By EW Staff
August 02, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT


THE CROCODILE HUNTER: COLLISION COURSE Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin (PG) Manic, sunstroked croc-aholic Irwin rattles across Australia, rescuing animals and honking into the camera, just as he does on his popular Animal Planet show. B+

ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU Hayato Ichihara (unrated) A schoolboy in a small Japanese town finds a respite in the Internet and the Bjorkish music of the title character in this hypnotically plugged-in drama. A-

THE COCKETTES (unrated) A funny, moving documentary about a San Francisco theatrical troupe that dared to be flamboyantly gay, though their late-1960s peers didn’t know what to make of them. A-

MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal (R) Real-life lovers Gainsbourg and Attal play a married couple (called Charlotte and Yvan) struggling with the impact of fame in this charming French comedy. B+

Video & DVD

AMELIE Audrey Tautou (R) Oh, to be young and pretty and in France and able to change people’s lives according to whimsy and then get nominated for an Oscar… A

MY FAVORITE YEAR Peter O’Toole (PG) The golden age of TV is perfectly captured in this antic 1982 comedy by director Richard Benjamin, who also pays tribute to his legendary star with colorful commentary. A-

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS Gene Hackman (R) Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Owen Wilson, and Anjelica Huston all meet at Wes Anderson’s dysfunction junction. A-

OSSESSIONE Massimo Girotti (unrated) If you knew Martin Scorsese, he’d probably recommend that you watch this luminous 1943 Italian reworking of The Postman Always Rings Twice. A-

ROBIN AND MARIAN Sean Connery (PG) Once again, Sir Sean’s all-purpose accent works its magic in Richard Lester’s 1976 look at the waning days of the original boy in the Hood. B+

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION — SEASON 3 Patrick Stewart (unrated) Boldly go where this series hit its stride, thanks to the retrospective featurettes. A-



ACID ROW Minette Walters (Putnam) A pedophile moves into a London project, a girl disappears, and a riot ensues in this tightly plotted thriller. A-

THE RINGER Bill Scheft (HarperCollins) Scheft, a monologue writer for Letterman, has penned a sparkling summer discovery, this snappy debut novel about a pro-softball ringer. A-

THE RUSSIAN DEBUTANTE’S HANDBOOK Gary Shteyngart (Riverhead) Twenty-five-year-old vagabond Vladimir is chased out of New York and conquers the wrong half of Europe in a wholly original debut novel. A-

THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY Haven Kimmel (Doubleday) Two scholars have their lofty ideas overturned by a pair of traumatized young orphans in this smart meditation on faith and family. A


MY LESS THAN SECRET LIFE Jonathan Ames (Thunder’s Mouth) Ames elevates himself above most other sex-mad self-deprecators with this hilarious collection. A-

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS John McEnroe with James Kaplan (Putnam) McBrat brings the same shameless ferocity to his autobio that he did to the tennis court. B+


FREEKSTYLE (PlayStation 2, Electronic Arts, Everyone, $49.95) This fast-paced motorcycle racer features a great two-player head-to-head mode and 100 over-the-top stunts to perform. A-

DUKE NUKEM: MANHATTAN PROJECT (PC, ARUSH Entertainment, Mature, $24.99) The graphics are jazzed up with 3-D technology, but the story is classic Duke: Defend the world against Mech Morphix and his radioactive GLOPP bombs. B+

RESIDENT EVIL (GameCube, Capcom, Mature, $49.99) Technically a remake of the 1996 PlayStation game, Resident Evil actually feels like a new experience, thanks to stunningly detailed graphics and an even creepier ambiance. A-

HUNTER: THE RECKONING (Xbox, Interplay, Mature, $49.95) Steeped in spraying blood and churning guitars, Hunter — which follows four folks with the ability to see the dead — will have your Spidey senses tingling. B+

STAR WARS GALACTIC BATTLEGROUNDS (LucasArts, PC, Teen, $39.85) Battlegrounds lets you engage in battles loosely based on Star Wars films. The scope and pace of the game easily make up for the cartoonish graphics. B+


DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Busted Stuff (RCA) Matthews grapples with God on this fascinatingly different take on the much-bootlegged ”Lillywhite Sessions.” A-

SOLOMON BURKE Don’t Give Up on Me (Fat Possum) A discful of instant classics sung by the soul legend and penned by Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, and Elvis Costello. A

THE FLAMING LIPS Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.) The Lips’ latest spectacularly trippy album has something to do with gladiator robots captivated by their own synthetic emotions. B+

GRATEFUL DEAD Steppin’ Out With the Grateful Dead: England ’72 (Arista) A four-CD set that captures the fully charged septet on one of its classic road shows. A

J-LIVE All of the Above (Coup D’Etat) A progressive hip-hop tour de force, balancing KRS-One’s social conscience with De La Soul’s wise playfulness. A-

DOLLY PARTON Halos & Horns (Sugar Hill) Parton pulls off another magnificent acoustic collection with her soprano trill, earnest approach, and some of gospel’s and bluegrass’ finest players assisting. A-

MULL HISTORICAL SOCIETY Loss (XL Recordings/Beggars) Scottish pop sage Colin MacIntyre builds a serene orchestra out of clamorous bells and whistles on this ambitious debut. B+

ORISHAS Emigrante (Surco/Universal Latino) Cuban rappers living in Paris blend hip-hop cadences with traditional soneros, revealing powerful musical connections and contrasts. B+

ELVIS PRESLEY Today, Tomorrow & Forever (RCA) Live performances from 1956 and 1970 and outtakes from his ’68 Comeback Special are the highlights of this four-disc box. B+

SIMON & GARFUNKEL Live From New York City, 1967 (Sony Legacy) This previously unreleased collection captures the premier duo of their time in prime form. A

BUTCH WALKER Left of Self-Centered (Arista) The Marvelous 3 refugee’s solo disc offers the same big, crunchy power pop, snarky lyrics, and killer choruses as vintage M3. A-