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Thank goodness for the fall movie season.

After a summer where it seemed difficult to find a movie with any sort of adult appeal, it has been a terrific season so far. I've found Captain Phillips and Gravity to be enormously engaging, and the latter may be one of the best pieces of pure filmmaking I've seen in years.

And now, there is All Is Lost, which in its own way equals Gravity as a compelling survival tale pitting an individual against enormous odds, and an exemplar of fabulous move-making skill by JC Chandor, who last brought us the terrific Margin Call.

All Is Lost is the simplest of stories. Robert Redford plays the role of his life as a man who is sailing by himself around the world. While in the Indian Ocean late at night, his boat is rammed by a cargo container, putting an enormous gash in the hull and rendering virtually all his electronics useless. From there, he must repair the ship and cope with an enormous storm that puts to the test every survival instinct he can muster.

It is quite literally a one-man show, with Redford - now in his late seventies, showing wear and tear as well as wisdom that tempers the cockiness he had in his youth as the Sundance Kid - fights the elements, frustration and growing sadness and exhaustion as he tries to survive.

(Great business lesson here. Sometimes you do everything right, and everything goes wrong. But great leaders keep going, keep trying to turn defeat into victory.)

Whereas Margin Call was filled with plot turns and incisive dialogue, All Is Lost reportedly was made from a 32-page script that was mostly outline, and is almost dialogue-free. And yet, it is absolutely mesmerizing and a demonstration of consummate skill and artistry.

There are times I despair a bit about all the comic book and special effects-laden movies that seem to dominate the cultural landscape. Some are good, some are lousy, but there is a sameness that I find worrisome.

But movies like All Is Lost prove that all is well. There are still adults working in the movie business.

Go see this movie.




My wine of the week: the 2010 Roads End Pinot Noir from Oregon's Carlton Cellars. I'm a big fan of this winery, and Roads End is perhaps its finest wine … a delicious Pinot that I served last weekend with a shrimp risotto hat was (if I do say so myself) wonderful.




That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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