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2007 - Holiday Gift Guide - Part III

December 16th, 2007

This week, the Holiday Gift guide discusses movies as its theme, but not just any movie can get on this list. This is for smaller movies, ones that might have slipped past most people's attention. The top ten movies of the year would also make great gifts, but you don't need me to tell you about them. (Except to say The Simpsons Movie doesn't come out on DVD and Blu-Ray until Tuesday.) Here we have independent films, foreign films, and yes, a few Canadian films. ... Okay, more than a few Canadian films.

For those who are obsessed with a kids' show...
The Junior Defenders - Buy from Amazon
Description: A mockumentary about an obsessed fan who kidnaps the four former child stars from his favorite TV show and tries to make a new episode of The Junior Defenders.
Pros: A low-budget film that should please fans of This is Spinal Tap, as long as they are not looking for the same production values. Also, you can have a ball checking out all of the cameos. Special features are a lot better than expected for a movie with a reported budget of just $180,000. Finally, there's almost no chance the person receiving the DVD will have it already.
Cons: It's low budget, and you can really tell. Production values are low, acting is uneven, and the plot is nonsensical at times. But it is still worth checking out.

For those who think Sci-Fi should make you think and not just be eye candy...
The Man from Earth - Buy from Amazon
Description: After their friend and colleague abruptly resigns as a history professor, they press him for reasons why, but his explanation causes a heated discussion among them.
Pros: The film is essentially a 90-minute philosophical conversation and should be a big hit with those who enjoy the books by Philip K. Dick.
Cons: The film is essentially a 90-minute philosophical conversation and those who think The Island is the epitome of science fiction should stay far, far away.

For those who like their DVDs a la mode...
Waitress - Buy from Amazon
Description: The Indie darling of the summer. The film is about a waitress stuck in a dead end job and a loveless marriage who finds out she's pregnant.
Pros: It's a great movie that excels in all aspects (writing, directing, acting, etc.) and the end result just feels so real. Despite being the biggest limited release of the summer, it should be seen by a lot more. Also, extras are on par with most wide releases.
Cons: Watching Keri Russell make all of those great looking pies while you are on a diet sucks.
Notes: If you like Nathan Fillion here, grab Serenity on DVD and / or HD-DVD as well. (Oh you knew I was going to mention that movie again, so don't act surprised.)

For those who always thought zombies looked cuddly...
Fido - Buy from Amazon
Description: Billy Connolly stars as the titular zombie in this horror comedy from Canada. It has a healthy dose of social satire depicting zombies as domestic servants in some 50s-like world.
Pros: The film has serious cult appeal but was sadly passed over by moviegoers thanks to the combination of horror comedy and social satire, both of which are very difficult to sell to mass audiences. Also, for a limited release / import, the extras are excellent.
Cons: It really only has cult appeal and not everyone who watches the movie will appreciate the nature of the humor.

For those who know the difference between a light bright and a bomb...
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters for DVD - Buy from Amazon
Description: The feature-length movie adaptation of the Adult Swim cartoon sees the ATHF battle a giant piece of exercise equipment... I have no idea either.
Pros: The film works enough to be a hit with fans of the original show, while the 2-disc set is packed with extras.
Cons: By the time you finish saying the name of the movie, it's over. Also, if you haven't seen the show, or hate the show, you should stay far, far, far away from the movie.

For those who think Dr. Rodney McKay is the best part of Stargate...
A Dog's Breakfast - Buy from Amazon
Description: David Hewlett writes, directs, and stars in this film about a man who is threatened by his sister's fiancée, and so tries to kill him. Fortunately for his intended victim, he's as inept at killing as he is at just about everything else. Sadly, accidents do happen...
Pros: A very funny film with a very dark sense of humor to it. Fans of David Hewlett's previous work, including Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis should check it out.
Cons: It is difficult to buy a black comedy as a gift. It's hard to tell who will appreciate it and who will despise it.
Notes: If you like David Hewlett here, get Nothing as well.

For those who always thought that Kumar guy could act...
The Namesake - Buy from Amazon
Description: Kal Penn turns in the best performance of his career in this award-nominated film. The film deals with the culture clash that most immigrant families have to deal with when their kids grow up in a new culture.
Pros: The desire to maintain the old traditions with the need to adapt is a classic storyline and even those in the audience whose only connection to Indian culture is their love of curry will be drawn in here. And thanks to a better than expected box office run, the extras on the DVD are on par with many wide releases.
Cons: Fans of some of Kal Penn's other films might not like the lack of drug references in this movie.

For those who always thought there was something evil underneath that fluffy exterior...
Black Sheep - Buy from Amazon
Description: Genetic engineering goes baaaaad, causing sheep run amok in the New Zealand countryside.
Pros: If you can read that description and not groan at the sheep pun, then this horror comedy could be a great gift. Also, the special effects are excellent for a low budget film.
Cons: This is a bad movie to have if you suffer from ovinophobia. Also, don't get it confused with the other Black Sheep

For those who want a story about a guy and a girl...
Once - Buy from Amazon
Description: A Musical from Ireland about a guy, named Guy, and a girl, named Girl, who meet, write a bunch of songs, and fall in love.
Pros: As far as love stories go, this one is hard to beat. Even those that are not real fans of musicals should enjoy this one.
Cons: It's coming out on Tuesday, so if you do order online you will have to pay more to get it in time for Christmas. Also, there might not be many copies available in most stores.

For those who like to see Sean Avery beaten up again and again...
The Rocket - Buy from Amazon
Description: The biography of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard from just before he started playing professional hockey to the infamous incident that started the Montreal Riot.
Pros: Fans of hockey in general and Maurice Richard in particular should love this movie. Plus you get to see Sean Avery beaten up again and again and again. (I'm going to wear out my player at this rate.)
Cons: There are not many fans of hockey out there. At least not in the States.

For those who like their monster movies with an eastern flair...
The Host - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-Ray or HD-DVD
Description: A regular family must fight to protect one of their own when a mutant monster abducts and seemingly eats the youngest member.
Pros: An excellent movie that was sadly overlooked by moviegoers when it first hit theaters. But despite this, the 2-disc DVD is packed with extras. (Strangely, both High Definition releases have fewer extras.)
Cons: It's also available on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, which means you have to get involved in the Format War.

For those who want romances that bring a tear to their eyes...
Away From Her - Buy from Amazon
Description: The directorial debut of Sarah Polley, Away From Her is an emotional film about a husband who loses his wife to Alzheimers.
Pros: Moving from acting to directing is not always a smooth transition. However, this film earned nearly perfect reviews and even a Golden Globe nomination.
Cons: I had a reason not to buy it, but I can't remember what it was.


Filed under: Serenity, Waitress, The Namesake, Once, Away From Her, Gwoemul, Fido, Black Sheep, Maurice Richard, The Man From Earth, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters