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 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.
Beverly Hills Cop: Want to know more about the places fast-talking Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) visits when in L.A. in 1984's highest-grossing film? This Blu-ray debut has an interactive location map where viewers can choose from several key locations and learn more about them and how they've changed from production designer Angelo P. Graham.
The Rite: This PG-13 horror show about a veteran exorcist (Anthony Hopkins) is based on the real-life experiences of Father Gary Thomas. The good priest pops up on the Blu-ray version in "The Rite: Soldier of God," a short interview during which Father Gary sheds light on what real life exorcists do, how they are trained and what the job entails. When is the last time you heard a real Catholic priest chat about that outside of a movie?
True Blood: The Complete Third Season: If you are obsessed with HBO's hit vampire show and want to know more about the relationships between Bon Temps' colorful characters, this Blu-ray set will do bad things with you with its Enhanced Viewing Mode. This amplified picture-in-picture display with original, interactive content includes: Character Perspectives, straight from the mouths of Jessica, Andy, Tommy and Alcide; Flashback/Flash Forward, a move through time allowing for "Flashbacks" to relive pivotal moments in the series or "Flash Forwards" to reveal the significance of a certain scene; Vampire Histories/Character Bios, background stories on favorite characters in the show; and Hints/FYIs for more trivia facts, show hints and clues. The BD also includes "True Blood Lines," an interactive on-screen guide that highlights the connections between the many worlds in the series. If all of that is not enough to sink your fangs into, both the DVD and Blu-ray versions contain Snoop Dogg's hilarious video, "Oh Sookie."
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: In what is surely one of the most significant pop-culture moments of our time, the DVD and Blu-ray contain "R.I.P. Hair Flip" during which you can watch Bieber say bye-bye to his famous flip as he has a haircut. See? If you only stream or download movies, you miss a slice of history.
The Green Hornet: In addition to presenting the feature film starring Seth Rogen in three dimensions, the Blu-ray 3D has 3D storyboards as an exclusive feature for those with sweet 3D setups.
Solaris (1972): The Criterion Collection Blu-ray of Andrei Tarkovsky's sci-fi classic contains an academic commentary by film scholars Vida Johnson and Graham Petrie packed with juicy background information. The twosome talks about the personal significance of the film to Tarkovsky as well as thoughts about the many themes in Solaris.
American Graffiti: Special Edition: A long time ago before George Lucas was filming about a galaxy far, far away, the director paid homage to the hot rods, drive-ins and rock 'n' roll of the early '60s in this American classic. With Universal's special U-Control feature on this Blu-ray debut, users can toggle a commentary by Lucas as well as details about the music of American Graffiti on and off while watching the movie.
A Clockwork Orange: 40th Anniversary Edition: This Digibook edition of Stanley Kubrick's 1971 masterpiece has been released on Blu-ray once before, but this version includes two feature-length documentaries on a separate disc. Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures is narrated by Tom Cruise and contains footage of Kubrick's early years as he works at home and on set, augmented by candid commentary from collaborators, friends and family. O Lucky Malcolm! is about the life and career of Malcolm McDowell, the man who plays Clockwork's ultra-violence-loving hooligan, Alex.
The Twilight Zone: Season 4: You really will travel to another dimension in terms of bonus features with master storyteller Rod Serling in this collection of the popular '60s TV series. No other set released this month is packed with as many classic nuggets as this Blu-ray collection, including seven radio dramas, a 1978 interview with director of photography George T. Clemens, a Saturday Night Live clip, "The Famous Writers School Promo with Rod Serling," and a Genesee Beer spot. There are also vintage video interviews with Morgan Brittany, Anne Francis, Paul Comi and John Furia Jr. as well as audio interviews with Burgess Meredith, Pat Hingle, Earl Hamner, Buzz Kulik and Anne Francis. As always, Rod Serling's promos for "Next Week's Show" are a time warp as we watch the show's creator nonchalantly plug a cigarette sponsor after each preview.