Welcome to the brand new Holiday Gift Guide! To those who have been reading for years, welcome back. To those new to the guide, here’s a quick rundown:
My name is Eric Vespe and I’ve been compiling an annual gift guide for well over 10 years, starting at a site called Ain’t It Cool News. I’m no long with that site, but I still make sure to compile an exhaustive guide filled with all sorts of geeky wonder, all filtered through my own nerdy interests (which is why you’re going to see a lot of Fallout stuff as you make your way through the guide this year, for instance). I cover Home Video, Book, Music, Art, Games, Apparel, Home Stuffs, Toys & Collectibles and then a fun thing to end it on called For The Super Rich Only which shows some of the most ridiculous high dollar things I stumbled upon this year.
Each category is broken down into different price categories: Cheap ($24.99 and Under), Moderate ($25.00-$70.99), Expensive ($71.00-$249.99) and For The Super Rich Only ($250.00 and Up).
So, you’re all caught up! Welcome one, welcome all.
We kick things off with the best of the best of home video releases this year. Keep in mind that it takes me many weeks to research and compile these lists and the prices fluctuate at an almost minute to minute basis this time of year. I’ve done my best to keep them as up to date as possible, but make sure to double check before hitting that order button.
I also link mostly to Amazon because of their ease of use and huge inventory of titles. There are times I deviate to another big retailer whenever I found a better deal, but I always recommend shopping around. If you click through any of the Amazon links you help support me and the guide.
Without any further ado, let’s get to the goodies, shall we?
Cheap ($24.99 and Under)
A Quiet Place is not only one of the best horror movie so the year, it's one of the best movies period. So good, in fact, that I'm sure when it's nominated for some awards (and it will be) it'll suddenly stop being a horror movie and be a “psychological thriller.” Because there no are no such things as good horror movies, just horror movies and thrillers.
Speaking of good horror movies, Hereditary sure screwed some people up this year. Yes, there was a lot of hype coming out of Sundance (I should know, I contributed to it), but I think when all the dust settles Hereditary will be considered a modern masterpiece. One of my absolute favorite films of the year with two knock out performances from Toni Collette and Alex Wolff.
Another heavily hyped Sundance genre flick, Mandy has become a bit of a punk rock cinephile favorite this year. With an unhinged Nic Cage performance, this revenge movie gets weeeeeiiiirrrrddd. I mean, it starts weird, but then it really gets weird. Like chainsaw fight while tripping balls weird. Worth a purchase for the Cheddar Goblin commercial alone.
$14.96 on Blu
Alex Garland's beautiful, difficult, rewarding sci-fi film Annihilation was an early surprise this year. It lost some people with its ambiguous “what the hell did I just watch” ending, but I think the majority of movie buffs loved it all the more for it. Plus that goddamn bear thing is the single most screwed up thing to be in any movie this year period. And I'm saying that as someone with Hereditary in his top five of the year list!
This is Venom, but not as hobbled together. Leigh Whannell brings us this futuristic action revenge flick about a paralyzed man who agrees to have a computer chip installed on his spine only to have the sentient AI start talking to him and controlling his body in super efficient, almost John Wickian battle moves. This low budget, unapologetically B-grade movie is one of the most fun films to come out this year.
$19.54 on Blu
Reed Moreno's I Think We're Alone Now gets the award for most underseen genre film of 2018. I can't believe this didn't get a huge theatrical and marketing push. It's a quiet movie, I get it, but it's one of the best end of the world movies I've ever seen. There aren't zombies and mutations after a plague whips through the country. Just loneliness and busy work. Peter Dinklage stars and gives one of the year's best (and again, unsung) performances. Saw this at Sundance and have been thinking about it ever since.
$14.55 on Blu
We had three great movies about race in America released this year and the best thing is they're all totally different. Spike Lee's Blackkklansman is the true story of a black cop who infiltrated the local KKK in the '70s. Spike Lee joints can be a little... up their own asses sometimes, but this one is very accessible and funny even though it's tackling deadly serious subject matter. So in that way it feels a little like a throwback to Spike's earlier films.
On the other end of the spectrum is Boots Riley's absolutely batshit crazy Sorry To Bother You featuring a knockout central performance from Lakeith Stanfield. Funny, in your face, and the third act... Man, if you haven't seen it yet you'd think I'm crazy if I described it to you, so I'll just say it's bonkers.
$19.96 on Blu
And then there's Blindspotting, which is probably my favorite of the three. It hinges on the friendship between Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal and in that way plays more like a buddy movie than a serious drama, even though it gets there. It's about an ex-con who is on the very last week of his parole. He's on the edge of getting his life back and finds himself a witness to a police shooting. You spend the movie waiting for the shoe to drop and you really don't want it to. It's not as high profile as Blackkklansman and not nearly as weird as Sorry to Bother You, but top to bottom I think it's the most solid of the three. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.
$14.96 on Blu
Speaking of opinions.... boy howdy does the internet have some choice opinions on The Last Jedi. I'm firmly in the loved it camp myself. The themes of grappling with losses and living up to a legacy you never asked for worked for me. Plus Porgs are awesome. You heard me. Your mileage may vary, but it totally worked for me.
