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October 12, 2000

"Committed" (2000). A wry comic fable about love and, yes, commitment written and directed by "Manny and Lo's" Lisa Krueger and starring Heather Graham as a young woman who really believes "for better or worse" are words carved in stone. Miramax/Buena Vista: no list price; DVD: $29.95; (CC) R for language.

"Love and Basketball" (2000). Writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood's debut feature is a charming movie that follows two lover-athletes (Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps) over the course of 15 years. New Line/Warner: no list price; DVD: $24.98; (CC) PG-13 for sexuality and language.

"Pitch Black" (2000). Routine sci-fi/horror action-adventure is at least energetic. Its biggest plus is its imposing and compelling star, Vin Diesel, who plays a dangerous prisoner among a group of people stranded on a distant planet. Miramax/Buena Vista: no list price; DVD: $26.98; (CC) R for sci-fi violence and gore, and for language.

"Rules of Engagement" (2000). A passable, moderately diverting courtroom-combat drama starring Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson and an impressive Guy Pearce that raises thought-provoking questions it's not really interested in answering. Paramount: no list price; DVD: $29.99; (CC) R for war violence and language.

"Shanghai Noon" (2000). Jackie Chan as an imperial guard out to rescue a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu) in the Old West and Owen Wilson as a rowdy train robber make for a terrific team in this hilarious comedy western. Buena Vista: no list price; DVD: $29.99; (CC) PG-13 for action violence, drug humor, language and sensuality.

"Time Code" (2000). Mike Figgis delves into the digital video revolution with a zesty, darkly satirical split-screen take on bad old Hollywood ways in which beauty, talent and ambition collide with sex, drugs and power with the usual consequences. Salma Hayek, as an ambitious actress who will do anything for film exec Stellan Skarsgard, sets the plot in motion. Columbia: no list price; DVD: $24.95; (CC) R for drug use, language and a scene of violence.

What's Hot

* Last week's Top 5 VHS rentals:

1. "Final Destination" (2000). Swift and scary thriller of the supernatural, starring Devon Sawa as a high school student who has a sudden premonition that the jetliner that's about to take him and 39 classmates to a Paris field trip will explode on takeoff. (1:34) R for violence and terror, and for language.

2. "28 Days" (2000). An empathetic Sandra Bullock performance is squandered in this "Happy Days-checks-into-Wonderland" look at one woman's experience with rehab. Directed in breezy sitcom fashion by Betty Thomas, it's a film with a jones for the obvious. (1:43) PG-13 for mature themes involving substance abuse, language and some sensuality.

3. "Any Given Sunday" (special edition director's cut) (1999). Oliver Stone-directed soap opera about pro football that makes a few head fakes in the direction of an iconoclastic examination of the sport but comes out squarely for teamwork. Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz star. R for strong language and some nudity/sexuality.

4. "Where the Heart Is" (2000). Treacle and caricature threaten to drown Natalie Portman's affecting portrait of an abandoned pregnant teenager who builds a life for herself in a small Oklahoma town. With Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Sally Field and Joan Cusack. PG-13 for intense thematic material, language and sexual content.

5. "Mission to Mars" (2000). A notably lifeless film about the possibilities of life on Mars. The clunky, unconvincing and just plain bad dialogue leaves this movie as cold and distant as the Red Planet itself. Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle star. PG for sci-fi violence and mild language.

* Last week's Top 5 DVD rentals:

1. "Mission to Mars"

1. "Final Destination"

3. "Any Given Sunday"

4. "28 Days"

5. "High Fidelity" (2000). A sharp and satisfying romantic comedy about the difficulty of commitment that uses Stephen Frears' incisive direction and some very sophisticated writing to give John Cusack one of the best roles of his career. (1:47) R for language and some sexuality.

* Last week's Top 5 VHS sellers:

1. "The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea." Made-for-video sequel.

2. "The Tigger Movie" (2000). Upbeat animated film about Winnie-the-Pooh's rambunctious friend, who goes in search of other tiggers. Small children will be pleased, but parents and older siblings may grow impatient. G.

3. "Erin Brockovich" (2000). Irresistible, hugely satisfying feminist tale about a woman the world didn't take seriously who empowered herself by helping others. A career milestone for director Steven Soderbergh and Julia Roberts. R for language.

4. "The Sound of Music" (1965).

5. "Buzz Lightyear: The Adventure Begins"

* Last week's Top 5 DVD sellers:

1. "Final Destination"

2. "Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea"

4. "Mission to Mars"

3. "Any Given Sunday"

5. "Braveheart"

What's Coming

Tuesday: "American Pimp," "Keeping the Faith" and "Toy Story 2."

Oct. 24: "Center Stage," "The Idiots," "The Patriot" and "Up at the Villa."

Oct. 31: "Frequency," "Gossip," "Return to Me" and "Thomas and the Magic Railroad."

Commentary from Times movie reviews.

Rental video charts provided by VSDA

VidTrac, sales charts by VideoScan Inc.

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