It sounds like you are missing some codecs - some players will do this if the file you are trying to play does not match the codecs they have available.
Are you sure you have installed the codecs for your players?
An alternative is to use MPlayer, I have often seen it work perfectly where Totem / Kaffeine fails completely. It plays every file I've ever encountered, and is quite stable and actively maintained.
It needs quite a few depending libraries for full functionality though, including
file:///mnt/win/linux/mp3/lame-3.97.tar.gz <--- this takes care of MP3 decoding (I think)
and its codec packs:
but once you DO have these installed, it should play any and all files encoded as .avi with .mp3 as audio codec.