Just a short list for those of you that may have a passionate film fan in your life. These are some items I find to be quite worthwhile(the first one's kind of obvious I guess):
1. Book-GUIDE FOR THE FILM FANATIC. Long out of print, but can be found cheaply on Amazon, I can't express how much of a gateway this book has been and continues to be for me. When asked, I often declare that this is my favorite book of all time. I also highly recommend Danny Peary's other books including Cult Movies 1-3, Cult Movie Stars and Alternate Oscars.
2. Book-DESTROY ALL MOVIES. This gets my vote for film book of the year hands down. Edited by Bryan Connolly and Zack Carlson(apparently a 5 or 6 year project for them), this one's a no-brainer. A true must-have for cult and 80s film fans. It's an exhaustive collection of 1100 reviews of basically every film that contains a punk character or in some way pertains to punks. Amazing. I am constantly checking Zack's Terror Tuesday schedule to not only see what films he's playing, but also to read his little blurbs about each. Those are always entertaining. This book is that times a thousand. Beyond the reviews, It also contains a plethora of great interviews with the likes of Mark L. Lester, Allan Arkush, Penelope Spheeris, Martha Coolidge, Susan Seidelman, Clint Howard, Jon Gries, Alex Cox, Lee Ving, John Doe, and many more. Clearly painstakingly crafted with care, it has the weight and texture of a Taschen book and is just gorgeous to look at. Buy 2!(keep 1 as a loaner).
3. DVD-AMERICA LOST AND FOUND: THE BBS STORY Criterion Blu-Ray Boxset. This collection of films is maybe one of the best I've ever seen from Criterion(and that's saying a quite a bit). It includes THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, EASY RIDER, FIVE EASY PIECES, THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS, HEAD and the rarities DRIVE, HE SAID & A SAFE PLACE(neither of which has ever seen any kind of home video release to my knowledge). All the films are making their blu-ray debut. I think that THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS may be my favorite in this set.
4. DVD-ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL(1979) Blu-Ray. Shout Factory has had a banner year for sure. They really are the Grindhouse fan's Criterion. I could recommend any of their wonderful Blu-Ray special editions(I picked up HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, PIRANHA, STARCRASH, DEATH RACE 2000 and a few others). All are excellent. For this list though I had to go with Allan Arkush's wonderful musical which truly is perhaps my favorite musical film of all. This blu-ray not only looks the best that this film will ever look, but it rolls all the extras from previous DVDs of the movie into this one and also includes new features. If you're not a fan of this film, I really don't know what to say to you. It always makes me smile.
5. DVD-THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW-COMPLETE SERIES. Sure it's not a movie, but anyone that loves good films will love a good show and this is quite a good show. One of the best of the last 20 years. Another great Shout Factory release.
6. DVD-THE OUTFIT(1973). This film has been on my DVD want list for years and I'm very excited that it has finally come out through Warner Archive. It's an excellent little crime drama from John Flynn, the director behind ROLLING THUNDER(which is also supposed to be out on DVD in December) and other genre staples. The movie is absolutely littered with character actors including Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Robert Ryan, Timothy Carey, Richard Jaeckel, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook Jr., Jane Greer, Joanna Cassidy & BIll McKinney! Based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake(his books were the basis for POINT BLANK & THE HOT ROCK among others). By the way, Warner Archive is supposedly having a '5 titles for $50' sale starting Thursday 11/25 and ending Monday 11/29 so grab it then!
7. DVD-DEEP RED(1975) Blu-Ray. Arrow Films is a great little company and they put out some excellent special editions. If you haven't bought from Arrow before, their upcoming Blu-Ray release of one of Argento's masterpieces might be a great place to start. A little cheaper through Amazon UK, and with expedited shipping available from it's December 13th release date. If their recent Blu-Ray of Argento's INFERNO is any indication, this is a surefire winner with a gorgeous transfer.
8. DVD-THE VISTOR(1980). Perhaps the last great release from Code Red which I'm told will be shuttering it's doors soon, this oddball is truly one-of-a-kind. One of the great WTF movies ever with a stellar cast including John Huston, Glenn Ford, Mel Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Lance Henriksen & Joanne Nail(SWITCHBLADE SISTERS). Simply must be seen.
9. DVD-BREWSTER MCCLOUD(1970). From the writer of SKIDOO comes what is easily Robert Altman's strangest film in my opinion. Bizarre as it is, it's still a movie that I have a lot of genuine affection for. Warner Archive released it earlier this year and I consider it a must for any Altman fans that don't already own it.
10. DVD-MICKEY ONE(1965). Arthur Penn's New Wave-influenced drama is another holdout that has finally come to DVD thanks to Columbia Classics, Sony's Burn-On-Demand service. Part of a very interesting group of films for Warren Beatty, this one's definitely a keeper.
11. DVD PLAYER-Sherwood BDP-5004 Blu-Ray DVD Player. The big plus of this player is that it can be used as an all region blu-ray & DVD player, opening up a whole new world of DVDs and blu-rays for the film fan you know and love. And it's cheap too(less than $150 shipped).
14. Book-BFI Film Classics: BACK TO THE FUTURE. BFI Film Classics is an amazing, long-running series of excellent film books. I own many of them including the books on IT'S A GIFT, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP & RIO BRAVO among others. All are highly recommended. This BACK TO THE FUTURE book is one of their latest releases and is a great introduction to the series for any film lover.
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