Holiday 2009 – New Releases
This year was an exceptional one for home releases of films both fresh from the cinema and restored from the distant past. Massive collections of multiple discs may litter the horizon hoping to capitalize on your holiday rush, but are they the true gifts that will make your present-ee warm up their respective film players? We have the essential movies of both Blu-Ray and DVD that must be the stuff that stockings are full of.
For the Hardcore:
Stereotype all you want, but there is no greater film-lover’s filmmaker than Mr. Reservoir Dogs himself, Quentin Tarantino. The latest in the fan-favorite’s ouevre is both a send-up of WWII style Nazi-killing revenge-porn and of films in general, making it the perfect gift for those watchers with an eye for the apparatus. Bust out the extra cash for the special edition, Blu-Ray especially if possible, as this director makes better use out of featurettes and commentary than most directors with three times his budget. It’s a no-brainer, but sometimes the easy choice is also the right choice.
For the Rest:
Since we can’t claim anyone under the industrialized sun as a “film newcomer or casual,” we have split the rest of the recommendation list into a general gift that could amuse 90% of those that could receive it. In placing such a broad category on a pedestal, it was difficult to narrow the season down to one title, so we split the vote between two films that – given the option – wouldn’t leave a single human being dissatisfied. Between the year’s most surprisingly excellent comedy and the most nostalgic film of all time, both containing multiple discs with hours of special features, “The Hangover” unrated edition and/or “The Wizard of Oz”: 70th Anniversary Edition on DVD or Blu-Ray are two undeniably showy and excellent selections for absolutely anyone on your list.
Films You Should Already Own
For the Hardcore:
Another no-brainer in the hardcore category, the five-disc edition of the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner collects every single version of the film – and for a Ridley Scott picture that is saying something, not to mention a never-before-seen workprint edition of the film, along with dozens of hours in amassed bonus features. While especially stunning in high definition, the restoration team managed one of the most beautiful DVD prints in history for the standard-def version of this collection, giving you no excuse when it comes to check-out time.
For the Newcomer:
Once again a split vote, the “rest” category sits between collections celebrating one of comedy’s greatest directors and one containing the most unrecognized-as-a-Christmas-movie movie. Brooks’ rambling wit and slapstick will satisfy most older tastes on your list, and possibly new ones if they have the patience to embrace the film’s lack of overt physical comedy. “Die Hard” still ranks as one of the best action films ever made, Bruce Willis injecting a human, everyman quality that Hollywood actors have all been attempting to recreate since, the rest of the series continues the high-stakes, high-action tradition throughout, making it an explosive addition to any gift pile.