Category: Uncategorized

Love to Love You, Donna Summer

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

Oooooh. Love to Love You, Donna Summer. Donna Summer is one of those names I know and recognize, but if you asked me on the spot to name her songs, I would struggle. I just can’t remember them. I could tell you she is a Disco Queen, and not much more after that.

But I certainly knew the “Love to Love You, Baby” song. I knew that was Donna Summer. And sure enough, this documentary told me a lot more that I did not expect.

For example. That song was her first US hit, after being around in Europe for a good time, including Germany in their musical scene. The version of Donna Summer that sang that song was like a character she was playing, as someone who never really considered herself as sexy. But most importantly about that song, is I never knew it was over 15 minutes long, released as a single that way, and got popular that way. Holy shit, that is a long song.

The sexiness and moans of the song really just build up over time, and it makes sense that it became a SENSEation. The live versions played at the time, even longer and sexier, led to people ripping off their clothes and touching themselves in concerts? And it became a huge gay anthem and skyrocketed her to fame? And this was the main START of her career? Holy shit, what a boost.

In fact, I’d say more people have heard any of her released songs than have read any one of my reviews. Donna Summers is certainly more successful than me. 

But Dunna Summer performed for a long time. She had a lot of hits. Last Dance, Hot Stuff, She Works Hard for the Money, This Time I Know It’s For Real, I feel Love, Bad Girls, and of course MacArthur Park, which got its own Weird Al parody. Disco was dead after the 70’s, but She Works Hard for the Money came out in 1983, and she was still producing similar sounds and hits. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Now, the only other point I will talk about briefly, to not spoil, is her decline from fame. When her fans turned on her, based on comments she allegedly said in an interview. Based on when her music became more faith based music, versus what she was known for. And honestly, from my outsider perspective, I understand completely the hate she received from her fanbase from it. She never recovered from it in terms of success again, and it makes sense. I don’t fully believe it was a misquote. A tragic fall, that makes sense, from a formerly loved individual.

Now despite it being full of nice sick beats, and even interviews with Giorgio Moroder, which is always a nice surprise to see him pop up. But it is STILL just a documentary about a famous person, with an edge of “but you didn’t know the real person beneath the celebrity,” which at this point is basically a trope. Of course we don’t know Donna Summer the mom, or the college girl, or the grandmother.

And frankly, this documentary brought it up because it is being made by one of her daughters, but it isn’t an interesting part of her personality. I learned she is decently funny and an actress at the same time, but other than that, she was great at singing, and had a lot of backing, and got famous, and then lived the rest of her life in the background until she passed.

So once again, I rate a documentary on a celebrity as okay. If you want to learn about her, it is perfect for you. But nothing groundbreaking in this documentary, nothing unusual in its style. Not a must watch unless you want to watch.

2 out of 4.

Being Mary Tyler Moore

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

Who is Mary Tyler Moore? I mean that seriously. It is a name I recognize, and I know she did a lot in TV, but honestly, I know nothing about her. I didn’t know what show she was in before she was in the show with her name. I don’t know anything else she did. I know jack, about Mary.

And honestly, that is me missing out.

She was cast as the “wife” in the Dick Van Dyke Show, completely unknown woman at the time. This started a few years after I Love Lucy was going. And she wasn’t the main character, like Lucy was. But she was eventually given more personality, and given some humor for her character, and she was seen as a great, woman and sure, house wife. But her character was more than just a housewife, she had some independence. But everyone did love her.

And unfortunately, all shows must end at some point. It is what she does with her time after, that matters even more.

If I was Mary Tyler Moore, people would probably know who I was.

You see, for the next few years, it didn’t go well. But, she did eventually get to star in her own show. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And what is wild about this show is that she wasn’t married. It wasn’t about her finding love. And it was just about her being a single woman, in the work world, and making a path for herself. Relatively unheard of for media at the time. And it was very successful and long running and led to her doing even more projects, in theater and in film. Hell, she earned 75% of an EGOT, the damn Oscar being the one just out of her reach (but she was nominated).

