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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 11, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 32
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Deftly nuanced Landline a heartfelt treasure
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

LANDLINE
Now playing


With her relationship to fiancé Ben (Jay Duplass) sliding into something of a rut, and with her college beau Nate (Finn Wittrock) unexpectedly re-entering the picture, New Yorker Dana (Jenny Slate) is trying to figure out the best way to put the pieces of her life together in a way that makes even a modicum of sense. Not that her teenage sister Ali (Abby Quinn) is doing much better. She's constantly sneaking away to parties to experiment, discovering in the process following in her older sibling's footsteps isn't all it is cracked up to be.

Then there are the pair's parents, Alan (John Turturro) and Pat (Edie Falco), the two of them floating around the edges of a marriage that's lost much of its spark. That still doesn't make it any easier on Ali when she discovers dear old dad is having an affair, information she feels compelled to reveal to Dana. Soon the two are in cahoots to figure out what is going on, never imagining for a second that what they'll discover will lead to a transformation for their entire family that might not be nearly as disastrous or as tragic as any of them understandably feared it might be.

If writer/director Gillian Robespierre's comedy-drama Landline isn't the instant masterwork her 2014 debut Obvious Child proved to be, that does not make it any less wondrously entertaining. Reuniting once again with both her previous film's star Slate and its co-writer Elisabeth Holm, the filmmaker continues to prove she's a singular talent unafraid to make pieces of pop entertainment that are more complex and nuanced than they might initially appear to be.

Set in 1995, this film's greatest triumph is that it has the gall to put forth a thesis that divorce, even just the threat of it, isn't always a catastrophe. In some cases, a marriage's end can actually bring a family closer together, and while the travails afflicting the characters here are certainly nothing to belittle or scoff at, the courage in Robespierre and Holm's script is still undeniable. The way they bring Dana and Ali together, the delicate evolution of Pat as she realizes what is happening, the manner in which Alan finds he's becoming both a better parent and a healthier man after lies are forced to become heartbreaking truth, all of it hits home in a manner that is surprisingly affecting.

It's a little slight, and nothing here digs nearly as deeply as the abortion-fueled mechanics at the heart of Obvious Child, that movie throwing romantic comedy conventions on their ear as Slate delivered one of the finest performances of this second decade of the 21st century. But the emotions are pure, their authenticity never in doubt at any point, scene after scene crackling with a jovial majesty that kept a smile plastered right at the center of my face. Robespierre also finds another wondrous talent in Quinn, the youngster so luminous as Ali she practically sets the screen afire with her fervently intricate take on a character who easily could have been a ham-fisted melodramatic cliché coupled with an overly simplistic afterthought.

What might be most refreshing is the story's refusal to judge any of the characters for their shortcomings, no matter how obnoxious, obvious or even odious some of them might be. Robespierre and Holm allow everyone to make their fair share of mistakes, understand that missteps happen and everyone happens to stub their toe while stumbling over a waterfall of their own cascading tears from time to time. But the ability to learn from those mistakes, that knack to pick one's self up after a fall and continue forward again as if nothing of consequence has happened, those are innately human traits to be celebrated, Dana and Ali discovering that for themselves while at the same time strengthening their sisterly bond past the point it could ever be destroyed in the future.

As things catapult to their conclusion, Robespierre manages to steer things towards the point where any tears that might fall on the part of the viewer are justifiably achieved. This remains, start to finish, a story of two sisters, and while their family strife might be the reason they're back together, the catharsis they're able to manufacture is achieved purely through their own tenacity and dogged refusal to bow to societal convention. Landline gets what makes people tick, doesn't shy from reveling in the good, bad and ugly as well as all the gradations hiding in the various grey areas. It's very good, and as such ends up being a movie I can't help but hope finds its audience.


Paying it forward

Step's Coach G on changing one life at a time
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

After taking the Sundance Film Festival by storm back in January, the rousing, life-affirming documentary Step finally goes into general release. The film chronicles a year in the life of the Lethal Ladies of the BLSYW (Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women) Step Team, the team's senior members going to be the first students to graduate from their all-girls Baltimore school. Not only are they all looking for a winning season, their collective story also unfolds with the knowledge that their school's goal is for every member of this graduating class to be accepted into college. More, their inner city tale also takes place in the wake of Freddie Gray's death at the hands of the police just one year prior, the explosive aftermath of those events and what it has meant for their community casting a shadow they're all still standing in whether they realize it or not.

