For the collector:
“What I Love About Movies: An Illustrated Compendium” Edited by David Jenkins and Adam Woodward
This book is crafted from the point of view of 50 contemporary Hollywood luminaries, with people such as Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Tom Hardy and Jake Gyllenhaal all weighing in on what they love about movies. It’s a simple question with a whole range of answers, from downright entertaining to poignant. What makes this a book to own, rather than just download, is the fact that each essay is accompanied by an original illustration. It’s a grand mash up of literature, film and art—a gift that’s bound to nourish any creative’s soul. Buy it HERE.
“Hollywood Frame by Frame: Behind the Scenes: Cinema’s Unseen Contact Sheets” by Karina Longworth
Film critic and author Karina Longworth has compiled a voyeuristic thrill in this hardcover book featuring never-before-published photos from some of the greatest films of the twentieth century. From “Some Like It Hot” and “African Queen,” to “The Godfather” and “Silence of the Lambs,” these behind-the-scenes photos, which are also accompanied by reprints of the contact sheets used by the pre-digital age studio photographers, examine the Golden Age of Hollywood from an entirely new perspective. Buy it HERE.
“Criterion Designs” by The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection is widely admired for the way in which it combines curation, preservation and the continued distribution of groundbreaking pieces of world cinema, from the past and present. And it’s actually the sleek cover art and other custom illustrations, commissioned by The Criterion Collection itself, that helps makes sense of all the nostalgia that emerges out of each stage — not only for the people working at The Criterion Collection, but also consumers at large. This gorgeous book of illustrations was released on the occasion of The Criterion Collection’s 30th anniversary and contains original artwork, some of which has never been seen before. Buy it HERE.
“The Complete Monterey Pop Festival” – The Criterion Collection Blu-ray Box Set
Before the Woodstock Music Festival and the film that resulted from it, there was D.A. Pennebaker’s “Monterey Pop.” The Criterion Collection’s Blu-ray box set not only contains a fully restored digital transfer of the original film, but also restorations of “Jimi Plays Monterey” and “Shake! Otis at Monterey,” which are the two companion films that Pennebaker put together with Chris Hegedus during the 1980s. “Jimi Plays Monterey” and “Shake! Otis at Monterey” focus on Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding’s legendary performances, respectively, during the festival. There are also 2 hours of performances by a wide range of famous acts that didn’t end up making the final cut of “Monterey Pop.” Buy it HERE.
For the online media fiend:
Aside from its healthy archive of television content, Hulu Plus provides digital access to an expansive list of titles from The Criterion Collection. The same cannot be said about Netflix. So for classic film fans, Hulu Plus is the gift that keeps on giving. Plus, it saves you a trip to the store. Everyone wins. Buy it HERE.
Cheap: Chromecast / Moderate: Roku / Expensive: Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox
Great movies come and go, but great ways to watch them with ease are only growing in number. Priced at $35, Google’s Chromecast is an USB thumb drive that will give your television streaming media superpowers. If you’re able to spend a little more, the Roku line of set-top boxes range from $49 to $99; each of which offer access to a much wider-range of services. And if you really love someone (or happen to live with them and Christmas makes for a great opportunity), the Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox aren’t just game consoles — they can stream everything from Netflix to Amazon to HBO Go, even sports. If the future is streaming, now is definitely the time to upgrade.
For the cinema scholar:
Local Film Non-Profit Membership
Film Independent / Film Society of Lincoln Center / American Film Institute / Cinefamily / American Cinematheque
If a loved one lives in or near New York or Los Angeles, purchasing a membership with a local non-profit film organization is not only a great way to support independent filmmaking and exhibition within the community, but also, a useful way to get year-round access to special screenings and film-related social events (where members are typically given priority access to RSVP for free events and purchase tickets). Although access to certain events may require an additional expense on your part, bear in mind that these once-in-a-lifetime experiences have been curated very carefully, so that afterwards, you”ll definitely feel confident that it was worth every single penny. Find out more by clicking on the name of the organization you wish to join, located in the list above.
“Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America” by John Waters
Any John Waters film fan should also be a lover of his literary works, which include “Shock Value,” “Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters,” “Art: A Sex Book” and “Role Models.” For his latest book, “Carsick,” Waters hitchhiked across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, armed with a cardboard sign that read, “I’m Not Psycho.” His encounters included an 81-year-old farmer who thinks he’s a hobo, an indie band on tour and a Young Republican in a Corvette. Heck, even friends unfamiliar with the Pope of Trash would probably find this book hilarious. Buy it HERE.
“Altman” by Kathryn Reed Altman, D’Agnolo Vallan Giulia; Introduction by Martin Scorsese
What better way to learn about Robert Altman than from a book written by his wife, Kathryn Reed Altman. Featuring an introducing by Martin Scorsese, this book showcases hundreds of beautiful film stills as well as behind-the-scenes shots of Altman working on set with his cast and crew. Kathryn also includes many personal anecdotes from their life together, memorabilia from his archive, as well as her own personal scrapbooks. For fans of the late filmmaker, as well as anyone at large who might have a passion for filmmaking during the seventies, “Altman” is a book that is for the ages. Buy it HERE.
