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On Demand picks

October 1, 2011

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PANDORUM (Encore on Comcast ) Pandorum Director Christian Alvart and screenwriter Travis Malloy must have seen “Aliens’’ in the cradle, for they’ve digested it with love and delivered a highly effective sci-fi thriller that will please more than genre fans. Even Dennis Quaid, playing yet another astronaut, this time on a mission to colonize a newly discovered planet, seems genuinely creeped out. (R; runs through Nov. 5)

THE MEAN SEASON (Encore on Comcast) A good film gets away from Kurt Russell, as a burned-out crime reporter, and Mariel Hemingway, as his wholesome fiancee. Its focus on the ethics and seductions of crime reporting gives way to a chase after cheap thrills as a grisly serial murderer phones Russell after each new slaughter. (R; runs through Nov.21)

A NEW LIFE (Showtime on Comcast) Alan Alda and Ann-Margret as a long-married couple learning how to play the dating game after a no-pain divorce. Warmly engaging performances, but the writing is fabricated along TV sitcom lines of soothing falsity. (PG-13; runs through Dec. 6)