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Holiday Gift Guide: Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD

Holiday Gift Guide: Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD (Photo: Disney)

(KUTV) Shopping for holiday gifts shouldn't be a painful experience. Over the coming days I'll be offering up a variety of ideas for movie, television, book and video game enthusiasts with a few collectibles and toys thrown in for good measure.

Additional Gift Guides
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

2017 Blockbusters

Seventeen of the highest earning films of 2017 are currently available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD. Of those seventeen titles, fifteen are also available in 4K UHD. It is a rather eclectic mix of titles that proves that the exact formula for a breakthrough blockbuster is still something that Hollywood is trying to perfect.

Family-friendly titles include Disney's live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast," currently the top movie worldwide ("Star Wars: The Last Jedi" might have something to say about that in the long run) as well as the animated films "The Boss Baby," "Cars 3," "Despicable Me 3" and "The LEGO Batman Movie." Despite finishing in sixth place domestically, "Despicable Me 3" is currently the third biggest film of 2017 worldwide. For more "Despicable Me" gift ideas click here.

"The Fate of the Furious," the eighth film in the Fast and the Furious Franchise, sees Dom (Vin Diesel) betraying his friends. If you're looking for pure spectacle, then you've come to the right place. One of the surprises of the year was "Get Out," a horror film (that the Golden Globes apparently think is a comedy) from Jordan Peele that finds a African American man visiting his Caucasian girlfriend's family at their secluded woodland home. Rife with social commentary, "Get Out" is likely to make its presence known during award season. "Girls Trip," however, might eke out a Golden Globe nomination for Best Comedy or Musical, but anyone expecting a highbrow experience when a group of girlfriends head to New Orleans has never been within 100 miles of New Orleans. It's unhinged and raunchy, but it made $115 million at the domestic box office against a $19-million budget. Going into the summer it was easy to predict that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" was going to be a massive success based off the love for the first film alone. I would have preferred a film that focused on Yondu (Michael Rooker), but keeping the focus on Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) at least gave director James Gunn the excuse of casting Kurt Russell as Ego, Quill's father. It wasn't nearly as groundbreaking as the original, but it was still wildly entertaining. Some would say that "Kong: Skull Island" falls into the same category. For me, "Skull Island" wasn't sure if it wanted to be comedic or taken completely seriously and as a result the film felt unbalanced. However, the visual effects are dazzling.

Growing up Wolverine, the disgruntled mutant with metallic claws, was my favorite comic book character. I was a huge fan of the first two X-Men films and Hugh Jackman's performance as Wolverine was a huge part of that. That said, I despised "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and had my share of issues with "The Wolverine." Still I wanted to believe that "Logan" would give the character a proper sendoff. I wasn't disappointed. "Logan" isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. In spirit it is closer to a classic Western than it is a traditional superhero film. Simply put, I love this film. Like "Logan," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" was a dramatic improvement over the film that came before it. I'd go as far as to say that it is my second favorite in the franchise. A lot of that has to do with Javier Bardem's performance as Captain Salazar. The Spider-Man franchise was also in need of some redemption and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" proved to be a successful relaunch of the web-slinging hero. Tom Holland is great as the title character, but the real thrill of the movie was watching Michael Keaton as the Vulture. It's great that Holland will be back for the sequel, but please tell me we'll be seeing more of Keaton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Speaking of sequels, director/writer M. Night Shyamalan threw his best curve ball with "Split." I loved the performances from James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy, but wasn't remotely satisfied by the film's final act. Audiences and many other critics clearly disagreed as the film turned a $9-million investment into a worldwide box office total of $278 million. "Transformers: The Last Knight" more than doubled that total with $605 million as Mark Wahlberg returns in the fifth film in the toy-inspired franchise.

