We at Killahbeez always get asked what we would recommend to buy for so-and-so for the holidays. So to help all the holiday shoppers out there we’ve released a guide of items that are on our personal wish list and may match up with the person you’re looking to buy a gift for. The first guide went out yesterday with Mona Alice Oakenfold breaking down her Too Hot Not To Cop holiday gift guide, today the Bloated Penguin, Van and myself have put together a list of video games and movies that are must have’s for that film buff or gamer in your life.
Bloated Penguin’s Top 5 Games:
The anticipation for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 is creating a global sickness and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people suddenly came down with a case of H1N1 on November 11th. As a holiday gift COD4MW2 is ideal. Spring for the Prestige Edition and you’ll also nab a pair of working night-vision goggles (because you need them – trust me). It will allow your recipient to play the game to death over the holidays and master the tricks of the trade before having to head back to work or school. From a multiplayer sense, this is going to be HUGE. Clans are already being formed and global rivalries are starting to brew. As a multiplayer first person shooter, COD4MW2 is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Buy Here
Guitar Hero blasts through our apartments; Rock Band keeps the cops on speed dial for your neighbors and now DJ Hero can give you the ultimate party game. Activision has basically taken another successful arcade music game and console-ised it again, but you really can’t complain. With artists such as Daft Punk, Jay-Z and DJ Shadow attached to the game, you’ll be able to pretend you ARE a real DJ. Lets not get confused here though. DJ Hero is not a game for DJ’s. DJ Hero is a game that lets non-DJ’s pretend they know what they are doing; in the exact same way Guitar Hero lets people think they are musicians. As a fun goof-around party game, DJ Hero is ideal. The music is modern, it allows for some creativity and after playing a few times, is actually quite easy to pick up. Again, if you become awesome at DJ Hero it does not mean you are a DJ… Just sayin’ Buy Here
Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story – Nintendo DS
The DS is still my handheld console of choice. I’ve toyed around with the PSP and a few “games,” on the iPhone, but the DS still rules in my mind. The third installment of the modern day Mario RPG, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story take DS players on a crazy adventure throughout the Mushroom Kingdom and actually into Bowser’s body. Yes, you read that correctly. The Italian plumbing brothers shrink down to microscopic size and fight their way through Bowser’s insides. The story is very Super Mario Bros. in that Bowser once again tries to kidnap the princess. This time though, Bowser is thwarted and brainwashed by and old enemy. The traditionally side-scrolling franchise goes ¾ RPG and adopts the turn-based fighting method. Progression is much in the same as players earn Bro Points to increase levels of strength. I like games that I can spend a lot of time with and have multiple options so Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story is a near perfect choice. For those buying holiday gifts for people who travel, this game is great. Buy Here
Batman: Arkham Asylum has already been rated as one of the best games of the year. Released a few months ago, the game follows the world’s greatest detective through a series of levels deep within Gotham City’s institution for the insane. It’s no surprise then that he inevitably runs into his greatest nemesis, The Joker. As a brand new saga in the Batman video game franchise, the story is great to follow for any DC fan. From a production standpoint Arkham Asylum is nearly flawless. With a great voice cast lead my Mark Hamill as the Joker once again, Batman: Arkham Asylum plays more like a movie than a video game. Players can roam around Arkham looking for items and battling crazy folks as well as play as The Joker – a twist gamers have been waiting for. Even though this game has been out for a while, I still suggest picking it up for someone if they are new to the PS3. This is a great game to introduce someone to the console. Buy Here
Halo 3 ODST – XBOX 360
It’s strange, after playing (and sucking horribly at) every Halo game I really ran out of enthusiasm for the latest release from Bungie. But it didn’t take long to get back into the mindset of the Halo Universe. Halo 3: ODST isn’t just another addition or money grab for the franchise, this newest in the Halo series actually has some significant improvements in my mind. With a brand new storyline to follow in campaign mode, Halo 3: ODST has also created a new way of fighting with the 4-Way Coop Firefight. Okay, maybe it’s not groundbreaking as it’s basically Horde, but its still fun to team up with some friends and blast the shit out of a bunch of aliens. Buy Here
DT’s Top 5 Must Have Games:
In Assassin’s Creed 2 you play a “new hero by the name of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young Italian nobel, and a new era, the Renaissance. The story in this one is one of family, vengeance and conspiracy all set in Italy.
That’s the press stuff, from my perspective the game looks sick. The first Assassin’s Creed was a huge favorite of mine and I spent hours playing and re-playing it over and over. I would expect the same from Assassin’s Creed 2 as well. Slick graphics, decent storyline and the movement in the game are hard to ignore for any gamer. Buy Here
Available for PS3 and Xbox 360.
