Vista Offers New Insight

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Touchstone kicks off its new Vista DVD line with the thriller "Unbreakable" ($30). The Vista series, according to the press release, is a "collection of important contemporary films presented on DVD with premium picture and sound enhancements, as well as in-depth supplemental bonus programming, that gives an exclusive look into the filmmaker's inspirations and visions for the film."

"Unbreakable" is director M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to his 1999 blockbuster, "The Sixth Sense." Bruce Willis, who starred in "Sense," plays a security guard who is the sole survivor of a massive train wreck. Samuel L. Jackson plays a mysterious stranger obsessed with comic books who tells Willis' David Dunn that he could be a modern-day superhero.

The handsome two-set DVD includes a wide-screen version of the film and seven deleted scenes with introductions by the engaging Shyamalan. The director points out that it was difficult for him to cut the majority of these scenes-that they ended up on the cutting room floor because they gave too much away too soon about the characters or didn't match the film stylistically. The best of these scenes is a haunting moment when Willis breaks down in the bathroom after surviving the crash.

Also included is an above-average featurette that includes interviews with Willis, Jackson and Shyamalan. There's an even better mini-doc called "Comic Books and Superheroes."

"Train Station Sequence: Multi-Angle Feature" includes selected storyboards from this sequence that are then compared to the final result. Rounding out the digital edition is the very funny "Night's First Flight," a home movie that Shyamalan made when he was a youngster. He also supplies the witty introduction to the clip.

Most critics found "You Can Count on Me" to be one of the best films of 2000, with writer-director Kenneth Lonergan receiving an Oscar nomination for his screenplay and star Laura Linney, a best actress nomination. The digital version of the moving comedy-drama (Paramount, $30) about a single mother (Linney) and her troubled younger brother (Mark Ruffalo) includes the trailer, interviews with Lonergan, Linney and Ruffalo and the wide-screen edition of the film.

Lonergan, a well-respected playwright, also supplies the intelligent commentary, discussing everything from why he decided to set the film in a small town to how he cast the film to his dislike of manipulative movie scores.

Kevin Smith, the writer-director of such indie hits as "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy," always brings an irreverent tone to the DVDs of his films. And the two-disc special edition of his controversial 1999 film, "Dogma" (Columbia TriStar, $30) is no exception. In fact, there's a shameless plug from Smith and co-star Jason Mewes for their comic book and memorabilia store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, located in Redbank, N.J.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck star in this fantasy as two banished angels who discover a loophole that will get them back into heaven. The only problem is that they'll destroy the world in the process. Smith and Mewes' popular characters, Silent Bob and Jay, play two bizarre prophets.

The digital edition features several cast and crew outtakes, including a so-bad-it's-funny improv sequence between Affleck and Damon. There are also 100 minutes of deleted scenes with intros by Smith and Vincent Pereira, the historian for Smith's production company, View Askew. Joining the two for the intros is Smith's baby daughter. Also included are talent files, storyboards for three scenes, wild, crazy and definitely R-rated commentary from Smith, Mewes, Affleck, Pereira, co-star Jason Lee and producer Scott Mosier and technical commentary from Smith, Mosier and Pereira.

Milestone Film & Video is offering two restored (by UCLA Film and Television Archive) forgotten classics: "Eternal Love" and "The Edge of the World" ($30 each). A passionate, sexy John Barrymore and Camilla Horn star in "Eternal Love," a 1929 tragic romance from the great Ernst Lubitsch. "The Edge of the World" was Michael Powell's ("The Red Shoes") first major film, about the inhabitants of an isolated island who make the decision to evacuate their tiny village.

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