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DVD\Blu-ray of the week: 'Unstoppable'

Who may hold the best-deserved Oscar nomination in a craft category this year? Mark P. Stoeckinger for sound editing for "Unstoppable." Stoeckinger, who clearly knows his job (he was previously nominated in the same category for J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek"), helps director Tony Scott suck audiences into the audio-visual vortex created by the pursuit of a runaway train. I thought "Unstoppable" was the best action film of 2010. I'd have been happy to see it nominated in several categories, including best picture. Its release this week on Blu-ray and DVD should win it a freight-load of new fans. The extras include a making-of-documentary that emphasizes Scott's determination to use real props and physical stunts instead of digital trickery. Pulling off this film's constant tracking shots required enormous cleverness, expertise and daring. Knowing the secrets behind the shots only increases your thrills when you see the movie again. The documentary also testifies to Scott's insistence that he and screenwriter Mark Bomback immerse themselves in the world of actual railroad men and women. With Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, and Rosario Dawson (among others) acting at full steam, this movie paints a complex portrait of working life this century, whether it's touching on the push to shove veterans into early retirement with half benefits (and the rift that move creates between younger and older workers) or the dollar-and-cents calculations of beleaguered corporations. "Unstoppable" delivers such an adult, purposefully messy rendering of human error and almost-superhuman heroism that for once you're glad when a movie comes through with a relatively neat wrap-up. Washington, as the engineer who ends up pursuing the runaway, gives one of his most relaxed and persuasive recent performances, on-screen and in the making-of doc. When he says that he and Pine (who plays his conductor) are performing as "side-men" to the main character -- the train-- you know that Scott has put him in just the right zone. He and his engineer character come off as wily professionals.

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