Blu-Ray/DVD Reviews

Rating: NNNNNNew releasesNew releasesalong came a spider (2001, Paramount), dir. Lee Tamahori w/ Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter. Freeman stars as.

Rating: NNNNN

New releasesNew releases

along came a spider (2001, Paramount), dir. Lee Tamahori w/ Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter. Freeman stars as retired cop Alex Cross, who’s lured back to work by a kidnapper who wants to be profiled by the famed serial-killer specialist. This is Freeman’s second appearance as Cross (he debuted in Kiss The Girls), and the talented actor plays him with such quiet conviction that we’re drawn into his every gesture. The script, based on James Patterson’s best-selling novel, is solid, with a few nice twists tossed in. NNN

Big-screen rating: NNN (IR)

the forsaken (2000, Seville), dir. J.S. Cardone w/ Kerr Smith, Brendan Fehr. A vampire-hunter, a wannabe writer and a mostly unconscious woman pursue a band of vampires through the Arizona desert. Glaringly violent without an ounce of suspense, this movie adds absolutely nothing to the genre. N

Big-screen rating: N (IR)

a knight’s tale (2001, Columbia Tri-Star), dir. Brian Helgeland w/ Heath Ledger, Mark Addy. Aussie acting hotshot Ledger stars as a peasant who pretends to be a nobleman so he can enter jousting matches across Europe. This is a postmodern medieval sports movie into which present-day slang (“Hel-lo, it’s called a lance”), pop songs and brand names (Nike) are dropped just for fun. It shouldn’t work but does, and Helgeland scores big with a spirited supporting cast — Addy, Alan Tudyk and Paul Bettany — who bolster Ledger’s star turn. Note: the video may be delayed due to the Spiderman trailer having to be pulled. NNN

Big-screen rating: NNN (IR)

nora (2001, Alliance Atlantis), dir. Pat Murphy w/ Susan Lynch, Ewan McGregor. Lynch plays Nora Barnacle, the working-class waitress who inspired and vexed Irish writer James Joyce (McGregor). It’s the kind of artistic relationship that movies love to lionize. McGregor gives an awful performance — you never think for a moment that he’s a talented writer, let alone a genius. Lynch fares better as the liberated woman ahead of her time, but she’s crying out for a decent script. NN

Big-screen rating: McGregor plays Joyce as a peevish boy in this false and syrupy drama. NN (CB)

Also this weekAlso this week

Boys Life 3

Kingdom Come

Parsley Days

Solomon And Gaenor


October 2

Beautiful Creatures, The Mummy Returns, Tremors 3

October 9

Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Circle, Funny Felix, One Night At McCool’s

DVD pick of the weekDVD pick of the week

the french connection (1971, Fox), dir. William Friedkin w/ Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey. Hackman never had the sex appeal of a Hollywood leading man, even a leading man of the 70s. But he scored a handful of starring roles as a young man, and The French Connection is as hot as he got. His performance as Popeye Doyle is as remorseless as Friedkin’s direction. This movie is the height of macho efficiency. Fox is also releasing a DVD box that includes French Connection II this week, but the first one is the classic.

Extras: Two-disc set includes audio commentary by Friedkin, Hackman and Roy Scheider, two documentaries, Making The Connection: The Untold Stories and Poughkeepsie Shuffle, plus seven deleted scenes, a stills gallery and trailers. 104 minutes. NNNNN

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