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Holiday Gift Guide for the Movie Buff on Your List

So it’s that time of year. Time to buy gifts for your friends and family yet again as the world all over celebrates this corporate, commercial, money-hungry, festive and generosity-filled holiday. Some of you may already have it all taken care of by now. Others may be last-minute shoppers like myself and think that even now is just the start of the shopping season. No matter which you fall under, there’s bound to be at least a couple more on your list to check off. In this article, we’ll give you some ideas for gifts for those movie buffs you may have on your list.

1. Movies

Of course a movie buff loves movies. However, this gift selection isn’t as obvious as some of you may think. In fact, it could be one of the hardest choices for a movie fan there is. There are all types of problems that may arise here. You could pick the wrong format, the wrong medium, the wrong edition. Or you could plain and simple just pick the wrong movie. Or even more possible, buy them a movie they already own (afterall, they are movie buffs, chances are they have TONS of movies already making it even more likely to buy something they already have). Thus, that’s why I recommend staying away from this selection unless that movie fanatic in your life has actively been hinting at a certain movie lately. In which case, go for it. Movies are definitely good for us movie buffs. But again, be careful in what you buy. Or at least save the receipt and don’t be offended when that person needs to return your gift.

2. Netflix

Now for those of you wanting to get your movie buff some movies, but don’t want to go through the headache of making sure you don’t get the wrong thing, Netflix is your answer. Netflix allows that cinephile on your list access to all kinds of movies from the old to new, domestic to foreign, indie to blockbuster and so on. The great thing about this too, they get to choose which movies they want to watch, while you just pay for the subscription. Netflix Gifts come in a variety of plans and a variety of lengths. You can get your movie lover just the streaming package or you can choose a package which allows streaming, plus up to 1, 2, or 3 DVDs out at a time. These can all be bought in lengths from 1 month to 1 year. For instance, a streaming package for 6 months will run you about $48. Or you can go with 2 DVDs out at a time for 1 year for about $180. No matter what the choice, it’s sure to be a hit with the movie buff in your life. It doesn’t matter if they already have a subscription either as a Netflix Gift can simply be added to their already existing subscription and they’ll get free months of their service.

3. Fandango Card

Of course every movie buff spends ample amounts of time at the theater. So, along the lines of the Netflix thing, another option is a Fandango gift card (or a gift card from a local theater). This gives your movie buff a gift that will keep on giving over the year as they revisit the theater. Each time getting to enjoy the big screen magic on your dime. The movie buff on your list will surely love a gift like this over the months as they get to catch all the latest releases.

4. Movie Memorabilia

Your typical movie buff is obsessed with movies in probably a way you will never fully understand. As such, this means everything about movies they enjoy. Thus, another good gift for that movie lover on your list is movie memorabilia. This ranges from movie posters, to shirts, to collector’s items, to autographed items, to boxed sets, to film cells and artwork. You can even buy scripts/screenplays/props from their favorite movies online. With many online outlets that sell this type of stuff, the possibilities are endless once you know some of your movie buff’s favorite movies or actors, etc.

5. Movie-Related Books and Magazines

As I stated before, chances are the movie buff in your life loves everything movie-related. This goes for books and magazines as well. Biographies on their favorite actors or movie-related books are good unconventional ideas for the movie buff in your life. There are plenty books out there designed for these types of people. From 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die to 1000 Films to Change Your Life to The 100 Best Movies to Rent You’ve Never Heard Of to even more specific books like 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die. All would be a welcome treat for the movie buff in your life. Likewise, the movie buff in your life most assuredly likes to keep up with all things movies and get insights into the industry they so love. As such, magazine subscriptions that cater to these types are also good choices. These include print and online types. Though I will say you’ll want to go beyond the more mainstream types of Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stones, etc. Instead, look into things like ‘Boxoffice Magazine’, ‘Hollywood Reporter’, ‘Premiere’, ‘Empire’ (UK), ‘MovieMaker’ or ‘Filmmaker Magazine’. Likewise, you could also get them a subscription to online industry rags like Variety.com or ProductionWeekly.com.

6. Universal Remote

As you probably know, the movie buff in your life definitely has a love for electronics. This is especially true when it comes to their home entertainment setup. All of that gear can get out of hand though when remote controls begin piling up. Introduce the Logitech Harmony. The cream of the crop when it comes to universal remotes. This line of remotes from Logitech range from about $100 to over $300. Any movie buff would be happy to get their hands on such a remote control to accent their setup.

7. Roku Box

This is a great accompanying gift for a Netflix subscription. The streaming player allows the movie lover to use any of those streaming services to stream movies directly to their TV instead of having to watch on their computer or laptop. This is great for any movie buff who would much rather watch on their big screen TV rather than their little computer monitor. The Roku box allows for Netflix instant streaming on your TV. It also allows access to such services as Hulu Plus, Amazon On Demand and more.

