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Holiday gift guide: Last-minute ideas for film fans

Holiday Gift Guide: Last-minute ideas (Photo: Philips/LEGO/Marvel/Criterion Collection)

(KUTV) Here we are, with only days left before the wrapping is torn from the packages. Maybe you’re looking for the ideal gift for a film fan or searching for the perfect stocking stuffer. Here’s a look at DVD and Blu-ray releases from the past three weeks and a handful of other gifting ideas.

Feature Films

All Saints,” a faith-based film, tells the true story of Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), a preacher who has been told to shutter his church, but finds new hope for his congregation when he comes in contact with a group of refugees from Southeast Asia; Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien star in the action thriller “American Assassin,” a brutal origin story for novelist Vince Flynn’s character Mitch Rapp; “Crash Pad,” a comedy starring Domhnall Gleeson as a young man who falls for an older woman (Christina Applegate) who is only humoring his romantic interests in hopes of attracting the attention of her husband (Thomas Haden Church) and “The Crucifixion,” a by-the-numbers exorcism horror based on the real Romanian Tanacu Case.

One of the biggest films of the year so happens to be the animated adventure “Despicable Me 3,” which sees Gru discovering his long-lost twin while acing off against a new wave obsessed villain. For those who haven’t picked up the previous two films, or are looking to upgrade their collection to 4K will want to consider the “Despicable Me 3-Movie Collection.”

"Detroit" didn't attract a large audience, but it should have. This dramatization of the race riots in Detroit in 1967 is a film that needs to be seen. It's amazing how far we haven't come in 50 years. It's hard to watch, but racism and cruelty aren't supposed to be pleasant.

A film that is likely to be in the Best Picture conversation over the next few months is “Dunkirk,” Christoper Nolan’s dramatic re-telling of the evacuation of British soldiers surrounded by the German Army in the early days of World War II.

England is Mine,” a biographical drama about Morrissey and his early years growing up in Manchester before finding worldwide success with the music group The Smiths; “Home Again,” a comedy starring Reese Witherspoon as a single mom who turns her life upside down when she invites three young men to move in with her family and “Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom,” an animated tale based on H.P. Lovecraft’s writings that somehow manages to be familiar friendly.

Kingsman: The Secret Service” was a surprise hit in 2014 and while its sequel, this year’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” wasn’t nearly as well reviewed, it performed well at the box office and introduced the American spy organization the Statesmen. The film is over-the-top gonzo, but probably should have shown a little more restraint.

This year saw two LEGO film releases from Warner Bros., “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie.” Of the two, the Ninjago film is far more for children than it is for adults and while I found the movie a bit tedious, the seven-year-old boy who sat next to me thought it was the coolest film he’d seen all year.

Steven Soderbergh returned to directing movies with “Logan Lucky,” a delightful heist film about two brothers target an NASCAR event in North Carolina starring Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum and Adam Driver.

One of the most divisive films of 2017 is Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!.” The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, the new wife of a famous writer (Javier Bardem) who is suffering through an extended bout of writer’s block. When a group of adoring fans show up at their doorstep, Bardem’s character invites them to stay. A gesture that sends the group on a dark and violent journey that uses Lawrence’s character as its whipping boy. Some films are meant to be experienced, not necessarily enjoyed.

The indie sci-fi film “Rememory” had its premier at the Sundance Film Festival last year. The movie stars Peter Dinklage as a grieving man who uses a mysterious invention that is able to record and play a person’s memories. Sometimes knowledge isn’t power; it’s an unbearable burden.

Stronger” was sadly overlooked at theaters. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany and tells the true story of Jeff Bauman, a man who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. Gyllenhaal and Maslany are both phenomenal.

The Trip to Spain” reunites Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they take a road trip through Spain; “Victoria & Abdul” stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and explores her friendship with a young Indian clerk; “Wolf Warrior 2,” a Chinese action film, was a massive hit overseas, particularly in its homeland and “Woodshock,” a thriller starring Kirsten Dunst as a woman trying to recover from loss who goes on a hypnotic drug-aided journey.

Documentaries

One of the biggest box sets ever compiled is the Criterion Collection’s “100 Years of Olympic Films.” The set covers 1912-2012 and includes 53 films from 41 Olympic Games. It will take more than 100 hours to watch from start to finish, but the set offers a unique sense of history as told via the worlds biggest sporting event.

HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” explores the story of two unlikely business partners, Jimmy Irvine and Dr. Dre, and their impact on the music industry; “General Idi Amin Dada,” a haunting self-portrait of Uganda’s eccentric and notorious leader Idi Amin who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of his own people; “The Complete Monterey Pop Festival,” the classic music documentary from D.A. Pennebaker featuring performances from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding comes to Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection and for baseball fans Shout! Factory has a pair of titles chronicling the Houston Astro’s World Series victory. The “World Series Collector’s Edition” features all seven games whereas the “2017 World Series Film” is more of a highlight package.

