2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Movies

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 check back throughout the week for more additions to our Holiday Gift Guide.

Captain America: Civil War

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Civil War” has been jokingly referred to as “Avengers 2.5,” and for good reason, because while the movie may be a Captain America sequel in name, it’s a continuation of several different story threads from “Winter Soldier,” “Age of Ultron” and more. Though the film feels a bit crowded at times with all the various characters and cameos (including the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man), they never overshadow the central conflict. Unlike “Batman v Superman,” “Civil War” actually gives its characters a reason for fighting, and that goes a long way in legitimizing the ideological and physical clash between its opposing heroes. The movie isn’t perfect – Daniel Brühl’s villainous Zemo is underserved, and the filmmakers ignore a key argument in favor of the anti-registration side – but it does such a good job of balancing the emotionally-charged narrative with some excellent action sequences and fan service that those flaws seem trivial in comparison. “Civil War” is perhaps Marvel’s darkest and most mature film to date, but it still knows how to have fun, and that’s key to its success.

The Nice Guys

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Shane Black is to buddy cop films what Raymond Chandler is to hard-boiled crime novels, and his latest movie, the retro detective noir “The Nice Guys,” is arguably his best entry in the genre since redefining the buddy cop formula three decades earlier with “Lethal Weapon.” Although it hits all the usual beats of a Shane Black feature, “The Nice Guys” does so with such remarkable efficiency – brimming with humorous banter, exciting action and even a little heart – that it feels totally fresh. Black and co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi’s dialogue crackles with wit and humor, while the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe is simply outstanding. The two actors form one of the best double acts in recent memory, and though Crowe is quite good as the sardonic straight man, Gosling is the real standout, delivering a side-splittingly funny physical performance that makes great use of his comedic abilities. “The Nice Guys” doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any way, but it’s a consistently enjoyable flick that reconfirms why Black is the best at what he does.

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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.

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2014 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 to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection

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It may come as a surprise that Steven Spielberg has only won the Oscar for Best Director twice over the course of his illustrious career, because he’s made some of the most popular and critically-acclaimed films of the past 40 years. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Spielberg spent a majority of his time working under the Universal Pictures banner, and all of those movies have been collected in this fantastic box set, four of which (“Duel,” “Sugarland Express,” “1941” and “Always”) are making their Blu-ray debuts. The other films include perennial favorites like “Jaws,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World,” though for some strange reason, 1993’s “Schindler’s List” (his last Universal picture to date) is nowhere to be found. All of the movies have received gorgeous high-def video transfers, while the included booklet provides background info like fun facts, concept art and storyboards. Though the lesser known films will undoubtedly receive individual releases in the future, this is the only way to own them on Blu-ray at the moment, and that makes the “Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection” a must-have for any self-respecting cinephile.

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection

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There are many stories about the difficulties of working with Stanley Kubrick. He was a perfectionist and an introvert, but he was also a cinematic genius responsible for directing some of most innovative and influential films of the past 60 years. Though it doesn’t include any of his earlier work (specifically “Paths of Glory” and “The Killing,” which you can pick up from Criterion), this new Blu-ray set is the closest thing to a definitive collection that you’re likely to find, featuring all eight movies that Kubrick directed between 1960 to 1999: “Spartacus,” “Lolita,” “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Atom Bomb,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Eyes Wide Shut.” The 10-disc set also boasts a pair of discs dedicated to bonus material, including the previously released documentaries “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures” and “O’ Lucky Malcolm” (about actor Malcolm McDowell), as well as a trio of new featurettes, “Kubrick Remembered,” “Stanley Kubrick in Focus” and “Once Upon a Time… A Clockwork Orange.” If you don’t already own these films on Blu-ray, now is the time to rectify that.

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Cyber Monday!

We posted our Holiday Gift Guide last week just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s broken down into categories like Gadgets, Movies, TV, For Her, Games, Guy Stuff and For the Home. Browse through the sections and you’ll find some great gift ideas.

With Cyber Monday there are loads of deals out there. Check out the deals at Amazon.com for a variety of gift ideas.

  

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