[Editor’s Note: Thrifting is fantastic. I’ve gotten some of my favorite t-shirts and jackets from such places. But nobody out-thrifts Thespia. If it becomes an Olympic sport, with her on the team, we’ve got it in the bag. No pun intended. She knows her stuff. -Widge]
How many times have you complimented a friend on a piece of clothing and heard the response, “Isn’t it great? And I got it for only five dollars!” Finding great deals isn’t as hard or as time consuming as many of us may believe. One of the easiest (and I daresay most fun) ways of saving tons of money on clothing, household items, etc. is to check out your local thrift store. Whether you’re a seasoned “thrifter” or have never set foot in a second-hand shop before, check out the tips below on how to make your trip smooth, effective, and enjoyable. Read More
If you’re a fan of the Jackass television series and movies, you’ll be excited to know that the Jackass Complete Movie and TV Collection is now available in an eleven-disc DVD set. Released just in time for Action Point (the newest movie in the franchise), the set features all seven films and the entire television series (presented in its unrated version). Thrilling stunts and uproarious pranks abound as Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, and Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña seek to fill their lives with as much hilarity as possible. Sadly there are no bonus features in this collection (I imagine all the hijinks create some fairly lively behind-the-scenes action and that these guys would provide some pretty colorful audio commentary, but there you have it.) The Jackass Complete Movie and TV Collection is available on Amazon for $18.59, which considering the total run time of 979 minutes means you’re paying less than two cents a minute to experience everything Jackass.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of Batman Ninja. The opinions I share are my own.
If you’re a fan of classic westerns, you’ll be happy to know that Season Thirteen of Gunsmoke is now out (spread across two DVD sets). The series follows the adventures of iconic Old West hero Marshal Matt Dillon (played by Emmy Award nominee James Arness) as he strives to keep order amidst gunfights, bank robberies, murders, and other outlaw-ish activities, along with the help of his endearing deputy Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis). Along for the ride are the alluring saloon mistress Miss Kitty (Emmy Award nominee Amanda Blake) and stalwart Doc Adams (Emmy Award winner Milburn Stone). Volumes One and Two of Gunsmoke: The Thirteenth Season feature all twenty-five episodes of the 1967-1968 season (presented in color). The only “bonus” features are original episodic trailers, which is a shame considering all they could have done with that; even though a lot of the cast and crew have gone to the big ranch in the sky, people like Burt Reynolds and Buck Taylor are still around (and I assume available to sit for a few hours to provide what would be very entertaining audio commentary). That aside, if you’re a fan and want to make sure to get Season Thirteen on the shelf, this is your chance to grab it. Both Volume One (fifteen episodes) and Volume Two (ten episodes) are currently available on Amazon for $22.96.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay and Claws: The Complete First Season. The opinions I share are my own.
Can anyone conjure up a cuter image of (literal) puppy love than when Lady and the Tramp share a strand of spaghetti in their eponymous film? Fans will be glad to know that the classic movie is now out on Blu-ray as the sixth title in the Walt Disney Signature Collection (alongside Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Bambi, and The Lion King). This new release presents the film in its original theatrical version, a sing-along version, and an “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings” version, where the viewer hears reenactments of Walt’s story sessions with animators as the film runs. Along with previously released bonus features (a featurette with memories from Walt’s daughter and a look at the never-recorded song “I’m Free as the Breeze” meant for Tramp), new bonus features in the Signature Collection release include deleted scenes, a special about the dogs Walt Disney had over his lifetime, a tour of Walt’s historically re-created office on the lot, and a lesson on how to make the perfect meatball from teen chef Amber Kelley and Oh My Disney show host Alexys Gabrielle. All disc versions of Lady and the Tramp: Signature Collection are now available on Amazon– the Multi-Screen Edition set (Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy) is currently priced at $23.99, the Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook at $41.75, and the Storybook Edition (which also includes a 32-page storybook) at $41.80.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of LEGO DC Super Heroes: The Flash and Major Crimes: The Sixth and Final Season. The opinions I share are my own.
If you’ve ever thought that Walking Dead could be improved by adding spongy puppets to the mix, your prayers have been answered! Following the acclaimed specials Robot Chicken: Star Wars and Robot Chicken DC, Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken late-night sketch show now brings new life to the undead with The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who’s Walking. The 22-minute special tells the “secret history” of some of the best Walking Dead moments and features an all-star cast, including Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Steven Yeun, and Sarah Wayne Callies. The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who’s Walking is being released on March 27 on Blu-ray and DVD, which also includes cut sketches, behind-the-scenes and “making of” featurettes, and exclusive commentary from The Walking Dead showrunner / executive producer Scott M. Gimple, Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, The Walking Dead creator / executive producer Robert Kirkman, and director Tom Sheppard. The special is available for pre-order on Amazon on Blu-ray and DVD for $14.42 and $9.96, respectively.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of Animal Kingdom: The Complete Second Season and The Guardian: The Complete Series. The opinions I share are my own.
