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Worth Your Money

New DVDs and movies you should check out.

By John Ross

GOLDEN TOUCH: This one time, in a parallel universe … Chris Weitz directed American Pie. So don't go holding that against him when you hear that Weitz also directed The Golden Compass, a new special-effects-filled fantasy flick based on the fi rst tome of author Phillip Pullman's Harry Potter-ish book trilogy called His Dark Materials . Sure, Compass stars the chiseled Daniel Craig and the chilling Nicole Kidman, whereas American Pie starred Seann William Scott and Tara Reid, but wouldn't you say that Craig's character is sort of the Steve Stifler of James Bond movies ? No? That's just us, then.

FORD MOTORS ON: Given that John Ford is so copied today, it's easy to forget what a singular fi lmmaker he was. He managed to capture the Wild West, showing solitary and sweeping images of the open plains in long shots that often overwhelmed the cowboys and pioneers who populated his epics. He did the lush hills of Ireland justice, too, in more than a few movies. But even if his Westerns and other films had been terrible and not inventively dramatic, they'd still be worth watching, if only for the titles. To name just a few included on this massive 24-film DVD set that comprises 32 years' worth of Ford's movies for Fox: 3 Bad Men, Hangman's House, Born Reckless, Doctor Bull, and Judge Priest. Oh, and also Wee Willie Winkie. Just wait until you see the saloon shoot-out with Shirley Temple in that one.

WILLIAM: If Will Smith, Vincent Price, and Charlton Heston were the last men on earth and everyone else on the planet was a zombie, vampire, or mutant, who would survive? We're about to find out. In this month's biggest big-screen blockbuster, I Am Legend, Smith breathes new life into a role played by Price in 1964's The Last Man on Earth and by Heston in 1971's The Omega Man. Don't expect Smith to put his mark on the part by busting out a lot of cutesy, Men in Black-style one-liners, though. For most of the movie, Smith has no dialogue.