Mary did a whole lot, and was a strong feminist icon, without even attempting to be one. She just wanted to be as real as she could.

Mary is a hero.

And I think this is a fine, relatively standard, look at her career, and life. Including with interviews she gave in the past during this time. However, it is relatively normal and basic of a documentary. Just because she is an icon, does not immediately make it a must watch or anything. I don’t think it did much unique with the story. It was very by the books, and hey, that is fine. There isn’t anything wrong with it. It is just standard.

This is a documentary for people who want to learn more about Mary Tyler Moore and it does that job perfectly fine.

2 out of 4.

Theater Camp

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Theater Camp had its Seattle Premier during this festival.

Theater Camp is the type of film I knew almost nothing about but knew I wanted to see it right away. The title gave a lot of it away. And I knew Ben Platt was involved. And technically, I am a very simple man, and that was enough for me.

It turns out, Theater Camp used to be a short on YouTube. But it has been taken off of the platform and now I cannot watch it. Rude. It was under 20 minutes long, I heard it had tons of laughs, and happened relatively early in the Pandemic. But I guess it was good enough to make into a feature length film, and they probably reuse quite a few jokes from the short. So that is probably why it was removed, or else we might not laugh as hard at their film. Poor film studios.

Has “buy every copy of Psycho the book to not ruin the ending” vibes.

Professional judges of the stage? Well, I am a professional judger of film. 

Woo! New year, new crop of students! Joan (Amy Sedaris) and Rita (Caroline Aaron) are seeking out new kids to invite, because they need a full camp, they need donors, because money is tight and it is dire. They don’t want to lose the camp that they have had for so long, to give a real safe space to theater kids to finally be themselves. And then? Well, Joan has a seizure and a coma and is out for the count.

But the show and the camp must go on. So Joan’s son, Troy (Jimmy Tatro), is going to lead the charge. He says he is a business minded man, even if he doesn’t understand the theater camp. And just getting rid of some of the counselors, he can get them maybe in the black again!

Thankfully their main pillar teachers return. Amos (Ben Platt) for acting, Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon) for music, Clive (Nathan Lee Graham) for dance, and Gigi (Owen Thiele) for costumes. And a new hire (Ayo Edebiri) for everything else.

And in a year with a lot of changes, they are going to have to put the show of their life on. Or else they might lose the camp and each other.

Also starring Noah Galvin, Jonathan Lengel, Bailee Bonick, Donovan Colan, Patti Harrison, Luke Islam, Kyndra Sanchez, and Alexander Bello. Most of these names will not look familiar, but you might recognize a few talents from 13: The Musical and John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch.

Know what is better than kids acting? Kids acting actually well!
Theater Camp is a mockumentary, which is a genre, frankly, that is not explored enough. It is getting explored a lot more in television, with The Office format of characters talking to camera with monologues going on. But in films, it feels like the only ones that exist are the ones directed by Christopher Guest, and you know what, he is only one man! So the more people making them, the better. Assuming they are good quality.

And heck on heck, Theater Camp is some good quality.

I laughed throughout this film, and harder at the end. The quirkiness of the characters, albeit exaggerated, are exaggerated in a generally positive way that still somehow reflects the theatrical nature of a “theater kid” or “theater teacher.” There are play and musical references. There are song and dance numbers. There is just a lot of extra going on, and I am completely here for it. I do love their commitment to making this a “documentary” as well, with the text from the directors on the screen as one would expect in these situations.

From top to bottom, the cast seems to just get the assignment of this movie, and they go all out. Adults and child actors. Love seeing the little thespians thrive in their natural state.

What started as a fun COVID project (I don’t know when it was filmed or whatever, nor do I feel like looking it up), led to what I would call a hilarious romp of a film. And even better yet, one that seemingly cannot become franchised and will just exist as its own bright spot in the world.

4 out of 4.


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Monica had its Seattle Premier during this festival.

