Got any last minute shopping to do? We’ve got
suggestions. This column covers two weeks worth of
releases; details below.

This week is a bit different. Given that most of us
probably won’t be
spending a lot of time on our computers around the
holidays, I’ve
decided to post the picks for Dec. 21 and Dec. 28 in
the same column,
each with their own breakdowns. (There are also very
few titles
released on December 28.) December 21 releases come
first.

First, the genre releases:

Now, the non-genre releases:

  • AMC
    – John
    Wayne 5 Pack
    : It has five DVDs, but ten movies.
    It’s a pretty
    good deal. Disturbingly good, actually; if it
    weren’t for the quality
    of Universal’s Abbott and Costello sets, I’d doubt
    this could be
    worthwhile.
  • De-Lovely:
    A decent if unimaginative movie that reveals the life
    of a composer
    whose primary appeal is to a demographic that may not
    be comfortable with
    what they find here. Not bad, but not terribly
    impressive. I do
    remember that I enjoyed it more than I expected to,
    though.
  • Napoleon
    Dynamite
    : An independent film that was well
    reviewed.
  • The
    Simpsons –
    Season Five
    : Back when it was still in its
    prime.
  • Surviving
    Christmas
    : From theaters to video in almost two
    months. (The
    theatrical release was October 22 of this year.) I
    know the
    turnaround times from theaters to video are getting
    faster, but
    getting it out this fast during the holiday crunch on
    DVD production
    can only mean that the studio knew how quickly it
    would tank and
    started the video release process before it hit the
    big screens.
  • Villain
    Still
    Pursued Her
    : I haven’t seen it, or even heard of
    it, but it’s got
    Buster Keaton, so it can’t be too bad.
  • What’s
    Up,
    Doc?
    : A screwball comedy in the tradition of
    Bringing Up
    Baby
    . It’s actually pretty good.

Finally, the pick of the week for the December 21
releases. I’m
sorely tempted to pick Shaun of the Dead
based on reputation
alone, but I haven’t seen it, so I’ll have to go with
the remake of The
Manchurian
Candidate (2004)
. I haven’t seen the original,
so I don’t know
which was better, but this one is certainly
worthwhile.

If you want to shop for someone and have it arrive
before Christmas,
the items listed below won’t work.

Now, the genre picks for the week of December 28.

The non-genre picks for December 28 are

  • Un
    Chien
    Andalou
    : This originally showed up a couple of
    weeks ago, but
    didn’t ship in time. It’s odd, but strange. Not for
    everyone (or
    even very many) but I enjoy it more each
    viewing.

I told you this was a light week. The pick of the
week for December
28 is The
Twilight
Zone – Season 1 (The Definitive Edition)
. This is
the first season
of the first series, from 1959. It’s a pretty
significant piece of TV
history.