Streaming or downloading movies is a convenient way to rent a flick even though the picture and sound quality are not as good as Blu-ray, but those sometimes fun behind-the-scenes extras usually unavailable digitally. To keep you spinning physical discs for years to come, studios are including innovative and often immersive bonus features on the DVDs and Blu-rays of your favorite movies and TV shows. Read all about this month's best extras served up on shiny silver platters that take you beyond the feature presentations.
Rango: Gore Verbinski's first feature-length animated film featuring the voice of Johnny Depp as the titular chameleon has this writer's vote for the best animated film of the year—the animation is simply stunning and the dialogue is not dumbed down for the pre-school set like, say, Cars 2. An exclusive on the Blu-ray version is "A Field Trip to Dirt," an interactive map of the desert town featured in the movie where viewers can walk the streets and interact with its colorful denizens. There is also bonus footage and trivia to discover while exploring.
Hobo with a Shotgun: Fans of exploitation films have a lot to grin about while watching this movie, which stars Rutger Hauer as the titular bum with a boomstick. This feature-length film is based on a faux trailer starring David Brunt that won a contest and was used to promote the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantio double feature Grindhouse. The original two-minute trailer that started it all is included on the DVD and Blu-ray of Hobo with a Shotgun.
Das Boot: Director's Cut: For fans of Wolfgang Petersen's 1981 film that follows the crew of a German U-boat during World War II as it embarks on a mission against allied troops, this Blu-ray debut blows every previous version out of the water. Of special interest to fans is "Back to the Boat," a recently produced 45-minute documentary on the making of the film that features interviews with cast and crew—much of it taking place on the still-standing submarine set. When is the last time you heard of a director being able to revisit his movie set from 30 years ago?
The Lincoln Lawyer: Tabloids are so obsessed with snapping shirtless pictures of Matthew McConaughey that we almost forgot what a good actor he can be until his role as slick defense attorney Mickey Haller in this legal thriller. In "Making the Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer" on both the DVD and Blu-ray, award-winning author Michael Connelly talks about the process of adapting his popular book into a movie.
Take Me Home Tonight: We admire the filmmakers' attempt to re-create those John Hughes coming-of-age comedies of the '80s even if the end result can totally gag you with a spoon, fer sher. Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain one special feature, "Take Me Home Tonight Music Video," that is funnier than the entire movie. In the four-minute clip, Topher Grace, Anna Faris and other cast members reenact '80s movies like Top Gun, Teen Wolf, Weird Science and Back to the Future.
Source Code: Duncan Jones's sci-fi mindbender starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier stuck in a Groundhog Day nightmare from which he cannot awake is a layered film that challenges the viewer with alternate realities and other phenomenon. The Blu-ray contains the exclusive picture-in-picture feature "Access: Source Code" with background information, cast and crew interviews, trivia and behind-the-scenes footage as the movie plays.
Insidious: This darker, nastier, modern version of Poltergeist will haunt you long after the end credits roll. Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar," in which director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell wax philosophical about the love of the genre and what their aspirations were while making the scary-as-hell film.
The Blues Brothers: Even though it is over 30 years old, John Landis's feature-length expansion of the Saturday Night Live skit starring Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi still feels fresh. This Blu-ray debut contains the nearly hour long "Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers" that includes interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage. The conception of the movie is traced from its SNL roots and some interesting trivia is provided, including details on Aykroyd's 324-page first draft, several outrageous stories about the late Belushi and more. This is an absolute must-watch for fans.