Forget DVD releases. Instead, I give you the ultimate Christmas list for the DVD dork in your life:
If you have deep pockets and big love, give the gift of no more guessing: Samsung's dual Blu-Ray/ HD player. Early reports are not bad on this machine. Despite market predictions, the Blu-Ray/HD battle will not be decided this holiday season. And honestly who knows when it will be decided. Logic points to Blu-Ray becoming the dominant format, which is far superior by the numbers. Of course we all know how logic works in "market" situations.... Best option for the time being might be Samsung's player. Of course for the price ($1000) you could get two players for the respective formats, but DVD dorks generally have too many DVD players already. My plan, short of having this player under the tree, is to bank on Blu-Ray as a means to get a PS3. Even if Blu-Ray goes sour, I'll still be able to play NBA Live and Stranglehold.
Blade Runner: Five Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition
Sure there are a lot of cool box sets out there but this has to be the the ultimate in DVD geekiness. I just saw the new cut (or is it the old cut?) of Blade Runner in the theater and I was really blown away. Granted my memory of the original cut is foggy and I'm sure I watched it on VHS, probably cropped and on a crappy TV, so it is no wonder why it seemed like a totally new experience. The five DVDs in this set might be a little excessive (four different cuts of the film and a load of extra stuff), but all the crud you get with this set is nothing but DVD collector's goodness: cool numbered edition briefcase, replica spinner car, origami unicorn figurine, photos, some sort of film clip, and a letter from Ridley Scott. And the actual content of the DVDs is worthy of ownership. Honestly, it is a pretty good deal at $55. I've paid a lot more for a lot less. I would love to have this.
Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition
Here it is. Season one and season two and the pilot, all together for the first time ever. I've already cried about how much I want this set. There was a time when I really didn't care about season two and was pretty happy just have season one and a weird bootleggish version of the pilot. But I've changed my mind and would actually like an excuse to what the entire thing over again. Supposedly each episode was re-mastered and now contains surround sound and has loads of new supplemental material. Sounds good to me.
I am convinced that the availability of television shows on DVD is more complete that the availability of films on DVD. There are so many TV show box sets and box sets of box sets that I can't keep track. If that special someone has a special TV show, the DVD set is a shoe-in.
Naruse Volume One (Masters of Cinema) and Mikio Naruse Collection (BFI)
Given the exchange rate, receiving a UK R2 DVD is like gold. And these Naruse films are more than worthy of the import price. These two collections contain six films that have been, for all intents and purposes, unavailable to the average mortal. Although Criterion released Woman Ascends the Stairs with some prospect that they might release more of Naruse's films, who wants to wait. All I have to say is that I might get hit by a bus tomorrow and life is much better after seeing these films. Japanese film fan or just plain ol' film fan, these films are invaluable. Naruse Volume One from The Masters of Cinema contains Repast (1951), Sound of the Mountain (1954) and Flowing (1956). The Mikio Naruse Collection from BFI contains Late Chrysanthemums (1954), Floating Clouds (1955) and Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960). Region free, PAL compatible DVD player required.
Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934
Because not every DVD collector is a philistine, here is an important archive of early American film. Released by the National Film Preservation Foundation, the set includes over twelve hours of material: four feature films and 44 documentaries, cartoons, newsreels, serial episodes and public service announcements "exploring social issues from the period 1900 to 1934." You can be assured that these films are presented in the best quality possible. The more I read about this set, the more interesting it seems. Just some of the topics tackled in the collection are abortion, unionization, interracial marriage, the rights of women, immigration, workplace safety, homelessness, public education and predatory lending practices. If you don't receive this from Santa, supposedly copies are being to sent to all "state libraries" although I'm not sure exactly when or exactly where.
The Experimental Image World of Shuji Terayama
Giving the gift of a Japanese DVD is just downright generous. Giving the gift of a Japanese box set is love. Giving the gift of a Japanese box set of obscure films is brilliant.
Post War Kurosawa Box - No Regrets for Our Youth, One Wonderful Sunday, Scandal, The Idiot, I Live in Fear
This set doesn't come out until January 15th, but it is the perfect gift for any fan of Japanese film. I would be more than happy to unwrap an IOU for this set containing some pretty rare and rarely-seen Kurosawa films.
Mega-movie collections: United Artists 90th Anniversary Prestige Collection and New Line Cinema 40th Anniversary Collection
If you just can't make up your mind, and you are truly dealing with the obsessive collector, either one of these collections would be fine. Seriously, check out the shots of the UA set. Wow. 90 films and 110 DVDs. God forbid I ever win the lottery. The New Line collection is a more modest 17 films on 17 DVDs, but also very nice. If you are wondering, I would prefer the UA set. Thanks. XO