It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by both (as of this writing, there have been only two) World Wars. Simply because about six months or so, I learn some new insane fact about the conflicts. Nothing so far has beaten aircraft carrier submarines, though. So when I saw the Kickstarter for The Neptune Monograph Project, I leapt on it. This is the document that was used for D-Day planning and was the highest level of Top Secret (BIGOT) they had (except for Double Secret BIGOT). The end result is badass and the sort of thing you can data geek out on for weeks. There are descriptions of German fortifications. There are charts about tides and info on the type of ground they’re going to hit when they arrive. There’s a level of info that…well, I have no idea how they pulled together this much stuff. I couldn’t do it today with Google Fu. So basically it’s an important WWII document that is now fully restored for posterity and uses its blank pages to provide historical context. If you really want to deep dive on the subject, you can’t get much deeper than this. If you need one for yourself, there’s still a couple left being sold over at Amazon.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first DVD featured below. The opinions I share are my own.
Ah, the 90s…the days of the Clinton White House, double-reverse front pleated pants, and of course, Full House on ABC. The story of widower Danny Tanner raising his three young daughters as part of a mixed family unit, it was ever a fan favorite, launching the careers of the Olsen Twins and showing America that John Stamos is so outrageously handsome he can even look good in a mullet. Last February series creator Jeff Franklin debuted its sequel, Fuller House, on Netflix, which this past Christmas was approved for a third season (now 18 episodes) to be released later this year. This sequel series follows the family’s eldest daughter D.J. Tanner-Fuller (now a widow herself) as she navigates raising her three sons with the help of friends and family. In addition to some fresh faces, the cast of the original series (minus the Olsen twins doubling as Michelle) returns, including original “dads” Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and John Stamos (also one of the show’s producers). While the reboot has received mixed reviews from critics, it has already received two Teen Choice Awards (one for Choice Comedy TV Show and one to Candace Cameron Bure as Choice Actress in a TV Comedy) and a People’s Choice Award (Favorite Premium Comedy Series). Now out on DVD is the complete first season, which includes all thirteen episodes across two discs. Even though there is plenty of room for bonus features a la interviews with the creators and cast about what it’s like to breathe life into the story again after twenty years, etc, this set just features the episodes themselves (they may very well be waiting to include such extras in future releases, especially since the show is already in its third season). Since it’s a Netflix original you can obviously get it there, but if you don’t have that access (or you’re gifting to someone who doesn’t) and you’re a big fan of the Full / Fuller House world (also remember DVD sales is one way they judge whether or not to renew a series), you can currently snag the DVD on Amazon for $17.99.
So you meet this girl. She’s sexy. She’s smart. And (both of you being WWII spies) you have so much in common. But when it’s revealed that she might be working with the enemy and you either have to prove her innocent in three days or take her out, what’s a guy to do? Such is the quandary of Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) in Allied as he struggles to discover the truth about his wife Marianne (Marion Cotillard). Directed by the Academy Award-winning giant Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and packed with the talent of two Oscar-winning co-stars, the film received favorable reviews from critics and fans alike, grossing $118 million worldwide during its theatrical run. Allied is now out on DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and 4k Ultra HD Combo Pack, the latter two featuring over an hour of extras. Bonus features on these include Guys and Gals (a featurette on the ensemble cast), ‘Til Death do Us Part (an examination of the relationship between the two main characters), From Stages to the Sahara (which discusses the film’s production design), A Stitch in Time (examining the Oscar-nominated costume design), Through the Lens (a special on Zemeckis and his direction of the film), as well as featurettes on the story, visual effects, vehicles, weapons, and awesome 1940s music of the film. Throughout all of the special features, you get a real sense of how excited and privileged the cast and crew felt to be part of this particular project (and to be working with the talent involved). All three media formats of the film are available on Amazon— currently the DVD goes for $14.99 (remember no bonus features on that one), the Blu-ray Combo Pack goes for $19.99, and the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack goes for $26.99. Amazon also offers a digital rental option for $5.99 and both it and iTunes offer digital purchase for $14.99 (although note that you can get the DVD for the same price as that option). Basically, if you’re a fan of the film and have $6-$27 to spend, you have five different options of how to get it, so doubtless at least one will fit your needs.
Loosely based on the ancient epic poem, Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands follows the battle-weary title character as he reintegrates himself back into his home community of Herot, where he has to fight politics, family tension, and the monster Grendel. The series was pitched as ITV’s answer to Game of Thrones–it had a budget of £17 million ($23 million US) and was rumored to have offered the actors contracts with options to return for five years. The show’s creators didn’t shy away from the comparison–Tim Haines (co-creator and executive producer) described the juxtaposition of the two by saying that “Game of Thrones… is a great series but many people, including younger viewers, can’t watch it because of the level of sex and violence. Beowulf is a show that delivers epic fantasy, danger and excitement but that three generations can enjoy and, we hope, find fascinating for many series.”
It’s a pair of massive World War-related collections from A&E Home Entertainment. And we’re giving them away as a first and second prize.
First prize gets The World Wars: The Complete History of WWI and WWII on a 12-DVD set. Second prize gets Ultimate Collections: World War II, an 8-disc set. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:
It’s Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre, unabridged and read by John Lee on CD, out from Random House Audio. Here’s what they have to say for themselves: