2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Entertainment

Everyone loves watching a great movie or TV series, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite releases from the past year that just about guy will enjoy. And for more gift ideas, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classic and Contemporary

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Most guys love gangster films, so it’s hard to think of a better “one size fits all” gift than Warner Bros.’ recently released Ultimate Gangster Collection on Blu-ray. Divided into two volumes, the Contemporary edition is arguably the more desirable of the pair as it’s comprised of favorites like “The Untouchables,” “Heat” and three Martin Scorsese films (“Mean Streets,” “Goodfellas” and “The Departed”). Though the Classics edition is a little more niche, you really can’t go wrong with a quartet that includes Golden Age standards like “Little Caesar,” “The Public Enemy,” “The Petrified Forest” and “White Heat.” All four films have also been remastered for their Blu-ray debuts, and like most Warner Bros. catalog titles, they look fantastic. Each collection also includes a 32-page book with images and additional info on each movie, and the Classic edition comes packaged with a feature-length documentary. The best part? At $40 a pop, you’re getting some great movies at an unbeatable price.

Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection

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What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than with one of the coolest dads in movie history? We’re talking about John McClane, of course, even if he wasn’t exactly a very good father himself. Though Fox has released the fifth installment in the “Die Hard” series, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” just in time for the holiday, we’d actually recommend picking up the “Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection” on Blu-ray instead. Though the earlier films haven’t been given the HD restoration that they deserve, the set does include a nearly two-hour retrospective on the franchise titled “Decoding Die Hard” that’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, unlike the latest installment, the other four movies are all worthy of repeat viewings (yes, even the underrated “Live Free or Die Hard”), making this five-disc box set a must-have for any fan of the series, Bruce Willis or great action films in general.

Forever Marilyn Collection

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She’s probably our most iconic sex symbol. Marilyn Monroe remains relevant after all these years for more than just her amazing beauty and charisma. She was a true starlet, but she could act as well. Now you can get many of her best films in one collection with “Forever Marilyn: The Blu-ray Collection.” The films include classics like “The Misfits” and “Some Like It Hot,” along with new-to-Blu-ray titles “How to Marry A Millionaire,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “The Seven Year Itch,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “River of No Return.” We’ve included some images of Marilyn from the films courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, including the memorable scene of Marilyn’s white dress being blown up in the subway in “The Seven Year Itch.”

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Blu Tuesday: Nazis, Wolverines and More

It’s another busy week for Blu-rays, so I don’t want to waste too much time here, but with so much good stuff being released over the next few weeks, you might want to plan ahead so you don’t go broke buying all the great Oscar nominees and catalog titles coming to Blu-ray. With that said, there are definitely a few movies this week that no cinephile should ignore, so read on to find out which ones they are.

“Schindler’s List”

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the release of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” but even after all that time, it remains one of the director’s finest films and arguably the best movie ever made about the Holocaust. Though the film is plagued by many of the typical Spielbergian problems – namely its bloated runtime, which is even worse than usual due to the somewhat meandering pace and useless subplots – Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography is superb (it looks even better in high definition) and the acting is great all around. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes’ Oscar nominations were both fully deserved, delivering some of the best work of their careers as the heroic Schindler and psychotic SS officer Amon Goeth, respectively, while Ben Kingsley’s absence from the Supporting Actor category feels unjust in hindsight. Still, the movie walked away with seven Academy Awards that year – including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay – so it’s not like it didn’t receive its fair share of recognition, and now that it’s finally on Blu-ray, a whole new generation of moviegoers can finally enjoy Spielberg’s excellent drama the way it should be seen.

Blu-ray Highlight: The Blu-ray doesn’t actually feature any bonus material, but the accompanying DVD version does, although the only extra of note is a documentary from 2004 that combines archival footage with survivor interviews about the Holocaust. It’s just a pity that Steven Spielberg couldn’t be bothered to do an audio commentary.

“Wreck-It Ralph”

It’s been quite awhile since I saw an animated movie that I really loved (the kind you can watch over and over again), but Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” is that good. Though it was unfairly snubbed at this year’s Oscars in favor of Pixar’s mediocre fairy tale “Brave,” Rich Moore’s directorial debut has a much better chance of standing the test of time, even if the early rumors of a sequel don’t exactly fill me with glee. After all, its wildly inventive premise is one of the many things that separate “Wreck-It Ralph” from other films in the genre, and the fact that it appeals to video game fans of all ages certainly doesn’t hurt. The digital cameos lend some authenticity to Ralph’s world and are smartly integrated into the story without drawing too much attention, while the casting is pretty much spot-on, especially John C. Reilly as the title character and Sarah Silverman as his spunky sidekick. Though it would have been fun to see Ralph game-jump into more than a few games, I guess something has to be saved for the sequel, no matter how bad of an idea it may sound.

Blu-ray Highlight: Hosted by Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, Disney’s latest Intermission feature reveals some of the film’s Easter Eggs whenever the disc is paused, but the real highlight is John Kahrs’ visually stunning (and Oscar-winning) “Paperman” short.

“Red Dawn”

As far as 1980s cult classics go, “Red Dawn” isn’t the most popular of the bunch, but it is one of the few movies to receive a remake that actually makes sense. Though it’s hard to beat the cast of the original, director Dan Bradley’s update boasts a solid group of young actors, including Chris “Thor” Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. The only real problem is Josh Peck, who isn’t terribly convincing as the impulsive star quarterback and falls flat in many of the film’s more emotional scenes. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t rely too heavily on the strength of its characters to move the story along, but when your lead is as bad as Peck is here, it’s hard to ignore. A lot of the film’s success ultimately comes down to the excellent action sequences, and that’s where having a guy like Bradley – who worked as a stunt coordinator and second unit director on several big movies – pays off. He may not get the best performances from his actors, but the action scenes are never lacking in excitement. Granted, the movie is about as subtle as a chainsaw, but it doesn’t try to hide what it is either, and that’s what makes “Red Dawn” such a fun guilty pleasure.

Blu-ray Highlight: A review copy didn’t arrive in time, but after the film’s theatrical release endured such a long delay, it’s hard to imagine MGM going all out for this one.

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