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 Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron was available for purchase on other VOD services. If you don't want to bet that much money on finding out if K. Stew is really "the fairest one of all," you can now rent the fantasy adventure on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.
The huge ensemble comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting follows five Atlanta couples as they "suffer the many joys of the childbirth process" (neither our words nor how many would describe said process). The fetus-mania rom-com starring Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Dennis Quaid, Brooklyn Decker and many more births itself on cable the same day as disc.
Did you feel the female empowerment after watching Julia Roberts traipse around the globe trying to find herself in Eat Pray Love? If so, check out Greta Gerwig in Lola Versus, in which she plays a 29-year-old woman dumped three weeks before her wedding who embarks on a year-long adventure filled with self-discovery. The highly unlikely romantic comedy can be rented on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Writer-director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness) returns and examines the "irretrievability of youth" and the "merciless passing of time" in Dark Horse, a dark comedy starring Selma Blair, Jordan Geller, Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha and Mia Farrrow. The movie won't be available on disc until November 13, but you can rent it beginning September 13 on cable On Demand.
Opening this Friday in theaters is the drama Arbitrage starring Richard Gere as a troubled hedge fund magnate forced to turn to an unlikely person for help and Susan Sarandon as his wife. If you'd rather watch the movie from your living room instead of a room full of strangers munching on popcorn, you can rent it the same day 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.
All four of the services listed above offer Snow White and the Huntsman, What to Expect When You're Expecting and Lola Versus for rent and/or purchase. iTunes is the only one that also has Dark Horse; Vudu is the only one that will have the same-day-as-theatrical title Arbitrage.
The raunchy female-centric comedy Bachelorette about three friends asked to be bridesmaids at the wedding of a woman they used to ridicule in high school is still playing in theaters. The R-rated film starring Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson and Lizzy Caplan can also be rented—not downloaded to own—at home on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
It's maximus manicus meaticus on displayicus in the soft-core pornicus Spartacus: Vengeance. The latest season of Starz' bloody and bawdy gladiator series is now available for purchase on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes the same day it rises on DVD and Blu-ray.
Eva Mendes plays a single mom too busy to give her daughter the attention she needs in the I-never-heard-of-that-premise-before Girl in Progress. The chick-flick dramedy costars Matthew Modine and is available on all four services as well as cable On Demand.
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 notable new addition to Netflix' Watch Instantly library this week is the man-vs.-nature thriller The Grey in which Liam Neeson must help the survivors of a plane crash in remote Alaska survive the harsh elements and a pack of hungry wolves that are hunting them. Also new this week is season four of 90210, season three of The Vampire Diaries, the first (and only) season of Sarah Michelle Gellar's twin-sister series Ringer, the first (and last) season of the teen witchcraft series The Secret Circle, the sports drama One Night in Turin narrated by Gary Oldman, and the horror flick Fever Night.
Going to the great retirement hard drive at Netflix this week is Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Beat the Devil, White Zombie, Life with Father, Carnival of Souls, Royal Wedding, Penny Serenade, Nothing Sacred, Of Human Bondage, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, College and Suddenly. That's right: you get the relatively recent release The Grey but at the expense of a bunch of Old Hollywood titles.