Road Rash Reviews

Road Rash Christmas Gift Guide 2020

After what has probably been one of the strangest years ever, the time of festive cheer is almost upon us again and Road Rash Reviews is here to help with some suggestions for final touches to that all important gift list.

For those of you who like to leave things to the very last moment, we have plenty of great ideas, which are easy to order on our site, just go to our store and click!

As luck would have it, there are lots of goodies out there this year to fill your stockings, perfect to put your feet up and watch over the holiday season and while Christmas will look very different this year, we can still enjoy some quality viewing.

2020 has seen some very exciting releases and here are just a few that we think would make ideal stocking fillers.

There have been some lovely releases for children and all the family in 2020, including a live action adaptation of Pinocchio and heartwarming Harrison Ford film The Call of the Wild. We also saw some beautiful animations, The Fairy Princess and the Unicorn, The Snow Queen Mirrorlands, Dreambuilders, White Snake and Superman: Man of Tomorrow.

PG

4 star magical live action adaptation of a classic fairy tale. Pinocchio is an Italian fantasy film written and directed by Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Tale of Tales). It is based on the 1883 book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi. It is presented here with both the original Italian language version with English subtitles and the English dubbed...more

PG

4 stars of heartwarming family adventure. The Call of the Wild is a 2020 film based on the 1903 novel of the same name by Jack London (White Fang, The Iron Heel) with screenplay by Michael Green (American Gods). It is directed by Chris Sanders (The Croods, How To Train Your Dragon) and is his live action feature debut. “I think your...more

U

3 stars of magical adventure for younger viewers. The Fairy Princess and the Unicorn is an animated feature film for young children, originally (and more appropriately) titled Bayala: A Magical Adventure.  It is produced by German studio Ulysses Filmproduktion but features English voice actors. Just in time to pop into a Christmas stocking, this beautifully animated tale is available in the UK on...more

U

4 star charming and magical adventure sequel. The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands is a Russian 3D computer animated family film, written and directed by Aleksey Tsitsilin (The Snow Queen 2) and Robert Lence (Beauty and the Beast). It is the fourth film in The Snow Queen franchise, inspired by the 1844 fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Anderson. “These gates...more

U

4 stars of enchanting fun for the whole family. Dreambuilders (originally called Drømmebyggerne) is a Danish film based on an original idea by Kim Hagen Jensen (All Dogs Go To Heaven) who also directs, alongside Tonni Zinck (The Neon Demon). With a screenplay by Søren Grinderslev Hansen, this is an impressive feature debut for all concerned. “You are currently sleeping in your...more

PG

4 stars of gloriously animated Chinese folktale. White Snake is a computer animation fantasy film and impressive directorial debut for both Amp Wong and Ji Zhao, with animation production by Light Chaser Animation (Cats and Peachtopia). It is written by first time writer Da Mau. It is inspired by the Chinese folktale Legend of the White Snake. “Can’t you see, sun above? Sets...more

12

4 Star An Alien, a Bounty Hunter and Another Alien. From art department to director Chris Palmer (Voltron: Legendary Defender (TV Series)) takes on his first animation feature with this latest origin of the Man of Steel story, from the world of DC. Where Metropolis is a futuristic city that reaches into the sky like fantasy ivory towers and Lexcorp is setting...more

The anime lover in your life will be sure to appreciate any of this years big film releases, first up of course is the ultimate release of the seminal Akira, the smash hit Weathering With You, the long anticipated One Piece: Stampede, the quirky Penguin Highway as well as a brilliant documentary about the brains behind Ghibli, Hayao Mayazaki, The Never-Ending Man .

15

5 Star The Quintessential Anime. Katsuhiro Ôtomo‘s 1988 seminal anime, Akira, blew the world away with its stunning graphics and superb animation. Neo Tokyo never looked so good. An ambitious piece of work in 1988 and even now this is still a benchmark for anime artists. Now in 4k this a pure feast for the senses. Neo Tokyo grew up out of the...more

PG

5 Star Superb The man of many talents, writer, director, producer, animator, editor, cinematographer, voice actor, manga artist and former graphic designer, Makoto Shinkai (5 Centimetres Per Second, Journey to Agartha, The Garden of Words, Your Name) sets the bar at its highest point with Weathering With You. The writing, the animation and the balance of this film puts all the others under...more

