Quick reviews in quick read

From the DVD shelf to the bookshelf,

Rebecca Redshaw, author of the weekly "Sofa Cinema" column in the Sequim Gazette, has compiled more than 175 reviews into a new book.

"People have been clipping out my reviews for years and they told me to release it as a book, so I did," she said.

"Rebecca Redshaw's Sofa Cinema: An Easy Guide to DVDs Volume 1," available Tuesday, Sept. 15, includes several thousand reviews of

classics, hidden gems and blockbusters.

Each review avoids spoiling storylines and remains short so people can make quick value judgments.

"Attention spans are short, so I want to give them what they want from a review," she said.

Previously involved in the film industry in post-production, restoration, sales and film-to-tape transfers, Redshaw has written online and print reviews for 10 years.

However, she doesn't read other critiques.

"It clutters the territory," she said.

"I want my own opinion and to not have it tainted."

The art of a review

When watching a movie, she looks at two aspects: story and technical.

With story, she analyzes the locations, characters, casting; with the technical, it's cinematography, music, camera angles and editing.

"I have a unique approach to my reviews because of my background. I worked closely with the post-production process and my technical knowledge of film and video come into play," she said.

"Because I am a novelist and playwright, I offer a perspective to movies different from a casual viewer."

She says her book focuses on brevity, specificity, diversity, longevity and practicality.

All print in the book is large.

"Leonard Maltin's book is packed with reviews, but the font is so small, it's illegible," she said.

"Rebecca Redshaw's Sofa Cinema: An Easy Guide to DVDs Volume 1" costs $15 and is available at the Sequim Gazette, 147 W. Washington St., Sequim; Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St., Sequim; Port Book and News, 104 E. First St., Port Angeles; KONP, 721 E. First St., Port Angeles; and online at and www.

The golden reel

The buzzing noise of a film reel and bright light of the silver screen filled Redshaw's ears and eyes at an early age. Her earliest cinematic memory was attending "Old Yeller" with her father in Pittsburgh, Pa., when she was 7.

But thousands of movies have passed her eyes since then. She now gravitates toward foreign and small-budget independent films.

Her home has a large entertainment center for comfortable viewing while she watches three, four, sometimes five films a week.

Poor filmmaking won't keep her sitting through an entire movie, however.

Redshaw turns a film off if she isn't "feeling it."

"Twenty-five minutes is enough to know," she said about the recent film "The Class."

"Life is too short."

A prediction of a movie's quality sometimes strikes her before the opening credits finish.

While sitting through the opening of "Rent," she turned to a friend and said, "I'm not going to like this."

"They showed people dancing in current-day New York - that doesn't happen - maybe in "West Side Story," but not today."

However, her most uncomfortable experience was restoring "The Collector," starring Terence Stamp as a butterfly collector holding a woman for hostage for fun.

"It was a wonderful psychological thriller, but I would dread calendar days when I'd have to watch it alone."

The thrill of movies still leaves her excited.

"We are a watchful society. You want to see something that touches you," she said,

When watching "The Deer Hunter" with her brother -- the film about Western Pennsylvania workers going to Vietnam - she began crying uncontrollably.

"I got torn apart because it's where I grew up and it all seemed so familiar," she said.

Some movies aren't at all draining for her; for example, "Houseboat," starring Carey Grant and Sofia Loren.

"I will always watch it because Grant is at his best and Loren is beautiful," she said.

"I don't own it, but it's one of the most pleasurable movies to watch."

Beyond the cinema

Redshaw also is an accomplished playwright and novelist. Her play "Spider on the Sill," will be performed in Sequim by Olympic Theatre Arts and she is editing her third novel.

Film remains a constant in her life and she will continue to promote it however she can.

"People who say 'I don't watch movies, I read books' are limiting themselves," she said.

"You are blocking away something great ... It's a different art ... It's like saying 'I don't read digital clocks.'"

Redshaw is available for book signings, book clubs and film lectures and can be reached at or 477-1513.

Redshaw will sign her book from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Page Turners, 901 S. C St., Port Angeles; lead a special screening of "Visions and Light" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at Renaissance, 401 E. Front St., Port Angeles; and sign her book again from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at West Side Video, 903 W. Eighth St., Port Angeles.

Sofa Cinema can be read weekly in the Sequim Gazette.

Reach Matthew Nash at

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