Darleen Ortega has been a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals since 2003 and is the first woman of color to serve in that capacity. She sees two to three films a week and has been writing about movies for well over a decade, including blogging two film festivals and publishing a list of the year's best films. You can find her movie blog at www.opinionatedjudge.blogspot.com.
‘Selma’ wisely depicts struggle for civil rights
What a treat, then, to watch “Selma”—and by a treat, I mean that I was riveted and inspired, and that I wept through most of it. For once, I found an insightful depiction of what working for social justice looks like. And what it looks like is broken bodies, fear, treachery, risk, mistakes, choices between terrible options, and unthinkable sacrifice. And it involves many heroes, not just one.
Third world drama ‘Metro Manila’ one of the best films of 2014
I saw "Metro Manila" back in February at the Portland International Film Festival and was so blown away by it that I hoped, against hope, that this taut and carefully constructed tale of a Filipino family trying to survive the harsh realities of life in Manila might actually get a U.S. theatrical release, though the commercial prospects for a tale in Tagalog seemed doubtful. My hopes failed to materialize, but the film is now available on Netflix and iTunes and Amazon, and I'm determined that everyone should see it. It's one of the best films I saw in 2014.
Film short on believability and promotes stereotypes
Is this a movie or an endurance test?
“Dear White People’ takes on privilege, identity and race
When was the last time you saw a film that challenged your assumptions about identity? Or one that depicted anything like the variety and complexity of identity struggles and micro-aggressions experienced by people outside the dominant culture(s)? Or one that managed both to make you feel understood and to make you squirm?
'A Wrinkle in Time' invites self-acceptance and discovery
Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "A Wrinkle in Time," invites audiences to travel through worlds of imagination and meaning.
A priest’s faith is tested as life hangs in the balance
Our 'Opinionated Judge' Darleen Ortega on the film 'Calvary', "This film deals with the question of faith in a challenging way, which also involves dealing with the question of fairness."
Biopic on James Brown gets it right
From the sheer energy in the musical performances, to capturing some of the harder parts of the cultural icon, the biopic on James Brown, 'Get On Up' "makes you feel it," says our 'Opinionated Judge' Darleen Ortega.
Capturing the soul of growing up
"Never has a film so poignantly captured the sweet ache of family life, of parenting, and of the passing of childhood." Our Opinionated Judge reviews the film Richard Linklater film, "Boyhood".
Rock musical brings outsider voices to art and relationships
Our 'Opinionated Judge' reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's premier production of "Family Album," a rock musical that tackles the struggles for authentic expression in art and relationships.
Play about broken relationships and other works highlight Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Our 'Opinionated Judge' takes on the Oregon Shakespeare festival play 'Water By the Spoon' examining the sometimes messy and beautiful connections that make family relationships.