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Diane Carson

Sunday, 13 October 2013 18:23

'How to Cook Your Life' cooks

There's both wisdom and wit as well as annoying moments in director Doris Dorrie's documentary "How to Cook Your Life." It interrogates the principles of Zen Buddhism practiced and preached by Edward Espe Brown in his preparation of food that nurtures the soul as much as the body. A bracing counterpoint to our fast-food obsession, How to Cook Your Life gives food its due, sometimes humorously, but always with a respect too often absent from contemporary practice.

"The Summit" chronicles a tragic loss of life on K2, the Himalayan mountain, second highest in the world at 28,251 feet. On August 1, 2008, 25 climbers left Camp Four to climb K2. Eleven would not survive the descent, always the most dangerous part of the climb.
 

Friday, 11 October 2013 00:00

'Captain Phillips' commands attention

The film "Captain Phillips" conscientiously dramatizes the true story of Somali pirates' capture of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama that Richard Phillips commanded and his subsequent kidnapping as the four pirates fled in a lifeboat. Most of us remember that March 2009 incident in the Indian Ocean with events and an ending more unbelievable than a Hollywood movie.

Sunday, 06 October 2013 22:18

'Gravity' defies and surpasses expectations

As "Gravity" opens, astronaut Commander Matt Kowalski works over 300 miles above Earth on the Hubble Telescope with his co-worker, medical engineer Ryan Stone. Quickly and unexpectedly, disaster strikes when debris from a communications satellite destroyed by Russia hurtles toward them at phenomenal speed. And through the 3-D magic created by director/co-writer Alfonso Cuarón, a breathtaking film begins.

Friday, 20 September 2013 00:00

Thanks are due 'Thanks for Sharing'

At a critical juncture in "Thanks for Sharing," the central character Adam asserts, "Cancer gets you sympathy. My addiction gets you judgment." He refers to his sex addiction, a subject seriously and intelligently explored in its multifaceted, complex expression. Adam has earned his five-year sobriety award, Neil can't make it one day, and Mike proudly sponsors others.

"Prisoners" is a challenging film with so many twists and turns that director Denis Villeneuve told the audience at the Telluride Film Festival, where "Prisoners" premiered, that no one should leave for the film's two and a half hours or they'd risk missing crucial details. He wasn't kidding, and no, I won't give anything away here.

Friday, 27 September 2013 00:00

'Populaire' reinvigorates traditional romance

For years, French films have carved out a niche in presenting very personal stories about the ups and downs of intimate relationships. "Populaire" falls into that category with the added quirk of central character, secretary Rose Pamphyle, training for the 1959 high-speed international typing competition. The romance with her boss Louis Échard is as thoroughly old-fashioned as the manual typewriters.

An unnamed woman sits in a war-ravaged room, her husband comatose, a bullet in his neck from a quarrel after an insulting exchange with fellow Jihad fighters. She can't afford any more serum so devises a sugar water substitute. Her husband's brothers have fled the fighting, the militia moves through periodically, and she talks, unburdening herself as never before.
 

Director Joe Swanberg's "Drinking Buddies" hinges its story on Kate. She works at a Chicago microbrewery, hangs out with her fellow male workers and settles in comfortably off hours with her boyfriend. She's attractive and personable but also needy and dependent. As she ricochets from one relationship to grasp at another, Kate reveals a touching, suppressed vulnerability.

Saturday, 07 September 2013 00:00

'Salinger' still eludes discovery

Nine years in the making, Shane Salerno's documentary "Salinger" tackles that resolutely reclusive, famous writer. Roughly chronological in its exploration of J.D.'s life, "Salinger" uses archival photographs, repeating a couple from WWII, plus the few photos captured by stalkers before Salinger's 2010 death. To this, it adds interviews with two significant women in his life, testimonials, and hokey reenactments.

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