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Darleen Ortega

Stories by Darleen

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Real Life Drama

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".

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Family Album

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.

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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.

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Emotional Journey

Film ‘Ida’ keeps its focus on a family’s history

Our 'Opinonated Judge' reviews the film 'Ida'

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Finding Vivian Maier

Mindful curiosity to an odd and ordinary life

Our 'Opinionated Judge' Darleen Ortega critiques the film "Finding Vivian Maier''--that probes mysteries about the human experience with a vigorous curiosity that may be deemed obsessive.

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Lorraine Hansberry’s Wisdom

Oregon Shakespeare Festival revives play by African American playwright

Our 'Opinionated Judge' Darleen Ortega reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of the late Lorraine Hansberry play "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window".

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Navigating character, tradition and fate

‘In Bloom’ has teenage friends dealing with the world on their own terms

Our 'Opinionated Judge' Darleen Ortega reviews "In Bloom", a film that sees teenage friends dealing with the world on their own terms.

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The Oscars and My 10 Best Films of 2013

Some wonderful films get the attention they deserve

Our 'Opinionated Judge' Darleen Ortega reflects on her 10 favorite films of 2013 in preparation for this years upcoming Oscars

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Favorites to Watch

It’s the final stretch for Portland International Film Festival

Our 'Opinionated Judge' reviews films from the final stretch of this year's Portland International Film Festival.

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Portland International Film Festival Comes to Life

Screenings get past weather warnings

The Portland International Film Festival trudges on through all kinds of weather -- and I found a decent turnout at the screenings I attended

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International Films Hit Portland

Diverse lineup promises another great run

It's time for one of Portland’s highlights of the year: The Portland International Film Festival. For the last 37 years, the Northwest Film Center has been hosting PIFF and its diverse array of films to screen over two glorious weeks in February. It's such a brilliant opportunity to see films from all over the world, most of which you won't ever see in wide release and many of which may be hard to find after the festival runs its course.

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Connecting with ‘Her’

Joaquin Phoenix navigates technology in search for love

A lovely and heartfelt film

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Tearing Up All Over Again

‘Saving Mr. Banks’ renews Mary Poppins charm

Opinionated Judge Darleen Ortega reviews the Disney blockbuster

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Exactly Right

‘American Hustle’ delivers on laughs, characters and fashions

Our 'Opinonated Judge' reviews the David O. Russell film, "American Hustle"

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Beautifully Crafted Movie

'Inside Llewyn Davis' rich in storytelling and music

Joel and Ethan Coen have another hit with 'Inside Llewyn Davis' their feature film about the struggles of a young folk singer who navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

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Courageous Discourse

Hannah Arendt’s riveting search for the truth

A riveting and inspiring film about a visionary thinker with the courage to rigorously examine hard questions and to express and then hold to her perspective on those questions, even in the face of withering criticism.

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Rust Belt Dignity

Stellar cast gives ‘Out of the Furnace’ much to savor

Our 'Opinionated Judge' reviews the film 'Out of the Furnace' starring Christian Bale.

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Soulful Journey

‘Nebraska’ uncovers a father and son’s humanity

Our 'Opinonated Judge' reviews Alexander Payne's new film Nebraska.

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Police Power Run Amuck

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'

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‘12 years a Slave’

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

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Inspired Determination

‘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

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Re-imagining the meaning of family

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"

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Lesson in Mindfulness

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.

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Painful Truths

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."

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Gender Oppression Confronted

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.

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Provocation on Transit

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?

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Our Opinionated Judge on 'The Invisible War'

Outrageous Military Conduct

Why you should care about this documentary

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An Audience at Last

Encouragement for those who feel they are outsiders

Our Opinionated Judge brings light to a highly under-recognized film.

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Attention Must be Paid When Injustice Rules

Our Opinionated Judge on the 'Central Park Five'

Movie strikes a chord on the wrongfully convicted

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Lincoln: A very different angle on slavery

Opinionated Judge

Our Opinionated Judge on how the movie 'Lincoln' addresses slavery

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Opinionated Judge

‘Django Unchained’ raises the conversation on race

Mind Altering