Directed by veteran Broadway producer Amanda Lipitz, the film is a mesmerizing adventure filled with ups, downs, in-betweens, insights, fights, failures and success. It chronicles the long road these girls go on to go from being individuals to being teammates, their collective struggles a magnificently intimate sojourn into life in all its delicately unsettling yet beautifully distinctive minutia. In many ways it is a female-driven Hoop Dreams, these magnificent Lethal Ladies delivering life lessons the likes of which will cause even the hardest heart to soar into the stratosphere thanks in large part to this story's stirring, universally empowering splendor.

While the focus is on the members of the team, most notably three seniors, Blessin Giraldo, Tayla Solomon and Cori Grainger, each with their own goals and dreams, but all determined to see their entire team meet with success, Lipitz also makes time to spotlight a number of the adults helping these Lethal Ladies graduate from school, get into college and achieve victory as a Step team. One of the most important members of that group is the team's new coach Gari 'Coach G' McIntyre. I had the privilege to sit down with Coach G while she and other members of the Step family were in town for the Seattle International Film Festival this past June. Here are some of the highlights from our all too brief conversation:

Sara Michelle Fetters: When did you know that this film was happening and what were your initial thoughts?

Gari 'Coach G' McIntyre: First of all, I was hired as a Step coach, so [the school] needed a Step coach regardless if the documentary was happening or not. I was scouted and hired to be a Step coach [but they] did tell me about the documentary. They were very transparent about the fact that it was happening and there would be some filming, but I didn't know to what extent. Step would be happening regardless, so I was told, do your job, do you and creatively be yourself. They just wanted a great Step coach.

When I first met Amanda, I can't even describe in words that first interaction. I don't know much about Broadway. The most I know is like The Lion King and The Color Purple and Hamilton. Like the bigger Broadway plays. She comes in and she's so full of life and so full of everything, and she had a big connection with the girls. I'm just like, 'Girl, back off.' [laughs] She was just so in your face and passionate about her project. I was like, I'm just here to be the Step coach.

I never knew how important Step would be in the film, how involved Step would be in this project. When I took the job I took it as a Step coach and as a woman who, regardless if the cameras are rolling, this was what I was doing and this was how I would do it. The fact that we did have a lot of cameras, I think I went above and beyond to be a raw me which I now regret after looking at the footage. The girls when the cameras would come, would be in the bathroom doing their makeup and other stuff. I'd be like, 'What are you doing? You're going to run an extra lap for being late.' I maybe should have been with them. Who knows? [laughs]

Sara Michelle Fetters: See? That's what makes you a good coach. You were focused on the bigger picture, and not the movie picture.

Coach G: Absolutely. I never worked for Amanda. I was never compensated by Amanda. And that's how it should have been. I gave her a lot of pushback because I was like, you're not going to tell me what we're going to do. She would come up with suggestions and I'm like, I'll consider it, but I'm running this show boo. I gave her a lot of pushback creatively on what Step was and what this Step team is to me. But that was my job. I took a lot of pride in it whether the cameras were there or not. I was going to be doing that. It's what God called me to do, and I had a mission to reach one girl. Just one girl. Make a difference in one girl's life. Now, all these months later, I suddenly have 19 daughters.

Sara Michelle Fetters: I got the feeling you would be a coach that anybody would be lucky to have. Who is Coach G? What inspires Coach G? What makes Coach G want to be that person you're describing?

Coach G: What inspires me is my family, the coaches that came before me, the coaches that are better than me, more talented than me and who choreography-wise I can't even touch. That's what inspires me. My coaches who taught me to Step and invested in me. My coach Miss A. My coach Mr. Simms. I was on a Step team in middle school and I identify with each of the girls I coach, and that inspires me. The fact I could see myself in all 19 of these girls in some way. Blessin in not having food. Cori not having lights. Tayla having to push back about dealing with boys and her mom saying, 'Don't mess with boys. They have cooties.' I can relate to them on levels that touched me. Thank God for my struggles and what I've been through. My family. My boyfriend. My grandmother. She, in particular, is very instrumental in who I am today at giving back, of sowing the seed of paying it forward.

