WhatCulture Christmas Gift Guide 2011 Part 1 - Blu-rays, DVDs & Film Merchandise

See what 30 must have Blu-rays and DVDs made the cut this year.... including Harry Potter Complete Box Set, Captain America & Transformers: Rise of the Fallen that we are giving away!

It's that time again! As November is drawing to a close and the shops are getting noticeably busier with each passing weekend, attention is now firmly turning to Christmas... which can only mean the return of our comprehensive Christmas Gift Guide. If you missed our inaugural edition last year, this is your helping hand for the best of what is out there for every film, video game, book and technology lover this festive season and is designed to point you in the right direction for your purchases but also so you can win one or two of these fabulous items for yourself. It's like window shopping/ideas generator for gifts but even cooler as you can win stuff too! Just like last year, the Gift Guide is made up of Simon and myself€™s personal geek interests and love of things we hope our girlfriend€™s or extended families might have bought us, and most of the time they are things we own and have consumed at first hand. The majority of the links will be directed to the U.K. retailers in question but there€™s lots of reasons to read in America as the majority of this stuff you can get over in the States also as long as you know the right places. Are you ready to enter our Christmas Gift Guide Wonderland then? Simon and I will be your Willy Wonka's as we delve into the first (and my favourite) part of the guide, the Blu-ray and DVD section. Our choices are broken down into three sections... Films, Box Sets/TV and Kids. Plus Simon has put together a cool merchandise section at the end. Enjoy our selection of the 30 best Blu-rays and DVDS that you should all own this Christmas;

Captain America: The First Avenger

We start then with my favourite movie of the summer, Captain America: The First Avenger. It€™s more or less the Captain America movie I€™ve been dreaming of ever since I stumbled across some comics in the early 90€s and for a while he became my favourite Marvel superhero. What I loved most about Cap was the era he belonged too, World War II, just a crazy time in our recent history and perhaps the most bizarre thing about Cap lore was that he was fighting Nazi€™s before America was. Joe Johnston's film captures perfectly everything that there is to love about Cap and unlike the other Marvel offering of 2011, this is a good old fashioned movie where the stakes feel real and the importance of events matter. I haven't yet got the Blu-ray in my hands but I can't wait to see if the textures of the period hold-up in 1080p and I can't wait to hear Joe Johnston's DVD commentary to hear the secrets, the reasons and the mysteries of the film. The saddest aspect of the film is that it's likely to be our only 100% World War II mission Captain America story... but that make this movie even more special. Speaking of special... the cast in this are incredible. This is a must have purchase and it's released in the U.K. on December 5th. (Matt's pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 2 DVD copies of Captain America: The First Avenger to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Captain America€™ with your name and address to enter.

Super 8

So often in cinema when talented directors get obsessed with the idea of homaging or sending a love letter to one of their childhood icons, the results turn out disastrous. Think Gus Van Sant and his Psycho remake for the worst that can happen (though on the flip side, Brian De Palma did get it right a fair few times with his Hitchock-esque passion projects). With Super 8, J.J. Abrams out Spielberg's Steven Spielberg and gives us a truly wonderful film, nostalgic for all the right films of the 80's (The Goonies, E.T. - where kids stumbled across an impossible and scary mystery) but also a different style of filmmaking. This is like all those adventure films you remember loving as a kid but directed with an added gravitas and emotional reality from a modern day maestro and with Abrams' rather prominent mean streak for horror (re-watch Cloverfield if you don't believe me) is as thrilling as everything you'd expect from a summer blockbuster. This is not a cute, cute movie. Super 8 is awesome. It's released December 12th but if you pre-order that will come plenty of time before Christmas. (Matt's pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 5 blu-ray copies of Super 8 to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Super 8€™ with your name and address to enter.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Blu-ray

