2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Movies

These days, if you don’t own a Blu-ray player, you’re missing out, especially with a variety of classic movies being offered in high definition for the first time ever. But while we could easily fill several pages with suggestions of great films and cool box sets that deserve a spot on any holiday wish list, we’ve picked some of our favorites released over the past 12 months. If you can’t find anything worth buying here, then chances are that the person you’re shopping for doesn’t like movies.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Back to the Future: 30th Anniversary Trilogy

By this point, you may well be weary of hearing about “Back to the Future,” given how much press the time-travel trilogy received when the first movie hit the big 3-0 earlier this year, but at some point you’ll find yourself wanting to revisit the fun of these three films, and that’s when you’ll want to have a copy of this five-disc set in your collection. In addition to a disc for each of the films, each of which has deleted scenes, “Tales from the Future” documentary segments, audio commentaries and various other bonus material, there’s also a separate bonus disc that includes a variety of additional mini-docs, plus a 2015 message from Doc Brown, two new commercials (one for “Jaws 19,” the other for a Hoverboard), and two episodes of “Back to the Future: The Animated Series.”

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is one the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animation, boasting a unique style that shines through in every one of his fantastical stories. Though Miyazaki’s films are currently available as individual Blu-rays, this 12-disc box set – which is available exclusively through Amazon – is the first time that they’ve been offered in a single collection. All 11 movies are included, from 1979’s “Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro” to 2013’s Oscar-nominated “The Wind Rises.” In addition, there are several hours of bonus material that are perfect for the Miyazaki admirer, including his 1972 TV pilot for Tetsuya Chiba’s “Yuki no Taiyo,” three episodes of the 1972 anime series “Akado Suzunosuke,” the 90-minute press conference announcing his retirement, and a 37-page collector’s book featuring the essay, “The Great Dichotomy: Looking at the Works of Hayao Miyazaki.” It’s probably not worth the double dip if you already own all of his movies on Blu-ray (especially since the extras from those releases have strangely been removed here), but this box set is a must-have for fans of animation, as well as kids who are beginning to outgrow their Disney and Pixar collections.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Television

Television fans must love the holidays, because it’s the one time of year when studios unleash a host of massive box sets collecting their favorite dramas and comedies. This year is no different, with several critically acclaimed shows getting the complete series treatment. But while we like to devour an entire TV show just as quickly as the next person, sometimes a little self-discipline is required, which is why we’ve also included some less time-consuming (and more affordable) suggestions as well.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Justified: The Complete Series

Justified” is one of those shows that never really got the credit (or the audience) it deserved, because it’s a sharply written and well-acted neo-Western that managed to pull off what most series have failed to do: stick the landing. Though it started out as a more formulaic, crime of the week-type drama, “Justified” evolved into something much richer over the years by focusing on the relationship between U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens and smooth-talking outlaw Boyd Crowder, two men who grew up in the same poor, coal-mining town in Kentucky, but ended up on different sides of the law. Both Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins deliver strong, well-rounded performances in their respective roles, but while it would be difficult to imagine the show without either of them, the supporting cast is just as important, especially Nick Searcy as Givens’ crusty boss, Jacob Pitts and Erica Tazel as fellow Marshalls, and Joelle Carter as Boyd’s fiancée/partner in crime. The rotating cast of guest stars is also impressive, adding to the series’ rich tapestry of down-and-dirty hillbillies, criminals and lawmen to create a lived-in world that feels more genuine than just about anything else on television. The fact that “Justified” was able to maintain its high quality throughout all six seasons is pretty extraordinary, but it’s also one of the few shows to produce a satisfying series finale, and that definitely earns it a spot among the TV drama elite.

Californication: The Complete Series

With Hank Moody, David Duchovny created a character that ranks as one of the greatest hedonists in television history. “Californication” was loaded with great characters and it thrived on introducing countless examples of the bizarre and interesting people you’ll find in L.A., but everything revolved around Hank and all of his crazy exploits. He could be arrogant and often self-destructive, but watching his endless exploits with the flaky but often beautiful women of La La Land made you want to hop on a plane and rent an apartment in Venice Beach. The best part was that Hank always found a way to enjoy the ride, even as things got a little rough. Through it all he was still crazy in love with his ex, Karen, played by the lovely Natascha McElhone, and Evan Handler was excellent as Charlie Runkle, his dopey but ever-loyal agent and sidekick who had his own ups and down with his hilarious and nutty wife Marcy. Now you can enjoy all 84 episodes on 14 discs in this new box set. Give it to someone who needs to learn how to enjoy life again, or at least can use a vehicle to live vicariously through someone else’s crazy adventures.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

A Guide for Determining How Long Different Foods Can be Safely Stored in the Fridge or Freezer

Food safety has become much less of an issue now that we have the benefit of advanced technology that provides us with the ideal temperatures and the best environments for extending the storage life of practically everything we eat. Why, just the introduction of home refrigeration and freezing technology has enabled us to be able to enjoy many foods that were previously beyond our scope, as many of them were so delicate that they wouldn’t hold up to the impossible to control elements of home storage. And to this, add the unabashedly huge proliferation of all kinds of chemicals that our beloved USDA has benevolently allowed to be added to all the foods we eat during processing. So we now can leave most foods out for three and four times longer than any previous times…those times when preservatives and mysterious additives were not yet even discovered.

Many Reasons Why Having a Good Food Storage Method is Important

Frozen foods like vegetables and casseroles are superior in their ability to retain nutrients and vitamins, as unlike their canned counterparts, they are not typically cooked as much during the process of preparing them for storage. It’s true that the majority of the lost nutrients in the canning process occur to the water soluble vitamins, but the water soluble vitamins are frequently the ones we find being added back into foods because they are lost in the processing. And so, even though the majority of folks tend to think about avoiding spoilage, preserving the integrity and nutrient value of food is just as important, if we are truly eating in order to live well.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Online Florist Predicts Flowers Will Be a Popular Gift This Year

ID-10085609 Photo by patpitchaya
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/by patpitchaya

An online florist has seen a changing face in how flowers are sold. By moving online, there has been a significant business increase. Additionally, it seems that people are buying flowers more regularly nowadays, rather than expensive other products. Furthermore, the store also offers floral accessories and other products, thereby attracting an even wider range of people, who prefer to have a one stop shop for all their floristry needs.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Car Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

I first drove the 2015 Hyundai Sonata last summer when the all-new design was introduced, and I noted then how much I liked the evolution of the Sonata design. The Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language led to a more refined and upscale look for the Sonata that should help the vehicle stand out in the crowded mid-sized sedan market.

I recently had the opportunity to drive the new Sonata for a full week and this experience reinforced the positive impressions I had last summer. I tested the Sport 2.0T which features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that is optimized for lower-RPM drivability and produces 245 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. I pointed out in my original review that you could feel the difference driving the turbo over the standard 185 horsepower engine so I was happy to have the turbo for the week. It won’t blow you away with its performance but the consistent responsiveness made this an appealing every day vehicle.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Related Posts