinvention, never quite committing to either course of action, trying to be taken seriously while still speaking to the franchise’s camp origins. But hey, you get to see Elizabeth Banks chew scenery like a champ. Bonus materials include audio commentaries, featurettes, alternate/deleted scenes, and outtakes.

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There’s no denying that it survives as a certain bit of cultural kitsch, but 30 years ago, Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ To The Oldies (Time Life, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP) was a bona fide fitness sensation, encouraging and motivating those genuinely in need by representing them onscreen doing the activities they were being encouraged to participate in, cheered on by the ridiculously enthusiastic Simmons. Now, for the series’ 30th anniversary, this box set collects all 5 original programs, plus an interview with Richard, testimonials, and more.

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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

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