12

5 star swashbuckling pirate fest. One Piece Stampede is a stand alone film forming part of the immense franchise that is One Piece, written and illustrated by the amazing Eiichiro Oda. It is set after the timeskip. It brings together all of our favourite characters from this highly popular shōnen anime for an out and out pirate romp. “So, let’s do this. We’ll...more

12

4 stars of very strange but enchanting summer adventure. Penguin Highway is based on the Japanese science fiction novel written by Tomihiko Morimi (The Tatami Galaxy, Night is Short: Walk on Girl). It is adapted to anime by Studio Colorido (Typhoon Noruda) and is the impressive feature debut of director Hiroyasu Ishida. It is presented here in a Limited Collector’s Combi edition...more

U

5 stars, the man behind the magic. Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is directed by Kaku Arakawa and produced by NHK World TV. It is presented here on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray, in the original Japanese with English subtitles and an alternate 48-minute version with English narration and new footage courtesy of Anime Ltd. “Just one comment. I’ve caused a stir before...more

This year has also been good for creature features, with the release of Gamera: The Complete Collection, the amazing Mothra and new film Monstrum, all filling that B-movie need very nicely.

15

5 Star The Kaiju of all Box Sets. Arrow Video have outdone themselves with this monster box set. Who would have thought back in November 1965 when director Noriaki Yuasa (Attack of the Monsters, Ultraman 80 (TV Series), Kosupure senshi Cutie Knight) and produced and distributed by the groundbreaking Daiei Film (Rashomon, Gate of Hell, Ugetsu) released Gamera, the Giant Monster that...more

PG

5 Star Mothra!!! Number #240 in the Masters of Cinema range comes a Kaiju Classic Mothra. From the inventive mind of writer Shinichi Sekizawa (Mothra vs. Godzilla , Invasion of Astro-Monster) and brought into life by director Ishirô Honda (Ishiro Honda Double Feature, Godzilla, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster) and special-effects guru Eiji Tsuburaya (Godzilla, Rodan, The Lost World of Sinbad). Kaiju fans...more

4 star bloody and fun South Korean period romp. Monstrum is a South Korean period creature feature. Set during the Joseon Era, it is directed by Jong-ho Huh (Countdown). It was the Audience Award winner at the Sitges International Film Festival and is a Shudder original film. “Disasters plague a nation that lacks leadership. Why do you think Monstrum appeared?” It is introduced...more

For fans of retro cinema there have been some absolute classics remastered this year, my own personal favourite being the 30th Anniversary release of Total Recall and the 3 collections of Buster Keaton films. We also recommend Hell and High Water, This Gun for Hire and Five Graves to Cairo.

18

5 star glorious restoration of a sci-fi classic. Total Recall is directed by Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Hollow Man) and based on the short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” written by Phillip K. Dick (Bladerunner, Minority Report). It was originally released in 1990 and is presented here following a fantastic 4K restoration courtesy of STUDIOCANAL, to celebrate the 30th...more

U

5 Star Keaton at his Best.   Eureka does it again, with this collection of three films from the master of comedy action deadpan hero. Now fully restored to 1080p with sharper music and sounds. This is a must own, for the laughs, the action and the history of this amazing man. With a package that comes with a sixty page booklet and...more

U, U, PG

5 Star The Comic, The Man, The Legend! Once again we have to thank The Keaton Project 2015 by Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection to restore all Buster Keaton films between 1920 – 1928 and also Eureka The Masters of Cinema for putting together this amazing comedy classic package. These three films show off the unsurpassed physical skills of Keaton...more

U

5 Star More Slips, More Stunts, More Keaton. Once again we have to thank The Keaton Project 2015 by Cineteca di Bologna and Cohen Film Collection to restore all Buster Keaton films between 1920 – 1928 and also Eureka The Masters of Cinema for putting together this amazing comedy classic package. This volume sees our zero go too hero as a man...more

PG

5 Star Cold War Drama. or Richard Widmark at his best. Another great release from Eureka and the Masters of Cinema range, this #216 sees this 1954 film receive the special touch that make the MoC Blu-rays a treat to watch. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller (I Shot Jesse James, Fixed Bayonets!) who takes David Hempstead‘s (Finishing School) story and takes it to...more

