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On Demand movie highlights

GARDEN STATE ½

(Cinemax on Comcast) Writer-director Zach Braff set this, his first film, in New Jersey; a prescription-drug fog hangs over it. He plays an aspiring actor who comes back east for his mother’s funeral. Braff’s talent for constructing set pieces and conjuring moods snuffs out the movie’s natural vitality — it’s overdone with verve. (R; runs through Jan. 17)

NORTH COUNTRY ½

(Cinemax on Comcast) In this tough movie from Niki Caro (“Whale Rider”), Charlize Theron shames her daddy when she takes a job at the same Minnesota iron mine where he works. Male co-workers mistreat her, and eventually she takes the mine to court. This is heartbreaking and powerful moviemaking. It’s remarkably unsentimental, too. With Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins, and Sissy Spacek. (R; runs through Jan. 17)

THE BIRDCAGE ½

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(Cinemax on Comcast) Robin Williams and Nathan Lane play down the camp and connect affectingly in their roles as a middle-aged gay couple who redefine family values. This penny-bright remake of the French “La Cage aux Folles” also boasts a hilarious satiric edge. That’s thanks to the sharp wit of Elaine May, in a collaboration with her old comedy partner, Mike Nichols. (R; runs through Jan. 17)

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