Movie Magi

Our movie critic presents his annual list of gift suggestions for movie lovers

It’s time for my annual home video gift guide. Time to throw eggnog at people and sing Arbor Day tunes! We celebrate the holidays in a very strange way at my place. The prices listed are what Amazon was showing at press time.


Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI)

Blu-ray: $89.99

20th Century Fox

Yeah, Lucas wrecked the end of Return of the Jedi with that repugnant Darth Vader “No!” but this set is still something you must put in the hand of any movie lover who hasn’t gotten it yet. All six Star Wars films and a bunch of terrific special features. Still, you don’t get the films in their original, unaltered formats. Just the ones with all the crazy added footage. Lucas … I worry about you.

Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy

Blu-ray $30.49, DVD $22.49


Amazing how well the CGI dinosaurs have stood the test of time, and amazing that they haven’t made more of these movies because they are cash cows—though director Steven Spielberg recently dropped hints that another one is on the way soon. The first appearance of the T-Rex is the ultimate workout for your sound system, and liable to make the neighbors think there is some seriously crazy crap going on in your abode.

Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection

Blu-ray $79.99, DVD $48.99

Warner Home Video

Warner Brothers has put the word out they won’t ship any more of the current Potter home videos after this month, so this is a good chance to make sure the receiver of your gift is all hooked up with Harry.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Editions

Blu-ray $49.99

New Line Home Video

Chances are, the Gollum lover on your holiday list already owns the theatrical version Blu-rays. Well, the extended versions are better, and the special features are far more extensive, so that Gollum lover will just have to own both.


Evil Dead 2 (25th Anniversary Edition)

Blu-ray $10.99, DVD $11.99


We Evil Dead 2 fans are diehard, and we will plunk down the cash for every damned home video release of the movie. We will also feel a little stupid and irresponsible for this very act. So make us Evil Dead 2 fans very happy by buying us the 25th Anniversary Edition of the film, and saving us the embarrassment of the umpteenth cash outlay for Sam Raimi’s horror classic.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season (3-Disc Special Edition)

Blu-ray $27.49, DVD $22.49

Anchor Bay

Two Blu-ray/DVD releases of The Walking Dead came out this year. The second release, which came out in November, is far superior, with many more special features. As for the show itself, it recently had its mid-season finale on AMC, and boy did they make up for some slow episodes in the closing moments. It’s returning in February.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Blu-ray $15.99, DVD $15.49


Really, this makes my holiday list if only because it is one of the year’s best films. Twisted and funny in the tradition of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson horror, it features two of the year’s funnier performances from Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk as two misunderstood rednecks simply trying to have a peaceful time in their new vacation home. Those damned college kids!


Pulp Fiction

Blu-ray $24.99


One of the year’s great Blu-ray releases, it contains an invaluable special feature: John Travolta sitting down for a new interview and expressing his heartfelt gratitude to director Quentin Tarantino for giving him the role of Vincent Vega. It’s great to see an actor being this honest and thankful. And, oh yeah, the movie is awesome.

Taxi Driver

Blu-ray $11.99


Has always been, and will always be, one of my favorite movies, featuring a Robert De Niro performance that is easily one of his best. Not just a repackaging of past features for this one either; Martin Scorsese’s violent meditation on isolation gets some nice new special features for this release.

The Tree of Life

Blu-ray/DVD Combo $29.99

20th Century Fox

The year’s best film (so far) has polarized some people. If you have a film lover on your shopping list who likes a good challenge, get them this film by director Terrence Malick and see which way they come down on it. Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain deliver two of the year’s best performances, and three cheers for the editing on the piece. Not easy to make a comprehensive film about everything, but Malick somehow does it.

Coen Brothers Collection

Blu-ray $32.49

20th Century Fox

This is a screamingly good deal. You get Miller’s Crossing, Raising Arizona, Fargo and Blood Simple on Blu-ray for a shockingly low price. This package here is a testament to how competitive studios are getting with their Blu-ray pricing. The whole format is now very affordable.


Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume One (Ultimate Collector’s)

Blu-ray $50.99

Warner Home Video

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam—enough said. This package comes with a bunch of collector’s stuff like a glass and a tin sign. You can also get a more streamlined version with just the discs and a collector’s booklet for less than 40 bucks.

The Great Dictator

Blu-ray $24.93, DVD $20.49

Criterion Collection

One of the most amazing and important films ever made. A must have for Chaplin fans and film buffs.

Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

Blu-ray $40.99, DVD $25.99

Warner Home Video

Do I really need to say why this one should be on any film lover’s list? I don’t think so.


Louie: Season One

Blu-ray/DVD Combo $21.70

FX Network

Louis C.K. has the funniest show on TV. It just finished its second season on FX and has been renewed for a third. Give this one to the uninitiated and, while you’re at it, throw in a DVD of his new concert film, Hilarious ($13.99).


Sucker Punch

Blu-ray $14.99, DVD $9.49

Warner Home Video

Hey, if you really hate someone, give him or her this piece of shit and tell him or her that it’s good. They will, in turn, hate you for polluting their entertainment system and outright lying.


Enter the Void

Blu-ray $20.99, DVD $10.75

MPI Home Video

If you want to make a friend or loved one trip out, but want to forgo that inconvenient jail stay for drug trafficking, this film here is the perfect choice.