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It’s the most wonderful time of year! With the kids always yelling and everyone telling you the world is in fear! Just kidding. Kinda. But in all seriousness, with the holidays officially in full swing, you’ll need all the gift ideas you can get this season, and /Film has everything you need to appease the pop culture nerd and cinephile in your life.
Starting today, /Film will be delivering a 2022 Holiday Gift Guide series that will fill your list with goodies for all the movie and TV lovers out there. Since we’re all about films and TV shows first and foremost, we’re starting off with a list of titles that you can find on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD, including limited edition Steelbooks, new titles in the Criterion Collection, and a slew of box sets with fan favorites. Yes, we’re talking about physical media here, because you can’t wrap a digital copy of your favorite movies and TV shows, and they can be taken away from you at the drop of a hat.
So let’s dig into our assembly of movies and TV shows you can add to your holiday shopping list. Happy hunting!
The box office may not be raking in as much cash as it was before the pandemic took its toll on movie theaters, but there were still plenty of big hits in movie theaters this year. These are all movies you undoubtedly heard about, and you probably saw a handful of them in theaters yourself. But just in case you forgot, we’ve got a handy list of some of the biggest box office hits of 2022 that are now available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD. Oh, and “Morbius,” too.
Superheroes, Wizards, and a Hedgehog
The webs of all the Spider-Man franchises, the madness of Marvel’s multiverse, a collection of super-powered pets, and the return of the Dark Knight — they’re all here in 2022’s superhero movies. Are you bold enough to make it Morbin’ time for someone else by daring to gift them “Morbius” this year? At least you know the option is on the table. And Sonic the Hedgehog is a superhero, right? Yeah, we’ll go with that.
Family Friendly Fare
Even though all these movies are animated, we want to remind you that animation is not a genre, it’s a medium. And all of these animated movies offer a variety of stories for kids and adults alike to enjoy together. Whether it’s the comedic stylings of a young Gru and his yellow sidekicks, the coming-of-age of a teenage girl and her giant red panda alter ego, or monsters wrestling, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.
Soaring jets, dinosaur chases, a skydiving pursuit, a super speeding train, a hijacked ambulance, and more multiverse mayhem. What more could you ask for from some of the most action-packed movies of 2022? You can’t go wrong with “Top Gun: Maverick” being the biggest hit of the year, and “Everything Everywhere All At Once” made huge waves for A24, combining action, emotion, and truly original storytelling.
Comedies may have gone by the wayside at the major studios, but there were still some big laughs to be had on the big screen. Whether it’s the fast food antics of the Belcher family in “Bob’s Burgers,” a delightfully meta caper with Nicolas Cage, or the surprisingly emotional convenience store nostalgia of “Clerks III,” there’s always hilarity to be found.
Big Chills and Thrills
It was a good year for horror, with new installments of beloved franchises like “Scream” and “Halloween,” and totally original hits like Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” Scott Derrickson’s “The Black Phone,” and Zach Cregger’s twisted “Barbarian” (which is sadly only available to purchase digitally). Oh, and there’s also “Death on the Nile,” which is really more of a thriller. Maybe you can toss it on while drinking enough champagne to fill the Nile.
Drama, Romance, and More
Finally, we have a handful of movies in a few other genres that just might tickle the fancy of someone in your life. Maybe they’re a fan of Elvis Presley, maybe they’ve been following the ensemble of “Downton Abbey” for years, or maybe they’re super into crawdads. But surely these will work for someone in your circle of friends and family.
Even though there were significantly fewer movies in theaters this year than before the pandemic, there are still plenty of releases that probably flew under your radar. But we can’t recommend these titles enough, especially when it comes to the horror and thriller titles that weren’t huge box office hits but still deserve your attention. Plus, there are some quirky and charming comedies for a good laugh, and an assortment of documentaries that are absolutely worth your time. There’s something for everybody!
Even More Thrills and Chills
No matter how many horror movies and thrillers become big hits at the box office, there’s always a more eclectic collection of terror that doesn’t rake in the cash in theaters. More often than not, you’ll find the best horror after it arrives on home video. And while many of these titles did a respectable amount of business in theaters, it’s more likely that they’ll find a larger audience now that they’re available on disc and digital. Whether it’s the one-two shot of Ti West’s “X” and the prequel “Pearl” (with a third film on the way), the Gen Z whodunit of “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” the vertigo-inducing suspense of “Fall,” or the man vs. nature threat of “Beast,” there’s plenty to keep everyone on their toes.
