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What's Hot

September 28, 2000

* Last week's Top 5 VHS rentals:

1. "Any Given Sunday" (special edition director's cut) (1999). An energetic and diverting Oliver Stone-directed soap opera about professional football that makes a few head fakes in the direction of an iconoclastic examination of the sport but, at the end of the day, comes out squarely for--hold onto your hats--teamwork and unselfish behavior. Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz star. (Kenneth Turan, Dec. 22) R for strong language and some nudity/sexuality.

2. "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. Directed by Brian De Palma. (Turan, March 10) PG for sci-fi violence and mild language.

3. "Erin Brockovich" (2000). Irresistible, hugely satisfying feminist tale about a woman the world didn't take seriously who empowered herself by helping others gain justice. A career milestone for director Steven Soderbergh and star Julia Roberts. (Turan, March 17) R for language.

4. "American Psycho" (2000). Nominally a satire on the excesses of the 1980s (who knew!), this adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel asks us to sit through more elegant carnage than the obviousness of its targets makes worthwhile. Starring Christian Bale and directed and co-written by Mary Harron. (Turan, April 14) R for strong violence, sexuality, drug use and language.

5. "The Whole Nine Yards" (2000). An occasionally amusing comedy about a friendly hit man (Bruce Willis) who moves in next door to a dentist (Matthew Perry). (Turan, Feb. 18) R for some sexuality/nudity and violence.

* Last week's Top 5 DVD rentals:

1. "Mission to Mars"

2. "Any Given Sunday"

3. "Erin Brockovich"

4. "American Psycho"

5. "Reindeer Games" (2000). This noir-ish tale of an ex-con (Ben Affleck) and the beautiful woman he becomes involved with (Charlize Theron) is hampered by miscast stars and an implausible script. (Turan, Feb. 25) R for strong violence, language and sexuality.

* Last week's Top 5 VHS sellers:

1. "The Tigger Movie" (2000). This brightly colored, upbeat animated film centers on Tigger, 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 with the uneven execution that weakens the genuine charm the film sporadically exhibits. (Charles Solomon, Feb. 11) G.

2. "The Sound of Music" (1965). Audiences loved this Robert Wise-Ernest Lehman adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein's last stage musical like no other movie of the '60s, some seeing it hundreds of times. It's an archetypal story: the spunky governess (Julie Andrews) in the gorgeous chateau, taming the chilly master and his adorable motherless tots, with mountains, lakes, Nazis and world catastrophe in the background.

3. "Erin Brockovich"

4. "Next Friday" (2000). Sequel to the 1995 hit comedy takes Ice Cube's slacker hero from South-Central L.A. to a multicultural suburban enclave. Much raunchier and far less funny than the last "Friday." (Gene Seymour, Jan. 12) R for strong language, drug use and sexual content.

5. "Buzz Lightyear: The Adventure Begins" (2000). Made-for-video spinoff of the "Toy Story" hero.

* Last week's Top 5 DVD sellers:

1. "Any Given Sunday"

2. "Braveheart" (1995). Mel Gibson directed and stars in this almost three-hour epic about 13th century Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace. (Peter Rainer). R for medieval bloodshed.

3. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991). A cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the future time-travels to 1991 to save a boy (Edward Furlong) who will one day become a resistance leader.

4. "Men in Black" (1997). Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are the kings of cool as government agents determined to keep visiting aliens from messing up planet Earth. (Turan, July 1, 1997) PG-13, for language and sci-fi violence.

5. "Men in Black" (special edition)

What's New

Black and White (1999). Young white New Yorkers in cultural-sexual thrall to black hip-hop culture. Tiresome when it's not being either amateurish or offensive. With Bijou Phillips, Power, Allan Houston, Mike Tyson, Claudia Schiffer, Ben Stiller, Brooke Shields, Robert Downey Jr., Gaby Hoffmann. Written and directed by James Toback. (John Anderson, April 5) Columbia: no list price; DVD: $24.95; (CC); R for strong sexuality, graphic language, some violence and drug use.

The Cup (2000). This charming, slyly comic and far from conventionally religious film shows what happens when, of all things, an intense case of World Cup fever infects the young residents of a holy Tibetan exile monastery. The movie stars Tibetan monks and was written and directed by a man described as "one of the most important incarnate lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition." In Tibetan with English subtitles. (Turan, Jan. 28) Warner: no list price; (CC); G.

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