This game picks up 2 years after the events of the first Drake’s Fortune. The main character, of course, is Nathan Drake and he’s convinced by fellow friends / thieves that he should join them in their latest quest to look for Marco Polo’s lost treasures. You soon find that you’re looking for the Cintamani Stone from Shambhala. Throw in a few familiar characters, new ones and new villains and you have your basic plot. The storyline is actually pretty good and kept me pretty interested throughout. The gameplay is essentially the same as the first one.
Unlike the first one though, this one is a little bit longer, which is a good thing, and there’s multi-player options available, both co-op where you can play with a friend and competitive. These are pretty good addons that help extend the life of the game. Another cool thing is that when you collect treasures and get trophies you make money, with that money there’s a store where you can buy weapons, different outfits / skins (play as Elena) and cheats, like one-shot kills and unlimited ammo. The store factor makes you want to replay the game again so that you can outfit yourself with some cool weapons that you didn’t use during your first run. Buy Here
Available only for the PS3
A season full of sequels and these sequels don’t suck. The latest to this list is Modern Warfare 2 part of the Call of Duty series, but looks like they decided to drop the “Call of Duty” title and just call it Modern Warfare, though they have tons of material that conflict with that thought, especially on their website.
Aside from all that, fans of the Call of Duty series will know what to expect. A GOOD ASS SHOOTING GAME! Yeah you play through the storyline and such, but this is truly one game, for me anyways, where I pop it in and go directly to the online multi-player competitive modes. The first Modern Warfare had a ridiculous shelf life for me, which is something I always look for in a game. I’m not looking to spend $60 – 80 just to play a game for a week and not be able to extend that playing time any more. The online community for Modern Warfare is huge as well, so you can always find games to play in anytime of the day. Buy Here
Available for PS3 / Xbox 360
One of my favorite games that I played this year was Batman: Arkham Asylum. Batman has always been one of my favorite superheros, 2nd only to Spider Man. The love affair with Batman started in the summer of ’89 when my cousin took me to the local theatre to watch the movie. That film got me hooked to the character. Over the years we’ve seen numerous Batman titles on video gaming systems, but let’s be honest, they were all pretty damn forgettable. None of them did what this game did and that’s making you feel like you were actually Batman. The glyding, fighting system and the fluid movements make this a favorite of mine from this year and a perfect pickup for any gamer. Buy Here
Available for PS3 / Xbox 360
I hate scary games, I hate scary movies, I hate when shit pops out of nowhere. PERIOD. But I’ve always seem to love the Resident Evil series despite the above hates, the game and story line has always drawn me. I have to be honest though, any time before I play a RE title, I have to mentally prepare myself for the scary shit, it’s the only way I can get through the game. I hear creepy music and it’s over, my character is hiding in the corner so that I can cess out the situation around me. Yes I am a dork, but like I said I hate scary things. This game is fun from beginning to end and has a great co-op mode as well so that you can play with a friend online. Definitely recommended for fans of Resident Evil or just like scary shit in general. Buy Here
Films, TV Series
Van’s Top 5:
Once upon a few years ago, there was a scifi by the name of Casshern by director, Kazuaki Kiriya. I wasn’t a fan. But Goemon’s trailer simply blew me away with the cgi ninja action. The story is loosely based on the shinobi/thief, Goemon, that attempted to murder Toyotomi Hideyoshi but failed and was burnt in a giant pot of oil. Having seen the trailer, I am almost obsessed enough to buy the ultimate blu-ray edition. But with region encoding discrepancies that wouldn’t be a reasonable choice.
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the few Gods of anime. Osamu Tezuka and Satoshi Kon are the other two. With heavy influence on the environment and a twist of fantasy, his feature films always leave an audience feeling good about having attended a Studio Ghibli experience. Shamefully, Ponyo is the one movie I have not seen yet and I’m waiting on the dvd. The official American dvd release is in March 2010, but heres a link to a region free dvd.
Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy is iconic and synonymous to the word, anime. The 2009 remake did not disappoint and I would love to see it over and over again. As a matter of fact, I’m on ebay right now trying to pick up some Astroboy goods. Yep, its that good. Now as far as a stocking stuffer goes, the original 1963 series broken down into 2 mini dvd sets completing the series. Currently, both volumes can be purchased at either Best Buy or Amazon.
