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article imageThe Ultimate 2014 Blu-ray/DVD Christmas Gift-Giving Guide Special

By Earl Dittman     Dec 13, 2014 in Entertainment
Are you still looking for just the "perfect" Christmas present for that devoted cineaste who always drags you to the movies and buys tons of Blu-rays & DVDs? From ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ to Pee-wee and Kubrick to Spielberg, here's some 11th hour hints.
Alright, the Big Gift Day is practically upon us, and I bet you haven't found that cinema aficionado and/or Blu-ray/DVD fanatic you share parents with or with whom you divide your bed. I say that only because it would have to be someone really special to you for you to invest the kind of mula needed for many of some of the choice collections (showcased below). While some of the larger sets are a tad pricey — to a fan or collector they are worth every penny — there are many reissues and box sets that won’t totally bankrupt you. Even the more expensive collections are impressive little packages that anyone you give it to will love you forever (or they better)!
“Can I still get one of these Blu-ray or DVD collectables in time to put under the tree? Will Santa be able to hand deliver one of these awesome, truly exquisite collections on Christmas Eve?” The answer is...most likely. In the States, most Best Buy and Fry’s retail stores and Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club warehouses keep a pretty healthy in-house stock of these special editions and box sets. Of course, that means fighting with other last minute shoppers, traffic, general pandemonium and rabid gorillas (just making sure you were still with me). You can always order them online and make a nice little Pee-Wee or Frozen Christmas card with the written promise that it’ll be arriving any day now (I’d go for it). Now, you may have you own favorite sites that you order your Blu-rays, DVDs and CDs from — if you feel comfortable with them, certainly order it from your fave online video store or Amazon.
Okay, I know you are fighting the clock, so without further ado, here are a handful of Blu-ray and DVD collectables and box sets that I would personally kill for (and I hope who ever is the recipient of your big heart puts you on a pedestal and praises your name in tongues when they unwrap the gift containing one of these).
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Acorn
Upstairs, Downstairs: The Ultimate Collection
The most popular and successful British drama series in television history is now available in the 26-disc box set Upstairs, Downstairs: The Ultimate Collection. This hugely collectible set includes all five series (81 episodes), plus the spinoff series, Thomas and Sarah. Seen by a billion people in 40 countries around the world, this epic saga of life and love in Edwardian England captivated viewers for five heart-tugging, humorous, and satisfying seasons (1971-1975). Upstairs: the wealthy, aristocratic Bellamys. Downstairs: their loyal and lively servants. For nearly 30 years, they share a fashionable townhouse at 165 Eaton Place in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood, surviving social change, political upheaval, scandals, and the horrors of the First World War. Bonus DVD Features: 5-part documentary “The Making of Upstairs, Downstairs”; 24 episode commentaries; 25th anniversary retrospective “Upstairs, Downstairs Remembered‘; interviews with the stars, composer, and editor; Alternate pilot episode; Episode 1 of The Story of the Costume Drama; 8-page booklet with an exclusive interview and essay from star and co-creator Jean Marsh and more.
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Warner Bros.
Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection
Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection includes eight Kubrick classic motion pictures — Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut — as well as the newly-produced documentary: Kubrick Remembered, two new-to-Blu-ray documentaries: Stanley Kubrick In Focus and Once Upon a Time…A Clockwork Orange, plus the additional documentaries: Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, and O’ Lucky Malcolm! Kubrick Remembered offers a new look into the Kubrick archives, with special appearances by the director’s wife, Christiane Kubrick, as well as never-seen footage of Stanley’s works, his house and his film production facilities. Stanley Kubrick In Focus presents such directors as Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, William Friedkin and Martin Scorsese relating how Kubrick’s directorial style influenced them. Bonus Blu-ray Feature: A new 78-page hardcover photo book using film archive photographs.