I am thankful that at this point in my life, I haven’t had to ever “return home from a long period of time away because my parent is dying, and also I am very different.” It is a trope. It is often used when either the parent figure is abusive, or the child who left is rambunctious and rude and now finally better. Maybe even DRUGS are the reason for this.

The prodigal son plot line.

But with Monica, it is certainly a big twist on the story. Which I will stop stalling on, and just get forward with why.

Something is potentially sinister in those there woods. 

Monica (Trace Lysette) has been living in California, doing her own thing for some time. She is a massage therapist it seems, and seems to be fine with her life. Although she does have current relationship problems with someone. But then she gets a phone call.

Apparently, her mother (Patricia Clarkson) is close to kicking the bucket. And it has been a long time since she has been home. Over ten years. She didn’t even return when her dad died. And she decides to drive home to see it happen. That is where she meets her brother (Joshua Close) and his wife (Emily Browning).

Now, this is of course important. When Monica left, no one knew her as Monica. In fact, they knew her as a man. And one of the main reasons she left, is because her parents wouldn’t let her stay. So she has changed dramatically in this time. In fact, not just because the mom is older and sick, but just because the changes are so different, the mom doesn’t even recognize her. And she is instead brought in as an extra caregiver, to live in the home and watch the mother, where the mom doesn’t even realize its her child.

The hope is for closure. The realty? Who knows.

Also starring Adriana Barraza.

That is just one of the few changes.
Here is the first note of this film. It is filmed entirely in a 4:3 aspect ratio. We got a square film. And at no point does it go widescreen for effect, or change at all. 100% 4:3. Most of the time when I get to a 4:3 movie, it breaks it at some point, even if just for one scene. But this one, it keeps that feeling. It really makes it so we are looking at one, maybe two characters at a time. It gives that sense of feeling trapped inside a very uncomfortable, situation.

This is not a very standard film. It does tell a story, but it is one that likely wont be satisfying to the average audience. The ending comes a bit at a shocking point, very suddenly, without the closure one would fully expect. Was there some closure? Yes, a little. In times and parts you might not expect fully when they are occurring. This is a film where I needed to reflect after it was over, just what I got to see, what walls were broken, if any. And what the whole thing meant.

Lysette, as the lead role in Monica, does a fabulous job acting this film. So much pain and sadness in her eyes, while not telling their story. We get a lot of the feelings through music, including the delightful and not forgotten Dragostea Din Tei. Clarkson, as well, gives probably the best performance I have seen her give. And I saw a good 80% or more of the Sabrina television show. Now, sure, the acting is unfortunately her being an old feeble woman, who is just waiting to die. And it is a bit of a sadder role for older people to get praise for, being close to death. But I digress, she is fantastic in it.

Monica won’t be a film for a lot of people. But it should be a film for everyone who likes a strongly acted and unique story.

3 out of 4.

Egghead & Twinkie

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Egghead & Tinkie had its Seattle Premier at the festival and is currently on the virtual fest. See an interview with the director Egghead & Twinkie, here!

Are you an Egghead? Or are you a Twinkie? These are battlelines that have never been drawn before, but I am drawing them here today. Which side of the camp do you fall on?

Oh, I guess you might not know what side each of them really represent. Which is fair, you likely haven’t seen the movie. But the movie is called Egghead & Twinkie, so I at least know the point of it is that the pair is important. We don’t need to pick sides, we need to pick both of them. And ignore the strange doppelganger pairs like Eggkie and Twinhead.

Yep, this is the Eggkie and Twinhead pair for sure. 
Twinkie (Sabrina Jieafa) is living her life in her summer after high school, and finally realizing what she is about. She is gay, and doesn’t care who knows it. Well, she hasn’t told the people in her life. Her conservative parents (Kelley Mauro, J. Scott Browning) don’t know, and she assumes her best friend, Egghead (Louis Tomeo) knows, but for sure people on the internet know! Especially BD, which is short for BigDykeEnergy (Ayden Lee), the current love of her life.

