WPR STAFF 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – WATCH EDITION
This part of our staff picked gift guide is really for the eyeballs, that glorious show or movie that we think is essential buying for any collection. Be it geek or not. These are things you watch related that we want everyone to enjoy. So, without further ado (Click the titles to buy a copy on Amazon)
Whether you are an Adventure Time veteran, never seen the show or some kind of junkie weirdo (like me) you have to start your collection somewhere. Yes, this is a “kids” branded show on Cartoon Network. The thing about this show is that it is anything but a completely kids oriented show. There is plenty of things that only an adult would catch, it’s the subtle ways that the show does it that makes things so fun. I watch this show because I love the sense of adventure you get watching it, this show puts me in a different place, a fun place, a place where you check out for 12 minutes an episode with no commercial breaks and just have fun.
When I was some ten years old close to midnight, on a school night, I sneaked into the family living room and turned the satellite dish (the massive ones that were grounded in your yards back in the early 90’s). I was tuning to a channel to watch Mad Max for the first time. After watching Mad Max with about only three feet of distance between me and the big screen tv on very, very low volume. I was hooked on this franchise. Whenever I envision a post-apoc world, this is what comes to mind. It’s a series that is always, always worth having in your collection. Especially on bluray and the volume cranked up, who cares who you wake up now, you’re a damn adult!
Where’s my Toothless? I love these movies and this movie is firmly on my own gift list.
I’ve just gotten all caught up on TWD, and this season was killer.
Perhaps my favorite movie to come out this year is one filled with scenes from childhood imaginations gone wild of a boy kidnapped after his mother dies, and becomes a ‘treasure hunter’ in outer space…all while listening to a mixtape of awesome songs from the 70s. Marvel took a gamble and it paid off in spades this year. Many people thought that they’d have their first flop in the MCU, but this movie hit it out of the park.
The price may seem steep, but for nearly 11 hours of one of the most hip, sexy, and emotional anime series that you’ll ever watch, it’s a fucking steal especially preserved on beautiful blu-ray. Cowboy Bebop is one of THE anime that saved the genre for me and thousands of other aficionados. You take the original bounty hunter storyline, throw in a heaping tablespoon full of science fiction, and mix with Yoko Kanno’s amazing soundtracks and you get one of the best anime ever made. Seriously buy this now.
Way back in February The Lego Movie came out in what is normally a movie dead zone. No one expected it to be good and yet it is probably one of the best children’s movies of the year second only to Big Hero 6. The Lego Movie isn’t just for kids as it is perfect for adults as well. We follow Emmett, a normal lego construction worker, as he makes his way through a ‘chosen one’ narrative that is unique in its own right. It had hardly been overlooked as two sequels as been green lit but the release schedule means you might have missed this one and you shouldn’t. The Lego Movie isn’t just worth looking into it’s also worth owning.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked movies of the year Snowpiercer suffered from a strange release schedule and nearly no promotion. However, this Korean film is one of the best post apocalyptic movies to come out in years. While it is Korean nearly all of the dialogue is in English with huge stars like Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. Chris Evans leads a rebellion from the back to the front of the train that is keeping the last of humanity safe from a frozen Earth. Everything from the set design to the story (based on a French comic) are absolutely great. It will end up in my top ten for the year and is absolutely worth a look.
Jodorowsky’s Dune [Blu-ray]
Directed by Frank Pavich, Rated PG-13
This is a documentary about the Jowdorowsky film that was never made, but has had a huge influence on shaping our visions of science fiction. That sounds crazy, right? Yet, it is true. Follow director Alexandro Jodorowsky on his journey to follow-up his avant garde films, El Topo and The Holy Mountain, with an ambitious adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune. This documentary will intrigue science fiction fans and film historians. (Worth noting that at one point in his interview Jodorowsky uses a metaphor of rape to describe what he did to Dune. While it is only one line in an otherwise fascinating documentary, it is noted here to inform consumers.)