Funnily enough the people that hated The Last Jedi the most decided to boycott Star Wars and didn't see Solo. I say funny because this is the movie they want from Star Wars. It's a nostalgia bath wrapped up in a goofy adventure plot. There's nothing challenging about Solo by design. It's not trying to subvert expectation or deconstruct the hero's journey. It just wants to give you a great big wookie hug. And the mad internet people didn't see it! Maybe now they can bring themselves to watch it since it's on Blu-Ray?
Here's another divisive franchise film this year. On a script level I appreciate how hard they swing for the fences by introducing some pretty insane idea in the last act. I don't think the script on the whole is fully successful, but there's zero doubt that JA Bayona directed the hell out of it. It's the best-directed film since the original.
Now, if you want to happy cry for a couple hours then this is the one for you. The feel-good doc of the year (and the one that's for sure getting an Oscar nomination and probably going to win) is Won't You Be My Neighbor, a film that paints a nearly saintly portrait of Mr. Fred Rogers and sadly illustrates the lack of human compassion in today's world. He was rare in his day, he's straight up mythological today.
$19.08 on Blu
Deadpool 2 proves this franchise isn't a one hit wonder. Yes, it made a ton of money, but the movie's pretty damn good, too. It's a lot more heartfelt than the first, but just as vulgar and funny. We have no idea what Fox's Marvel slate looks like post Disney merger, but I hope they leave Deadpool alone and we get another half-dozen of these movies before Ryan Reynolds has finally had enough.
Marvel's hot streak continues. The last four releases have been good to great and Thor: Ragnarok might be the best of them all. Taika Waititi is the best addition to the Marvel family since James Gunn and now he's the only weird one standing. Ragnarok is hilarious and imminently rewatchable. Piss off, ghost!
Marvel has been building to Infinity War for 10 years and main, they nailed it. Hearing the cries of despair from my audience at the end is one of my favorite cinema experiences of the year. The secret sauce here is that Thanos is so well developed that you kind of see where he's coming from, which is crazy since he's a nutball. The character economy is also off-the-charts considering there, by my count, 7,000 speaking parts in the movie. Can't wait for the followup.
Ready Player One is Spielberg at his most playful. The movie is a bit hyperactive for some viewers, but it's clearly the most geeky movie ever made and that counts for something. Plus I'm not sure there's a stretch of film I've enjoyed more this year than the Shining section of the quest.
$14.99 on Blu, $24.09 4K
Incredibles 2 caught a little shit for being too similar to the first film, but that's kind of what I liked about the movie. It's the same overall arc, but this time it's on Elastigirl instead of Mr. Incredible. Perfect timing aside, Helen Parr is a very different kind of hero than her husband and I really enjoyed seeing how she tackled the same kinds of challenges her husband did in the first film, but in a totally different way. Brad Bird's big beating heart drives this one.
The Mission: Impossible series is on a hell of a run right now. It has become one or the most dependable blockbuster franchises in the modern studio system, thanks in large part to Tom Cruise's dedication to almost literally destroy himself for our entertainment. The crazy stunts, the fun espionage and Henry Cavill's mustache all add up to a kickass summer flick.
It was really nice to see my highway patrol friends again. Super Troopers 2 isn't as fresh as the first film, but it's a masterpiece compared to 90% of comedy sequels. Lookin' at you Zoolander 2. This blu-ray bundles both the original film and the sequel.
$19.96 on Blu
Another pleasant surprise this year was Love Simon, a very real, tender coming of age story about a gay teen who is outed before he's ready and how that upends everything and everybody in his life. The movie is overflowing with empathy and kindness even though it never feels preachy about its progressive themes.
The Rock saves another franchise through sheer force of charismatic will in this actually good rebootquel of Jumanji. It's a modern day take on the idea of being sucked into a game (video game this time, not board game) that doesn't discount what came before. Instead it adds on to it, giving us a really fun fish out of water story as four teens inhabit the bodies of radically different kinds of characters. Jack Black playing a self-obsessed teenage girl in particular is gold. A genuinely funny movie. Who would have thought back when it was announced?
Bill Hader has been the secret weapon of just about everything he's been involved in for years and now he finally gets his time to show the world what he's got. Barry is about a hitman who finds himself in an acting class while pursuing a target and he realizes his real passion is to perform, not blow people away. Two problems: you don't just leave the assassin world, for one, and secondly... he's kind of a shitty actor. Hader runs the gamut of emotions here. What starts as a relatively humorous light show takes an almost Breaking Bad turn halfway through the season when you remember that there are real stakes here. Love this show.
$12.97 on DVD
We have a little bit of a wait for the next batch of Rick & Morty, so this Season 3 blu-ray set will have to hold you over until they knock out the next season. That means a whole lot of Pickle Rick rewatches, I think.
$22.99 on Blu
Arrow took it upon themselves to treat this movie like the classic it is. A new transfer from a 4k scan of the original camera negative, remastered audio tracks, tons of vintage special features and new stuff, like the complete 8mm short films of the Chiodo Brothers. Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a great time at the movie and this is the best its ever been treated.
