CriterionCast Holiday Buyer’s Guide: Books, Subscription Services, More


Well, it’s about this time of year, isn’t it?

With Thanksgiving approaching at a breakneck pace, here at CriterionCast we are here to help you out during this panicky time of the Christmas shopping season. From the books to the box sets, streaming subscriptions to wine subscriptions, here are some of the must-have gift items for the movie lover in your life.


Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir

Now “revised and expanded” Eddie Muller’s legendary tome about the history of film noir has appeared in the books of TCM and Running Press. This new edition reprints the original groundbreaking work, adding new chapters and restored photographs to add depth and historical context to one of the most influential and important film books of its generation.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks and the Making of a Classic

Also from TCM and Running Press comes this book by Richard Barrios, which deals with the story of one of the greatest film musicals of all time. A beautiful, richly-written portrait of the popular film, this book features brilliantly restored photographs and inside stories about the production of the iconic image. Join in and read before the Spielberg remake hits theaters this vacation.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Hayao Miyazaki

This essential reading for all animation fans comes from the Academy Museum and Delmonico Books. An essential deep insight into the works of the master animation director, Hayao Miyazaki is a gigantic, cross-career text that incorporates original production materials from the entire career of the Ghibli founder, and combines these incredible documents with original lyrics from the likes of Pixar director Pete Docter. Sketches, storyboards and character designs fill these pages and give readers a glimpse into one of the most important film careers of all time.

Hayao Miyazaki

$ 54.34

in stock

7 new from 54.34

2 Used from $ 69.84

As of December 14, 2021 6:56 p.m.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Weegee’s naked city

No film book directly, Weegee’s naked city is a must for film fans, if only because of its connection to the above-mentioned book on film noir. Originally released as Rave Notes in 1945, this collection of photographs by former New York press photographer Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) exudes the dark, dimly-lit aesthetic that noir cinema has made iconic. The photos here are teeming with class struggle, violence and sex in a way that both feels like a specific moment and is ultimately rendered timeless by the cinema it inspires.

Weegee's naked city

$ 39.95

in stock

6 New from $ 39.95

2 used from $ 36.00

As of December 14, 2021 6:56 p.m.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

The Soul of a Nation Reader

This collection of texts by and about black artists from the years 1960-1980, which relates more to the art world than to film, is essential reading at this time. A bit more exhilarating than any of the books mentioned so far, this collection of pieces is a huge, expertly edited collection of pieces that, while only spanning two decades, feels much larger and broader.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

The Art of Mitchell’s vs. The Machines

Your annual Sony Pictures Animation Artbook, this time for publication in 2021 The Mitchells vs. The Machines. Very few animation studios do these books better than SPA, and that is no different, as it offers an indescribable pool of animation and flotsam from the production of the film. Catnip for the younger group.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Le Grand Jeu

I would mention this book anyway because Cartier-Bresson is one of the great artists of the last century, but what is worth including here is a brilliant piece by filmmaker Wim Wenders. The filmmaker goes deep

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Space fantasies 1: 1

This shamelessly beautiful (and incredibly expensive) art book, another book tangentially related to film, doesn’t look at science fiction cinema, but rather at toys that emerged from the first outbreak of science fiction popularity is. From the RF collection, this book gathers 146 toys and reprints them in actual size, boxes, and everything to breathe new life into the popularity of space races at a given moment. Few art books are so captivating, so nicely edited / structured.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Left melancholy

Now to some scientific stuff. This book by Columbia University Press and author Enzo Traverso takes a look at various movements in the history of Marxist art and contextualizes them around history, memory, and especially the melancholy that seems to equate with the Marxist movement. Film fans will follow the discussions especially about Eisenstein and especially Pontecorvo. Dense but often exciting scholarship.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Keep them in the east

This deep dive into the history of postwar New York cinema is also palpable energy from Columbia and probably the most popular read among the books listed here, one that feels heavily influenced by its subject. With over 500 pages, the book does not lack stories or deep insights into films, and with an emphasis on Kubrick and Kazan, it is sure to attract a lot of glances when looking for gifts.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Second time around

This book by author DA Miller is perhaps the largest CriterionCast book ever made. Miller’s book plunges headlong into the history of various films “from art house to DVD” and collects thirteen essays on various films that Miller originally saw in theaters in the 1960s and 1970s, only to be streamed decades later in flawless quality and see DVD. For those who think way too much about what streaming and technological advancement mean for film restoration and cinephilia, this is by far the must-have book of the season.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge

Biography written by Joseph McBride about the legendary Billy Wilder. Do you need more words?

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Music in the cinema

Translated by Claudia Gorbman, this dive into the history of film music from 1895 to 2020, written by Michel Chion, is a beautiful, dense, yet brisk insight into the various sonic developments that have been made in the course of film history. It’s fascinating, driving read that never feels superfluous, takes up every new chapter and turns expectations upside down. Required reading for film fans with a special ear for film music.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Art cinema and India’s forgotten future

This decidedly anti-colonialist reading about the history of Indian cinema comes from the writer Rochona Majumdar, with a special look at India after independence and the house of cards on which its democracy is built. The highlight of the book is whenever Majumdar is philosophized about Ritwik Ghatak, a filmmaker who deserves a lot more discussion here in the US.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.

Tell the stones

This is the book that you need to keep an eye on. This collection of essays on Straub-Huillet’s films comes from Sternberg Press and the editors Annett Busch and Tobias Hering. This dense love letter to Straub-Huillet is a dense, beautifully constructed deep insight into one of the great unsung filmographies of the entire cinema and a fascinating, deeply thoughtful read.

Last updated on December 14, 2021, 6:56 p.m.


I have to say, few things suit my personal taste better than classic cinema and great wine. Had the pleasure of trying the Elvis At The Movies Cabernet Sauvignon, and although I’m not a fan of the classic grape varieties (I’m not going into that, but I’m more of a Godforsaken Grape wine patty), this pleasantly jammy cab gives way to oak and vanilla notes, before closing with a light smoke and full body.

Fan shop

TCM coffee cup

Do you want to be a movie sucker and do this publicly at work? Here is the coffee cup that tells everyone not to talk to you about which is better, Vertigo or Citizen Kane, until the cup is empty.

Agnes Varda tote bag

Remains the best and most enjoyable that has ever been available in the Criterion Shop

Janus Films knitted hat

Personal inclusion, because that’s the only thing I want someone to give me.

The Posteritati Shop

Just the whole place. Bangs from wall to wall, this time in the truest sense of the word.

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