Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

" I’ll be monitoring your frequency "
— Zoe Saldana, Star Trek

MRQE Top Critic

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Why do certain critics love trash and trash the movies you love? Maybe it’s because they were dropped on their heads as infants. Maybe it’s their upbringing. Or maybe it’s purely a matter of bad genes.

We’ve invited our writers to introduce themselves so that perhaps you can get a better insight into their unfathomable minds.

Who are you?

Keller writes knowledgeably about movies about music
Keller writes knowledgeably about movies about music

Risë Keller, film lover, arts booster, former hippie kid and former corporate drone, mom, urban hipster.

What are your writing credentials?

Where to begin? Being an outsider looking in from an early age? Back in school when I wrote poems and stories and wrote and edited for the newspapers? In college when I got a degree in literature and creative writing while working 50 hours a week for the campus weekly? I could start with my 10+ years of editing, writing, and production on books, an academic journal, a monthly trade magazine, and weekly newspapers. There are my several years as a technical writer for software companies. But all along, I have continued to write about books, music, and film. My most recent publications are in Boulder’s Colorado Daily: profiles of my favorite band (Gomez, whom I traveled to England and interviewed a couple of years ago, because I could — and it was a great excuse to go back to London with my mom), of the band Rose Hill Drive, and of the creators of Seoul Train, a wrenching documentary about North Koreans and the underground railroad in China that sometimes succeeds in smuggling a fortunate few to safety in South Korea.

What are your movie credentials?

Appreciating a broad range films. I wrote film reviews for my college weekly and have written for Movie Habit for years. Oh, and I did fall on my head as a kid. Hmmm....

Why should anyone listen to your opinion?

Because I bring a unique but definite perspective to the films I choose to review; because I appreciate a broad range of storytelling styles and devices and have a keen sense of what makes a story work or fail to bring us along; because I sit down to every film I see ready to be amazed; because I love stories, actors, and music and like to spread the world when I find out about something great; and because I truly believe that film — and just about any art — always has the potential to change the world.

Movie pet peeves?

I was just talking about this in my micro review of the documentary: Sisters-in-Law: The “moral fable a la Hollywood, with all its portentous scoring that hardly leaves us room to choose when to breathe and sets down its final lesson as gently as a sack of concrete.” Also (and this may be a deal-breaker for some of you – if so, thanks for your time and goodbye!), fantasy films with extended battle or elaborate action sequences tend to knock me right out. Yes, I could no more stay awake through a Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie than I could fall asleep at a U2 concert. (I first noticed the sleep-inducing quality of certain types of action at a showing of the Avengers movie with Uma Thurman, which put me out for a good while.)

Do you have any non-movie habits?

Yes, but do you think I am going to tell you what they are? Oh, you mean like writing, reading, volunteering on the Boulder International Film Festival, traveling whenever possible, and drinking a lot of coffee?

Give us some movie recommendations.

A few faves off the top of my head: The Color of Money, Almost Famous (especially the DVD Untitled: The Director’s Cut, if you can find it), Until the End of the World, Raising Arizona, Out of Sight, The Iron Giant, Fearless, Witness, The Shawshank Redemption, Apocalypse Now, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Secret Garden, Say Anything, Wings of Desire, Fly Away Home, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Purple Rain, Tommy, Secondhand Lions.

Recently, I’ve liked Grizzly Man, Capote, Syriana, and I’m slowly coming around on Brokeback Mountain — I’d recommend it with the caveat that it is long and slow. On my current list of want-to-see films: Munich, Casanova, and a whole bunch of the films I didn’t get around to seeing in 2005.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Anything starring Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Lindsay Lohan; Mike Nichols’ Working Girl; School of Rock; caper and heist movies (Heist, The Italian Job, The Thomas Crown Affair, that sort of thing); and episodes of Sports Night on DVD (I dare you to watch just one).