Two thoughts, saw this twice and Quentin Tarantino is back. Coming out from hibernation and fulfilling a nazi hatin’ jews dream is the ultimate action flick that doesn’t skimp on the gore. Whether you’re faint of heart or not, I still recommend watching Inglourious Basterds. Buy Here
For those that didn’t appreciate Star Trek before, this 2009 prequel may make the layman do some reverse engineering and dig for episodes when Picard wasn’t Professor X and Janeway wasn’t.. doing whatever she’s doing today. This is another movie, where the cast and director sold me right off the bat. Buy Here
DT’s Top 5:
I just recently saw this movie and have to admit, I loved it. I love Zooey Deschanel and goddamnit Joseph Gordon-Levitt was brilliant in it as well. This is not a love story, and they state that at the beginning of the film as well. To me this film does what very little or no other love gone wrong story does and that’s showing that the main character eventually moves on and comes out a changed, but better person and the life continuums move forward. So many films just leave it at the relationship didn’t work out and that’s how it ends, leaving a blah taste in my mouth. I don’t want to see that shit, whereas in 500 Days of Summer, I felt like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character Tom Hansen, could’ve been me and actually was me at one point of my life and made the film that more enjoyable as it was totally relatable. Buy Here
Star Trek (Blu-ray)
I was never a super fan of Star Trek, though growing up I did watch it a lot, A LOT, but I didn’t consider myself hardcore by any means. For example I can say I’ve never seen any of the Star Trek movies, just the tv series. This was no ordinary Star Trek movie, it does a great job in establishing the origins of the crew and how they came about to working with one another. The story line for me, was pretty good and the action sequences weren’t overdone ala Michael Bay styles. Definitely a great addition to any Trekie or film fan period. Buy Here
I came across this film, basically through boredom. I read the back and thought it was interesting and decided to watch it. I’m glad I did too, the movie is really a refreshing story and really well captured by director Cary Fukunaga. There’s two story lines and eventually they intersect and shows how one affects the others and the following consequences that develop. Buy Here
I was debating back and forth between which tv series I would place in this slot, but after finishing season 3 of Mad Men, I had to go with the Mad Men series. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now and you’re most likely able to catch season 3 replaying for the next bit. I love the writing on the show, I love Don Drapers’ coolness and his I-don’t-giveafuck attitude. If you’ve not seen the show, it’s a look inside the advertising business in the 50’s / 60’s and just how things went down back then. So pick up seasons 1 and 2 on the cheap and then catch season 3 while you can before it disappears and you have to wait for it on dvd. Buy Here
Here’s a pretty damn cool documentary. At the age 14, best friends Robb and Lips made a pact to rock out as team forever and formed a band called Anvil. Anvil. as it’s told, influenced a a whole musical generation that includes bands like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax to name a few, but they never hit it big. That doesn’t stop them from dreaming and working to achieve their goal. This documentary was totally inspirational and ya, I won’t lie, I cried a little. You definitely have to check this out. Buy Here
Bloated Penguin’s Top 10:
Did you cry? No seriously, did you at least drop a single tear? Up, in my mind was one of 2009’s best flicks (review here). Pixar just seems to be getting better and better and when they release DVD and Blu-Ray versions of their movies, they never skimp on the extras. When Up is released on Blu-Ray on November 10th, fans can buy a 4-disc set that includes the feature in both DVD and Blu-Ray forms, a digital copy to take on the road and an entire disc devoted to the extras. If you didn’t have a chance to check this out in the theaters, make sure to at least borrow it from a friend and never give it back. It’ll be worth it. Buy Here
I think Woody Allen’s movies lately have become a genre of themselves. Basically he has a particular style that a lot of people try to emulate (never well) and a different way of telling a story through dry humor. His classics like Annie Hall really define this type of storytelling and Woody’s latest movie Whatever Works fits the bill. When you take a brilliant storyteller like Woody Allen and team him up with a comedic genius like Larry David, this is what you get. Whatever Works is look into how we influence each other and then grow as people. Larry David plays a once physicist professor now chess instructor who suffers from panic attacks named Boris. Boris is divorced, disabled and disconnected from the world until meets Melodie played by Evan Rachel Wood. Melodie changes his life, but in doing so, actually adopts some of Boris’ tendencies and thoughts on the world. If you love Woody Allen, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Whatever Works. If you don’t love Woody Allen, then I still suggest picking this up so you can at least pretend to love him and sound smarter. Buy Here
