Features / Home Entertainment

Christmas Gift Guide 2019: HBO’s True Detective Season 3 and It’s a Wonderful Life 4K UHD

While our Christmas Gift Guides have been recommending wonderfully unique T-Shirts from Last Exit to Nowhere, Gourmet Popcorn Subscriptions from Joe & Seph’s plus all kinds of great geekery from Firebox, we felt they wouldn’t be complete without some film and TV-greatness that just have to be on your lists, whether for yourselves or for someone in your life!

Let’s begin…

True Detective – Season 3

While none of us can forget the pure, outstanding Season 1 connection and story of Matthew McConaughey‘s Rust and Woody Harrleson’s Marty in True Detective, I felt (like many) that S2 lost that uniqueness despite trying something different, the result of which even involved creator Nic Pizzolatto regretting how it all came together. But now we’ve reached S3 and Pizzolatto took a breath, pushed back the micro-management of the studio and exec team to develop characters, story and bring in top-class actors to re-ignite one of the finest series of 2019.

True Detective Season 3 is a sprawling, ambitious narrative set over 35 years. It’s unquestionably rewarding, utterly captivating and packed full of remarkable performances from the ensemble cast, led effortlessly and intelligently by Mahershala Ali who stands out beyond belief, as if this really was shot over his entire lifetime. While some story elements were a little ‘pushed’ to the edge of reality, the series was encapsulated by a wonderful feeling of humanity and a deep insight into the mind of Ali’s Wayne Hays, his struggle through his life with the world around him, trying to be better than he might actually be and his emotive, intelligent relationship with Carmen Ejogo’s Amelia, a woman who’ll change his life.

Season 3 was also a showcase for how good Stephen Dorff can be, his character West following both the guidelines of the law but also of trying to a friend to Hays, despite him always fighting against the way things might just have to be. I’m being intentionally vague on the plot because I felt like this was a narrative to let yourself be engaged by and if there’s one thing I really love, it’s the feeling, the atmosphere and the characters with a story to tell.

Co-starring Mamie Gummer, Scoot McNairy, Ray Fisher and more, True Detective (S3) is awe-inspiring, full of great chemistry, tough relationships and an impressively tightknit narrative. I cannot recommend it enough and it’d be perfect as a gift for someone you know who loves a good mystery/crime-thriller/character study.

Buy it now: https://amzn.to/36jtUpD

It’s A Wonderful Life 4K UHD

Let’s be honest here, if you can get through Christmas without It’s A Wonderful Life then you obviously haven’t seen it yet. A true classic of the season and an absolute must-watch for all the family, for all the ages, and this year they’ve remastered to produce an outstanding quality 4K UHD version (that comes with Blu-ray as well), which means it’s been restored the film from the original negative and the new Blu-ray looks better than the last release, which is still smart considering it was released in 1946.

In the now classic tale of “an angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.”, It’s a Wonderful Life celebrates the very essence of good side of Christmas, showing Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey the real things he should be caring about at this time of year, when he thinks he’s worthless. Reports tell us that Paramount spent a good year using the original nitrate negative, along with two fine grain masters made in the 1940s, to make this as good as they could, despite some portions beginning to deteriorate, but it’s another beauty to own.

The 4K UHD including the originally-shot black and white film in 4K high definition, as well aa colourised version on Blu-ray, along with three special features new to 4K UHD disc: “Restoring a Beloved Classic,” “Secrets from the Vault,” and “It’s A Wonderful Wrap Party.”

Buy it now: https://amzn.to/353W1c3

 

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