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was something of a surprise when it was released in 2011. It was a remarkable action film with a fantastic script that set it apart from other rebooted franchises. Its sequel, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," was a radically different film, but it worked equally as well. For "War of the Planet of the Apes" the recipe was changed yet again and while there were some who found the more intellectual aspects of the film to be too heady for a summer blockbuster, I loved its balance of menace (Woody Harrelson), comedy (Steve Zahn) and the utter brilliance that is Andy Serkis. And then there was "Wonder Woman." To say that the weight of the entire DC Extended Universe was resting on Gal Gadot's shoulders might seem like an exaggeration, but even now, looking back at the film's remarkable success, the film has taken on even more importance considering the reception that has been given to "Justice League." "Wonder Woman" was something different and marvelous.

New Release: Mainstream

Not every film is given the box office reception that it deserves. Some films simply don't have the mass appeal of Star Wars, Marvel or Fast and the Furious. Here are a few films that fell through the cracks or found success on a more modest level.

"Alien: Covenant" wasn't perfect, but it was a return to the horror roots that set the original film apart from all other science fiction films of its day. The formula has been exploited over the years and while its hard to compete with a masterpiece, which is exactly what "Alien" is, "Covenant" explores some interesting ideas and it moves closer to the events of the original film. "Atomic Blonde" isn't quite "La Femme Nikita," but it does douse itself in the neon glow of Cold War Berlin. Charlize Theron is as good of an action star as anyone in the business, the script just wasn't on the same level as her performance. On the other hand, "Baby Driver" proved to be a thrill and a well-deserved breakthrough for director/writer Edgar Wright. Ansel Elgort stars as a reluctant, but extremely talented, getaway driver. Wright injects the film with a crazy selection of timeless songs lifted from a variety of eras and genres. Speaking of timeless, "The Big Sick" is the sort of romantic comedy that we'll be talking about for decades. Kumail Nanjiani stars as a man torn between his dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian and the desire to somehow placate his family's desire for him to be a good Pakistani Muslim. When he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) his life goes in an unexpected direction, but this romance doesn't playout like a Hollywood movie. Maybe that's because it is a true story. Thankfully "Good Time," a film about a small-time crook (Robert Pattinson) who gets his mentally handicapped brother Nick (Benny Safdie) arrested after his perfect bank heist goes awry. Think what you like of Pattinson's performance in the Twilight franchise, but his performance here is as good as any that I saw this year.

"The Hitman's Bodyguard" had a strong run at the box office during a period when Hollywood was desperate for a hit. Audience flocked to this violent comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson as a pair of rivals who are forced to work together. "It Comes at Night," an incredibly smart post-apocalyptic thriller that frustrated audiences who expected the traditional horror experience that the trailer promised them. "It Comes at Night" isn't a visceral film; its a psychological mindbender that asks its audience to put itself in an impossible situation. If it is visceral you're in the mood for, then "John Wick: Chapter 2" is a fantastic way to spend two hours. Keanu Reeves returns as the titular character who finds his past as a hitman catching up with him in this ultra-violent ballet of gunfights. One of the bigger flops of the summer was "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword." It's an abysmal King Arthur film. It's also one of the most exciting and enjoyable popcorn films that I saw all summer. Forget, or at least ignore, everything you know about King Arthur and just take in director Guy Ritchie's unmatched action insanity. Or, should you be looking for something a bit less manic, you could always stroll back to "La La Land." The highly-regarded musical from Damien Chazelle starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is still a highly enjoyable watch. You might think that big blockbusters benefit the most from the new 4K format, but "La La Land" dramtically more impressinve in 4K due to the new format's ability to offer true-to-cinema coloring.

