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.
Publicly shamed investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) finds an unlikely partner in gothic computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) to help him solve the disappearance of the family member of a wealthy industrialist in David Fincher's riveting English-language remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Mara deservedly earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Salander, and she and Craig exude unlikely chemistry on-screen in this thrilling mystery that is available the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
The Muppets—including Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo—have gone their separate ways but reunite after being persuaded by a new Muppet, Walter, to put on a telethon and save the old Muppet Theater in The Muppets. This first Muppets adventure in 12 years won the Oscar for Best Original Song and features plenty of nods to the original show for lifelong fans as well as Glee-ful song-and-dance numbers by human stars Amy Adams and Jason Segel.
The Sitter stars Jonah Hill as a suspended college student who, coerced into babysitting three rambunctious kids, ends up carting them around Manhattan for a debaucherous and dangerous night. This sporadically funny comedy—available to stream in both its R-rated theatrical and unedited versions—tries to be unnecessarily earnest and gooey at the end, but it doubles as an urgent birth-control reminder.
In the previous weeks, both the Gary Oldman Cold War-era spy movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Steven Spielberg's animated feature The Adventures of Tintin have been available on other streaming services to download to own. Now both are also available for rent on cable On Demand, including a 3D version of The Adventures of Tintin.
A carjacking leads to more violence for a college student (Christian Serratos) and her rich friend (Brittany Snow) in the dramatic thriller 96 Minutes, a movie that just premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and is available to rent on cable On Demand on March 22 before its theatrical release.
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, Vudu and iTunes currently offer The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Muppets and The Sitter for rent and/or download while Blockbuster has all three except The Muppets. If you're not sure whether or not you want to roll the dice with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Vudu offers a free 10-minute preview for you to investigate before purchasing.
Before you see The Hunger Games in theaters this Friday, check out its bloody exciting 2000 Japanese precursor Battle Royale about a ninth-grade class of students that is outfitted with exploding neck collars and forced to hunt each other to death on a remote island by government mandate. The controversial movie was banned in many countries for years but is available today on Blu-ray as well as on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
Teen heroin addicts barricade themselves inside an abandoned farmhouse after the death of their friend in an attempt to kick the junk only to become a part of an ultra-secret government experiment in Psychotica, which is available to rent or own only on Vudu.
Peter Facinelli plays a New York pickpocket who is confronted by a woman with whom he had a passionate one-night affair and told of her pregnancy in Loosies, which is available to rent or own on Amazon and iTunes.
You can stream with Redbox-ish pricing on Vudu with the service's 99-Cent Movie of the Day. Today's feature is the intoxicating Oscar-winning comedy Sideways, which features Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church as best friends who go on a weekend to California wine country before one's wedding.
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.
Who killed Rosie Larson? That is the question posed by the TV series The Killing, the first season of which is now available to stream on Netflix just after it debuted on DVD and Blu-ray and as the second season is set to debut on AMC on April 1. Also new to Netflix's Watch Instantly are six seasons of Saved by the Bell, Jackie Chan in 1911, and Victor Salva's creepy horror flick Jeepers Creepers.
Notable titles expiring from Netflix's Watch Instantly this week include Contact, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, P.S., Stander, Whale Rider, Bad Seed, The Prisoner, Basket Case, Invader From Mars, Green Dragon and The Secret.