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Fox
Fox Searchlight Pictures 20th Anniversary Collection
Celebrating two decades of cinematic innovation and excellence, Fox Searchlight Pictures 20th Anniversary Collection features powerful performances and direction by some of Hollywood’s most beloved actors and filmmakers. Each of the 20 iconic films featured in this one-of-a-kind collection was hand selected from Fox Searchlight’s impressive catalog based on considerations of timelessness, cultural impact, awards recognition and box office success. From sidesplitting comedies and riveting thrillers to unforgettable dramas, including Best Picture Academy Award Winners Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), these critically-acclaimed movies have captured the hearts and imaginations of audiences around the world.
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Fox
Also included in the collection are such unforgettable films as The Brothers McMullen, Garden State, The Full Monty, Little Miss Sunshine, Boys Don’t Cry, The Last King of Scotland, 28 Days Later, Once, Sideways, Juno, Napoleon Dynamite, 500 Days of Summer, The Descendants, Crazy Heart, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 127 Hours, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Black Swan. Exclusive to the collection is an all-new Blu-ray bonus disc, We Have Your Story, which features a 98-minute documentary celebrating Fox Searchlight's history through the eyes of the filmmakers, the talent and the films. From its inception, Fox Searchlight has been a haven for the stories of our lives – stories of hope and struggle, of success and failure, of love and loss. Global, resonant, daring, funny, inspirational and heartbreaking, the Fox Searchlight library has been a window to our world, and its promise has been to offer the most visionary directors, actors and writers a setting to express themselves unlike any other. We Have Your Story is a celebration of that pledge, highlighting the special bond that exists between the filmmakers, the stars...and the story.
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Acorn
Jeeves & Wooster Complete Collection
This DVD 8-disc set features all 23 episodes of the marvelous British comedy series that follows a boneheaded aristocrat and his brilliant valet. Based on P.G. Wodehouse’s timeless tales, Jeeves & Wooster is set in 1920s England and New York, Golden Globe-winner and Hugh Laurie (House) plays bumbling aristocrat Bertie Wooster alongside BAFTA Award-nominee Stephen Fry (The Hobbit, 24, Bones) as his trusty valet, Jeeves. These delightfully daffy adaptations star the two comedy legends at their finest. Containing all four series of the show, this collection follows Bertie from one predicament to the next. Whether he’s fending off the ever-present threat of matrimony, facing the disapproval of his domineering aunts, or even appearing in a Broadway play, Bertie frequently teeters towards disaster. Fortunately, the unflappable Jeeves is always on hand with a clever plan to save Bertie from himself. Bonus DVD Features: Episode 1 of P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings, Series 1 and photo galleries for each series.
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Warner Bros.
The Green Mile 15th Anniversary Edition
Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this emotional, touching film about miracles and the power of redemption stars Tom Hanks as prison guard Paul Edgecomb. When a giant of a man is brought to death row, Edgecomb and his fellow guards discover something very unusual about their new charge, John Coffey (Oscar-nominee Michael Clarke Duncan). Convicted for the sadistic murder of two young girls, but behaving almost childlike himself, Coffey seems to have a supernatural gift of healing living things. Expectations are turned upside down and the guards' sense of humanity is awakened in this astonishing adaptation of Stephen King's compelling novel. Bonus Blu-ray Features: “Walking the Mile: The Making Of The Green Mile” (Extended Version) NEW - High-def documentary feature starring Tom Hanks, Frank Darabont, Stephen King, and Mr. Jingles, the mouse; Commentary by Frank Darabont; “The Teaser Trailer: A Case Study”; 6 “Miracles and Mystery: Creating The Green Mile” Featurettes, including “Stephen King: Storyteller,” “The Art of Adaptation,” “Acting on the Mile,“ “Designing the Mile,” “The Magic of the Mile” and “The Tail of Mr. Jingles”; Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Frank Darabont; Michael Clarke Duncan's Screen Test; Tom Hank's Makeup Test; Teaser and Trailer.
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Warner Bros.