"Megan Leavey" was a film that I missed when it played in theaters, but the reviews were fairly strong and there was an ample amount of praise for Kate Mara's performance as a marine assigned to a K9 unit to keep the movie on my radar. It might not feel as important as "Thank You for Your Service," but its also a whole lot easier to watch, "Patti Cake$" was one of those films that was warmly received at the Sundance Film Festival, but struggled to find an audience outside of the festival. that's unfortunate because the film is really quite good as it follows the misadventures of Patricia Dombrowski (a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$), an unlikely rapper who, despite her apparent talent, is dismissed by the music industry because of the way she looks. I personally couldn't connect with "Power Rangers," but I ran into my share of hardcore fans who were thrilled to see one of their favorite franchises make its way to the big screen. Going into the summer a lot of us had July 13th circled as "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" squared off against "Dunkirk." "Dunkirk" made more in its first weekend than "Valerian" managed to accrue during its entire domestic run. "Valerian" is eye candy as director/writer Luc Besson throws audiences into a world that is essentially the Star Wars cantina scene on a galactic scale. Sadly the story wasn't as strong as the art design, but razzle dazzle is something to behold. On the opposite edge of the universe is "Wind River," a snow-coverd thriller that finds a game tracker (Jeremy Renner) aiding an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) investigate a murder on a Native American reservation in Wyoming. Writer Taylor Sheridan ("Hell or High Water") makes his directorial debut with this unforgettable slice of cinema. Just be warned, when things go crazy they really go nuts.

New Release: Art House

When Sofia Coppola set out to adapt Thomas Cullinan's "The Beguiled," tale of a Union soldier who is taken in by the handful of remaining staff and students at a girl school in Virginia, she had no intention of simply remaking the Clint Eastwood film . Instead of telling the story from the soldier's point of view, she explored the material from the female perspective. The result was an engaging piece of cinema that examines how the relationships between women change when a war is raging around them and their prospects for husbands are dying at an alarming rate. The film features great performances across the board from the likes of Nichole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell. "Brigsby Bear" is Sundance Film Festival alum that combines the talents of Dave McCary, a writer/director for "Saturday Night Live," and "SNL" actor Kyle Mooney to create a strange little film about James, a young man, who discovers that "Brigsby Bear," his favorite television show, was made just for him by the people who kidnapped him as a baby 25 years before. Rescued from his captors and free to do almost anything with his life James sets out to give "Brigsby Bear" the ending and closure that the series never had. "Certain Women" made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. The film was directed by Kelly Reichardt who based the the script on three stories by Maile Meloy. The film features the talents of Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams. Reichardt has a somewhat languid style that won't appeal to those accustomed to the constant whirl of action films, but those who enjoy character studies will be find "Certain Women" to be an enthralling experience. Which brings us to "A Ghost Story," one of the more experimental films to make this list. It too is a Sundance Film Festival alum. Directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints"), the film tells the story of a nameless man and a nameless woman who, despite their love for each other, struggle to see the world as their partner does. When the man dies the pair suffer from the loss, but in time she is able to move on. He, however, is seemingly bound to the home they shared. So he haunts the place they once shared. This is for the more adventurous film devotee. "In this Corner of the World" is a critically acclaimed Japanese animated film that takes place in and around World War II. The story focuses on a young woman who marries and moves to a new city to be with her husband's family as the threat of the Pacific War pushes closer to them. Yes, it is animated. No, it wasn't made with children in mind.

"My Cousin Rachel" is the kind of film that asks its audience to put together the pieces of its mystery and come to their own conclusions in regards to the film's title character and decide for themselves is she is a manipulative woman who killed her former husband as many believe, or if she is simply a free-spirited woman who bucks the conventions of the age in favor of a more independent life. Writer/director Olivier Assayas' "Personal Shopper" is a psychological thriller starring Kristen Stewart as Maureen Cartwright, a personal shopper for a celebrity, who recently lost her twin brother. Maureen, believing that she and her brother shared a connection to the spirit world, goes in search for messages that her broth might be sending her from beyond the grave. "The Villainess" is a celebrated South Korean action film that, much like "Atomic Blonde." gleefully explores the stomping grounds that served as the foundation for "La Femme Nikita." "Whose Streets?" is an engaging documentary that looks at the uprising that followed the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. "Zoology" is an odd Russian film about Natasha, a withdrawn woman, who inexplicably grows a tail. Being wondrous and unique isn't exactly what she expected.

