Monday, December 9, 2019

Film Intuition's 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Beyond the Bad Ties & Fuzzy Socks:
Jen's Gift Guide for Every Pop Culture Fan

Women in Film 101: Introduce the aspiring filmmaker in your life to the filmography of early women pioneers and Ida Lupino, and then rock their world with the newly restored Blu-ray of Kathryn Bigelow's first film, The Loveless. Celebrate the achievements of women working behind the scenes in style with some amazing new shirts featuring Thelma SchoonmakerElaine May, Claire Denis, Amy Heckerling, and more from Tees-en-scène.

Gift Cards for Arthouse Lovers: Bring the film festivals of Cannes and Sundance home to your recipient's living room with a gift subscription to The Criterion ChannelMubi, or Film Movement Plus.

For the Bookish Classic Film Fan: Turner Classic Movies has been releasing one knockout work of nonfiction after another, including Donald Bogle's Hollywood Black: The Stars, the Films, the Filmmakers, Mark A. Vieira's Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934): When Sin Ruled the Movies, and Sloan De Forest's Dynamic Dames: 50 Leading Ladies Who Made History. Also, "You Must Remember This" podcast host Karina Longworth's incredibly well-researched, critically acclaimed book, Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood is now available in paperback. And chronicling the histories of her parents, both before they were a couple in alternating chapters until they eventually married in the 1940s, author Victoria Riskin released one of the year's most fascinating biographies with Fay Wray and Robert Riskin.

Films off the Beaten Path: While The Criterion Collection is still the gold standard for physical media, home entertainment distributors such as Kino Lorber, Shout Factory, Arrow, Olive Films, Cohen Media Group, Film Movement Classics, Twilight Time, and Warner Archive are starting to give Criterion a run for their (and our!) money with lovingly transferred and/or restorations of cult favorites, out-of-print classics, and forgotten films from decades gone by. Often packaged with striking artwork, film school worthy extras, and thoughtful essays, you could easily spend hours happily perusing their sites for gifts (while also picking up a little something for yourself).

Pop Culture Art: A colorful, tongue-in-cheek book for auteur lovers, Now Playing: A Seek-and-Find Book for Film Buffs serves up page after page of illustrations devoted to some of the world's greatest filmmakers. If you're looking for art you can either hang up, wear, or live with, look no further than the stores of two of my favorite independent artists, Brianna Ashby and Kate Gabrielle, whose work offers everything from jaw-dropping portraits to classic film puns sure to make you smile.

Past Prestige TV: With the release of the Comic Genius: Robin Williams collection, along with their commitment to tracking down the music rights to release the phenomenal China Beach and The Wonder Years the way they originally aired in the late '80s through the early '90s, Time Life has raised the bar on box sets of TV on DVD. (Now if only they would release Ed!)
Twin Peaks: From Z to A, Paramount's incredible collection of all three seasons of David Lynch's iconic cult series serves up both the original event series as well as Showtime's acclaimed Return alongside a plethora of new featurettes, interviews, extended musical sequences, as well as 4K transfers of the pilot and 2018's instantly legendary episode eight.

Welcome to 4K: Streaming in 4K Ultra HD is one thing but watching a film on 4K Blu-ray — without buffering and dips in quality — is an altogether different experience. With crisp detail and richness in color, contrast, and sound, the recent flood of collectible quality 4K restorations of the films of the '70s and '80s including Coppola's Apocalypse Now, and The Cotton Club as well as De Palma's Scarface, and Kubrick's The Shining are reason enough to convince a habitual streamer to buy and plug a top notch Ultra HD player into their TV. If you're longing for something more modern to break in your new player, look no further than the jaw-dropping transfers of last year's Mission: Impossible – Fallout and this summer's Toy Story 4. Sure to be on many holiday lists this year is the release of Quentin Tarantino's smash summer hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which arrives this week both on its own as well as in a mega 4K collector's edition set.

Kids and Teens: With vibrant pop-up artwork and adorable collectibles sure to evoke strong feelings of nostalgia, Warner Bros has unveiled an enviable selection of new TV on DVD/Blu-ray box set releases. This year's titles include a 50th anniversary Scooby-Doo collection with every single episode of the perennial favorite, the 70th anniversary celebration of the Peanuts Holiday Collection, the full series release of the animated Batman Beyond, and a surprisingly sturdy, limited edition Blu-ray and digital series collection with a collectible book (and cool pop-up art!) of my cousin's favorite, The Big Bang Theory, which has become this generation's answer to Friends. Joining in the family fun with a nice compact release, Dreamworks has created an entertaining holiday gift set of Rise of the Guardians packaged together with their animation studio's surprisingly funny holiday shorts, including a handful of film worthy Madagascar standouts featuring my favorite movie penguins.

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