Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2016: Blu-ray and DVD Edition
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 at 8:41 pm
Here’s a compendium of new movie releases to DVD and Blu-ray for fans of action, horror, comedy, fantasy, and sci-fi, as well as a selection of new and vintage TV shows in box sets for your purchasing, gift gifting, and eventually viewing pleasure. Ranging from contemporary shows to some of the most classic, these selections will help ignite the small screen and showcase just why television is still at such a high arc in the medium and why it looks to remain that way for quite some time.
Check out this year’s Holiday Geek Gift Guide: Blu-ray & DVD Edition…
If you don’t already own Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray, the new 3D Collector’s Edition includes every feature from the previous release as well as a new commentary from director J.J. Abrams, additional featurettes and deleted scenes, and a Blu-ray 3D presentation of the film that will have you experiencing the thrills and excitement of this amazing adventure in the comfort of your own home.
Deadpool, the superhero movie of 2016 that had everyone talking about it (thanks in part to a killer marketing campaign and being extremely hilarious and fun), gets a worthy Blu-ray release featuring commentaries, featurettes, and other fun little surprises.
In a year crowded with major studio superhero extravaganzas, Marvel Studios’ long-awaited spectacle of action and character depth takes top honors for its intelligence, wit, and relevant political subtext. The Blu-ray release for Captain America: Civil War isn’t very stacked, but we do get some informative supplements including a filmmakers’ commentary track, some good behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a preview of Doctor Strange.
The Hunger Games: Complete 4 Film Collection Blu-ray l DVD
Now that the final chapter in the epic cinematic saga The Hunger Games has come and gone, you can own the complete adventures of Katniss Everdeen fighting against an oppressive regime in a dystopian future in one set featuring hours of supplements including multiple commentaries, feature-length documentaries, additional featurettes, deleted scenes, and lots more.
I was looking forward to this Blu-ray more than any other released in 2016, and unsurprisingly Scream Factory once again did not disappoint. John Carpenter‘s greatest achievement as a filmmaker comes packed to the gills in an astounding two-disc set that contains the best HD presentation of this classic of otherworldly horror ever seen on home video along with hours of new and archival supplements including interviews with practically every surviving member of the cast and crew, deleted scenes, marketing materials, and a trio of highly enjoyable audio commentaries. This Collector’s Edition of The Thing is the best Blu-ray of the year, hands down.
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the most polarizing superhero epic of the year, could see its fan base increase thanks to this excellent Blu-ray featuring a longer and more coherent cut of the film and some interesting featurettes exploring the complex production, staging of the action set-pieces, and sowing the seeds for next year’s Justice League. There’s also a 2-Movie Limited Edition Box Set that includes BvS and its predecessor Man Of Steel, along with comic books, DC Collectibles Batman and Superman figurines, trading cards, and more.
Don Coscarelli takes some of the scariest dream material a person can imagine and turns it into one of the greatest horror films ever made, a truly frightening and original tale that gets better with age and has a cult following that most modern fright flicks would literally kill to possess. For its long-awaited release on Blu-ray, Phantasm has been fully restored in high-definition with stunning 4K resolution by the good people at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. As a result, this classic of cinematic fear looks better than it has since its first theatrical release.
If you don’t already own Martin Scorsese‘s nightmarish cab ride through the damaged mindset of a haunted Vietnam veteran that explodes into violence, this new 40th Anniversary Blu-ray release of Taxi Driver is the best one yet in terms of visual presentation (outstanding) and supplements, which now include a recent Q&A session. A bloody, bleak masterpiece no true cinephile can do without.
A delightfully screw-loose cult classic sci-fi comic adventure with tongue-in-cheek performances from Peter Weller and John Lithgow, Buckaroo Banzaifinally gets a U.S. Blu-ray release that will please fans and delight newcomers with a vibrant high-definition transfer, audio commentary, deleted scenes, a new feature-length retrospective documentary, and a little more.
Brad Bird‘s gorgeous animated tribute to B-movies, friendship, and the indomitable power of the human spirit is one of the finest of the genre. And now The Iron Giant has a Blu-ray to attract legions of new fans with extensively-restored presentations of both the theatrical version and a slightly-longer “Signature Edition,” new and previously-released documentaries and featurettes, a commentary with the director, and more.