PG

4 Star A Man With Nothing to Lose and a Dame. Eureka Classics brings us a true film-noir with the stunning Veronica Lake and the hard-nosed Alan Ladd. Adapted from a Graham Greene novel (The Fugitive, Brighton Rock, Our Man in Havana) and directed by Frank Tuttle (Springtime for Henry, The Hour Before the Dawn)  , who brings us a propaganda film...more

PG

5 Star Melodrama at its Best. #237 in the Masters of Cinema range brings us another Billy Wilder (Witness For The Prosecution, The Apartment, A Foreign Affair, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes) classic wartime thriller, this time a film from his early career, and you can see the makings of a great director from all the varied scenes in this film....more

There have also been some fantastic horror classics receiving the remastering treatment too, with a brilliant release of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers, the creepy Dream Demon and magnificently eighties 976 Evil. For fans of modern horror, why not consider a gift of subscription to horror streaming channel Shudder, who have had lots of great new releases this year.

18

5 star ultimate gift for the discerning horror fan. Dawn of the Dead is written and directed by horror legend George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Land of the Dead) and was originally released in 1978. This cult classic is presented here following a painstaking restoration courtesy of Second Sight Films. Following the success of the Limited Edition release,...more

18

4 star classic Stephen King horror, beware of the cat. Sleepwalkers was first released in 1992. Written by Stephen King (Castle Rock, Pet Sematary, The Dark Half) and directed by Mick Garris (Critters 2, Hocus Pocus), it is every bit as scary (and fun) today as when it first arrived on our screens. It was the first time that Stephen King...more

18

4 star super creepy remastered eighties horror. Dream Demon is written and directed by Harley Cokeliss (Malone, Black Moon Rising)  and was originally released in 1988. It has been remastered and is presented here on Blu-ray for the first time following a 2K restoration, in 1080p courtesy of Arrow Video. The film features an introduction from Harley Cokeliss, who describes this release...more

18

4 stars of nostalgic 1980’s horror film. Originally released in 1988, this classic horror is the directorial debut of legendary horror actor Robert Englund, best known for his portrayal of Freddie Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Written by Rhet Topham (Trick or Treat) and Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, Legend), it is presented here on Blu-ray for the first...more

And finally, there have been some excellent new releases in 2020, some highlights include Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, Woody Allen film A Rainy Day in New York, madcap fantasy caper The Iron Mask, terrifying lockdown film The Host, and strictly for adults only, the hilarious Knuckledust.

15

4 star triumphant return to the Overlook Hotel. Doctor Sleep is based on the 2013 novel of the same name written by Stephen King (Castle Rock, Pet Sematary) which is a sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining. It also serves as a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of the book. It is written and directed by Mike Flanagan...more

12

4 star witty and charming romantic comedy. A Rainy Day in New York is written and directed by Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, Mighty Aphrodite) and is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video courtesy of Signature Entertainment. “The worst, of course, is when I’m sexually conflicted. Then I’ll hiccup indefinitely.” Ashleigh (Elle Fanning – Mary Shelley, All the Bright Places)...more

12A

4 stars of lavish fantasy extravaganza. The Iron Mask: Mystery of the Dragon Seal is a Russian/Chinese co-production. It is the sequel to the Russian film Viy and was originally titled Viy 2: Journey to China. It is directed by Oleg Stepchenko (Forbidden Kingdom, Velvet Revolution). “Go back and exercise gentlemen. Perfect your bodies. Remember, a healthy body houses a healthy mind.” Set...more

15

4 stars of refreshingly different and terrifying horror. Host is a Shudder Original film, now available on Limited Edition Blu-ray. Written by Gemma Hurley, Jed Shepherd and Rob Savage who also directs, this timely and insightful film is a fantastic offering from these relative unknowns. The genius of this film lies in its brilliant capture of a snapshot in time at the...more

18

4 star brutal and brilliant brawl fest. Knuckledust is written and directed by James Kermack (Hi-Lo Joe), who also stars and is his fantastic second feature film. Available now on V.O.D. courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films, it is an adrenaline fueled roller-coaster that will keep you guessing right to the very end. “Expendability against expenditure. You give us disposable men to fight...more

Well, there you have it, this year’s recommendations for your festive viewing pleasure. Get filling those stockings and on behalf of RoadRash Reviews we would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

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Category: Gift Guide