The Holidays are coming up, and I have compiled /Film’s Ultimate 2014 Film Geek Holiday Gift Guide to help you find gifts for your pop culture-loving friends and loved ones. (Or, maybe even for yourself.)
This guide includes a ton of cool gifts, including a wide range of books, graphic novels, toys, collectibles, music, movies, games, art and other fun gifts, the majority of which were released this year. I’ve also tried to include a wide range of prices, from small stocking stuffers to blu-ray box sets to huge expensive collectibles for most of us to drool over. Everything included in the guide is something I either recommend, have been recommended by trusted friends, colleagues and readers, or something that just looks damn cool.
We’ll be posting the /Film Ultimate Film Geek Holiday Gift Guide 2014 spread over the course of this week as there are too many items for one post — so check back each morning for more. Today we bring you a look at some of the coolest books released this or last year that your pop culture-loving loved ones and friends might enjoy as a gift this Holiday season.
For the most part, I tried to stick to books with strong movie or television tie-ins. I did include some recommended novels that fall outside of those borders. All links go to hard copies (either hardcover or softcover versions) but if you click through you can usually find the option for a digital version if thats the way you want to go.
Note: All prices mentioned are rounded to the nearest dollar and were accurate on the week this feature was published.
Alien the Archive: The Ultimate Guide to the Classic Movies $33: This 320-page book “is a beautiful celebration of these landmark films, delving deep into the process of how all four films were created.”
From the earliest script ideas to final cut, this book showcases the making of the series in exhaustive and exclusive detail. Featuring storyboards from Ridley Scott, exclusive concept designs from Ron Cobb and Syd Mead, behind-the-scenes imagery of the xenomorphs being created, deleted scenes, unused ideas, costumes, weapons, and much more. This must have retrospective also includes brand new interviews with Ridley Scott, Sigourney Weaver, H.R. Giger, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Jenette Goldstein, and those whose vision and originality created a cinema legend.
You can preview the book in this YouTube video.
Back to the Future Almanac 1985-2015 $60: The Back to the Future Almanac 1985-2015 is the official Back to the Future collector’s guide. It chronicles all Back to the Future merchandise from the trilogy, BTTF: The Ride, the Animated Series, the comics and more. And you have to love cover artwork which is a homage to the Gray’s Sports Almanac prop from Back to the Future Part II.
Back to the Future Almanac 1985-2015 represents a 30 year devotion to archiving materials from the BTTF franchise, through the promotional materials and products created to support the BTTF films to the fantastic comics, theme park attractions and games that followed. The BTTF Almanac invites fans to time travel through decades of memorabilia, artwork, time machines and toys created for the greatest film trilogy of all time. Working closely with Co-creator and Producer Bob Gale, authors Rob Klein and Jennifer Smith have assembled the ultimate BTTF collector’s guide. Fans of the BTTF films from all over the world will no doubt revel in BTTF artifacts that they have, they once had, wished they had or never even knew about in this impressive 250 page full-color tribute to the BTTF franchise. Over 600 full-color photos of BTTF history, including images never before published from the trilogy are included in this exciting book. Limited edition 9” x 12” hardcover with dust jacket.
Movies R Fun!: A Collection of Cinematic Classics for the Pre-(Film) School Cinephile $4: Josh Cooley, story supervisor at Pixar Animation Studios, illustrated this 48 page Golden Book parody which illustrates inappropriate scenes from contemporary classic films in early-readers style:
Let’s face it, reading sucks . . . but movies are fun! In this children’s picture book parody for grown-ups, Pixar writer and artist Josh Cooley presents the most hilariously inappropriate—that is, the best—scenes from contemporary classic films in an illustrated, for-early-readers style. Terrifying, sexy, and awesome scenes from such favorite films as Alien, Rosemary’s Baby, Fargo, Basic Instinct, Seven, The Silence of the Lambs, Apocalypse Now, The Shining, and many more are playfully illustrated and captioned to make reading fun and exciting for kids who never grew up. A sly celebration of the things fans love most about these legendary films (and movies in general), this is one book that probably should not be read at bedtime.
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise $19: I have not read this book yet, but everyone says its the most well-researched independent retelling of the making of the films and the evolution of the Star Wars brand.
