ESCAPE FIRE
★★★ OUT OF FOUR STARS
Rated: PG for some thematic material.
Theater: St. Anthony Main

This swiftly paced documentary assembles expert talking heads and real-world patients and practitioners to discuss defusing the ticking time bomb of American health care costs. The status quo is a tangle of perverse economic incentives dictated by "a very big industry that doesn't want to stop making money," in the words of U.S. News and World Report medical journalist Shannon Brownlee.

The better path, the assembled authorities suggest, is a system that prepares Americans to live long and well by focusing on preventable disease, rather than repairing the damage after it occurs. Many eye-opening vignettes explain anomalies in treatment and reimbursement like those that make it twice as expensive to treat a Miami patient as one in Minneapolis, with no difference in the health outcome.

SIDE BY SIDE
★★★
OUT OF FOUR STARS
Unrated.
Theater: Trylon, 3258 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls.
When: 9 and 9 p.m. Mon. and Tue.

A trim, informative 99-minute primer on celluloid film, which to many viewers has a warmth and feel as soothing as buttered popcorn, and the brave new world of digital cinema.

With Keanu Reeves as on-camera interviewer, writer/director Chris Kenneally assembles a gallery of stunning screen images and recruits a stupendous roster of filmmaking talent to weigh in. The lineup ranges from digital advocates Martin Scorsese ("we're on another level") and James Cameron (extolling "possibilities you couldn't do on film") to skeptics like cinematographer Geoff Boyle (who asks unanswered preservation questions and predicts "in 100 years there won't be a trace of this left").

For any movie buff pondering the promise and challenges of cinema's new cyber-era, or the way filmmakers visually sculpt images, paint pictures and tell stories, this is a must-see.