Good Movies to Rent
By Shane Rivers
When you’re looking for good movies to rent, the process can sometimes be a little intimidating. In fact, the thousands of DVDs at your local video store can seem to stretch out like an endless sea. So how are you supposed to know which movies are worth watching and which movies suck?
Luckily, there are a number of sites out there that focus primarily on reviews of good movies to rent. I’ll detail a few in this article and also take a closer look at online movie rental services such as Blockbuster Online and Netflix. We’ll even delve into the realm of direct-to-DVD movies and the overall state of the movie rental industry.
And don’t forget about OnlyGoodMovies when you’re looking for your next DVD rental. We’ve got tons of reviews for all sorts of movie genres, from foreign films and horror to romance and classics.
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Online DVD Movie Reviews
If you’re looking for online DVD movie reviews, the following sites have you covered. They literally have thousands of reviews apiece, and their level of content continues to grow with each passing day. Other features on these sites include movie podcasts, movie blogs, movie forums and movie news.
VideoETA – DVD Release Dates
This site specializes in movies coming to DVD and Blu-ray. For months in advance, VideoETA will list release dates for each and every film. They also feature release dates for upcoming Blu-ray discs.
By clicking on any of the upcoming movie titles, you’ll be taken to that film’s individual page. From there, you can view the DVD cover, release date, cast information, retail price, rating, genre and synopsis.
Clicking the “By Month” link at the top of the page will take you to a page where you can view all the DVDs being released during that month. You can also view months in advance or past DVD releases.
A news and rumors section keeps readers up-to-date on all the latest industry happenings, while the area labeled “In Theaters” provides information on new theatrical releases and their box office performance.
The Star Profiles section gives the latest celebrity news and gossip, and readers can also see which star is celebrating a birthday during the current week. Clicking on an actor’s name will take you to their personal page, where information such as age, birthplace, height and acting credits are provided.
DVD Verdict – Upcoming DVD Releases
If you‘re looking for good movies to rent, you might also want to give DVD Verdict a try. As of this writing, DVD Verdict has over 15,800 reviews, and their output shows no signs of slowing down.
On their home page, you’ll find the following features:
- Television reviews
- Movie reviews
- Contests which allow you to win new and upcoming
- Featured DVD reviews
- A daily “buzzworthy” review
- List of upcoming DVD releases
- The Deal of the Day from Amazon.com
- Featured podcasts
- Reviews for DVDs yet to be released
- RSS feeds
- Interviews with actors and actresses
- DVD reviews which correspond with important dates in DVD Verdict history
- Review archive which features the most popular DVD reviews, 100 best DVDs, 100 worst DVDs and more
Besides the features available on the home page, visitors to DVD Verdict can also click on a number of tabs at the top of the page. These include:
- DVD Reviews – Clicking here will allow the reader to search for DVD reviews by name, genre, date and studio. Reviews of HD DVD and Blu-ray are included, as well as a feature which allows you to be transported to a random DVD movie review.
- Upcoming DVD Releases – Upcoming good movies to rent are broken down week-by-week. One option allows you to look at the title of every single DVD being released during a particular week, while another feature lets you see the cover art to each future release.
- Cinema Verdict – A blog where every aspect of the movie industry is discussed.
- TV Verdict – A blog which focuses on news and interviews from the TV industry.
- Podcast – A number of different podcasts are offered, each one focusing on a different theme. These include: Candy Bar Drive Thru, The Sounds and Sights of Cinema, The Friday Filibuster and View From the Couch.
- Forums – An area where readers of DVD Verdict can weigh in with their opinions. There are four available forum categories, including Verdict Feedback and Old School.
- Judges – This section allows readers to read up on the “judges” who review films for DVD Verdict. You can see their stance on various issues within the film industry, blogs, past reviews and biographical information.
Online Movie Rental Services
Online movie rental services have had a major impact on the industry in the last several years. With the convenience of online selection and having movies delivered right to your home, many are turning away from the local video stores in droves.
The two largest online movie rental services are Netflix and Blockbuster Online. Let’s take a look at the plans and services offered by each. Afterwards, we’ll use this information to try and determine if one service is considerably better for the online movie fan.
With more than 10 million subscribers, Netflix is the largest online movie rental service in the world. With no due dates or late fees, the company has helped reshape the movie rental landscape.
Movies Offered: Over 100,000 DVD titles are available. Netflix also has a growing library of good movies to rent on Blu-ray.
Subscription Price: The following plans are available from Netflix:
- 8 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $55.99
- 7 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $48.99
- 6 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $41.99
- 5 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $34.99
- 4 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $27.99
- 3 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $19.99
- 2 movies at-a-time (Unlimited) for $14.99
- 1 movie at-a-time (Unlimited) for $9.99
- Streaming Only Plan $7.99
Ways to Watch: The most common application of Netflix is receiving DVDs through the mail. Once you receive a movie, you may keep it as long as you like. When you’re ready to return it, just seal it inside the accompanying envelope and drop it in the mailbox; the postage is pre-paid.
A library of over 12,000 movies are available to be watched directly over your PC, with no downloading required. The picture quality isn’t the greatest in the world, but the movie starts after only a few seconds, and it comes with your Netflix subscription at no additional charge. You will, however, need a high-speed Internet connection.
Movies can also be streamed directly to your TV by purchasing a Netflix ready device for a one-time fee of $99. Just connect your Internet and television together and start enjoying movies from Netflix to your home television. The same result can also be achieved by Xbox 360 owners using their Xbox LIVE Gold membership.
