Monster Popcorn’s Holiday Gift Guide!

So everyone seems to be putting together a holiday gift guide for those of us geek-minded people, so I thought, why the hell not, I’ll put one together too!  I’m going to try to provide a few things that I think would make for some good gifts and will link to a place online (more than likely Amazon.com) in case you decide that it might be a good gift for someone (or yourself!).  The pricing I’ve listed is reflective as to when I was writing this post.  It’s possible that the prices may have risen or gotten cheaper.  Click on the images for the links.

MOVIES/TV

Attack the Block is one of the best genre efforts this year.  Joe Cornish created a really fun and interesting alien invasion film.  I really dug the look of the alien creatures in the film as well as the film’s soundtrack.  Currently priced at $23.99.

I’ve never seen The Lady Vanishes.  But with Criterion releasing this, it’s a surefire win for movie enthusiasts.  In fact, I just read the review and the transfer is supposed to be a huge improvement over previous releases.  I’d love to see more of Hitchcock’s films released through Criterion.  Currently priced at $27.99.

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is a hell of a lot of fun.  Both Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are hilarious and the setup of the whole movie provides for some pretty hilarious scenes.  Don’t let the generic cover art fool you, this is an instant classic.  Currently priced at $19.99.

While these aren’t perfect movies, I really love this series.  Noomi Rapace just nails the character of Lisbeth Salander and leaves some pretty big shoes for Rooney Mara to fill.  This box set sports the extended editions, rounding each film out to about 3 hours in length.  I’m really curious to see the extended cuts and can’t wait to get ahold of this for myself.  Currently priced at $71.99.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a lot better than I expected to get out of a Planet of the Apes reboot from the Tom Rothman run 20th Century Fox.  I really enjoyed the film and thought Andy Serkis’s performance as Caesar should be, at the very least, nominated for an Academy Award.  The visual effects in it are really good and I’m very hopeful for the sequel if they bring the same creative team back for it.  Currently priced at $24.99.

I saw this in the theater and really enjoyed it.  While the movie has elements of sci-fi in it, it is first and foremost a drama.  Written and starring Brit Marling, this film definitely shows that Marling has potential of growing into a writer/actress that could really explore some interesting things about our humanity.  This slow-paced, but engrossing film, will definitely end up in my collection at some point.  Currently priced at $19.99.

Beginners was a big surprise for me.  I literally knew nearly nothing about it or if it was any good before I saw it in the theater.  After seeing it, it easily fits into my top 10 films of the year.  It’s honest, touching and will give you a case of the sniffles.  Melanie Laurent is absolutely magnetic in the film and, she alone, is worth the watch.  Currently priced $24.99.

The Rocketeer makes it’s blu-ray debut in a 20th Anniversary Edition.  Fans of the movie should be pretty excited for this release.  For me, it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve seen it.  I’m pretty eager to revisit it in high definition.  Currently priced at $18.99.

The Expendables is like The Avengers of action stars.  With Expendables 2 upping the ante of who we will see grace the screen together, fans of this movie may want to check out this extended director’s cut of the film which is set to contain 11 more minutes of Stallone badassery.  Currently priced at $18.99.

If you’re looking to get someone a holiday movie then Richard Donner’s Scrooged is a good one to get.  It just made its blu-ray debut (which I picked up myself) and is high on my list of classic Christmas films.  Currently priced at $17.99.

Midnight in Paris is definitely one of my favorite films this year.  I’m a big Woody Allen fan to begin with but it looks like movie audiences agreed with my opinion of this film as it is Allen’s high grossing film of all time (and he’s been around for quite some time now).  It’s a very thoughtful film and Marion Cotillard is fantastic in it.  Very highly recommended.  Currently priced at $22.99 (due to its Dec. 20th release, you may want to pick this one up in the store).

I’m a big fan of Guillermo del Toro and was ecstatic to have Mimic come to blu-ray in a director’s cut.  One thing should be noted that, while this is a “director’s cut,” in reality it is just a version that is closer to how del Toro envisioned the movie.  There is another version of it out there, possibly just inside del Toro’s head, but this looks like it will be the closest thing to how he wanted the movie to be.  There is also a really cool special feature on the disc where del Toro takes a tour of his second home, Bleak House, where he keeps all his cool collectibles.  It’s pretty cool to see.  Currently priced at $13.99.