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Realms
Outside of the big budget superhero universes, wizarding worlds, and space sagas, there’s an impressive and diverse assembly of sci-fi and fantasy movies. Partake in the multi-generation-spanning romance of George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” or ponder existence with the emotional sci-fi drama “After Yang.” Experience a classic tale in a new way with “The Northman.” Get a little dark with “Dual.” Or take a new look at “Star Wars” with the long-gestating “5-25-77,” which is really more of an indie comedy than a sci-fi flick, but because of the “Star Wars” angle, we’re breaking the rules a bit.
Heartwarming, Funny, and Weird
Along with the few studio-sanctioned comedies out there, you’ll also find plenty of low key laughs from lesser known comedies. Take a chance on a charmer from across the pond, squirm in your seat thanks to a thoroughly inappropriate Patton Oswalt, enjoy some gems from the film festival circuit featuring a makeshift robot or talking shell, or get weird with the return of a kooky animated ensemble of food from Adult Swim.
Docs and Rock
Documentaries might be the most thoroughly under-appreciated genre in cinema. Year in and year out, there are countless documentaries that go unnoticed. Thankfully, we’ve picked a handful of films that might pique your interest. Dig into the career of “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola, look back at the legendary horror star Boris Karloff, get cosmic with a visually mesmerizing profile of David Bowie, get some new perspective on the assassination of John F. Kennedy from “JFK” director Oliver Stone, and experience the ups and downs of high school hockey. Plus, if you’re not an HBO Max subscriber, you can get the Harry Potter 20th anniversary special on Blu-ray.
The Criterion Collection focuses on licensing, restoring, and distributing “important classic and contemporary films.” You won’t find a better collection of acclaimed films, with each release featuring a slew of special features that make cinephiles drool, not to mention the highest picture quality available on home video and stellar cover art. Every single month, a handful of new titles are added to the Criterion Collection, and we’ve rounded up some of the best titles released throughout 2022, ranging from the milestone addition of Pixar’s “WALL-E” to the filthy cult classic “Pink Flamingos” and everything in between.
This is the first time a Pixar movie has been given the honor of joining the Criterion Collection. We’re a little surprised that it’s not “Ratatouille,” but maybe that would have been a little too on the nose. But if another Pixar movie was going to get this distinction, we’re glad it’s “WALL-E,” and this edition comes packed with bonus material for you to sink your teeth into. Order it now.
For those who maybe have a hard time digging into movies from before the 1980s for one reason or another, the Criterion Collection has plenty of acclaimed modern movies to enjoy. You’ll find recent Oscar nominees like “Sound of Metal” and “Power of the Dog” among this year’s additions, as well as Martin Scorsese’s black and white “Raging Bull” with Robert De Niro, “Miller’s Crossing” from the Coen Brothers, and Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” with Denzel Washington.
The Criterion Collection isn’t shy about showcasing international films, so if you’re not turned off by subtitles (and you’re a /Film reader, so you shouldn’t be), here’s a handful of selections that you won’t regret picking up. “Drive My Car” made waves in 2021, and the “Infernal Affairs” trilogy inspired Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.” This is just a fraction of the international cinema offerings in the Criterion Collection, so let this be a gateway to much more.
Even though the Internet is mostly obsessed with movies released from the 1980s onward, there’s a seemingly unlimited treasure trove of movies that are over 40 years old. Richard Roundtree brought “Shaft” to life in 1971 and the film still stands as a prime example of the Blaxploitation movement. “Buck and Preacher” puts Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte in the title roles, and the former even directs the classic Western. And if you’d like to get a little dirty, you can order John Waters’ “Pink Flamingos,” which was rated X back in 1972 for “a wide range of perversions in explicit detail.” Sounds like one for the whole family!
Since the advent of home video, studios have long double dipped their movies with anniversary releases and collector’s editions, and that’s only increased as the quality of home video has risen substantially with DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K. With 4K being the highest quality available, studios have been re-releasing a variety of beloved films in super Ultra High-Definition, and there’s a stellar collection of movies for everyone who wants to see their favorite movies with the prettiest picture available.
