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.
We previously reported that Tim Burton's take on the '60s supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows was available on some other VOD services for purchase, but now the movie starring Johnny Depp as 200-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins is available for rent on cable On Demand the same day it creeps onto DVD and Blu-ray. The oddball comedy also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Did someone say Michelle Pfeiffer? This week's home video queen also appears in the family drama People Like Us as the mother of Chris Pine (we see it), who plays a New York corporate barterer who flies home to L.A. when he learns his estranged father has died. There he meets the half-sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew about and tries to bond with her and her 11-year-old son. The kitchen-sink melodrama comes to cable On Demand the same day as disc.
In the Spanish-American horror thriller Red Lights, Sigourney Weaver plays a university academic who does paranormal investigations, and Cillian Murphy is her assistant—a talented physics academic. The movie, which costars Robert De Niro, scares up some chills on cable On Demand the same day as DVD.
Based on a true story, Luc Besson's The Lady stars Michelle Yeoh as Burmese heroine Suu Kyi—a woman who returned to her own country to be elected by her people into office only to be put under house arrest for over a decade by the Burmese military. Described by Yeoh as "an incredible love story" set against the backdrop of "political turmoil," The Lady graces cable On Demand the same day as disc.
Want to see some movies—legally—at home before they even debut in theaters? By the end of this week, you'll be able to rent on cable On Demand the Johnny Knoxville R-rated comedy Nature Calls, the thriller In Their Skin with Selma Blair, and the comedy The Details starring Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks.
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 all the movies listed above on cable On Demand, Vudu offers the most with Dark Shadows, People Like us, Red Lights, The Lady and Nature Calls. iTunes offers the same as Vudu with the exception of Nature Calls. Amazon has Dark Shadows, Red Lights and People Like Us, while Blockbuster only has the former two.
The adventures of those googly-eyed critters continue on a new continent in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. The animated kiddie feature doesn't hit disc until October 16, but you can own it—not rent—right now on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
Wes Anderson's Oscar-begging Moonrise Kingdom is about two 12 year olds who fall in love, make a secret pact and run off into the wilderness together during the summer of 1965 as authorities try to hunt them down before a violent storm hits the island community. The movie starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray isn't available on DVD and Blu-ray until October 16, but you can download a digital copy to own right now on all four services.
Six incredibly stupid vacationers (in our humble opinion) hire an "extreme tour" guide to explore the city of Pripyat, the former home to workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Chernobyl Diaries. What could possibly go wrong? The found-footage horror flick won't scare anyone on disc until October 16, but you can own it now on 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.
The highest-profile movies debuting this week on Netflix are Jarhead, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as real-life Operation Desert Storm sniper Anthony Swofford, and the mind-bending David Lynch drama Mulholland Drive starring Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux. Also new this week is the complete series Freaks and Geeks, the military action-adventure Act of Valor, and the historical drama Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale.
What Netflix giveth, it also taketh away. If you want to watch Wildflower, The Secret of Kells, Fred: The Movie, 100 Feet, Rockers or Chops, you'd better hurry—all of them are getting retired by Netflix this week for the foreseeable future.