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.
Last week we reported that The Five-Year Engagement was available for purchase on several VOD services a week before disc. Now the comedy starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt as a couple that can't quite get around to walking down the aisle is ready to rent on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Jason Statham plays a former NYC detective who must protect a young Chinese math prodigy who has memorized a complicated safe combination and is being hunted by the Russian mob in Safe. The R-rated shoot-'em-up blasts its way onto cable On Demand the same day as disc.
Here's a premise you just don't come across every day in movies: butter sculpting. In the aptly titled Butter, a young orphan in an Iowa town discovers she has a talent for sculpting butter. The huge ensemble comedy starring Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Silverstone, Ty Burrell and many more doesn't debut in theaters until October, but you can rent it at home beginning September 7 on cable On Demand.
Nobody Walks is an upcoming indie drama about a hipster 23-year-old named Martine (Olivia Thirlby) who moves into a wealthy family's pool house to finish her art film and, in true indie-film fashion, shakes up the family's dynamic with her pixie-like feminine charms and uncanny talent. The emotionally heavy film starring John Krasinski, Dylan McDermott, Rosemarie DeWitt and Justin Kirk doesn't debut in theaters until October, but you can rent it on cable On Demand starting September 7.
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.
All four VOD services now have The Five-Year Engagement and Safe available for rent or purchase. Vudu will also offer the pre-theatrical title Nobody Walks starting September 6.
Kristen Stewart is as wooden as ever in the visually arresting Snow White and the Huntsman, a twist on the classic fairy tale featuring a scenery-chewing Charlize Theron as the vampy queen and Chris Hemsworth as the titular Huntsman. Although you wouldn't know it from her lifeless performance on-screen, Stewart obviously found some passion off camera with married director Rupert Sanders and broke many Twihard hearts. Given her indiscretions, we doubt you'll see K-Stew on-screen again as Snow White, but you can download either the theatrical or extended version of Snow White and the Huntsman to own—not rent, yet—on all four services right now.
Written and produced by Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods has a familiar horror movie setup with five college students embarking on a weekend escape in the wilderness only to stumble upon some supernatural shenanigans. The brilliant aspect of this clever meta-movie is how surprised you will be that it is not at all what you initially expect and that more sinister forces are at work behind the scenes. The Cabin in the Woods won't scare up new fans on DVD and Blu-ray until September 18, but you can own it right now on all four VOD services.
In the pigskin drama Touchback, Brian Presley plays a former high school football star who became a farmer and a family man after a knee injury. Now given a second shot at football fame, Presley seeks out the advice from his longtime mentor and coach (Kurt Russell). This sports flick in the tradition of Bull Durham is available on disc today but only available digitally on Vudu.
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.
Although Netflix isn't kicking off September with as many new additions as it did in August, there are still some notable titles being made available for unlimited streaming this week. Netflix Watch Instantly subscribers can now enjoy the acclaimed Bob Marley documentary Marley, the puppet-porn comedy Team America: World Police, Tom Cruise in the original Mission: Impossible, Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Eddie Murphy's first turn as Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop, the documentary Speak that follows people trying to conquer their public-speaking anxiety, and Clue—the 1985 cult comedy based on the board game that made its Blu-ray debut last month.
Nothing is added on Netflix without something else being taken away. Titles being retired this week include From Paris with Love, River's End, The Pajama Game, Pure, Islander, Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss and White Rainbow.