An occasional update of video releases

* THE CARDINAL - They really don't make 'em like this anymore, although an occasional large-scale biopic like ``Malcolm X'' at least plays in the same ballpark. Otto Preminger's long, luxurious drama tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest, taking him from humble Boston origins to a rank near the top of his church's hierarchy. In true Hollywood fashion, he has more adventures along the way than most people would see in five lifetimes; we watch as he wrestles with family problems, fights the temptation to abandon his vows, opposes racial bigotry in a Southern town, and almost meets Adolph Hitler during the Nazi era. The excellent cast includes John Huston as his teacher and Ossie Davis as an African-American colleague. As the hero, Tom Tryon makes up for nondescript acting with an earnest demeanor and a mighty square jaw. This video edition retains the wide-screen format essential to the movie's visual and dramatic impact. (Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif.) * HARDBOILED - Action specialist John Woo directed this violent Hong Kong melodrama about a cop avenging his partner's murder. Yes, just about every character is hard-boiled, and yes, Woo's filmmaking is still dazzling in technique but superficial in content. (Fox Lorber Home Video, N.Y./Orion Home Video, Los Angeles) * THE RETURN OF MASSEUR ICHI - This is the second movie in Japan's hugely popular Zatoichi series, about a blind samurai warrior who defeats every foe despite a disability that would seem quite disadvantageous to one in his profession. Here he evades a nasty gang trying to keep a secret about its demented boss, and prepares for a showdown with a man linked to him in a mysterious feud. Although the sword fights are violent, they're so choreographed and bloodless that they seem almost elegant after a while; the story has many lyrical moments, too. Directed by Kazuo Mori. (Chambara Entertainment, Honolulu)

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