Cable On Demand
Cable offers VOD programming (same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pre-theatrical exclusives) for rent, usually for 24- or 48-hour periods at prices from about $2.99 for older titles to $9.99 for new or exclusive releases. Since cable offers a direct connection from your cable provider, its VOD offerings are usually less prone to outside interference and can be streamed with surround sound and 3D when available.
Meryl Streep won this year's Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher—the first and only female prime minister of the United Kingdom—in The Iron Lady. Thatcher was a grocer's daughter who overcame class and gender barriers to become one of the most powerful, respected and despised women in the world as seen in this uneven drama that is available the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Five young people are stranded in Moscow after an attack by hostile aliens that render themselves invisible to human eyes in The Darkest Hour. Although the sci-fi thriller is available on On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray, the only way to currently watch the 3-D version—the best excuse to watch this movie as people get incinerated by aliens and explode into dancing ashes that fly out of the screen—is to obtain the Blu-ray 3D.
Glenn Close earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the titular character in Albert Nobbs, who is a woman that lives as a man to find work in 19th-century Ireland. The drama, which also earned an Oscar nomination for Janet McTeer as Best Supporting Actress, won't be available on DVD and Blu-ray until May 15, but you can rent it right now on cable.
Two guys squander a billion dollars given to them to make a movie and get the idea to revitalize a shopping mall to earn the money back in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. The R-rated comedy starring and directed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim that features appearances by Jeff Goldblum, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis won't be available on DVD and Blu-ray until May 8 but can be streamed right now on cable On Demand.
These four services stream movies to your TV via computer, Blu-ray player, game console or other compatible connected device. Like cable VOD, they offer new titles for rent from about $3.99 to $6.99, but, unlike cable, they also offer the option of downloading the movie to own from about $14.99 to $19.99. Usually movies presented in HD cost a bit more than streaming a SD version.
Amazon has all of the movies listed above under cable On Demand available to rent and/or own. Vudu and iTunes offer The Iron Lady, The Darkest Hour and Albert Nobbs. Blockbuster currently only offers The Iron Lady and Albert Nobbs on its On Demand service.
House M.D.—the long-running TV medical drama starring Hugh Laurie as the misanthropic eponymous doctor with a prickly bedside manner—is currently airing its eighth and final season on Fox. You can buy individual episodes from the current season for as little as $1.99 for the standard-def version on Amazon and Vudu as well as $2.99 for HD quality on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
The documentary Miss Representation is written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and exposes how mainstream media underplays women in positions of power and continues disparaging portrayals of women and girls. The movie features interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rosario Dawson, Margaret Cho and Gloria Steinem and is available only on iTunes for rent or purchase.
Vudu's 99-cent Movie of the Day is the coming-of-age romance A Walk to Remember starring Mandy Moore and Shane West. You can rent either the SD or HD version of the 2002 chick flick for less than a buck only today on Vudu.
Netflix's all-you-can-stream buffet costs $7.99 per month and gives instant access to thousands of movies and television shows via a computer, Blu-ray player, game console or other compatible device. Don't depend on Netflix streaming for same-day-as-disc releases, however. Instead, Netflix offers catalog titles, vintage movies, indie flicks and TV episodes with unlimited access for one monthly price.
Melancholia, Lars von Trier's apocalyptic drama starring Kirsten Dunst is truly an endurance test for hardcore masochists, but the pain of obtaining it has been lessened since it is now available for streaming on Netflix. Also new this week is the Robert Redford-directed The Conspirator about the woman accused of harboring Abraham Lincoln's assassin, the erotic drama Sleeping Beauty starring Emily Browning, Ocean Heaven starring Jet Li, Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family and Werner Herzog's documentary Into the Abyss about men on death row and the people left behind.
Going bye-bye from Netflix's Watch Instantly library this week is Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Babies, Assassin in Love, The Gates, The Cruise, Cube 2: Hypercube, The Man Who Came Back, Light Sleeper, Kaidan and all episodes of Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series.