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On Demand picks

July 3, 2010

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AVATAR
James Cameron’s long-game gamble pays off — for the most part. The film creates a planet called Pandora, a race of tall, blue cat-people called the Na’vi, and gives them both a dazzlingly colorful rain forest reality — part Rousseau, part George Lucas on inhalants. The 60 percent of the film that comes from the computer is tantalizingly realistic; the roughly 40 percent that’s live action is less convincing. With Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Zoe Saldana. (PG-13; runs through Oct. 25)

TY BURR

BROTHERS
When a US Marine (Tobey Maguire) is presumed killed in action, his ex-con brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps up to help with his widow (Natalie Portman) and daughters. The movie jerks between scenes of military torture on one side and scenes of domestic frolic on the other, then becomes an emotional potboiler. And there’s something distasteful in the way director Jim Sheridan relishes turning that trauma into a thriller. (R; runs through Aug. 23) WESLEY MORRIS

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE
John Travolta adores being John Travolta. As if we needed any reminder of that, there’s this collection of explosions and shoot-outs duct-taped to a terrorism plot. It’s the sort of asinine action exercise that needs a star to blow up cars and leap from rooftop to rooftop with gusto. So right about the time that Travolta curses out the Charles De Gaulle customs staff, we know this otherwise lousy movie has found a reason to be. (R; runs through Nov. 8)

WESLEY MORRIS

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