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On Demand picks

December 10, 2009

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THE EXPRESS
(MAX on Comcast) An egregious bundling of the civil rights era, garden-variety bigotry, and the achievements of Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, played here by Rob Brown. The life may be inspiring. The movie depicting it is brutally dull: two hours of motivational talks (“I never set out to be the best Negro running back. I set out to be the best running back’’), stiff performances, and game sequences. Dennis Quaid pouts and peacocks as the Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder. (PG; runs through Dec. 17)

WESLEY MORRIS

PARADISE NOW
(Starz on Comcast) Two Palestinian loafers are conscripted into a suicide bombing plot. Will they or won’t they go ahead? Despite the loaded political material, director Hany Abu-Assad still wants to entertain. As a result, movie-style thriller subplots crowd out the bigger question: Why does a man sign up for terrorism? In Arabic, with subtitles. (PG-13; runs through Dec. 17)

WESLEY MORRIS

SERENDIPITY
(Starz on Comcast) A beguiling romantic comedy that makes you want to believe in romance -- and believe in Manhattan as a charmed place that encourages it. John Cusack is his usual engaging self as an edgy nice guy who falls for Kate Beckinsale. She reciprocates, but decides to leave the rest to fate, which doesn’t get cracking until each is about to marry someone else. (PG-13; runs through Dec. 17)

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