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Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Although Christmas, Hanukkah, and holiday shopping will be a lot different this year amidst a pandemic, people across the globe will still be shopping for the holidays in stores or online on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, or any day really. In order to make things easier for you, I have compiled a handy list of 4Ks, Blu-rays, Books and Albums that I would recommend picking up as a gift for a loved one or yourself. On with the list!

4Ks:

Back To The Future: The Ultimate Trilogy- At long last one of the best trilogies of all time hits 4K. In addition to all 3 films boasting stunning 2160p picture quality, viewers also get a boat load of new extras including featurettes on the Hollywood Museum exhibit and the “Back To The Future: The Musical,” lost audition tapes, and the science of BTTF. Of course, there’s plenty of archival extras including “Back To The Future: The Ride” (boy, do I miss that). Simply put, this is one of the very best home video releases of the year. 

Star Wars 4Ks- All 11 Star Wars films are now on 4K. What more needs to be said?

The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection- This box set contains 4 cinematic greats from the Master of Suspense with “Psycho,” “Vertigo,” “The Birds,” and “Rear Window.”

Lord of the Rings Trilogy 4K- The greatest fantasy films of all time come to 4K on December 1 with both the extended and theatrical versions. Note: The Hobbit Trilogy comes out the same day on 4K with the extended and theatrical cuts as well.

Rambo: The Complete Steelbook Collection- There’s been a lot of great 4K releases this year, but from a package standpoint, this was by far the best. Not only does each of the 5 films come in in a beautifully done individual steelbook case, but all 5 films are housed in a sizable ultra cool steelbook case. Note: This is a Best Buy exclusive.

Top Gun- While you wait for the sequel to come out, take the highway to the danger zone again by watching the 80’s classic in 4K.

V For Vendetta- The 5th of November may be over, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revisit this ultra relevant comic book adaptation.

Mulan (1998) 4K- One of Disney’s top tier animated films gets the 4K treatment. Note: The 2020 live-action version is also available on 4K.

Gladiator- Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s Award winning epic with this dazzling new 4K release.

Sonic The Hedgehog- A video game movie that isn’t awful? Believe it! This entertaining film for the whole film was arguably one of the biggest surprises of 2020.

Braveheart- Mel Gibson may be a controversial figure, but I’d wager a lot of people still love this Oscar winning epic. 

Full Metal Jacket- Stanley Kubrick’s haunting war film has never looked better.

Total Recall- For the Arnold Schwarzenegger fan on your list.

It’s A Wonderful Life Steelbook- Tis the season for this classic holiday movie.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge- This action packed MK feature was a strong entry in the ongoing franchise.

Beetlejuice- Don’t worry, I won’t say his name 3 times. What I will say is this Tim Burton gem is worth the 4K upgrade.

Kick-Ass Steelbook- Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the release of “Kick-Ass,” but that’s the reality. Now is as good of a time as any to revisit the edgy comic book adaptation.

Frozen 2- One of 2019’s biggest films is sure to be a hot seller this holiday season.

Knives Out- Rian Johnson’s murder mystery was one of 2019’s best films.

The Goonies- The beloved kidventure film has one of the best looking 4K releases I’ve seen to date. 

Terminator: Dark Fate- Arnold returns to the long-running sci-fi franchise once again in this sixth installment.

BLU-RAYS:

Clint Eastwood Kino Titles- Kino Lorber went all out this year with a ton of Clint Eastwood Blu-ray releases of titles such as “High Plains Drifter,” “Joe Kidd,” “The Eiger Sanction,” “Two Mules For Sister Sara,” and “Play Misty For Me.” 

The Last Starfighter- This 80’s sci-fi gem gets a proper home video release courtesy of Arrow Video.

Shivers- David Cronenberg’s creepy body/parasitic horror film is a must for fans of the cult filmmaker.

Army of Shadows Criterion- An intense French WWII era movie.

Mallrats- The new Arrow Video release of Kevin Smith’s cult classic is a essential for fans.

Bugs Bunny: 80th Anniversary Collection- One of the most beloved cartoon characters of all-time gets his own lavish set

Paramount Presents- This year Paramount introduced a new Blu-ray line in which classic films were given new remasters. Highlights from the set so far include “Roman Holiday,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Ghost,” “King Creole,” and “Airplane.”

Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai Criterion- For the Jim Jarmusch fan on your list.

JoJo Rabbit- A timely oddball drama-comedy from the ever creative Taika Waititi.

Scorsese Shorts Criterion- 5 shorts from one of cinema’s greatest directors.

Laurel And Hardy: The Definitive Restorations- One of the best Blu-ray releases of 2020 was this set containing 2 feature films and 19 shorts of the hilarious comedy duo.

The Titfield Thunderbolt- I hadn’t even heard of this Ealing Studios comedy before I saw it, but it turned out to be quite the little seen gem. 

Parasite- We all know the Academy Award winning film is an instant classic. What you might not know is that there are a few editions of this movie available. There’s the original Blu-ray release, a 4K release and a Criterion Blu-ray release. 

One Cut Of The Dead- A truly clever Japanese zombie film that deserves more attention. The less you know going in the better.

The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone- The hotly anticipated new cut of “Godfather 3” hits shelves Dec. 8.

Mystery Of The Wax Museum- An atmospheric horror movie classic from director Michael Curtiz.

Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy- Experience the journey of Alex Foley with this new box set release. Note: The first “Beverly Hills Cop” is also being released on 4K December 1.

Tales From The Darkside: The Movie- A top tier horror anthology movie gets a nifty new Scream Factory release.

