'Tis the season to be jolly and sometimes the home video manufactures get in on the fun. For example, it you know someone who likes models of space ships, then "Independence Day" or "Star Trek Beyond" would be good choices.
Independence Day Attacker Edition (1996, 20th Century Fox, 2 Blu-ray discs, 145 min.). "Independence Day" is far superior to the recent sequel, "Independence Day: Resurgence," and makes for a fun ride while viewing. The 20th anniversary two-disc edition consists of an extended theatrical cut, as well as a new retrospective documentary. The limited edition also contains a replica of the alien attacker ship, used to take down the mother ship in the movie. The model was especially developed by Snap Creative, based on the film’s original model designs. This edition is limited to 1,000 copies.
Star Trek Beyond Ultimate Blu-ray Gift Set (Paramount Blu-ray, PG-13, 122 min.). In the latest installment of the 50-plus year franchise, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise encounter a formidable enemy during a rescue mission to an uncharted plant. With the Enterprise destroyed, the crew scattered and a highly-populated space station in jeopardy, things look dire. The gift set comes with three collectible mini-starships, which measure approximately three- to four-inches in length. They are replicas of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the U.S.S. Franklin and the evil Krall Swarm Ship. Each comes with its own display base.There also is a 4k/3D/Blu-ray version that comes with a larger model of the U.S.S. Franklin.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946, Paramount, Blu-ray or standard DVD, PG, 131 min.). Classic movie fans will enjoy this 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition of one of the most beloved films of all time. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers, director Frank Capra’s "It's A Wonderful Life" has made an indelible impact on popular culture and continues to be a cherished part of many families' holiday tradition. This edition includes a colorized version of the film and the original black-and-white movie, as well as "The Making Of It’s A Wonderful Life," a documentary featurette hosted by Tom Bosley. Both the Blu-ray and DVD sets include collectible, limited edition art cards, featuring images of original ads and lobby cards.
Opry Video Classics Collector's Set (Time Life, 16 DVDs, NR, about 900 min.). For the lover of classic country music there is this set, the most comprehensive collection of live Grand Ole Opry country music performances ever assembled. Filmed on-stage at the historic Ryman Auditorium, this 16-disc set brings home audiences back to the golden age of country music with 240 amazing, vintage performances from legendary Country Music Hall of Fame stars from the '50s, '60s and '70s including Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, The Carter Family, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, The Statler Brothers, George Jones, Charley Pride and hundreds more.
The historic recordings include: "Duets" where viewers will find Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn and Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton lighting up the stage, while newlyweds Johnny Cash & June Carter are "hotter than a pepper sprout" in "Jackson; "The Hall of Fame," which honors the illustrious Class of '73 of Chet Atkins and Patsy Cline with Chet's instrumental hit "Yakety Axe" and Patsy's"Imagine That," while Willie Nelson in "Mr. Record Man" shows his rarely seen pre-outlaw, clean-cut side; "Honky Tonk Heroes," featuring such rollicking tunes as Ernest Tubb's "Walking the Floor Over You," Ray Price's "Heartaches By the Number" and George Jones' "The Race is On"; and "Legends," which features all-time classics, including Johnny Cash performing "Ring of Fire" and Patsy Cline singing "Crazy." Also included are the over-stuffed discs "Love Songs," "Pioneers," which spotlights the godfathers of the genre and, finally, "Songs That Topped the Charts."
There also is an 8-DVD edition, with the discs "Hall of Fame 2," "Jukebox Memories," "Legends 2," "Love Songs 2," "Kings of Country," "Pioneers 2," "Queens of Country 2" and "Songs That Topped the Charts 2." All eight are included in the larger edition as well.