Natural Born Killers 20th Anniversary Edition
This 1994 Venice Film Festival winner captures Oliver's Stone's hallucinogenic ride through the minds and exploits of two cold-blooded lovers (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis), and is a powerful, gut-grabbing look at how violence and crime are sensationalized and glamorized in the media. A provocative, unapologetically violent piece of American cinema. Bonus Blu-ray Features:Natural Born Killers: Method In The Madness” NEW - High-def featurette with Oliver Stone, editor Hank Corwin and technical advisor Dale Dye; Commentaries by Oliver Stone (Theatrical version and Director's Cut); Introduction by Oliver Stone (2009); "Natural Born Killers Evolution: How Would It All Go Down Now?"; “Chaos Rising: The Storm Around Natural Born Killers“; "The Charlie Rose Show"; Alternate Ending With Optional Commentary by Oliver Stone; Alternate Ending; Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Oliver Stone and Trailer.
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Warner Bros.
Gremlins: 30th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition
Gremlins, written by Chris Columbus and directed by Joe Dante, is a wildly original roller-coaster about supposedly gentle furballs who create their own rules about their care and feeding. Bonus Blu-ray Features: ALL NEW! “From Gizmo to Gremlins: Creating the Creatures” - Special effects wizard Chris Walas plus the filmmakers and cast guide us through the art of creating Gremlins, Gizmo and Stripe, how the puppets worked (or didn't!) and how their voices came to be; "Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous: Making Gremlins” - Steven Spielberg tells how he found the screenplay for Gremlins and why it was perfect for his then-new company Amblin Entertainment. Dante, Marshall and Finnell also participate; Motion Comic of the 1984 Book - "Gremlins: The Gift of the Mogwai"; Motion Comic of the 1984 Book - "The Last Gremlin" and "Hangin' With Hoyt on the Set of Gremlins.”
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Warner Bros.
Ben-Hur: Two-Disc Edition
William Wyler's unforgettable epic spectacle, full of visual splendor, thundering action and towering drama, won a record-setting 11 Academy Awards (1959) including Best Motion Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. Charlton Heston, in his Best Actor Oscar-winning role, as Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman in Palestine whose heroic odyssey includes enslavement by the Romans, vengeance against his tormentors during a furious arena chariot race and fateful encounters with Jesus Christ. Truly an enduring and spellbinding spectacular. Bonus Blu-ray Features: Commentary by film historian T. Gene Hatcher and Charlton Heston; Feature Length Documentary: “Charlton Heston & Ben-Hur: A Personal Journey” - Retrospective on the Ben-Hur star, written and directed by his son Fraser C. Heston, featuring never-before-available images and footage from the Heston family archives; The 1925 Silent Version - Thames Television; “Restoration with Stereophonic Orchestral Score by Carl Davis”; Vintage Documentaries “Ben-Hur: The Epic That Changed Cinema” and “Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic”; "Ben-Hur: A Journey Through Pictures” - Audiovisual Recreation Via Stills, Storyboards, Sketches, Music and Dialogue: Screen Tests: Highlights from the 1960 Academy Awards Telecast and Newsreels.
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SHOUT!
Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series
TV Guide named Pee-wee's Playhouse #10 of The Top 25 Cult Television Shows Ever! Ever. Mecka-lecka hi... Mecka-hiney ho! All 45 wacky episodes, plus Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, have been meticulously remastered from the original film elements: and now you can see this groundbreaking series for the very first time in beautiful high-definition. With a cast that includes the talents of Paul Ruebens, George McGrath, John Paragon, William Marshall, Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne, young can scream along to the secret word with Pee-wee Herman and his pals Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the Mail Lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and many more. Bonus Blu-ray Features: Brand-new Interviews with members of the cast and crew.
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Lionsgate
The San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Collector's Edition
A seven-game series on the way to a Giants dynasty. From exciting veteran pitching to Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence's relentless hitting, Manager Bruce Bochy's San Francisco Giants played with an all-hands-on-deck attitude to endure a seven-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Steady pitching performances, flashy defense, and a phenomenal relief outing by World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner clinched the Giants third World Series championship in five years. The San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Collector's Edition includes all seven games of the Fall Classic, as well as a bonus disc of the pennant-clinching NLCS Game 5, featuring Travis Ishikawa's walk-off home run. Relive every moment of the 2014 World Series starring Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Michael Morse, Brandon Crawford, Ryan Vogelsong, and Joe Panik, with four audio options including TV, home and away radio, and Spanish-language broadcast.
