DVD/Blu-ray gifts for the movie buffs on your list
As a movie junkie, I enjoy giving and receiving movie gifts at the holidays so I’m always on the lookout for movies that are either finally being released on DVD format, or classics that are available in Blu-ray for the first time. Here are some titles and collections that have caught my attention as excellent movie gifts.
‘Ace in the Hole’
This is one of my favorite movies you’ve likely never heard of, despite the fact it stars Kirk Douglas and was directed by Billy Wilder. Douglas is a former top newspaper man from New York now stuck in the middle of nowhere (New Mexico), who stumbles upon a mine cave-in and sees his coverage as a ticket back to the big time. One of the most cynical movies ever made. My favorite line: “I’ve met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my time, but you — you’re 20 minutes!” This two-disc set includes a 1980 interview with Wilder and a 1984 interview with Douglas. $23.76.
‘Citizen Kane 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition’
Not only does this Blu-ray of the Orson Welles classic contain a newly remastered high-def presentation of the film and a slew of extras, but it comes with a 1941 souvenir program reproduction, a 48-page book with photos, 10 production memos and lobby card reproductions. $40.
‘Crazy Stupid Love’
I’m not a big Steve Carell fan, but I thought this was one of the best romantic comedy/dramas in a decade, directed by Glenn Ficarra. Both hilarious and bittersweet, with a fabulous cast top-lined by Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone, it was a disappointment at the box office, perhaps because romantic comedies have been so bad lately. $19.99 Blu-ray, $14.99 DVD.
‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy Extended Edition’
Before you check out David Fincher’s much anticipated remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you can enjoy the entire trilogy of films based on the Stieg Larsson books in this newly released extended edition that features two hours of additional footage not seen in the US. All three features are available with the original Swedish language with English subtitles or an English language version. $46.99.
‘Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection’
Watch your favorite wizards grow up over a decade as they battle evil and defend Hogwarts. The Blu-ray format is $79.99 from Amazon while the standard DVD set is $48.99.
‘Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy Gift Set’
This collection contains the Blu-ray debuts of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park as well as Joe Johnston’s Jurassic Park III. Also included is a replica figurine of a roaring T. rex. $79.99.
‘The Lady Vanishes’
One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best early films is now available in Blu-ray format for the first time, featuring a high-definition digital restoration. The extras include excerpts from Francois Truffaut’s 1962 audio interview with Alfred Hitchcock and Mystery Train, a video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes. $27.99.
‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ (Blu-ray)
George Lucas’ space saga has finally been released in Blu-ray format (Amazon $89.99). If you can’t stand Jar Jar Binks, you can skip the pre-quels and purchase the Star Wars: Original Trilogy on Blu-ray for $39.99.
‘TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Astaire and Rogers, Volume Two’
Four movies from the best dance team in movie history, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The set includes Roberta (1935), Follow the Fleet (1936), The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939), and Flying Down to Rio (1933), their first film as a team. Extras include classic cartoon shorts, trailers and a documentary. $17.99; TCM.com.
‘Toy Story Ultimate Toy Box Collection’
The three terrific films in a Blu-Ray combo pack. Enjoy the exciting and touching adventures of Cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and all their friends like Mister Potato Head (Don Rickles). I was never a big animation fan, but this series changed my mind about “cartoon” movies. $49.99, Amazon.com; 3D format for $79.99.
‘West Side Story’ 50th Anniversary Edition Box Set’
The classic musical from director Robert Wise, choreographer Jerome Robbins and a score from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer star as star-crossed lovers in this musical take on Romeo and Juliet. This Blu-ray debut comes packaged with a hardback book and reproductions of lobby cards and my favorite extra listed, song-specific commentary by Sondheim. $45.49
While there are the usual stone cold lock Oscar nominees this year, the current award season has divided up the booty just enough to make this an intriguing and challenging year for Oscar prognosticators.
Tis the season to be ... buying. If you are in the 99 percent, of course, you may not have much to spend this season, but don’t fret; there are plenty of low-priced options for holiday gift giving and we’ve listed a selected bunch below. If you’re in the one percent, you probably have someone else ...
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Motion pictures can share the same title but offer completely different stories. A case in point is Atlantic City — two films with little in common beyond their names. The more recent Atlantic City, which came out in 1981 and was directed by Louis Malle, depicts the resort in the early years of legalized gambling. Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon lead a strong cast in this gritty drama filmed on location.
When Brad Pitt and George Clooney are in Hollywood North to promote movies, the media blitz hits the frenzy button and rarely dies down. And so it was on the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival with Pitt in town to promote the baseball movie Moneyball, and Clooney ...
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