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Holiday Gift Guide 2021

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday on the horizon, it’s that time of the year again to start thinking about gift ideas. Below, I have compiled a list of recommended 4Ks, Blu-rays, Books, TV Series sets and albums to aid you in your holiday shopping spree. On with the list!

4Ks:

* Indiana Jones Collection- While we all wait for the fifth film, why not go back and revisit the first 4 with this glorious new 4K box set?

* Love and Monsters- I know I’ve praised this film quite a bit on here, but I will continue to do so! It deserves way more of an audience than it currently has.

* Tremors- It doesn’t get much more entertaining than this classic monster movie.

* Mad Max Anthology- All 4 films in the Mad Max franchise are available together on 4K for the first time.

* Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory- Two words: Gene Wilder. 

* Halloween 1-5- One of the most exciting 4K releases this year comes from Scream Factory who put out the first 5 Halloween films. Let’s hope the subsequent sequels aren’t far behind!

* Soul- Grab a hankie and pick up Pixar’s 2020 gem. To be fair, you need a hankie for most of the Pixar movies.

* Citizen Kane- Often cited as the greatest film ever made, Orson Welles’ masterpiece gets a new 4K edition from boutique label Criterion.

* Godzilla (2014)- One of my favorite films of the past decade and one of the very best Godzilla films.

* Godzilla Vs. Kong- Arguably the best Vs. movie ever made. 

* Almost Famous Steelbook- Cameron Crowe’s partially autobiographical coming-of-age story about love and music ages well.

* Universal Classic Monsters: Icons Of Horror Collection- Horror movies don’t get much better than “Frankenstein,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Wolf Man” and “Dracula.”

* Scream- Before 2022’s “Scream” comes out, why not revisit the best horror film of the 90’s?

* Transformers: The Movie- For the Transformers fan on your list, you can’t go wrong with the 1986 animated movie.

* Mortal Kombat (2021)- One of the best video game movies period.

* A Quiet Place Part 2- The rare sequel that is just as good if not better than the first.

* My Fair Lady- The Audrey Hepburn starring musical is a timeless classic.

* In The Heights- The feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical was a highlight of 2021.

* Nobody- One of 2021’s most satisfying movies is this action flick starring Bob Odenkirk. 

* F9- The saga about family races on with the latest installment in the action franchise.

* Batman: Year One- Commemorative Edition- Still one of the best DC animated films around.

* Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection- The first 4 Trek films get the 4K treatment in one of the year’s best releases.

* The Suicide Squad- James Gunn entered the DC Universe with this wild sequel. 

* Inglourious Basterds- Tarantino’s revisionist WWII film gets the 4K treatment. It also comes with the original “Inglorious Bastards” as an added bonus.

* Clockwork Orange- Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic has never looked better.

* Dune (1984)- David Lynch’s version pales to 2021’s masterpiece, but this Blu-ray box set is a treasure in and out of itself (especially for fans of the cult filmmaker).

* The Shawshank Redemption- Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the Stephen King story is one of the most treasured movies of the past 30 years.

* Vigilante- An intense grindhouse movie starring the late great Robert Forster.

* Batman: Soul Of The Dragon- A fun Elseworlds story that pays homage to martial arts cinema, blaxploitation, James Bond and DC Comics history.

Blu-rays:

* Graveyards Of Honor- Fans of Japanese cinema should check out this box set from Arrow Video which contains Kinji Fukasaku’s 1975 gangster film “Graveyards Of Honor” AND 2002’s version by the prolific director Takashi Miike. 

* The Court Jester: Paramount Presents- Danny Kaye’s best movie.

* Pariah Criterion- A groundbreaking LGBTQ movie.

* Fatman- If you’re looking for a different sort of Christmas movie, you needn’t look further than this one starring Mel Gibson.

* Elizabethtown: Paramount Presents- When it comes to Cameron Crowe everyone talks about “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous,” but this moving drama-comedy deserves more love. 

* Nightmare Alley Criterion- Guillermo del Toro’s remake is on the way, but check out the original film noir classic.

* Gamera: The Showa Era and The Heisei Era Box Sets- Arrow Video gave Kaiju fans a real treat this year with two box set releases of the early Gamera films of the Showa era and the fantastic Heisei Era.

* Breakdown: Paramount Presents- This intense thriller starring Kurt Russell still holds up.

* The Buster Keaton Collection Volume 4: Go West and College- 2 more gems from the silent film comedian.

* Jazz On A Summer’s Day- A wonderful concert movie.

* The Eurocrypt Of Christopher Lee- Cult film lovers will be over the moon for Severin’s collection of little seen European films starring Christopher Lee that include “Castle Of The Living Dead,” “Challenge The Devil,” “Crypt Of The Vampire,” “Sherlock Holmes And The Deadly Necklace,” “The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism,” and the TV series “Theatre Macabre.”

* John Hughes 5-Movie Collection- John Hughes fans will be in heaven with this set containing “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Some Kind Of Wonderful,” “Pretty In Pink,” “She’s Having A Baby,” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

* Freaky- A delightful body swap horror-comedy.

