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.
They're ba-aack. No, it's not a poltergeist, but action vets Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren reprising their roles in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. This fourth Universal Soldier movie, which also stars Scott Adkins and Andrei "the Pit Bull" Arlovski, doesn't hit theaters until November 30, but you can rent it on cable On Demand in 2D or 3D starting on October 25.
Tyler Perry does drag for the seventh (!) time on-screen as Mabel "Madea" Simmons in Madea's Witness Protection Program, in which a Wall Street investment banker is set up by mob Ponzi scheme and forced into the witness protection program under the supervision of Madea. The crime dramedy debuts on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.
The Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper describes The Comedy—starring Tim Heidecker, James Murphy and Eric Wareheim—as "a provocation, a critique of a culture based at its core around irony and sarcasm and about ultimately how hollow that is." Well, you don't have to wait until the film's theatrical release on November 9 to find out if it's as pretentious as it sounds because you can stream it on On Demand starting on October 23.
Speaking of film festivals, Matthew Lillard directed an adaptation of the YA novel Fat Kid Rules the World that got some buzz at SXSW in Austin earlier this year. The story about a suicidal 296-pound teen who befriends a local guitar legend and together form a band premieres on VOD on October 25, the same day it hits theaters.
Over the past few weeks, we reported how Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Magic Mike were available for purchase on other VOD services. Today they all arrive for rent on cable On Demand, the same day they all are released on 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.
Of the new movies listed above in boldface, all four VOD services offer Madea's Witness Protection for rent or download. Vudu and iTunes also have The Comedy available for rent, but only Vudu also offers Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.
For those that can't get enough of hillbilly hell there is Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines about a family of pain-impervious inbred cannibals that prey on tourists during Halloween's Mountain Man Festival. The gory horror sequel is available for purchase on Amazon and Vudu, and to purchase or rent on Blockbuster and iTunes.
Ridley Scott's 1982 seminal sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford as the titular cop that hunts down rogue Replicants—synthetic humans—in a futuristic Los Angeles is celebrating its 30th anniversary with Blu-ray editions that have new bonus features. Although all four services already offer Blade Runner: The Final Cut for rent or purchase, iTunes also has over three hours of special features to peruse with the purchase of iTunes Extras.
If you missed Jessica Lange's turn as the wicked Sister Jude, the overseer of the Briarcliff mental institution, during the premiere of American Horror Story: Asylum last week on FX, do not worry—episodes of the second season of the hit show are available for download a day after they air on 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.
There are some notable additions to Netflix's Watch Instantly library this week, including the Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist, Julia Roberts in the Snow White adaptation Mirror Mirror, Morgan Freeman in The Magic of Belle Isle, Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower, and the first season of TV's Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland and Danny Glover.
You can't get something on Netflix without it taking something away, though, and gone this Friday is the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine with John Cusack. Also being retired from the Watch Instantly library this week are Down in the Delta, Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie, Eating Out: Drama Camp, Frontrunners, Sacrifice, Machete Maidens Unleashed!, The Scent of Green Papaya and Born Bad Uncut.