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On Demand movie highlights

RIO

(HBO on Comcast) You don’t expect to encounter the slums of Rio de Janeiro — or its Carnival — in an American animated movie, but there both are as major parts of the plot of this inspired romp about runaway macaws. The animators appear to appreciate Rio as a one-of-a-kind architectural and ecological marvel naturally abundant with song. With the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, and Jemaine Clement. (G; runs through Dec. 31)

LITTLE CHILDREN

(Comcast Free Movies) Todd Field’s keenly acted and shot adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s dark-comic novel comes tantalizingly close to greatness. Set in suburban Massachusetts, two married stay-at-home parents (Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson) have an affair, while a pedophile (Jackie Earle Haley) is back in the neighborhood. The script’s strained mechanics take over near the end, but the film poignantly understands the kind of parental existentialism that hits 30-somethings with kids: How does having children make you such a less interesting adult? (R; runs through Jan. 1)

BULL DURHAM

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(Cinemax on Comcast) A romantic comedy that also happens to be the smartest, funniest, raunchiest, most flat-out wonderful movie ever made about baseball. Grizzled veteran Kevin Costner and flaky rookie Tim Robbins both chase the Class A town’s high priestess of baseball, Susan Sarandon. They’re all inspired eccentrics, and writer-director Ron Shelton, who spent five years in the minors, knows what to love about baseball and what to make fun of. (R; runs through Dec. 27)

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