Gift Ideas for the Local Movie Lover
by Jordan Canahai
To Enjoy at Home of in the Theater
For the movie lover living in Buffalo, the Holidays can bring about much joy, tempered by some reservations. The colder temperatures and heavy snowfall undoubtedly take their toll on everyone, leading to more nights spent in, nestled under warm covers on the sofa, and basking in the always-comforting glow of the movies. Top of this respective movie lover’s wish list every Holiday season has always been one constant—the Criterion Collection.
The home video company, which specializes in releasing classic and contemporary films, simply offers the best in DVD and Blu-Ray releases any film aficionado could hope for. While many home video companies just provide a way to watch movies on your TV, the experts at Criterion have gone the extra mile as far back as the days of Laserdisc, harnessing the best available technology and materials to present the filmmaker’s original vision in the greatest possible way, while providing a wealth of supplemental features, film essays, and artwork designs that enrich one’s understanding and appreciation of every respective release.
Looking over their library of 800 plus titles, the foundation of which is compromised of selected works from just about every master of the medium (Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Renoir, Fellini, Bergman, Ozu, Tarkovsky, and Godard, just to name a few) one realizes how important the Criterion seal of approval is, as being part of the Collection means being part of the film canon. No wonder that many directors, when given the chance to work closely with Criterion during the process of developing and releasing their films, are so eager to do so.
Speaking personally, I probably wouldn’t have even been exposed to much of world cinema if it wasn’t for Criterion’s great efforts in making these films available. From providing the definitive editions of all-time classics like The Rules of the Game and The Seventh Seal, to elevating more recent masterpieces such as In the Mood for Love and Yi Yi into the pantheon, or ensuring cult favorites like Repo Man and Branded to Kill not wallow in obscurity, the Criterion Collection offers movies to every viewer’s taste and sensibilities.
Owning a Criterion release means more than just owning a movie; it means possessing a piece of film history, and although the prices are a little steep compared to other DVDs and Blu-Rays on the market, Barnes and Noble has the entire Criterion Collection on sale 50% off until December 1st (available online and at their location in Amherst) which makes now the perfect time to get the film buff on your Holiday list the Criterion release they most desire for their library.
Of course, there’s still no greater way to watch a movie than to experience it in a dark theater on the big screen, and even if the latest releases from Hollywood might not interest all viewers, there are thankfully some wonderful local theaters that will undoubtedly be showing many worthwhile films within the coming months. The Dipson theaters, whose locations include the Dipson Amherst on Main St., the Eastern Hills Cinema on Transit in Williamsville, the Flix Stadium in Lancaster, and the McKinley 6 theater in Buffalo have long provided the community great screening venues. The gift and rewards card they offer year round, which can be used for admissions as well as concession items, is a terrific present for the casual movie-goer or the die hard cinephile. Plus they can earn points on it with every subsequent trip to the theater, giving consumers the opportunity to support local businesses.
As last week’s snow storm settles signaling the changing seasons and the approach of a new year, I can’t help but take the occasion to reflect on the past 12 months, the good times had, the difficulties endured, and the lessons learned. The Holidays offer us the chance to forge new memories with friends and family, to appreciate what we have, and look forward to the future. Likewise, beyond offering escape and entertainment, so too can cinema at its best inspire us, enlighten us, and bring people together. Happy Holidays!
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