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More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About 'City of Angels'

October 15, 1998|ERNESTO LECHNER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

We've moved way past the days when finding a director's audio commentary on a laserdisc was cause for celebration. With the appearance of DVD, fans of additional materials such as deleted scenes and cast and crew interviews are just expected. But sometimes you can get too much of a good thing.

Take "City of Angels," for instance. Warner Bros.' DVD special edition of the romantic hit has excess written all over it. The disc's avalanche of hours and hours of additional stuff to watch and listen to will probably overwhelm you, and rightly so. After spending a few afternoons becoming one with the very fabric of the film, you might question if it is really worth your time to find out what exactly was on Nicolas Cage's mind on the night when he was shooting a scene hanging from the top of a skyscraper.

Included here are two feature-length audio commentaries, one with director Brad Silberling and the other one with producer Charles Roven and Dana Stevens, a young screenwriter with an outstanding ear for poetic dialogue.

By far the most fascinating feature is a 10-minute chat with visual effects supervisor John Nelson, who walks you through the most intricate special effects of the film.

On the musical side, you'll find two brief, VH1 culled interviews with soundtrack contributors Peter Gabriel and Alanis Morissette, and the music videos for two songs used in the movie by U2 and the Goo Goo Dolls. The actual music score is available on an isolated audio track.

CURRENT RELEASES

Laserdisc

"Hercules" (1997, Image). One of the most disappointing of recent Disney animated features is released on laserdisc, but not on DVD. No extras here, just a stunning CAV transfer.

"The Song Remains the Same" (1976, Image). A disastrous attempt at bringing to life a few of Led Zeppelin's more epic songs can be enjoyed only for its campy qualities. The songs are still great, though.

DVD

"Lord of Illusions" (1995, MGM). The special edition of this morbid, atmospheric Clive Barker chiller contains an audio commentary by the writer-director, as well as previously unavailable deleted scenes.

"Summertime" (1955, Criterion). Katharine Hepburn is the sweet, naive American tourist who finds romance with the wrong person during a trip to Venice. One of director David Lean's most intimate pictures, this one is graced by Jack Hildyard's gorgeous cinematography.

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Note: Ernesto Lechner's Digital Media column will appear every Thursday in Calendar Weekend. You can reach him at LechnerE@aol.com

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