Posted Thu Nov 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM PST by Matthew Hartman
As the song says, it's the most wonderful time of the year! With returning Jedis, a couple superhero feuds, and with a potty-mouthed assassin dressed in red with tons of ammo, 2016 had one heck of a great slate of flicks make their way to Blu-ray and the extremely exciting 4K format Ultra HD Blu-ray. While the big new blockbusters were certainly something to behold, 2016 also some impressive box sets, special edition releases, as well as a ton of great classic flicks make their Blu-ray debuts. That means there are some great gifts to give this holiday season!
To help you sort through all the great titles, we're pleased to bring you High-Def Digest's Holiday Gift Guide 2016!
The biggest movie in Domestic and Global Box Office history enjoys one fantastic 2D/3D Blu-ray combo release. With the 3D option, as well as some new extra bonus features; including a J.J. Abrams audio commentary, reviewer Shannon T. Nutt calls this 2D/3D Blu-ray release a "Must Own" and should stay on your gift giving radar! Also available in 2D only.
While critics and fans were wildly divided about its theatrical release, it's safe to say this Blu-ray release along with the longer and better Director's Cut was a great disc. With reference quality A/V presentation and a host of great bonus features, reviewer E. Enois Duarte calls this 3-Disc set "Recommended for superhero fans!" Also available in Blu-ray 3D, and 4K UHD.
Any time you can get Jeff Bridges to don a sheriff's badge is a good day. This taught modern western won over critics and gained a number of fans, making its Blu-ray release an exciting event in our book. For the western lover in your home, keep this one in mind while shopping.
Ryan Reynolds manages to make X-Men fans forget the Merk-with-a-mouth's first outing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine with this foul-mouthed action-adventure romp! It's an over the top buffet of action, mayhem, language, special effects, and well-timed pop culture references and reviewer Michael S. Palmer calls this Blu-ray release "really #&!*ing good!" It's also the perfect gift for the comic fan on your list. Also available in 4K UHD.
Just when you think Rocky Balboa is out of the ring, all it takes is some great talent in Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler to pull him back in! Granted, Rocky may not have put on the gloves, but this Blu-ray is a "Highly Recommended" knockout! Also available in 4K UHD.
One of the quirkiest little indy flicks of the year turns out to be one of the best action/road-movie/comedies to come out in a good long while. Sam Neil proves yet again he's the man to camp with when lost in the jungle during your formative years - and it's hilarious and tender without being sappy. The comedy indy-movie fanatic in your home should have a big smile opening this one up.
You know his name, it's Bourne, Jason Bourne. Just when you thought our hero of few words had nothing left to say, he manages to uncover even more secrets about his murky past. In order to get to the truth, he'll have to hit a lot of people and drive really, really recklessly. And we love it! This disc should be a huge hit for the action/adventure lover on your list. Also available in 4K UHD.
In a summer season packed with redundant sequels and misfired reboots, this latest installment in J.J. Abrams-verse was the action-packed thrill ride we needed. While it may not have been the greatest film in the franchise, it proved to be an exciting flick and one to get for the Trek Fan in your home. Also available in Blu-ray 3D, and 4K UHD.
The new rule of thumb should be to never count out the twisted minds of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and their crew of misfit comedians. If one movie should have offended critics outright it's a computer animated film about food products - but it won over critics and fans, making it a gem of a comedy in a summer desperate for good humor. Also available in 4K UHD.
It may have been one of the more controversial releases of the summer of 2016, but the film turned out to be a pretty decent source of fun. With some incredible visuals, a pounding audio mix, and a ton of bonus features, this Ghostbusters may be the right call to make for someone on your gift list! Also available in 4K UHD with Blu-ray 3D.
The X-Men franchise keeps rolling along with this 80s inspired look at our favorite heroes as they fight their most powerful enemy yet. With some striking visuals, impressive audio, and some worthwhile bonus features, there's nothing apocalyptic about getting this Blu-ray for someone on your list! Also available in Blu-ray 3D, and 4K UHD.
At 86 years old, Clint Eastwood shows no signs of slowing down - and Sully proves that's a good thing. Teaming up with Tom Hanks, Eastwood brings home the suspenseful and dramatic events surrounding the Miracle on the Hudson. It's a riveting film and it makes the perfect holiday gift. Also available in 4K UHD.
Sci-fi master Ridley Scott brings another out-of-this-world adventure about Matt Damon farming potatoes on Mars! It's dramatic, hilarious, and was one of the most entertaining movies of 2015, so justifiably it deserves a fantastic special edition release! With outstanding video and audio and some stellar bonus features, this is the release of The Martian to shop for! Also available in 4K UHD.
It only took a mauling from a bear and a bitter rivalry with Mad Max for Leo to win an Oscar! Not only was The Revenant one of the best movies of 2015, it managed to be one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2016, featuring a stunning video and audio package designed to maximize the home theater experience. If someone on your list doesn't own it, you know what to get them! Also available in 4K UHD.
