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Gorging on Movies

Movie reviews, a no-brainer

You have probably seen me at the movie theater before. I am there most weekends sitting in the dark, escaping into a rough and tumble action movie, pulling out a tissue for the moving ending of some sports movie, even singing along in my head to one of the few musicals that come out today.

It's enough to say I like movies A LOT. So writing movie reviews seemed like a no- brainer. The only limiting factor for me is cash, time, and the fact that there are only three first-run theaters in a twenty-mile radius. But even that is not an issue when you have a streaming Netflix account and can dip back into an ever-growing archive.

So you will probably be hearing from me quite a bit.

I will tell you right now that you won't see me at too many documentary showings. I get enough reality in my day job. I never saynever, but they are at the bottom of my list. The same is true of horror movies (bad dreams, you know).

I like a few art films, but mostly I am a mainstream girl. Action. Comedy. Spy thrillers. And I can often be talked into seeing kids movies.

Some movies I will see just because of the director: Ridley Scott, the Coen Brothers, Cameron Crowe, Spielberg, of course.

Personal top 10, in no particular order: In my first run at this column, I drafted a top-ten list: Terminator II and Blade Runner have long been favorites, Butch Cassidy, Batman, even Dirty Dancing (yes, I admit it).

After it was in print, I started thinking about all the films I would have to leave off that list by limiting it to ten: Being John Malkovich, Ran, Memento, the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, Jason Bourne, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Elizabethtown, Lost in Translation... In the final analysis, I didn't want to choose.

In all honesty, you won't find me turning my nose up at too many movies. I love them for the different worlds they bring to me. While other reviewers tend to look for every flaw, I'm a bit kinder. If I can immerse myself in the story and the images and sounds that tell it, chances are I'm going to like it. But if the actors or the effects get in the way, that's where I'm inclined to be disappointed.

I haven't been disappointed much by the winter crop of films.

Last week I went to see Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty, both powerful in their own way. My husband would not have liked either -- too much singing in the first and not enough action in the second.

Les Mis was like no other musical I have ever seen, wrenchingly emotive in an operatic sense, but even beyond that. Ann Hathaway and Hugh Jackman seemed to rip their songs out of their deepest, darkest pain, melodic or not. Samantha Barks' singing, on the other hand, was hauntingly beautiful as Eponine.

Zero was an exercise in edge-of-your-seat tension: a driven woman combing her way through every stray molecule of the cesspit of interrogation and intel. After finally putting all the pieces together that led to the compound in Allahabad where Osama bin Ladin held up. Jessica Chastain's Maya had to wait months to get the CIA’s top brass to believe her, becoming increasingly agitated as she counted the days in marker on her boss' office window. While the facts of the story have been disputed by some, Chastain was amazing and the story was good cinema.

Later today I head out to see Lincoln, which is now showing in The Dalles. I'm not a big fan of three-hour movies, but I know with Spielberg and possibly the greatest president who ever lived, I can't go wrong.

I will report back.

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