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Thursday, March 16, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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John Hartl's tips for when the New Releases bin is bare:

1. XXX 1/2 "Stranger Than Paradise" (R). The career of Jim Jarmusch, director of the new movie, "Ghost Dog," really took off with the release of this 1984 deadpan comedy about a teenager from Hungary who goes on the road in the United States. The National Society of Film Critics named it the best picture of the year.

2. XXX "Down by Law" (R). Jarmusch's 1986 film about three prisoners who make a break for it in Louisiana. The director's relationship with his non-English-speaking star, Roberto Benigni, became the basis for a nearly wordless friendship between a hitman and an ice-cream vendor in "Ghost Dog."

3. XXX "Night on Earth" (R). The closest thing to an all-star Jarmusch movie, this 1990 collection of stories features Benigni, Winona Ryder, Gena Rowlands, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Rosie Perez. The stories take place in taxis in different cities.

Video bargain of the week

XXX "A Few Good Men" (R) (Columbia TriStar Home Video, $10). Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson co-star in this popular 1992 drama about military justice. From the same genre, Columbia is also reissuing "Air Force One" and "In the Line of Fire" at this price.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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