When people stumble upon my not-so-secret identity as a movie critic, they often start chucking questions at me. Most believe that getting paid to give your unsolicited and subjective opinion sounds like a dream, and I do spend a great deal of time pinching myself. But when the clock strikes midnight and I'm trying to get enthusiastic about a film I had zero interest in seeing, it can seem a little nightmarish.
What follows are the questions I am asked most frequently, and the last two were posed to me less than an hour before I wrote this. Since it will be part of our Fall Guide, I'd say it was rather serendipitous.
How did you get a job reviewing films?
Allow me to share some advice: Don't make a brash statement like "This town could use a female movie critic" unless you're ready for someone to call your bluff.
But it's true: There aren't that many women reviewing movies in print, which is odd since statistics show that it's the fairer sex who traditionally decides where the moviegoing dollars will be squandered.
Why does it seem as though you like all the movies?
Actually, I don't review all the movies. Believe me, I see some dumb flicks, and it's way easier --- and far more fun --- to write a bad review than a favorable review. Each week I have to decide whether I want to turn readers on to a gem or warn them away from a stinker, and I usually opt to share the love.
What's your all-time favorite film?
I am completely head-over-heels for Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves, a brutal exploration of passion and faith with an ending that everyone but me thinks is silly.
Are there any good movies coming out?
I don't know yet if they're good, but these are the ones I want to see:
In Her Shoes: A chick flick by Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, L.A. Confidential) starring the tolerable Cameron Diaz and the amazing Toni Collette as very different sisters sounds just crazy enough to work. (10/7)
Elizabethtown: Cameron Crowe's (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) latest is a dramatic comedy starring Orlando Bloom as a guy who deals with professional and personal loss by revisiting his small-town past. (10/14)
Breakfast on Pluto: Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Michael Collins) returns with this tale of an Irish lad (Cillian Murphy) who was fathered by a priest (Liam Neeson) and goes on to make a cross-dressing life for himself in London. (11/18)
Walk the Line: Joaquin Phoenix portrays Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon plays June Carter in this eagerly awaited biopic about the life and times of the Man in Black. (11/18)
What happened to Terrence Malick's Jamestown epic "The New World"?
It got moved to January, but I haven't heard why. I'm far too upset to discuss it.
The following are a selection of fall movie release dates. These are subject to change at the whim of production companies, and movies with a limited release (ltd) may take a while to reach Rochester. Patience is a virtue.
September 23Dirty Love (ltd)
September 26Carlito's Way: Rise To Power (ltd)
September 30Art School Confidential (ltd)
October 7Before the Fall (ltd)
October 24Bob the Butler (ltd)
October 26Ballets Russes (ltd)
October 28The Legend of Zorro
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
High Falls Film Festival opens, continues through November 13. www.highfallsfilmfestival.com
November 11Jesus Is Magic (ltd)
November 13Polish Film Festival opens at the Little Theatre, continues through November 18.
November 23Dying for Dolly
December 2Aeon Flux
December 9Brokeback Mountain (ltd)