Regardless of what you think of the substance of Michael Bay's latest (and possibly last?) addition to the Transformers franchise, it works well as a mindless, hyperactive popcorn flick. It is also the perfect present for actual teenage boys, and caters for the spirit of the teenager that resides in a good deal of the film-appreciating community (including Bay himself, quite obviously). The action is turned up to 11, with some impressively executed and typically bonkers set-pieces and appreciated on the right terms (and not the snobbish ones I admit I couldn't ignore when I first saw it at the cinema) it hits a lot of its marks. Bold, brash and brainless, it is a modern action fans' dream, demanding little of the audience apart from sitting back, switching your brain off and enjoying the silliness. (Simon's pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 5 dvd copies of Transformers: Rise of the Fallen to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Transformers" with your name and address to enter.

Thor

I'm eager to see Thor again. I didn't fall in love with it when I saw it in theatres and I much preferred Captain America in almost every single way but there was a lot that Kenneth Branagh did get right. The day he decided that Chris Hemsworth would be Thor was the day he got the most important decision absolutely spot on for his movie. Hemsworth so effortlessly plays Thor, you actually believe he came straight out of Asgard and into the movie. Thor is on this list because it is an important cog in the wheel for building to The Avengers. It is required viewing. (Matt's Pick) Buy it from HMV HERE.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Having grossed over $450 million worldwide and embarrassing the CGI naysayers with an intelligent and entertaining prequel/reboot that was one of the best the 2011 summer blockbuster season had to offer, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an easy recommendation on this list. The amazing film achieved two astonishing things that really can€™t be talked up enough€ 1) It stripped away the €˜man in suit€™ Apes which had been the signature of the series and the extraordinary make-up that it was best known for but incredibly introduced motion-capture apes that was unlike anything that had ever donned the screen. As stunning as Gollum was in the Lord of the Rings franchise ten years ago, this was a CGI creature who led the whole movie and made you forget he wasn€™t actually real. 2) It rejuvenated a creatively decades dead franchise and suddenly re-introduced a concept and played on ideas we probably hadn€™t thought about, opening up such large scope for future sequels. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is coming December 12th and it's easily the best Apes movie since the original. Pre-order to get for Christmas. (Matt's Pick)

The Inbetweeners Blu-ray

One of the surprise hits of the year on this side of the Atlantic, whose box-office take would have been no surprise at all to those who had grown to love the TV show's irreverent, adolescent spirit through the three series that aired on E4 and Channel 4 before the move to the big screen. On paper, the "TV Show Goes On Holiday" formula reads as a massive cliche, but those holidays have never quite looked like this, as the socially awkward foursome with delusions of normalcy (and occasionally rampant sexual appeal) headed on a typical post-school "Lads' Holiday". Yes, it would probably have worked as an extended TV special, but there was never any harm in showing it at the multiplex, and those who flocked to see it (it stayed in the UK charts for a comparatively massive amount of time) were rewarded with the same brand of adult humour that had made the show one of the most quotable comedy series in recent years. High art it isn't, but The Inbetweeners is nevertheless a hugely charming, very funny addition to the comedy market, and while it might just leave a few scars, it is also littered with moments that will be perpetually relived the same way "Friend!" is now. (Simon's pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 2 blu-ray copies of The Inbetweeners to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜The Inbetweeners with your name and address to enter.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Blu-ray

The best of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, On Stranger Tides initially disappointed me: it wasn't that the film was terrible as subsequent viewings have proved that it is a hugely enjoyable experience, it was more to do with the fact that it never quite atoned for the sins committed by the preceding two titles. Stripping away narrative complexity and jettisoning the flotsam and jetsam characters of Elizabeth and Will (who were the worst things about the sequels) served the film's objectives very well, and there is an impressive eye for exactly what made Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow such an engaging character. This is the Jack Sparrow show - the film's greatest successes are in the set-pieces designed to allow Depp to play around with his character - including the very impressive mermaid attack sequence and the airbound escape through London. Strictly speaking, there will be some who have tired of Depp's shtick by now - the character is after all very limited to a certain set of governing traits, and little progression - but then familiarity is what makes the Sparrow brand work, and On Stranger Tides is a definite must for any POTC fans. And judging by the box office return, there are a lot of you out there. (Simon's pick) Buy it from HMV HERE.

