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To help you find perfect gifts for the entire family, here's a must-have collection of films, books, toys and merch that should be on everyone's Christmas lists this year!
The Goonies - 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
Written by Stephen Speilberg and directed by Richard Donner, this 1985 family adventure has been re-released to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. The box includes a souvenir magazine with 150 photos, glossy storyboards and Empire's 20th anniversary reunion. The box itself looks great, though is a bit fiddly to open, so do be careful if you want to keep the rich stuff in pristine condition. The Goonies remains an absolute classic, not just of the 1980s, but of all time. The picture quality on Blu-ray is fantastic, making it another must-own this Christmas.
Back to the Future - The Ultimate Visual Guide (Book)
Released in time for Back to the Future Day in October, this hardback book features an absolute treasure trove of content on all 3 films and the expanded universe. With stories from the cast and crew, rare production insights and collectable souvenirs (such as a lenticular photo of the disappearing McFly family, Biff dollars and more), it really is the ultimate tribute to the classic trilogy.
The Inbetweeners - Complete Box Set (DVD)
The Inbetweeners follows the antics of four teenagers at Rudge Park Comprehensive. The hilarious British sitcom ran for 3 series, starring Simon Bird as Will, Joe Thomas as Simon, Blake Harrison as Neil and James Buckley as Jay. The movie was released in 2011, which became the most successful opening weekend for a comedy in the UK. Despite originally claiming it to be the final chapter, the film's success brought them back together in 2014 for a second theatrical adventure. This box set contains all 3 television series, both films and a bumper collection of extras. A must-have for bus w*nkers everywhere!
In Vacation, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) decides takes his wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and sons on a road trip to Wally World, 32 years after his Dad took the same trip in 1983's National Lampoon's Vacation. Cleverly poking fun at being a reboot, the film also successfully carves its own identity. There's plenty of nods to the past and cameos from the likes of Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Chris Hemsworth. Vacation is a laugh-out-loud disaster comedy where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Except the film itself, that is, which is fantastic fun. Blu-Ray extras include two featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Miranda - Complete Box Set (DVD)
Starring Miranda Hart, her self-titled TV series sees her play a socially awkward, accident prone joke shop owner with a fondness for singing Heather Smalls "Proud". Her mother Penny (Patricia Hodge) is keen for her to settle down and marry, but Miranda often prefers just being silly with lifelong friend Stevie (Sarah Hadland). The complete TV collection includes all 3 series plus the finale. Such fun!
The Good Dinosaur – 50 Piece Giant Floor Puzzle
In UK cinemas now, The Good Dinosaur is the latest heart-warming release from Disney Pixar. If you're looking for something to keep the kids (and adults) quiet on Christmas Day, why not get a puzzle from Jumbo Games. With brightly coloured pieces and a sturdy design, these family classics will never go extinct.
In a remote monastery, Shaolin Monks develop a unique form of self-defence called Kung Fu. After being almost wiped out by the Emperor, five survived to continue their legacy. This jaw-dropping new stage show combines physical feats of strength and agility with traditional music and historical authenticity. The gravity-defying cast are hugely talented with lightning fast moves and weapons in their arsenals. The movement is all seamlessly choreographed and perfectly in sync too, making it a spectacular visual feast for all the family.
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies 3D - Extended Edition (Blu-ray)
This is it – the final battle and epic conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy. This extended edition is presented in eye-popping 3D and contains over 11 hours of special features. Middle Earth is on the brink of a war that will ultimately decide its fate, with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) once again caught up in the chaos. On discs 4 and 5, Peter Jackson offers unrivalled access behind-the-scenes, showing just how detailed the costumes, sets and battles really are.
Hot Pursuit (Blu-ray)
Reese Withersoon plays an uptight, neurotic police officer, assigned to protecting a witness (Sophia Vergara) from the Cortez Cartel. As they travel across the country, their
personalities immediately clash, leading to some comical confrontations. To make matters worse, they soon become wanted by corrupt police too. Hot Pursuit is an enjoyable and silly comedy, that also includes a number of fun Blu-ray extras.
