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2009 Gift Guide

Monitor picks for TV, movies, music, and games.

December 7, 2009

'My Fair Lady'

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With festivities cranking up, a good movie or evocative CD can instantly shift you into the holiday mood. So whether you're looking for presents or something to share with family and guests, we have winnowed the avalanche of choices to a trim 22 that we think will delight, fascinate, and maybe even make you laugh. As Eliza Doolittle would say, "Wouldn't it be loverly" (from the "delight" category's "My Fair Lady" with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn).

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Up ($45.99) Buy on

This animated film won so many critics' "thumbs ups" earlier this year that some see a "best picture" Academy Award nomination ahead. Calling it the adventures of an elderly widower and an 8-year-old wilderness explorer flying in a house transported by balloons, who must save Kevin, the flightless bird, doesn't begin to describe how it touches the hearts of both children and adults. Disney Pixar's Blu-ray video pack offers many extras, including the charming short feature "Partly Cloudy" (shown in theaters) and an amazing documentary in which the filmmakers visit the actual remote, bizarre, flat-topped mountains in Venezuela that are the site of much of the film's action. To make sure you're never without "Up," the pack also includes a disc for downloading "Up" onto a computer or mobile device.

Sesame Street: 40 years of Sunny Days ($29.93) Buy on

This two-disc commemorative set celebrates the most memorable, silliest, funniest, and downright lovable moments from the groundbreaking children's television show. It's hard to know how the team chose from the years of celebrities, artists, and common folk alike who graced the set of what has been dubbed the most important TV show created for youngsters, as well as the young at heart. The sets from James Taylor, Patti LaBelle, and other boomer favorites are reason enough for parents to own this, but all the extras, including interviews with puppet masters and show creators, not to mention a hardback book, make this a tidy stocking stuffer.

Marvel Animation: 6 Film Set ($49.98) Buy on