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 Artist: This silent French dramedy won five Oscars this year, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a 45-minute Q&A session with the cast and crew conducted after a screening of the film in which the participants go in depth about their experiences on this unusual film.
Mirror Mirror: Is this the fairest live action Snow White of them all? That depends how susceptible you are to Julia Roberts's spirited scenery chewing and histrionics as the scheming queen and the sepia-hued set design. The Blu-ray has some fun extras of note, including an interactive storybook, the "I Believe I Can Dance" dance-along featurette, and a free music download of "I Believe in Love" (Evil Queen Mix) by star Lily Collins.
Project X: This found-footage flick about an out-of-control party in Pasadena is an excellent birth control reminder as well as Animal House for Generation Text. One of the Blu-ray exclusives is "Project Xpensive: Tallying Up the Damages," which runs down the cost of extensive damages to the house, property and neighborhood during the course of the movie.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: We bet you didn't know that this film, which features the second performance of Nicolas Cage as the cursed Marvel comic-book rider with a flaming skull, is considered a reboot, not a sequel. You can find out the reasoning behind this in the Blu-ray's six-part "The Path to Vengeance: Making Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" as well as Cage's description of how he came up with the idea of the movie's premise, how the movie tested for family and friends, and much more over 90 minutes.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Robert Downey Jr. returns as the world's greatest sleuth and enlists the help of Dr. Watson (Jude Law) one more time in this sequel in which Holmes matches wits with the brilliant Professor Moriarty (Jared Evans). The Blu-ray features Warner Bros.'s Maximum Movie Mode: a feature-length picture-in-picture commentary that highlights important facts about the making of the Sherlock sequel.
Act of Valor: Navy SEALs have become a hot property ever since President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by SEALs after they stormed his compound. This action movie uses active-duty SEALs as the stars of the film, so fans will want to check out the 30 minutes of interviews of the real SEALs—Rorke, Dave, Mikey, Ray, Ajay, Sonny and Weimy—that starred in the movie. This featurette captures their personalities and you learn more about their Navy experiences than what you get from the film itself.
Falling Skies: The Complete First Season: Steven Spielberg executive produces this hit TNT sci-fi show about a group of people led by Noah Wyle that fight back against an alien invasion. The Blu-ray contains "From Pencils to Print: The Dark Horse Comic Book Revealed," in which Dark Horse president Mike Richardson talks about the Falling Skies comic book series on which the show is based. Both the DVD and Blu-ray also contain a short look at how the Skitters—the giant crablike aliens on the show—are animated on a computer.
John Carter: This much-publicized Disney financial failure about a Civil War soldier (Taylor Kitsch) who becomes a warrior hero on Mars seems to be finding a new life on DVD and Blu-ray. Both versions contain "100 Years in the Making," a short featurette about the life and career of Edgar Rice Burroughs as well as the many attempts to adapt the first book in his Barsoom series into a movie.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: This sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth features Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on the hunt with Michael Caine and Josh Hutcherson for Captain Nemo's submarine. As if seeing Johnson bounce fruit off his pecs at the camera on the Blu-ray 3D isn't enough incentive to add another dimension to your home-viewing experience, the BD also contains an interactive map of the island where users can click on graphics and learn more about the production via interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.