Star Wars is, quite simply, one of the most lucrative, influential, and interactive franchises of all time. Yet incredibly, until now the complete history of Star Wars—its influences and impact, the controversies it has spawned, its financial growth and long-term prospects—has never been told. In How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, veteran journalist Chris Taylor traces the series from the difficult birth of the original film through its sequels, the franchise’s death and rebirth, the prequels, and the preparations for a new trilogy. Providing portraits of the friends, writers, artists, producers, and marketers who labored behind the scenes to turn Lucas’s idea into a legend, Taylor also jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how Star Wars has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Art of the Movie $38: Its no wonder why Marvel Studio’s “Art Of” books are always fantastic — the movie studio was birthed from a company that produced nothing but art.
Continuing their popular ART OF series of movie tie-in books, Marvel presents its latest blockbuster achievement! Featuring exclusive concept artwork, behind-the-scenes photographs, production stills, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, MARVEL’S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE ART OF THE MOVIE is a deluxe keepsake volume that provides an insider’s look into the making of the highly anti cipated film directed by James Gunn, and starring Chris Pratt , Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Commander Rael and Benicio Del Toro as the Collector.
What I Love About Movies: An Illustrated Compendium $24: The illustrations in this book are gorgeous and each is based on the resulting answers from the top filmmakers and actors on what they love about movies:
A single, searching question: “What do you love about movies?” is posed to fifty of cinema’s brightest lights. The answers have been entertaining, profound, personal, ridiculous, revealing and unexpected, but always unique. These declarations of movie passion have been collected into the ultimate one-stop celebration of cinema. This lovingly crafted compendium offers a fascinating and insightful look at the movies through the eyes of 50 of its brightest stars, with subjects including legendary directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, Pedro Almodovar, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, and Spike Jonze, and A-list acting icons such as Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Kristen Stewart, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tom Hardy. Alongside these star-spangled testimonies are newly comissioned illustrations from amazing illustrators around the world. What I Love About Movies is the perfect gift for every movie fan.
Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The Art of the Movie Slipcase $35: Again, Marvel Studios’ art of the films books are filled with beautiful concept art and designs and Winter Soldier is no different.
Continuing their popular ART OF series of movie tie-in books, Marvel presents its latest blockbuster achievement! Featuring exclusive concept artwork, behind-the-scenes photographs, production stills, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, THE ART OF CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is a deluxe keepsake volume that provides an insider’s look into the making of the highly-anticipated film directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, and starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders and Sebastian Stan!
The Art of Big Hero 6 $29: With Big Hero 6, not only did Disney Animation need to create the characters and super-powered technology seen in the film, but also the entire world of the San Francisco/Tokyo mash-up San Fransokyo.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6 is the story of Hiro Hamada, a brilliant robotics prodigy who must foil a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. This new title in our popular The Art of series, published to coincide with the movie’s U.S. release, features concept art from the film’s creation—including sketches, storyboards, maquette sculpts, colorscripts, and much more—illuminated by quotes and interviews with the film’s creators. Fans will love the behind-the-scenes insights into Disney’s newest action comedy adventure.
You can preview the book on YouTube.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy: The Royal Imperial Boxed Set $27: Sure, these books are kind of a one note joke stretched way too far, but they look great and I just love the old english illustrated adaptations of the original series films. The Royal Imperial Boxed Set includes all of the original trilogy adaptations: Verily, A New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; and The Jedi Doth Return.
May the verse be with you! Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this retelling of George Lucas’s Star Wars® Trilogy in the style of the immortal William Shakespeare. This Royal Imperial Boxed Set includes all three volumes in the original trilogy: Verily, A New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; and The Jedi Doth Return. Also included is an 8-by-34-inch full-color poster illustrating the complete cast and company of this glorious production.
The Art of John Alvin $22: Alvin is one of the greatest movie poster artists of our time, and this book collects all of his one-sheets and even shares some unused concepts for classic blockbusters. (We featured some of the unused Jurassic Park concepts on the site.)
John Alvin’s movie poster art is among the most iconic of the last 40 years, from Disney films such as Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Pinocchio, to Empire of the Sun, Gremlins, Blazing Saddles, Predator, and the Star Wars 30th anniversary posters. This book not only collects some of Alvin’s finest work, but also includes previously unseen comprehensives and in progress sketches. With the text including commentary from Alvin’s widow, this is a unique insight into the work of one of the 20th century’s great artist/illustrators.