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.
If you like your films bombastic and incredibly stupid, Battleship has arrived. Based on the Hasbro game (you're still reading?), this bloated action thriller stars blockbuster-killer Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) as an unruly naval officer who tries to fend off an armada of alien ships attacking the Earth with the help of people like "Umbrella" singer Rihanna. This stinker sinks or swims on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.
The Lucky One—the latest overwrought romantic drama based on a Nicholas Sparks novel and starring Zac Efron—was available on other VOD services previously for purchase, but now can be rented on cable On Demand the same day as disc.
The stop-motion animated gem The Pirates! Band of Misfits features the voice of Hugh Grant as the Pirate Captain, who leads a crew of amateur pirates that are trying to win the Pirate of the Year competition. The film didn't find its audience in theaters, but maybe that will change at home on cable On Demand as well as DVD and Blu-ray.
Four friends conspire to turn the tables on their women when they discover the ladies have been using Steve Harvey's relationship advice against them in Think Like a Man, starring Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Terrence Jenkins and many more. The large ensemble PG-13 romantic comedy debuts on cable the same day as DVD.
Sick of found-footage fright films yet? Well, Hollywood isn't—they are made on the cheap and usually turn a quick profit. V/H/S is a series of found-footage shorts that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The horror anthology gets a limited theatrical release on October 5, but you can rent it starting on August 31 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.
Vudu has all the movies listed above on cable available for rent and/or purchase, including the pre-theatrical V/H/S on August 30. Amazon, Vudu and iTunes offer all the titles except V/H/S.
Diane Keaton stars as a woman suffering from empty-nest syndrome who rescues a dog from the side of the road only to have her distracted husband (Kevin Kline) lose the pet in Darling Companion. See them organize a frantic search for poochie in this middle-aged dramedy that is available on all four VOD services as well as for rent on cable.
From the producer of Bridesmaids and the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall comes The Five-Year Engagement, an irreverent comedy about a couple (Jason Segel and Emily Blunt) whose trip down the aisle is constantly being postponed. The laugher doesn't arrive on disc until September 4, but you can download it to own—not rent, yet—on all four services. In addition, iTunes has an unrated edition for purchase.
Many will miss the Norwegian crime thriller Headhunters about an accomplished headhunter who doubles as a thief-for-pay to subsidize his extravagant lifestyle because Americans seem allergic to subtitles. If you're not, this foreign film is worth importing to your player of choice via Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
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.
It's hard to believe it's almost Labor Day weekend, but Netflix has got you covered if you find yourself with a little time off for the holiday. The service is adding a picnic's worth of titles to its Watch Instantly library on September 1, including Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, Boris Karloff in The Mummy, Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57, Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal in Analyze This, the horror classic The Omen starring Gregory Peck, the working-girl comedy Nine to Five, Jennifer Lopez in Angel Eyes, the indie stripper drama Dancing at the Blue Iguana with Jennifer Tilly and Daryl Hannah, the terrifying spelunking shocker The Descent: Part 2, the Oscar-winning '70s drama Network, and many, many more—so many you'll be watching until Christmas if you aren't too selective.
To make room for all these new titles, some have to be retired for the time being. Going bye-bye this week on Watch Instantly is The American President, BASEketball, Pitch Black, The Last of the Mohicans, Misery, Lethal Weapon, Dirty Harry, The Patriot, Airplane II: The Sequel, Best in Show, Flatliners, Natural Born Killers and Practical Magic.