Halo: The Fall of Reach (Blu-ray)
Based on the novel of the same name, this animated release is inspired by the chart-topping videogame series. Serving as a prequel, it delves into the origin of Master Chief, the Spartans and their first encounters with the dastardly Covenant. While the animation is fairly wooden, the matte painting backgrounds give it an almost graphic novel feel. It’s worth noting that Halo: The Fall of Reach was previously included in the Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition. But for fans yet to see it, or anyone who enjoys military sci-fi adventures, it’s worth a look.
Ben Collins: Stunt Driver (Blu-ray)
Best known as The Stig on BBC's Top Gear, Ben Collins has also worked on movie franchises such as Batman, James Bond and Fast and Furious. Tasked with finding the ultimate hero car for a Hollywood stunt scene, it must be able to outrun tanks, helicopters and perform equally well off-road. What follows is a high-speed mission in some of the worlds best super cars, from 200mph NASCAR beasts to the McLaren 650s with liquid suspension and 1965 Ford Mustang; popularised by Steve McQueen, no vehicular stone is left unturned. Definitely one for the petrolhead in the family.
Star Wars Mugs
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to dominate the box office this month, Prezzybox.com now offer a range of officially licensed Star Wars mugs. These stylish beverage holders feature either a Storm Trooper, Darth Vadar revealing that he is your Father, or classic A New Hope artwork. Dishwasher safe, they are the perfect size to dunk a biscuit and keep hydrated after a long day of fighting the Empire. Buy them, you should.
Mad Max 3D (Blu-ray)
Directed by George Miller, Tom Hardy takes over Mel Gibson's iconic role as Max Rockatansky in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. When we first catch up with Max, he's being held captive by a savage gang called the War Boys. Cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) controls the limited water supply, giving the oppressed masses no choice but to worship and serve him. Charlize Theron co-stars as Imperator Furiosa, one of Joe's lieutenants. When Furiosa and Max cross paths, they team up to escape the savage army, survive the wastelands, and hopefully find salvation. From a fiery sandstorm to high-octane car chases and brutal fights, every scene is spectacular to behold. In pursuit for the entire film, the action, thrills and intensity barely lets up for a moment. The most visually explosive film of the year, it’s definitely worth watching this one in 3D.
Ted 2 – Extended Edition (Blu-ray)
Seth MacFarlane’s potty-mouthed bear is back with his thunder buddy John (Mark Wahlberg). This time round he has to prove he’s a real person in order to have a baby with his wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). The film also stars Amanda Seyfried and Morgan Freeman. Full of pop culture references and cameos, it's a shame that the Family Guy creator so often also resorts to racism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia in place of comedy. This extended edition also includes feature commentary, deleted scenes, gag reel, and several featurettes.
Roy Chubby Brown Live: Hangs up the Helmet (DVD)
Not for the easily offended, this brightly-coloured, blue comedian is back for his 25th release (or 26th if you count his 1993 film U.F.O.). Now in his 70th year, Brown certainly hasn't mellowed or indeed matured with age. While his brand of offensive comedy and expletive-laden songs isn’t to my tastes, he maintains a loyal following.
LEGO Elves is a fantasy world where Emily Jones has been magically transported through a portal in her grandmother’s garden. With the help of her new friends Aira, Naida, Farran and Azari, she hopes to somehow find her way back home. There’s several enchanting LEGO playsets to collect and build, including Aira’s Pegasus Sleigh, Skyra’s Mysterious Sky Castle, Naida’s Spa Secret and The Elves’ Treetop Hideaway. With easy-to-follow instructions, they are fun to build and play with. There’s also a free companion app to download to bring Elvendale even more to life.
I hope you've enjoyed my festive Gift Guide. Thanks for your continued support this year and be sure to join me in 2016 for another blockbuster year of beauty, fashion, movies, games, entertainment, Leisure and travel. Until then, have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Lots of love, Sarah O'Connell xxx
By Sarah O'Connell on 3rd December 2015