$16.92 on Blu
It's hilarious to me that Arrow takes a Criterion-level approach to some of the silliest, sleaziest movies of all time. God Bless 'em. They did it again here with Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case, the story of a pair of brothers (one a normal dude, the other his deformed twin he carries around in a basket) hunting down the doctors who separated them in early '80s New York. It's super sleazy, but also an amazing time capsule. As usual the Blu-ray comes loaded with hours of special features.
$20.47 on Blu
I remember 12 Monkeys being a big deal when it came out, but weirdly it feels like time has eroded that shine. Not that people don't like it, but it's not one they carry forward as much as they should. I know there's a TV show spin-off, but the movie itself doesn't get much love. Which is a shame because it's a pretty damn good time travel movie starring Bruce Willis. In fact it'd make a great double feature with Looper. This is a less-packed Arrow release, special features-wise, but still a ton there including a new restored transfer, a commentary track and the feature length doc made by the Lost in La Mancha guys.
$22.65 on Blu
Re-Animator is a horror comedy classic, made with the kind of young, enthusiastic “we can do anything” chutzpah that seemed to be in the water in the early '80s. The simple premise of the chaos that arises when toying with bringing dead things back to life is hardly new to the genre (as Mary Shelley could attest), but Stuart Gordon and his team have a ridiculous amount of fun with it. Another Arrow release with tons of special features (three commentaries, a feature length doc, 4K restoration fo the unrated version, deleted scenes and all sorts of other goodies).
$19.92 on Blu
Yes, I know the movie is silly as shit, but I love Maximum Overdrive. Stephen King famously said he was so high on cocaine that he doesn't remember directing this movie. I believe it! The movie is bonkers and tonally all over the map, but I can't imagine any cold-hearted cynical asshole not having fun watching this ball of craziness unfold. At the very least you know going in you get to see a cash machine call Stephen King an asshole.
Way before Mulder and Scully there was Kolchak, an investigative journalist who made it a habit to investigate supernatural phenomenon, becoming a hugely popular TV series in the process. The Night Stalker is the TV movie that started it all as Kolchak investigates a rash of vampire-like killings in Las Vegas. If you've never seen the dad from A Christmas Story as a bumbling, lovable journalist hunting down vampires then you don't know what you're missing. Night Stalker has been restored by Kino with multiple new commentaries. The follow-up TV movie, The Night Strangler is also available.
$21.59 on Blu
Hocus Pocus is 25 years old this year, which means I'm fucking old and I hate it for marking time like that. But I don't really. It a favorite to 12 year old me and I love that it's had a bit of a resurgence in popularity thanks to Disney embracing their quirky weird Halloween-y movie. This release is pretty much the already released Blu-Ray with a 40 page collectors book bundled in.
$21.55 on Blu
I must admit I haven't seen Brainscan since it came out, but you better believe I was there opening weekend for it. It was Eddie Furlong's followup to the bizarre one-two punch of T2, the biggest movie ever, and Pet Semetery 2, the grody somewhat effective, but ultimately misjudged sequel. I remember it being a weird one, a kind of combination of Nightmare on Elm Street and Ghost in the Machine. I'm sure this'll end up being a nostalgic rewatch for me.
$22.33 on Blu
A horror classic that stands shoulder to shoulder with the titans of the genre, but for whatever reason just isn't as known. I won't ruin anything for you if you haven't had the pleasure, but I will say it's a ghost story starring George C. Scott and it involves a creepy-ass wheelchair. If you're not sold already then you and I are done, professionally.
$19.94 on Blu
It's hard to shock today's audiences, but if a movie like this came out today there would be boycotts and a string of outraged Buzzfeed think pieces. That said it's pretty amazing. The set up is a young couple visit an island and discover that all the adults are gone. Only the children remain. The reason for this is... well, fucked up and oddly environmentalist. It's a slow burn that takes a turn about halfway through and builds to a really, really, really amazing ending.
$17.99 on Blu
Speaking of messed up movies, Ichi the Killer is way up there. It was my introduction to Takashi Miike and I'll never forget how my world felt changed after I saw this. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. It's like good Troma if that makes any sense. I really envy anybody who gets to watch this for the first time.
$14.84 on Blu
The Suspiria remake is out and winning critical praise left and right, so now's a good time to remind everybody about the colorful, brutal and way trippy original Dario Argento movie. Synapse underwent a 4K restoration process (I guess because the original colors weren't popping enough?) from the original Italian camera negative with a color correction process overseen by the original cinematographer. A must-see for anybody that thinks of themselves as a horror fan.
$24.24 on Blu
Whoever thought of putting out the new Phantasm remaster in a chrome steelbook deserves a raise. This is a blu-ray, but it is the 4k remaster that JJ Abrams funded. The movie's never look as good and now you can have it in the coolest case possible. Boy.
$14.99 Blu Steelbook
Olive puts out limited releases of classics and you don't get more classic than Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Not only is it one of the coolest titles in sci-fi cinema history it's also one of the best movies of its era. The tale of losing one's humanity on a global scale is evergreen and has seen multiple remakes (all of which are good to great, by the way). Olive's release of the Kevin McCarthy-starring original has a new high def transfer and tons of special features. They came out with only 5000 units and they're sold out on their personal site, but Amazon still has some available.
