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March 01, 2001

Bedazzled (2000). The best thing is its perfectly cast stars: Elizabeth Hurley as the tart-tongued devil and especially Brendan Fraser. But the film, as written by Larry Gelbart, director Harold Ramis and Peter Tolan, is erratic, unfocused and uncertain. Fox: no list price; DVD: $26.98, available March 13; (CC); PG-13, for sex-related humor, language and some drug content.

Bootmen (2000). Engaging drama with dance from Dein Perry, creator of the Tap Dogs dance troupe, starring Adam Garcia as an Australian steel mill worker who can dance like Astaire but envisions creating his own kind of rugged dance from his blue-collar environment. Fox: no list price; (CC); R, for language, some violence and a scene of sexuality.

The Fantasticks (2000). Francis Ford Coppola oversaw some reediting of Michael Ritchie's inspired transposition of the durable Tom Jones-Harvey Schmidt romantic musical to the innocent American heartland of the '20s, invaded by a carnival and its magic; at once theatrical yet cinematic. MGM: no list price; DVD: $24.98; (CC); PG, for some bawdy carnival humor.

Lost Souls (2000). Dreary tale of supernatural horror finds Winona Ryder trying to convince a skeptical Ben Chaplin that he will be possessed by the devil. Nothing is particularly convincing about this handsomely mounted but hopelessly trite tale that marks the directorial debut of Janusz Kaminski, who won Oscars for his cinematography in "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." New Line/Warner: no list price; DVD: $24.98; (CC); R, for violence/terror and some language.

Nurse Betty (2000). Though he didn't write the script, the fingers of Neil LaBute ("In the Company of Men") are on this sour fairy tale about a woman (Renee Zellweger) who can no longer distinguish TV from reality and thinks the soap opera doctor she idolizes (Greg Kinnear) is a real person. USA: no list price; DVD: $26.98; (CC); R, for strong violence, pervasive language and a scene of sexuality.

The Original Kings of Comedy (2000). Spike Lee's sharp concert film lets us know why black audiences have turned the Kings of Comedy show, featuring Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac, into the highest-grossing comedy tour in history. In the grand tradition of Richard Pryor's "Live on Sunset Strip," Eddie Murphy's "Raw" and Martin Lawrence's "You So Crazy." Paramount: no list price; DVD: $29.99; (CC); R, for language and sex-related humor.

The Tic Code (2000). Initially self-conscious but increasingly persuasive drama in which a jazz piano prodigy (Christopher George Marquette) bonds with a jazz saxophonist (Gregory Hines) through their music and their shared Tourette's syndrome. The result is an enlightening and affecting film. Universal: no list price; DVD: $24.98; (CC); R, for language.

What's Hot

* Last week's Top 5 VHS rentals:

1. "What Lies Beneath" (2000). A suspense thriller with a brisk succession of bump-in-the-dark moments shoehorned into an old-fashioned dark-and-stormy-night ghost story. Spooky with a polished kind of creepiness added by director Robert Zemeckis, it nevertheless feels more planned than passionate, scary at points but unconvincing overall. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer star. PG-13, for terror/violence, sensuality and brief language.

2. "Bring It On" (2000). A smart and sassy high school movie that's fun for all ages, starring Kirsten Dunst as the captain of a cheerleading team at an affluent San Diego-area high school that has won the national cheerleading competition five years in a row. To her complete chagrin, she discovers that their current hip-hop routine was ripped off by her predecessor from a Compton high school. PG-13, for sex-related material and language.

3. "Bless the Child" (2000). It opens strongly, with Kim Basinger as a nurse in a New York hospital who suddenly finds herself, on Christmas Eve, with her drug-addicted sister's newborn abandoned child. But its credibility as a supernatural thriller erodes quickly, and the film lapses into an exercise in foolishness. R, for violence, drug content and brief language.

4. "Get Carter" (2000). Sylvester Stallone is well cast as an underworld enforcer who returns home to Seattle to probe his younger brother's supposedly accidental death. Stallone is suitably world-weary and reflective, but the filmmakers keep making him knock people around to pump up the action. R, for violence, language, some sexuality and drug content.

5. Me, Myself & Irene (2000). Jim Carrey has his moments as a Rhode Island state policeman whose two personalities are in love with Renee Zellweger, but this Farrelly brothers comedy lacks the warmth that made "There's Something About Mary" such a hit. Strictly for the hard-core gross-out crowd. R, for sexual content, crude humor, strong language and some violence.

* Last week's Top 5 DVD rentals:

1. "What Lies Beneath"

2. "Bring It On"

3. "Bless the Child"

4. "Get Carter"

5. "Me, Myself & Irene"

Last week's Top 5 VHS sellers:

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