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.
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill might hit a few out of the park on Oscar night because of their performances in Moneyball, the acclaimed sports drama about how Oakland A's GM Billy Beane (Pitt) and an economics wiz (Hill) used statistical algorithms to pick a team that had the longest winning streak in baseball history. Moneyball has been available early on iTunes, Vudu and Amazon for a few weeks, but is now available on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Anna Faris is one of our favorite funny ladies, but even she can't elevate the limp What's Your Number? above its chick-flick trappings. Her character reads an article that suggests that you've probably already met Mr. Right if you've slept with 20 people, so the Manhattan gal puts her career (What bills?) and life on hold to hunt down her exes and reevaluate them with the help of hunky neighbor Chris Evans. Do you think her true love might have been living across the hall this whole time? Nah, that would be totally obvious and corny.
Jason Statham plays a retired mercenary who is lured back into the action to rescue his mentor (Robert De Niro) in Killer Elite, a rat-a-tat action vehicle also starring Clive Owen as the head of a secret society of former operatives. You'd think with star muscle like Statham, De Niro and Owen that there would be more going on than just a run-of-the-mill shoot-'em-up, but you'd be shooting blanks.
There Be Dragons is another historical epic by Roland Joffé, the British director of The Mission. There be not fire-breathing monsters in There Be Dragons, but rather a story about soldiers fighting during the Spanish Civil War and how one exiled priest, Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), founded Opus Dei and later became canonized as a saint.
For those keeping count, The Scorpion King 3: Rise of the Dead is the sixth film in Universal's The Mummy Series. The direct-to-video sequel follows dethroned king Mathayus (Victor Webster) and his battle to reclaim his empire. Also onboard for this sand-and-sandal action adventure is Ron Perlman as the king of Egypt and Billy Zane as the villainous Talus.
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 new releases listed above that are available on cable On Demand, all four services offer The Scorpion King 3 and Killer Elite, while all four except Blockbuster have digital versions of What's Your Number? and There Be Dragons.
Vudu is promoting a digital sale on two popular titles: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Hangover Part II. You can rent the standard-def version of either one for only $3.99 and download either to own for $14.99. Both Amazon and iTunes have the two titles available to rent or own at the exact same prices, while Blockbuster rents both for the same $3.99 but charges three bucks more to own either of them.
Steve Buscemi stars as Enoch "Nucky" Johnson in Boardwalk Empire, the acclaimed HBO series set in Atlantic City, New Jersey during the Prohibition era. The dazzling first season—including the pilot episode directed by Martin Scorsese—is available to download to own on Vudu, Amazon and iTunes.
A handful of troubled souls cross paths in Los Angeles against the backdrop of a missing-child investigation in the ensemble drama Answers to Nothing starring Dane Cook, Julie Benz, Elizabeth Mitchell and Barbara Hershey. The indie movie just had a limited theatrical release in December and is already available to rent on all four services.
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.
Christian Bale and Melissa Leo both won Oscars last year for the roles in the 2010 boxing drama The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg as professional fighter "Irish" Micky Ward. Just in time for the new Oscar season, Netflix has added the Rocky-reminiscent cinematic champ to its streaming library.
The fast-paced documentary Senna profiles Ayrton Senna, a Brazilian hero and one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula One racing.
In the dark comedy/thriller The Perfect Host starring David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford, a criminal on the lam cons his way into a dinner party with an unusual host that soon has him convinced that he should have found another hiding place.
The Sundance Award-winning documentary Buck profiles Buck Brannaman, the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer. The master horseman reveals details about his troubled childhood and shows how we communicate with animals corresponds with how we treat our fellow human beings.
The R-rated virginity comedy Cherry is about a brilliant yet naïve college freshman (Kyle Gallner) who hopes to hook up with an older student (Laura Allen) only to pique the interest of the woman's 14-year-old daughter in this unusual emotional triangle.