A weekly update of video releases

Dates in parentheses indicate a full-length review of the film in the Monitor. * Boys on the Side - Robin (Mary-Louise Parker) and Jane (Whoopi Goldberg) start out as unlikely road companions but end up traveling a landscape of friendship with more-complex terrain than Hollywood is normally willing to embark on. Their bond develops largely because of mutual concern for Jane's friend, Holly (Drew Barrymore was the perfect choice). Holly's apparent obliviousness to her need of help ends up being her own form of strength. As its title indicates, this movie isn't bashful about being women-centered. But men as well as women can appreciate its blend of frank humor and humanity. (Language, subject matter including terminal illness, and one violent scene earned it the R rating.) (Warner Home Video) - Stacy A. Teicher * Circle of Friends - This coming-of-age tale set in gorgeous, lushly green 1950s Ireland, is, while satisfying, short on substance. The movie's undeniable charm is largely due to winning performances. Minnie Driver is outstanding as the irrepressible Benny Hogan, a big-hearted, spirited lass eager to shed sleepy Knockglen for the excitement of Dublin. Chris O'Donnell is the all-star charmer she falls in love with. And Colin Firth's performance as the creepy shop assistant is as oily and rancid as old brilliantine. Based on the best-selling novel by Maeve Binchy. (PG-13, HBO Home Video) - Yvonne Zipp * THE QUICK AND THE DEAD - This above-average western, co-produced by Sharon Stone, features a woman seeking revenge on the cold-hearted gunslinger she blames for her father's death. Stone stars as a loner who battles it out in a quick-draw competition hoping to challenge the outlaw-turned-town-dictator. Gene Hackman brings his usual charm to the villainous bad guy's role, and Stone, in a break from her steamier fare, manages to show less skin and more substance. Dozens of dust-covered desperadoes people the movie, which includes graphic gunfights and an explosive ending. (R, Columbia TriStar Home Video, Feb. 13) - Kim Campbell

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