You love that movie lover in your life, but the “Godfather” coffee mug you got them last year just didn’t cut the mustard.  Don’t give up hope!  Here are some holiday gift ideas that are sure to make even the most hardcore cinefile spit out their popcorn in glee.

Cinefamily’s funky little theater

The Cinefamily is a non-profit that shows an astounding panoply o’ films at the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax.  A membership to Cinefamily ($275) means your little movie lover can see awesome movies whenever they damn well please (with early admission la-dee-da), whether it’s a new indie film, a kitsch classic or a great music and film event.  Of course, another awesome option would be to give them a KCRW Angel Subscription so they can take you to Matt’s Movies all year long…

Brookstone’s Pocket Projector

How cool will your little cine-snob be when they pop their iPhone into a dock and project movies 10 feet wide!  Check out the Optoma Neo-i / DV20 ($299)…or any of the new pocket projectors out there for that matter - like Optoma’s PK-120 Pico Pocket Projector3M’s MPro150 Pocket Projector or Brookstone’s Pocket Projector iPhone Case.  Neato.

If home projection isn’t enough, why not rent the screening room at Vidiot’s Annex in Santa Monica?  It’s $250, but you can hold a private screening and/or party for up to 35 people.  But it’s BYOB!

Roku 2HD

I’m a big fan of the Roku 2HD ($79.99), the tiny little box that wirelessly streams movies and more to any TV.  With inexpensive memberships to Hulu and Netflix (my Amazon Prime membership also gives me tons of stuff to stream for free, plus I occasionally “rent” a movie) you can watch movies and TV until you start to stink up the place…without cable!  Some new DVD players also come with streaming capability, but that’s like buying a CD deck with a built-in cassette player.  Apple TV is also cool but you can’t stream content from Amazon.

Maui Film Festival

For that really special someone, how about a movie lover’s dream vacation to the Maui Film Festival in June?  OK, this is a rather expensive gift, but if you’re planning a vacation anyway…you’ll be able to hang out on the beach with a MaiTai and your pasty-faced film-addict will get their movie fix.  Everybody wins.

Pauline Kael

Film criticism has become a shell of its former self, with intellects and writers like Pauline Kael as rare these days as a funny Eddie Murphy film.  Celebrate her life and work with two great books: a new biography called Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark and last year’s release of selected writings, The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael.  I give them both a big thumbs up!  Another great book with a few less words – this one for people who love celebrity but are afraid to admit it: The Slow Paparazzo – a genius little tome based on a blog of pictures of celebs…just moments after they left the scene.

Last Remaining Seats

Tickets aren’t available until spring, but how about a homemade coupon good for tickets to the LA Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats series?  See classic films in the movie palaces of yesteryear…today!  Or, how about going to film school?  Or at least taking a great film class?  Like UCLA Extension’s new “Celebration of Movie Musicals ($105)?


The Hollywood Reporter ($99) has turned into a slick, over-sized hybrid publication that’s not just for insiders any more. Sure, there’s deal info, but there’s also tons of celebrity, behind-the-scenes and life-style stuff that you just won’t find in more mainstream movie publications.

Nothing here tripping your shutter?  Check out Film Independent’s Holiday Gift Guide!

Or, how about a great new movie no one ever heard about!  Here are some of my faves of 2012…some may be hard to get your hands on – which makes them all the more special!


The Snowtown Murders
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon
Oslo, August 31st

The Ambassador

Planet of Snail
Women with Cows
How to Survive a Plague
The Ambassador
Ballplayer: Pelotero
The Waiting Room

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  • Anonymous

    Another great gadget for techies and TV fans alike is the Sling Adapter (and a mention of the free DISH Remote Access app). I got DISH last year, and when a DISH coworker told me about the Sling, and this App, I knew it would be useful. With these, I can take all my live TV and DVR practically anywhere I go. I can watch my live TV on the subway home, browse the programming guide, and access/manage/watch my DVR. I don’t know how many times I’ve left the house in the morning, having forgotten to set the DVR, and the kids love having TV in the car!