Holiday Gift Guide for Film Lovers
Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, and Fionn Whitehead in a scene from "Dunkirk"
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.
It’s not difficult to find gifts for film fans, really. What is hard, however, is finding gifts that feel fresh. Here are some ideas that might surprise and intrigue the cinemaniac in your life.
The film ticket service known as MoviePass has been in business since 2011. But its fortunes changed in a big way in August, when the company announced a stunningly good deal: For a $9.95 monthly fee, MoviePass cardholders can see one movie in theaters per day, every day of the year.
Think about it this way. Currently, movie tickets are $9, or more, each. For that same price, you could see a movie a day in theaters.
It’s a very good deal, although there are a few catches. (Tickets must be bought on-site, for example, not online.) But it works at nearly every theater in Buffalo.
Will MoviePass stay at this price? Who knows? My advice is, if interested, act soon. And remember, the $9.95 fee is for one person. So consider buying your own MoviePass, as well. (moviepass.com)
North Park and Dipson Theatres Gift Cards
The North Park Theatre on Hertel Avenue continues to program major events (like the recent screening of The Natural), indie fare, and blockbusters like The Last Jedi. So it’s certainly a safe gift card selection. The theater sells five- and ten-pass gift books at the box office.
Dipson Theatres offers gift cards in various amounts—$10, $25, $50, $75, $100 and $125—at dipsontheatres.com/shop. These are good at any of its local locations, including the Amherst Theatre in Buffalo, the Eastern Hills Cinema in Williamsville, Flix Stadium 10 in Lancaster and the Mckinley 6 in Hamburg.
And if you’re feeling particularly generous, Dipson sells a season pass for $450. That, my friends, is a lot of movie-going.
A Night at the Screening Room
Amherst’s Screening Room Cinema Cafe (880 Alberta Dr., Amherst) offers everything from new films to classics like The Godfather. It offers a nice gift certificate package called A Night at The Cinema Cafe. For $20, you’ll score two movie admissions, a small popcorn, and a $5 drink or concession tab. (screeningroom.net)
TCM Backlot Membership
If you love watching Turner Classic Movies—and who doesn’t?—consider the gift of a TCM Backlot membership. As a member of the network’s fan club, you’ll have access to exclusive content, tickets for special events (such as the recent screening of The Natural at the North Park) and other benefits.
The cost is $87 per year. Find more info or join at tcmbacklot.com.
The Making of Dunkirk by James Mottram
There’s no debating the quality of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, the bold, relentless account of the evacuation of Dunkirk, France, during World War II. The film arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on December 19, but if you’re looking for a unique accompaniment, consider The Making of Dunkirk by James Mottram (Insight Editions).
This handsome behind-the-scenes book features stunning on-set photography and stills, along with fascinating stories detailing the making of the film. It was not an easy production—film shoots on water never are—but anyone who has seen the film will agree that the production difficulties were worth it.
The book retails for about $45, but it’s a must for anyone who loves the film. Visit insighteditions.com for more info and purchasing links.
The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 by Tanya Lapointe
Blade Runner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to the sci-fi classic, is, like Dunkirk, one of 2017’s most impressive achievements. And like The Making of Dunkirk, The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 by Tanya Lapointe (NECA) lays out the production process in detail.
The pre-production designs of this future world and the android replicants who reside there alongside humans stand out. But the entire book is interesting, especially the tales of how the Ryan Gosling-Harrison Ford starrer came to fruition.
The book is available on amazon.com for $39.95.
A Return to Twin Peaks
Yes, Showtime’s recent continuation of the Twin Peaks series, Twin Peaks: The Return, counts as television, not cinema. However, I would argue that the vision behind this bold, twenty-five-years-later visit to the town of Twin Peaks was cinematic in scope and design.
The series from co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost will look glorious on Blu-ray and DVD. This third-season set will be available on amazon.com starting on December 5. (The Blu-ray is $56.97, while the DVD set is $47.26.)
The Twin Peaks fanatic in your household will also want to pick up the Criterion Collection re-release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the dark, brilliant prequel to the original series. Critically derided upon release in 1992, Fire Walk With Me is now rightly considered one of Lynch’s best films. The Blu-ray and DVD are available at criterion.com.
Finally, co-creator Frost has written a book explaining what transpired between season two (which aired in 1991) and season three. The Final Dossier is a fun, surprisingly explanatory text. Visit us.macmillan.com for purchasing links.
Christopher Schobert is a film critic and frequent contributor to Buffalo Spree, Forever Young and the Buffalo News.