$22.30 on Blu
In the Mouth of Madness is not the best John Carpenter movie, but it tops the list of his most underappreciated. It's so good and Sam Neill is so damn good in it. It's about a famous horror author who disappears and the publisher hires a guy to track him down and get him to hand over his overdue manuscript for what is touted to be his masterpiece. Imagine if it was Stephen King and when the guy finds him he's in Castle Rock and all his fiction monsters turn out to be real. Great concept, super creepy, very fun.
$24.96 on Blu
Behind the Mask has been a favorite of mine ever since I saw it at its premiere screening at SXSW. It's a mockumentary with a twist. A film crew follows a slasher-in-training as he prepares for his big debut on the scene. It skewers genre tropes. It has an almost Deadpool quality about as it points out some of horror's silliest conventions, but then it does something amazing: it actually becomes a horror movie and it hits all those tropes, but now they're not so silly. Robert Englund plays the Loomis role, so it has that going for it, too. An easy recommend from me.
$24.61 on Blu
Joe Dante's The Burbs is one of my favorites of his. I mean, I have a lot of favorite Joe Dante movies (Gremlins, Innerspace, Explorers, Piranha, The Burbs, Matinee, etc), but The Burbs in particular kind of rules. For starters it has '80s funny Tom Hanks in it. And it has a Corey. And Bruce Dern as a Vietnam vet whose lawn keeps getting shit on by the neighbor's dog. The highest compliment I can pay this movie is it feels like a Ray Bradbury story he never got around to writing.
$19.99 on Blu
Ah, Matinee. You have John Goodman as a William Castle-ish cheap-o movie producer, a backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a sweet coming of age story all wrapped into one wonderful movie. A sneaky movie about the love of storytelling with all of the humor and heart that defines Dante's filmmaking.
$22.99 on Blu
I first saw Drag Me To Hell when I snuck into an LA test screening for it. I loved it then and I love it now. I feel like it came out a decade too early. It beat Blumhouse to the supernatural horror revival trend. But it came out before audiences were back on that horror wave and bombed, which sucks because it makes me feel like it was the last time we're going to see a true blue Sam Raimi movie. His big budget superhero and tentpole stuff is great, but if it's not a darkly funny horror movie it's not fully Sam Raimi. This one is way overdue for a rewatch. For me, I mean, but probably for you, too.
$22.99 on Blu
I love introducing people to this movie. It's Clue before Clue was Clue. Murder By Death is such a great premise for a comedy: a mysterious rich guy invites all the world's leading detectives to his mansion to solve a murder: his own. Every one of the people invited is a take on a famous literary crime solver. Peter Falk is a stand in for Sam Spade (and does a great Bogart impersonation), for instance. Yes, it does have Peter Sellers doing yellow face, which isn't the best look, but that in and of itself can be viewed as a satire of the long history of Hollywood doing that with this particular character. But, man, is it funny. Sir Alec Guinness plays a blind butler and a fun bit of trivia is that while he was working on this movie he got and read the script for a little sci-fi flick called Star Wars. Anyway, I highly recommend this one.
$19.97 on Blu
I watched Dragnet soooo much when I was a kid. Anything Tom Hanks was my jam. Big, this, Joe vs. the Volcano. He was like the coolest dad/best friend ever. By all accounts this shouldn't have worked, but it kind of kicked off a string of movie adaptations of old TV shows that shouldn't have worked, but did, like Addams Family and Brady Bunch. I have no idea how Dragnet holds up, but my memories of it are very fond. I mean, it has a snake cult in it!
$24.99 on Blu
So Supergirl was one of the scariest movies of my childhood. I'm sure with adult eyes it'll be silly, but to a kid that witch-y/Phantom Zone stuff was really fucked up. There's no doubt in my mind that a rewatch would sour whatever nostalgic feelings I have about this movie, but it's still probably better than Justice League, though.
$17.23 on Blu
This Full Moon DTV movie also was on heavy rotation in my household for some reason. It's a simple story about a boy and his miniature dinosaurs. The boy was the kid from Last Action Hero and I suppose my Jurassic Park-inspired dinosaur obsession led me to this one. Someone decided it was good enough to dig up the original 35mm camera negative and create a new high def transfer. I wonder how this one holds up...
$22.35 on Blu
It's not Christmas until you've watched the original animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, so thankfully there's this new 50thanniversary blu-ray edition with a crisp new restoration and two discs packed with special features. Your cold heart will grow many sizes upon seeing this.
$11.99 on Blu
I remember going to the press screening for Can't Hardly Wait. I was an intrepid high school reviewer, so it's not super crazy this film is celebrating its 20th anniversary, but it's still fucked up to me we're hitting that milestone for movies that came out while I was an official film critic. The release doesn't seem packed, but the movie itself is one of the best examples of the giant teen comedy revival trend that was going on in the late '90s. I got no legs!!!!
$8.79 on Blu
So I'm putting Camp Nowhere on here simply because doing research for this section reminded me that this movie existed and when it did I was hit by a huge rush of nostalgia. This was the era I was riding my bike to the closest movie theaters every weekend (and pretty much every day in the summer) and watching literally everything that came out. Now that I'm reminded of this movie the only thing I remember clearly is it was a goofy comedy where Christopher Lloyd was the weird guy running a summer camp for kids and now I have to seek it out and rewatch it.