But BD lives in Texas, and Twinkie lives in Florida. Life is unfair. They can talk all they want on the internet, but they can’t be close to each other, so its almost like Twinkie can’t even tell for real if she is a lesbian! But, an opportunities arrives. An invite, to a club, where BD is DJing, a complete lesbian night. But Twinkie doesn’t drive, and its a long ways away.

Sounds like a great time to convince Egghead to drive her, who recently found out about her sexuality, and still crushes on her hard. But maybe this bonding trip is important before he runs off to college. Even if their parents say no, what can they do to stop them? If they got wheels and they are on the road, and they got money, looks like they will just have to wait to punish them when they get back. And hopefully, along the way, they can find themselves before it’s too late.

Also starring Roger Greco and Asahi Hirano.

When movies have people watch movies, is there anything better?
There are indie movies, and then there are indie movies. The first sort of indie movie has a very specific set of goals. It will be award winning, it will be a character study, it will have a lot of natural lighting. You will likely have a lot of shots of characters walking, often from behind. You won’t have lots of CGI, and you will likely cry over what seems like ordinary circumstances.

And then there is indie films that literally look like they were made by first time folks, with little experience. The lighting might be weird, the acting might not be great, the story will be unique and quirky. And it might be terrible, and maybe no one will watch it. It doesn’t have to be terrible, there is just a better chance of that occurring.

Egghead & Twinkie is the second sort of indie film, but thankfully, it isn’t terrible. Everything about it gives off an aura of fun and cuteness. The people making it were having fun, the story was fun. It felt like everyone involved maybe on their first film, and it is okay, because it invites the viewers on the experience.

There is nothing groundbreaking from the story here. Road trip film, best friends with one way crushes, shenanigans along the way and betrayals. But the movie does feel like a very Gen Z film. It was made by Gen Zers and acted by them and it shows. I am noting this as a positive. Just the way they spoke, the references, and all of that, was arguable refreshing because most films only do that in a mocking way and not in a genuine way. The animation between them adds to it as well, fitting the characters, and giving that same high energy aspect towards the whole film.

Egghead & Twinkie, a film made by Gen Z, with Gen Z people, for Gen Z people, and it is refreshing in those takes alone.

3 out of 4.


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Abled had its World Premier at the festival and is currently on the virtual fest. See an interview with the director and star of Abled, here!

Without a doubt, one of the sports I do the worst at is running. Whether it is sprinting, or cross-country. I don’t have what people call endurance, and I am built like a train. [Editor’s Note: Actually, three years in a row I won the 6th grade teacher 40m sprint due to competitive nature and other lazy teachers.] So in reality, that does mean I am less interested in watching people run as well. When my oldest did cross country, I was stoked he wanted to run, but also knew how unexciting watching those meets could be.

This leads me to this documentary. Originally, I was going to skip it. How exciting could a documentary about running for the Olympics be? People go fast, less than a minute of competition. Sometimes they dance before they go? But that is the main Olympic stories I remember. However, I am glad I ended up checking out Abled, for quite a few reasons.

The first reason, is that Blake Leeper, the star of the documentary, is a delightful person, full of passion and perseverance. Now for those not sure on what this is about, Blake is a Paralympian runner, with 8 Medals to his name, over various games. He was born with no legs below his knees, and it wasn’t looking good. But he learned to walk and eventually, learned to run. And he became more passionate about his running when they developed blades so that the running is more natural. And damn, did he take to them.

This is how I look after I have to run any amount of time.

However, it turns out, that not everyone is stoked about Blake’s success.

You see, he was seen as being too fast. Blake wanted to run for the Olympics. Not the Paralympics. The “regular” Olympics. After all, Oscar Pistorius did it in 2012. (Oh fun fact, check out his Wikipedia. Things sure did go south for him after those games). And even though Oscar was allowed to compete, Blake was not. Because Blake got a really good run, under 45 seconds, in a trial run, for the first time in his life. And now, apparently, his lack of natural legs gave him an advantage, and the Olympic committee said they needed to science and research to prove that these legs did not give him an advantage overall. And they were going to make Blake prove it.

