Christmas is right around the corner, and M&C’s DVD staff has shared their thoughts on what DVDs should be under the tree!
From hits like the Stanley Kubrick – Warner Home Video Directors Series to the upcoming new release of Blade Runner, the M&C staff has suggestions sure to please any diehard movie fan.
M&C’s Frankie Dees shares his thoughts on what Santa should put in his stocking:
1) Ford at Fox – The Collection – Have an abundance of cash and a spare bedroom you’re not using? Well, I do, that’s why first on my list is the behemoth, one-ton ‘Ford at Fox’ boxset, an insanely comprehensive 2,358-minute paean to the quintessential American filmmaker.
Starting with his early 1920s silents up to his Best Picture classics with muse Henry Fonda, this 21-disc, 24-film set is the perfect gift for that cinephile in your family. But at $299.98, you may just wanna buy that person a package of socks…dang you, mom!
2) Star Trek The Original Series – The Complete First Season (Combo HD DVD) – Next up is the HD-DVD/DVD release of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series: Season One’. With all 26 episodes being given a high-def polish with added CGI that complements the storyline instead of distracts (cough, Lucas, cough), Trekkies can, and probably will, count every hair in Spock’s signature arched eyebrows.
With a host of old and new features, a cool case, and a mail-in rebate for a specialized Toshiba HD-DVD player remote, this is one set that would make a lot of geeks very happy come the big C.
3) The Bava Box Set, Vol. 2 – Ahh, nothing screams Christmas quite like Anchor Bay’s wicked release of ‘The Bava Box Set, Vol. 2′. With an amazing asking price of under $30 at Amazon, this 8-film collection collects wildly varying pics from the King of Italian Horror, Mario Bava, that includes a murder mystery, a western, a sex comedy and of course, a handful of gory shockers. Perfect for a family Christmas night at the movies!
4) The Jazz Singer (Three-Disc Deluxe Edition) – The fourth on my list would be Warner Brother’s exquisite 3-disc release of one of history’s most important pics, ‘The Jazz Singer’. A legendary landmark of cinema that ushered in the era of sound, the film’s claim ‘You Ain’t Heard or Seen Nuthin’ Like This’ actually lives up to its name.
Despite the film’s obvious and sometimes awkward and antiquated elements, one has to approach the film in historical context and with WB providing a ‘Collector’s Set’ of goodies that includes Photo Cards, Souvenir Programs and Vintage Document Reproductions, the film was definitely released with the careful reverence it deserves.
5) Futurama – Bender’s Big Score – And finally for my last pick, something out of last field comes to mind: ‘Futurama: Bender’s Big Score’. While there is no doubt there were other DVD releases that were more comprehensive, more technically impressive, and more features-packed than this pick-I had a hard time coming up with one that accompanied more joy.
A huge fan of ‘Futurama’ during its original run on Fox, I prayed to the Christmas Gods last year to give me new ‘Futurama’ content regardless of its guise and here we are. Thank you, Christmas Gods. And the pic is pretty darn good, too.
Here’s what M&C’s June L. thinks should be under the tree:
1) Miss Potter – This is a beautiful film in story and in visuals. The locations, which are so important in the life of Beatrix Potter, have been used to the best advantage to enhance the action in the movie.
Fine scripting, excellent acting, careful directing and scrupulous attention to details in costuming and set design make this film my pick as best of the year.
2) Northern Exposure – The Complete Series – This is a treat to own. In spite of some music changes in various episodes, this is still a worthwhile purchase or gift. The stories are timeless, the characters are great, and Cicely, Alaska could just be the Shangri-la of the Western world.
3) Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Unrated Extended Edition) – I know, I just reviewed this one, but it is so very amazing, I’m buying it for several gifts. All that is good in the series, is magnified in this movie. Science fiction fans should take note, this is what happens when storytelling and character development take precedence over special effects.
The effects are great and enhance the story, but are not the reason for the movie, they are a nice “icing” for the perfect “cake.”
4) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Two-Disc Special Edition) – I haven’t seen the DVD yet, but I loved the movie. I had expected to not like this installment, and was completely overwhelmed by the excellence of the production.
I can’t wait to see what special features are included, and enjoy the movie yet again. The flying scene down the Thames is the most incredible thing!
5) Shrek the Third – First of all I love Puss in Boots. He has to be the coolest character…ever. Then Donkey just has to talk to make me laugh. The wisdom and humor expressed in this series of films make real life just a little more fun! It is as good for adults as it is for children.
Here’s what M&C’s Adnan Tezer hopes Santa is bringing this year (Note: Adnan is NOT employed by Warner Brothers, but does think they do the best job on a year-to-year basis of putting out the best box sets of the best films):
1) Blade Runner: Five Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition – Yes, I know it hasn’t been released yet but is there any doubt that this is going to be one of the greatest if not the greatest DVD box set EVER? Ever since the advent of DVD in 1997 we’ve been stuck with a horrible bare bones DVD of the 1992 Director’s Cut.
Now after a lifetime’s worth of waiting and legal wrangling, Warner Brothers is blessing us with five discs of pure joy. Ridley Scott’s 2007 Final Cut of the film, along with the 1982 theatrical version, international cut, 1992 Director’s Cut and the legendary workprint of the film are included here.
For those whose lives have been changed forever by the film like myself, this is a moment long in the making. This film is why DVDs were invented. It’s taken long enough but at least it’s here and if there is one set I would want this year, hell ANY YEAR, it would be this one.
