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.
‘Nebraska’ uncovers a father and son’s humanity
Our 'Opinonated Judge' reviews Alexander Payne's new film Nebraska.
Documentary “Let the Fire Burn’ painful and riveting
"Sometimes it seems the most appalling episodes in history are the ones most destined to fade into obscurity. Only if we are lucky does some skillful writer or filmmaker find the means to bring such neglected stories to our attention," says our Opinionated Judge on the film 'Let the Fire Burn'
Focused and realistic film enriches a neglected truth
" It's hard to imagine a film that the world needs more profoundly than "12 Years a Slave." For the first time --150 years after the abolition of American slavery -- a major motion picture devotes focused and realistic attention to an American slave narrative, without mitigating the story with a white hero or cheapening it with overly easy, dramatic resolutions of the problems served up by that story. It’s the most important film to be released this year and a master class in how film can enrich and deepen understanding of a neglected subject." --Opinionated Judge, Darleen Ortega
‘Wadjda’ offers windows into Saudi (and American) life
Our 'Opinionated Judge' reviews a film with a rare window into everyday life for Saudi women and girls
Inspiring film deserves an audience
" "In the Family" (#10 on my list) played in Portland for less than a week. First-time director Patrick Wang, who also wrote and stars in the movie, distributed the film himself and now has self-released it on home video. The lack of a distributor makes me really sad because this careful film so deserves an audience." ---Our Opinionated Judge, Darleen Ortega on the movie "In the Family"
Our Opinionated Judge on the poetic film ‘Museum Hours’
I despair of conveying just how rich and profound an experience watching "Museum Hours" can be.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival wades in where angels fear to tread
"It's hard to imagine a setting for a play more challenging and complex than the slave trade. It's a history that we as a culture carry in our collective DNA; our very economic system was built, quite literally, on the backs of human beings who had been kidnapped and transported under unimaginable conditions into lives that explicitly denied their status as human beings. We have barely begun to scratch the surface in our collective consciousness about the implications of this past for our present. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has waded in where angels fear to tread with a new play this season, "The Liquid Plain."
Our Opinionated Judge examines 'The Tenth Muse'
The play centers on three young women who find themselves taking refuge in the convent: Jesusa, a Mestiza (half-Spanish and half Amerindian) who has come to care for an ailing nun; Tomasita, a timid Nahua Indian who has come to serve in the kitchen; and Manuela, a noblewoman whose arrival is occasioned by circumstances that are not immediately explained. The three are relegated to the basement storage room and are instructed not to open a locked armoire that sits in the corner. Oppression and class fuel the story.
Film strikes a chord in African-American experience
The story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant who was killed lying face down by Oakland police in 2009 is the star of the film "Fruitvale Station". The movie will be released this week to a country knee deep in the conversation of racism; how will it affect the debate?
Outrageous Military Conduct
Why you should care about this documentary