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Rhino
REMTV
R.E.M. By MTV is only one part of the 6-DVD collection REMTV. This incredible box set also includes nearly 15 hours of film and video tape that includes live performances, segments from award shows, various TV appearances, and a brand-spanking new documentary about their history — from the band's formation in 1980 in Athens, Georgia to Stipe, Mills and Buck's decision to amicably call it quits in 2011. Most of R.E.M.'s biggest hits and fan favorites are featured on REMTV, including 'Losing My Religion," "The One I Love," "Radio Free Europe," "Shiny Happy People," "What's The Frequency, Kenneth" as well as such video rarities as "New Test Leper," "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville," "So. Central Rain" and "Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)."
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Lionsgate
History Presents: The Definitive WWI And WWII Collection
The History Channel marks the advent of modern warfare in the 20th century with this epic DVD collection. Discover how the First World War changed the face of battle forever, from hand-to-hand combat to high-tech warfare, in History Of WWI: The First Modern War. Experience the acrobatic encounters of flying aces high above the battlefield in Dogfights. Watch the Normandy assault in spectacular high definition in D-Day In HD, and learn soldiers' personal stories in WWII In HD and The Color Of War. Learn which inventions decided the war in Ultimate WWII Weapons, and get a dramatic view of U.S. General George Patton's brilliant strategy in Patton 360. And, witness the whole devastating three decades of war through the eyes of the men forged in the trenches of WWI before commanding the world in WWII — Franklin Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and others — in the Emmy- nominated miniseries The World Wars.Truly an unforgettable collection.
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Disney
Maleficent
Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie stars as Disney's most iconic villain in Maleficent, a wickedly fun twist on the classic Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent explores the untold story of Maleficent and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent (Jolie) cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora (Elle Fanning) is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever. Bonus (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet) Features: "From Fairy Tale to Feature Film"; "Building An Epic Battle; "Classic Couture"; "Maleficent Revealed"; "Aurora: Becoming A Beauty" and Deleted Scenes: "Stefan In King's Chamber," "Pixie Idiots," "Diaval asks about the Curse" "Pixies Seek Asylum" and "Suitor."
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Disney
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Planes: Fire & Rescue is a comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Bonus (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet) Features: Exclusive Animated Short - "Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular"; "Welcome to Piston Peak!"; "CHoPs" TV Promo; "Air Attack: Firefighters From The Sky"; Spencer Lee Music Video "Still I Fly"; Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions: "Honkers" & "Dusty's Dream No More"; Animated Shorts: "Dipper" & "Smokejumpers" and Exclusive DMA Discover Content: Animated Shorts: "Blade Ranger" "Piston Peak."
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Disney
Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition
Fall under the glorious spell of Disney's Ultimate Princess Fairy Tale! The magic is real as you experience all the pageantry and power on Blu-ray with incredible high-definition picture and thrilling, soaring sound. Beauty, wonder and adventure spin together in a grand legend that transcends time as Maleficent, one of animation's most spectacular villains, sends the kingdom's beloved Princess Aurora into an enchanted sleep. In a majestic story that awakens all your senses, Good Fairies arm brave Prince Phillip to defeat a fearsome fire-breathing dragon and rescue Aurora. But success in battle may not be enough, for the only way to awaken the Princess is with True Love's kiss. Create memories that will last a lifetime with Disney's illustrious Sleeping Beauty, a must-own for every family's classic collection! Bonus (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet) Features: 3 Deleted Scenes; “The Art Of Evil: Generations Of Disney Villains“; “@DisneyAnimation: Artists In Motion” - Extended Edition; “Once Upon A Parade”; “Beauty-Oke - Sing-Along”; “Picture Perfect: The Making Of Sleeping Beauty” adnd “Eyvind Earle: A Man And His Art.”