New Release: Family

Those looking for gifts for younger audiences should consider "Leap!" the story of a young orphan girl who runs away to Paris in hopes of becoming a ballerina. Visually "Long Way North" doesn't have the cinematic heft of a Pixar film, but the simplicity of the animation is overcome by a rather interesting story. The tale follows Sasha, a young Russian aristocrat, who sets out on an adventure to find her grandfather, a explorer, who disappeared along with his ship while sailing to the North Pole. This, more so than "Leap!," is the sort of film that parents can enjoy as much as their children. Then of course, if you happen to be shopping for the youngest of the young, there is the revived Teletubbies franchise. Both "Teletubbies: Let's Sing & Dance" and "Silly Fun" include six episodes apiece and also come with a plush toy. Both titles are released on December 5, so put them on your radar.

New Releases: Genre

Teresa Palmer, and Michiel Huisman star in "2:22," a thriller about a man who find the reason behind the strange experiences he keeps having at 2:22 p.m. "Annabelle: Creation," a prequel dedicated to the creepy doll featured in "The Conjuring" shows substantial improvement over the first Annabelle film. It's still not quite on par with "The Conjuring," but it does manage to provide a viable origins story for the demonic doll as a group of displace orphans move into the home of a former doll maker who lost his daughter years before. "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" finds two small-town coroners who are tasked with figuring out how a woman who was found half buried in a basement died. During the autopsy a series of strange events lead the duo to surmise that something sinister and supernatural is involved. "Beyond the Gates" is a throwback to late '80s horror cinema as two brothers discover a VCR board game that may have something to do with the mysterious disappearance of their father. It's sort of as if someone decided to make "Jumanji" more sinister on a shoestring budget. "Cult of Chucky" is the latest chapter in the Child's Play franchise is set in a mental institution where a handful of the patients have had close contact with Chucky, the Good Guy doll. Its something of a Chucky reunion with malicious results.

Catalog: Mainstream

When it comes to movies, new doesn't always equate to being better. Here are some older titles that recently were released on Blu-ray and DVD over the past few months.

Bruce Lee had the makings of an international superstar but, like James Dean and many other talented artists, Lee died before he reached his zenith. "The Return of the Dragon" and "Game of Death" were both slated to film in 1972 and were intended to be written, directed and starring Lee. "The Return of the Dragon" (AKA "The Way of the Dragon") is most notable for Lee's showdown with American actor Chuck Norris. "Game of Death," however, was never finished because Lee died having just shot a handful of scenes. The film went unreleased until 1978 when Robert Clouse pieced together a film that utilized Lee's footage, outtakes from "Enter the Dragon" (which Clouse directed), a stunt double and a look-a-like actor. It isn't the film that Lee intended on making, but it works as a curiosity. If you're forced to pick between the two, I recommend going with "Return of the Dragon." Moving over to the '80s we have the classic comedy "Mr. Mom" starring Michael Keaton (back when he was only thought of as a comedic actor). Yes, the film feels a little dated, but that laughs are still fresh. Set in the 1960s, "Shag," a 1989 comedy about a group of friends who gather for one last hurrah before one of their friends get married. The cast features Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda and Scott Coffey. And then there is "Teen Wolf," the original film featuring Michael J. Fox as a teen who has an exaggerated hair issue (the sequel with Jason Bateman is also available). In 1985 I I was 9 years old and a hug fan of Fox, so the nostalgia covers up the film's occasional flaws.

Catalog: Classics

If you're shopping for someone with slightly more refined cinematic taste, here are a few Art House, Foreign and older obscurities that recently resurfaced on Blu-ray or DVD.

