Feature Blogs

Stuff Your Stocking: Xmas Gift Ideas

Created on Tuesday, 05 December 2006 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey


Christmas is upon us. More importantly for those in the film industry, the award season is about to kick off. Those in the know have a fair idea which films and performances will contend this year but there are always surprises.


For those that won’t be staying up late to see if we’ve earned a Golden Globe nomination (myself included), you might well be thinking what to buy people for Christmas. Many DVDs are given as gifts and so I thought that this week, I’d help people with my own personal recommendations. Take them for what you will…


For those who love a true-blue dinky-dye Aussie comedy try… Kenny.


It’s the highest grossing Australian film of the past 3 years and has a loveable style of humour very similar to The Castle. I know that everyone has a different sense of humour but it’s hard to believe that anyone won’t find this entertaining. Out


For those who love a fantastic feel-good movie try… The World’s Fastest Indian.


This was the feel good release for me in 2006. Set in the 1960s, it tells the true story of New Zealander Burt Munro and his journey to the United States where he would compete in motorcycle races. Did I mention that he’s over 60-years-old? Inspirational stuff!


For those who like a great black comedy try… The Squid And The Whale.


Nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay, this warped tale of a family going through a divorce is both hilarious and emotional. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney star but beware, it is off-beat.


For those with kids looking for some peace and quiet try… Cars.


It’s the best animated film of the year. It may also be the only animated film this year what doesn’t feature talking animals. Kids should love it and adults may find it equally enjoyable.


For those who like their quality documentaries try… Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room.


As an accountant, this film may mean more to me that it will for others. That said, this tale of corporate greed, fraud and manipulation will leave many people shocked. It went from the 7th largest country in America to being worth nothing.


For those who like their foreign language cinema try… Hidden.


Hidden won best director at the Cannes Film Festival and best film at the European Film Awards. It’s the tale of a married couple who are left mysterious video tapes at their front tape. The tapes are of them going about their daily lives. Are they being stalked? Who is sending the tapes? You’ll have to watch this strange French thriller to find out.


For those who like a good biopic try… Capote.


This is probably my favourite film of 2006. It looks at the fascinating life of Truman Capote and the events which led to the publishing of his most famous book, In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman (who has topped my favourite actors list for the past 3 years) won the Academy Award for best actor.


For those who like a crime-drama which keeps them guessing try… Inside Man.


Well, it might not keep you guessing if you’re very astute. This is one reason it’s so good though. There are enough clues to enable you to pick the ending. Starring Clive Owen, Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster, Spike Lee’s film shows how to commit the perfect bank robbery. Is there such a thing?


For those who like something a bit controversial try… V For Vendetta or Syriana.


V For Vendetta doesn’t promote terrorism but it certainly puts a different spin on it. Australian Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman star in a futuristic film set in London, which is now ruled by a dictator. Syriana looks at the corruption which has engulfed the oil industry. With a stellar cast, it won George Clooney the best supporting actor Oscar.


For those who want to discover a new TV series on DVD try… Curb Your Enthusiasm or Entourage.


Curb Your Enthusiasm is written by and stars Larry David, one of the feature writers of Seinfeld. I believe it to be funnier than Seinfeld because it pushes the envelope with more profanity and sexual connotations. All 5 series can now be bought on DVD. Entourage tells the story of a fictitious Hollywood star trying to make it big in Hollywood. It seems to be very loosely based on Leonardo DiCaprio’s own career. With plenty of celebrity cameos and a brilliant performance from Jeremy Piven (who plays an agent), it’s great to see what goes on behind the scenes.


That’ll do me for another week. If you can’t find anything decent amongst by 12 suggestions, then buy a foot massager or something.