Horrible Bosses

We've all been there. Every single one of us, probably multiple times. What if... the reason for our nightmares could be wiped off the Earth. Just what if we could wipe that asshole manager, that bitch of a boss, to smithereens and never have to work for them again. How many times have you said... "I would enjoy this job if it wasn't for the boss" (though if any WhatCulture! writer has said that you are done for!). Horrible Bosses lets us play out that fantasy. It also happens to be one of the four best comedies of the summer, three of which were R-Rated and we just had to include them all onto this list. Horrible Bosses is hilariously funny, downright dirty (as everyone has said... Charlie Day's reason for wanting to kill his boss Jennifer Aniston is because she wants to screw him everyday at work... some might say they would actually kill for that!!) with glorious, pleasurable casting. Kevin Spacey basically re-tools his Swimming With Sharks persona boss of belittling everyone for his own amusement (there is no-one better on the planet at this), Colin Farrell goes totally goofy and Jennifer Aniston unleashes a sexual demon within her and finally, finally, forgets about the squeaky clean Rachel from Friends image she has clung on too for so long. This is the best thing Aniston has done in years. Horrible Bosses is just one of those comedies that will get at least two plays a year in this household and I love that this wicked movie came co-written by John Francis Daley, the kid now all grown-up from Freaks and Geeks. This also gets Seth Gordon, that energetic filmmaker who made The King of Kong back on the right track after temporarily selling himself out with Four Christmases. (Matt's Pick) Horrible Bosses is available on Blu-ray HERE and is an essential purchase for anybody who wants to stick it to the man. Attention Comp €“ We have 3 blu-ray copies of Horrible Bosses to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Horrible Bosses€™ with your name and address to enter.

Bad Teacher

Basically this is the female version of Bad Santa, but with a foul mouthed Cameron Diaz instead of the drunken Billy Bob Thornton, and where you might have had sympathy for the man who had given up on life... Diaz is pretty irredeemable in this movie as a greed merchant who can't get enough of the rich lifestyle she wants desperately to lead. It's a fun movie, especially if like me you have an affection with Diaz and have been a little bit obsessed with her since she made your eyeballs pop out in The Mask or made you want to kill Tom Cruise for being so stupid as to discard her as a 'friend with benefit' so quickly for Penelope Cruz in Vanilla Sky (though we can understand why it would be a difficult choice). Bad Teacher is funny, really, really funny and the effortlessly charming Jason Segel makes up for just how unpleasant some of the other characters are in this film. As school based comedies go, Bad Teacher is one of the best... crude, ridiculous and shocking! Pick it up at Amazon. (Matt's Pick)

Bridesmaids

The best of the R-rated comedy trio we've just featured and actually one of the my favourite movies of the whole year would you believe. Yes, this is consciously trying to be the female version of The Hangover but... why is that such a bad thing? Rather than that trying to be another version of Sex and the City, this is so multi faceted that there€™s something to appeal to every gender audience member. Full of side- splitting, laugh out loud moments, as well as enough drama and heartfeltedness to live up to the best of what Judd Apatow has produced so far, Bridesmaids is a real winner and one movie where it's ok for the guys to laugh along with it too. Excellent movie and some must have pink for your Blu-ray shelf. Buy it at Amazon HERE. (Matt's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 3 blu-ray copies of Bridesmaids to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Bridesmaids€™ with your name and address to enter.

Pulp Fiction

Debuted on UK Blu-ray a few weeks ago. Essential. Buy it from Amazon HERE. (Matt's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 3 blu-ray copies of Pulp Fiction to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Pulp Fiction€™ with your name and address to enter.

Jackie Brown

See above. Buy it HERE. (Matt's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 3 blu-ray copies of Jackie Brown to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Jackie Brown€™ with your name and address to enter.

