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Now that they have become as ubiquitous as VHS cassettes once were... (buffy mention)

Rene Rodriguez

Sunday 18 December 2005, by Webmaster

Now that they have become as ubiquitous as VHS cassettes once were, you might think that DVDs no longer make such a cool holiday gift.

Think again. Everyone loves receiving a new DVD or three to feed their perpetually hungry machines, and the holidays are a perfect time to spring for that hefty box set or super-deluxe DVD set that just seemed too pricey to buy for yourself.

Here are some suggestions for the DVD fanatics on your gift list.

1) Ron Howard’s superb Depression-era boxing drama "Cinderella Man" may not have lived up to box-office expectations this summer, but the movie is destined to find its audience on home video. A single-disc version is available, but the two-disc Collector’s Edition (Universal, $45) is a beautiful package that throws in a slew of worthwhile extras.

2) Peter Jackson’s upcoming remake of "King Kong" is expected to rule the box office this holiday season. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with the 1933 original, which has conveniently hit DVD for the first time this month. Your best bet is "The King Kong Collection" (Warner, $40), which includes a two-disc edition of the movie loaded with amazing extras.

3) If you missed U2’s Vertigo tour this year, the "U2: Vertigo 2005 Live From Chicago" DVD (Interscope Records, $33) is the next best thing. A single-disc edition is also available, but spring for the two-disc deluxe set for an excellent tour documentary and several extra songs.

4) In the years since it became the biggest box-office hit of all time, it’s become fashionable to knock James Cameron’s "Titanic," but the three-disc "Titanic: Collector’s Edition" (Paramount, $30) reminds you why the movie became a phenomenon in the first place. The movie is accompanied by an epic assortment of extras, including an alternate ending and 29 deleted scenes.

5) Although both shows centered on female characters, the appeal of "Sex and the City" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" extends across gender lines. Now that all of the shows’ individual seasons have been released on DVD, you can pick up hefty boxed sets that include every last episode, along with a smattering of exclusive extras. Just don’t expect to get them for cheap. "Sex and the City: The Complete Series" runs about $300 and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Chosen Collection" is about $200.

6)o Most sitcoms don’t make for ideal DVD viewing, but there are exceptions. We’d gladly sit down and watch several hours’ worth of the "Seinfeld: Season 5" and "Season 6" sets (Sony, $50 each) anytime, as they not only collect some of the series’ best episodes but also feature the same amount of extensive supplements as the previous season sets.

7) To capitalize on the success of this summer’s "Batman Begins," Warner Bros. dusted off the previous Batman pictures, gave each one the snazzy two-disc treatment, and packaged them into the "Batman Anthology" set ($80). The movies look fantastic, and each is accompanied with enough supplements to satisfy the most hardcore Batfan.

8) Filmmaker Ken Burns knows how to do something our seventh-grade teacher never could: Make dusty history fun and entertaining. The fat boxed set "American Lives" (PBS Home Video, $140) collects seven of Burns’ documentaries about historical events and personalities, including the excellent "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," about the first African-American boxer to become heavyweight champion of the world, and Mark Twain, an illuminating biography of America’s best-known author.