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Gifts for the film buff

Here’s a selection of some of the more interesting DVD sets, withsuggestions as to whom might most like to find them under the Christmastree.

DVDs were designed to make the home movie-watching experience more convenient, by miniaturizing the film and the packaging.

But at this time of the year, they go in the opposite direction, losing all sense of proportion in the quest to separate movie lovers from their money.

Studios and distributors roll out the big boxes of films and artists they deem most gift-worthy, and there’s no limit to their size or imagination.

Here’s a selection of some of the more interesting sets, with suggestions as to whom might most like to find them under the Christmas tree.

Prices quoted may vary, so shop around for sales.

For the true film aficionado

AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa, $364

There’s almost no part of arthouse or mainstream moviegoing that Japan’s Akira Kurosawa hasn’t influenced: The Hidden Fortress became George Lucas’ template for Star Wars; Seven Samurai started as a western tribute and turned into a much-copied icon; and Rashomon changed narrative cinema forever with its multiple-viewer approach to a crime story. Kurosawa is considered by many critics to be the greatest director who ever lived, and this magnificent Criterion set celebrates what would have been his 100th birthday. It features 25 of the films he made over his 50-year career (including four previously unavailable on DVD) plus a hardcover book of photos, descriptions and commentaries.

For the romantic & the restless

Gone With the Wind: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray, $62

Franky, my dear, if you’re a fan of this Civil War love saga, 70 years old this year, you probably already own at least one copy on VHS or DVD. But if you’re looking to get into Blu-Ray, here’s your reason. The restored print is pristine, and comes with a host of extras, including recreations of theatre posters and pamphlets, and a wealth of historical info on the making of this undisputed classic.

For the gritty realist

Samuel Fuller Film Collection, $68
Under-appreciated in his lifetime, yet gaining belated kudos thanks to Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese and other admirers, Samuel Fuller approached everything from drama to comedy at full-bore and without fear. This set collects seven films the former crime reporter directed or wrote for Columbia Pictures, including Shockproof and Underworld U.S.A.

For gung-ho regular joes

G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Complete Collectors Set, $126
If you didn’t get enough Joe from last summer’s live-action movie adaptation, reload with this complete set of the cartoon series that started it all. Comes in a toolbox with a boatload of extras, including a G.I. dog tag flash drive.

For the light-hearted & the clumsy

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition, $42

If you’re going to make a fool of yourself at Christmas, you might as well do it in style. This comedy favourite, featuring Chevy Chase’s popular doofus Clark Griswold as a Yule Fool, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a Blu-Ray upgrade in a metal-can gift set that includes instant snow powder and drink coasters.

For the feel-good fanatic

Forrest Gump: 15th Anniversary Chocolate Box Gift Set, $27
Life is like a box of chocolates and so is this bizarre gift set, which bundles the inspirational Tom Hanks starrer and Oscar winner inside a cavity-free candy container — would you believe the chocs are just scratch-and-sniff cardboard? But the set is loaded with featurettes and other extras that will make fans want to run with Forrest.

For the wild & not-so-innocent

Quentin Tarantino Collection, $40

Aw-right! The first six films from America’s favourite former video stork clerk, from Reservoir Dogs to Pulp Fiction to Deathproof. Six-disc set come with a photo book and mini Kill Bill plastic samurai sword and stand. All you need now is Inglourious Basterds, his latest, which comes out on DVD this month.

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