Holiday Favorites in Ultra High Definition
There’s nothing better than having holiday favorites that you can watch a few times every single year, especially if you want to enjoy them without commercials. This year, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is giving three of the best holiday movies ever (and “The Polar Express”) a 4K release. Plus, a trio of classic Christmas specials are getting the same treatment, with “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty The Snowman” packaged in one set. But the real treat here is a new 4K release of “Plane, Trains & Automobiles,” complete with some long-lost deleted scenes.
If Yuletide joy isn’t your thing, then just dig back into terror with a new array of 4K horror movies. The second installment of the “Scream” franchise has been given the 4K treatment now, and ’80s favorites “Poltergeist” and “The Lost Boys” have gotten an upgrade, too. You might have a hard time finding that “Event Horizon” release without spending a little extra on the secondary market, but if you’ve got someone in your life who missed out, then it might be worth seeking out.
Plenty of movies from decades ago are getting re-released on 4K, and they’ve never looked better. Here’s a selection of movies from the 1970s and even further back in time. Celebrate the 80th anniversary of “Casablanca,” relive the timeless comedy of “Some Like It Hot,” stop by “The Apartment,” sling guns with Clint Eastwood, and more.
A Hodgepodge of HD
Finally, there’s an assortment of movies across a variety of genres, from the action staple “Heat” to the incredible “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Or maybe you can live, buy, and repeat by picking up “Edge of Tomorrow” on 4K. It’s up to you. We’re not your boss.
Along with all the double, triple, and even quadruple dips that have come with higher quality imagery on home video, there’s also the coveted collector’s format that comes in Steelbooks. These durable and stylish cases often feature artwork that blows the traditional home video covers out of the water, and they’re usually fairly limited editions. This year brought an array of new movies and beloved favorites to the Steelbook collection (many of them in 4K too!), but you may have trouble tracking down a few of them that sold out rather quickly. But there’s always the secondhand market if you’re really desperate to wrap up some of the more popular Steelbooks for a gift.
A selection of new movies from this year were immediately given the Steelbook treatment, and in many cases, it’s the best way to add these titles to your collection. These are merely the best Steelbooks for 2022 movies, in our humble opinion, but if you look over at Best Buy, you might find that there are some other 2022 titles that have a Steelbook edition out there.
Top Gun Steelbook Giftset
There’s a “Top Gun” two-movie collection giftset that comes with Steelbooks for both movies and a bunch of extra goodies. Frankly, it’s a little disappointing that there’s not a pair of aviators included in this set, and I’m not entirely sure it’s worth the cost, but maybe there’s a “Top Gun” die hard fan in your life who would appreciate it.
The Godfather Collection
I’m not sure anyone needs yet another version of “The Godfather” trilogy on home video, but these Steelbooks for each individual movie are pretty stylish. Each one has artwork featuring a generation of the Corleone family, as portrayed by Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, and Al Pacino. There aren’t any extra special features, so you’re basically paying for the Steelbook case with the 4K version of the movie, but if you haven’t upgraded yet, this might be the best way to do so.
“Mean Girls” turned 18 this year, which means the movie is old enough to head off to college. But if you want to keep those high school memories alive, then this Steelbook Blu-ray re-release could be for you. Taking a cue from the movie, the case is designed to look like the Burn Book that creates total chaos in Lindsey Lohan’s high school life. It’s way better than the generic pink poster imagery that has donned covers for years.
You Like LAIKA?
LAIKA is also re-releasing a couple of their stop-motion animated movies on 4K, complete with some awesome artwork on the Steelbook covers. “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” easily the best of LAIKA’s film roster, each get their own Steelbook, and there’s an essay mini-book accompanying each movie too.
Even More Horror!
A handful of horror titles are worth a 4K upgrade, especially that Steelbook of “The Ring” that pays homage to the VHS at the center of the story. Meanwhile, the “Carrie” and “The Fog” releases have some solid artwork on the covers.
Action, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Oh My!
Whether you’re bringing home “The Hunger Games” collection in a collectible Steelbook box set or adding the bright, gnarly art of “Starship Troopers” to your collection, there’s something for the action, fantasy and sci-fi fans who love Steelbooks.
Just a heads up: If you want to get these movies in 4K, many of them are also available without Steelbooks, and they might even be cheaper that way.