Sara Michelle Fetters: There are a couple scenes in the movie where you do start talking about yourself and your past. Whether it's to Blessin or when you're talking to the camera a couple times, I think it's very noticeable that you get emotional having these conversations. Is it hard for you to have these conversations? Or is it difficult because you know what your story is and what you had to go through to become this person you are now? That you're seeing the best for these kids and you don't want them to have to deal with any of the things you did?

Coach G: Yes. That's exactly it. I want them to learn from every single mistake that I've ever made in my life. Like I said, I dropped out multiple times in college, withdrew from classes, spent all my refund check money. I've made so many mistakes and people were not transparent. My mentors were not transparent about the mistakes that they made. I was not transparent about what it was I was doing.

I just want to protect my students from all the evils of the world. I want to protect them from making every single F-up I ever did in life, and I want them to be great. I see the best Tayla. I see the best Blessin. I see the best Cori. But when I see them doing stupid things, I call them out because it just wouldn't be me if I didn't. I'm very transparent now. I'm very upfront. If you serve me BS I'm not going to have it.

Sara Michelle Fetters: From an athletic standpoint, when you have those girls on that wall, that is the best and the worst moment. It's the best moment because I'm just sitting there in the theatre thinking of all those days playing sports in high school and college where I had to either sit on a wall like that or do something similar. It's the worst of moments because you've been forced to teach them a lesson and get them all back on the right track. Sitting on the wall, it's not just about getting people in shape, it's about teaching them a lesson as kids growing into becoming adults. It's about making them teammates.

Coach G: In that moment it was about both. At the time I was working three jobs. I had just come in from my second job. I had worked two 8-hour shifts and I came in and it was kind of like, this kids is wearing Uggs, this one is late, this other one is on her phone. What do you guys think I'm here for? To twiddle my thumbs? Absolutely not.

From an athletic standpoint, those guys needed to know what it's like to suffer as a team. Absolutely. You need to know what it's like to go through something rough as a team. I had one girl crying in tears, which they did not put in the film. I mean literally boo-hooing. She couldn't stand it. She was like, 'I can't do it.' I was like, 'Maybe you can't, but she can, and so can she, so you guys got to figure it out. You need to figure it out together.' And they did. They found a way to stay on the wall as a unit. As a team.

The life lesson was to appreciate those who spend time and sow their seeds into you, because you have to pay that forward. Had they not had that time on the wall, the reward of their later victories wouldn't have been so sweet because these are things you do as a team. What was the main thing that Blessin was saying to me when I first got hired? 'We don't do things like a team. We don't look like a team. We're not really giving that team effort.' I'm like, 'I can whip y'all into shape, but y'all got to act like y'all want it.' What was a slap in the face to me constantly was they kept saying they wanted to be a team, but all of the tactics that I was giving them in a nice way, they weren't getting. You ain't getting it the right way, then I'm going to give it to you the rough way. You're going to sit on the wall.

Sara Michelle Fetters: I think the other key is you were able to figure out that each girl's personal life was also affecting things. I think one of the great things about athletics is we all come from different places. We all have different things going on in our lives that nobody else is knowing about. But once you come together in a group, you have to figure out a way to use that stuff as fuel to help you become a team. How difficult was it to get these girls to believe that? How did it feel when you saw them get there?

Coach G: They were very conscious of all of these things. Individually they were like, we want to be a team. We want to look good. For the life of the team, though, they just could not say what was holding them back. Blessin would never admit until the very end that she needed to be around the team to feel better. She acts tough for a good amount of the season, and Amanda made it pretty, but you know what? She really acted out. And there was Cori going through the things that she was going through. Tayla and what she had to deal with. Then the girls who aren't highlighted whose parents were getting divorces, who also didn't have food. When I said someone didn't have a refrigerator in the film, that was a fact. One girl on the team did not have a refrigerator. So those were the challenges, and they had to overcome those individually and together in order to become a team.

The sweet thing was having them sitting on that wall learning how to work together, giving them the track suits, and then winning Bowie State. That's where the trust came in. You have now an undefeated season. You won every competition you've been to because you have used the tools that I've given you. I didn't have to slap you 10,000 times. Maybe 9,000, but I didn't have to slap you 10,000 times to remind you that you all are a team. They were starting to let their hair down and feel each other out, feel each other's vibes and be together. The big reward was to have them look to me and say, 'I get it. We are a team. We are together, and when we get together it's like butter.'

Sara Michelle Fetters: You can never predict what's going to happen from this point forward, but how proud are you of these young women? And what do you hope for all of them moving forward?

