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On Demand movie highlights

Bad Santa ½

(Encore on Comcast) A Christmas movie for people who hate Christmas. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic safecracker who dresses up as Santa and robs malls with his accomplice (Tony Cox). Director Terry Zwigoff (“Ghost World”) is so bent on subverting Hollywood cheer with mean-spirited cynicism and (often hilarious) invective that the movie paints itself into a corner. Still, lumpy coal can be better than none. With the late Bernie Mac and John Ritter. (R; runs through Feb. 28)

The Croods ½(Comcast Movie Collections: Just In) Our notion of the modern Stone Age family gets tweaked in the latest bit of 3-D rock candy from DreamWorks Animation. It’s a prehistoric world that’s emotionally a lot like ours, with a cutely brutish cave girl (Emma Stone) butting heads with her overprotective, monobrowed dad (Nicolas Cage). The movie entertainingly conveys what a struggle survival is at the dawn of man, but the finale misses its chance at something more resonant. (PG; runs through Feb. 22)

Thief

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(Comcast Free Movies) James Caan slithers through the Chicago night stealing diamonds. Unfortunately, director Michael Mann never focuses on the motivation or underlying psychological problems of Caan’s profession. Tuesday Weld and Willie Nelson are wasted in throw-away roles. (R; runs through July 15)

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