This week, in preparation for the upcoming holidays, we offer our annual DVD holiday gift guide of attractive and available movies, movie collections, TV series and anything else that might interest a lover of varied home entertainment. Most of the following titles were released earlier this year but have been selected here for reminders.
The Best of Warner Brothers: 100 Film Collection (DVD) and The Best of Warner Brothers: 50 Film Collection (Blu-ray)
Undoubtedly the most impressive — and priciest — collection of the year came in April when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Warner Bros. studio with these two collections, both of which include two new documentaries on the studio and its films.
The 100-film collection, on 55 discs, contains 22 winners of the Best Film Oscar. Among the hundred, the set includes The Public Enemy, Grand Hotel, Mutiny on the Bounty, A Night at the Opera, Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, A Streetcar Named Desire, Singin’ in the Rain, Cabaret, The Exorcist, Amadeus, Seven, Inception and, obviously, many more.
Both collections come limited and numbered, along with various and abundant supplements, such as posters and art cards. Throughout the year, Warner also released sets of 20 films in selected genres, such as Best Pictures, Musicals, Romance, Comedy, Animation and Thrillers.
Clint Eastwood: 40 Film Collection and Clint Eastwood: 20 Film Collection
Warner Bros., the studio that has been home to Clint Eastwood since 1975, released these two collections covering the career of the prolific icon.
Both sets contain Eastwood’s recent Trouble With the Curve (2012), as well as Richard Schickel’s new documentary Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story, which features a perspective on Eastwood’s career accompanied by interviews with such peers as Martin Scorsese, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep and others.
The 40-film collection holds such notables as Gran Torino, Dirty Harry, Mystic River, Bridges of Madison County, and, included on both sets, Best Picture Oscar winners Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.
Walt Disney Studios will release new holiday packages featuring two-disc sets of Little Mermaid and Muppets movies, as well as a 50th-anniversary special edition of Mary Poppins. Also arriving will be special editions of Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Winnie the Pooh.
In the horror genre, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has packaged all six of the films from one of its favorite creepy franchises in Chucky: The Complete Collection Limited Edition.
What better way to select a film for someone than to have it specially made? From their vast library, the Warner Archive Collection offers the following engaging collections, all manufactured in demand: The Andy Hardy Film Collection: Volume 2, Forbidden Hollywood: Volumes 6 and 7, and The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection.
Collections of TV series past and present always are welcome to lovers of particular programs.
We begin with the arrival of one of the best reviewed programs of the last decade:
Homeland: The Complete Second Season
The sophomore season of one of TV’s most critically praised dramas appears with 12 episodes on three discs. This season changes venues, with the more impending threat to national security seeming to come from Iran.
By now, Congressman Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) has been unmasked as a terrorist but wants to work for the CIA. Doubts shroud him all season until the finale that sees him trying to flee the country for various reasons. During his brief redemption period, however, disgraced and provisionally reinstated CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) wavers between thinking Brody guilty while also tangling with him romantically yet again.
This season, some major characters don’t make it out alive, as each episode builds to its white-knuckle conclusion.
Not rated, 10 1/2 hours. The set includes four deleted scenes, a 16-minute featurette on the “making of” the season finale, Lewis’ 11-minute film diary taken with his 8 mm camera, a brief prologue to season three, an eight-minute segment on the travails of shooting in Israel, and more.
In addition to Homeland, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment also released a variety of titles this year that might appeal to lovers of various TV series, such as the most reason season of Modern Family, as well as a boxed set of Burn Notice.
Fox also released an impressive list of rich movie titles that may have been overlooked during the year: The Way, Way Back; Turbo, The East, The Wolverine, Epic, Big: 25th Anniversary Edition and more.
Doctor Who: The Complete Series
BBC Home Entertainment has assembled all its various “Doctors” for this one huge set of 29 Blu-ray discs, which arrives complete with hours of bonus materials and odd attractions (like a “sonic screwdriver”). Separate sets of Doctor Who are also available for seasons 1-4 and seasons 5-8.
This year, BBC also finally assembled the four brief seasons of The Thick of It into a boxed set. This sublimely acerbic series served as inspiration for the film In the Loop and the HBO series Veep. During the year, BBC also released sets focusing on features from individual stars, such as the Daniel Day-Lewis Triple Feature and the Damian Lewis Double Feature.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s contribution to the TV market is marked with a variety of series, old favorites and new, including season six of Mad Men and season one of Hannibal.
The company also offers complete collections of past series, including Weeds, Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World. The first three seasons of Duck Dynasty are available in a packaged gift set. For military buffs, Lionsgate also offers a three-film collection, with three different perspectives, on World War II.
CBS/Paramount Home Media Distribution also released an impressive set of TV titles this year, all still available, such as the first season of Under the Dome as well as complete collections of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dexter, Family Ties, Hawaii Five-0, Beverly Hills, 90210 and The Embraced.
This year, StarVista Entertainment/Time Life rescued a variety of vintage television curiosities that surely might interest fans of some past programs, such as the packaged complete series of more than 20 discs of China Beach and Mama’s House, in addition to the 22 discs of chosen selections in The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection.
And the supplements-filled The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete DVD Collection offers 54 toastings of some of entertainment’s best-known names, along with the too-valuable-for-words 7-inch figurine of Dean.