The rebooted Star Trek franchise comes roaring back from the near-disaster of Star Trek Into Darkness with a smart, funny, and heartfelt new adventure in Star Trek Beyond that is short on originality but long on excitement and optimism, which is just what the world needs right now. Picture and sound quality are (no surprise) fantastic, and the Blu-ray also comes with deleted scenes and a handful of enlightening featurettes.
A year after Mad Max: Fury Road‘s first Blu-ray release impressed mightily, George Miller‘s full-throttle apocalyptic action masterpiece returns in a new edition made possible by a version of the film presented in gorgeously gritty black & white that was supervised by the director personally.
Transformers: The Movie – 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray l DVD
The Autobots and Decepticons bring the battle that has raged from Cybertron to the planet Earth in their first silver screen outing, a fun, fan””pleasing animated adventure featuring the voices of the late Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles and a soundtrack that is about as 80s as it gets. Shout! Factory’s new 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Transformers: The Movie features an eye-popping HD transfer, a cast/crew audio commentary, an informative retrospective documentary, and much more.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 – Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Equal parts screwy and scary, Tobe Hooper‘s gore-soaked horror-comedy sequel to his 1974 masterpiece of psychotic terror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, gets a two-disc Blu-ray upgrade featuring multiple commentaries and documentaries, bloody deleted scenes (the one with Joe Bob Briggs being my favorite), and two separate high-definition transfers of the film itself. The new transfer presented on the first disc is by far the best of the duo.
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers – Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
My personal favorite silver screen adaptation of Jack Finney‘s classic sci-fi tale returns to Blu-ray with an improved HD transfer, new and archival interviews and featurettes, and a commentary with director Philip Kaufman that takes us through the making of this unnerving masterpiece of metropolitan paranoia and apocalyptic tension.
Can I get a Wyld Stallyns air guitar riff in lieu of an “Amen”? Shout! Factory’s totally amazing Blu-ray unites both Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with its even funnier and crazier sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in a set with new high-definition transfers of both films and new interviews and featurettes.
Return of the Living Dead – Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
One of the best horror-comedies ever made now has a Blu-ray worthy of its greatness thanks to Scream Factory. Nearly every bonus feature from previous DVD and Blu-ray editions of Return of the Living Dead is included here along with new interviews with various members of the cast and crew and the feature-length workprint that contains many deleted and alternate scenes fans of this entertaining zombie flick have never seen before.
Disney’s new animated feature Zootopia is an action-packed adventure that also pulls at the heartstrings. This movie is making it on to my list of favorite film’s of the year. It’s great for Disney fans of all ages.
You’ll love Elliot the dragon even more in this live-action remake of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. This blu-ray combo pack includes the film in Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, along with behind-the-scenes bonus features.
In honor of its silver anniversary, Disney has re-released Beauty and the Beast as 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack, which contains 3 versions of the film — the original theatrical version; an extended edition that has the “Human Again” song sequence; and an all-new sing-along version where you can skip right to the songs. Each edition also includes all-new bonus features.
Summer blockbuster Suicide Squad is now available in a Extended Cut edition, which contains extra footage that wasn’t shown in theaters, along with bonus features. For collectors, there’s also an Extended Cut Blu-ray Edition with a Harley Quinn Figurine, and another with Deadshot figurine.
Star Trek: The Animated Series The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek Blu-ray
Previously available only on DVD, Star Trek: The Animated Seriess has been reissued in a 3-disc slipcovered Blu-ray box set with remastered versions of all 22 episodes of the two-season run of the 1970s animated cartoon. This set also includes bonus features, such as audio episode commentary, and contains 22 one-sided full-color Collector’s Cards illustrated by Juan Ortiz that beautifully represent each animated episode.
Anyone who’s following along or needs to catch up on HBO’s Game Of Thrones will want this Complete Sixth Season box set. The show just keeps getting better and better, and the episode warrant repeat viewings. This Blu-ray and DVD release contains all 10 episodes of Season 6, along with bonus features such as making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes — including an in-depth look at what went into filming the pivotal episode “The Battle of the Bastards” — deleted scenes, audio commentary, and more.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of The Exorcist III is another must-own for fans of forgotten genre films that deserve a second look. The release includes a gorgeous, new 2K transfer of the theatrical cut is, along with a ton of great special features.