Zookeeper Blu-ray

If you enjoy films like Night At The Museum and its sequel, and are enchanted by the comic charm of Kevin James, then the Zookeeper is a no-brainer. The humour is largely harmless - in fact this is exactly the kind of film that the term "Guilty Pleasure" was coined for: it makes no aspirations to grandeur, after all it is a film about talking animals giving a human dating advice, and if it is viewed in that spirit then there is definitely fun to be had. It is included here precisely because it was never given a chance by a lot of its target audience thanks to scathing reviews, despite a lot of charm and a genuinely likeable performance from James, who plays the unlucky, bumbling doofus like few before him. (Simon's Pick) Buy it from Amazon HERE.

The Hangover Part 2 Blu-ray

Everyone loved the Hangover, right? Well, this year we were invited to relive the entire thing all over again but in a brand new geographical setting. Same jokes, same character dynamics, pretty much the same arcs. But familiarity doesn't always breed contempt, and there is still enough off-kilter charm in the Wolf-pack's misadventures to make Part 2 a diverting and funny experience. It would never be as ground-breaking as the original (which took a premise we had seen before in the "classic" Dude Where's My Car and made it feel fresh thanks to exceptional characters and an easy dynamic between them). That is why the similarity of the sequel doesn't matter - though it took me some time to realise - it doesn't matter at all that we have seen these characters before, and in the same circumstances, because it is those moments of adversity that define their success. We would never want a sequel that shifted the goal-posts completely and surplanted the Wolfpack in a completely different plot, because they probably wouldn't be as funny or as appealing. Repeated viewing does a lot for The Hangover Part 2, so I'm encouraging it on as part of this Guide in the hope that some others will share the same epiphany that I did. It's simple, harmless comic pleasure, and at the end of the day, what's wrong with that?! (Simon's Pick) Pre-order the December 5th release from Amazon HERE

Sherlock Holmes

With Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on the horizon for release next month, there's no better time for you to re-visit Guy Ritchie's greatest achievement of his career with the 2009 original. I bet, like me until recently, you haven't seen it in the two years since release but I re-visited Holmes recently and it's a good movie which results purely on the shoulders of Robert Downey Jr's flamboyant and rather awesome take on the super sleuthing Baker Street detective. Technically this entry is a suggestion for your Christmas stocking, either as a suggestion to a love one for yourself, or for you to give to a film geek but trust me... if you buy Sherlock Holmes today and watch it tomorrow, you'll be dying to see A Game of Shadows next month. Buy it at Amazon for £9.99 HERE. (Matt's Pick) Essential Box Sets

An Idiot Abroad 2

You've seen Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant torture Karl Pilkington in HD on tv but now you can relive the head with the f**king oranges' globe trotting adventures in blu-ray. We'll all buying this aren't we...nuff said. Buy it HERE. (Matt's Pick)

Harry Potter Collection

Ten years and eight years in the making, the Harry Potter movie sensation is now done and dusted (unless JK Rowling suddenly develops an unhealthy habit that burns through her ungodly amount of money and needs to resurrect the series), and the complete blu-ray collection allows fans to enjoy the magic in the finest format possible. Watching all the way through from the beginning with The Philosopher's Stone, it is easy to see why fans made the films a phenomenon in their own right, with a host of the finest British film-making and acting talent on show throughout the eight films. The films are also surprisingly well crafted for a family franchise, with some stunning visuals and effects and an eye for story that arguably outshines JK Rowlings' (some of the editorial and story decisions make for far better flow) and are a must for fans of the Potter universe. (Simon's Pick) Buy it HERE.