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Disney
Frozen: Sing-Along Edition
Experience Frozen, hit musical comedy from Walt Disney Animation Studios, like never before in an all-new, full-length Sing-Along Edition. Follow the lyrics with a bouncing Frozen snowflake. Join Anna as she sets off on an epic journey — teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and a snowman named Olaf — to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. It's pure enchantment — and full of fun for the whole family. Bonus (DVD + UltraViolet) Features: “Breaking The Ice”- Get to know Frozen from the snowy ground up as the filmmakers and songwriters discuss the story's roots and inspiration; the joys of animating Olaf, the little snowman with the sunny personality; and the creation of those amazing songs and the Mickey Mouse short "Get A Horse!"
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Universal
Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
Steven Spielberg is one of the most prolific directors in motion picture history. Spanning over 40 years, Steven's career began as a teenager when he made his way onto the Universal backlot and befriended studio executives. His passion and talent quickly developed, allowing him to direct an unprecedented number of blockbuster films. The Steven Spielberg Director's Collection showcases a selection of the Academy Award winner's unforgettable movies filmed for Universal, including his very first TV feature, Duel, and his first theatrical release, The Sugarland Express and blockbusters such as Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Also included in this incredible collection are such classics as Always and 1941 (theatrical and extended versions). Steven's work has captivated audiences worldwide and continue to set the standard for filmmaking. Blu-ray Bonus Features: Making-if Documentaries; Steven Spielberg Interviews; Behind-the-scenes Featurettes; Rare Archival Footage; Deleted Scenes and much more.
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Universal
Film Noir 10-Movie Spotlight Collection
Whether it's the driven private eye, the flawed hero or the hapless schemer, Film Noir movies feature a dark and suspenseful style of filmmaking and unforgettable characters that defined a genre laced with murder, jealousy, intrigue, corruption, forbidden romance and double-crosses. The classic films in this 10-movie collection represent one of the most intriguing eras in cinema history and includes such iconic motion pictures as The Big Clock, Black Angel, The Blue Dahlia, Criss Cross, Double Indemnity, The Glass Key, The Killers (1946), Phantom Lady, This Gun For Hire (1942) and Touch Of Evil.
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BBC
Sherlock: The Complete Seasons 1-3 - Limited Edition Gift Set
Sherlock Holmes was always a modern man in an old world. Now he's back as he should be: edgy, difficult and dangerous, as Benedict Cumberbatch shows him in a new, contemporary light. Sherlock can tell a software designer by his tie and an airline pilot by his thumb. He has a uniquely analytical brain unlike anyone else in the world – a man who staves off boredom by solving crimes. When a chance encounter brings soldier John Watson (Martin Freeman) into Sherlock's life, it's apparent the two men couldn't be more different, but Sherlock's intellect coupled with John's pragmatism soon forge an unbreakable alliance. Across three thrilling, scary, action-packed and highly-entertaining seasons, Sherlock and John navigate a maze of cryptic clues and lethal killers to get at the truth. With sparkling scripts and unforgettable performances, this is a contemporary take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories for a new generation. The finale of Season Three, “His Last Vow,” recently earned seven Primetime Emmy Award wins including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Benedict Cumberbatch, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Martin Freeman, and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special for Steven Moffat. Sherlock: The Complete Seasons 1-3 - Limited Edition Gift Set, including a brand new bonus disc that features never-before-seen footage, new commentary from Season Three, and interview footage never before released on disc. Bonus Blu-ray Features: Never-before-seen Outtakes from Seasons Two and Three; All new Commentary and an exclusive Deleted Scene from Season Three; BBC Archive Interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Coupling) and Sue Vertue (Coupling, The Vicar of Dibley) from the time of the initial Season One premiere; “Unlocking Sherlock”: a 60-minute behind-the-scenes program for Season Three and “Sherlock Uncovered”: three 25-minute behind-the-scenes featurettes, one for each episode of Season Three. Collectibles: Limited edition collectible busts of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) and two limited edition collectible Art Cards.
More about BluRay, DVD, Christmas Giftgiving guide, steven spielberg director's collection, Stanley Kubrick The Masterpiece Collection
 
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