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.
Tom Cruise returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol, the fourth and arguably most exciting film in the series that takes the action from Moscow to the dizzying heights of the world's tallest building in Dubai. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton play a rogue group of agents that discover a plot to start a nuclear war and must help Ethan avert a global catastrophe in this blockbuster sequel that is available on cable the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Michael Fassbender and his famously exposed penis appear, respectively, as Manhattan sex addict Brandon and his weapon of mass seduction in the dark drama Shame. The NC-17 film directed by Steve McQueen co-stars Carey Mulligan as Brandon's emotionally needy sister who turns his life upside down when she moves into his pad and disrupts his insular life.
Got kids? If so, you don't want to have a Shame-ful home screening. Instead, stream the inspiring G-rated documentary IMAX Born to Be Wild narrated by Morgan Freeman about the loving bond between humans and animals as you watch two teams of animal experts rehabilitate orphan orangutans and elephants. IMAX Born to Be Wild is available in 2D or 3D on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
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.
Vudu and iTunes offer the three movies mentioned above that are debuting on cable On Demand as well as bonus material to download for Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. Amazon also has M:I4 and Shame available for rent or download, while Blockbuster strikes out this week with none of the new releases available for streaming.
Mark Wahlberg plays retired international smuggler Chris Farraday who is lured back into doing one last run when a drug kingpin (Giovanni Ribisi) threatens his family in Contraband. The rat-a-tat action flick co-starring Kate Beckinsale as Farraday's wife isn't available on DVD and Blu-ray until April 24, but you can download it to own only—not rent—today on Amazon, Vudu, Blockbuster and iTunes.
Machete fans will want to check out Danny Trejo in Bad Ass as a decorated Vietnam vet shunned by society who becomes frustrated when the police do little to investigate the murder of his childhood friend. You can't buy Bad Ass on DVD or Blu-ray until June 5, but you can rent it right now for a premium price on Amazon, Vudu and Blockbuster.
Always check Vudu's 99-cent Movie of the Day for stream-dream pricing. Today's selection is the 1972 city-boys-vs.-rednecks classic Deliverance starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox that will make you squeal with fear of Southern hillbillies.
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 only notable new addition this week to Netflix's Watch Instantly library is the funny Fox animated sitcom series Bob's Burgers featuring the voices of H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman and Laura Silverman. The show focuses on the Belcher family, who operate the titular hamburger eatery, and has a similar tone to King of the Hill or Family Guy.
Every week, Netflix retires some titles from its streaming library for an indeterminate amount of time. Going bye-bye this week are The Iron Giant, As Good as Dead, Gamer, The Assassin Next Door, Assisted Living, Marwencol, Theater of War, Easier with Practice, The Girl from Monday and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.