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On Demand movie highlights

NEVER DIE ALONE (HBO on Comcast) Ernest Dickerson directs this adaptation of a book by Donald Goines, the brutal 1970s pulp novelist. It’s a flashy but routine saga of gangsta criminality and payback, with an unusual multi-narrator structure and much glorification/condemnation of bad behavior. Rapper DMX has a brooding tough-guy screen presence but never gets to stretch, while David Arquette plays a slumming white-boy writer even more shallowly than necessary. (R; runs through March 26)

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (HBO on Comcast) A beautiful and boring movie set amid a traveling circus during the Great Depression, with Robert Pattinson as the troupe’s animal doctor who loves an acrobat, played by Reese Witherspoon. Christoph Waltz is the circus owner and her husband. They’re each in a different movie — at the risk of overselling, Pattinson’s is ‘‘The Great Gatsby.’’ Adapted from Sara Gruen’s novel. (PG-13; runs through March 26)

WANDERLUST

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(HBO on Comcast) For about the length of a good episode of TV comedy, this movie is really up to something. Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play a New York couple who lose their jobs and move south to a hippie commune. It feels as if the director and co-writer David Wain might be trying to get at a kind of cynical generational anthem. The movie doesn’t even get halfway there. (R; runs through April 30)

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