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On Demand movie highlights

Here Comes the Boom

(Starz on Comcast) This 2012 Kevin James collaboration with director Frank Coraci (“Zookeeper”) is a formulaic comedy about a Boston teacher who takes up mixed martial arts to combat budget cuts at his school. The result is a lean (get a look at its newly slimmed star), mean (get a look at that star being pummeled), ultimate-fighting machine that delivers repeated blows — to the abdomen, to the head, and to the groin, but not often enough to the funny bone. Real-life UFC icon Bas Rutten steals the show. (PG; runs through June 19)

Elf

(Encore on Comcast) In an exciting demonstration of mild restraint, Will Ferrell plays a human who’s been raised in the North Pole as an elf and heads to New York to meet his workaholic biological father (James Caan). Naturally, the movie is headed for big-time family-flick healing, but director Jon Favreau doles out sentiment without a whole lot of schmaltz. (PG; runs through July 31)

Mother and Child ½

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(Starz on Comcast) Annette Bening is in excellent form as a prickly, defensive LA woman still mourning the child she gave up for adoption 35 years before. Naomi Watts plays the grown daughter in this multi-character, many-layered high-end soap opera from writer-director Rodrigo Garcia, who trowels on the coincidences with a heavy hand toward the end. (R; runs through Nov. 6)

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