Coach G: As a team, not the girls who are specifically highlighted, but as a team they want to Step and continue to perform. A few of them want to do show business. I think that those are things that are going to shine out.

For Cori, one of the specific things to me is to see her transition from a big fish in a small pond to a big fish in a large pond, because everyone is Valedictorian at her school, everyone is Top of the Class, so to see her excel in that environment? I'm just so proud. To hear her call me and say, I got an A in this class, or I got an A on this test, it's amazing.

Tayla wants to do Urban Planning and she wants to, in essence, do what I'm doing but on a bigger level. She wants to build recreation centers and those things. That's amazing. That's paying it forward.

Blessin wants to go into show business, and I have such great hopes for her.

For me, looking back, to see them still being a team, it fills my soul. We were just together two weeks ago for MTV, performing for Michelle Obama, and it was like the last time we were together was at Sundance. That was four months ago. To see everyone get together and not miss a beat, that is so rewarding to me, because that's what I instilled in them.

Sara Michelle Fetters: For general audiences, what do you hope they take away from the movie? What do you hope they learn?

Coach G: I hope that they'll talk to me about hope, because [Step] is a movie in a time where hope is needed, where women coming together and making a difference as they always have is so important. I hope that people are talking about education and expanding education, putting more money and time into schools. I hope that mentors or coaches or people who never thought about being mentors or coaches are having conversation to get involved with someone, because if you reach only one person, there's no telling how many lives may change or be impacted. Most importantly, I hope that when people see this movie, they realize that everyone has a mother, because that's what this movie is about: Mothers and families. About women changing the world as we always have.


Al Gore and his Climate Change PowerPoint return in An Inconvenient Sequel
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL:
TRUTH TO POWER
Now playing


Al Gore returns with his Climate Change PowerPoint presentation in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, this new documentary picking up where the Earth currently sits in its global environmental crisis ten years after its predecessor An Inconvenient Truth won two Academy Awards (Best Documentary Feature, Best Original Song). This time, the former Vice-President of the United States takes things outside the classroom, hitting the streets of Miami, heading out to melting Arctic ice fields, making friends with Republicans in Texas and assisting the U.S. delegation during the Paris Climate Conference in December of 2015. Through it all his message remains the same: the planet we call home is in crisis, and if we keep acting ineffectually about the only thing we'll be doing is slitting our collective throats.

Science is science; I'd love it if we could all agree about that. As such, Climate Change is real. It's happening. Every day. In every corner of the world. Storms are getting worse. Arctic ice sheets are collapsing into the oceans at an alarming rate. Extreme temperature fluctuations are occurring in every city in every country on the planet. All of this is true and it isn't changing anytime soon, the economic powers that be too beholden to their current bottom line than they are in helping ensure Earth's future generations have a livable, breathable world they'll be able to call home.

Be that as it may, and as much as I love and adore An Inconvenient Truth, I'm not entirely certain this follow-up is anywhere near as successful as that first film was. Gore's message still resonates, but for every powerful moment or example of incontestable scientific fact there's also one where the point of all this gets diluted as it focuses on the former politician-turned-activist and not the story he is eager to tell. There are times where directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk's film becomes something more akin to hagiographic fawning than it does a journalistic exercise in putting politicians and corporate power brokers on notice. It feels like it wants to transform Gore into a modern day environmental superhero, the sequences shot during the Paris Climate Conference particularly annoying for a number of reasons having nothing to do with the historic significance of the accord signed by 158 countries in the final days of 2015.

But when the movie works it does so magnificently, especially when it calls back to the more controversial aspects of its predecessor and shows in no uncertain terms just how quickly some of those dire predictions are coming to pass. Watching Gore take no joy in being proven right when he made that claim that the 9/11 Monument could find itself drowning in flood water due in large part to global oceanic rise is like a punch in the gut, while watching him wade through waters cascading over his knees on the streets of Miami Beach due to the same affliction is equally unsettling. There's also a bravura moment of hope and compromise late in the picture as the 2000 Democratic Presidential candidate heads to the single most Republican town and county in all of Texas and discovers common ground exists between him and the politicians pulling the strings. It's a lovely sequence, and just thinking about it again now helps me believe moments like this are still achievable as long as we all, Republican and Democrat alike, put feelings of distrust aside and choose instead to work towards a mutually beneficial common goal.