No Holiday Gift Guide could be complete without the latest Marvel movie release, and Captain America: Civil War is an absolute must for any shopper. On top of a thrilling adventure featuring virtually every Marvel hero to date, it makes room for some exciting newcomers and a brand new take on Spider-man! What's not to love about this gift? Also available in Blu-ray 3D.
Since it was one of the best entries in the entire franchise, it shouldn't come as any surprise that this UHD release would be a stellar example of this exciting new format's capabilities! If you've got someone on your list sporting the latest and greatest home entertainment technology, consider wrapping this one up for them! X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse are also available in 4 UHD creating an X-Citing holiday season for a lucky person on your list!
Slime never looked so good! Everyone's favorite paranormal investigators make the leap to 4K in grand style featuring improved clarity, bright and bold colors, with speaker-rattling sound! It's a great release all around and fans of the film will be happy to tear off the wrapping paper. Don't forget, Ghostbusters II and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call are also available in 4K UHD making for a perfectly spooky holiday season!
One of the best thrillers of the last decade crosses the border from Blu-ray to UHD in grand style. The film is incredible and boasts the same stellar Dolby Atmos audio mix, but the improved video quality is the real selling point and makes it a great gift for the action/thriller fan on your shopping list.
Everything is in fact, awesome when one of the best movies of 2015 comes to colorful life on 4K UHD! The Lego movie won over big kids of all ages and sizes and its UHD debut is well worth the upgrade. See it and hear it with the best possible audio and video presentation. A great movie to have at home just got even more awesome!
Reboots and remakes may be all the rage in Hollywood. While some aren't the greatest, some turn out well. J.J. Abrams' unique take on Star Trek breathed new life into the floundering franchise - and it's one heck of a great UHD title! Reviewer Shannon T. Nutt called it a "Highly Recommended release for the new format. Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek: Beyond are also available in 4K UHD!
Disney had one of the best years in their entire history, and Zootopia was a big reason why. It's a joyful and poignant little film that is easily relatable while also being incredibly entertaining for kids young and old! Also, it's a beast of a Blu-ray release and should put a lot of smile on faces. Also available in Blu-ray 3D.
One thing Pixar does well is land an emotional punch, and they bring their entire bag of tricks with Finding Dory. It's funny, it's tender-hearted, and it just makes you feel good to see all of these characters again and the great new friends they make. Little kids and big kids should love every moment, making it an easy gift to give! Also available in Blu-ray 3D.
The first film may have divided fans, but thankfully Out of the Shadows managed to recapture the cartoonish fun and excitement of the 80s TV show. With an incredible video and audio presentation and a smattering of great extra features, this Blu-ray release should keep the little ones entertained, making it a great gift opportunity! Also available in Blu-ray 3D, and 4K UHD.
Disney is on a winning streak with their live action remakes of their animated classics. With a heartfelt story, life-like visual effects, and a fantastic voice cast, The Jungle Book was a joy in theaters and it's an incredible disc to have at home. Parents and kids alike should love this one, plus it makes a great stocking stuffer! Also available in Blu-ray 3D.
The classic newspaper strip characters get a CGI makeover, and it couldn't be more perfect. One of the nicest movies to come out gets one of the best Blu-ray releases. It's bright, beautiful, features an impeccable audio mix and offers up some pleasant bonus features. If you have Charlie Brown fans in your home, don't overlook this little gem. Also available in Blu-ray 3D, and 4K UHD.
Reviewer M. Enois Duarte calls this collection of Guillermo del Toro films a "Must Own" set and it's easy to see why. With Cronos, The Devil's Backbone, and Pan's Labyrinth, you've got the potential to give the gift of three incredible films as they're meant to be seen in all their glory. The perfect gift for that cinema connoisseur on your list.
Considering its status as a cult film, it shouldn't be too surprising that Criterion would release this movie and give it the full Collector's Edition treatment it deserves. Reviewer Bruce Douglas calls it "trashy escapism at its best" and the cinema nut on your list will love to have it in their collection. Keep an eye out for it and its sequel the ultra-kitschy Roger Ebert-penned Beyond the Valley of the Dolls!
It wouldn't be a good year for Criterion releases without another look at the impressive and enigmatic works of Terrance Malick. The New World is a beautiful existential retelling of the relationship between Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. They went all out to fully restore the picture and audio and fans will appreciate the effort as this is another "Highly Recommended" Criterion Collection release.
Reviewer David Krauss calls this release of the classic John Frankenheimer film starring Frank "Chairman of the Board" Sinatra a "Must Own" - and for good reason. The image quality is gorgeous, the audio pitch perfect, and the assortment of extra features will keep fans of this tight and tense political thriller entertained for hours.
As the old saying goes, one good turn deserves another, and the same is true for Richard Linklater's incredible film Boyhood. It may have already enjoyed a very good Blu-ray release, but this Criterion Collection offers up a slew of new bonus features for fans to take in and appreciate. While the film took 12 years to make, we're certainly happy it didn't take that long for Boyhood to get the Criterion Collection treatment.