This set comes in the Voight-Kampff briefcase used by Harrison Ford in the film and contains numerous goodies and treats. There will also be two and four disc versions of the film as well. Neither of those sets however, come in the briefcase or contain the workprint.
2) Stanley Kubrick Warner Home Video Directors Series – Five of Kubrick’s later works plus a bonus disc (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut and the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures) with upgraded sound, picture, new extras and commentaries you say?
Were it not for Blade Runner, this 10 disc set would be the hands down winner for the must have Christmas gift.
3) Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 – Warner Brothers continues its outstanding Film Noir series by including 10 films, on five double feature disks, that includes films from Warners, RKO, MGM and even an extremely rare and hard to find Monogram film.
Most of these films are not what one would classify as essential A noir films like Out of the Past, Double Indemnity, the original D.O.A., The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep but there are a number of them that are in the high B+ range. Until now, many of these films hadn’t even had a VHS release.
4. Taxi Driver (Limited Collector’s Edition) – Martin Scorsese’s urban masterpiece from 1976 about an isolated cabbie named Travis Bickle remains the definitive American character study of the post Vietnam era. Thirty one years has not diminished its impact or blunt force whether it’s Robert DeNiro’s iconic, chilling performance as Bickle, Paul Schrader’s searing, personal script, Scorsese’s direction that take you on the road to hell while providing a look at a New York City that doesn’t exist anymore or legendary film composer Bernard Herrmann’s final, lingering score.
This two disc Collector’s Edition boasts a wealth of fascinating new featurettes and commentaries. Again, a no brainer.
5. Pacino: An Actor’s Vision – For die hard Al Pacino fans only. This four disc set contains two adaptations of stage plays that Pacino directed and stared in (The Local Stigmatic and Chinese Coffee), the wonderful documentary Looking for Richard that Pacino also directed which details his love of Shakespeare and the stage and his attempts to bring a production of Richard III to life as well as a fourth bonus disc (Babblelonia) that focuses on Pacino’s philosophy, artistic drive and his years in the theatre with the Actor’s Studio.
All three films are available on DVD for the first time ever with The Local Stigmatic and Chinese Coffee being released for the first time period as Pacino had deliberately withheld the films from a theatrical release. For those who only know the loud, hoo-haa’ish Pacino of the last 15 years, this set will show why he was and still is one of the greatest actors ever as his performances in the two films (Stigmatic and Coffee) are subtle and nuanced and you see him returning to his theatre roots.
For actors like myself, listening to Pacino talk about his passion for the craft of acting will get your adrenaline racing. Each film has a prologue and epilogue by Pacino and Stigmatic and Coffee contain commentaries by Pacino as well.
Finally, M&C’s Jeff Swindoll shares his thoughts on the films he thinks deserve to be under any movie fan’s tree:
1) Ford at Fox – The Collection – This 21 disc set chronicles iconic director John Ford’s time at Twentieth Century Fox. It has films that cover the time period from 1920 till 1952 and includes fifty films that he made for the studio.
This handsome set also includes the new documentary “Becoming John Ford” by Academy Award nominated documentary maker and Ford historian Nick Redman and an exclusive hard-cover book which features rare, unpublished photographs from Ford’s career, lobby card reproductions, production stills and an in-depth look at Ford.
2) Blade Runner – Blade Runner is an iconic science-fiction film from director Ridley Scott. In celebration of the film’s twenty-fifth anniversary a massive five disc collector’s set has been manufactured.
Not only is it loaded with multiple cuts of the film and a brand new documentary, but it the ultimate collector’s edition comes on a briefcase with lenticular motion film clip from the original feature, miniature origami unicorn figurine, miniature replica spinner car, and collector’s photographs, as well as a signed personal letter from Sir Ridley Scott.
Also available in Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, as well as standard DVD editions.
3) The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Collection – Speaking of briefcase editions, this collection brings out all four seasons of the iconic television show. Not only do you get that but you get a cornucopia of special features including current interviews with the super-spies themselves, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum.
Housed in an attractive attaché case, this set also includes two discs worth of bonus materials exclusive to the set. Most impressive gift to find under the tree for the spy genre fan or fan of classic television.
4) Stanley Kubrick – Warner Home Video Directors Series – Any cinesta will tell you that one name stands out above the rest of modern film directors. That name is Stanley Kubrick and although he only made a few films those few films have become known as cinematic masterpieces.
This set finally gives the great director his due in both technical presentation and special features. 2001, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut are give the two-disc treatment with Full Metal Jacket getting a single disc new special edition. Since this set is labeled a “directors series” perhaps more directors will be highlighted in the Christmases to come.
5) Stardust – My wild card pick since I’ve not actually written my review yet. However, this delightful fantasy epic won me over enough so that I’d include it here. It plays as an adult version of the Princess Bride and features fantastic performances by all involved. The special features are a bit light but they’re worthwhile.
An epic fantasy and one that should be sought out and savored. Full review coming soon but fantasy fans should be delighted to find it in their Christmas stocking.
There you have it. The sure bets for a happy Christmas morning seem to be the upcoming DVD releases of Blade Runner – The Final Cut, Stanley Kubrick – Warner Home Video Directors Series, and Ford at Fox. So that is what we are hoping makes its way under M&C’s Christmas tree, what titles are you hoping to find on Christmas morning?Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.