Featuring the diminutive doll serial killer Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif, Child’s Play is a clever, gleefully depraved horror movie with some solid performances and great special effects. Scream Factory’s new two-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray features a brand new 2K scan of the interpositive, presented in 1080p widescreen (1.85:1) and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks, and adds in hours of special features, including three audio commentaries. While there have been several Blu-ray releases of Holland’s film, this is no doubt the best looking, sounding release out there.
Carrie – 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Directed by Brian DePalma from a script based on the Stephen King novel, Carrie celebrates its 40th anniversary with a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory, which includes nearly three hours of bonus material. all-time great horror classics. Carrie has become one of the all-time great horror classics, but when it comes to home video, however, there hasn’t been a release worthy of its legendary status until now, thanks to this new Blu-ray Edition that offers up a brand new 4K scan of the film.
Assault on Precinct 13 meets American History X in Green Room, the latest nerve-shattering cinematic experience from writer-director Jeremy Saulnier, starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart. This brilliantly crafted bloodbath is the very definition of “splatterpunk,” and is a hardcore horror-thriller that’s one of the most potent films I’ve seen this year.
Written and directed by David Cronenberg, 1977’s Rabid stars adult film star Marilyn Chambers as Rose, a young woman who develops an insatiable thirst for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery. This new Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release is spectacular, with a new 2K scan from the film negative, presented at Cronenberg’s preferred aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono soundtrack.
Co-written and directed by David CronenbergDead Ringers stars Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Elliot and Beverly Mantle, identical twins and gynecologists who specialize female fertility treatments. An unsettling psychological (and biological) horror film with a superb dual performance by Irons and Cronenberg’s signature visceral style, Dead Ringers is now out as a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray that includes two versions of the film: a high-definition transfer of the theatrical release (1.78:1 aspect ratio) and a new 2K scan in Cronenberg’s preferred aspect ratio (1.66:1), along with a great selection of new and previously released special features.
C.H.U.D II: Bud The Chud Blu-ray -(Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
C.H.U.D II: Bud The Chud is a sequel to 1984’s C.H.U.D., the cult flick about “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers,” and is great for those who enjoyment in cheesy direct-to-video horror flicks from the 1980s. This new limited-edition Blu-ray from Vestron Video Collector’s Series features a 1080p high definition transfer (16Ã—9 Widescreen 1.85:1) from the original film elements, along with all-new special features, including an audio commentary with Director David Irving and interviews with cast and crew.
One of the best shows on television finishes with a strong sophomoric season. Stemming from Breaking Bad and focusing on one of the show’s more colorful characters, seedy yet somehow earnest criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), Better Call Saul follows mostly the past exploits that got Saul to where he was on Breaking Bad, and even after that program. Jonathan Banks reprises his role as Mike, the take-no-shit ex-cop turned wrong side of the tracks freelancer, as the AMC show follows closely the thread of his story and Saul’s. Filled with the same kind of production values, attention to writing, directing, and acting as Breaking Bad, and leaving an irresistible cliffhanger at the end of Season 2 which audiences will see whetted by the time Season 3 airs early next year on AMC-TV, Better Call Saul Season 2 is a great entertaining package, loaded with extras like interviews, a gag reel, and uncensored material, which makes all of this a must for die-hards of the character and Breaking Bad.
The follow-up sitcom to Lucille Ball’s legendary program I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show almost enjoyed the same kind of lasting success as that aforementioned program. Taking on many of the same writing and technical staff as I Love Lucy (including I Love Lucy sidekick Vivian Vance for a few seasons), The Lucy Show contained the same kind of crazy hilarity, bordering on slapstick and conventional humor, and was another smash success for Ball and CBS. The entire run of the program, over 150 episodes, filled with guest stars ranging from Dean Martin to John Wayne, are complete and remastered here in this package, including bonus material ranging from interviews to original openings. Classic comedy spearhead by one of comedy’s most classic.
