With Christmas only 11 days away (!!!), it’s time for us to recommend some hot entertainment-related gifts this year that you should buy for your loved ones. Movies, games, other cool things — read on for our picks.
Blu-ray titles that will make them giddy
By now all true movie buffs should have upgraded to Blu-ray. The quality is far superior to any other format available, and special sets make giving Blu-ray titles a top choice for the cinephile on your list. But what titles are worth the coin?
Recent films like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Fright Night, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, Attack the Block, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America, and Super 8 are all top-notch titles that show off the format perfectly.
If you have a collector on your list, the 50th Anniversary Edition of Ben-Hur is a definite must-have. Warner Bros. went well above the call of duty on this, and the 3-disc set is just mind-blowing. Not only does the HD transfer look and sound beautiful, but it’s loaded with special features and the limited edition packaging is very cool.
In the same league as Ben-Hur is the 70th Anniversary Edition of Citizen Kane, the 50th Anniversary Editions of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and West Side Story, and the recent Digibook release of Judy Garland’s Meet Me in St. Louis. All of these titles have new life thanks to their HD upgrades and all are worth watching over and over.
Although comedies don’t usually benefit much from the Blu-ray format, having Airplane, The Naked Gun, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles in the highest quality possible is a wonderful thing. As a bonus, each title comes in cool, holographic packaging and since they are priced so low they make the perfect stocking stuffers.
The big kid on your list will love the 40th Anniversary Edition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It comes in a wild box set that is loaded with bonus items, including a a 144-page behind-the-scenes book, a retro Wonka tin, and more. Tom & Jerry: Golden Collection Vol. 1 and Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection Vol. 1 are also great sets that come highly recommended.
Other box sets worth picking up include the Superman Motion Picture Anthology, Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy, the Back to the Future Trilogy, Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection, and of course the Stanley Kubrick: Limited Edition Collection, which includes Lolita, Spartacus, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Barry Lyndon, Dr, Stangelove, and Eyes Wide Shut.
If you have a nature lover on your list and you still don’t have Planet Earth, it’s been rereleased in a variety of new packaging options and the series is just as stunning as ever. Human Planet and Life are also excellent Blu-ray titles in this category.
Kids movies, especially animated ones, all look great on Blu-ray. This year has seen a lot of excellent ones get released too, including classics like Dumbo, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast, as well as recent hits like Rio, Rango, Winnie the Pooh, and Cars 2.
Of course there are a few holiday specials worth owning or giving on Blu-ray, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which looks great in HD and is packed with special features, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, which is a very underrated straight-to-video release that is quite charming.
Games that will have them glued to the TV
Yes, we mainly cover movies, but we also enjoy playing video games and do have some titles we just can’t stop playing.
For racing fans, Need for Speed: The Run (PS3, XBOX360) is one of the most addictive games in the franchise and is an amazing adrenaline rush to play. The game starts out a bit different, with you having to escape from some bad guys who want you dead. Once you get past that and you’re on the race from San Fransisco to New York City it is just an intense, wild ride that you won’t be able to turn off.
Warner Interactive keeps pumping out excellent Batman games and Arkham City (PS3, XBOX 360) is another great one in the series. The graphics, storyline, and atmosphere make it one of the most cinematic game experiences I’ve ever played, and it will definitely make the gamer on your list a happy camper. Another game from Warner Interactive I can’t put down is the new Mortal Kombat (PS3, XBOX360). As a bonus you can download and play as Freddy Krueger, which is pure enjoyment.
For younger gamers, Disney Universe (PS3, XBOX 360, Wii) is a fun action-adventure game that allows you to play as one of 45 Disney or Pixar characters. Although it’s quite simple (you have to collect coins and figure out puzzles in order to advance) it’s quite fun. Pixar’s Cars 2 (PS3, XBOX 360, Wii) is also a good kid-friendly game that let’s you race as one of the characters from the movie, such as Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Finn McMissile.
Some other games we’re digging lately are Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS, Family Feud Decades for the PS3, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii.
What else do you need?
Need a book? The Age of Movies: Selected Writings by Pauline Kael is a great gift for the wannabe movie critic in your life. Something more practical? A Netflix subscription or membership to the TIFF Bell Lightbox (or other local rep theatre in your area) are always good ideas. Need something funny? The Trailer Park Boys: The Complete Collection pretty much takes the cake. Techie in your life? Grab them an Apple TV or Logitech Harmony 650 Remote. And if all else fails just go with a Cineplex gift card.
Have gift ideas of your own? Leave a comment below and let us know. Happy Holidays!