Television

On Demand movie highlights

CHARLOTTE’S WEB ½

(Showtime on Comcast) The live-action version of E.B. White’s warm moral classic, about a spider’s devotion to an endangered pig, is obese with talent. Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, and Oprah Winfrey, among other stars, lend their voices to the farm animals. But visually the movie is dead. Still, enough of White survives to keep the movie true. Dakota Fanning plays Fern, the pig’s human savior. (G; runs through Feb. 21)

Wesley Morris

ELEGY ½

(Showtime on Comcast) Ben Kingsley plays a New York college professor and virile academic superstar forced to confront his mortality when he embarks on an affair with a much younger student (Penélope Cruz). There’s a lot of rich emotional angst here, but director Isabel Coixet misses the lacerating humor of Philip Roth’s source novella, “The Dying Animal.” The movie’s an elegant drag. With Patricia Clarkson, Dennis Hopper, and Peter Sarsgaard. (R; runs through Feb. 25)

Ty Burr

THE BLACK DAHLIA

(Showtime on Comcast) Brian De Palma’s adaptation of James Ellroy’s whodunit is only so-so. Blame the casting: Josh Hartnett as an LAPD officer trying to solve a young woman’s murder, Aaron Eckhart as his partner, Scarlett Johansson as the woman they love, and Hilary Swank as a kinky society dame. The sight of these folks pretending to be adults is like two hours of dress-up. (R; runs through March 3)

Wesley Morris