Intruder is a really fun slasher movie that fans of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell should definitely watch (or own).  It is directed by Scott Spiegel who co-wrote Evil Dead 2 and the cast features Sam Raimi and Ted Raimi in roles as well as Bruce Campbell in a bit part.  Greg Nicotero of KNB FX makes a cameo appearance as well.  If you love cheesy slasher movies from the 80s, Intruder is a must see.  Currently priced at $21.99.

As a film buff, I have to say it’s kind of sad that I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ben-Hur completely.  Hell, I don’t know that I’ve seen it at all with exception to a few scenes here or there but William Wyler’s epic film is on my must watch list.  This 5oth Anniversary blu-ray supposedly sports a transfer that is breathtaking and sets a gold standard for catalog titles on blu-ray.  Video enthusiasts should make a point to pop in the disc and see for themselves.  There are apparently a few versions of this film to purchase.  There is a Best Buy exclusive (blu-ray/dvd combo pack) which is the image above and then there is the big ultimate collector’s edion.  The Best Buy version is currently priced at $14.99 but might only be available online for store pickup.  The ultimate edition is currently priced at $47.99 and you can click here to check that out over at Amazon.com.  Amazon also sells the Best Buy exclusive version but it is at a much steeper price of $54.99.

The Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection is an astounding collection of Kubrick’s movies.  You get Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut.  If it weren’t for the fact that I own half of these movies on blu-ray already, I would snap this set up in a second.  Currently priced at $93.99.

I haven’t seen all of this webseries yet as I decided I’d rather see it on my large tv screen versus my computer monitor.  What I did see of it seemed pretty fun and is a lot less campy than the previous two theatrical films.  Mortal Kombat fans will definitely want to check this blu-ray out.  Currently priced at $13.49.

The Jurassic Park trilogy is definitely a mixed bag.  The original is a classic film that will definitely be remembered for a long time while the following sequels failed to capture the magic of the first.  Despite that, I do enjoy the sequels on various levels and am really excited to see how well the films, especially the original, hold up on blu-ray.  Currently priced at $46.00.

Community, besides Parks and Recreation, may just be one of the funniest shows on television.  It’s smartly written and the cast members are all hilarious, plus it has Chevy Chase!  The show can be completely random and I like that.  You never quite know what to expect sometimes and that keeps the show fresh and funny.  Season 2 is currently priced at $19.99.  Season 1 is also available for $16.99 here.

I didn’t watch Parks and Recreation until a couple months ago.  I was told I should be watching it by a friend and that I would have to suffer through the not as funny season one to get to the really good stuff.  Thankfully, the first season is only about 6 episodes.  After that, the show blossoms and really nails the funny to the wall.  My favorite characters have to be Ron Swanson, April and, especially, Andy Dwyer.  One of my favorite tv shows on air right now.  Season 3 is currently priced at $21.69.  Seasons 1 & 2 are also available here and here.

MUSIC

Trent Reznor’s score for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is up for pre-order in a variety of forms.  You can purchase the digital version for $12.00, the HD digital version for $14.00, the 3-disc CD set with digital copy for $14.00 or the deluxe 6-piece vinyl edition for $300.00.  I’m really excited for this soundtrack, especially for the Reznor/Karen O cover of “Immigrant Song,” and I can’t wait until I get my copy.

The Chemical Brothers did an amazing job scoring Joe Wright’s Hanna.  It’s one of my favorite scores this year and features some really great tracks like “Container Park.”  Currently priced at $9.99.

Have you seen The Muppets yet?  If not, you’re missing out on a fun time.  I picked up this soundtrack for myself and really enjoy it.  “Life’s A Happy Song” is probably my favorite track off the album as it just makes you feel good and and is easy to get stuck in your head.  Besides featuring music that was made for the film, the album has a few tracks that were used in the film as well, like the awesome Paul Simon song, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”  Currently priced at $10.99.

Donald Glover, Troy from NBC’s Community, released his first rap album, Camp, under the alias, Childish Gambino, and it’s actually pretty darn good.  I’m not the rap genre’s biggest fan and would definitely be the least likely person to recommend anything rap related but as an album itself, regardless of its genre, I think this is an excellent debut for Glover.  Definitely give this one a try, especially if you want to see a different side to the funnyman.  Currently priced at $8.99.