Star Trek: The Original Series

Now this box set will set you back a few pennies more than the other suggestions on this list but what you are getting here is some of the best stories in science fiction history. This is the ground-breaking three seasons of the first adventures of the Enterprise in glorious HD, which along with the overbearing score, makes every individual episode feel like a cinematic triumphant in and of itself. Star Trek of course means so much to so many people. Whether you love the character types and their chemistry together that builds after every episode, the social, political and cultural themes behind every adventure, the stories, the sci-fi elements mixed with action, fantasy and adventure. Memorable episodes like the incredible Richard Matheson written episode The Enemy Within or the Khan episode Space Seed and The City on the Edge of Forever... this is some of the very best episodes ever committed to television. If you buy one set this Christmas, this is the one. Zavvi have it for £106.95. (Matt's Pick)

Clint Eastwood DVD Collection

35 films, 35 years, and hardly a missed beat among them. That is the kind of rap-sheet that determines exactly why Clint Eastwood is seen as a living legend among film-makers. Able to hop genres with refreshing abandon and ease, and still entirely capable of putting in acting performances that powerhouse his influence over on-screen co-stars, Eastwood is genuinely one of the greatest working talents right now. This DVD collection, which includes the best of the director's work in a collection of astonishing scope, including the excellent companion film The Eastwood Factor, is like no other boxset released. Certainly nothing has ever rivalled it as a behemoth celebration of one talent, and it is available at a cost that effectively works out as far less than £2 a film. With Unforgiven, the Dirty Harry movies and Mystic River among the stellar achievements included, that's not a deal to ignore. (Simon's Pick) Buy it HERE. Attention Comp €“ We have 1 box set of Clint Eastwood to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Clint Eastwood€™ with your name and address to enter.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

All this talk in the past few years of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot has me terribly nervous but thank God for DVD box sets. Thanks to this new and much more affordable packaging (a steal of a price really at £48.99 for the COMPLETE set) I can watch the weird and wonderful adventures of Sarah Michelle Gellar's kick-ass, vamp staking heroine anytime I want. This was the show that defined how long term episodic storytelling could work on t.v. and is the pinnacle, along with Lost, of how to build and grow characters. £48.99 for 144 episodes of Buffy. Daylight robbery. A must-have this Christmas. (Matt's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have the Buffy the Vampire Slayer box set to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Buffy€™ with your name and address to enter.

Angel

A brand new package, and a much healthier price tag for the Buffy off-shoot sees it join the original supernatural sci-fi series on this guide - anything sub-£50 for a five season collection these days is good going, and it will afford new fans who didn't quite get on board with David Boreanaz's star vehicle first time round with an affordable opportunity to revisit and rediscover the under-rated pleasures the show packs into its 111 episodes. You can now buy Angel & Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the price that one individual of these box sets would have cost. You'd be nuts not too! Buy it HERE. (Simon's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have this Angel box set to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Angel€™ with your name and address to enter.

Superman Collection

Not only is this blu-ray collection the finest any Superman film has ever looked, it is also the most comprehensive celebration of the franchise as a whole, with a host of excellent special and additional features rounding out the package. With next year seeing the release of the latest reboot for the Man of Steel, this is the perfect opportunity to jump back into bed with the franchise so far, reliving the thrills and spills of Christopher Reeve's time in the famous red cape and rediscovering the cult gems that are the third and fourth instalments. A genuine essential for blu-ray collectors. It is one of the definitive comic book saga's. Buy it HERE. (Simon's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have a blu-ray box set of Superman: The Motion Picture Trilogy to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Superman€™ with your name and address to enter.

Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Collection

There were two monumental moments for blu-ray afficionados this past year: the first was of course the release of the Star Wars Complete Saga Collection, which is rightly included here, and the second was of the film collection that arguably stands as the greatest modern parallel to George Lucas' sci-fi opera. Both Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings were ground-breaking, monumental achievements; watershed moments in the history of cinema, which both advanced the technology of the artform for the benefit of future generations. And frankly- Empire Strikes Back aside - Peter Jackson's magnum opus trilogy are the better films: they are incredibly layered, the explicit result of a film-making group with an extremely tight grip on not only their game but also the original source work. On blu-ray, and in their extended forms, the films are a mammoth demand, but they reward precisely as much as the viewer is willing to give to them, and it is a travesty that they were not handed more Oscars (despite the almost clean sweep for Return of the King). Seriously buy them now (at £40, you'd be a fool not to). (Simon's Pick)