This documentary is about Blake’s fight to compete, to prove that the legs inherently did not make him faster. It goes through their trials and tests, and quite honestly, really obvious reasons to prove that they aren’t something that give him a (this is intentional) leg up on the competition. And yet, it seems no matter what they do, he gets denied. And public opinion is also divided, because as we know, people have opinions without facts and research to back it up.

But besides all of that. This is a story of a man, at a disadvantage in a sport, succeeding despite the metaphorical hurdles in his path. It is a story about an exceptional athlete, with a positive attitude, fighting for his rights to compete for his country and for his family. And it is a powerful story, and one that really questions how we label disabilities and how welcome we are to those with these struggles into society.

Abled is a great documentary of a true story, with a fight that is never finished. And it is worth time watching.

3 out of 4.

I Like Movies

These films were watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). I Like Movies is the official CLOSING FILM and has its Seattle Premier on Sunday, May 22 2023. Check out my interview with Chandler Levack here

Do you like movies? I know I like movies. Hell, I might love them. I might be in love with them, if you ask my wife. But if you like movies, or like the idea of movies, then I got a movie for you.

Have you heard about I Like Movies? It is from Canada! And based on the film title alone, I knew it was the type of film I needed to see, as soon as possible. Describing what it is about is just a waste of time on me. I like movies and want to watch movies about liking movies. If that is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

This is just a picture someone took of me in a movie theater, what the hell?

Lawrence Kweller (Isaiah Lehtinen) is a senior in high school, and he knows what he wants in his life. He wants to leave Canada, go to NYU, and join their film program. Then he wants to direct films and become super famous and have love in the world.

But there are a few problems. He is notably not rich, and NYU is expensive. He could just go to a Canadian school and be much better off, but he doesn’t want to be a Canadian director. He also doesn’t have a lot of experience outside of film classes in his school. He can’t even watch every movie he wants to watch. So, he is ready to finally help his future career and he gets a job. At a movie rental store!

Now, not only can he start earning fat stacks of cash to go to school. But he can talk about film with coworkers. With customers. And see more movies (for free!). Things are really looking up for Lawrence. Ain’t nothing bad gonna happen to him now.

Also starring Krista Bridges, Percy Hynes White, Alex Ateah, Tavaree Daniel-Simms, and Romina D’Ugo as his boss at work.

Look at these happy people. Clearly they all want to talk about movies 24/7. 

If I had a fear about I Like Movies going into it, is that it would be a movie made for people who were really into movies. And let’s be clear, I am fine when that happens! I am into movies, so I will get it, and usually get hyped around it. And while I Like Movies carries that sort of vibe, and it will make plenty of movie references, it is also just a standalone good movie. On its own. Even if you are a normie not already at 250 films for the year (whoops).

What we have in this picture is a main character who will infuriate you and make him love him the next scene. He has some issues, that he has certainly not worked through in any positive way. But yet I understand where he is coming from every time. I understand his best friend, and his boss, and his mother. A film where everyone still feels like a real person, even when some more egregious events happen along the way.

And in general, it also gives me back some of that nostalgia of not just working in a movie rental store, but also being a shopper in a movie rental store. When you had time to choose and there were a finite, yet good amount of options. This is a film that wants you to remember those good times, and maybe even, the bad times you had with these stores and their late fees.

I Like Movies is a simple film, telling a simple story, about a main character who does not like simplicity in the films he watches. He is not here for re-releases of Shrek, he is here for cinema. When it becomes available, it is a movie worth watching in a theater, with others. It isn’t just a coming of age story in the like of late 90s coming of age stories. It is about the industry and how it changes people, for better or for worse, the struggles within it, and how despite it all, we keep crawling back towards the movies we love.

4 out of 4.


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Year of the Fox has its World Premier on Wednesday, May 17 2023.

One of my goals this festival was definitely to watch as many films with subtitles as possible. I just don’t get enough foreign films throughout the year, unless its a really special occasion big event film, or if it is rushing for awards at the end. Still though, most of the films at least have a title I can pronounce confidently. So that made me excited to see L’immensita, which I have no clue if I am saying it right, and no one will ever be able to correct me. I will have to live with potentially pronouncing it wrong for the rest of my life.

