September 07, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT


THE PRINCESS DIARIES Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway (G) In this charming girl-empowering fairy tale, a gawky teenager morphs into a royal highness under the attentive ministrations of her grandmother. B+

OSMOSIS JONES Voices of Chris Rock, Laurence Fishburne (PG) A fantastic and fanciful live-action/animation hybrid from the Farrelly brothers, answering the question, What are gross body functions like from the inside out? B+

THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE Fernando Rey (Unrated) Rereleased almost 25 years after its debut, the final work of the great Spanish filmmaker Luis Bunuel is also his casual masterpiece. A

WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter (R) This gleeful and ingenious pop parody satirizes all of those brain-dead, teen-porn sub-Meatballs comedies of the early ’80s. A

RAT RACE Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr. (PG-13) A circus’ worth of well-known performers pursue $2 million stashed in a train-station locker in this rowdy, bouncy, and acceleratingly funny caper. B+

Video & DVD

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT: MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA David Suchet (Unrated) A modern-day Sherlock Holmes, Suchet’s persnickety Belgian sleuth brings mustache-tickling humor and style to this murder mystery. B+

AMERICAN TRAGEDY Ving Rhames (PG-13) Norman Mailer’s CBS mini-series blends reenactments and archival footage to craft a surreal behind-the-scenes report of the O.J. Simpson trial. B+

CARRIE: SPECIAL EDITION Sissy Spacek (R) This latest reissue of shock maestro Brian De Palma’s precursor to the teen horror flick includes not one but two ”making of” documentaries, with gossipy anecdotes from cast members in the first and a De Palma spotlight in the second. B+

THE LAST OF THE BLUE DEVILS Count Basie (Unrated) This 1974 toe-tapping reunion of Kansas City jazz kings warms the heart as Basie, Big Joe Turner, Jay McShann, and Co. recapture the golden years of jazz and blues. A-

WITHNAIL & I Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann (R) Two unemployed actors journey through drunkville on a strict diet of liquor and drugs in this subtle 1987 British cult pic. A-



THE CENTER OF THINGS Jenny McPhee (Doubleday) Single life in New York City includes not only sex, but starlets and science as well. A-

I CANNOT TELL A LIE, EXACTLY Mary Ladd Gavell (Random House) Unpublished during her lifetime, the author gets her long-awaited due in this collection of 16 stories. B+

UP IN THE AIR Walter Kirn (Doubleday) A corporate consultant races to rack up a million miles in his frequent-flier account. A-

YEAR OF WONDERS: A NOVEL OF THE PLAGUE Geraldine Brooks (Viking) The plague, the plague! A fictionalized account of a 17th-century outbreak of black death ravishing an English village. A


THE CURIOSITIES OF FOOD: OR THE DAINTIES AND DELICACIES OF DIFFERENT NATIONS OBTAINED FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM Peter Lund Simmonds (Ten Speed Press) A meticulous survey of all things edible, first published in 1859, offers intense insight into the era as well as the eats. A-

HEAVIER THAN HEAVEN Charles R. Cross (Hyperion) Kurt Cobain, the tragic frontman of Nirvana, who sounded the death knell for Gen-X/ slacker/grunge culture, comes alive in Cross’ humanizing biography. A-



Ghost world ( The virtual look at Daniel Clowes’ comic book-turned-film shows off the two funniest, cleverest post-high school mopes around. B+

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH ( A vampy, trampy official site that flaunts printable Hedwig paper dolls and tells you your glam-rock name. A-


CRAIG DAVID ( David’s slick official site does justice to the smooth-talking stylings of England’s top two-stepper. B+

OKAYPLAYER ( A hip-hop-minded haven for fans of rhyme machines like Common and the Roots, with message boards as crowded as one of their shows. A


BECOMING ( The show turns you into a rock star for a day, but the site brings you back down to earth with its embarrassing audition clips. B+

WITCHBLADE ( Badass Sara Pezzini is just another police detective-turned-sword-wielding warrior. TNT’s official site clues you in to how it all happened. B+


THE DIALECTIZER (Rinkworks. com/dialect) Twanswate web pages and text into Ewmew Fudd wanguage. Or is Svedeesh Cheff mure-a yuoor style-a? A


BJORK Vespertine (Elektra) Veering away from the strings-und-drang approach, the Icelandic queen makes her quietest, most subdued record yet. B+

BUILT TO SPILL Ancient Melodies of the Future (Warner Bros.) While other indie rockers struggle to evolve, these 1990’s vets persevere with a tighter, tougher, and more expansive sound. A

CHOCOLATE GENIUS Godmusic (V2) Under a gurgle of drum machines and strummed guitars, Marc Anthony Thompson sings hushed tales of spiritual and earthly love. B+

ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION New Favorite (Rounder) The O Brother sister’s sweet voice is as unsettling as it is pretty. B+

KRAYZIE BONE Thug on Da Line (Loud) Gangsta rap meets adult contemporary, as Krayzie melds rapid-fire rhymes with expansive R&B grooves. A-

K.D. LANG Live by Request (Warner Bros.) The alterna-cowgirl flexes her Olympian range and pours out every ounce of pathos on this live set. B+

MAXWELL Now (Columbia) Dreamy keyboards, delicate guitar filigrees, and sultry bass lines weave through this ballad-heavy New Age soul disc. A-

SUSANNAH McCORKLE Most Requested Songs (Concord) A posthumous collection of heavyhearted tunes from the acclaimed cabaret singer who committed suicide in May. B+

MYSTIC Cuts for Luck and Scars for Freedom (GoodVibe) The Oakland-bred newcomer delivers one of the most distinctive hip-hop albums of the year. A

ROSWELL RUDD AND ARCHIE SHEPP Live in New York (Verve) Recorded at the Jazz Standard, saxophonist Shepp and trombonist Rudd bring the noise with grit and earthy whimsy. A

SPARKLEHORSE It’s a Wonderful Life (Capitol) Oddball auteur Mark Linkous is joined by Tom Waits and PJ Harvey on his third collection of gorgeous gloom. A-

VARIOUS ARTISTS The Funky Precedent Vol. 2 (Matador) The second edition of this regional hip-hop series focuses on the Bay Area, unearthing a healthy, diverse underground scene. A-

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