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Television

On Demand movie highlights

THE SCHOOL OF ROCK ½

(Showtime on Comcast) An adorable rock ’n’ roll update on the old “Bad News Bears” formula, this is one of director Richard Linklater’s most commercial movies to date, and the vehicle that drove Jack Black to stardom. He’s amusingly all over the place as a local loser who finds himself in charge of a fifth-grade classroom at a prep school and forms the kids into a band. The film gently flatters the notion of youthful rebellions future and past and, in so doing, becomes a genuine parent-kid bonding experience (PG-13; runs through Feb. 5)

ALI

(Starz on Comcast) A big, high-energy biopic that jabs away at the life of Muhammad Ali until Will Smith clinches him. It’s approached as stylized iconography, and often seems detached and disjointed, but it gets the big things right, including the complex social, cultural, and political spheres Ali influenced — and was influenced by. And Smith makes contact with Ali’s swagger, sweetness, wit, and pride; he seems to connect with the performer in Ali. He and Jon Voight’s Howard Cosell make quite a comedy team. (R; runs through Feb. 28)

THE CAVEMAN’S VALENTINE

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(Starz on Comcast) Samuel L. Jackson brings interesting dimension to the role of a homeless man hunting down a murderer. But the plot turns are too unlikely and the crime-busting plot is too pat: he’s handed everything he needs on a platter, by people you can’t believe would ever have anything to do with him. (R; runs through Feb. 28)

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