When you’re in need of some old-school laughs, the Jackie Gleason Show may be just the ticket. Gleason starred as the boisterous working-class “everyman” host of his variety show, which ran from 1952 to 1970 in various forms and included singing, dancing, comedy sketches, and beloved celebrity guests. In 1966 the show broke its 14-year streak of filming in New York in favor of Miami Beach Florida (to accommodate Gleason’s love of playing golf), bringing even more energy and life to what was already a much-loved show. Newly released master tapes from the vaults in South Florida are now available on DVD from Time Life as The Jackie Gleason Show in Color, which features four remastered and never-before-sold episodes along with Gleason and Art Carney in three Honeymooners sketches not seen since their original airing. Featured guests include Milton Berle, Red Buttons, George Carlin, Nipsey Russell, and Phil Silvers (among several others). The Jackie Gleason Show in Color is currently available on Amazon for $7.30.
If you enjoy irreverent humor and animated antiheroes, you may already be a fan of the three-time Emmy-nominated series Duckman. Duckman, voiced by Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame), is a rude and crude private eye who strives to balance his career of solving crimes with being a single dad to his less-than-stellar sons without sacrificing a single opportunity to make a cutting remark or a lewd joke. Now out in a ten-disc DVD set is Duckman: The Complete Series, which includes all four seasons of the show as well as multiple bonus features. Extras include an examination of Duckman’s journey from comics to television, an interactive “Six Degrees of Duckman” feature, video of drawings and animation from the unaired pilot episode, storyboards, pencil tests, and more. Duckman: The Complete Series is now available on Amazon for $22.89, which at a total run time of over twenty-six hours evens out to about 87 cents per hour of content— not a bad deal for old or new fans. (It is good to note that this is a cartoon series aimed at adults, so if you haven’t seen the series yourself, definitely check it out before gifting it to a younger loved one.)
In the celebrated film Cloverfield, the viewer is given a first-person account of a mysterious and terrifying attack on Manhattan by an unknown foe. Action-packed visuals and a heart-racing storyline combine to tell the story of an unexpected and seemingly inescapable apocalypse. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of its original release this year, Cloverfield is now available in a new 4K Ultra-HD / Blu-ray combo pack. The set boasts over an hour of bonus features, including alternate endings and deleted scenes, a “making of” special, multiple featurettes, and audio commentary by director Matt Reeves. Paired with its predecessor is the 4K release of 10 Cloverfield Lane, a psychological thriller starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., and John Goodman as three (supposed) survivors of an apocalyptic attack that has thrown them together in the latter’s underground bunker. Tensions run ever higher as revelations begin to spark questions about whether the true danger lies inside or outside the bunker, and whether escaping it will mean salvation or death. 10 Cloverfield Lane is also now available in a 4K Ultra-HD / Blu-ray combo pack, with extras that include seven featurettes covering the film’s production (and how it relates to Cloverfield) along with commentary by director Dan Trachtenberg and producer J.J. Abrams. The Cloverfield 4K combo pack and the 10 Cloverfield Lane 4k combo pack are both currently available on Amazon for $26.62.
Turning from apocalyptic damage to damage control, we have Season Five of Ray Donovan. In this season, the elite Hollywood fixer Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) must deal with challenges within his own family as together they charge into unfamiliar territory, including issues of life, love, death, and Parkinson’s Disease. Also starring Susan Sarandon in her recurring role as the incomparable media titan Samantha Winslow, Season Five takes the characters (and the audience) on an emotional rollercoaster not set to stop any time soon. The DVD set of Ray Donovan: The Fifth Season will be released on January 30. In addition to all twelve of the season’s episodes, the set presents almost thirty minutes of special features, including featurettes exploring Abby’s fate, dealing with introducing the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease into the storyline, and other issues from the season, along with commentary on Episode 508 (“Horses”) with Paula Malcomson (Abby) and series showrunner David Hollander. Ray Donovan: The Fifth Season is currently available to pre-order on Amazon for $29.17. Fans who have already watched the season likely have a subscription to Showtime or Amazon Prime with the Showtime add-on option and already have access to the season, but if you’re looking for some background on Season Five’s production (or are looking to gift it to someone), it might be worth checking out the DVD option.