What else is there to say? As positive as much of what is said here might be, the fact is we know where the film has to end, our current President doing more in the past six months to damage the environment and stifle the fight against Climate Change (including pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement in June of this year) than anyone in recent memory. But the central argument remains strong, Gore, Cohen and Shenk going all out to give their thesis additional weight and even more impactful meaning as they lay out the current situation piece by piece. I just wish the movie spent more time focusing on that then it does deifying the former Vice-President, because if it could have eased up a little on that front it's likely I'd proclaim An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power essential. As it is, I still feel watching it is edifying and valuable, just not so much so to warrant anything more than a matinee ticket.


Misbegotten Dark Tower adaptation a forgettable misfire
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

THE DARK TOWER
Now playing


Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is having visions. He's having nightmares of teenage children in pain. Of oddly misshapen adults hiding their rodent-like features behind clumsily stitched together human skins. Of a man, a fearsome man, a loathsome man, a Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) with terrifying powers over life and death whose minions grovel at his feet. Jake also dreams of a different man, a Gunslinger going by the name Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), a powerful warrior who appears to fight for the forces of light and goodness against those who would see darkness and evil reign supreme.

Most of all, Jake sees a spire rising like a needle pointing to Heaven, a Dark Tower, a massive structure at the center of what appears to be the Universe itself, the Man in Black apparently intent to see it crumble while Roland and his ilk do all they can to ensure this cataclysmic event does not come to pass. Now, roaming the streets of New York City, this young teenage boy discovers he is the key in a battle between good and evil that has been raging for centuries. Traveling across dimensions, he must find the Gunslinger, because only with their combined abilities can the Dark Tower be saved and the Man in Black be destroyed.

Fans of Stephen King's seven-volume The Dark Tower series have been waiting for some time for a movie adaptation, the story of the ongoing battle between Roland and the Man in Black a hybrid of Western, Fantasy and Horror storytelling that is as imaginative as it is unique. But these stories have proven to be a tough nut to crack, Apollo 13 and Willow hit-maker Ron Howard the primary driving force spearheading multiple attempts to see a film made. With his plans to have a movie precursor launch into a 'Game of Thrones' type Cable television series potentially on hold (although accounts there are somewhat contradictory), the filmmaker tasked talented Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) with the handling of the first half of that equation. Sadly, the result of all this anguish and effort appears to have gone for naught, this initial foray into King's supernatural world hardly worth the wait.

Featuring a script written by Arcel, Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), Jeff Pinker (The 5th Wave) and Anders Thomas Jensen (The Salvation), this movie feels as if all involved were responsible for crafting a handful of ten minutes scenes that they'd all figure out how to combine into a cohesive narrative whole at a later date. They throw varying plot strands at a wall hoping they will stick together, each of them potentially interesting in and of themselves but when connected together prove to be a stupefying nonsensical mishmash of frustratingly conflicted ideas that are never fully realized. Not so much a disaster as a waste of inherently intriguing potential, this take on The Dark Tower isn't going to win over a lot in the way of fans, and as such I can't help but think we're not going to be seeing further battles between Roland and the Man in Black anytime soon.

It all admittedly looks terrific. The movie is gorgeously shot by Rasmus Videbæk (The Shooter) and magnificently realized by production designers Christopher Glass (The Jungle Book) and Oliver Scholl (Suicide Squad). More importantly, Arcel shows a knack for crafting action sequences, a couple of set pieces overflowing in a palpable sense of energy and excitement that's invigorating. The director has also cast his two main roles perfectly, McConaughey having a grand time personifying evil incarnate as he slinks his way through the varying worlds the Man in Black is attempting to destroy. Elba is even better as the weary Roland, his Gunslinger a revenge-seeking knight who slowly finds his faith in his mission restored once he crosses paths with Jake.

But there's no point to any of this, and instead of playing like a tale sprung from the mind of one of horror's most revered and respected authors, most of it comes across more like a turgid, unfocused rehash of The NeverEnding Story than it does anything else. But instead of a young New Yorker battling the Nothing to save the mystical land of Fantasia, here the only nothing at play is the total lack of anything substantive. There's no cohesion, no rationale why one event that transpires leads to the one directly following it. It's a big, monstrous waste of time, energy, resources and talent, The Dark Tower a forgettable misfire that does injustice to King's source material and sadly belongs in the bargain bin collecting dust.


Dynamic Step a lively celebration of achievement
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

STEP
Now playing


'Step is life.'

