DVD Tuesday: ‘Wild Hogs’, ‘Dark Crystal’

by W. Andrew Powell

The Dark CrystalEvery year brings a few good movie weeks with amazing new DVDs hitting store shelves, and then there are the bad weeks with nothing but filler. Too bad for movie fans that it seems like the bad weeks outnumber the good ones by about five-to-one. This week, while a couple of gems have re-emerged on shelves, it looks like the latest new releases are anything but classics.

Probably the most loudly advertised film this week, as well as the dumbest DVD, is Wild Hogs. Starring John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy as an over-the-hill group of wannabe bikers. The film saunters through the usual stereotypical, cheeseball jokes with nothing but a sidelong glance at originality. Directed by Walt Becker, who also directed Van Wilder, the film did surprisingly well at the box office but was a total flop among critics. Although the stars certainly add some shine to this release, there’s not much else worth mentioning here.

For the David Lynch fans of the world (and lets face it, you either love the man’s films or hate him with a passion), Inland Empire arrives on DVD this week. This disjointed, freakish tale follows a woman named Nikki (Laura Dern) who is cast in a Hollywood drama that could be, well, cursed. With the usual Lynch approach to storytelling we stumble along the storylines that lead us to occasional moments of clarity. Lynch fans will probably recognize the themes of the film, which closely resembles his other films, including Mulholland Drive.

In Fracture, Gregory Hoblit‘s latest thriller, Canadian actor Ryan Gosling plays Willy Beachum, an aspiring lawyer trying to prove himself to a major law firm. In court, however, Willy is faced with convicting Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), who shot his wife, but seems to have an unending stream of escape routes from the law. The film has been praised as one of Hoblit’s best in years, and also features a knock-out interplay between Hopkins and Gosling, despite its unbelievable plot.

And finally, two classic Jim Henson films get the deluxe DVD treatment this week. Talk to nearly anyone who grew up in the 80s and ask them about their favorite movies and they will likely mention either Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal. Both films have been available on DVD for some time, but these new re-releases feature a few new extras, including a rich, new, digital transfers; new commentaries; and rediscovered footage.

While Labyrinth is definitely a classic film, there are few films that capture the imagination, beauty, or style of The Dark Crystal. This is a truly remarkable film, that might be Henson’s crowning achievement.

Other new releases this week include: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, and The Lookout.

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