In 2000 Steve Buscemi made his directorial debut with "Animal Factory," an adaptation of Edward Bunker's novel about a young man (Edward Furlong) who is taken under the wing of a hardened criminal (Willem Dafoe) when he is sent to prison. Arrow Academy's release of "Cinema Paradiso," director/writer Giuseppe Tornatore's love note to cinema, includes both the theatrical version (which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) and the longer director's cut that includes a wealth of material that further explores Salvatore 'Totò' Di Vita's life and his deep love and connection to cinema. I prefer the theatrical cut, it's more concise and effective. That said, there are some curiosities to be found in the director's cut. Some find the film to be a little too nostalgic, but for me that was one of the film's qualities that made me fall in love with it as a young film student at university. On December 5, Olive films is set to release "Father Goose" and "Letter from an Unknown Woman." "Father Goose," a film from 1964, stars Cary Grant stars in1964 film about a man who agrees to live on a secluded island during WWII to help spot the flights of enemy aircraft. His isolation doesn't last long as a teacher (Leslie Caron) on the run from the Japanese also take up residency on the island. "Letter from an Unknown Woman" was released in 1948 and tells the story of a womanizing pianist who is planning to flee Vienna to avoid a duel when he is given a letter from a woman that he has met at various points in his life, but has no recollection of. "The Miracle Worker" tells the story of Anne Sullivan and her efforts to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate. Released in 1962, "The Miracle Worker" won Academy Awards for Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke and was nominated for another three Oscars. I still marvel at Duke's performance.

"A New Leaf" (available December 5) stars Walter Matthau as a playboy who has spent his way through his fortune and now schemes to mary a rich woman (Elaine May, who also wrote and directed the film.) "Operation Petticoat," director Blake Edwards' imfamous comedy from 1959 starring Cary Grant as a WWII commander who finds himself responsible for a pink submarie and group of stranded Army nurses. "Ophelia," a French film from 1963 from Claude Chabrol ("Le Beau Serge") loosely based on Shakespeare's "Hamlet." One of the more unusual and delightful discovers while putting this guide together is "Pather Girl of the Kongo," a a 12-part serial from 1955 that features a mad scientist, giant crayfish, stock footage lifted from the 1941 serial "Jungle Girl" and Phyllis Coates as the title character. “A Philadelphia Story,” the classic 1940 comedy about a woman torn between the love of three men starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart.

Fans of classic cartoons will certainly be interested in "Porky Pig 101," a five-disc collection of the first101 Porky Pig shorts. The Criterion Collection's edition of "Rebecca," offers a selection of new bonus features and a 4K transfer of Alfred Hitchcock's classic about a woman who is haunted by the presence of her husband's dead first wife. "The Sissi Collection" pulls together the three Austrian films starring Romny Schneider as Princess Elisabeth. Released between 1955 -1957. "Sissi," "The Young Empress" and "Fateful Years of an Empress" are also joined by 1954's "Victoria in Dover" which also features Schneider and director Ernst Marischka. All four films are very lighthearted and feel more akin to a fantasy than a biopic. "Time to Die" is a classic Mexican western from 1966 that finds a man returning to his home town after serving time in prison for murder in hopes of living out his days in peace. The sons of the man he killed have radically different plans.

Catalog: Genre

Anyone who knows me has come to realize that I have extremely eclectic taste when it comes to films. So forgive me for a moment as things get a little more strange.

Before James Gunn became famous for his Guardians of the Galaxy films he wrote a remake of George A, Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." The director of that film so happened to be Zach Snyder. The Gunn and Snyder version steps back on the social commentary and ramps up the action. I prefer Romero's version, but it is interesting to see two prominent filmmakers working together at the begining of their careers. In 2001 director/writer Richard Kelly introduced the world to the strange and wonderful world of "Donnie Darko." The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a troubled teen with an invisible friend that is best describes as a man in a soiled bunny costume with a demonic mask. Imagine if David Lynch had been raised in the 1980s or if Guillermo del Toro and Jeff Nichols share the same brain and you'd get something that looks like this. It failed to draw a crowd at the box office, but had the last laugh by becoming one of the bigger cult hits of the past 25 years. "Don't Torture a Duckling" is utterly essential release for any horror fan looking to delve into the career of Lucio " the godfather of gore" Fulci. While it isn't nearly as bloody as his later releases, this film features a frightening amount of social and religious commentary as the plot focuses on the deaths of numerous young boys. Having only ever watched the film on the now decade-old DVD I was taken back by how good the film looks. Made on the cheap, "Don't Torture a Duckling" really shouldn't look as good as this Blu-ray release does. "Dudes" is a 1987 film from Penelope Spheeris, the creative force behind "The Decline of Western Civilization," a timeless ode to punk rock. For "Dudes" Spheeris teamed with screenwriter Randall Jahnson to create an ambitious punk rock western about three punks from New York who decide to swap coasts and head towards L.A. Things don't go as planned. They never do. John Cryer, Daniel Roebuck, Flea (of Red Hot Chilli Peppers fame) headline the cast. That leads us to 1977's "Jabberwocky," a bizarre fantasy film from the mind of Terry Gilliam starring Michael Palin. The film was Gilliam's follow up to 1975's classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The two films share much in common, with "Jabberwocky" being the more insane of the two siblings.

