So, your kid just declared film as his/her major. Junior is now, during the weekly telephone call, rhapsodizing poetic about Jean-Luc Godard and the feminist interpretation of ‘Rear Window.’ Or maybe the apple of your eye solves chemistry equations by day, and plows through the Internet’s collection of free foreign films by night. Either way, you have to scratch ‘Old Navy gift card’ from your gifts-to-buy list.
This gift guide is designed for hapless parents of cinephiles – the last few weeks have seen the re-releases of excellent classics, important experimental films, and critically acclaimed blockbusters. You can fret about the expensive degree in movie-watching later; right now, add these films to your shopping list, and you’ll be sure to see the projectors light up in your kid’s eyes on Christmas morning.
‘LAWRENCE OF ARABIA’ A superb new high-def transfer of the 1962 David Lean desert adventure, available both as a stand-alone and as a deluxe gift edition with a book and a separate disc of supplementary material. (Sony, Blu-ray four-disc collector’s edition, $95.99; Blu-ray, $26.99; PG.)
‘SUNSET BOULEVARD’ A much-needed high-def do-over for the 1950 Billy Wilder film, with Gloria Swanson as a 50-year-old former star who dares to have sexual feelings for a younger man (William Holden). (Paramount, Blu-ray, $26.98; not rated.)
‘TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS COLLECTION: HOLIDAY’ Pick up this four-film collection for Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 masterpiece, “Shop Around the Corner,” with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, and consider the three other films — Peter Godfrey’s 1945 “Christmas in Connecticut”; the 1938 MGM adaptation of “A Christmas Carol”; and Roy Del Ruth’s 1947 “It Happened on Fifth Avenue” — as free bonuses. (Warner Home Video, DVD, $27.92; not rated.)
‘REMEMBER THE NIGHT’ A public prosecutor (Fred MacMurray) takes a woman accused of shoplifting (Barbara Stanwyck) home to his family in Indiana for the holidays in Mitchell Leisen’s moving 1940 realization of a script by Preston Sturges. (TCM/Universal, DVD, $19.98; not rated.)
For The Mystery/Adventure Buff
‘ALFRED HITCHCOCK: THE MASTERPIECE COLLECTION’ Uneven transfer quality mars this collection of 15 films by one of the greatest artists of the medium, many in their Blu-ray debut. (Universal, Blu-ray, $299.98; not rated.)
‘HEAVEN’S GATE’ A thorough restoration of Michael Cimino’s sprawling 1980 western, presented in a 216-minute cut approved by the director. (Criterion Collection, Blu-ray, $49.95; DVD, $39.95; not rated.)
‘BLADE RUNNER’ All five versions of Ridley Scott’s dystopian fantasy of 1982, fitted out with still more supplementary material. (Warner Home Video, Blu-ray four-disc collector’s edition, $64.99; Blu-ray, $34.99; R.)
‘BOND 50: THE COMPLETE 22 FILM COLLECTION’ All the Bond films from Eon Productions — featuring Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig — packaged in one box with scads of bonus material. (MGM, Blu-ray, $299.99; DVD $199.99; various ratings.)
For The Silence-is-Golden Fan
‘MARY PICKFORD RAGS AND RICHES COLLECTION’ Hollywood’s first female superstar in three representative silent features — “The Poor Little Rich Girl” (1917), “The Hoodlum” (1919) and “Sparrows” (1926) — presented with new orchestral scores. (Milestone, Blu-ray, $39.95; DVD, $34.95; not rated.)
‘DIE NIBELUNGEN’ Fritz Lang’s two-part, four-hour adaptation of the epic poem that inspired Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, here in a superb recent restoration and accompanied by a new recording of Gottfried Huppertz’s original 1924 score. (Kino Lorber, Blu-ray, $39.95; not rated.)
For The Sound Junkie
‘VITAPHONE VARIETIES VOLUME 2’ Thirty-five early sound shorts, produced between 1927 and 1931, many filmed in the Warner Brothers Brooklyn studios, that preserve the essence of American vaudeville with performers like Edgar Bergen, Fred Allen and the Yacht Club Boys. (Warner Archive Collection, DVD, $29.95; not rated.)
For The Miscellaneous Cinephile
‘THE OTTO PREMINGER COLLECTION’ Three controversial films from this director’s late period — “Hurry Sundown” (1967), “Skidoo” (1968) and “Such Good Friends” (1971) — now remastered for Blu-ray. (Olive, Blu-ray, $69.95; R.)
‘WE CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN’ The last major work of Nicholas Ray (“Rebel Without a Cause”), made with students at the State University of New York, Binghamton, presented here in a reconstruction of its Cannes festival premiere version from 1973. (Oscilloscope, Blu-ray, $34.99; DVD, $29.99; not rated.)
For The Foreign Film Aficionado
‘PURPLE NOON’ Before Anthony Minghella’s expertly assembled but sterile “Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999), there was René Clemént’s “Purple Noon.” The movies are based on the same Patricia Highsmith novel. No movie set under the Mediterranean sun has ever felt so elegantly icy. (Criterion, Dec. 4, Blu-ray $39.95)
‘WEEKEND’ ‘Weekend’ caps the amazing 15-movie, seven-year run that Jean-Luc Godard began with “Breathless” in 1960. Its stunning moments include an unbroken seven-minute end-to-end pan of a traffic jam; other moments are excruciatingly didactic ones, like the truck drivers who argue about colonialism. Godard’s later films show only flashes of engagement with the world. His work properly ends with “Weekend.” Its famous last title — “End of Cinema” — is mournful. It could also be his summing up of the staggering reach of his accomplishment. (Criterion, Nov. 13, Blu-ray $39.95, DVD $29.95)
For The Couch Potatoes
‘MAD MEN: SEASON FIVE’ The hit AMC drama has released its 5th season on DVD and Blu-Ray; the pack is crammed with bonus features, including a session with composer David Carbonara, orchestrator Geoff Stradling and sound engineer Jim Hill in the recording studio as they discuss their formula for scoring the show. Creator Matthew Weiner and cast and crew provide feature-length audio commentaries for all 13 episodes.
‘COMMUNITY: SEASON THREE’ TV’s best-loved but least-watched comedy is scheduled to return to NBC’s Thursday night lineup in February. Til then, you can buy the 3-disc set, which includes cast and crew commentary on every episode; deleted scenes; gag reels; “This is War: Pillows vs. Blankets” mockumentary; and “A Glee-ful Community Christmas” featurette.
‘THE INCREDIBLE MEL BROOKS: AN IRRESISTIBLE COLLECTION OF UNHINGED COMEDY’ Few legends loom as large over the landscape of American comedy as Mel Brooks. A celebrated director, actor, producer, composer and writer, Brooks is one of only 11 people in history to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. With this unique, first of its kind collection, fans of this ferociously gifted entertainer will fall joyfully down a rabbit hole into a wonderland of television appearances, short films, documentaries, tributes, songs and genuine rarities, including: “Mel Brooks And Dick Cavett Together Again: The 2011 Emmy-nominated HBO TV Special,” “An Audience With…Mel Brooks”(a 1984 episode of the UK Arena series, featuring stand-up, songs and cameos by Helen Mirren and Anne Bancroft), “Excavating The 2000 Year Old Man” (the PBS documentary on the origin of one of comedy’s most celebrated routines); and Brooks’ Oscar-winning short film ‘The Critic.’