One of the most popular shows to come out of England gets the complete series collection it deserves. If you haven't been keeping up with the show, this is the best way to experience the drama from beginning to end. You'll laugh. You'll cry... and you'll probably cry some more. But hey, it makes a perfect holiday gift!
With Season Three currently airing on television, you're going to need the Speed Force to get caught up with this incredible and exciting television show. For that comic book fan on your list, a big smile is all but guaranteed when they unwrap this one!
We really shouldn't have been surprised that this Breaking Bad spinoff show has turned out as good as it has, but darn it all if this isn't some great television! Each episode is better than the last, and the second season keeps up that incredible pace. We're certain someone on your list will absolutely love you for getting it for them!
It might be a good idea to go ahead and check your privilege before firing up this incredible season of South Park! 19 years on and the show is still timely, providing a hilarious look at the state of current events. It's a must own for that comedy fan on your list who needs a good laugh!
With new episodes of Twin Peaks from creator David Lynch on the horizon, there's no time like the present to get caught up wth this groundbreaking series. Also includes the missing pieces and the feature film Fire Walk With Me, all in one convenient box set.
One of the best science fiction/horror films of the 1980s finally gets the just Blu-ray treatment it always deserved. This incredible "Must Own" disc arrives with a fresh new transfer and is packed with enough special features to keep you busy through winter. It's the perfect gift for someone on your list who enjoys a good fright now and again.
Easily one of the best animated movies ever made, The Iron Giant finally makes its long overdue Blu-ray debut, and we couldn't be happier about it! With a stunning video and audio presentation and some great bonus features, this should make someone on your list very happy!
Another 1980s classic film gets the good and proper Blu-ray treatment it deserves. With a fresh new transfer and some great bonus features, this is one fine gift set that is perfect for that particular good little girl or boy on your list. Also available in 4K UHD.
Pain don't hurt and neither does this brand spanking new Collector's Edition Blu-ray. It may not be a "classic" in the general sense of the word, but Patrik Swayze's masterpiece of macho-man action is a real crowd pleaser. With a fresh new transfer and a host of new bonus features, this Blu-ray release will surely make someone on your list very happy!
Winner of the most Academy Awards for 2016, George Miller's action spectacle masterpiece comes home in a bold new version. We're certainly excited to see what Miller has concocted for this release. This disc will also be available in the High-Octane Collection containing all four films, so you've got some purchasing options if this one is on someone's gift list to Santa. The original release of Mad Max: Fury Road is also available in 4K UHD.
One of the best Science Fiction films of the 1950s makes its debut on Blu-ray 3D, as it was intended to be seen! Painstakingly restored by 3-D Film Archive, this is a beautiful release featuring a near-flawless 3D image and a dynamic audio track to match. If you have a 3D enthusiast on your list, this is the perfect gift. If you need more incredible 3D visuals, take a look at GOG.
A fantastic 70s exploitation flick finally makes it's way onto Blu-ray! Bruce Douglas calls it a "Highly Recommended" release featuring a solid video transfer and audio track along with some decent bonus features. It's good fun and good for that funky friend on your shopping list!
Warner Archive proves they know how to take care of their classic films with this release of the Bogart & Bacall thriller. With a stellar video and audio presentation, it's a perfect gift for the classic cinema fan on your list - or if you need to get yourself something special with all this shopping! If you love Dak Passage, consider adding Key Largo and To Have and Have Not to your list.
Action and adventure don't get more exciting than when Tyrone Power dons the black mask of Zorro! This classic film slashes its way onto Blu-ray with a stellar video and audio presentation. It's a highly recommended release and a perfect gift for lovers of the classics!
Few performers were as talented or as versatile as Buster Keaton. With a single look, the man could either make you laugh until your stomach hurt, or make your eyes well up with tears. The Shorts Collection from Kino Lorber is an amazing release providing silent cinema fans with hours of amazing entertainment.
2016 saw some incredible new movies come out on Blu-ray, some amazing special edition releases, and more than a few classics and fan favorites make their Blu-ray debut. Not to mention, we now have a new and exciting 4K format as well. We here at High-Def Digest hope our latest Holiday Gift Guide makes shopping for your friends and family (and perhaps yourself?) a little easier, or at the very least, gives you some great ideas. As always, be safe out there this holiday season and be sure to turn on a great movie with your friends, family, and loved ones!
Understandably, we couldn't fit all of the great and amazing titles that made their way to Blu-ray and 4K UHD onto this list. Here are a few more amazing suggestions just in case you need some more ideas for that tough person to shop for on your list!
Beauty and the Beast 25th Anniversary Edition
The Exorcist III Collector's Edition
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
McCabe & Mrs. Miller Criterion Collection
The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974)
Carrie: 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition
The Bicycle Thieves Criterion Collection
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