Welcome to The Holiday Gift Guide from Film Monthly, where we select some releases that would be a welcome addition to anyone’s media library!
Gifts For the Kiddies
“Your little one will love watching and interacting with these movies, all the while learning important math and literacy skills. As a parent, you can feel good about allowing your children watch these movies, especially knowing that there are educational advisors who have the education and work experience in order to know what your child should be learning and how”
“Finding Nemo is finally getting the blu ray treatment. This is the same Pixar movie that entertained kids enough that they’dactually shut up for two minutes and brought grown men to tears (I have photographic proof of it). To say that Finding Nemo is a gift for all ages is really an understatement, plus this new transfer is more stunning than ever” – Calhoun Kersen
“Just in time for the Holiday season, Time Life and Shout! have released an impressively extensive, 40-DVD, 2 Boxed Set collection of Saban’s pop culture phenomenon. This must-own set for any fan of the series includes the first seven seasons of Power Rangers. Many of you will no doubt be picking up Mighty Morphin to Lost Galaxy as a gift to give yourself this holiday, but as a potential gift for giving, this set easily earns my nomination for top gift idea for this holiday season. It’s honestly the perfect gift for any raging fanboy (which I am and therefore am not using the term derogatorily), geek (which I also am), or small child (which I… may be mentally). The collection is available exclusively from PowerRangersOnDVD.com. My suggestion: buy it… now!”
Gifts for the Film Lover
“Benh Zeitlin’s first feature Beasts of the Southern Wild is an amazing portrayal of a child’s imagination and an impressive first feature film…It is one of the best films I’ve seen this year and one can certainly do no wrong in picking up Fox Searchlight’s exceptional release of it!”
Volumes 3 & 4 of Festival Films’ Lost & Rare Film & TV Treasure DVD series may not out until Spring 2013, but we have these excellent holiday releases from Festival Films to tide us over until then!
Golf Mania contains vintage golf films where Hollywood stars mingle with the likes of Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson. Two of the 9 films are original productions by Festival Films — “Goofy Golfer Newsreel” and “Golfing with Bing and Bob.” Two are classic comedies about golfing — “The Golf Specialist and Golf” (1922) — and the others are fun as well. This will make a great gift for any golfer, especially since no vintage golf films have been marketed to them to date!
Heavenly Christmas Film Classics
This set contains 6 very rare shorts that have not been issued on DVD before. Some have a spiritual element relating to the birth of Jesus. Two tell the Nativity story. Two relate the creation of the Christmas Carol “Silent Night” in 1818. The final two were shown as specials in 1950s omnibus series Telephone Time and DuPont Theater and invoke the spirit of Christmas and giving.
Gifts for Her
“The Duchess of Duke Street is a wonderfully beautiful series, worthy of all the acclaim it has received over the years. The series originally aired on the BBC in 1976 and 1977, which still holds up today. This set from Acorn Media boasts over 27 hours of material on 10 DVDs. The series follows Louisa Leyton (Gemma Jones) as she works her way from a kitchen worker to the mistress of the Prince of Wales and then a hotel owner. Louisa must work against the traditional views in order to find her own way, while still getting caught up in those traditional roles.”
“What is better than Hugh Jackman on stage in London in Oklahoma!, oh I know, watching it on Blu-ray from the comfort of your own couch. Yes, the much acclaimed Royal National Theatre’s production of Oklahoma! is now available on Blu-ray. Bringing to your home the beauty and fun of this highly acclaimed rendition of the beloved musical. This version of Oklahoma! has all you could want in a play. Great sets, acting, music, and choreography.”
A little indie comedy that probably flew under your radar, but worth checking out for the way it strives to reinvent the tired and predictable romcom genre. It’s been 10 years since Calvin (Paul Dano; Little Miss Sunshine) published his first and only novel. He was in high school when the book came out and achieved overnight success as a writing prodigy. Since then, he’s been struggling to turn out a follow-up, but a dream about the perfect woman sends him into a writing frenzy and after days of writing about his ideal woman and ideal relationship, Calvin is surprised to see the woman of his dreams has manifested herself in his apartment, as if she’d been there all along. Played by Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, Ruby is a confident and sexy young woman, who Calvin immediately falls in love with; once he confirms that he’s not crazy.
