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
Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds play two friends with very different lives that switch bodies after drunkenly peeing in a magic fountain in The Change-Up, an R-rated comedy that the filmmakers would like to remind you is "from the director of The Wedding Crashers" and "the writers of The Hangover" (i.e. it's not as funny as either). Atlas Shrugged Part I is based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand and is about a powerful railroad executive who tries to keep her business alive while society crumbles around her.
If you can tolerate and decipher the characters' thick Cockney accents, you just might want to stream Attack the Block—a sci-fi action-comedy in which a gang of street kids in South London try to protect their neighborhood from an alien invasion. Those of you that are a little depraved—you know who you are—might be brave enough to stream The Human Centipede 2, the repulsively graphic sequel to the first movie about stitching victims together mouth to anus that makes the first movie look like a Disney flick. If you have a 3D setup, your cable On Demand service is currently the only way to stream 3D titles, including Cars 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Green Lantern, Chicken Little and Bolt.
With Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and Blockbuster you not only have the choice of streaming a one-time rental like cable On Demand for new movies like The Change-Up, Water for Elephants, Cars 2, Green Lantern and Crazy, Stupid, Love, but you also have the option of buying the movie and downloading the file to keep and playback at any time. Prices vary between the services, but you can usually download the movie to own for about $15, which is more than a typical $4 rental stream but less than buying a DVD or Blu-ray with all the extras.
There are other streaming surprises that separate these services from the pack. All four now offer Trespass, the Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman home-invasion thriller that just opened in theaters on October 14. Amazon, Vudu and iTunes also have the pre-theatrical release I Melt With You available for streaming right now even though it doesn't open on the big screen until December. I Melt With You is about four college buds (Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay) reminiscing about their wild glory days when a secret from their past threatens their retreat.
Aren't you happy that Netflix decided to drop plans to separate its streaming and disc-by-mail businesses? The streaming service of Netflix is already a different animal from the other services mentioned. Instead of downloading to own or pay-per-view rentals, Netflix has a monthly fee for an all-you-can-eat streaming buffet. Netflix has a huge library of movies to stream, but what the uninitiated don't realize is that this service does not usually include major new releases on the same day as DVD and Blu-ray or the other services listed above. Instead, Netflix offers slightly older titles, indie films, TV programs and cable specials that you might not pay for individually on the other services but will stream to your heart's content here because of Netflix's fixed monthly price.
New this week is the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead, season one of Nikita, the first two seasons of The Vampire Diaries, Kevin Smith's Red State, the animated flick Gnomeo & Juliet, John Carpenter's The Ward and the martial arts/Wild West mashup The Warrior's Way. Some flashback favorites that become part of the Netflix steaming library this week include Girl, Interrupted, the movie that won Angelina Jolie her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and David Fincher's Panic Room, which stars Jodie Foster and a pre-Twilight Kristen Stewart as Foster's daughter.