Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Blu-Ray & DVD Selections

MCU Collection Phase 1The wonderful thing about writing these Holiday Gift Guide lists is that they not only help out you, the mighty reader, find that perfect gift or stocking stuffer for a pop-culture loved one, but it also helps the writer of this column (me, in this case) with loved ones picking our gifts to give (me)!

This particular Gift Guide, a short list of select movies and television shows in both Blu-Ray and DVD formats, should prove enticing. I’m betting that there’s something on this list that your loved one doesn’t have just yet. (And, if anyone is asking, I have none of these – yet!)

Now, I know we live in a digital age where film and television programming is available on demand, but it’s still nice to add that hardcopy artifact to an increasing library of hardcopy artifacts. It’ since to know that you actually own something, doesn’t it?

Plus, some of the items on this list come with…well, extras.

Without further ado, here is your first-rate, first-class, handpicked, Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Blu-Ray & DVD Selections:

Marvel Cinematic Universe Collection: Phase 1, 2

Let’s get this one out of the way now, shall we?

A couple of years ago, Disney released their box set of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Collection Phase 1. It’s a treasure trove of entertainment including the films, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and culminating with The Avengers. Also included is a “top secret” bonus disc.

The set comes with a replica briefcase with the cosmic cube inside it., an important plot point in the series of films. We all know that there’s an ongoing thread of story here, one that saw both the forming of the Avengers superhero team – as well as the introduction of an underlying major threat that will stand against them in the future.

MCU Collection Phase 2That thread continues in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Collection Phase 2, just recently released. That set comes with Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (a personal favourite), Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the most recent flick in the series, Ant-Man. Also include is a disc of bonus content and the replica of the Morag Orb, a plot device from the films.

There’s no doubt that these box sets will set you back upwards of $200, but if you’re a fan of the films or looking to be one, they’re look great on the shelf! Plus, you get all of the bonus material. You can find the collections via Amazon right here and here, or visit your local video shop.

If you don’t recall how good this series is, here. Let me remind you:

 

Marvel’s Agent Carter: Season 1

Agent Carter Season 1In keeping with the Marvel Cinematic Universe theme, don’t forget about the critically acclaimed and fan-favourite series from earlier this year, Agent Carter.

Agent Carter spun out of Captain America: The First Avenger, and tells the tales of her crime-fighting, Hydra-busting, role-breaking paramour, Peggy Carter. It’s the post-war decade and Peggy is stuck in a male-centric world, beating back evil forces bent on world supremacy better than her sexist co-workers ever could! The series was a n absolute revelation and belongs in any lover of television’s collection! Hayley Atwell is stunning in her performance, plus we get to see cameos from Dominic Cooper, reprising his role as Howard Stark and James D’Arcy, who has a central role of Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis.

The preferred Blu-Ray set runs for $32.99 on Amazon, but it only costs $22.99 in the DVD format.

Biff Bam Pop’s Glenn Walker wrote a regular column on the series, the first of which you can find here.

Here’s why it’s so great – and why a loved one of your will adore the series:

 

Mad Max Anthology

Mad Max AnthologyWas there a better film out this year than Mad Max: Fury Road? We had to wait a long, long time for director George Miller’s latest foray into the post-apocalyptic wastelands of Australia in search of action, adventure and “the juice”. But the wait was well worth it.

Now comes the ultimate of ultimate’s: the Mad Max Anthology, all shiny and chrome, that contains the original trilogy starring Mel Gibson in the titular role: Mad Max, The Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Of course, Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy, is included as well!

Best of all, there’s a fifth disc – a feature length documentary of the first film in the series that runs two and a half hours long! Brilliant! It’s almost as long as the chase sequence in the most recent film!

You can grab it at Amazon for $73.92 or your local film and television shop, but this set is a most-have for fans of genre cinema or the Max series of films! Always remember:

 

The Babadook

The Babadook Sp EdOk. We’ve done superheroes and we’ve done action. Time to delve into the realm of horror.

I wanted, badly, to see The Babadook when it was first released earlier this year. It had made the rounds of the film festival circuit and was picking up word-of-mouth steam. When it was unleashed on the mainstream populace, everyone loved the sense of dread and psychological horror it contained.

A kid’s book. A warning. Made real.

Amanda Blue wrote a fine piece on the psychoanalysis of The Babadook, which you can read here. Also, Biff Bam Pop! had a roundtable discussion on the film.

As a disclaimer, I still haven’t seen The Babdook. But I will have by Boxing Day! For under $15 at Amazon (or your local shop), it’s a great price for a gift or stocking stuffer that will keep a loved one awake at night!

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange and Mr NorrellI read Susanna Clark’s award-wining novel of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a number of years ago and found it nearly impenetrable. It was a big book and a tough slog, but, wonderfully imaginative, it was also a worth entry into the pantheon of fantasy books.

The BBC put the book to film as a television mini series and it garnered much acclaim. So much so, that I’m wanting to check it out on Blu-Ray this holiday season.

Set during the Napoleonic wars, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell tells the story of rival magicians (who use actual magic and ethereal spirits) to aid them in battle. It’s a little like The Prestige meets Merlin meets The Winds of War.

Biff Bam Pop columnist, Sarah Miduski wrote a regular column on the each episode of the series, the first of which you can find here. And the series is something you should experience! You can easily find it for $22.12 at Amazon, or your local video store. Here’s the trailer where you can get a sense of the scope and epic magical battles inherent in the story:

So there you go – a smattering of film and television to keep you entertained through the winter holidays. Well, you or a loved one! Enjoy!

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