Gifts for Him
For the first time on Blu-ray, everyone’s favorite time-traveling, air-guitaring, most triumphant dudes are back. In time. That’s stupid, forget I said that. I haven’t watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in years. I used to watch it all the time when I was a kid, and I’m sure that this and Back to the Future were the ultimate cause of my love of time travel stories.
There is something very familiar about Ted, and yet the film is completely unique. Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane’s directorial debut tells the story of little John Bennett, a lonely kid with no friends who wishes his Teddy Bear would come to life. When John’s wish comes true, Ted is suddenly reminiscent of a dozen other movies about the magic of little boy’s wishes, but Macfarlane takes the story in a hilarious new direction by telling the story of what happens 20 years after one of these miracles, when you’re an adult and in a relationship and your best friend is still a magical teddy bear who likes to sit around and get high all day.
“…Stallone has returned with the help of Con Air‘s Simon West with The Expendables 2, a film that very much fits the number one criteria of a sequel, by being better and bigger than the previous entry. The film retains the original cast, with the likes of Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and the rest of the group, to help stop an evil mercenary group, called the Sangs, from getting weapons grade plutonium and selling it on the black market. With its all star cast and its perfect homage to every 80′s action film known to man, The Expendables 2 is an absolute blast that is not to be missed!”
Gifts for the Anime Fan
“If you’re an anime fan and you’ve never had the chance to experience Lain, this would be the absolute perfect way to get into this series. If you’ve seen Lain and love it as much as I do, you really owe it to yourself to just go out and buy this set, even if you still own the original. With this fantastic presentation and flat out incredible attention to detail, this Serial Experiments Lain boxed set is truly worth your time and money and one of the best things that Funimation has ever put out, period.”
I’ve encountered very few works in my life, whether in film, television, literature, or any other medium for that matter, that so capably capture genuine human emotionality as 2011′s Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Not only will this 11-episode anime about childhood love and loss inspire you to laugh as well as cry (and oh, how you’ll cry), but it does so with honesty, intelligence, and a categorical refusal to shortchange any of its multitude of characters, respectfully exploring each and every one of the key players’ emotions. And in doing so, Anohana is as close to perfect as any work of art has ever been. The Anohana Complete Series Premium Edition is currently available from NIS America.
Funimation has certainly outdone themselves with their acquisition of Steins;Gate, which presents itself as a front runner as a well executed sci-fi show that does everything it needs to appease the hardcore fans, whilst presenting an adaptation that could bring in fans that never knew they could enjoy an anime like this.
For your Hipster Buddies
Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
“For the hard to place indie hipster on your shopping list, Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, starring writer/director Ryan O’Nan and Michael Weston, Brooklyn Brothers is equal parts road movie and love letter to music. if for no other reason, this movie is worth picking up for the soundtrack, but it really is a fun movie well worth checking out.”- Calhoun Kersen
“Alison Klayman has created an incredible look into the life of an important artist and the power of expression in the digital age in her film Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry. The film follows Ai Wei Wei over a period of three years, which goes into his work as an artist, a social critic on Chinese government, its policies and his interactions with people all over the world.”
“Writer/director Todd Solondz’s filmography gets more and more fascinating with each subsequent picture. Since 1995, he has produced a half dozen of the most consistently compelling pieces of cinema to emerge from any American independent filmmaker in the past quarter of a century, each release more artistically daring than the last. Among his credits are Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), the understandably polarizing dark comedy Happiness (1998), and the startling artistic achievement that is 2004’s Palindromes (which Solondz had to finance largely out-of-pocket). Solondz’s latest picture, Dark Horse (2011), may have been presented in its trailer as your typical, quirky, indie comedy about a layabout man-child searching for his way in life, but I assure you it is anything but.”
That’s it from the gang here at Film Monthly! We hope you and yours enjoy these picks and have a Happy Holiday!