And sure, it does help that it was starring a world famous actress in the lead role too. Sure yeah, of course.

Wow, look how excited she is to be at this dinner. 

In the 1970’s, Italy was the place to be. Well, to be fair, Italy has been the place to be for many different decades. Heck, some of them thousands of years ago. I am sure right now today, 2020’s, Italy is the place to be. (I really want to go to Italy, goddamn it).

Anyways, Clara (Penelope Cruz), a Spaniard who moved to Italy, is married to Felice (Vincenzo Amato), and they have three kids! Clara is a bit of a free spirited individual, who loves her kids more than anything. Including her husband, because he is a rich dick. Speaking of kids, their oldest kid, Adriana (Luana Giuliani), doesn’t actually feel like a girl. She is getting that gender dysphoria real bad, but it is the 1970’s and that isn’t something commonly talked about. So she decides to go by Andrea (a masculine name in Italy), and start using he/him pronouns with his friends, siblings, and mother. And guess what, his mom is totally down with it all.

Because you know, free spirited! But obviously at any point in human history, being trans has not been an easy experience, and it is only small percentage points easier now than it was 50 years ago. Having a small support isn’t a lot, especially when your dad would freak out over the concept, and if your dad is already abusive towards you mom, well. Not a lot to protect you, unfortunately.

This is what it looks like when I take my kids to good movies as well.

There aren’t a lot of “trans” stories set outside of the last twenty years, which is a real big untapped market. I am not an expert on the genre of course, but I do think I only know of one other one off the top of my head, and that is a bit disappointing. So great on them for tackling this subject. And the film itself being beautifully shot, in rich Italian countryside and seas and streets. It is gorgeous to look at in what remains a relatively simple story.

It was a very interesting decision to really tell two stories here.  The obvious one, of the kid here. But also of the mom, in an unhappy place in life, just trying to give spark and joy to those whom she thinks need it most. And how she gets villainized for it. For being accepting and free. It is hard to see. But it is a great character.

And one very other important note here. There are several music/dance numbers in this movie. Sort of out of nowhere. Andrea fancies himself a star in these videos he has seen, so we get to see them reenacting these scenes from the television. Now, when the song Prisencolinensinainciusol came on the television halfway through, I was so excited to see it in such a weird place in the movie, just so casually. Probably my favorite song from Italy in the 1970’s (also the only one I know in this period). So I was so giddy beside myself when our two leads took the two roles of the sings as well, Giulani and Cruz, and it was recreated for our eyes. It was a treat I didn’t know to expect or that I wanted, but certainly one I needed.

Anyways, yes. Representation matters! This story is beautiful and simple and of course, sad. Cruz is always a delight. And I will never know how to say this title.

3 out of 4.

Dancing Queen

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Dancing Queen has its Seattle Premier on Tuesday, May 16 2023.

Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen. Surprising that they haven’t just made a movie based off of that song yet.

Oh what is this? A movie called Dancing Queen from Scandinavia? Is this the time? Well, no unfortunately not. Because this movie is from Norway, and I cannot imagine them wanting to make a nearby countries most famous song from their most famous band? Now sure, they might make a reference to the song. But it can’t be a film based on the song. Because damn it, this main character is not seventeen.

Hmm. She is also not 7. Or 27. Or 57. Just listening more incorrect ages. 

In fact, our main character, Mina (Liv Elvira Kippersund Larsson) is uhhh, 7th grade age. Which eludes me at this moment. She likes school, and getting good grades, and hanging out with her friend Markus (Sturla Harbitz). Besties. But then at the start of the year, a new kid arrives, E.D. Win (Viljar Knutsen Bjaadal), from Olso! Why has he moved to a small town? Not actually sure, but he is internet famous for being a young hip hop dancer with tons of followers. So all of the girlies say heyyy, including Mina.

