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.
Are you jittery about the neck-and-neck presidential race? Laugh off the absurdity of American politics with The Campaign, starring Zach Galifianakis as the surprise challenger to incumbent congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) in a hilariously contentious North Carolina race. The comedy arrives on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray… and exactly one week before we pull the lever for the next president.
In the Sundance darling Safety Not Guaranteed, three jaded Seattle magazine employees (Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson and Karan Soni) answer the classified ad of a supermarket clerk (Mark Duplass) who claims to have figured out how to travel back in time. This heartfelt indie by the producers of Little Miss Sunshine will especially appeal to young professionals in their 20s and 30s still chasing a dream that seems to be getting away. It debuts on cable On Demand the same day it hits stores on DVD and Blu-ray.
Following the death of his mother, Martin (Mathieu Demy) travels to California to settle her estate and becomes intrigued by an old photograph of her with a beautiful Mexican girl in the French drama Americano. Martin then travels to the titular dingy Tijuana sex club to find the woman in the picture and meets the broken-down stripper Lola (Salma Hayek), who holds the secret of his past… and perhaps the key to his future. Americano crosses the border to On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.
Paul Dano stars as a once-famous writer whose beautiful fictitious character Ruby (Zoe Kazan) comes to life in Ruby Sparks. The romantic comedy for the fantasy prone costars Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas and Elliott Gould, and comes to On Demand the same day as disc.
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 and iTunes have all of the movies in boldface listed above available to rent and/or download. Vudu and Blockbuster currently only offer The Campaign, Safety Not Guaranteed and Ruby Sparks.
If you want to see Andrew Garfield as your friendly neighborhood The Amazing Spider-Man, you don't have to wait until it swings onto disc on November 9. You can download to own—not rent—the Spidey reboot costarring Emma Stone, Sally Field, Denis Leary and Martin Sheen right now on all four VOD services. Vudu also offers a free 10-minute preview as well as deleted scenes, a featurette on stunt rehearsals, and an exclusive "Enter the Lizard" featurette.
Need to catch up on all things Bella, Jacob and Edward before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2 opens in theaters on November 16? For a limited time, Vudu is offering all four previous Twilight Saga movies for rent for 99 cents apiece as well as lots of free featurettes to stream.
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.
There are more treats than tricks this week at Netflix Watch Instantly with an explosion of new titles added to the queue. The best movies debuting this week to get you in the Halloween spirit are Addams Family Values, In Dreams, Thinner, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, Scary Movie 2, Graveyard Shift, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, Dark Town, How to Be a Serial Killer, Dracula 3000, The Prophecy: Uprising, Jennifer 8 and Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood. If horror is not your thing, the best of the rest are Footloose (2011), Bean: The Movie, Twelve, Inside Deep Throat, Hombre, Intersection, Airheads, Throw Momma from the Train, An Officer and a Gentleman and Woody Allen's Manhattan.
You didn't think Netflix was going to add all these movies and not retire any titles, did you? Getting the ax on Halloween are The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Atomic Café, Sleeping Dogs Lie, The Couple, Strange Culture, My Date with Drew and several more that no one would consider essential All Hallow's Eve viewing. Happy Halloween!