Best of the Month, Special Features: The Extras You Must Check Out on 'The Woman in Black,' 'The Grey,' 'Clueless' and More

Best of the Month, Special Features: The Extras You Must Check Out on 'The Woman in Black,' 'The Grey,' 'Clueless' and More

May 31, 2012

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.

The Woman in Black: Daniel Radcliffe moves beyond the world of Harry Potter in this creepy period horror flick in which he plays a solicitor sent to handle affairs at a remote manor that harbors the titular child-killing entity. The audio commentary by director James Watkins and writer Jane Goldman highlights the pair's desire to pay homage to the atmosphere of classic horror movies.

Man on a Ledge: Sam Worthington plays the titular escaped prisoner who orchestrates an elaborate diamond heist while the world watches him crawl out on the ledge of New York's Roosevelt Hotel in this action thriller. The extras on the DVD and BD are sparse, but co-star Elizabeth Banks—the woman tasked with talking Worthington off the ledge—shows up to provide funny, self-effacing commentary ("Look at all of this action!") for the film's two-minute trailer—not the feature itself.

True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season: HBO's Southern-fried drama that follows the adventures of waitress/telepath/fairy/vampire lover Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) finds her in this season torn between two vampire lovers—Bill (real-life husband Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard)—as a coven of witches plots to make fangers extinct. After four seasons, it might be difficult to keep the histories of all the supernatural entities (werepanthers!) straight, but each episode on the Blu-ray has an interactive Enhanced Viewing Mode with character perspectives, fast flashback/flash-forward scenes, plus hints and trivia for newbies and Blood addicts alike.

The Grey: In this man-vs.-nature thriller, Liam Neeson leads a group of survivors of a plane crash in remote Alaska as they try to survive a hungry wolf pack closing in. If you howled with delight over Neeson taking on the movie's wolves, you'll want to check out the deleted scenes on the DVD and Blu-ray to find out what happens when Neeson comes face to face with a polar bear.

Mutant Girls Squad: This utterly demented Japanese sci-fi comedy features a race of mutant girls that can sprout weapons from body parts, like one with a chainsaw protruding out of her rectum and another with long swords growing out of her nipples. This is a premise even jaded American moviegoers will have to admit is new to them, and you can already imagine Quentin Tarantino taking notes. Given this, the disc's making-of featurette is a must for people wondering, What were they thinking?

Red Tails: This historical drama tells the tale of the Tukegee Airmen—the first squad of African-American pilots called into duty—during World War II. The Blu-ray contains a 66-minute documentary narrated by star Cuba Gooding Jr. about the real Tuskegee Airmen—complete with archival footage and interviews—that is far more interesting than the movie itself.

Clueless: "As if" you would pass up the Blu-ray debut of Alicia Silverstone's breakout film, featuring her as a well-meaning but vapid upscale ditz that takes a teenage fashion victim (Brittany Murphy) under her wing. This new BD ports over all the extras from the previous DVD edition, but one new extra is the "Clue or False Trivia Game" that plays during the movie and tests your knowledge with popups aplenty.

Haywire: Steven Soderbergh raised eyebrows by building a movie around a lead character played by MMA superstar Gina Carano, who is not an actor by trade. What's great about this female-centric action movie is that you actually believe that Carano could knock the wind out of Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender, so the 16-minute "Gina Carano in Training" shows the vigorous military training Carano underwent so that she could play a believable spy.

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