So says one of the central figures early on in director Amanda Lipitz's remarkable, life-affirming documentary Step. For the teenagers of the Lethal Ladies of BLSYW (Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women) Step Team, these aren't just random words. These are powerful shouts to the heavens announcing who these youngsters are. They are proud pronouncements that they will not bend or break, that they won't allow outside forces, no matter how hateful, difficult or outside of their control they might be, to stop them from achieving their goals.

The film chronicles a year in the life for the Lethal Ladies, focusing most of its attentions on the senior members of the team, all of whom will be the first graduates to come out of the Baltimore Leadership School, an institution founded with the goal of ensuring that every single graduate gets into college. For these girls, while that is also on their checklist, they also have designs of seeing their team perform as it never has before. They want to win championships, most notably a prestigious competition held each year at Bowie State featuring the region's best Step teams, and they're hoping with a new coach to lead them they'll bring home a first place trophy.

A female-driven Hoop Dreams transpiring in the immediate aftermath of the Freddie Gray tragedy that rocked Baltimore to its core, Lipitz's movie is a treasure trove of emotion, rolling through a thunderous cavalcade of situations and moments ranging from the difficult to watch to the triumphantly euphoric in seemingly the blink of an eye. It never shies away from the darkness trying to pull each girl down into the muck and mire. At same time, the film focuses on the many adult voices attempting to lend their support and guidance, most notably the team's coach Gari 'Coach G' McIntyre and the school's collegiate advisor Paula Dofat, both of whom are driven to go above and beyond to see these youngsters excel in life, not just in Step competitions.

But the true focus remains on the girls themselves, which is exactly as it should be. With 19 members, Lipitz understandably has to centralize her spotlight. While a number of the girls do get a moment for their personal lives and situations to come to life, there are three primary members of the team whose stories end up being focused upon in the most minute detail, founding members Blessin Giraldo, Cori Grainger and Tayla Solomon, each of them facing their own unique set of circumstances which could affect whether or not they end up getting into college. Blessin's home life is an adventure all its own. Cori, whose mother had her when she was only 16, is the school's valedictorian with dreams of attending John Hopkins University, that $50,000 per year tuition understandably giving her pause. Tayla is going to get into college, and she's going to enjoy her senior year, doing her best to stay on the right path even with her well-meaning, if unintentionally smothering mother Maisha Graves spending potentially too much time trying to keep her daughter on the straight and narrow.

It's sensational stuff, Lipitz keeping things intimate and insightful without ever feeling like she's prying. There is an observational naturalism to her documentary that allows for this decidedly human drama to sparkle with inspirational vitality, and no matter how dark or unsettling things can sometimes become the heart beating at the center of things remains pure and strong throughout. We watch these Lethal Ladies grow to become a true team, and even with their differences, even when outside events threaten to rip them all apart, each finds a way to overcome these obstacles, learning that to become a true unit working together as one each soul must support the other no matter what the situation might be.

No movie has lifted up my soul this year as much as this one has. No movie has had me crying tears of pure joy in quite the volume this one has. What these Lethal Ladies achieve, what they go through, what they allow us as viewers to experience right there alongside them, the heartbreak and the sorrow, the ecstasy and the bliss, every facet of the emotional spectrum right there on display, all of it is magical. For these young women, Step is life, but it is also something to strive for, to believe in and to use as a means to make the leap into the unknown, hopefully to even greater achievements. For the viewer, Step is a wonder, and for the life of me I now can't imagine a world where this documentary does not exist.


The edge of glory: Lady Gaga's return to the Tacoma Dome
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Seattle Opera presents powerful new production of Puccini's Madame Butterfly
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If you love showtunes, you can belt them out at 'Act Tue' every Tuesday at Capitol Cider
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Pop singer Aaron Carter comes out as Bisexual; plans to relaunch career at Gay venues
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A sublime Madame Butterfly at Seattle Opera
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Impromptu inspiration:

Talking Landline with Gillian Robespierre, Abby Quinn and an interview-crashing Jenny Slate

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Aaron Carter comes out; Glen Campbell exits with a rich legacy of music
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Deftly nuanced Landline a heartfelt treasure
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Paying it forward

Step's Coach G on changing one life at a time

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Al Gore and his Climate Change PowerPoint return in An Inconvenient Sequel
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Misbegotten Dark Tower adaptation a forgettable misfire
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