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.
Paul Rudd stars as the titular sibling in Our Idiot Brother—a comedy about a clueless idealist who turns the lives of his sisters (Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer) upside down when he comes back to town after being released from jail for trying to sell pot to a uniformed police officer.
The sci-fi drama Another Earth won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for "focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character." Like the title suggests, the movie is about the discovery of a planet that mirrors are own up to the point of discovery—including duplicate copies of every individual—and one young woman's quest to get there in an attempt to see if the people she accidentally killed on this Earth are still alive on the duplicate Earth.
Also new this week is the teen romantic comedy The Art of Getting By starring Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore, the family film Snowmen, and the bizarre drama The Future in which a couple adopts a stray cat and doing so alters the course of time and space while testing their faith in each other and themselves.
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.
Of all the movies listed above for cable On Demand, iTunes has them all except Snowmen, Vudu has The Future, Amazon has them all—some to rent, some to own, some both—except Snowmen, and Blockbuster only has The Future available for streaming.
All of the services except Blockbuster have the romantic comedy One Day available for streaming. The film stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as two young people who begin a friendship on college graduation in 1988 that slowly blossoms into a romance over the next two decades.
Based on a true story, The Devil's Double is available on all four services. The movie stars Dominic Cooper as Latif, a man forced to become the body double of Saddam Hussein's ruthless son Uday, the "Black Prince." Latif is thrown into a life of fast cars, loose women and seemingly limitless power until war threatens Uday's regime and Latif realizes he must escape or die trying.
In the ridiculous horror comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, two Southern guys are mistaken for hillbilly psychos by a group of college kids that results in a misunderstanding with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of result. The movie is available to rent or own on all of the services except Blockbuster.
Vudu, Amazon and iTunes all have the pre-theatrical release Angels Crest available to rent now for a premium price of $9.99. The film stars Thomas Dekker as a working-class father whose tight-knit Rocky Mountain town of Angels Crest unravels when a momentary lapse in judgment results in tragedy. Jeremy Renner and Mira Sorvino co-star in this drama scheduled to open in theaters on December 30.
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.
With David Fincher's take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo set to open in theaters soon, Netflix is now offering his 1997 mindbender The Game available for streaming. The movie stars Michael Douglas as a coldhearted businessman who is given a disturbing birthday gift from his young brother (Sean Penn) that he can't figure out if it is real or not.
Since we're smack in the middle of Oscar season and all the movies vying to prove that they are the ones that deserve little gold statues, Netflix offers 1998's Elizabeth for you refined streamers out there. The movie stars Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I of England and won one Oscar out of seven nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress.
If Elizabeth sounds too highbrow for you, there is always the hilarious horror-comedy Seed of Chucky in which Jennifer Tilly steals the show from the killer doll and his depraved family by playing—and poking fun at—herself and the absurdity of Hollywood.