Escape From L.A.- Is it on the same level as “Escape From New York”? No, but it’s still an entertaining sequel with a truly great ending.

Michael- A moving quirky comedy with a great ensemble cast led by John Travolta in one of his best roles.

Gregory’s Girl- A charming coming-of-age comedy from the mind of Bill Forsyth.

Adaptation- This Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman collaboration boasts one of the best scripts of the past 20 years. 

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1- Classic cartoons don’t get much better than this. Keep your eyes peeled for Vol. 2 on Dec. 1.

Solid Metal Nightmares: The Films of Shinya Tsukamoto- And now for something completely different. This Arrow Video box set containing 10 works from Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto are certainly not for everyone, but fans of experimental/cult cinema may be intrigued. 

Beau Brummell- I hadn’t seen this film prior to the Warner Archive release, but I’m glad I did. Worth checking out for the powerhouse performances by Stewart Granger and Peter Ustinov alone.

Elvis: That’s The Way It Is- If you ever wanted to see what The King was like on and off stage, this movie gives you a glimpse into that.

Friday The 13th Collection- I haven’t got my hands on this one yet, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most impressive releases of the year. This Scream Factory box set collects every F13 movie with tons of new extras.

Jay And Silent Bob Reboot- Snootchie Bootchies! The comedic duo returns in a new ViewAskewniverse movie.

Uncut Gems- Picking up this intense Adam Sandler starring thriller is how you win.

Wildlife Criterion- One of the most underrated films of the past 10 years is Paul Dano’s directorial debut about family complications.

The Gunfighter Criterion- One of the best western films ever made.

Marriage Story Criterion- A bold Noah Baumbach film featuring incredible acting by Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Collection- Fans of out there cinema and cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky will treasure this box set containing “El Topo,” “The Holy Mountain,” “Fando Y Lis,” and “Psychomagic, A Healing Art.”

TV SERIES:

Mission: Impossible- The Complete Series- Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick up this massive Blu-ray box set of the original 60’s M:I series starting Dec. 1. 

The Best Of Cher- Cher fans will be in heaven with this new 9 disc set that includes 10 episodes of the “Cher” variety series along with full concert specials.

Police Squad!: The Complete Series- This hilarious Leslie Nielsen starring comedy series was a precursor to the Naked Gun franchise.

Stargirl Season 1- One of the best TV surprises of the year was this DC Comics series.

Star Trek: Picard Season 1- Boldly go back to the Trek universe with this engaging new series that takes place 18 years after “Star Trek: Nemesis.”

You Season 1- Netflix’s creepy series about a bookstore owner/serial killer is nothing short of bingeworthy.

Catherine The Great- For those that love historical period pieces, scope out this HBO mini-series starring Helen Mirren as the titular Empress.

Succession Season 2- Get caught up on one of the best shows on TV before season 3 comes out (whenever that will be). 

Saturday Night Live: The Best Of Seasons 1-5- TimeLife’s new box set release contains highlights from the first 5 (and arguably best) seasons of SNL.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Series- Take a trip back in time and watch the complete small screen adventures of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman.

The Outsider Season 1- An eerie HBO series based on Stephen King’s novel.

Teen Titans: The Complete Series- Booyah!

Bonanza Season 10 Parts 1 and 2 and Season 11 Parts 1 and 2- Fans of classic western television will be overjoyed by these new DVD releases featuring the adventures of the Cartwrights. Each DVD release contains restored episodes and new special features like commentaries, photo galleries, vintage ads, and more.

BOOKS:

Beastars- This animal centric manga series offers up great world building and a unique exploration of the animal kingdom.

Star Wars: The Legends Of Luke Skywalker: The Manga- This manga release adapts 4 stories from the novel of the same name. Turns out, it’s better than the book it’s based on.

The Mandalorian Poster Book Seasons 1 and 2- For anyone wanting small posters of The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda, these 2 releases have plenty for you!

The Art Of Star Wars: The Mandalorian- Get a deep dive look into the world of concept art from season 1 of Mando.

Dragon Ball Super- Viz Media’s manga series is, in my humble opinion, the best current manga on the market.

The X-Files: The Official Archive- A deeply immersive tie-in book featuring case files based on episodes of the series.

TCM Books- The Turner Classic Movies books continue to be great reads for film fans. This year the best releases were “Fright Favorites” and “TCM: The Essentials: 52 More Must See Movies And Why They Matter.”

Star Wars: Queen’s Peril- 2020 was not a great year for “Star Wars” novels, but this prequel to “Queen’s Shadow” was easily the highlight.

ALBUMS:

Phish- Sigma Oasis- Not only is this the album of the year as far as I’m concerned, it’s also Phish’s best studio work in 20 years.

Metallica- S&M2- 20 years after the first S&M, fans get a rockin’ follow-up. This title is also available on Blu-ray.

Tom Petty- Wildflowers And All The Rest- Petty’s brilliant album gets a new remastered release alongside outtakes, live tracks, and demos. There are a few versions of this release with 2 disc, 4 disc and 5 disc CD sets and vinyl releases as well.

Grateful Dead: American Beauty 50th Anniversary- The Dead’s best album gets remastered and comes with the fantastic complete 2/18/71 concert.

Neil Young- Homegrown- After being shelved since 1975, Neil Young’s coveted unreleased album finally got released in 2020. It was worth the wait.

Dave Matthews Band: Live Trax- Fans of DMB might want to check out these live album releases. As of right now, there are 54 total releases from this series with more coming each year. Go to https://www.davematthewsband.com/album-type/live-trax-series/ to purchase the albums on CD or digitally.

Until next year!

November 13, 2020 - Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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