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 latest PG-13 exorcism flick gets a Jewish twist in The Possession, which follows a little girl named Em (Natasha Calis) who becomes obsessed with an antique box she bought at a yard sale until she unleashes a Dibbuk—a dislocated spirit trapped inside the box that inhabits and eventually devours its human host. Em's father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) seeks out the help of a Hasidic Jew to exorcise the demon before his daughter is lost in this surprise horror hit produced by Sam Raimi. The Possession gets under your skin on cable On Demand the same day it is released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Farewell, My Queen stars Diane Kruger as Queen Marie Antoinette and follows the relationship between her and one of her readers during the first days of the French Revolution. The historical French drama says "oui, oui" to cable On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.
The inspirational drama Won't Back Down stars Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal as two determined mothers that try to transform their children's failing inner-city school. Directed by Daniel Barnz and costarring Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter and Rosie Perez, Won't Back Down earns extra credit on cable On Demand the same day it debuts on disc.
Two documentaries also arrive on cable On Demand this week. The House I Live In captures stories from people at all levels of America's War on Drugs—from the dealer to the senator to the grieving mother and more. Detropia looks at the economic decline of Detroit, Michigan due to long-term changes in the automotive industry.
In previous weeks, we told you about the availability for purchase of Taken 2 starring Liam Neeson, To Rome with Love starring Jesse Eisenberg, and End of Watch starring Jake Gyllenhaal on other VOD services. Both movies are now available for rent on cable 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 Vudu and iTunes have all the new movies listed above debuting on cable On Demand available for rent and/or digital download. Amazon has them all except, oddly, The Possession, while Blockbuster only offers Won't Back Down on its digital service.
The found-footage nightmare continues in Paranormal Activity 4 as Katie (Katie Featherston) and a strange boy move across the street from a family and—wouldn't you know it?—things start to go bump in the night. The fourth film in the blockbuster supernatural franchise won't scare up more money on disc until January 29, but you can download a new unrated cut to own—not rent—right now on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
The brutal prison-sport action moves to South Africa's Kalahari Desert in Death Race 3: Inferno, starring Luke Goss, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames and Dougray Scott. The latest Death Race sequel doesn't peel onto DVD and Blu-ray until January 22, but you can download it to own—not rent—for as little as $14.99 for the standard-def version on Amazon, although the sequel is available in HD on the other services, too, for a few more dollars.
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 welcome new release this week on Netflix Watch Instantly is Being Human: Season 2, the Syfy series about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf that live together and try to assimilate as well as possible into their Boston neighborhood. The third season just premiered last night on the cable network, so now you can catch up with last season at your leisure on Netflix. Also new this week is the inspired-by-true-events psychological thriller The Alphabet Killer, the miniseries For Love of Liberty that documents the accomplishments of African-American servicemen and women, and the fantasy action picture Dawn of the Dragon Slayer.
The biggest film going bye-bye this week is Hollywoodland, which features Ben Affleck—fresh off his win as Best Director at the Golden Globes—as TV's Superman, George Reeves, in this acclaimed drama that also stars Diane Lane and Adrien Brody. If you want to watch it, you have until Wednesday before Netflix retires it from its library. Also being shelved this week is the sci-fi action flick Skyline about a group of survivors scrambling to find out what happened to the human race as aliens attack off the coast of Santa Monica, California.