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.
The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield couldn't wait to swing into your home and, as reported here, has been available for VOD purchase on other services since last week. If you only want to rent the Spidey reboot in which our wall-crawling hero battles the Lizard, the blockbuster is available to stream on cable On Demand on November 9—the same day it arrives on disc. As of right now, however, the only way to see Spidey in three dimensions is on BLu-ray 3D.
In the animated film Arthur Christmas, Santa Claus is not one person but rather a succession of men from the same family that live at the North Pole and each takes on the task of delivering presents for 70 years. Featuring the voice talents of Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, James McAvoy and Bill Nighy, this underappreciated Sony release seeks a new audience on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD.
A fireman (Josh Duhamel) is forced into the Witness Protection Program after narrowly escaping with his life for witnessing the murders of a convenience store owner and his son in Fire with Fire. Bruce Willis stars as the police detective who takes an interest in the case and Rosario Dawson plays the U.S. marshal with whom Duhamel wants to make more heat. Fire with Fire ignites on cable On Demand the same day as disc.
Speaking of '80s action heroes/Expendables in straight-to-video offerings, Steven Seagal returns along with Steve Austin as two black ops specialists assigned to protect female prisoners after a prison comes under attack by a group of mercenaries in Maximum Conviction. The R-rated action flick breaks out on On Demand the same day it is released on Blu-ray and DVD.
Lastly, Sphere director Barry Levinson's eco-horror, found-footage experiment The Bay about a small town overrun by a new breed of critters in the water is available On Demand, as well as select theaters.
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.
The Amazing Spider-Man is available for rent beginning on November 9 on all four services. The rest of the movies listed above on cable On Demand are all available for rent and/or purchase on Amazon and iTunes. Blockbuster and Vudu carry them all except for Maximum Conviction. If you want to download or stream the 3D version of Arthur Christmas, you can do that on Vudu.
Oliver Stone's violent Savages follows two best friends (Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson) whose successful marijuana business based in Laguna Beach attracts the unwanted attention of the Mexican Baja cartel, headed by up by a fiery Salma Hayek. Benicio Del Toro stars as one of the cartel's most lethal enforcers, and Blake Lively is the hippie chick in love with both Kitsch and Johnson who gets kidnapped by the cartel and forces the BFFs to get, well, savage. Stone's latest doesn't come to DVD and Blu-ray until next week, but you can download the theatrical or unrated cut to own—not rent—on all four VOD services.
Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade have a close encounter of the ridiculous kind when their small-town Ohio neighborhood watch program investigates an extra-terrestrial threat in The Watch. The R-rated comedy doesn't beam down on disc until November 13, but you can download it to own right now on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
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.
The most out-of-this-world new addition to Netflix's streaming library this week is the Escape from New York-ish sci-fi action flick Lockout starring Guy Pearce as a government agent wrongly accused of a crime who can earn redemption by rescuing the president's daughter (Maggie Grace) from a maximum security prison in orbit. Also new this week is Christian Bale in The Flowers of War, the Christian drama The Genesis Code, Lukas Haas as a drunk millionaire male slut in Crazy Eyes, and the supernatural thriller The Road.
During this election week, Netflix has elected to remove The Punisher (2004), Teen Spirit, Hooking Up, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait, Pandemic, Imprint, Love and Mary and Lovely, Still off its ballot of streaming candidates. If you want to stream any of them, the odds are no longer in your favor.