So once Mina finds out, that same day, that he is going to do auditions for a youth hip hop dance crew, she decides she has to audition. You know, with no experience whatsover. But E.D. Win smiled at her and made her dance in a circle and didn’t mock her, so it is true love. And she will go and audition with no experience. And sure, she might not have a stereotypical dancers body. Or like, thin. Or like, full of endurance.

But she has gumption. And she has love.

Also starring Cengiz Al, Anders Baasmo, Andrea Bræin Hovig, Anne Marit Jacobsen, and Ylva Røsten-Haga.

Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I am always stuck looking at myself.

From the trailer, and the storyline, it looked like this movie wanted to be Norway’s answer to Little Miss Sunshine. I love Little Miss Sunshine! It is perfection in film. And unfortunately, this story is a lot more basic than Little Miss Sunshine. A bit by the numbers, with okay performances, but nothing as great as I had expected and hoped.

The story is where the main problems lie. It is easier to explain with direct spoilers which I will avoid here but, there is a lot of stuff that just doesn’t make sense based on how it was described. Like, the final competition was no where similar to what it was advertised early on. It makes me confused at why E.D. Win even wanted a dance crew for, since it didn’t seem to even use dance crews? It was all like, middle school duo groups only? They described it as a big national competition, with dance crews, and not even specifically kid based. So the final result is very strange.

I will also say that some characters leave the narrative at, frankly, random parts for motivation, with no great reason or foreshadowing behind them. It feels hollow. The whole ending feels hollow and forced, given the events that lead up to it.

I am all fine for body positivity films, sure. And I am glad it talked about them, and had one character be an absolute dick about it, in order to drive the narrative towards that and the extremes that one’s body can not endure. But Dancing Queen still ends up being a very basic film, with a plot you can predict, and no real shocks along the way.

1 out of 4.

And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine has its Seattle Premier on Sunday, May 14 2023.

Because trailers nowadays for the most part have no chill, and decide to give away the entire story, I always try to avoid them to the best of my ability. But when you go to movies, they throw them at you before hand, quite rude. It is rare to find a trailer that is exciting without telling you a whole lot about the movie, and that is true about And The King Said, What a Fantastic Machine. So go ahead, give it a look, its fun. I am technically going to give away more of the film in here just by describing it than the official trailer.

What kind of documentary is this about? Well, clearly it is about the camera, and movies in some level.

And sure, in one way, it is telling the history from the first time an image was taken from light particles onto paper, onto moving pictures, and more. It tells of significant events in history, not just when and where they occurred. But why they occurred. What was the output.

What was the whole point of a camera? Well, a scientific tool to record what was in front of it.

But, what about what is around it? What about other angles of reality? What is the purpose of this image, or moving image, and what are they hoping to invoke into the viewer? Are you being deceived?

Yes, I know what I was doing with this screen grab. So did she.

Honestly, the tone of the trailer matches the movie perfectly. It isn’t just a long history, then silly videos. It is specific moments in time, spread throughout the film, to bring up important changes in the camera and what people did with it. Including deception. And knowing what the image taker looks like in weight of tragedy. Because someone has to be there, to click the button, or at least, some device.

Now, this documentary isn’t here to judge you. Or to declare TikTok the enemy of modern society. Or anything like that. It is just noting the events, and noting things recorded, and what people have done with the cameras, and why. The goal of the documentary is to make you aware of these things and really, to implore you to think of these things.

A little thinking about your viewing habits before just zoning out never hurt anyone.

And yes, in fact, it was very weird to watch this in a film festival, my 6th movie in 2 days in theater, with a lot more planned. A movie that is…anti consuming video content? Is it anti-consuming content? Honestly, the questions asked from the film I don’t think try to force you to go to a specific outlook. In fact, your current life situations with these objects might affect the way you take the message from the film. Are you being attacked, are you being enlightened, or are you being informed?

And I love a documentary that convey these feelings, with mostly footage already made, and pieced together in a specific way. Now, why did the directors piece it together in this way? Great, great, question.

4 out of 4.