$12.49 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. Apologies for the most jarring transition of the entire 2018 Holiday Gift Guide. What other gift guide will you read that moves from Camp Nowhere to Schindler's List? Only the best for you guys here. Steven Spielberg's masterpiece is coming out on 4K UHD. The crisp black and white photography is going to look gorgeous in this format, which probably also means the gut-punch of the subject matter is going to be even more effective. It's rare that you can call a film important and not sound like a pretentious asshole, but this film is important. It's an outstanding achievement and one that belongs on every movie shelf in the country.
$21.74 on 4K Blu
Spielberg's game-changing WW2 flick Saving Private Ryan is another classic from the master. He changed up his filmmaking style to capture the chaos of the Normandy invasion and in doing so he created the template for pretty much every war movie, video game and TV show to come after. The movie is the total package. It's exciting, suspenseful, funny, horrifying, sad and everything in-between. One of my favorites of his and now you can get it in even more definition!
$19.59 on 4K Blu
John Carpenter's Christine was made during the height of the filmmaker's power. He was pumping out classic after classic in this era. It's an amazing run and in that run Christine is probably lower tier Carpenter, but it's still one of our best filmmakers at his freshest. Plus it marks the one time two of my favorites overlapped. Can you imagine if Carpenter had done The Running Man in this era? Anyway, Christine is out in 4K so of course it's on this list.
$14.99 on 4K Blu
Forrest Gump was one of those movies that everybody saw. Your parents, your friends, their cousins, the office assistant's at dad's work... everybody saw this one and back then everybody loved it. It's a little easier to crap on it with some distance, but at the time I never heard one bad word about the movie. It's been a while since I looked back on it, but I was one of those that loved it. Maybe this 4K release is my excuse! Then me and Forrest can be like peas and carrots again.
$20.15 on 4K Blu
It's almost been a year since Black Panther hit screens, but it's still one of my favorite movie events of 2018. I saw it a couple times theatrically and it was something else watching all the audiences streaming out of showings just flat out beaming. People of color, yes, but every color imaginable. African American, Caucasian, Asian, Latino, everybody was beaming, taking pictures with the lobby standees and stuff like that. It felt like a cultural moment. Marvel nailed it with this one.
$19.99 4K Blu
One of the most-watched movies of my childhood. I pretty much watched Superman: The Movie on repeat as a kid and today it still defines the ideal for the character. Not sure if this is a new transfer or just a 4K upres of the Blu-Ray, but it's definitely one of the titles on my “upgrade” shortlist.
$22.99 on 4K Blu
Billy Wilder's classic comedy is getting the Criterion treatment! I was so all over this I ordered it in the last Barnes and Noble sale before it was even released and have it waiting at home for a spin once this guide is finished up. Some Like It Hot is just one of those easy-to-watch movies, an effortless classic with Jack Lemmon turning in a career best turn alongside the radiant Marilyn Monroe who was never more lovely than she is here. Tony Curtis ain't half bad, either.
$20.83 on Blu
Ace In the Hole is a radically different movie from Billy Wilder, but no less amazing. It's a biting critique of the bloodthirsty press that was emerging at the time. Kirk Douglas stars as a cutthroat reporter who is desperate enough to risk the lives of people in danger to make his story better. It's a movie about showmanship and our part in letting people like Douglas manipulate us without questioning his motives. A sneakily entertaining movie that hides a pitch black anger at what would become the norm decades later. Amazing film.
$22.65 on Blu
Orson Welles' follow-up to Citizen Kane was doomed from the start. You can't begin your directing career with Kane and not have your next film trashed, no matter its relative quality. I'll tell you a dirty secret: I've never seen this. I'll have that fixed by the end of 2018 thanks to Criterion release.
$22.34 on Blu
Criterion taking on one of my favorite '80s feel-good movies makes me smile. Imminently quoatable, this unabashed swashbuckling comedy/romance/fantasy film adaptation of William Goldman's novel is like chicken soup when you're sick. If you're down, throw this on and you'll feel better. As you wish!
$21.42 on Blu
An early Brian De Palma movie and a rare (double!) leading performance from Superman's Margot Kidder. It's a disturbing movie about twins where one of them is suspected of a horrible murder. You'll witness the birth of De Palma's obsession with split-screen storytelling here. A very underseen gem from De Palma right before he started cranking out classics.
$22.34 on Blu
Shampoo isn't my favorite Hal Ashby (how you doin', Harold & Maude?), but if just about any other filmmaker had come out with it it would be their best movie by a country mile. That says a lot about how incredible Ashby was as a storyteller. Really showing his range, Warren Beatty stars as a playboy hairdresser who has many women across town (a stretch for him) and his world unravels as he juggles them all. What could be a simple sex comedy is elevated by Ashby's direction, Beatty and Robert Towne's script and some amazing performances from Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie and Lee Grant.
$22.03 on Blu
Bull Durham cemented Kevin Costner's leading man status. I'd say the same for Tim Robbins, but we all know that his tour de force turn in Howard the Duck really did that. This was one I stayed away from for a long time because I'm not a big sports fan. Then I realized that I may not give a shit about real life sports, but sports movies are frickin' awesome and I fixed my mistake.