Released in 1976, "J.D.'s Revenge" is a blaxploitation film with supernatural elements as Isacc Hendrix (Glynn Turman) becomes possessed by and 1940s lowlife named J.D. Walker who was wrongly accused of killing his sister. "Land of the Dead" was George A. Romero's return to the genre after a 20-year break following 1985's "Day of the Dead." Like "Day of the Dead," I've always felt that "Land of the Dead" isn't quite given the credit that it is due. It certainly isn't as strong as the franchise's first two films, but the film's commentary about the divide between the classes feels more relevant than ever. "The Lure" was one of the more unusual films that I saw at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. I described it as "a quintessential Sundance experience" in that it is an utterly unusual Polish mermaid musical that takes on the darker aspect of siren lore (they eat their prey) with a kitschy '80s influence. I liked the bizarre coming-of-age aspects of the film and the crazy musical numbers. Paul Naschy was a Spanish actor/writer/director who appeared in numerous films starting in the 1960s up until his death in 2009. Naschy was particularly known for his portrayal of classic monsters, particularly werewolves. Shot! Factory released two collections this year. The first volume focuses on the directors work between 1973 - 1981 and includes "Vengeance of the Zombies," "Horror Rises from the Tomb," "Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll," "Night of the Werewolf" and "Human Beasts." The second volume focuses on five films from the early-to-mid 1970s. It features "Hunchback of the Morgue," "Exorcism," "A Dragonfly for Each Corpse," "The Werewolf and the Yeti" and "The Devil's Possessed." This just barely begins to scratch the surface of Naschy's work.

"The Poughkeepsie Tapes" is a documentary-style horror that was supposed to be released in 2008, but didn't see the light of day until 2014 when it was given a brief video-on-demand release. The film is more infamous than it is good, but sometimes that not being able to see a film is the strongest kind of marketing a studio could ever hope for. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Pulse" is an extremely effective horror film that presents the internet as a medium that allows the evils of the spirit world to interact with the realm of the living. Kurosawa explores the way the internet isolates individuals from each other, a concept that resonates even more so now than it would have when the movie was released in 2001. The film is more about mood than it is about characters, but I still highly recommend this film. That said, please avoid the English-language remake, it's soulless (much like the English-language remake of "Ghost in the Shell"). "Ruby" in a 1977 horror film director Curtis Harrington. the movie a chaotic ride that doesn't necessarily make sense but includes a young girl who is possessed by the spirit of her father who was killed the night she was born. "Satan's Cheerleaders," is an incredibly camp horror comedy that finds a school janitor kidnapping a group of cheerleaders in hopes that one might be a virgin that a coven of Satanists will be able to sacrifice. This is included more as a white elephant gift option than an actual recommendation. "Serial Mom" stars Kathleen Turner as a housewife with a penchant for murder. Written and directed by John Waters, "Serial Mom" is a social satire with bite.

in 2006 James Gunn made his directorial debut with "Slither," a sci-fi horror comedy about a town infested by an alien plague that transforms people into monsters. The film is often compared to "The Blob" with a bit of Romero's zombie films thrown in. I'd add a bit of David Cronenberg to that recipe. "Tales from the Hood" is a horror anthology is in some ways a precursor to "Get Out" in that it uses horror and a bit of humor to address social issues. Lastly, Ed Wood's rebellious '50s feature (it might be a comedy, it might be a drama with Wood it's hard to tell) "The Violent Years." Wood only wrote this particular feature, so it is tame when compaired to some of the filmmaker's other work.

