While most people may be seeing their holiday shopping winding down, there are rumors that this weekend, December 15, will be the year’s biggest day of the season. If you have film lovers in your midst, they should be the easiest people to shop for. But most of you probably have no idea what they already own or may like. If that film lover on your gift list happens to have any kind of leanings toward the eccentric or even the classic then Kino Lorber is here to help.
There are 12 fantastic gift ideas available for your last minute shopping ranging from the macabre to the hilarious with everything in between. So in case you needed some brilliant ideas to spread some cheer to the film lover in your life, you may want to consider these titles which are either already available or listed for pre-order on either Blu-ray, DVD or both (all prices listed are retail).
The David O. Selznick Collection features five masterworks taken from Selznick’s personal collection, authorized by the Selznick estate and preserved by the George Eastman House Motion Picture Department. The titles featured are A Farewell to Arms (1932), Nothing Sacred (1937), A Star is Born (1937), Bird of Paradise (1932), and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936). This set is available on both Blu-ray ($99.95) and DVD ($79.95). The Pablo Larrain: Director’s Set includes a double feature from the acclaimed Chilean director. Tony Manero is about a middle-aged thug obsessed with the disco king played by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever who splits his time between disco dancing and wreaking mayhem. Post Mortem brings the tale of a morgue clerk’s obsession with a burlesque dancer playing out against the violence of Chile’s 1973 military coup. The double feature is on DVD for $44.95.
The Blue Angel is considered the crowning achievement of Weimar Cinema and comes from director Josef von Sternberg. Here we find a college professor (Emil Jannings) falling out of respectability after becoming obsessed with a cabaret singer (Marlene Dietrich). Featuring a newly-restored HD print from archival 35mm elements and restored by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, The Blue Angel is $29.95 on Blu-ray. Baron Blood is part of the “Mario Bava Collection” and has been mastered in HD from the original negative to help the gothic terror shine better than ever. Aside from the nicks, scratches, and dirt, this is probably as good as the film will ever look without a full restoration which seems unlikely. Bonus material includes an audio commentary from Tim Lucas (author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark) and also features Italian Title Sequences, Italian and English Theatrical Trailers, three radio spots, and trailers for additional Bava films. Baron Blood is a nice return to the Italian giallos of yesteryear and is available on Blu-ray ($29.95) and DVD ($24.95).
The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection more than lives up to its name with a whopping 14-disc Blu-ray set including all of Kino’s previous Keaton releases. If you can afford to part with the $299.95 retail price you get treated to an as-yet-unreleased title with College which isn’t seeing release until 2013. The other titles included are: The Saphead, The Short Films Collection, Our Hospitality, Sherlock Jr. & Three Aces, The Navigator, Seven Chances, Go West & Battling Butler, The General, Steamboat Bill, Jr., and Lost Keaton: Sixteen Comedy Shorts. If you like your humor a little darker, Oscar-nominated director Giorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, Best Foreign Language Film 2011) returns with an even stranger tale of a mysterious group calling themselves the Alps. This group of people help mourners move passed their loss by impersonating the recently deceased. Everything is going according to plan until one of them (Aggeliki Papoulia) starts to take things too far. The laughs may be pitch black but they can be yours for the cost of $29.95.
Two Fritz Lang releases give us a broad spectrum of the director’s work with Die Nibelungen: Special Edition and Fritz Lang: The Early Works. Die Nibelungen is available on both Blu-ray ($39.95) and DVD ($34.95) and brings us Lang’s monumental two-part saga. The epic retelling of Nordic legend is populated by dragons, magical trolls, and heroic figures and has been remastered in HD from another restoration by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung. Special features include a 68-minute documentary on the making of the film, the original score by Gottfried Huppertz, and German intertitles with optional English subtitles. The Early Works is a 3-DVD collection consisting of virtually unseen in the U.S. films including Harakiri, The Wandering Shadow, and Four Around the Woman. All are remastered from 35mm elements also preserved by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, in association with numerous international archives, and is available for $39.95.
Fred & Vinnie comes from the mind of Steve Skrovan (Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond). Fred (Fred Stoller) is thrilled when his buddy Vinnie DeAngelo (Angelo Tsarouchas) comes to live with him, until he proves to be the world’s most maddening roommate. Sounding like an update on the tried-and-true Odd Couple scenario, the DVD will be available on December 18 for $26.95. Bonus features include Vinnie’s phone messages, a Park City TV interview, Angelo’s audition tape, deleted scenes and a trailer. If you’re looking for documentaries, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet streets the same day for $26.95. At the age of 19, Jason Becker was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and was told he would never make music again. Twenty-two years later, without the ability to move or speak, Jason is still alive and making music with only his eyes.
These two may not be available in time for the big day, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. We all get gift cards, right? On December 24, The Well-Digger’s Daughter comes to Blu-ray ($34.95) and DVD ($29.95). This remake of the 1940 Marcel Pagnol classic tells the story of well-digger Pascal a widower living amongst six daughters in the Provence countryside. When the eldest becomes impregnated by a young pilot who then returns to the frontlines, Pascal is left to deal with the consequences. Putin’s Kiss brings us another documentary about teen Masha, the rising star of Nashi, a youth movement in Russia pledging unwavering loyalty to Putin. When Masha’s journalist friend is violently attacked, she realizes that she must make an even bigger stand. The DVD is $29.95 and includes the theatrical trailer and a still gallery.
As I said, there’s certainly something for anyone, so long as they have a deep appreciation for the eclectic or the classics of days gone by. So if there’s someone left on your list or you want to pick something up for yourself, make sure to consider any of these fabulous gift ideas all available from Kino Lorber.
Cover art courtesy Kino Lorber