This comedy, which took its time to simmer and wound up becoming a smash cult success, is now available in one complete package, with clever packaging and a replica of a Greendale Community College “yearbook,” the fictional learning center where the zany characters congregate and most of the action takes place on the show. Starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase for most of its original series run, Community was lauded critically and commercially, high on the crest of top shelf comedy programs that were part of the peak of the Golden Age of Television, aptly named as such a few years ago, when Community was at its most fervent success. Come pick up this package to experience why.
All the episodes of this classic CBS courtroom drama, now bundled together in one compete series pack. Perry Mason ran from 1957 to 1966 to great acclaim as audiences flocked each week to see Raymond Burr as the titular character, a stern, no-nonsense, and charismatic criminal defense lawyer who had the great grace of never losing a case, helped by his faithful secretary, Della Street. The show was an adaptation of the crime books written by Erie Stanley Gardner and set the tone and stage for the many shows that followed it, and pretty much is a template for any presentation of dramatic courtroom narratives on television in the current age. It’s for that reason, and fans of that type of program and for those who want to relive the episodes again in original broadcast order and unedited, that makes this collection a must.
Religion meets the supernatural with doses of bold comedy thrown in for good measure as Preacher, the surprise smash hit series, comes to home video. Developed by Seth Rogen and Adam Goldberg as an adaptation of the comic book, Preacher is like Twin Peaks for the millennials, a vivid cornucopia where characters intermingle with a fantastical fringe of life with the kind of in your face quick darts and twists and turns that is the kind of formula that makes the series an instant classic. It should be interesting to see where the series goes and winds up when all is said and done, but now, one can get in on the ground floor, with the release of the entire first season. Good for those who want to quickly revisit it again or play catch up.
David Hasselhoff stars as the ambiguous Michael Knight, driver of K.I.T.T, the most technologically advanced automobile on the road, one that amply aids him in catching criminal after criminal each week on Knight Rider, the mid 1980s show that has retained its cult status success nigh into the 21st century. Relive or discover for the first time the entire program in one collected swoop with remastered picture and sound.
A zeitgeist of 1980s television and of the 1980s themselves, Miami Vice remains more than just a curio from that time. One of Michael Mann’s more earlier projects, the show was a dark, intense, sun-drenched, day glo, pastel kind of presentation of two renegade cops on the drug vice squad in lower Florida. Starring Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas as Crockett and Tubbs, respectively. With Johnson sockless and wearing t-shirts with thousand dollar Armani suit jackets, the show was spearheaded by a soundtrack that solidified the metaphor given by an NBC executive when Miami Vice was first pitched to them, in which the story was pretty much centered around “MTV Cops.” And Miami Vice was a critical and ratings success. It’s now available complete and uncut, retaining the original music soundtrack (performed by artists as diverse as U2, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, and Public Enemy, among others) and will undoubtedly bring the viewer right back into that era of the 20th century, immersed right back into the qualities that made Miami Vice such a memorable product of its genre.
Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection Blu-ray | DVD
Binge watch the entire run of the famed British soaper, which is like a 21st century version of Upstairs/Downstairs, where the haves mingle with the have nots and hierarchy and one’s interpretation of it gets turned on it’s ear. Filled with an able and surefooted ensemble cast ranging from young actors to established veterans like Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection is filled with extras and plenty of bonus material to keep the appetites of avid fans of the program, and there are many, whetted for hours.
Follow the exploits of Don Johnson as Nash Bridges, an Inspector of a Special Investigations Unit and his quirky, zany comic relief partner, played by Cheech Marin. Together, the two traipsed all over San Francisco for work and personal situations, and the chemistry between the two leads, the still on high allure of Don Johnson, the exotic and stories visual locale of The Bay Area, and the stories and production vales themselves, made this a stalwart program for many. Now, Nash Bridges available as one complete set for the many fans of the show who still exist to this day.