$22.65 on Blu
Criterion supervised a new transfer of Midnight Cowboy, the essential 1969 film that paved the way for an auteur-led 1970s studio system and proved an X-rated movie could not only draw audiences, but also win best picture. I wonder how many people quote this film (“I'm walkin' here!”) and have no idea where that came from? One of the greats.
$22.34 on Blu
Howard Hawks' Red River, starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, is one of the best westerns Wayne ever starred in and that's saying something. He butts heads with his adopted son during a cattle drive. If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor and seek it out.
$22.65 on Blu
A horror movie so good it swept the Oscars and got dubbed a thriller! Silence of the Lambs is an all-timer. Jonathan Demme slowly peels back the layers of insanity as young FBI agent Clarice Starling tracks a serial killer... with the help of a serial killer. Like you need me to break down the plot. You've seen it, you know how great it is and why it's an instant buy when it hit Criterion.
$22.03 on Blu
I've watched Criterion's 4k restoration of George Romero's game-changing Night of the Living Dead a few times since it came out and it's outstanding. Since it was a public domain title I've seen such crappy transfers that it was like watching a brand new movie seeing it the way it was meant to be seen.
$22.97 on Blu
If I could force everybody reading this to watch one title it'd be this one. Powell & Pressburger are famous for The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus, but this is my favorite film of theirs. It's about an RAF pilot who bails out of his plane after a bombing run against the Germans. The last voice he hears is the American radio operator. They chat for a few minutes before he bails into the ocean and they fall in love. He survives his fall, washes up on the beach, but that wasn't supposed to happen. He was supposed to die. When he doesn't show up in heaven the battle begins for his soul that ends in a literal trial. It's a breathtakingly beautiful film, half eye-popping technicolor and half black and white, and has an extremely charming central performance from David Niven. One of my all time favorites and I hope now that Criterion has put it out it'll get a second life.
$22.34 on Blu
Terence Malick's Tree of Life is a little bit up its own ass. A little bit. But it's still mesmerizing and a hell of an experience. The Criterion Edition comes with two different cuts: the theatrical version and an extended version that's 50 minutes longer supervised by Malick. Both are restored in 4K.
$27.20 on Blu
Another title on this list I wish I could force every single one of you reading to sit down and watch without any distractions. Holy Motors was the movie that blew me away at the one Cannes I got to attend, a truly bizarre and unique anthology of weirdness. I struggle to try to explain the movie because it really must be seen to be believed. I will say that it absolutely convinced me that Denis Levant is one of the best actors of all time. The intermission scene alone is probably the best movie I've ever seen. I know it's an expensive blind buy, but just promise me if you like weird, awesome, funny things you'll seek this one out in some form.
$29.99 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. People forget John Carpenter directed Starman. I guess because it's so different from the other films he was making at this time I can understand that, but when you watch it all his visual hallmarks are there. They're just in service of a very sweet, sentimental story instead of a masked killer, ghost pirates or grotesque body-mimicking aliens. The alien here is more on the ET level, an entity that takes the form Karen Allen's dead husband, which makes for an interesting road picture as she takes the man she fell in love with to be rescued by his kind. Karen Allen will always be remembered for Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but this is her finest on-screen dramatic turn. Great movie.
$29.99 on Blu
Like, oh my God, it's Valley Girl. An early Nic Cage flick that helped establish his on-screen brand. This movie is in the running to be the most '80s movie of all time as young love buds in LA between a valley girl and a young punk. From the director of Real Genius!
$28.90 on Blu
Michael Dougherty's Trick R Treat has become a Halloween tradition in my house. It's not only one of the best horror anthologies ever made it's the most Halloween holiday feeling thing ever, which perfectly puts me in the spirit of the holiday. This thing has a mean streak, which instantly reminds me of Tales From The Crypt and that's a good thing. Scream Factory released a new restoration and loaded it up with new special features, including early shorts by Dougherty and a ton of interviews and making of mini-docs.
$29.96 on Blu
All the Critters can be found here (don't tell the faceless bounty hunters!). These toothy furballs with bad attitudes always make me smile. Yes, this set does include Critters 3, which introduces a young man by the name of Leonardo DiCaprio to the world. The first two are still personal favorites of mine.
$68.66 on Blu
Larry Cohen's It's Alive films are weeeirrddd, my dudes. What starts as a Rosemary's Baby riff about a killer mutated baby ends up in almost Gremlins 2 territory by the time they get to the third film. This set has new 2K transfers of each film on top of new interviews with Cohen and his actors.
$29.99 on Blu
For my money the [Rec] series is the best top to bottom found footage franchise. Paranormal Activity gets all the attention, but these are the best at incorporating the aesthetic in way that makes sense from a story perspective as well as a visceral experience angle. Plus they're just good zombie movies. The first film is about a TV news crew stuck in a quarantined building as a zombie outbreak begins. The second starts seconds after the first, this time done kind of Aliens style told through the body cams of the Spec Ops unit going in as the shit really hits the fan. The third and fourth aren't as great (3 takes place at a wedding!), but those first two are super solid and now you can get the whole thing in one set!
