A critical guide to the week's videos
Fly Away Home (U) Columbia TriStar, rental, 6 Aug. An eccentric inventor father, a precocious kid and lots of cute animals would, on paper, seem unsatisfactory for either spice kids or their parents. But director Carroll Ballard, and the mesmeric presence of Oscar-winning Piano actress Anna Paquin in the lead, ensure that this traditional heart-warmer does just that for young and old. The film opens with the death of Paquin's mother in a car-crash, after which she leaves New Zealand to live with her estranged father in deepest Ontario. When property developers bulldoze the land around her father's house, Paquin rescues a clutch of geese eggs, manifests surrogate maternal instincts, and eventually leads them to their natural home by piloting a camouflaged microlight built by her father (a quirky and shaggy Jeff Daniels). The narrative becomes redundant once Paquin and the birds take flight, but the stunning photography and the combination of natural and animatronic effects are irresistible.

The Preacher's Wife (PG) Buena Vista, rental, 5 Aug. Or Whitney sings, again. Ms Houston (above), as the eponymous gospel-singer who falls for a celestial trouble-shooter (Denzel Washington) sent to her husband's inner-city parish, plugs the soundtrack throughout Penny Marshall's schmaltzy remake of a 1947 Cary Grant film. Despite the creaking plot and the fake Yuletide bonhomie, Washington turns in an endearingly understated comic performance as Angel Dudley, and Courtney Vance is believably hard-pressed as the Baptist preacher.

The Ghost and the Darkness (15) CIC, rental, 8 Aug. Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas run around 19th-century Africa hunting man-eating lions in this risible, and implicitly racist, long- haired-men-with-guns film. You'll be on the side of the lions by the end.

The Proprietor (12) Warner, rental, 8 Aug. Ismail Merchant directs - this time without James Ivory, or a coherent script. Jeanne Moreau plays the French-born, New York-based novelist who returns to her Parisian home in order, it seems, to understand the meaning of cultural cliche.

Maeve Walsh