Jurassic Park Collection

There are few modern cinematic moments as simple and as enduring as the image of a glass of water rippling, and yet in that one moment, the magic of Jurassic Park is completely captured. Despite being a film about dinosaurs, and introducing some eye-popping visual effects for the time - and indeed since, as no film has yet done dinosaurs as well - the success of the first film relied entirely upon the simple mechanics that have driven cinema forward since the age of film began. Good acting, good story-telling and atmospherics. By the time the first dinosaurs appear, we are already completely hooked, and then when they do, the effect is infinitely magnified. Even now I get goosebumps at the appearance of the T-Rex, and that moment, and indeed all of the rest of the film's iconic moments, which goes some way to atoning for the poorer sequels. The Lost World is entertaining enough, but by 3, the artfulness was on the wane in favour of empty spectacle. Still, a thoroughly entertaining dino-caper all the same. (Simon's Pick) Buy it HERE

Family Guy Season 11

The latest addition to the Family Guy franchise includes some of the show's most controversial and close to the bone moments, but it also features some of the best episodes. It was around this stage in the Simpsons' genealogy that things started to get a little tatty and over-familiar, but Family Guy has always had a more satirical eye than Matt Groening's most famous creation and a much more joyous sense of irreverence. The characters remain hilarious and occasionally hilariously wrong, especially Mr Herbert and Quagmire, and the storylines throw in some variety to keep the show as appealing (in fact more) than in the earliest series. Despite the presence of South Park, The Simpsons and stable mates The Cleveland Show and American Dad, Family Guy remains the best "adult" cartoon on the market. Buy it HERE (Simon's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 3 dvd copies of Family Guy to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Family Guy€™ with your name and address to enter. Ok so I'm slightly cheating here as this made it on to last year's Christmas Gift Guide but recently the set has been dropped in price so much that anyone who was foolish enough not to pick it up last year but surely do so now. The set is retailing right now at £16.99 which makes it less than £5 per Alien blu-ray disc for what was the absolute best home video set released in 2010. The picture quality and sound is epic and stunning and there's a plethora of extras and supplementary material to keep you coming back and replaying this for years to come. For me, this is the must have geek set for Christmas €“ Ridley Scott€™s original claustrophobic nightmare is the director€™s finest achievement and then all the subsequent sequels are so much a product of their respective auteurs and are all so widely different that the franchise (until it meets those Predators) never feels tired. It€™s always growing, always changing, always moving forward. Every different film has an agenda with fascinating stories and unique film styles. There's no better way to build up to what Ridley Scott has in store for us with Prometheus than to start off with this set. (Matt's Pick) For Kids

The Lion King 3D

A bona-fide classic of any medium, The Lion King is arguably the finest of all of Disney's modern stable of animated films and the recent 3D release was a rare moment of success for a medium that has picked up a lot of criticism since it began making its mark on the cinematic world. The 3D re-edit offered a whole new viewing experience for the film, adding texture and depth to a traditional 2D image, and also adding an extra level of high-definition gloss that makes the blu-ray one of the finest yet released from the Mouse House. The story is universally appealing, with the kind of well-sown characters that make Disney such a compelling and marketable brand, and the extra punch of quality comes thanks to probably the finest soundtrack to ever feature on a Disney film. Almost every song, from "Hakuna Matata" to "Be Prepared" are instant classics, and instantly recognisable at that, and they have never sounded so good as in high-definition on the blu-ray. An essential purchase no matter what time of year it is. Buy it from Amazon HERE. (Simon's Pick) Attention Comp €“ We have 3 Blu-ray copies of The Lion King to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜The Lion King€™ with your name and address to enter.

