The 2023 /Film Holiday Gift Guide: New Movies & TV Shows On 4K And Blu-Ray, Criterion, Box Sets & More


2023’s year in film can be defined by one word and one word only — Barbenheimer. The summer blockbuster weekend of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” was the kind of theatrical event that pop culture historians will be analyzing long after we’ve all left this mortal plane, with only the non-biodegradable plastic popcorn buckets and Barbie dolls to remember us by. If you somehow missed out on the fun this summer, are looking to relive it once again, or are finally going to attempt the actual double-feature instead of spending an entire day in a movie theater — now is your chance. As aesthetically and cinematically different as both films appear to be on the surface, they’re both telling stories exploring life, death, legacy, capitalism, 20th-century politics, and what it means to be an “American icon,” for better or for worse. We’re not here to make light of the societal implications of Barbie as an institution or, you know, nuclear war, and neither are either of the films. “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” aren’t just the subjects of a fascinating moment in entertainment history, they’re also two of the best films of the year. Here’s where you can find the films for your holiday wishlists. (BJ Colangelo)
You might be wondering why “Air,” the story of Nike’s Air Jordan shoe line, is being singled out in the gift guide. Well, frankly, it’s one of my favorite movies of the year. But beyond that, I wanted to point out how great it is that the film got a physical media release, despite being an Amazon movie that’s been available on streaming for awhile. The film hit Blu-ray back in September, roughly six months after it hit theaters, followed by a streaming debut in May this year. I wish the other streaming services would give their movies physical media releases too. Are you paying attention Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Max? (Ethan Anderton)
The Biggest Superheroes (and a Small One Too)
Sony / Marvel / Warner Bros
From a multiverse full of Spider-People to the heroes in a half-shell and everything in between, 2023 has been jam-packed full of superhero movie goodness. This year truly did bring a little something for everyone, be it for the DC fan in your life who wants to see a new hero emerge in “Blue Beetle,” or the Marvel fan who wants to say goodbye to Star-Lord and the gang in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” we’ve got everything you could need and more right here. And it’s not just contained to the Marvel and DC universes either. One of the best-reviewed superhero movies of the year is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” which is coming to 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD just in time for the holidays. Cowabunga it is. (Ryan Scott)
Blockbuster Action, Baby
Universal / Disney / Paramount
The name of the game is “movie stars.” This year’s most explosive events in the action genre ran the gamut of Michael B. Jordan stepping into the ring for another round as Adonis in “Creed III,” Vin Diesel and the entire “Fast X” gang taking on their toughest foe yet, Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise setting the bar incredibly high for 50- and 60-something actors leading their own stunt-heavy action franchises in “John Wick: Chapter 4” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning,” respectively, and even Harrison Ford making his grand return in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” No matter what kind of action you prefer, whether it be a throwback to over-the-top ’80s thrillers or Gerard Butler’s latest, 2023 certainly provided something for everyone. (Jeremy Mathai)
Stellar Sci-Fi and Fun Fantasy
20th Century Studios / Paamount
Giant prehistoric sharks, robots that turn into cars or animals, Predators, an owlbear, and dinosaurs that Adam Driver shoots in the face, what do all of these things have in common? They’re part of our selection of the best sci-fi and fantasy movies you can buy on home video right now! There is something in here for everyone, including a rare opportunity to own a streaming title on a physical disc – which is becoming more and more important these days.
It’s been a great year for fantasy and science fiction, from “Dungeons & Dragons” finally getting a good adaptation, to “The Creator” delivering a stunning and fresh take on the robot wars. Even the “Transformers” franchise did what was once impossible and gave us a huge crossover. These are some of the most fun you can have with a movie this holiday season. (Rafael Motamayor)
The Scary Stuff!
Warner Bros. / Paramount / Universal
Anyone who cried out that “horror is dead” in the year 2023 deserves a swift kick to the kneecaps because there was so much quality horror this year that narrowing down which films to add to your holiday wishlist will be hard. If you’re purchasing for the gorehounds in your life, films like “Evil Dead Rise,” “Saw X,” and “Terrifier 2” will certainly do the trick. There’s also a bevy of fun horror movies to choose from like “M3GAN,” “Renfield,” and “Scream VI,” as well as films that’ll get under your skin like “Knock at the Cabin” or “Talk to Me.” Legacy sequels like “Insidious: The Red Door” and “The Nun II” also arrived this year, so for the completionist in your life, physical media is the only way to guarantee that you’ll never have to worry about some yacht-owning suit removing your favorite film from streaming, which is scarier than any horror film. (BJ Colangelo)
For the Whole Family
Universal / DreamWorks / Pixar
The past couple of years have seen the release of some of the best animated movies of all time, a true boom for the medium. Movies that experiment with art styles and techniques rather than just adhere to what many started to consider as the norm. Movies that don’t stick to a formula and explore all kinds of stories, tones, and genres — and are wildly successful, too. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” became one of the biggest movie releases ever thanks to its fun and bright story, while “Elemental” became the surprise hit of this summer with its culturally nuanced romantic comedy. Elsewhere, if you want a visually stunning animated movie with the kind of terrifying, nightmare-inducing villain we haven’t got since the ’90s, give “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” a try. There’s something here for every kind of family or people willing to give family-friendly movies a shot. (Rafael Motamayor)
Welcome to the Chuckle Factory
Focus Features / Lionsgate / Sony
In the mood for laughs? This past year at the movies had you covered in that department, thanks to some surprising entries by a wide range of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers and most popular brand names. Visionary director Wes Anderson kept on doing what he does best and delivered yet another oddball flick to add to his oeuvre with “Asteroid City,” combining genuine laughs with a beating emotional heart. Elizabeth Banks took one of the wildest based-on-a-true-story events of the last few years and turned it into the manic mayhem of “Cocaine Bear.” And, perhaps most impressively of all, Jennifer Lawrence took her talents to “No Hard Feelings” and revitalized the raunchy rom-com genre as the time-honored, consistently reliable, and massively entertaining studio hit that it is. Comedy fans, these titles are for you. (Jeremy Mathai)


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