The Tron Legacy soundtrack was created by Daft Punk and it’s probably one of my most played movie soundtracks on my iPod.  This one has been out for awhile but I would feel neglectful if I didn’t mention this awesome album.  The actual CD is designed to look like an identity disc from the movie with the bottom being all black instead of a CD’s typical shiny silver.  Both Tron and Daft Punk fans would be happy to see this in their stocking.  Currently priced at $9.99.

The score for Drive was one of the standout elements of the film.  It’s electronic based music really helped give the movie it’s personality.  Cliff Martinez has made two really good electronic scores this year between this film and Contagion.  Currently priced at $9.99.

BOOKS

Oeuvre: Drew Struzan is a collection of Struzan’s artwork that he’s done over the years for movies.  Everyone has seen Struzan’s movie posters at some point in their life and he’s one of the classic poster artists of all time.  I would love to have this and just flip through each page staring at all his awesome artwork.  Currently priced at $31.61.

Comic-Con, Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is a companion piece to the upcoming documentary of the same name.  I love Comic-Con and all its inherent geekiness and am excited for both this and the movie.  The book is a photographic look through what is one of the world’s most popular pop culture events.  Currently priced at $16.49.

Monsters in the Movies sounds like a book that is right up my alley.  Here’s the description of it from Amazon:  “From B-movie bogeymen and outer space oddities to big-budget terrors, Monsters in the Movies by legendary filmmaker John Landis showcases the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage across the Silver Screen!  Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of moviemaking, while conducting in-depth “conversations” with leading monster makers, including David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi— to discuss some of the most petrifying monsters ever seen. He also surveys the historical origins of the archetypal monsters, such as vampires, zombies, and werewolves, and takes you behind the scenes to discover the secrets of those special-effects wizards who created such legendary frighteners as King Kong, Dracula, and Halloween’s Michael Myers. With more than 1000 stunning movie stills and posters,this book is sure to keep even the most intense fright-seekers at the edge of their seats for hours!”  Yea I’m sold.  Currently priced at $25.78.

The Art of Hammer is a book I put on my Christmas list last year but didn’t get sadly.  When I went to buy it for myself, I couldn’t find it online anywhere!  I gave up hope that I would own this book until I literally just discovered it is available again!  So Merry Christmas me!  I love the cover for this book.  I’m a huge fan of the painted movie posters from the Hammer era.  The mix of horror and scantily clad women in a painterly style is just beautiful to me.  I can’t wait to flip through this.  Currently priced at $23.07.

“The filming of the blockbuster film Jaws is regarded as a landmark event in both the history of motion pictures and the quaint New England island of Martha’s Vineyard, where the geographic isolation necessitated the hiring of hundreds of locals to work as actors and laborers. Among this virtual army of hometown participants were numerous professional and amateur photographers, each with full access to the production’s inner workings—for the first time ever this compiles their behind-the-scenes photographs and stories into a treasure trove of Jaws rarities. Included are a foreword by director Steven Spielberg, interviews with production designer Joe Alves, screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, location casting director Shari Rhodes, and more, providing an unprecedented all-access pass to the creation of some of the most memorable and terrifying scenes in film history. This unique compendium is the first to focus on the production’s local participants, telling their stories at last.”  This sounds really cool and being that Jaws is one of my favorite movies, this sounds like an interesting read.  Currently priced at $32.20.

Nerd Do Well is Simon Pegg’s autobiographical book interjected with his own comedy stylings.  I’m a big fan of Pegg and really enjoy him as an actor, writer and celebrity in general.  He’s the everyman geek and his audience embraces him for it.  This book would be an entertaining way to learn more about one of the biggest geeks in Hollywood.  Currently priced at $16.51.

Jeff Smith’s Bone in a full color slipcased one volume hardcover edition!  I just recently finished the complete Bone in black and white and it’s a really great read.  It’s definitely a story I would like to go back and reread at some point and I’ve always been curious about the color version.  I’d love to be able to see this world in color, I mean don’t get me wrong, I love the black and white, but I wouldn’t complain if I had this edition sitting next to the black and white one.  If you purchase this from Jeff Smith’s Boneville store online, it will arrive to you signed by Jeff Smith himself!  Currently priced at $150.00.

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