The GreenCine Holiday Gift Guide! 2010 Edition

 

DVDs: 

Jeffrey M. Anderson of Combustible Celluloid's picks: 

The year's most essential DVD is Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow (Criterion) [rent/read]. Made the same year as McCarey's hit screwball comedy The Awful Truth, this one is a perfect companion piece to Tokyo Story, a poetic meditation on old age and family. It's heartbreaking, but far lovelier and more compulsively viewable than it may sound. 
 
 The year's most essential Blu-Ray is the uncut version of John  Woo's Red Cliff. In December of 2009, Magnolia  unwisely released a butchered 148-minute version, when the
complete Chinese version actually ran 288 minutes. American audiences quickly realized they'd been swindled and stayed away from the edited version in droves. The uncut version even deserved comparison to Seven Samurai and Lawrence of Arabia, but now it will go down in history with other butchered epics like Once Upon a Time in America. Perhaps it will eventually be re-discovered and take its rightful place as a classic.
 
Other Recommended Blu-Rays: Crumb (Criterion Collection) (read our review hereBigger Than Life (Criterion) (review)  Close-Up (yep, Criterion), The Evil Dead (Anchor Bay), Steamboat Bill Jr. (Kino), and the Vengeance Trilogy (Palisades Tartan); The Night of the Hunter (Criterion)
 
Other Recommended DVDs: Chaplin at Keystone (Flicker Alley), Fantomas (Kino) (review), and Louie Bluie (Criterion) (review); The Night of the Hunter (Criterion) 
 

 

Picks from friends of GreenCine: 

Animating Reality: A Collection of Animated Documentaries [rent]Weird, wondrous and whimsical short films that combine two unlikely modes of storytelling: documentary film and animation. Films by thirteen filmmakers spanning an impressive breadth of topics and techniques create an unforgettable experience. --  Erin Donovan, of the blog Steady Diet of Film and documentary distribution company A Million Movies a Minute

A Town Called Panic [rent]: The Belgian stop motion film moves at a clip the most movie averse kid can sync up with--even if it's in French with English subtitles--Don't stop reading yet! The characters  are charming, played by toys named for their make (Indian, Cowboy,  Horse, no double identities here) and their adventures are as whimsical as they are absurd (so the adults get a laugh, too). If the subtitles worry parents and kids, that seeming limitation can be a great use of DVD technology: Get the older kids to read aloud! As with any DVD gift, the movie won't go over if the kids and the film don't match sensibilities, but for family grade entertainment, Panic provides the kind of creative energy that's hard to find in American releases and, after the kids are done watching, don't be surprised if their playtime narratives get a lot more interesting--and possibly involve some faux-French dialogue. -- Sara Maria Vizcarrondo of BoxOffice.com

A new Blu-ray Criterion Collection edition of Terence Malick's film The Thin Red Line [rent] has just been released.  More an ongoing spiritual meditation on the nature of cruelty and compassion than a conventional war pic, this visually masterful classic rendered in an elegant edition is a great way to focus on deeper meanings of sacrifice and love during a tumultous Holiday season. -- Simon Augustine

The Leopard [rent] is on record as being my favorite film, so I’d add the new Blu-Ray edition of it to my own personal Gift Guide. Gorgeous. -- James van Maanen, GreenCine's favorite very tall man and writer of the blog Trust Movies


GreenCine Editor Craig Phillip's picks: 

Paths of Glory [Blu-Ray] [rent]; extraordinary war film from Stanley Kubrick, one of Kirk Douglas' most impassioned performances and absolutely moving and enraging and beautiful. 

 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story [Blu-Ray] [review] (Criterion, natch) - Some of the great films of the late 60's-early 70s compiled in one fab box set, all looking as good as they likely ever have. I'd previously seen Five Easy Pieces and Easy Rider, still classics even if very much of their time, but the real revelations here for me are Jack Nicholson's Drive He Said and Bob Rafelson's downbeat but terrific King of Marvin Gardens. Also included is one of my very favorite films, The Last Picture Show. All in all, a set of gems.

We've long been fans of Sout! Factory releases, but they've really blown us away this year by releasing a slew of Roger Corman Cult Classics, packed with brand-new bonus features on each disc and awesome new box covers. This year also brought us new box cover art from the folks at Russ Meyers Films which are back in stock and ready to ship to your favorite cult-movie loving friends!

TV sets:

You can buy the entire series of The Wire in one set now for around $100. Only one of the great shows in terms of writing, stories, cast and characters, realism, on American TV over past decade.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 vol XIX and MST3K Vol XVIII (the previous release) are both superfun for Mysties everywhere. The Limited Edition XIX includes a Gypsy Figurine (she was the Richard Basehart-living vacuum cleaner-like robot) and includes MST's take on Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster. 

For the Cinephile plus sports fanatic in your life, the ESPN 30 for 30 Gift Set Collection, Vol 1 is pretty awesome. Not every single one of the 15 films (the other 15 will presumably be out soon) included here are perfect buut there are so many fascinating sports stories told here that it's worth it.

 

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