* Zack Snyder’s Justice League- The fan favorite Snyder Cut hits home video.

* Friday The 13th 8-Movie Collection- Let’s face it, these are the best F13 movies (although I have a soft spot for “Jason X”). If you don’t want to spend more for a bigger set, this more affordable Blu-ray collection of the first 8 films is the way to go.

* Raining In The Mountain- A fantastic lesser known martial arts film that is worth seeking out.

* Host- You may not have heard of this one, but it should be on your radar as it’s easily one of the scariest horror films of the past decade. 

* Raya And The Last Dragon- An emotional new animated film from Disney.

* Last Train To Gun Hill: Paramount Presents- A great underrated western film with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn.

* Explorers- A thoroughly entertaining 80’s kidventure movie from filmmaker Joe Dante.

* Pickup On South Street Criterion- Samuel Fuller’s film noir is worth picking up.

* Randolph Scott Western Collection- 12 movies of the classic western actor including masterpieces like “Ride Lonesome” and “The Tall T.”

* Alone In The Dark- An unsettling horror film/slasher that deserves more attention.

* Pump Up The Volume- A top tier coming-of-age movie.

* Original Cast Album: Company Criterion- An insightful behind-the-scenes documentary about recording the cast album for the musical “Company.”

* Coraline: LAIKA Studios Edition- LAIKA’s best film gets a new Blu-ray release from Shout! Factory.

* Kinky Boots: The Musical- This live recording of the stage show from London is a must for the musical lover on your list.

* Black Widow- The long awaited BW stand-alone movie was well worth the wait.

* The Dead Zone- One of David Cronenberg’s best movies AND one of the best Stephen King adaptations.

* Underneath- A highly underrated Steven Soderbergh neo-noir.

TV Series:

* Thundarr The Barbarian- The Complete Series DVD and Blu-ray- Thanks to the fine folks at Warner Archive, all 21 episodes of the Hanna-Barbera animated sci-fi/fantasy series have now been released on Blu-ray and DVD. Not only did this cult series clearly inspire He-Man, but it’s also a creative, action-packed series filled with great villain designs, detailed environments, Thundarr’s awesome sword, and, of course, Ookla The Mok!

* Smallville: The Complete Series Blu-ray- One of the best and most influential comic book series of all time is finally released in a complete series collection on Blu-ray for the first time just in time for the show’s 20th anniversary. 

* Star Trek: The Original Series- The Complete Series Blu-ray Steelbook- Live, Long and Prosper and absorb the original Trek series which has received a new Blu-ray re-release. 

* Wonder Showzen: The Complete Series DVD- This hilarious oddball parody of children’s educational series is for adults only.

* NCIS: New Orleans- The Complete Series- NCIS fans can watch the spin-off series in its entirety now thanks to this new complete series set release.

* Primal Season 1 Blu-ray- Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated series about a T-Rex and a caveman is must see TV.

* Dolly: The Ultimate Collection 6-Disc DVD- Dolly Parton aficionados should take note of this set which includes “Dolly” TV episodes, specials, concerts, music videos and more. 

* The Legend Of Korra: The Complete Series Blu-ray- If you’ve finished “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” scope out the follow-up series too.

* Superman: The Animated Series- The Complete Series- If you cherish “Batman: The Animated Series” or know someone who does it, the underrated Superman: TAS is worth looking into.

* The Soul Of The Midnight Special DVD- A dazzling array of soul, funk, rock and disco performances from “The Midnight Special” TV series.

Books: 

* Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi- The first and still best novel in the new High Republic book series.

* The Art Of The Mitchells Vs. The Machines- A splendid film art book dedicated to one of the year’s best films.

* The Alex Ross Marvel Comics Poster Book- What’s better than a collection of one of the greatest comic book artist’s work?

* Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path Of Destruction: The Essential Legends Collection- It may no longer be canon, but the first book in the Darth Bane trilogy is still one of the best Star Wars novels to date. 

* Star Wars: The Art Of Galaxy’s Edge- You might be like me and hope to visit Galaxy’s Edge someday. In the meantime, why not pour over a book featuring tons of artwork and tidbits about the Disney Parks land?

* The Essential Directors- There’s been no shortage of great Turner Classic Movies Presents books lately, but this one about the great directors is a must read.

* The DC Comics Encyclopedia: New Edition- An informative and handy coffee table book for DC Comics lovers.

* Dark City: The Lost World Of Noir- Essential reading for film noir fans.

Albums:

* Weezer- OK Human and Van Weezer- Weezer released 2 albums this year and both rank among their best work.

* Goose- Shenanigans Nite Out- One of my favorite modern bands is this Connecticut based jam band. This new album is their best to date.

* Billy Strings- Renewal- The multi-talented bluegrass/jamgrass band’s latest album is a must.

* Lana Del Rey- Chemtrails Over The Country Club and Blue Banisters- Like Weezer, singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey added 2 new albums to her already brilliant discography in 2021.

* Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band: The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concert- See Springsteen in his prime with this archival concert release. 

That’s all for this year, folks!

November 22, 2021 - Posted by | List | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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