Television

On the television front we have “Doc Martin: Series 8,” the continuing story of a London doctor who can’t leave his big-city personality behind when he leaves the city behind to become a general practitioner in the small village of Portwenn; “Fargo: Season Three,” which focuses on Emmit Stussy, the “Parking Lot King” of Minnesota; the second season fo “Fuller House,” the revived “Full House” update from Netflix; “Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season,” a series that continues to be fresh and engaging while other long-running series are loosing their audiences and “George Gently: Complete Series,” all eight seasons (25 feature-length stories) of the beloved British detective drama based on Alan Hunter’s novels starring Martin Shaw.

Midsomer Murders: John Barnaby's First Cases,” a fantastic collection from the somewhat gruesome British mystery series starring Neil Dudgeon as John Barnaby; the 18th season of the long-running animated comedy “The Simpsons;” all four seasons of Guillermo del Toro’s inventive vampire drama “The Strain” and the acclaimed “Twin Peaks” revival.

Catalog Releases

Older films coming to Blu-ray and DVD in new editions include “The Apartment,” a 1960 film that sees director Billy Wilder (“Some Like It Hot”) reunited with Jack Lemmon in a film that sees an insignificant Manhattan businessman who makes a sizable amount of money by renting out his apartment as a safe haven for his superiors to meet with their mistresses; the Criterion Collection’s release of Alexander Payne’s dark comedy “Election,” a film that pits an overachieving high school student (Reese Witherspoon) against her history teacher (Matthew Broderick) who is annoyed by her campaign for school president; “Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood,” a 1973 cult horror film featuring over-the-top gore and psychedelic visuals; and “Heat and Dust,” a lush James Ivory film about a woman’s search for answers regarding her aunt’s relationship with an Indian prince.

Elsewhere we also have “Misery,” one of the better Steven King adaptations, featuring great performances from Kathy Bates and James Caan, as a writer finds himself under the care of an unstable and sadistic fan; “The Premonition,” a psychological mind bender from the 1970s about a other who is haunted by visions of someone kidnapping her daughter; “Pulp,” the oddball comedy starring Michael Cane as a pulp novelist who is asked to ghostwrite an autobiography for an actor; a limited steel book release for the classic horror film “Suspiria” featuring an uncut version of the film and a new 4K transfer approved by Director of Photography Luciano Tovoli and “The Witch Who Came from the Sea,” a thriller about a young woman who experiences dreams of cutting up muscular men that may not actually be dreams.

4K Catalog Releases and Box Sets

The 4K release of the holiday season is the “Christopher Nolan 4K Collection.” The set includes the director’s “Dunkirk,” “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception,” “Interstellar” and “The Prestige.”

Also released earlier this mon this the “Men in Black Trilogy: 20th Anniversary Edition,” a 4K release that features all three films from the incredibly popular sci-fi comedy franchise.

This Christmas sees the release of a rebooted Jumanji franchise coincides with a new 4K release of the original film. Some of the special effects are a bit dated, but the film itself is an enjoyable ride.Also, last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Film, “Moonlight,” is also now available in 4K.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, all of the films from the Transformers franchise are also now available on 4K.

Marvel

It's no secret that Marvel is one of the more popular brands going today. Three cool options that look good on a shelf as well as part of a costume are Marvel Legends Series Star-Lord Electronic Helmet, Marvel Legends Series Thor Mjolnir and Marvel Thor Ragnarok Hulk Smash FX Fists. The Hulk fists are an update on the class giant hands with sound effects and armored gloves from the big green guy's appearance in "Thor: Ragnarok" I'm particularly fond of the Star-Lord Electronic Helmet's speakers that are able to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to my phone and play whatever awesome mixtape I can dream up.

Star Wars

Ranging from food products to cars, there are numerous bizarre and interesting Star Wars branded items. Philips Norelco even has created a line of electric shavers with Star Wars themes including R2-D2, Stormtrooper, Poe Dameron and Dark Side with various features at prices ranging from $50-$250.

Or maybe you, or someone you know, has seen "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and was looking to pick up a leather jacket just like the one Poe Dameron wears in the film. Angel Jacket Designs features a variety of jackets, sweaters and hoodies with designs inspired by Star Wars and other popular film franchises.

LEGO Ninjago

To go along with the home video release of "The LEGO Ninjago Movie," LEGO has some awesome sets taken directly from the film including the Green Ninja Mech Dragon and Destiny's Bounty.

Additional Gift Guides

Holiday Gift Guide: Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD
Holiday Gift Guide: Despicable Me
Holiday Gift Guide: Classic novels, television and cinematic adaptations
Holiday Gift Guide: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Holiday Gift Guide: DC Comics
Holiday Gift Guide: Disney & Pixar
Holiday Gift Guide: Star Wars
Holiday Gift Guide: Television on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD
Holiday Gift Guide: Video Games & Electronics

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