Best of the Month, Special Features: 'Super 8,' 'Deathly Hallows, Part 2,' 'Blue Velvet' and More

Best of the Month, Special Features: 'Super 8,' 'Deathly Hallows, Part 2,' 'Blue Velvet' and More

Nov 28, 2011

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 fun behind-the-scenes extras are not usually available 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.

Super 8: J.J. Abrams's homage to classic Steven Speilberg movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial will remind viewers of those classic sci-fi adventures of yesteryear as we follow a group of children making a zombie drama who witness a massive train derailment and the release of a hulking otherworldly creature. The Blu-ray contains many making-of featurettes that can be accessed individually, but you can also choose "play all" to watch them all in order for an exhaustive 97-minute documentary.

Read our full review of the Super 8 Blu-ray here.


Cave of Forgotten Dreams: In one of the best and most successful nature documentaries available, Werner Herzog takes viewers on an exclusive expedition into France's Chauvet caves where pristine 30,000-year-old cave paintings have been discovered. That is almost twice as old as any other painting, so to become immersed with the artwork in 3D is awe-inspiring and the next best thing to being there. The Blu-ray 3D also includes Herzog's short film "Ode to the Dawn of Man," in which the director and composer Ernst Reijseger take you behind the scenes as the unusual score for Cave of Forgotten Dreams is created.


Conan the Barbarian (2011): The Cimmerian warrior is reintroduced on-screen in the form of beefy Jason Momoa from Game of Thrones instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger. This origin story starts off violent as Conan is cut out of his mother's womb on the battlefield and then elicits unintentional snickers as Conan barks commands at women and Rose McGowan hams it up as a sorceress with Freddy Krueger claws on her fingers. The Blu-ray 3D contains the extra "The Conan Legacy," a short piece that discusses the history, evolution and admiration for Robert E. Howard's character and the filmmakers' efforts to be faithful to the source material.

Read our full review of the Conan the Barbarian Blu-ray here.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: Yes, the adventures of the now-grown boy wizard come to end here as Harry faces and defeats Lord Voldemort, but all of the Harry Potter discs are packed with enough extras that will take you days to watch. One of the best ones included on the Blu-ray of this last Harry Potter film is the revealing 53-minute "A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe," in which the author and the star interview each other and discuss everything from the omission of certain book details from the movies to Radcliffe being allergic to Harry's glasses at first.

Read our full review of the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 Blu-ray here.


West Side Story: The limited edition 50th anniversary set and Blu-ray debut of the 1961 musical comes packed with some "pretty and witty" extras for fans, such as "Pow! The Dances of West Side Story" and "A Place for Us: West Side Story's Legacy." The set—coincidentally timed to the further investigation of star Natalie Wood's death—also comes stuffed with a tribute CD and other collectibles, like a photo scrapbook and lobby cards.


Cars 2: Although it didn't enjoy the unwavering praise that most critics dole out to Pixar flicks, Cars 2 will still delight the pint-sized people in your home. One of the best features on the Blu-ray is an interactive map that lets you travel around the globe to all the key locations in the Cars 2 universe—including London, Paris, Munich, Prague, Tokyo and more—and explore several making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes for each location.

Read our full Cars 2 Blu-ray review here.


Blue Velvet: We hope director David Lynch gets back to making films again someday because this rich, demented, gorgeously shot drama starring Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern is one of the best movies of the 1980s. For its Blu-ray debut, Blue Velvet contains a hefty amount of "previously lost footage" that is provided here as outtakes and deleted scenes. Lynch was wise not to reinsert them into his masterpiece, but it's still fascinating to see abandoned plot points and more interactions between these unforgettable characters for the first time.

Read our full Blue Velvet Blu-ray review here.


Cop Land: This gritty 1997 action drama is one of Sylvester Stallone's very best roles as Freddy Heflin, a small-town sheriff who turns a blind eye to the rampant police corruption in his community until he takes a stand and risks everything to do the right thing. The ensemble cast includes Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro, and in this collector edition Blu-ray's audio commentary you can hear Stallone talk about a few polite disagreements on set, how he physically transformed into the doughier Freddy and being a little intimidated by De Niro.

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