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The Film Stage’s Holiday Gift Guide

Written by on December 17, 2014 

Blu-ray Sets

Herzog: The Collection

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To help tide over the wait until Queen of the Desert, two extensive Werner Herzog collections arrived this summer. While we recently highlighted the differences between both sets, one can’t really go wrong with either. Shout! Factory’s also includes some of his best works (Aguirre, The Wrath Of God, Fitzcarraldo, Nosferatu The Vampyre, and Stroszek, to name a few) along with commentaries, a pair of documentaries, and much more. – Jordan R.

The Essential Jacques Demy

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Arriving this summer was the incredible Jacques Demy set from The Criterion Collection. Featuring Lola, Bay of Angels, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin, and Une chambre en ville, there’s also a handful of documentaries, short films, and interviews that will have you immersed in the delightful world of one of cinema’s greatest directors. – Jordan R.

The Complete Jacques Tati

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Perhaps Criterion’s finest release of the year, The Complete Jacques Tati is a 12-disc collection featuring Jour de fête, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle, Playtime, Trafic, and Parade. With all the features restored, along with a batch of shorts, it’s a worthy release to honor the ambitious director (with that term both applied to his visuals and style of nearly mute comedy). The additional extras are too numerous to highlight here, but check out Criterion’s official site, and if you don’t have the Benjamin to pick it up now, the set makes for a mighty fine top spot on this holiday wish-list. – Jordan R.

Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection

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If you already own individual Blu-rays of the films of Stanley Kubrick, then this collection isn’t essential, but those who need to add his work to their collection (or are looking for a perfect holiday gift) will find this does the trick. The release includes Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut, as well as a few new documentaries — notably Kubrick Remembered, which explores his archives. – Jordan R.

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery (David Lynch)

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Long will Twin Peaks thrive. Despite being a short-lived, early-90s cult item — the exact and total opposite of what typically receives this lavish treatment — David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s series is, now, essentially as popular as ever. There may have never been a better time for this Blu-ray release, but how long fans have waited for its crown jewel: 90 minutes of deleted scenes from Lynch’s increasingly appreciated prequel / sequel feature, Fire Walk with Me, which also arrives for the first time on Blu-ray. There is, too, one of the great TV shows remastered for high definition, and a treasure trove of special features — including a ten-minute segment that, right now, is the best available indication of where things will be when we’re all tuning in to Showtime. (There are also supercuts of every time trees, owls, pies, donuts, and a few other visual staples appear in the show. This was overseen by Lynch, after all.) The TV release to beat in 2014? Very likely, and that’s not even with a catch-up having become all the more necessary since that strange Northwestern town got a 1080p upgrade. – Nick N.

The Sopranos: The Complete Series

sopranos

Although its first season is, to the surprise of few, not a perfect match with a 1080p presentation, The Sopranos‘ visual palette only grows richer as its writing runs deeper. Perhaps this correlation will enhance a viewer’s appreciation of one of the greatest series to ever air on television; better yet are the hours of extras packed throughout, offering insights from both creative forces and experts. If you’ve yet to experience all six seasons of David Chase‘s benchmark masterpiece — boy, do you earn my jealousy — there’s never been a better place to start. – Nick N.

Albums

Under the Skin Original Soundtrack on Vinyl (Mica Levi)

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Based on the novel by Michael Faber, Jonathan Glazer‘s film follows the journey of a voluptuous woman (Scarlett Johansson) of unknown origin combing the highway in search of isolated or forsaken men. They are seduced, stripped of their humanity, and never heard from again. The music, which plays a critical role in the film and has been mentioned numerous times in reviews, is by British-born Mica Levi, known by her stage name Micachu. She is classically trained and is best known for her band Micachu & The Shapes and for experimental music in a variety of genres.

Inherent Vice Original Soundtrack (Jonny Greenwood)
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An adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, Inherent Vice, which will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures in theaters starting on December 12, is set in the tail end of the psychedelic ’60s and stars Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, and Owen Wilson. In addition to nine compositions by Jonny Greenwood, the soundtrack features “Spooks,” an unreleased Radiohead tune performed by members of Supergrass, as well as other recordings from the movie’s era. Additional performers include The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Neil Young, Can, and The Marketts, among others.

Games and More

Cinelinx

cinelinx

Considering engaging film-related games are far and few between, Cinelinx is a breath of fresh air. Like a mix of dominoes and the movie trivia contained in your memory, the card game finds you connecting related actors, films, genres, and more until you conquer all. Featuring 220 different cards — there’s an expansion pack for those so inclined — it can be played with two-to-six players for upwards of an hour, a highly enjoyable experience I can personally recommend. – Jordan R.

Foxcatcher Sweatshirt

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Halloween has passed, but those already putting the first touches on their fake noses for a Steve Carell-inspired Foxcatcher costume next year can cross another item off the list. We have the custom-made Foxcatcher sweatshirt worn by those being trained at John du Pont’s facility, courtesy of Etsy. Described as “cozy and soft” — just like Bennett Miller‘s film! — it’s the perfect gift for those strange birds in your family. – Jordan R.

What will you pick up this holiday season? If you have additional suggestions, share below.

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