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On Demand movie highlights

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

(Cinemax on Comcast) A satisfyingly twisty plot, a visual style that draws you in, and juicy performances from Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, and their larcenous ilk carry this movie about a gang that meets in a police lineup and embarks upon a job that goes very, very wrong. (R; runs through Sept. 27)

THE CRUCIBLE

(Comcast Free Movies) Arthur Miller’s drama of the Salem witch hunt has been turned into an electrifying movie, with Miller himself writing the screenplay. Sexual hysteria segues into political paranoia in Nicholas Hytner’s bold, fevered camerawork. Daniel Day-Lewis is a figure of obstinate decency, Joan Allen a sterling Puritan wife, and Winona Ryder a revelation as the young woman whose sexual rejection ignites the firestorm. (PG-13; runs through Sept. 30)

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE ½

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(HBO on Comcast) Visually, this is a handsome rendition of J.K. Rowling’s book about the orphaned boy wizard who finds his calling at an English boarding school where enchantment is the curriculum. But it’s alive with skilled craftsmanship rather than magic. The young English actors (Daniel Radcliffe’s mop-topped Harry, Rupert Grint’s sidekick, Ron, and Emma Watson’s clever Hermione, pal to both) seem as faithfully right as the settings. But the film scores more on looks than it does on mood, atmosphere, suspense, or personality. (PG; runs through Oct. 1)

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