8. Blu-Ray Player

Chances are your movie buff already has one of these in their collection. However, for those that don’t a Blu-ray player is a great gift for the movie buff in your life. Providing for a high-definition movie viewing experience, the movie buff in your life will love the immersion of watching their favorite movies in pristine hi-def.

9. Popcorn Maker

Everybody knows: popcorn goes with movies like jelly goes with peanut butter. And for some reason, kettle popcorn just tastes better. So why not bring that theater goodness into the home of your favorite movie buff giving them the gift of snacks anytime they sit down to watch a movie at home. You can find many kettle popcorn makers for under $100. Any movie buff would find it cool to have their very own popcorn maker sitting in the corner of their room for access whenever they want to spend the evening watching movies (and trust me, they do this very often).

10. “Gaming” Chair

These provide the ultimate comfort when sitting in front of the TV for a movie. With built-in speaker systems and ultimate comfort, there are tons of stylish gaming chairs out there. Any movie buff would love one of these cool recliner/pedestal chairs to kick back and enjoy their movie-viewing experience. Not only does it just flat-out look cool and are they comfortable, but they also provide more immersion with the speakers in the headrest and subwoofers built into the chair that make you rumble along with explosions on the screen.

11. Surround Sound System

Speaking of sound, if your movie buff doesn’t already have one, a surround sound system is always a welcome addition to their home entertainment experience. Providing an immersion of sound to accompany their viewing experience, a surround sound system is an absolute must for any movie buff that is looking to make the most of the home entertainment experience. Of course, this can be a costly gift, but the movie buff in your life will definitely be grateful.

12. HDTV

Since we’re mentioning essential components, a TV definitely falls in that range. Obviously your movie buff already has one, but they’re never opposed to a new TV (or even just a secondary TV). Whether it be a smaller LCD TV to put in their room or an upgrade to a top-of-the-line brand new 3D TV, TVs are always welcome. Your movie buff would definitely love you for this. With the pushing of 3D TVs, these are a definite hot item too which most movie buffs in your life would more than happily take. Again though, this is one of the more costly gifts, so expect to pay thousands for something like that.

13. Movie Storage

You probably know this already, but the movie buff in your life probably has a very extensive collection of movies. A collection they love to proudly show off as well. Of course such a collection can often become something of a beast that needs taming. Enter the realm of media storage. This actually comes in two forms as well: physical and digital. First we’ll touch on the traditional physical form. This simply means cabinets and shelves. If the movie buff in your life doesn’t already have the shelving for their collection, or is simply running out of shelf space, then a new shelf, rack or tower would be a practical and welcome gift for your movie buff in helping to tame that ever-growing collection and bring some order to it. Of course you have the digital front as well. This is the same concept as storing all of your music on your computer. Many companies make devices specifically for media storage like this. There are even companies like Kaleidoscope and PrimeArray which create systems that serve as storage and servers. This means all movies are saved on a digital storage device. The cherry on top though is that these devices then provide a means to share all that data across a network and have access to your entire movie collection with one click of a button on your remote. Having instant access to any movie in your collection without having to get up and change out discs, etc. These however can get extremely expensive. Some even more costly than the TVs themselves. But the techphile/cinephile in your life would love it.

14. AFI Membership

Every film buff is familiar with the prestigious American Film Institute. What better way to reward their passion for films than allowing your movie buff to become part of that institute by buying them a membership to the AFI. This can range from $60-2,500. Offering cool perks like movie tickets, exclusive release schedules and magazine subscriptions, an AFI membership also grants members admission to AFI events. On top of that, your movie buff would even be able to vote alongside industry professionals for various movie awards and accolades dealt out by AFI each year. To top it off, they would even get an AFI membership card to proudly show off to friends as a sign to their dedication to films.

15. Film Festival Pass

I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Sundance. Cannes. Attending these more prestigious film festivals are like a life-long dream for the movie buff in your life probably. They’d probably give an arm or a leg to get to experience going to the prestigious Sundance festival or Cannes or the Venice Film Festival. However, these events book well in advance and can be costly. Thus, they don’t make good last-minute gift ideas. Though, I’m sure your movie buff would happily take a “rain check” on a gift if it means the promise of getting a pass to one of these festivals later on. Likewise, many bigger cities offer their own film festivals throughout the year. If you live near one of these, your movie buff would definitely love the chance to get to attend one of those as well.

So there you have it, a plethora of ideas to make sure the movie buff in your life has a happy holiday and make sure you come out on top with gift ideas for that movie buff (rather than being that relative that gives a crappy pair of knit socks for Christmas or such).

