Multimedia Gift Guide — DVDs

We’ve split our movie lists between his and hers



Katniss Everdeen is fierce. She’s dangerous with a bow and arrow and she has the pluck to volunteer herself in place of her sister to compete in a highly publicized fight to the death. She and her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark, get carted off to the avant garde world of the Capitol where they find themselves juggling public relations and survival in an outdoor arena designed to kill. The movie has hordes of teen fans, as does the novel by Suzanne Collins. But this post-apocalyptic story hasn’t slipped into the same triteness as say, Twilight, which has a similar set of ravenous followers. It’s still a great gift for the grown woman or the eager teen. Some editions even come with a mockingjay pendant for those who really want to get in the spirit. (JM)


Women and archery must be a thing this year. Let’s see, if Katniss and Merida had a shoot-off… nevermind. Brave is Pixar and Disney’s animated tale of a young princess in the mystical Scottish highlands who fights to make her own destiny. And guess what, it’s also Pixar’s 13th film and the first to have a female lead. Merida may be a princess, but she’s no princess. She’s every bit as feisty as her hair is red. When she’s told she must get married (and choose from a goofy bunch of suitors, no less) she won’t have it. Get this for your daughter, or someone’s daughter, to help wash out that oh-so-lovely but oh-so-stale taste of princess love stories. (JM)


If you have a woman in your life who is a documentary lover, this DVD is perfect — if she happens to have a fiery feminist spirit, even better. Jennifer Siebel Newsom wrote, directed and produced this Sundance documentary that tackles questions like: If women are 51 percent of the U.S. population, why do they only make up 17 percent of Congress? The answer: media. Film, advertising, news, you name it, are misrepresenting women and affecting their ability to become leaders. Women who have made it up the ranks, such as Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Maddow and Lisa Ling, weigh in. They call for media to stop portraying women as just sexy or not, and to stop counting the wrinkles on Hillary Clinton’s face and just listen to what she’s saying. (JM)


It’s no secret that many women love old-time dramas. Flowing dresses, quaint hats and elaborate sitting rooms abound. There’s charm in watching key events in history play out alongside a captivating fictional narrative. Downton Abbey is a British period drama about the aristocratic Crawley family living on a country estate in early 1900s England. In the second season of the show, WWI is in full swing and the characters are faced with the war moving into the home front. Times are changing. Lady Sybil leaves her cozy life to volunteer as a nurse in the war. The people of the upper class are taking on new roles, as are the lower class and the women. (JM)


Hushpuppy lives in the Bathtub with her dad, Wink. A storm is pending on the Bathtub, the name of their southern Louisiana wetland, a storm analogous to Hurricane Katrina. Her dad is also dangerously ill. The world turns rough around Hushpuppy, who is only a child, played by 6-year-old first-time actress Quvenzhané Wallis. In a place where one could easily turn to cynicism and gloom, the small tomboy is buoyant. Hushpuppy’s perspective drives the story with her lyrical narration. It’s imaginative and dream-like. It’s beautifully surreal. It’s a poetic film carried by a very small but very powerful actress. (JM)



Every time a new superhero reboot comes out, people react with an understandable mix of doubt and slight hope it might somehow be different enough to be OK. Christopher Nolan has, with smart villain selection and a talent for characterization, done very well with his Dark Knight trilogy. Tracing Bruce Wayne’s life from his early motivations and training with Ra’s al Ghul to his darkest moments with Heath Ledger’s extraordinary Joker to his physical shortcomings and retirement after dueling Bane, this trilogy has updated and redefined the modern Batman legend and revealed the humanity and vulnerability of the man behind the mask. (CW)


The Game of Thrones series has brought true fantasy back to the forefront of American television culture, combining a Lord of the Rings-style epic with a Walking Dead plot arc (and going into the third season, Walking Dead visuals). Enduring characters abound, most of which you’ll end up loving to hate, or simply hating, from the wise-ass dwarf, Prince Tyrion, to the precocious and power-hungry Joffrey. But it has its gems too, such as the ever brave Arya Stark and smokin’ hot dragon queen Daenerys. Any way you cut it with your two-handed broadsword, it has something for most anyone, so long as that someone likes fantasy. (CW)


People may disagree on who the best James Bond is; but, whether you prefer Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery or the contemporary Daniel Craig iteration, it doesn’t really matter because with this film collection you have them all. Every martini sippin’, Walther PPK firin’, fountain pen murderin’ moment (save the independent films Never Say Never Again and David Niven’s Casino Royale spoof) has been retouched and upgraded to Blu-ray to satisfy your inner MI6 agent. Also included are 130 hours of new content from the Bond archives. If you want to complete the collection, a slot for the recently released Skyfall is included. (CW)


For the more contemplative man in your life, there is nothing better than a Wes Anderson movie. With quirky characters and fantastical plot lines, they have a draw that no other director’s films have. Unless you hate Wes Anderson for being Wes Anderson, which is an understandable counter-counter-culture to be a part of, Moonrise Kingdom will delight you. A story of young love and family healing, as well as adventure and all that jazz, the narrative progresses through Sam and Suzy, two youths struggling to be accepted as the oddballs they are. The kids’ acting is superb and the natural awkwardness of life becomes the true treasure of the film. If honesty makes a good film, this is a damn good one. (CW)


Pixar has a knack for simple yet impressive and expressive short films. It’s clear through the creative and delightful animations of Academy Award-nominated “Day & Night,” “La Luna,” and “Presto” that Pixar is willing to push the artistry of its craft. In the second volume of Disney and Pixar’s short films collection, the history and roots of many family favorites are revealed, whether it’s the precursor of Andy’s room in Toy Story or the first ideation of Monsters, Inc.’s scream-inducing Sully. These shorts are a perfect watch for a rainy day with your cat or a family night in. (CW) 

Lila Shaw Girvin: Gift of a Moment @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through March 12
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