Charlie’s Angels is the 70s quintessential zeitgeist women cops program and eye candy of the highest order, two factors which made the show and its original cast member Farrah Fawcett, a superstar of the mid 1970s. But, lest one forgets, Charlie’s Angels was a great fun show to watch too for other factors. The program was filled with mystery, action, exotic locales, all the factors that made these types of programs a success. Still popular in syndication, now one can relive the episodes uncut and complete, just as they aired during that zeitgeist all those years ago.
At first glance, this program, which ran for eight seasons on CBS during the 1960s and was at its most successful when it ended on top of the ratings during its final season, seemed to be just a typical rural sitcom. It was much more than that, a testament to its enduring and seemingly timeless value, as The Andy Griffith Show seems to have been rerun and re-re-rerun on American television for almost five decades with the kind of same velocity, repetition, and awareness as the reruns of I Love Lucy or Star Trek were and still are coast to coast, hence, making Griffith’s show also one of television’s all time best. Filled with crazy low-key characters and simple midwestern-themed plots which added to its charm, buoyed by the leads, Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor and the late great comic master Don Knotts, in a multiple Emmy-winning turn as the inept and hapless Deputy Barney Fife and interspersed with a gaggle of interesting guest stars throughout the series (such as Jack Nicholson), The Andy Griffith Show, now housed for purchase in this deluxe package which contains the entire series, is essential for any TV-phile on your shopping radar.
Without question, one of the funniest comedy duos to come along in recent years has to undoubtedly be the comedic rise of Key and Peele. The two ex-Mad TV stars and scribes took their undeniable chemistry from that program and parlayed it into a show that while just having ended last year and netting an Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series a few months ago, has found its success higher than ever. The sketch comedy show runs through an amazing assortment of comedic characters and scenarios effortlessly, with every type of genre, style, personality, creed, color and religion taken on and dissected and skewered in the same manner as some of the great comedy sketch programs of all time, ala SNL, Mad TV, Chappelle’s Show and even the old variety shows like Flip Wilson and Carol Burnett. Mixed all together, with a kind of contemporary attitude and uncensored spin, and one sees what makes Key and Peele tick, and why it’s so frigging hilarious. Grab an oxygen tank with this one, because there will be moments that are so side splitting, you won’t be able to breathe.
This show, like Adam-12, both to come from producer Jack Webb (best known for Dragnet), was a hit with young people during the 1970s and showed a team of firefighters, and their actions and craft done in a “realistic” manner, with Webb and his staff keeping as much an eye on day-to-day detail as much as storyline. Starring Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth as the main smoke eaters and Julie London, Bobby Troup and Robert Fuller rounding out the crackerjack medical team, experience all six seasons of Emergency, an early example of gritty and realistic dramatic television.
Follow the gritty and brutal exploits of prohibition agent Elliot Ness (Robert Stack) on his pursuit to stop crime in 1930s Chicago, aided by a group of individuals known for their moral codes and courage, hence their name The Untouchables. It originally ran from 1959 to 1963 on ABC-TV and was extremely popular and controversial for its frank portrayal of the times and characters within, both of which were mainly propelled by unlawful violence. Done in stark black and white and with high production values, The Untouchables was one of the monumentally great efforts of dramatic series television, and it gets the respect it deserves in this collection, which contains the complete series for reliving again and again.
This documentary, done by Ken Burns, one of the premier documentarians of our age (Jazz, Baseball, The Civil War) highlights the turbulent and wonderful life of Jackie Robinson, who was much more than just a superstar Hall of Fame baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. One of the first men to cross the game’s color line, Robinson not only was a great athlete, but a great humanitarian, a tireless champion of civil rights, which propelled him not only into one of the greatest sportsmen of all time, but one of the greatest human beings who ever lived, dying at the young age of 53 in 1972, but not before making inroads and marks in his own African-American society and the global one as well. Burns discusses and showcases all of this in this marvelous production, done in the inimitable intense style his films are best known for, with Jamie Foxx narrating the words of Robinson throughout. Another out-of–the-park masterpiece by a stellar filmmaker, about a stellar subject.
Amazon Gift Card
Remember, if all else fails, there’s also the Amazon.com Gift Card, you can have emailed to the recipient (arrives immediately) or you can print out the gift card at home and give it to the intended that way. If you order in enough time, you can get the physical gift card sent to you.