A CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO THE FLICKS, DISCS, BOOKS, VIDEOS, AND WEBSITES THAT MADE THE GRADE--B+ OR BETTER--IN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

By EW Staff
Updated July 13, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Movies

A.I. Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law (PG-13) A machine-built boy is programmed to feel real love. Stanley Kubrick’s futuristic sci-fi tale comes to life under Steven Spielberg’s direction. A-

DIVIDED WE FALL Boleslav Polivka, Anna Siskova (PG-13) An elegant black comedy about an odd couple who get caught up in the WWII intrigue of 1943 Czechoslovakia. A-

THE ROAD HOME Zhang Ziyi, Sun Honglei (G) Zhang Yimou’s richly textured and gentle story of the devotion that sustains a family through generations of hardship. A pre- Crouching Tiger Zhang Ziyi glows. B+

SEXY BEAST Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone (R) The British indie flick stars Kingsley as a merciless, hard-as-nails gangster hell-bent on forcing a former associate (Winstone) out of early retirement. A

Video & DVD

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON Chow Yun-Fat (PG-13) Mystical warriors get their ha-yahs out in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning martial-arts crowd-pleaser. A

THE HOUSE OF MIRTH Gillian Anderson (PG) As Edith Wharton’s Lily Bart, Anderson battles some genuine aliens — turn-of-the-century New York society snobs. A-

THE PLEDGE Jack Nicholson (R) Director Sean Penn delivers a somber character study of a Nevada detective (Nicholson) trying to crack one final case. A-

SOME LIKE IT HOT: SPECIAL EDITION Marilyn Monroe (unrated) The blond one wiggles and coos her way into the hearts of the cross-dressing Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in director Billy Wilder’s classic romp. B+

STATE AND MAIN William H. Macy (R) Big-time Hollywood comes to small-town Vermont in director David Mamet’s comedy about location, location, location. B+

WRITTEN ON THE WIND Rock Hudson (unrated) Hudson and Lauren Bacall star in this lavish and kitschy soap opera-like yarn about social masks and love lost. A

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME Laura Linney (R) Linney and newcomer Mark Ruffalo test the ties that bind in last year’s big indie breakout hit. A

Books

COMIC BOOKS

BIZARRO COMICS (DC Comics) A riotous anthology of stories featuring Bizarro, a humorous Superman character from the late ’50s. A-

FICTION

FEARLESS JONES Walter Mosley (Little, Brown) From the author of Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned comes a sexy, taut mystery set in post-WWII Los Angeles. A

BEL CANTO Ann Patchett (HarperCollins) Captives and captors alike rediscover their humanity in this lovely novel, inspired by the 1996 Peruvian hostage crisis. A-

NONFICTION

FRAUD David Rakoff (Doubleday) Hilarious and poignant personal essays chronicling the author’s many fish-out-of-water moments. A

THE NOONDAY DEMON: AN ATLAS OF DEPRESSION Andrew Solomon (Scribner) The author draws from his own wrenching experience to offer much-needed cultural and scientific context for this illness. A-

NOW DIG THIS Terry Southern (Grove) A ragbag of journalism, correspondence, essays, and oddities by the cowriter of Dr. Strangelove. A-

POSITIVELY 4TH STREET David Hajdu (FS&G) A behind-the- legends look at folkies Bob Dylan, Richard Farina, Joan Baez, and her sister, Mimi. A

Internet

MOVIES

CATS & DOGS (catsanddogs movie.com) Meet the evil feline soldiers who help a megalomaniacal Persian kitty wage war on the canine species in this summer’s animatronic adventure. A-

OPERATION SWORDFISH (operation swordfish.com) Scavenge for secret passwords to advance through this techno-thriller’s official site, all under the intense gaze of John Travolta. A-

MUSIC

MOTOWN RECORDS (motown.com) This tuneful time line follows the Detroit-founded record label from the 1950s to the present. A-

THE ORIGINAL HIP-HOP LYRICS ARCHIVE (ohhla.com) Decipher rhymes from acts like Afrika Bambaataa and Another Bad Creation. B+

TELEVISION

THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF FEDERICO CASTELLUCCIO (www.federico castelluccio.com) You love him as Furio, the scariest hitman on The Sopranos. Who knew that he’s also an accomplished painter? B+

QUEER AS FOLK (queer.sho.com) A look at both the raucous and risky aspects of gay life, plus info on the risque Showtime cable series. A

Net Cetera

TOPHER’S BREAKFAST CEREAL CHARACTER GUIDE (geocities.com/enchantedforest/3278/cereal-guide.html) Chronicles the characters who’ve graced cereal boxes for the past hundred years. Only a cereal marketing consultant could be this obsessive about his breakfast buddies. B+

Music

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND ”Lillywhite Sessions” (no label) The band scrapped these recordings, but Web-savvy fans have smartly latched on to the brooding set. A-

ROBERT CRAY Shoulda Been Home (Rykodisc) Cray’s blues always sound hip, thanks to his cool yet impassioned style. B+

THE CULT Beyond Good and Evil (Atlantic) Once again merging big hooks and big rawk, Ian Astbury and company make a surprising stab at respectability. B+

LEA DeLARIA Play It Cool (Warner Bros.) This set of smart, swinging songs marks DeLaria’s beguiling jazz vocal debut. B+

ARETHA FRANKLIN Aretha’s Best (Rhino) Nothing new, but these classics are a great start for the uninitiated soul-seeker. B+

TOM HARRELL Paradise (RCA Victor) A romantic melange of Latin-jazzy pieces, brisk post-bop settings, and string-oriented groupings. A-

THE HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS AND FRIENDS I Make a Wish for a Potato (Rounder) Their ’60s work featuring drummer/playwright Sam Shepard is sadly missing, but the collection remains delightful as the acid folksters croon jaunty paeans to UFOs, hangings, and gentrification. A

SYLEENA JOHNSON Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness (Jive) The Chicago singer belts out soulful tales of woe on her debut disc. B+

BRAD PAISLEY Part II (Arista Nashville) Paisley’s latest hearkens back to vintage Nashville with honky-tonk and weepy steel guitars. B+

RAHAT NUSRAT FATEH ALI KHAN Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (American) On four expansive tracks, Rahat masters Pakistani devotional music, evoking a place where spirituality and sensuality meet. A

RAY-J This Ain’t a Game (Atlantic) Brandy’s little brother scores, with help from R&B production pros Rodney Jerkins and the Neptunes. B+

RON SEXSMITH Blue Boy (SpinART) Roots veteran Steve Earle produced the Canadian singer-songwriter’s fourth superbly crafted album. A

TRAVIS The Invisible Band (Epic) The great Scots’ second album pieces together a seductive mosaic of shimmering guitar pop. A-

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Poses (DreamWorks) With help from Sarah McLachlan on vocals and Melissa Auf Der Maur on bass, Wainwright delivers a flawless set of new standards. A

LUCINDA WILLIAMS Essence (Lost Highway) Williams’ gentlest, folkiest album yet is a steamy crawl of forlorn love. B+

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