Look, I get it. It's getting close to the wire for buying Christmas presents again, and you still have so many left to get. Was it not November yesterday? With big retail shops promising to 'make Christmas easy', the temptation is strong to just pop in to a HMV, grab a few DVDs of movies you vaguely remember a family member saying they liked and call it a day. Then it turns out at least 3 other family members bought the same thing. If you would like to awake on Christmas morning to something other than a room full of DVD box-shaped mysteries, then Mister Cinecal has got you covered. Simply ask whoever it is you're struggling to get a gift for what their favourite film from 2014 was and use the gift guide accordingly.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Improbably, a film about a ragtag group of D-List (at best) Marvel space weirdos ended up as some of the biggest hits of the year, with the help of some catchy tunes, fun characters and frantic space action. Peter Quill's Awesome Mix is available on iTunes, or it can by bought in CD form for the less tech savvy. If you have kids or older, balder, fatter kids who came out of the cinema giggling with glee and quoting every Rocket Raccoon line, why not start them off on his new comic? It only started this year so it shouldn't be too hard to catch up on, and the style of writer/artist Skottie Young is sure to appeal to anyone who couldn't get enough of Rocket in the movie. And in the spirit of the season, why not send a few quid in the direction of the creator of Rocket Racoon, Bill Mantlo, who could really use it and deserves it.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1
Some might consider this a heresy, but I have never seen a minute of a Hunger Games movie, nor have I read the books. When three-fingered salutes are being thrown up at protests from Hong Kong to Missouri it's hard to deny the positive impact of the series. Because even if your Hunger Games fan somehow doesn't have the books that would still be a little obvious, it might be worth buying some books from other YA series. The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken and the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant have some similar themes if you want to terrify young people about the threat of a dystopian future. Or you could get them archery lessons, which generally clock in under 50 quid, a fun activity for them, free home defence for you.
For the lonely men in your life, who identified with shy Joaquin Phoenix being seduced by his phone, any one of the latest smartphones and a box of man-size tissues is a thoughful way of saying 'I think you should maybe get out more'. For something a little less mean-spirited, you might be interested to know that David O'Reilly, the animator who made Her's amusing foul-mouthed video game released a real game this summer, Mountain. Which is...well, a mountain simulator. Mountain is available on a variety of formats and if you know someone who likes their films a little quieter and thoughtful, perhaps they'll enjoy a "relax 'em up" game along the same lines.
The Lego Movie
What, do I have to draw you a map?
Okay, if we want to go a little deeper, than the music of Tegan and Sara might appeal to those who have been unable to get "Everything is Awesome out of their heads for most of the year. Since part of what made The Lego Movie so great was its madcap but genial sense of humour, its good to know that many of the actors associated with the film have done TV work along similar lines. Chris Pratt's Parks and Recreation and Alison Brie's Community are shows that always deserve a wider audience, and the same even goes for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the comedic police procedural starring Andy Samberg, who made his own contributions to that darn earworm of a song.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fascist regimes aside, the world of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is a world I'd like to live in and I'm sure the same goes for most other fans of the film. A quick search on Etsy shows a plethora of artistically minded people trying to recreate the beautiful look of Zubrowska, Show a Wes Anderson fan that there are still faint glimmers of civilisation left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity with this key necklace that carries both the look and the spirit of the film. If you really want to go the extra mile, you could make them the Courtesan au Chocolat with this recipe here and store it in a fancy box from Mendl's. It would be difficult, but I mean...look at it!
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
If you know someone whose favourite film this year was Sin City 2, then for their own good the best Christmas gift you can get is to pay some builders to wall them in in a secret part of their home, where they will never be heard from again. Not only would that be best for them, but it would be in the best interests of bringing peace and goodwill to all. And isn't that what Christmas is all about?
If you can think of any Christmas gifts based on films that came out this year, why not let me know in the comments? And if you're feeling generous this holiday season, maybe you could have an aul' vote for my Cult Film Club series on FilmFixx, which this month will be choosing one of three bizarre cult movies about Santa Claus?