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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Gift of Movies
Who doesn’t love movies? The DVD and Blu-ray titles that follow cover a broad range of subjects and genres. There are dramas (including The Dresser), comedies (such as the Neighbors sequel), and several documentaries (Tab Hunter Confidential, for example). In other words, there’s something for almost everyone on your holiday gift list. There are probably even movies that you might enjoy watching or owning. Popcorn and Milk Duds sold separately.
FOR THE POLITICALLY MINDED: The 2016 Presidential election may be a memory but politics aren’t.
All The Way (HBO Home Entertainment) – Nominated for eight Emmy Awards, the movie adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s play stars Bryan Cranston reprising his Tony Award-winning role as President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Confirmation (HBO Home Entertainment) – Kerry Washington was nominated for an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Anita Hill, the former Judge Clarence Thomas colleague who testified against him for sexual harassment during his nomination hearings.
House of Cards (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) – The complete fourth season, chapters 40 through 52, of the popular Netflix series stars Golden Globe winners Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as the only political couple more frightening than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.
FOR GAY EYES (AND OTHERS): LGBT Films and film festivals, as well as television shows, continue to be a source of inspiration for all who see them.
Created by gay filmmaker Andrew Haigh (Weekend and 45 Years), the short-lived but loved San Francisco-set HBO series Looking (HBO Home Entertainment), starring Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Russell Tovey, Daniel Franzese, Lauren Weedman, Raul Castillo and Scott Bakula, ended after only two seasons. A 2016 movie reunited the characters for a final farewell. The complete series and movie have been gathered together in a five-disc set.
The Dresser (Starz) – A remake of the lauded 1985 film, based on Ronald Harwood’s play, this version stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as a temperamental actor and out actor Sir Ian McKellan as the actor’s closeted gay dresser.
Kamikaze ’89 (Film Movement) – The late gay filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder stars as police lieutenant Jansen in Wolf Gremm’s 1982 film adaptation of Per Wahlöö’s 1964 novel Murder on the 31st Floor.
Holding The Man (Strand Releasing) – Based on the memoir by Timothy Conigrave, and starring Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush and Anthony LaPaglia, Neil Armfield’s film follows the 15 year relationship of two gay men.
FOR THE ARTISTICALLY INCLINED: Art and artists have a long history of being interesting subjects for movies.
Hockney (Film Movement) – Randall Wright’s David Hockney doc follows the artist from the height of his British Pop Art scene success to his later struggles, particularly during the AIDS era.
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Music Box Films/Submarine Deluxe) – From Lisa Immordino Vreeland (Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel) comes this celebration of the heiress who “became a central figure in the modern art movement.”
Francophonia (Music Box Films) – Combining documentary with drama, Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) offers viewers his own “personal exploration of the profound cultural legacy” of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II.
Working with visionary directors including Anton Corbijn, D.A. Pennebaker, Julien Temple, Stephane Sednaoui and others, Depeche Mode created some of the most memorable music videos in the history of the medium. The triple DVD Video Singles Collection (Columbia/Sire/Warner Brothers) compiles 55 definitive video and includes new audio commentary from the band.
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE TO LAUGH: Comedy comes in all shapes and sizes, and laughter is the great equalizer.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Universal) – If an often shirtless Zac Efron is your idea of entertainment, then this sequel to the outrageous 2014 comedy will make a perfect gift for that special someone.
Joshy (Lionsgate) – Don’t you just love Thomas Middleditch on Silicon Valley? If so, then you should see him as the titular Joshy, dealing with the aftermath of his canceled wedding engagement.
FOR THOSE CELEBRATING THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS: Two Israeli titles for the eight nights of Chanukah.
Wedding Doll (Strand Releasing) – Hagit, a toilet paper factory employee with an active imagination, falls in love with the boss’ son. What could possibly go wrong?
Princess (Breaking Glass) – Tali Shalom Ezer’s film focuses on the relationship between Adar and her stepfather and what happens when she introduces Alan, a boy who could be her twin, into the picture.
FOR DOCUMENTARY DEVOTEES: Documentaries continue to amass a growing following.
Tab Hunter Confidential (FilmRise/Automat) – Filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine , Vito and Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon) turns his lens on 1950s Hollywood heartthrob Tab Hunter, a movie and music sensation of the era (and beyond), who led a secret gay life before coming out.
What Happened, Miss Simone? (Eagle Vision/Universal Music) – The Blu-ray/CD package features Liz Garbus’ acclaimed Nina Simone doc as well as a CD of 15 beloved Simone performances.
No Home Movie (Icarus Films) – The late, lesbian filmmaker Chantal Akerman’s personal final film examines her relationship with her Holocaust survivor mother, Natalia.
The Homestretch (Kartemquin) – Anne de Mare and Kristen Kelly’s doc introduces viewers to three homeless teens, including lesbian Kacey, who navigate the system as well as the cold, winter streets of Chicago.
FOR FILMMAKER FOLLOWERS: Often the mere mention of a director’s name holds more sway than that of the stars.
The Sea of Trees (A24/Lionsgate) – Directed by gay filmmaker Gus Van Sant (Milk and My Own Private Idaho), this film about “love and redemption” stars Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts.
Knight of Cups (Broadgreen) – Directed by Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven and Badlands), Knight of Cups stars Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman.
A Hologram for the King (Lionsgate) – Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and starring Tom Hanks, the movie is based on the novel by Dave Eggers.
FOR VIEWING FROM THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT: If you need a little more exhilaration in your life.
Featuring out actor Kristian Nairn as the beloved giant Hodor, Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season (HBO Home Entertainment) allows you to keep your favorite characters close by as they hurl “inexorably towards their uncertain individual fates.”
Star Trek Beyond (Paramount) contains the final performance of the late actor Anton Yelchin as Chekhov on the USS Enterprise, alongside out actor Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, as they encounter ruthless new enemy Krall.
The fast-paced crime thriller Nerve (Lionsgate), starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, follows “industrious high school senior Vee” (Roberts) as she enrolls in an adrenaline-fueled high-stakes online game.
Oscar-winner Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman co-start in Eye In the Sky (Bleecker Street/Universal) about an international dispute that arises around the seizure of deadly terrorists in Kenya.
The Night of (HBO Home Entertainment), the critically acclaimed HBO series described as a “probing, contemporary look” at crime, guilt, race and the prison system, stars John Turturro as attorney John Stone.