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DVD Pick of the Week: The Hitcher

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Not a terribly strong week for new releases. I guess they are thinking that no one will be home watching new DVDs come the weekend when Spider-Man 3 is released. That leaves me with not that much to choose from. Still, far be it that a week passes without something that interests me — there are a few notable new films to hit the shelves, and at least one that you should avoid at all costs. Now, let's a take a look at what is coming out this week.

This week's pick is The Hitcher. It is a remake of the '80s thriller that starred Rutger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell, this time putting Sean Bean in the role of the psycho hitchhiker. It was a film that I was fortunate enough to not enter into with the baggage of the original film. Even more unfortunately, I still don't have that baggage. Translation: I still need to see that original movie.

The story centers on Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton) and Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush), a couple leaving for a spring break vacation. Along the way a rain storm hits and they come across a man with a broken down car. They speed along, but end up bumping into each other at a gas station. At this moment the story goes down a path of danger and death, precisely where Jim and Grace don’t want to go.


The Hitcher
is essentially a chase film. The kids run and Ryder pursues, relentlessly. Along the way, they try to obtain help, only to be mistaken as the killer on the loose. What keeps the interest up are the tense setups which allow us to spend time with Ryder. Sean Bean injects a good dose of steely menace into the hitcher; the guy is scary.

If you are looking for some thrills, and prefer to root for the scary guy, this may be a movie that you are going to want to see. The DVD includes deleted scenes, including an alternate ending, plus a featurette on the car stunts.

Also out this week:

  • Dreamgirls. This was a good movie, with a jaw-dropping performance by Jennifer Hudson. I don't see it generating much repeat viewing, but it is definitely worth it for Hudson's Oscar-winning performance.
  • Little Children. I haven't seen this yet, but have heard very good things about the performances.
  • Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons. The Honeymooners as dinosaurs? Works for me. This set contains the final two seasons of the Disney produced show.
  • Fletch: Jane Doe Edition. Chevy Chase, when he was still funny.
  • Alpha Dog. Based on a true story, this is about a kidnapping gone awry, and features the first big screen appearance by Justin Timberlake.
  • Happily N'Ever After. Avoid this at all costs. This is, hands down, one of the worst animated features I have ever laid my eyes upon.
  • Collection of 2006 Academy Award Nominated Short Films. I love the idea for these releases. It includes most of the nominated films, including the winners: West Bank Story and The Danish Poet.

What are you watching this week?

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