Fanbase Press’ Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Movies

Amidst the chaos of decorating the house, booking flights, or planning a holiday feast, deciding on gifts for friends and family is liable to be the last thing on your mind this December. Fanbase Press is here to help with the best recommendations for the must-watch movies from the year as suggested by our staff and contributors. Whether you prefer to binge-watch on Netflix or like the look of Blu-ray sets on a shelf, the following TV shows and films are perfect to share with the geeks in your life this holiday season.




Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975
Recommended by: Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager
Released by:  Criterion

In 1954, a monster rose up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, terrorizing and destroying everything in his path.  Coined “King of the Monsters” and a byproduct of nuclear testing, Godzilla ushered in a new genre of monster films known as kaiju eiga while also capturing the somber sentiment of post-war Japan.  Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 is a set of 15 films documenting the oscillating characterization of a terrifying monster turned protector of Earth, but also showcases the brilliant vision of talent working with Toho Studios.  Additionally, these films introduced and perfected “suitmation,” a special effects technique whereby actors donned monster suits and interacted with miniature sets, most memorably Japanese cityscapes.  

Criterion is a distribution company known for the technical quality of the films they release and a catalog of films that define and highlight films of importance.  Easily recognized by their distinctive “C” symbol and sequential spine numbers, Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975, is an impressive set and has the honor of being Criterion’s 1000th release.  Included in the set are the following 15 films: Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again (1955), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966), Son of Godzilla (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), All Monsters Attack (1969), Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975).

Cost:  $179.96
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Avengers: Endgame (Blu-ray + Digital Code)
Recommended by Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President

The fourth Avengers film and the culmination of 22 chapters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not only a not-to-be-missed finale to the Infinity War Saga, but easily one of the best films of the year and one of the best comic book movies of the decade. In Endgame, the remaining Avengers -- Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Bruce Banner, and others -- must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies in a "Hail Mary" attempt to defeat the mighty Thanos -- the evil demigod who successfully erased half of all life in the universe.

In addition to the Blu-ray and digital version of the film, this edition of Endgame includes a number of enjoyable special features, including several deleted scenes, a number of insightful featurettes, an audio commentary by directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and more.

Cost: $23.50
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Batman 4K Film Collection (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Code)
Recommended by Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President

Released in September 2019, this set includes 4K editions of the four original films in the franchise, Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997). While opinions may vary on the quality of the content of each film, there are sure to be plenty of geeks on your list who have a bit of nostalgia for the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher eras of the Batman cinematic mythos!

In addition to the 4K Ultra HD editions, Blu-ray, and digital version of the film, this set also includes a number of extras and special features included on the previous Blu-ray editions of these films.

Cost: $91.79
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Dracula [Collector’s Edition] + Exclusive Poster (Blu-ray)
Recommended by Michele Brittany, Fanbase Press Editorials Manager
Released by: Shout! Factory

Dracula was a popular guy in 1979.  Werner Herzog provided a retelling of F. W. Murnau’s silent 1922 Nosferatu, and George Hamilton provided audiences with a lighthearted lovelorn vamp in Love at First Bite.  Director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, Short Circuit) adapted from Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston’s (He wrote the screenplays for Dracula [1927, 1931], Frankenstein [1931], and The Mummy [1932] in case you did not recognize his name.) stage production into his own Dracula starring veteran actor Frank Langella.  Translating his stage performance to the big screen, Langella was joined by Sir Laurence Olivier (Professor Van Helsing), Donald Pleasence (Dr. Jack Seward), and Kate Nelligan (Lucy Seward), and he delivered a memorable, intense, entrancing love story.  Roger Ebert regarded Langella’s interpretation as, “An elegantly seen Dracula…all shadows and blood and vapors and Frank Langella stalking through with the grace of a cat.  The film is a triumph of performance, art direction and mood…” In interviews, Langella stated that he sought to explore the vulnerable, erotic, and lonely sides of this venerable character and, simply put, he delivered.

Marking the film’s 40th anniversary, Shout Factory’s release includes the original theatrical release, which has not been available since its release on VHS and Laserdisc in the early '80s.  Most ardent fans will remember that the original release had warm golden colors that cinematographer Gilbert Taylor shot versus Badham’s preferred de-saturated re-issue in 1991 meant to emulate the early 1931 filmic version.  This two-disc release includes both versions, as well as several new interviews, introductions, and a new audio commentary by film historian Constantine Nasr.  Other standout features of the film itself: John Williams provided the original music score, and writer/artist Edward Gorey, known for his unique goth style, created the design sets.  Additionally, the film was awarded the 1979 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film.

Cost: $28.43
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