$49.30 on Blu
If you want a fun night invite all your closest friends over, crack open some alcoholic beverages and mainline this Blu-Ray triple feature: 1990 – The Bronx Warriors, Escape from the Bronx and The New Barbarians. These are pretty much the last vestiges of the insane drive-in circuit weirdo movies of the '70s and '80s, all taking a crack at making fun movies out of the Mad Max-ish post-apocalyptic setting that was so popular in B-movies from this time period.
$26.12 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 11th. Brian De Palma made a bunch of little movies before he got famous and oddly all of them starred Robert De Niro. Starting in the early '60s both of these guys teamed up for off-beat counterculture comedies resulting in these three films: The Wedding Party, Greetings and Hi, Mom! Ever hardcore movie nerds haven't seen most of these movies and Arrow aims to fix that with this box set composed of 2k transfers carried out by Arrow. Nice deep cut cinema-lovers stuff here.
$34.99 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. All four Predator movies in one ultra-high def set! The original Predator, Predator 2, the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators and the new Shane Black The Predator. None of those AvP pieces of shit. You can take issue with the quality of all of these movies (save for the first, which is, of course, perfect), but none of them are as bad as even the very best of the AvP movies.
$54.99 on Blu
I have a theory about Bad Boys II. I think it's the pinnacle Michael Bay experience. Something in my gut says Bad Boys II is the movie he's trying to make every single time he gets behind the camera. It's so wildly over the top and extravagant and expensive and funny and weird and high-octane. I think this is the one that sums up Bay as a filmmaker the best. Now you can get it in 4k in this box set of the first two films! Explosions never looked so well-defined!
$27.70 on 4K Blu
These movies just aren't my jam. I like the first one, mostly because you can feel producer Spielberg's fingerprints on it the most, but holy shit are these movies a big noisy chore for me. I'm that old critic now! But I also realize that they don't keep pulling in billions of dollars because nobody likes them, so for you Transformers fans (or the one in your life) this 4K box set of the first five films is here. I must admit that if any huge budget studio blockbuster series cries out for 4K its the Transformers series. Say what you will about his storytelling in these films, but Michael Bay shoots the hell out of them.
$67.11 on 4K Blu
I recently revisited all three movies. That first Matrix is so goddamn good. Relentless in its pacing, groundbreaking in its action, incredibly badass in its style. Reloaded and Revolutions are still huge messes and missed opportunities in my book, but it's still amazing to me these films were made in the first place. The 4K box set takes all three, but doesn't include The Animatrix, so don't get your hopes up.
$54.93 on 4K Blu
Another series that never got better than that first film, but I got a lot of nostalgia for the Jurassic films. I even get a kick out of the World movies, but I'm a pretty easy sell for these dinos. This 4K set has UHD transfers of Jurassic Parks 1-3 and Jurassic World. It also comes with digital copies of all the films included. You haven't lived until you've seen dilophosaur spit in ultra-high def!
$58.99 on 4K Blu
If you're wanting your Mr. Pool in all four Ks then this is the way to do it. You get Deadpool 1 and 2 in 4K with this set. Bet you never saw a guy shot in the asshole in such high definition. If you have, well then I guess you win at life. Are you the Dos Eques guy? “I don't often see men shot in the anus, but when I do it's in high definition.”
$38.96 on 4K Blu
This 4K gift set really ties the room together. Look! the Blu-Ray comes snug in a Big Lebowski sweater. I miss the days of the giant DVD swag boxes. That’s not so much a thing anymore, is it? Well, The Dude’s got you covered. You get a great movie in all the definitions currently available, a bowling bag carrying case, a bowling ball pencil holder, even a little teeny tiny rug (minus the piss).
$45.45 on 4K Blu
Game of Thrones Season One has been released about two dozen times by now, but now it's out in UHD. That means 4k beheadings, nudity, backstabbing and some cute little baby dragons!
$40.89 on 4K Blu
They took a big swing with the new Star Trek show. There's f-bombs, lots of gay stuff right up front and center and a whole lot of gray characters, not the typical good guys/villains we're used to in this world. I personally loved it and am very interested in seeing where it goes in the next season because this first one wasn't fucking around.
$35.69 on Blu
Dance your cares away (clap clap), worries for another day. Let the music play (clap clap) down at Fraggle Rock! A staple of my childhood gets the complete series blu-ray treatment and I couldn't be happier! 12 discs, over 2600 minutes of Jim Henson delight.
$39.86 on Blu
It's about time Community was bundled in a complete series package on Blu-Ray. I think they only released the individual seasons on DVD. One of the funniest shows in the last 10 years and you can tell because almost every single person in the cast was given their own Netflix show after this series ended. Sorry, not you, Chevy. If you missed it at the time, this is the show Dan Harmon brought his unique fucked up dark humor to before doing that little Rick & Morty thing.
$48.50 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 11th. All four seasons of Nathan Fielder's ungodly funny show where he offers small businesses the absolute worst advice possible and the damned fools actually do it. There's one episode where he slowly turns an angry union of cabbies into Uber drivers and it's flat out unbelievable to watch. Don't know why the fuck it's only available on DVD in the year of our lord 2018, but that's the way it is. You can binge this show easily, so beware.
$29.99 on DVD
I think I made a Kevin Costner/Waterworld piss-drinking joke in the Music section of the guide, so I will spare you that here. Just the facts: Arrow release. 2 discs. Limited Edition. Three different cuts of the film (the theatrical and two different extended cuts). Transferred from a 4K scan of the original negative.
