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On Demand movie highlights

THE PAINTED VEIL ½

(Starz on Comcast) Adapted from a Somerset Maugham novel comes this story of a shallow Englishwoman (Naomi Watts), her indifferent marriage to an accommodating bacteriologist (Edward Norton), and their expatriate life in Hong Kong and the cholera-ravaged villages of mainland China during the Revolution. The movie is elegant to a fault — so much so that you may leave with the impression that corpses smell like perfume. (PG-13; runs through March 7)

CITY OF GHOSTS

(Encore on Comcast) Matt Dillon steps behind the camera to direct a moral thriller about American con men in over their heads in Southeast Asia. Graham Greene it’s not. The performances are pungent, though, particularly James Caan’s as an old rascal with dreams of carpetbagging glory. Cliches abound, but give Dillon credit for dragging a crew to Cambodia and bringing back an ambitious, intermittently moving film. (R; runs through Sept. 1)

THE ALARMIST ½

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(Encore on Comcast) A black comedy about the owners of a deceitful home-security business that becomes, in the end, a little too disjointed. A few pluses: a nerdy, revved-up salesman (David Arquette), the single mother who becomes his lover (Kate Capshaw), and her hulking teenage son (Ryan Reynolds). (R; runs through May 31)

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