You can use any player you want: mplayer, xine, vlc. But you need the right CODECS
. With the right codecs, any of these players will play pretty much any movie in existence (with the exception of a few rare, proprietary formats).
I usually use the 'all' codecs pack from mplayer:
In whatever player you use make sure to point it to your codecs. Typically, codecs are installed in '/usr/lib/codecs' and many players expect them to be there.
Also, I don't really recommend totem, because it's strange. I don't exatly know what it is ... maybe just a wrapper for xine, but it doesn't do a good job of anything.