Collector's Sets

If you're really looking to treat someone, here are few excellent options.

Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new box set that includes three versions of the film, a handful of new bonus features including some of Spielberg's home movies, a book and special light-up packaging. If you are set up for 4K, this release is absolutely essential. "DC Universe 10th Anniversary Collection" features 30 of the animated films Including “Superman Doomsday,” "Wonder Woman,” “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns,” “Justice League: Doom,” “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” and “Batman and Harley Quinn.” When it comes to the live-action universe, Marvel has the upper hand, but the animated side of the equation leans heavily towards DC.

If you prefer your DC Comics in live-action form, Warner Bros. has also released a DC 4-film collection on 4K UHD and Blu-ray that contains "Wonder Woman," "Suicide Squad," "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Man of Steel." This year also sees "Dirty Dancing" celebrating its 30th anniversary. To celebrate, they've released a box set that includes the film, the shooting script, a "Do Not Disturb" door sign, mini poster, postcards, a compact mirror and a cottage room jey chain for Baby's room. "Halo: The Complete Video Collection," a collection of the four films inspired by the video game franchise that were released between 2010 -2015. This includes "Halo Legends," "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn," "Halo Nightfall" and "Halo: The Fall of Reach." You don't have to be a fan of the games to enjoy the films, but a direct connection to the material never hurts. Those who have purchased the films as they've been released over the past few years should note that this collection does include a wealth of newly produced material including two hour-long documentaries, numerous featurettes and audio commentary on all four releases. We're still waiting on the big-budget adaptation that Hollywood has been teasing for a decade, but this collection offers plenty of proof of what Hollywood flirted with the possibility in the first place.

On December 5th Sony is releasing a limited edition 20th Anniversary box set thatincludes all three films in 4K as well as on Blu-ray and digital copies. The most impressive box set on this list goes to the Criterion Collection's "100 Years of Olympic Films." This 32-disc set chronicles the Olympica games held between 1912-2012. The set includes 52 films including Leni Riefenstahl's "Olympia" and Kon Ichikawa's "Tokyo Olympiad" and ten feature films from Bud Greenspan. While the Phantasm franchise might not be nearly as imfamous as the Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street series, it has been an influential favorite for many fans and filmmakers. "The Phantasm Collection" Blu-ray set, which includes all five films as well a bonus disc packed with exclusive bonus features, is a bit tricky to find these days. The DVD set is readily available.

The "Planet of the Apes Trilogy" set is an absolute must-own for anyone who prefer that their summer blockbusters have a bit of social commentary and intelligence to go along with their action. It's an incredible trilogy from start to finish, a journey I plan to revisit often. The "Psycho: Complete 4-Movie Collection," is fairly self-explanatory as it contains Alfred Hitchcock's classic film along with the three sequels. Arrow Film's "George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn" collects three of the director's films that were made between his debut, "Night of the Living Dead" and its sequel, "Dawn of the Living Dead." The set includes "There's Always Vanilla," a romantic comedy, "Season of the Witch," a drama with supernatural leanings, and "The Crazies," the only film of the trilogy that fits in with the rest of his filmography. Sadly, "Martin," which also came from this period, is not included. To tie in with their release of "Spider-Man: Homecoming," Sony released two limited edition sets, "The Spider-Man 4K Collection" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 4K Collection." "The Spider-Man 4K Collection" contains Sam Raimi's original trilogy with Tobey Maguire while "The Amazing Spider-Man" set contains both of Marc Webb's films with Andrew Garfield. Of the two sets, the Raimi collection is essential.







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