Shipment Time: 97% of Netflix customers live in an area which allows shipments to be received in one business day. 58 distribution centers are currently available.
Return Policy: If you receive a DVD that’s broken or unplayable, simply return it and receive a replacement. If you order a DVD and never receive it , simply report it and Netflix will send you another one. This only becomes an issue if Netflix detects a possible pattern of abuse (like “losing” 25 movies in a month).
Once Netflix made good movies to rent available over the Internet, Blockbuster wasted no time in getting in on the action. They do offer one unique feature, as customers can choose to return DVDs to a brick-and-mortar Blockbuster franchise and exchange them for free movie rentals or discounted game rentals (the number of times this can be done is limited by the customer‘s subscription level).
Movies Offered: Blockbuster currently has more than 90,000 titles available online. Free shipping is included on all orders, and there are no late fees or due dates. Blu-ray discs are also available.
Subscription Price: The following subscription prices are available from Blockbuster Online:
- 2 DVDs per month (1 at-a-time) with 2 in-store exchanges for $9.99 per month
- Unlimited DVDs per month (1 at-a-time) with 2 in-store exchanges per month for $11.99 per month
- Unlimited DVDs per month (2 at-a-time) with 3 in-store exchanges per month for $16.99 per month
- Unlimited DVDs per month (3 at-a-time) with 5 in-store exchanges per month for $19.99 per month
Ways to Watch: Like Netflix, Blockbuster Online allows you to select films over the Internet and then have them delivered to your home. Customers can also use a MediaPoint digital media player to rent movies from Blockbuster and enjoy them on their television. Movies are $1.99 per rental through the OnDemand service, and 25 rentals (plus the digital device) costs $99.
Shipment Time: 90% of Blockbuster Online subscribers are able to receive movies in one business day. In most cases, DVDs are delivered within 1 to 2 business days.
Return Policy: Lost and damaged discs will be replaced at no extra charge to the customer.
Blockbuster vs. Netflix
So which online movie rental service is better? Let’s break it down by category.
Movies Offered: As of this writing, Blockbuster claims 90,000 movies, while Netflix claims over 100,000. If those numbers are correct, then the advantage goes to Netflix. Blockbuster, however, does allow subscribers to rent video games.
Subscription Price: Netflix is cheaper, and they have far more subscription options available. With Blockbuster, you can have no more than three movies “rented“ at one time, while eight is the maximum number with Netflix. Give the huge advantage to Netflix.
Ways to Watch: Netflix allows you to watch on DVD, the Internet or through your TV. Blockbuster allows you to download, watch on DVD or view on your TV for $1.99 per movie.
This one is pretty even, but I prefer being able to watch movies on my computer instantly instead of having to wait for a download. I also don’t like the fact that Blockbuster charges $1.99 for each movie rental through their OnDemand service. The advantage goes to Netflix.
Shipment Time: It’s close, but Netflix has a slight edge in this department.
Return Policy: The return policies appear the same.
Overall Results: Out of five categories, Netflix had the advantage in four. The other category was a tie. For the above reasons, I have to recommend Netflix as the superior online movie rental service.
State of the Movie Rental Industry
The landscape of the movie rental industry has changed dramatically in the last decade. Netflix continues to grow in popularity, and traditional brick-and-mortar video stores have been hit hard. Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery have closed their doors, and the major remaining video stores are Blockbuster and Family Video.
While Blockbuster is also available online, they must still support the cost of their land-based franchises. Netflix, meanwhile, only has to fight their battle on a single front.
Services are now available online which allow members to download and watch Hollywood movies for a very low price (often just a one-time fee). And don’t forget about the pay-per-view services available on all satellite subscription and cable services. They offer prices which are more-than-competitive with traditional video stores.
As customers look for good movies to rent, their choice have increased greatly over the past decade. Because of increased options for the consumer, video chains are now fighting for their lives. As technology continues to advance, the competition will only become tougher. Personally, I don’t think it’s outrageous to envision a time when traditional video stores no longer exist.
Direct-to-DVD Movie Rentals
When you’re looking for good movies to rent, don’t forget to check out the direct-to-DVD movies. These are films, usually of a lower budget, which bypass the major theater chains and come straight to the home DVD market.
Also known as DVDP (for “DVD Premiere”), these films often cost in the range of $20 million, although some are produced on a much smaller budget. Actors such as Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme still thrive in this market, and they can command a salary in the $2 to $10 million range.
Movie studios have recently made a killing on the DVDP format, with over $3 billion dollars being made in recent years. The straight-to-DVD release American Pie: Band Camp, for example, sold over one-million copies in just its first week on the market.
My personal favorite when it comes to direct-to-DVD films is a company named The Asylum. Their specialty is making low-budget movies which have similar titles and box art to Hollywood blockbusters (which spawned the term “mockbusters“). They release these movies to video stores around the same time that their big-budget counterpart hits the theaters. Just take a look at a few of their titles (with the name of the Hollywood version next to it):
- The Day the Earth Stopped (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
- The Da Vinci Treasure (The Da Vinci Code)
- Snakes on a Train (Snakes on a Plane)
- Transmorphers (Transformers)
- I Am Omega (I Am Legend)
- 100 Million BC (10,000 BC)
- Pirates of Treasure Island (Pirates of the Caribbean)
- H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (War of the Worlds)
- Hillside Cannibals (The Hills Have Eyes)
- King of the Lost World (King Kong)