Marley & Me: The Puppy Years

Marley & Me is rightly considered a phenomenon, thanks to its unrivalled ability to manipulate its audience of dog lovers, and a devastating finale that should probably have carried a warning message. Given how well the original sold, especially on home release, it's not at all surprising to see a prequel/side story which tells a story set during Marley's younger years. It's much more consciously aimed at a younger demographic this time around and it's included here because it's also one of those sugar-soaked family films that people are invariably more willing to watch at this festive time of year. So if you know a dog lover, or anyone who loved the original film with the kind of passion that clouds real judgement (and there were a lot of them out there), this prequel has to go down as an essential. While it might not hit the highs of the original, it's a no-brainer of a stocking filler. Buy it from Amazon HERE. (Simon's Pick)

The Smurfs

Following Yogi Bear to a contemporary remake, The Smurfs easily surpassed that horribly off-putting "comedy" that proved little other than that Dan Akroyd is being badly advised at the minute, and introducing a whole new generation of younger fans to the very charming cartoon original, which is no bad thing. The real-world/animation split worked just as well as the popular Chipmunks franchise, and the decision to include Katy Perry as one of the voice actors was inspired, given how animated her voice is at the best of times. The Smurfs is the perfect Boxing Day film - distracting enough for the kids to ensure that the adults can lie back nursing a food hangover on the sofa in new slippers, and harmlessly funny enough to inspire a few warming chuckles as well. You just can't knock the spirit with which it was made, and it is undoubtedly one of the better child-friendly offerings of the year. (Simon's Pick) Buy it HERE.

Zhu Zhu Pets: Quest For Zhu

Kids love Zhu Zhu pets - seriously, those little hamsters on wheels are big business, and now the critters have made the step-up into animated films. Given how attached children tend to get to anything vaguely cute with a face that they can give a name to, this was something of an inevitability. The little toys are everywhere these days, and were probably the biggest seller of last Christmas, with sales this year expected to continue impressively, so why not offer your Zhu Zhu loving child something slightly different this year, with this first forray into the straight to video market. To adult eyes it's probably little more than promotional fluff designed to sell more of the toy, but to younger kids the magic will still be just as engaging. After all, since when does a four year old care about rampant consumerism? (Simon's Pick) Buy it from HMV HERE.

Movie Merch

It's not all just about the films themselves, our favourite Movie T-shirt makers at ShotDeadInTheHead, who blend irreverent humour with classic, simple designs inspired by movies have the following four designs on sale this Christmas, each of which win the Simon Gallagher seal of nostalgic perfection approval.

Alan Partridge Radio Norwich T-Shirt

Available to buy here.

Hill Valley 1955 T-Shirt

Available to buy here.

Gizmo T-Shirt

Available to buy here.

Flanagan's Bar T-Shirt

Pick up one here.

Goonies Never Say Die Bag

Nostalgic online geniuses RetroRules are currently offering this fantastically cool Goonies shoulderbag in time for the Christmas market - a must for fans of the iconic 80s family film, as well as those who like to carry things around. At just £22.99, it's a snip, and is the perfect way to obviously pledge your allegiance to the Goonies cause. Great simple design as well, preferring the less is more approach that typifies why I love RetroRules' inventory choices. Buy it here. Attention Comp €“ We have one of these lovely bags to give away to our U.K. readers. Simply email contest@obsessedwithfilm.com with the heading €˜Goonies Never Say Die€™ with your name and address to enter. And finally, what says Christmas better than this little lot, inspired by the catch-phrase of the year from the blonde-coiffed hero of ITV2's flagship Celebrity Juice...? Buy a set here. A perfect gift bundle for anyone who appreciates the finer side of Leigh Francis' comic genius. Phew, that's our Blu-ray / DVD / Merchandise part of our guide complete. It was yet another slobberknocker of an effort but finally complete! Check back in a few days to find out what titles made the cut for our Gaming Section! We may even have one or two consoles to give away...
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Editor-in-chief
Editor-in-chief

Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.