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2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Movies, Music, Television

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Movies, Music, Television (Photo: Eagle Rock Entertainment, Mattel, Funko, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, LEGO, Universal){ }

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Movies

  • "Alien" celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and 20th Century Fox marked the occasion by giving the classic sci-fi/horror hybrid a phenomenal 4K release.
  • Remove the forced romantic elements and "Alita: Battle Angel" is an unusual slice of science fiction with some incredibly inventive visuals.
  • It's been hit or miss when it comes to The Conjuring Universe, "Annabelle Comes Home" is one of the good ones as it features the demonic doll, an oblivious teenager and the great child actor Mckenna Grace.
  • Francis Ford Coppola has returned to recut "Apocalypse Now" for this new 4K "Final Cut" release. The new version finds itself somewhere between the lengthy "Redux" version and the theatrical release. All three cuts are available in this new set from Lionsgate.
  • 1988's remake of "The Blob" takes the classic paranoid hysteria of the original 1958 film and up the gruesome quota. Shout! Factory has included a massive amount of new and archive bonus features that are as interesting as the film itself.
  • "Galaxy Quest"turned 20 this year and Paramount unleashed a new steelbook of the cult classic that celebrates sci-fi and its fandom.
  • Since we're celebrating anniversaries, Guillermo del Toro's "Hellboy" was released in theaters 15 years ago and this new 4K release of the film is an excellent reminder of the director's talent, the potential of Mike Mignola comics and the disappointment that was 2019's disastrous reboot.
  • The snarky '90s bubble to the surface for the 20th anniversary Blu-ray release of "Jawbreaker."
  • The John Wick franchise has given us a trilogy of tremendously immersive films that mix gorgeous visuals, phenomenal fight choreography and the kind of world building that set a new standard for action films. Walmart and Best Buy have the trilogy in unique steelbook packaging.
  • "Moon" finds Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) finishing a three-year stint on the moon for Lunar Industries.
  • "The Daniel Craig Collection" is the first of the James Bond films to be released in 4K. This set includes "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace," "Skyfall" and "Spectre."
  • The Folio Society has released eight of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels in gorgeous illustrated editions including "Casino Royale" and "Live and Let Die."

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Movies

  • Written and directed by Mike Judge, "Office Space" explores the absurd atmosphere of a software company and white collar office culture in general. A box office disappointment, "Office Space" has since become one of the touchstones of '90s culture.
  • "The Omen Collection" collects the five theatrical films released between 1976 -2006. The original trilogy concluded in 1981, but attempts to revive the franchise followed in 1991 and 2006. The story focuses on a adopted child who is revealed to be the Antichrist.
  • Mixing fantasy, history and horror, "Pan's Labyrinth" is both grotesque and beautiful as a fairytale set against the early Francoist period in Spain.
  • "The Ringu Collection" from Arrow Films features four Japanese features that inspired the U.S. horror film "The Ring." The set includes the original film, it's sequel and prequel and "Spiral" the "lost" sequel that was written out of the cannon chronology by "Ringu 2."
  • 1987's "Robocop" is sci-fi tale packed with violence and noir influences about a Detroit police officer who is killed in the line of duty and brought back to life with cybernetics. This release includes Paul Verhoeven's original cut of the film that includes a extended shots of violence that were edited out for the theatrical release.
  • Based on Alvin Schwartz's short stories, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" is an enjoyable horror romp that stays true to its source material as it weaves together a handful of stories into one packed narrative with its share of PG-13 scares and frights.
  • "The Shining" is both a fantastic horror film and a poor adaptation of its source material. The film is loosely based on the Stephen King novel, but Stanley Kubrick made the film his own study of madness featuring iconic performances from Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.
  • "The Street Fighter Collection" features the three classic Sonny Chiba Street Fighter films. Chiba stars as Terry Tsurugi, a ruthless mercenary, who turns on his employers when they refuse to pay him for his work. Tsurugi is a classic ant-hero for the ages.
  • Stephen King's "The Stand" made for a classic television series in 1994 as it takes audiences into a world ravished by a supervirus.
  • "Two Evil Eyes" sees legendary directors Dario Argento ("Suspiria") and George Romero ("Night of the Living Dead") adapting Edgar Allen Poe for this two-part tale from 1990.
  • Quite possibly the best romantic comedy ever made, "When Harry Met Sally"tells the story of Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) as they test the notion that a man and a woman can simply be friends.
  • Released in 2009, "Zombieland" is a crazed, comedic post-apocalyptic story about a world overrun by zombies starring the likes of Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson. Its sequel, "Double Tap," was released earlier this year.

DC Comics

  • Last year we were treated to a "Batman: The Animated Series" box sets that was one of the most cherished gifts of the season. This year Warner Bros. is releasing "Batman Beyond: The Complete Series," a futuristic take on Gotham and its inhabitants.
  • "Gotham: The Complete Series" includes all five seasons of the Batman prequel series that focused on Gotham's police, villains and its people prior to the arrival of the Dark Knight.
  • "DC's Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fourth Season" sees the most adventurous of the Arrowvurse films putting lesser-known characters into the spotlight with fantastic results.
  • Tim Burton's two Batman films changed the way Hollywood looked at superhero films. This new "Batman 4-Film Collection" sees Burton's films and the two subsequent films by Joel Schumacher released in 4K for the first time.
  • This Funko Batman 1989 version of Michael Keaton's version of the character pairs perfectly with the "Batman 4-Film Collection."
  • Tabletop games are back in fashion and Funko has launched their Funkoverse line that includes two Batman themed sets.