“Hope for Film” by Ted Hope
Written by Ted Hope, one of the most well-regarded mavens of the indie film industry, “Hope for Film: From The Frontline of the Independent Cinema Revolutions” is, as summarized by its official synopsis, a “tell-all look at the indie film business from one of the industry’s most passionate producers.” Hope delves into the nuances of everything from working with filmmakers such as Ang Lee and Eddie Burns, to negotiating with distribution companies. Critics hail this book as a “must-read” for not only those people who are interested in breaking into the film business, but also those who are just curious about what it takes to make a movie. If you’re a filmmaker, the latter group of people are probably your parents. So if they are still confused about what you do, this might be a gift for them. Buy it HERE.
Leonard Maltin’s 2015 Movie Guide (the very last one!)
Video killed the radio star? Then the internet killed the film criticism book. “Leonard Maltin’s 2015 Movie Guide” will be his last after 45 years of cataloguing and critiquing cinema on an annual basis. Maltin was a high school senior when a teacher introduced him to a publisher looking to create a rival to Stephen Sheuer’s “Movies on TV,” and thus, a tradition was born. “An entire generation has been raised to acquire all their information online from their mobile devices or computers,” Maltin told Deadline. “These are not the likely customers for a physical paperback reference book. Our sales have sharply declined in recent years” But fear, not, Martin still has his blog here on the Indiewire network, a new podcast on the Wolfpop network and a third edition of his “Classic Movie Guide” is coming out in 2015. Buy it HERE.
For the episodic aficionado:
“Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery” Blu-ray Box Set
Until Showtime’s 2016 rebirth of “Twin Peaks,” we can dive back into the surreal universe that surrounded homecoming queen Laura Palmer’s death by reliving the magic of the original series in definitive high-definition Blu-ray. Give your loved one a treat by surprising him or her with the timeless cult classic. The “Twin Peaks” blu-ray DVD set comes with every episode from the original two seasons, the feature film sequel “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” a new featurette with Lynch and the actors and hours of never-before-released material. So this boxed set works not only as a collectable for the “Twin Peaks” fan, but doubles as an in-depth starter kit to what’s bound to one of the most-discussed shows to come in 2016. Hopefully you haven’t missed a chance to win the collection in Indiewire’s contest. Buy it HERE.
“The X-Files” The Complete TV Series and Movie Collection
There are plenty of episodes of “The X-Files” that you probably don’t need to watch. Season 1, Episode 6: “Shadow.” Season 3, Episode 18: “Teso Dos Bichos.” Season 7, Episode 20: “Fight Club.” Probably a few others. But if you’ve never had the opportunity to delve into one of television’s most influential series, this Christmas might be your chance. And for longtime X-Philes, this collection has something that Netflix does not, and that is special features. If you want to re-live the glory days, what could be better than alternating between your favorite episodes and behind-the-scenes featurettes? Plus, you never know when Netflix might have to take the series down from its streaming platform. Better safe than sorry. Buy it HERE.
“Yes Please” by Amy Poehler
If the advice/stories/comedy that make up the content of Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please” were the ingredients of a multi-layered cake, each layer would deliver comfort, truth and laughs, garnished by a certain lively secret ingredient that you’d later identify as the perky, flavorful voice of Poehler. Who wouldn’t eat a cake made up of her expansively successful, nearly decade-long career on “Saturday Night Live,” stories about best friends Tina Fey and Seth Meyers, and life advice from one of the most powerful female influences in film and television today? Serve this cake to your loved ones or yourself this Christmas, because when they ask you if you want another piece, you’ll say (with a laugh in your throat and a sense of newfound conviction) “yes, please.” Buy it HERE.
“Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned'” by Lena Dunham
The “Girls” creator’s first book was the subject of a great deal of controversy earlier this year; which is exactly why it should be read. Filled with wit, fervor, heartache, feminist tirades and millennial gripes, this book will play like one long, Hannah-centric episode with a really upbeat soundtrack for fans of the show. If the recipient has yet to buy into the “Girls” mania, then Dunham’s book may serve as a fun and provocative path of discovery. Buy it HERE.
Funko Pop! Action Figures
There is no better a way to honor the TV character(s) you love than by collecting their pocket-sized cartoon likeness. Having become wildly successful over the past few years, there is a a Funko Pop! figure for almost any character you can think of; examples include “Adventure Time,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story,” “Arrested Development,” “Breaking Bad,” “Firefly” and “Hannibal.” They even have figures of your favorite movie characters: “Star Wars” anyone? You can put them on your desk at work (or at home), the dashboard of your car, a shelf in the house, near book cases — pretty much anywhere. They’re also safe for children to use and play with — a great Christmas present for an entire family of nerds. Check out the full range of options HERE.
Zainab Akande, Paula Bernstein, Rachel Bernstein, Casey Cipriani, Kat Delby, Shipra Gupta and Liz Miller contributed to this post.