Only Lovers Left Alive [Blu-ray]
Directed by Jim Jarmusch (2014) Rated R
Do you know someone who pines for vampires to be cool, again? You know, the time before sparkly teen-heartthrobs were the visual icons of vampirism? Jim Jarmusch brings back the cool romanticism of the vampire life in Only Lovers Left Alive. If actors Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are not enough to draw you in (it should be), the Detroit cityscape features prominently and provides an eerie setting that adds to the mood and tone of the film. This movie is a rainy day go to for our Comics editor along with a dark chocolate bar and a cup of tea.
One of the best and most transformative seasons of Doctor Who since Russel T. Davis brought the show back from the brink of extinction. This is Peter Capaldi’s introductory season as The Doctor, and he may well be remembered as one of the best, if not THE best Doctor. This could be the collection you break out to remember when things got really good.
Bonus materials include:
- EXCLUSIVE footage from London Post-Premiere Q&A with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat
- EXCLUSIVE Doctor Who episode commentaries for Into the Dalek, Robot of Sherwood, The Caretaker, and Kill the Moon
- Behind-the-Scenes featurettes (12 total)
- Doctor Who Exclusive (4 total)
- Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord (special with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)
- Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion (special with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison)
- Doctor Who: Earth Conquest (World Tour Documentary)
- Tour of the TARDIS
- Doctor Who: Deep Breath Live Pre-Show & After Who Live (hosted by comedian and
- Doctor Who superfan Chris Hardwick)
- FOXES – “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Music video from Mummy on the Orient Express)
This is one of the most beautiful animated films I have ever seen, the story was fantastic, and the music was breathtaking. This is a film every animation and Miyazaki fan should own. If you haven’t already ordered it, you can read my review here
Princess Mononoke is finally being released on Blu-Ray. I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for this release. This film is as close to the keystone to the Ghibli collection as any, next to Spirited Away. Disney has been re-mastering these animations for Blu-Ray for years now, the transfers have been flawless, and the audio always includes the original Japanese and the English dub recorded by Disney.
Urban Decay for Pulp Fiction ($16-$22 depending on the item)
This year marks the 20th anniversary of pretty much everyone’s favorite Tarantino film, and to celebrate Urban Decay has released a line of cosmetics channeling femme fatale Mia Wallace. The entire collection perfectly encapsulates Mrs. Wallace’s dark, alluring retro vibe. I’m particularly a fan of the matte red lipstick, which is one of the best I’ve ever owned and looks good on seriously everyone. The entire collection is ideal for drinking overpriced milkshakes, going on a date with your husband’s henchmen, telling jokes about families of tomatoes, and overdosing on heroin in your Los Angeles home.
The Clone Wars were abruptly shut down when Disney took over Lucasfilm in 2012. However, the world rejoiced when Netflix got the rights to show the much anticipated 6th season. There are still many stories left untold, but The Lost Missions does sooth the angry beast in Star Wars fans wanting for more. It’s a must have, stocking stuffer for any Star Wars enthusiast.
Agents of Shield’s first season was really a tale of two halves. The first half really struggled to find an identity as part of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that told stories without the benefit of the MCU’s popular superheros. With the quality of the story telling really hit or miss from week to week, and a cast that never seemed all that interesting, Agents of Shield looked doomed to collapse under the weight of the high expectations fans had for the first show tied directly to the MCU. About halfway through the season however, everything changed. Piggybacking off the game changing events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Agents of Shield became a much more tightly focused drama, with twists that suddenly made the bland cast much more interesting. AOS basically became an entirely new show…a much better entirely new show. If you’ve been on the fence about this show, don’t be, despite a slow start AOS needs to be viewed by any and all Marvel fans. With a fantastic season two already underway, now is the time to jump on board.
If you don’t already own my favorite movie from last year then shame on you. The follow up to Captain America is not only one of Marvel’s best, but it also changes the entire landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One part spy thriller, one part pure action opera, The Winter Soldier showed that Marvel could be much more than just heroes in spandex punching each other. It had brains and heart to also go along with its brawn. Plus we finally got to see why Steve Rogers is America’s greatest hero.