Far from the dark thoughts of cities falling and beloved characters dying is the refreshingly lighthearted second season of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, which was itself an answer to the turmoil of the 1960s. Starring “straight man” Dan Rowan and the endearingly goofy Dick Martin alongside a cast of regulars (including Goldie Hawn, Richard Dawson, Lily Tomlin, and Ruth Buzzy, among others) who would become famous in their own right, the show was a tidal wave of skits, non-sequiturs, rapid-fire one-liners, and just plain silliness. Season Two of the series featured a bevy of epic guest stars, including Jack Benny, Victor Borge, Mel Brooks, Sammy Davis Jr, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hugh Hefner, John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Bob Newhart, Tony Curtis, Richard Nixon, and several others. Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season is now available in a 7-disc DVD set from Time Life, which includes all twenty-six episodes from Season Two along with interviews from Dick Martin, Gary Owens, and Ruth Buzzi as bonus features. You can currently get the set on Amazon for $26.60.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the third title featured below. The opinions I share are my own.
Starting with its premiere feature film Castle in the Sky in 1986, Studio Ghibli has enjoyed decades of producing highly popular anime feature films, including The Cat Returns, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty, Spirited Away, and the highly celebrated Princess Mononoke, which marks the twentieth anniversary of its release this year. Castle in the Sky follows the adventures of a young boy and girl as they try to protect a magic crystal and find a mysterious floating island all while dealing with pirates, a group of military agents, and a weapon of mass destruction, among other challenges. Another adventuresome pair appear in Princess Mononoke, which tells the story of an unlikely partnership between a cursed prince (Ashitaka) and a feral girl (San / Princess Mononoke) as they join forces in an attempt to stop the destruction of the wild lands. Now out from Viz Media are hardcover picture books of Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke, which feature the stories from the films presented in a family-friendly oversized hardcover format along with easy-to-read text and full-color pictures from the films themselves. Both publications are currently on Amazon: the Castle in the Sky Picture Book (112 pages) is available for $13.59 and the Princess Mononoke Picture Book (232 pages) is available for $20.39.
Out now on 4K Blu-ray are the first four Transformers films, each in a 3-disc combo pack which includes a digital copy and a host of extras. Transformers (2007) features audio commentary from director Michael Bay, a Transformers Heads Up Display, and featurette compilations “Our World” (exploring the world of Transformers), “Their World” (examining the Autobots and Decepticons), and “More than Meets the Eye” (a look inside the desert attack scene, including concept boards), along with some Easter eggs. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) boasts an audio commentary by Michael Bay, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman along with deleted and alternate scenes, Easter eggs, and multiple featurettes (including “Deconstructing Visual Bayhem” with commentary by pre-vis supervisor Steve Yamamoto, “25 Years of Transformers”, and “The Matrix of Marketing”, among many others. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) doesn’t have the audio commentary or Easter eggs featured in the previous two sets but does include multiple featurettes— notable among them are “Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon”, “Uncharted Territory: NASA’s Future Then and Now”, and “The Art of Cybertron.” Rounding out the release is Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), which (like Transformers: Dark of the Moon) doesn’t have audio commentary, Easter eggs, or alternate and deleted scenes. Extras on this one include the behind-the-scenes special “Evolution with Extinction: The Making of Transformers: Age of Extinction” along with some featurettes about the design of the film and the action sequences. You can find the Blu-ray 4K Combo sets of Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, andTransformers: Age of Extinctionon Amazon for $19.99 each.
If you’re someone who enjoys period foreign films, you’ll be excited to hear that The Sissi Collection starring Romy Schneider is now out (for the first time in a Blu-ray set) from Film Movement. Throughout the trilogy, Schneider portrays Princess Elisabeth (“Sissi”) of Austria, whose 44-year reign from 1854-1898 made her the longest serving Empress in the country’s history. The collection includes the three titular Sissi films directed by Ernst Marischka (and produced almost exactly one hundred years after Elisabeth became Empress): Sissi (1955) Sissi: The Young Empress (1956), and Sissi: The Fateful Years of the Empress (1957). All three films have been restored in 2K and are presented in both 16:9 widescreen and the original theatrical full screen aspect ratios. As a special bonus, the collection also features the 1962 film Forever My Love (a condensed version of the Sissi trilogy dubbed into English and originally released by Paramount Pictures) and the 1954 film Victoria in Dover (where Schneider stars as Princess Victoria of Britain).
Bonus content also includes “From Romy to Sissi” (a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette) and “Sissi’s Great-Grandson at the Movies” (an excerpt from the documentary film Elisabeth: Enigma of an Empress). In addition, the five-disc set is presented with a twenty-page collector’s booklet, which includes a new essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme. It is important to be aware that the trilogy of Sissi films (along with Forever My Love and Victoria in Dover) were already released as a DVD set back in 2007, so be aware before purchasing for your home library or a gift that the main difference between the two releases content-wise is the “Sissi’s Great-Grandson at the Movies” feature and the collector’s booklet (the previous set was also only available in DVD format). The new release of The Sissi Collection is currently available on Amazon with the DVD set priced at $39.99 and the Blu-ray set at $48.42.