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On Demand movie highlights

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN ½(HBO on Comcast) This third installment of the movies based on J.K. Rowling’s books concerns the escape of a murderous inmate (Gary Oldman) who’s hunting young Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). The visionary Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón takes over from the merely competent Chris Columbus, and right away he makes it clear that he intends to make cinematic witchcraft out of a mere franchise. (PG; runs through April 2)


(HBO on Comcast) This big-screen version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective is a sly, noisy ride: ‘‘Pirates of the Caribbean’’ for smart people. Robert Downey Jr. brings his brain, his wits, and his gift for underplaying even as he understands he’s been hired by director Guy Ritchie to play Sherlock Holmes, action hero. With Jude Law (excellent) and Rachel McAdams (less so). (PG-13; runs through May 28)


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(HBO on Comcast) A thriller with great ’50s visuals featuring Nick Nolte as the leader of a squad of fedora-wearing rogue cops who are investigating a murder. While the crime in question is reminiscent of LA’s famous “Black Dahlia” killing, the film is, on the whole, more of a western, with concerns about vigilante justice. The story at its heart is a little too linear, and so it fails to fully resonate. (R; runs through April 2)

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