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.
Hugo: Martin Scorsese's evocative family adventure about an orphan living in a Paris train station who inadvertently helps restore the reputation of classic filmmaker Georges Méliès took home five Oscars Sunday night. One of the best features on the DVD and Blu-ray is "The Cinemagician, Georges Méliès," which gives more background info on the director of A Trip to the Moon and The Impossible Voyage who is played to perfection by Ben Kingsley in Hugo. For an extra treat, pick up the movie on Blu-ray 3D because Scorsese knows how to use the technology to enhance—not distract from—a story.
Read our full review of the Hugo Blu-ray here.
J. Edgar: Clint Eastwood's (overly?) ambitious biographical drama about FBI head honcho J. Edgar Hoover featured a fantastic performance by Leonardo DiCaprio despite an anticlimactic story. The sole extra on the DVD and Blu-ray, "J. Edgar: The Most Powerful Man in the World," has Eastwood, DiCaprio, an FBI consultant and more delving deeper into Hoover's life and features archival footage, photos and clips from vintage crime films that will interest history buffs.
Puss in Boots: This animated Shrek spin-off prequel featuring the voice of Antonio Banderas as the eponymous Puss made family audiences purr with delight. As an extra treat, both the DVD and Blu-ray contain Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos, a 13-minute short film about Puss's first "noble" mission that picks up exactly where the feature leaves off.
The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence: If you were onboard for this beyond-disturbing sequel about a mentally challenged parking attendant who dreams of stitching together 12 people mouth to anus after watching the original movie, you might as well go back for seconds and check out the extras. Included in "Set Tour of the Warehouse" is director Tom Six giving an actor advice on how to make his penis flop properly, prosthetic butts with affixed pacifiers, a prosthetic baby fetus and other behind-the-scenes oddities.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 1: Whether you are on Team Jacob or Team Edward, this first half of the final chapter of The Twilight Saga featured the wedding you've been waiting years for between Edward and Bella as well as a fairytale tropical honeymoon that is quickly cut short by a fast-growing hybrid fetus from hell. Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Bella and Edward's Personal Wedding Video," a faux wedding video that documents the (brief) pre-coitus good times for young ladies that dream of their own vampire Prince Charming with sparkly skin and hair.
The Rum Diary: Based on the novel of the same name written by the late Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary stars Johnny Depp as a young journalist who leaves America to take a job at Puerto Rican newspaper and encounters a bunch of wrecked souls. The 46-minute documentary "The Rum Diary Backstory" contains footage of Thompson from 1998 to 2002 and covers the novel's publication up to efforts by Thompson and Depp to get the film adaptation funded. Filled with mumbled nuggets of insanity by Thompson, this bonus feature is a must for fans of the author.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas: The holidays literally go up in smoke in this second sequel in the Harold & Kumar franchise. Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Through the Haze with Tom Lennon," which features six hilarious videos with the actor who plays Harold's whipped neighbor as he talks about everything from Charles Dickens to his favorite drugs.
Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition: The classic 1955 cartoon featuring Lady the dog, a mutt from the wrong side of the tracks, and a shared plate of spaghetti that leads to a kiss has been gorgeously restored for its Blu-ray debut. One of the exclusive new bonus features is "Diane Disney Miller: Remember Dad," in which—among other anecdotes—Walt Disney's daughter talks about her father's apartment over Main Street in Disneyland that was under construction during the production of Lady and the Tramp.