Hank Moody is my muse. Ever since the pilot, Californication has been one of the best shows on television hands down. David Duchovny plays a successful novelist named Hank Moody. Hank’s tendencies range from adultery to self-loathing, but his personal journey to be the best man he can be is what makes this show amazing. With a great cast that includes Evan Handler and Pamela Adlon, Californication has the perfect mix of sex, drugs, smack talk and rhetoric. If you know someone who both hates and loves themselves; Californication is the show for them. Buy Here
Chances are you, or someone you know already owns all of the previous 5 Harry Potter flicks. Although Half-Blood wasn’t the best of the bunch (review here), at the very least it is needed to complete the collection. What is interesting about this release is that not only will you get the feature, but Harry Potter DVD’s and now Blu-Rays come full of extras. Much like the Watchmen Blu-Ray, Half-Blood contains Maximum Movie Mode (which looks like its becoming a Warner Bros Blu-Ray staple) where viewers can get a full interactive experience complete with split screen capability where the directors can explain certain shots. For the film buff and the Harry Potter maniac, Half Blood Prince is a good pick up. Buy Here
The runaway TV hit of 2009 has to be Fox’s Glee. The ragtag group of high school outcasts complete with a wheelchair kid, a gay kid, a stutterer and an over-achieving performer have sung their way to top of the iTunes download charts. Although this DVD be won’t be released until December 29th, it might be a good idea to pre-order this as a gift for a fan. There’s no doubt that Glee Season 1 Volume 1: Road to Sectionals will draw doorstep lineups, so skipping the crowd alone is a gift already. Buy Here
The first season of Fringe has been on DVD and Blu-Ray for a few months now, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good gift idea. Fringe is probably the best show for someone who is interested in the sci-fi genre, but doesn’t consider themselves hardcore (Killahbeez’s 8 things to know about Fringe). For example, I would get this for someone who knows Skully’s first name, but not for someone who refers to her as, “the redhead.” The first season of Fringe was full of twists and smart dialogue that bring a much-needed quirkiness to a genre that can sometimes alienate new viewers. At its heart, the show is about adjusting to changes – changes in the world, changes in family and changes in relationships. Leave it to JJ Abrams and his crew to throw in a sci-fi angle, and you’ve got a hit. You’ve got Fringe. Buy Here
Seen it yet? Seriously, everyone has been talking about District 9 ever since it hit theaters a few months ago (District 9 Reviewed). The short version is that a bunch of aliens stop their ship on top of Johannesburg South Africa and after much debate, humans decide to go into the ship. They discover a dying race of aliens and move them to ground level where they live in slums. The film covers the story of the man who is in charge of evicting the aliens and in turn, changes both physically and emotionally. On a global scale, this flick has made over $200 million and it doesn’t even hit DVD stands until December 29th. Much like the first season of Glee, it might be a good idea to nab District 9 on a pre-buy. I have a feeling this is going to be a popular purchase over the holidays. Buy Here
When this flick was announced I think everyone had their doubts, but being in the hands of JJ Abrams these days has been like having a rabbit’s foot up your ass. Star Trek was a huge hit in theaters this year (review here) and when the DVD and Blu-Ray hit stores November 17th I wouldn’t be surprised if the sales were off the charts. The tale of how the original crew of the Starship Enterprise was formed is fleshed out through a tale of friendship between Captain James Tiberius Kirk and Spock. With great performances from Chris Pine and Zach Quinto, Star Trek is actually more than just an action packed sci-fi flick, it was an exploration into how JJ Abrams and his writers can take a concept and add to it. Buy Here
The Hangover was really this year’s only stand alone comedy (review here). Although I wouldn’t put it into the realm of Classic like Old School, it was definitely one of the better comedies to hit screens. With a relatively small cast including Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helm, The Hangover is a great little story about one of the craziest bachelor parties ever. Taking place in Vegas (like there’s any other place to do it properly), four friends set out on trying to solve the mystery of what exactly happened the night before. With a series of hilarious events including a Mike Tyson right cross and a white tiger, The Hangover DVD is a great pick up for anyone looking for a good laugh. The unrated version hits stands on December 15th. Buy Here
If you know a filmmaker, or at least someone who is interested in visual arts, then The Work of Directors Box Set is the perfect gift. Focusing on the early works of 3 of the most interesting visual artists today, this set gives viewers a first hand look at the different methods each filmmaker takes. The Spike Jonze version contains some of his amazing music video work with the Beastie Boys, Gondry’s features stunning imagery of how he created videos for Bjork and Cunningham’s version contains nightmarish visuals from his work with Aphex Twins. Although pricey, The Work of Directors Box Set is a perfect gift for filmmakers – assuming they don’t already own it. Buy Here