Television

  • "The Americans: The Complete Series" brings together all six seasons of the Cold War spy thriller that finds a pair of Russian agents (played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) posing as an American married couple.
  • "China Beach: The Complete Series" includes all four seasons of the Vietnam medical drama that is told through the eyes of the civilians and doctors, rather than the soldiers.
  • "Charlie's Angels: The Complete Series" features all five seasons on blu-ray from the franchise's original run from 1976 to 1981.
  • HBO's "Chernobyl" masterfully tells the story of those responsible for the 1986 nuclear plant disaster and the individuals who were called in to try and mitigate the ecological impact.
  • Rumors about a revived take on "Deadwood," HBO's beloved Western finally come true with the acclaimed "Deadwood: The Movie."
  • "Elementary: The Complete Series" puts a contemporary spin on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories with Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. This set includes all seven seasons.
  • "The Handmaid's Tale: Season Three" continues Bruce Miller's update of Margaret Atwood's novel set in a world where a growing number of woman rise against an extremely patriarchal society.
  • Based loosely on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel, "The Haunting of Hill House" follows the Crain family decades after they were forced to flee their home in 1992 following a string of paranormal activity.
  • "True Detective: The Complete Third Season" sees the series correcting course with fine performances by Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto taking on the bulk of the writing and directing.
  • 1960 Japanese classic superhero series "Ultra Q: The Complete Series" and its successor "Ultraman: The Complete Series" finally make their way to Blu-ray.
  • History's historical drama continues with "Vikings: Season 5, Volume 2." The sixth season has been announced as its last with a spin-off series, "Vikings: Valhalla" currently in the development stage at Netflix.
  • "Warrior: The Complete First Season" is based on an original treatment by Bruce Lee and follows Ah Sahm, a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco circa 18 who finds himself thrown into the middle of the Tong Wars, a series of incidents between clashing Chinese immigrants living in cities across America.
  • Kevin Costner returns as John Dutton in Taylor Sheridan's "Yellowstone: Season 2." The series is essentially a Western, but Sheridan has a way of ratcheting up the drama that inevitably always ends in bursts of violence.

Television

  • "Cobra Kai," dives back into the original "The Karate Kid" to resurrect the fight between Johnny (William Zabka) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) three decades after their legendary fight. The series is packed with nostalgia and teen angst that has been converted into a mid-life crisis.
  • "Star Trek Discovery: Season Two" the latest stories in CBS's long-running science fiction franchise.
  • Revisit the funniest of the series with "Family Guy: 20 Greatest Hits."
  • "Space 1999: The Complete Series" brings together both seasons of the classic British sci-fi television drama that ran from 1975-1977. The narrative follows the lives of the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha as they are hurled across the universe by a nuclear explosion.
  • "The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series" collects all 12 seasons of the hugely popular CBS series that celebrates nerdom culture through a group of eclectic friends.
  • The long-running animated series "The Simpsons" has released a box set that contains the first 20 seasons of the series (in the proper aspect ratio). They are still a decade behind (the series has 31 seasons), but having abandoned DVD releases for a few years, fans are happy to have to have the opportunity to own physical copies.

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Jurassic World

Blockbuster Puzzles

  • Those feeling a little nostalgic for the days when VHS was next-generation technology and Blockbuster had a store on every corner will enjoy the retro design of Cardinal Games "Jaws," "The Breakfast Club" and "E.T." puzzles.

Music

  • One of the most interesting music documentaries of 2019 is "David Crosby: Remember My Name," a film that manages to both pay tribute to the man and offers a view into why so many have found him to be impossible to work with.
  • Sarah Brightman's "Hymn in Concert" sees the famed singer performing songs from her new album "Hymn" alongside classic tracks with support from a 40-piece orchestra and 50-voice choir.
  • "Echo in the Canyon" looks at the bands like The Byrds, The Beach Boys and The Mamas & the Papas that came out of the Laurel Canyon scene in the mid-1960s.
  • "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice" is the best music documentary of 2019 as it explores the singer's career. Her fame may have faded, her influence is still far reaching.
  • "Blinded By the Light" is set in Luton, England in 1987. It chronicles the impact that the songs of Bruce Springsteen have on a Pakistani teenager who has little to hope for and less to believe in.
  • Danny Boyle's "Yesterday" imagines a world where no one has heard of The Beatles. No one except Jack, a struggling musician who uses the band's songs to launch his own career.
  • 2018 was the 40th anniversary of the influential British act The Cure. To celebrate the band performed their greatest hits in front of a massive crowd at London's Hyde Park. It was a magical night, you should have been there. The "40 Live: Curaetion-25 + Anniversary" Blu-ray or DVD set also includes the group's set from the Metldown festival.
  • Funko have a collection of Pop! figures based on musicians ranging from the likes of Post Malone to Prince.
  • "Girl in a Girl Band" is a collection of photographs and memories from filmmaker/photographer Malia James culled from her travels while playing bass in the noise pop band Dum Dum Girls. Her recent work includes the short film "Blue Lips" featuring Tove Lo.

Additional Gift Guides

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Star Wars

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Marvel

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Book Lovers

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Kids and family

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Disney and Pixar

2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Game of Thrones, anglophiles and art house