Getting an individual movie for a gift is great, but you know what cinephiles really love? A bunch of movies! There’s a plethora of box sets collecting tons of movies to really beef up the collection of the biggest movie fans out there. Ranging from prestige studio collections to the entire roster of “Paranormal Activity” movies, here’s an assortment of box sets with multiple movies across a variety of genres.
Big Ol’ Film Collections
There are a few massive box sets that arrived with a ton of movies this year. Dig into the Columbia Classics Collection Vol. 3, with an assembly of the studio’s classic films, such as “It Happened One Night” and “From Here to Eternity.” Perhaps you’d like to grab a bunch Sony Pictures Classics films in honor of their 30th anniversary, celebrating acclaimed films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” and “Call Me By Your Name.” Get your thriller fix with another round of Alfred Hithcock classics in stunning 4K, including “Shadow of a Doubt” and “Marnie.” Or just enjoy a series of Hong Kong cinema classics with this sophomore collection that draws together many of the best films from the final years of the Shaw Brothers studio, such as “The Kid with the Golden Arm,” “Magnificent Ruffians” and the “Ten Tigers of Kwangtung.”
It’s a good year for “Star Trek” collectors. First up, you can beam up director Robert Wise’s definitive vision for the final frontier with this “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Director’s Edition: The Complete Adventure” box set. This set features the newly released “Special Longer Version” of the original “Star Trek” movie, as well as the theatrical cut, along with hours of new and legacy special features. If you don’t want the box set with extra goodies, you can also just get the movie by itself.
Continuing the love for the cast of the original “Star Trek,” there’s also a new 4K box set featuring the six movies that star William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew. Every single one of the movies has been remastered with HDR-10 and Dolby Vision for optimum picture quality from their original film elements, so this is going to look great on your home theater.
Cool Gift Sets with Extra Goodies
For the collectors who like some bonus items with their movies, you might want to seek out these gift sets. The complete collection of the Jason Bourne movies is particularly cool, featuring all five movies in 4K (with digital copies) along with a full size backpack, a monocular, a keychain with a compass, and dog tags. Meanwhile, there’s a nostalgic 40th anniversary gift set of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K with a throwback lunchbox and thermos set. If you’re looking for something aca-awesome, the new “Pitch Perfect” trilogy box set comes with your very own pitch pipe.
Finally, the “Ghostbusters” Ultimate Collection might set you back a bit, since it’s harder to find after being released much earlier in the year. But if you spend the cash, whoever you’re gifting it to will be rewarded with a plethora of new special features for “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II,” such as an extended “Preview Cut” of the original 1984 film, a feature-length documentary about the making of the supernatural comedy, and no less than 19 never-before-seen deleted scenes from “Ghostbusters II.” Maybe just gift it to yourself!
Superheroes and Blockbusters
There’s no shortage of superhero blockbuster box sets, especially with a variety of major franchises getting new installments over the past year. Grab all of the 007 movies starring Daniel Craig, throw it back to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man with the 4K trilogy. Get all the original “Ghostbusters” franchise movies, including “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” in one (cheaper) collection. Get deja vu with “The Matrix” collection. Pick your poison!
It wouldn’t be a box set party without a collection of horror movies where most of them are bad, but you still buy them because you just need every single one. That’s especially true with the latest “Halloween” 4K collection, featuring the movies from 1995 to 2002. That means you’re getting the movies from “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” through “Halloween: Resurrection.” That doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s a Shout Factory release, so it has tons of cool new bonus features along with all the other supplementary materials that were previously released.
Plus, all you “Paranormal Activity” fans can get all the found footage scares you can handle with the new “Paranormal Activity” Ultimate Chills Collection, featuring all seven of the movies in the franchise, including an exclusive Blu-ray of the Paramount+ release “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin” and the documentary “Unknown Dimension: The Story of Paranormal Activity.”
For the Love of Spock, Back in Time, Ghostheads Triple Feature
Finally, for you movie nerds out there, this documentary triple feature Blu-ray might be of interest. It includes three documentaries that franchise fans will love. “For the Love of Spock” celebrates the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” with a focus on Leonard Nimoy, courtesy of his son, Adam Nimoy. “Back in Time” digs into “Back to the Future” fandom and the rise of the trilogy’s popularity. And “Ghostheads” explores the love for “Ghostbusters” around the world.
That’s all for the first installment of the 2022 /Film Holiday Gift Guide. Stay tuned for the rest of the gift guide soon!