Dating Online – Why Does Free Dating Online Fail More Often Then Not

The internet has taken the world by storm over the last decade and a half. One of its most controversial moves was when it created the world of internet dating. Movies have been made on the dangers of meeting people online. Detective shows seem to feature at least one episode a season that deals with internet dating or meeting people on the internet. Hollywood rarely shows what happens when people who met online, marry and live happily ever after. This is because it rarely happens (when you consider the number of couples who meet online) and it is not a very interesting story to most people. Why does free online dating fail more often then not?

Free online dating often fails because there are very few systems in place to verify that people are who they say they are. That means a 50 year old couch potato can build a profile and say that they are a 24 hot college graduate. A man can even build a profile to say that he is a woman. How can a person be sure of who they are meeting online?

Luckily it is sometimes easy to pick out a fake profile, if you are cautious when you first start chatting or emailing the person. For example, a 50 year old should’ve lived through historic events that a 24 year old only learned about in school. If you start question them on some historic event and their responses seem to come from experience instead of a history book then it should raise a red flag. You just have to look closely at their responses, even look closely at their spelling and grammar. A college graduate should be able to spell their words correctly and use the correct form of a word, such as their instead of there. There is usually a level of trust when you first start out in a relationship but with free online dating you have to build that trust must slower.

Free online dating also fails because people use the dating sites to run scams. Unfortunately the internet makes it really easy for people to pull scams on other people and to steal their identity. There are people like this in every culture and they can be either male or female. Before there was the internet these people had to work a bit harder to run their scams but they did it. The blame for these kinds of people often gets placed on the internet but in truth it is the people that are bad, not the internet. So how does someone keep their private information safe and not get carried away by a scam?

The way to protect yourself in a free online dating situation is to think about dating a little differently. Instead of trusting a person right from the start and waiting for them to break your trust, you have to hold back. You don’t even have to use your real name at the start. You should just be honest and let them know that until you feel safe, you will be using a fake name. A decent person will understand and not get mad because they understand the risks of meeting people online. Getting to know someone online or dating online means using chats, emails, and video chats to talk. There is no need for someone to have your phone number, address, or even your last name. If you set a special dating email before you create your profile, you can make sure that your email profile also uses your fake name and doesn’t offer too much personal information. These are just steps to protect yourself so that you know you can trust the person before you start handing out your personal information.

You are not just a victim in a free online dating site like the movies and TV shows portray. You have choices and things that you can do to protect yourself. Even so, if it is marriage that you are looking for then a free online dating site probably isn’t the right choice for you. If you are looking for marriage then you should look to a matchmaking service. Matchmakers are trained in bringing people together who are compatible on deeper levels. You don’t have to worry about safety issues because an actually person is helping you from the matchmaking company. They don’t people who run scams or who are just looking for dates because their business depends on people getting married. But if you aren’t ready for the marriage leap just yet then free online dates sites are a perfectly acceptable choice, just be safe and have fun.

Movie Review: The Kid With A Bike

“Don’t be upset if it’s not the way you dream it would be.”

I didn’t know much about this film before seeing it at an early screening last night. All I knew was Dardenne Brothers, Cannes winner, Frenchie, Boy, Bike. Well, that’s enough for me! I adore french film and have always read about the Dardenne Brothers, but had yet to see one of their films. I thought I saw ‘Rosetta’ years ago, but I was confusing it for another film. That movie won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1999, the festivals top prize. Six years later they won again for L’Enfant (The Child). Last year The Boy With A Bike won second place, The Grand Prix at Cannes. These bitches are serious! So, when I received passes for the screening, I jumped on it.

This is a film about a sad boy who yearns for the love of his dad. He may as well be an orphan. His weak father refuses him, to his face. It’s tough to watch, but beautifully done. The film unfolds naturally, organically. There’s very little music and the dialogue is used minimally. Nothing is extra here. There’s a quietness to the film. An innerness, perhaps a reflection of the boy and what’s inside him. He’s struggling and doesn’t know how to resolve his frustrations. He just wants his dad. We see his journey and his attempts to find peace with all the shit he has been handed. It may sound maudlin, but it never is. It’s as real as real may ever be able to be in the cinema.

Something that struck me about the film and most foreign films-for that matter-is how the boy is portrayed. He doesn’t see dead people, he doesn’t smile and wink and look cute for the camera, he isn’t obnoxiously precocious like children in so many American films. He is portrayed like a 12 year old boy. A boy who has real problems. He’s without a mother, rejected by his father and living in a foster care facility. Without the experience of life to help guide him through his problems, he acts out. He hurts himself and others. He attacks. He retreats. He struggles at finding peace and because of this is unable to see what works in his life. We’ve all been there, as children or adults.

The filmmakers trust their material. They let it unfold, they respect the story, the characters within it, and the audience. If you watch this movie, I guarantee you will be moved by this boy and you will feel true empathy for him. Not because you were told to, but because you see yourself, or someone you love in him. It’s impossible not to. We are all living life, no matter how big or small. Open or closed. The boy with a bike wants desperately to live life too.

You can watch the movie online for free here.