$27.20 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 11th. For you Miyazaki nuts, here is the limited edition 30thanniversary blu-ray set that comes in a hard slipcase that contains the Blu-Ray, a 40 page full color book of essays and the film's soundtrack, which they say is the first time it has ever been released in the US.
$44.99 on Blu
Blue Underground is celebrating Lucio Fulci's Zombie's 40thbirthday with this 3-disc blu-ray set. Brand new 4k restoration (which means you'll see punctured eyeballs in more detail than ever before!), 7.1 audio remix, a new audio commentary with a Fulci expert, a boatload of docs and a CD of Fabio Frizzi's score. A gorehound's delight, this release.
$32.57 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 11th. It's not garbage day, technically, but it will be if you don't get this for Christmas. The notoriously so-bad-it's-good sequel gets its time in the sun thanks to Scream Factory.
$29.99 on Blu
The Scream Factory Limited Edition release of George Romero and Stephen King's Creepshow is suitably packed with features. New high def transfer and restoration, two new commentaries, interviews, featurettes, docs, the works. The only thing missing is a little jar of meteor shit!
$28.45 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. Christopher Lee's Dracula is one of cinema's greatest movie monsters. The dude committed! With his blood-red eyes and towering stature his Dracula was less the charming socialite and more the blood-sucking monster.
$29.57 on Blu
Sweets for the sweet. This movie is fucking terrifying. It really messed me up when I was a kid. Like, can't look in the mirror for too long-messed up and that disturbing undercurrent is still there to this day. Scream Factory's blu is a 2-disc special edition comes with two cuts of the film, the theatrical and an unrated cut, two commentaries and tons of interviews. Oh, and it's a new transfer from a 4K restoration.
$34.93 on Blu
This neat Halloween 3 steelbook is not only prettier than the typical Blu-Ray release, it also contains the best transfer of the most underrated Halloween film. If you don't already own this and recognize that Season of the Witch is great despite not having a William Shatner mask in it then this is the one you should pick up.
$29.97 on Blu
If you already own The Thing (and you damn well should by now) then there isn't anything new here, but if you don't this Shout Factory Limited Edition Steelbook is the way to go. Comes with 3 discs including a 4K scan (still a regular 1080p Blu, though) of the movie and two discs of 2K transferred special features. And, of course, a badass steelbook to hold it all.
$33.99 on Blu
Stuart Gordon's underseen and even more underappreciated Lovecraft adaptation, Dagon, gets the Arrow treatment. Borrowing from Lovecraft's Dagon and Shadow Over Innsmouth, this one is way too fun to stay as obscure as it is.
$28.90 on Blu
Arrow's Limited Edition 3-Disc release of Wes Craven's brutal 1972 shocker The Last House On The Left. It's not for the squeamish, but horror hounds worship it. The remake was pretty great, actually, but there's a nice, safe studio sheen to it. The original does not have that. It's a little gross, but that is the intention. This limited edition is overloaded with extras, including multiple cuts of the movie (Unrated, R-rated... hell, there's probably a 2 ½ minute G-rated cut hidden in there somewhere), dozens of interviews with the cast and crew and even commissioned fold out posters and lobby card reproductions. They went all out with this one.
$27.58 on Blu
I have this release. It's beautiful, a worthy 4K purchase (because it's a 4k transfer of a new high def restoration). I have no idea why it's listed as a pre-order and why it's so expensive. Maybe it sold out super fast and this is technically a special edition? I don't pretend to know Amazon's ways, but I can say this is one of the most impressive 4K releases I've personally bought.
$41.99 on 4K Blu
Not only the complete Batman: The Animated Series on Blu-Ray, but a “Deluxe Limited Edition!” This version comes with mini-Funkos of Batman, Joker and Harley Quinn. The complete series is 10 Blu-Rays containing all 109 episodes plus a ton of bonus features. One of the best releases in the guide this year.
$99.96 on Blu
You're so close to the inevitable complete Game of Thrones series box set that you shouldn't be tempted by this cool collection of seasons 1-7. Especially since they're starting to put HDR Blus out as well (You didn't miss the 4K Season 1 Blu earlier in this list, did you?). But I see you. I am you. I get the draw of a new, pretty box set. It's there if you want it is all I'm saying.
$99.99 on Blu
Thirty, count them, thirty Universal Monster movies in one box. That's all the Legacy sets for Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Phantom of the Opera carrying up the rear. Hell, they even got the Abbot & Costello movies in there as well.
$97.10 on Blu
PRE-ORDER, December 4th. Yep, all the Mission: Impossibles in 4K. Even the shitty John Woo one! That's, like, 65 Tom Cruise stunts that would have killed a mortal man in high definition!
$71.76 on 4K Blu
So, the 4K Blu-Ray for Terminator 2 is only nine bucks by itself, so you're paying $117 for that neat T-800 arm. It's a lifesized replica, limited to 6,000 units. Is it worth $117? That's up to you! I sure think it's cool, especially when you consider it could help Skynet wipe out civilization because you just had to have something sweet on your shelf and didn't throw it in the molten steel pit like you should have.
$126.95 on 4K Blu