The VOD Report: 'Anonymous,' 'A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas,' 'Tower Heist,' 'The Rum Diary' and the Films Netflix No Longer Wants You to Watch Instantly

The VOD Report: 'Anonymous,' 'A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas,' 'Tower Heist,' 'The Rum Diary' and the Films Netflix No Longer Wants You to Watch Instantly

Feb 07, 2012

Check out what's new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Blockbuster and, of course, Netflix.

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 controversial pseudo-historical drama Anonymous runs with an actual theory that the 17th Earl of Oxford Edward de Vere (Rhys Ifans) is the true author of William Shakespeare's works and that the man history knows as Shakespeare is an illiterate actor. The film adds secret affairs and heretofore unheard of royal bastards to the mix for some punch and features Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis and Xavier Samuel.

John Cho and Kal Penn return in the stoner comedy A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas in which the estranged friends reunite to find the perfect Christmas tree after Kumar's is torched by a lit joint. The film has many effective 3D site gags that were used in the theatrical release and are available on the Blu-ray 3D. Both the 2D and 3D versions are available for streaming on cable On Demand.

Twilight-vampire-turned-underwear-model Kellan Lutz plays a guy on a self-destructive streak in A Warrior's Heart who channels his energy into his newfound love of lacrosse. Ashley Greene co-stars in this teen-friendly PG drama.

The IFC comedy The Decoy Bride about a Hollywood starlet's plan to throw off the paparazzi with an imposter only to have the decoy fall for the groom did not even debut in theaters yet, but you can rent it right now on On Demand.

Now in theaters, the well-received thriller The Innkeepers about the employees of an old hotel that go ghost hunting before the establishment is shuttered for good can also be rented today on 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.

Both Amazon and iTunes have all the movies listed above that are available on cable On Demand available to purchase and/or rent. Vudu currently offers A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, A Warrior's Heart and The Innkeepers, while Blockbuster has Anonymous, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas and A Warrior's Heart.

The ensemble action-comedy Tower Heist starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy won't be available on DVD and Blu-ray until February 21, but you can download-to-own it on all four services right now for as little as $14.99 for the standard-definition version.

Johnny Depp stars as journalist Paul Kemp on a substance-fueled journey through Puerto Rico in The Rum Diary, which is based on the novel by the late and great Hunter S. Thompson. The intoxicating drama also starring Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard and Giovanni Ribisi won't be available on DVD and Blu-ray until Valentine's Day, but you can buy it (not rent) right now on all four services.

Vudu is offering a digital bundle of all three unrated Harold & Kumar movies for $30.99—a 12-percent discount when compared to buying all three movies separately in standard definition.


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.

Disney's Prom aimed squarely at the tween set and missed the mark considering the low turnout in theaters, but you can now stream the PG-rated high school dramedy on Netflix.

The Alfred Hitchcock classic Vertigo starring Kim Novak and James Stewart as a guy with a crippling fear of heights is now available for streaming.

The ghosts played by Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin turn to Beetlejuice's Michael Keaton to help them scare a new family out of their home in the 1988 Tim Burton classic that you should check out before Burton's Dark Shadows arrives in theaters.

Are you in the mood for a little conspiracy? Netflix now offers the extended edition of Oliver Stone's JFK that stars pretty much everyone (including Gary Oldman and Kevin Costner) and might have you questioning your high school history lessons about President Kennedy's assassination.

Some people mistakenly believe that once a movie appears on Netflix's Watch Instantly that it will be available forever at the click of a button when, in actuality, Netflix yanks titles from its library all the time and without warning. Don't jettison those DVDs and BDs just yet—movies that Netflix recently retired from its Watch Instantly library include Rollerball, Apocalypse Now, Romeo + Juliet, Tetro, Lethal Weapon 2, The Dirty Dozen, Moulin Rouge, Night Watch, Speed and Capitalism: A Love Story.



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