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series (Time Life, various configurations, NR). Sticking to classic TV, there was a time in my youth when Carson defined late-night television (mostly seen by me when babysitting). For more than 30 years, America watched together, laughed together, and sang together on the couch with the Original King of Late Night. Now, home audiences will be able to enjoy the very best of late night with these collections, new to retail and available in multiple configurations, feature Carson and the inimitable "Tonight Show" crew in full episodes fresh from Carson's vaults -- including the commercials. Giving viewers the opportunity to relive the incomparable magic of a night with Carson, announcer/sidekick Ed McMahon and band leader Doc Severinsen.
Carson established the modern format of the late-night talk show: an opening monologue, sprinkled with a rapid-fire series of 16 to 22 one-liners (Carson had a rule of no more than three on the same subject), followed by a sketch comedy and then guest interviews and musical performances. These collections feature some of the best and most requested episodes from more than 30 years and 4,000 shows. Among the many highlights are the 10th and 11th anniversary shows and Carson's birthday episodes, a week of shows from March 1976, visits from Carnac the Magnificent and the Mighty Carson Art Players, and Carson singing "Rhinestone Cowboy" while astride a donkey. Guests include his famous friends Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Richard Pryor, Muhammad Ali, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Sean Connery, John Denver, Peter Fonda, Charlton Heston, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Paul McCartney, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Orson Welles and many others. There also are hours of entertaining bonus features, including bonus monologues, in-depth interviews and additional clips with Lucille Ball, James Brown, Rodney Dangerfield, David Letterman, Joan Embery and her wild animals, Aunt Blabby and a Hollywood stuntwoman demonstration.
Available online at BN.com, as well as at Costco and other national retailers, the retail DVD configurations includes a single disc of two shows; a three-disc collector's set (with six shows and nearly an hour of bonus features; a six-disc collector's edition with 12 shows and two hours of exclusive extras; and a 12-disc deluxe collector's edition with 24 shows and more than four hours of exclusive extras.
Motown 25 (Time Life, 6 DVDs, NR, 975 min.). Yet more classic TV, with lots of extras, this is an expanded version of the special, "Motown 25: Yesterday · Today · Forever," which aired on NBC on May 16, 1983. The show was an immediate sensation, in major part due to Michael Jackson's moonwalking during "Billie Jean," and became one of the most talked about concerts and TV specials ever. In an era before social media, "Motown 25" was a true water-cooler event. In addition to Jackson's electrifying six seconds of dance, there were reunions by the Miracles and the Supremes; the first battle of the bands between The Temptations and Four Tops; and the hottest comedian in the world at the time, Richard Pryor, as host.
Taped before a live audience, the show featured virtually every Motown artist from the company's inception, including Jackson, also performing "I Want You Back" with The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye crooning "What's Going On," Smokey Robinson with "The Tears of a Clown," Stevie Wonder with "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," Diana Ross with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," The Temptations with "My Girl: and the Four Tops with "Baby I Need Your Loving." This new-to-retail set includes an extended version of the "Motown 25" concert with more than 20 minutes not seen in the original broadcast, brand-new 5.1 surround sound, more than 14 hours of specially-produced bonus features, and an exclusive 48-page collector's booklet with information about the show and artists, and never-before-scene photos from the production and essays on Motown performers. The bonus features include previously unseen rehearsal footage of Gaye and Wonder; a roundtable discussion with Robinson, Otis Williams of The Temptations, Duke Fakir of the Four Tops and others on songwriting; and more than 25 exclusive interviews with key production members and performers.
Deadpool Christmas Edition (20th Century Fox, Blu-ray or standard DVD, R, 108 min.). Just because it was one of the most fun movies of the year, I have to include "Deadpool," which comes with a Christmas decked-out cover and a greeting card. In true perverse "Deadpool" style, the greeting card comes inside the video, which means that in order to use it for gift giving, one has to open the gift first. Other than that, all the extras are the same as the previous edition, which makes them super cool and well worth watching. The film itself is a fourth-wall-breaking adventure starring Marvel Comics sexiest anti-hero, including his origin story. Directed by Tim Miller, it stars Ryan Reynolds, perfectly cast in the irreverent title role.