The Holdovers

A review of The Holdovers

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Koreb Tadesse and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Kyle Gerstel


The genre of the holiday movie is tried and true; from Home Alone to Elf, Frosty the Snowman to A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas movies have been done before, and they’ve been done well. As Thanksgiving rolls around, viewers observe the tradition of watching their favorite characters celebrating the festive time of the year. This makes 2023’s The Holdovers even more of a triumph as a worthy addition to the holiday canon for years to come.

Director Alexander Payne had the task of adding something new to the holiday genre and creating a film that could hold its own outside of the holiday season. Helped by the incredible talents of Payne’s Sideways collaborator Paul Giamatti, seasoned actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and rising star Dominic Sessa, The Holdovers is bound to become a modern classic.

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The Show Must Go On: Queen Rocks Montreal in IMAX Worldwide

Review of Queen Rock Montreal IMAX at Pacific Science Center

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Juliana Agudelo Ariza and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker

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Let me welcome you, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say hello, Are you ready for some entertainment? Are you ready for a show?

The screen is dark. A faint glow stretches from the corner of the screen.

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The Vivid and Horrifying Films of Tsai Ming-liang

Review of Rebels of the Neon God and The Hole directed by Tsai Ming-liang at Northwest Film Forum

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Milo Miller and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker

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Tsai Ming-liang has a knack for filmmaking. The Taiwanese film director knows just where to place the camera to get the perfect frame. He knows when to cut a clip to achieve the maximum effect of its weight and emotion. But most of all, he understands how to craft a compelling story with engrossing characters and little to no dialogue or music. He sets his films to a backdrop of ambient rain and city noises, achieving a feeling that is sometimes calming and sometimes tense the whole way through.

Rebels of the Neon God, which screened at Northwest Film Forum from January 10 to January 14, has some of the best-composed shots of the past few decades. It is both minimalist in its plot, characters, and sound design, and complex in its depiction of the ambiance of the city. The title of the film translated means: “Adolescent Nezha,” referring to the Chinese deity. At the beginning of the film, young student Hsaio Kang’s mother decides that her son is a reincarnation of Nezha, the “Neon God.” Throughout the film, we see Hsaio Kang through the lens of his relationship with this deity. Hsaio Kang, portrayed by the talented Lee Kang-sheng, does not think quite so highly of himself. Instead, after quitting cram school to collect the refund, he slinks around the city, stalking the petty crimes and romances of Ah Tze and his friend Ping. He never directly intervenes with any of the people he is trailing, but their interactions (either subtle or overt) leave lasting emotional effects on him. Still from Tsai Ming-liang's Rebels of the Neon God (1992), courtesy of Big World Pictures.

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Resolutions for Arts Consumption

Teen Editorial Staff January 2024 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Audrey Gray and Kyle Grestel

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Happy New Year from the TeenTix Newsroom! This year, we challenge you to explore new artistic mediums, genres, and subjects, all for $5 with your TeenTix pass.

If you’re interested in branching into the visual arts, the Henry Art Gallery has more engrossing, novel exhibitions coming through 2024. Raúl de Nieves’s A window to the see, a spirit star chiming in the wind of wonder… opened at the Henry in September of 2023 and will continue well into summer. We suggest opening your year with the one-of-a-kind multimedia experience to set the tone for many more explosive experiences to come. Music’s rich but often-unexplored history is getting a spotlight at the Northwest African American Museum through their Positive Frequencies exhibit. Check it out to learn more about how music plays a role in Black History.

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Fall Film Reviews

Review of films screened at TeenTix Partners this fall

Written by TeenTix teens as part of a Film Writing Challenge and edited by Press Corps teaching artist Jas Keimig

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A Classic Game of Chess

Review of WarGames screened at SIFFWritten by Teen Editorial Staff member Daphne Bunker

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Woman on the Roof: A Portrait of Depression

A review of Woman on the Roof at SIFF

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Mickey Fontaine and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Audrey Gray


Anna Jadowska’s 2022 film Woman on the Roof is a movie with a very enticing premise: an elderly woman decides to rob a bank. It’s a simple idea that holds considerable potential for a story. Woman on the Roof proves you don’t need a big plot to tell an effective story. It uses its resources conservatively to weave a deeply impactful narrative teeming with commentary on challenging topics, such as depression, domestic norms, life, and the Polish mental health care system. With its various accolades, stunning washed-out color scheme, and intriguing story, I went into the film with high hopes. Woman on the Roof transcended them in almost every way.

Mira (Dorota Pomykała) is a 60-year-old midwife leading a mundane life. She struggles with deep, existential sorrow, finding little happiness in her relatively stable life and feeling alienated from her family and society. The world shows her the bare minimum of care, keeping her alive but not allowing her to truly live. This is seen on both a personal scale, in her home, and in the systems of her society. She is desperate for connection but is shown only indifference. She feels alienated in her home life and burdened by housework. Out of desperation, she robs a bank with a kitchen knife but runs away. The consequences begin to spiral, and she must reconsider how she lives her life as she grows distant from her family and society.

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She Marches in Chinatown: A Rundown and Review of the Remarkable Documentary

Review of She Marches in Chinatown at SIFF
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Rowan Santos and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker


What appears to be an endless array of people is an ocean of film lovers lined up at SIFF Cinema Egyptian. Cultural Chinese ornaments decorate the theater, and as you enter, you’re welcomed by Chinese Drill Team members. They greet you with respect and friendliness, dressed powerfully yet elegantly. The intricate uniforms are designed with red and gold accents and an elaborate headpiece. Walking around the theater, you’re immersed in a vibrant community. The diverse audience converses with one another, expressing their admiration for and acquaintance with the renowned Chinese Drill Team. They all gather to watch the documentary She Marches in Chinatown, whether they have seen the drill team at festivals and parades, are former members, or simply want to enjoy a film about local culture. She Marches in Chinatown, directed by Della Chen, produced by Amy Benson, and edited by Dina Guttman, is a magical documentary entailing the story and 71-year history of the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team. The film showcases how the team was brought together and how the organization has empowered a group of young Chinese women. It beautifully tells the story of the team while tying together themes of community and women empowerment.

As the movie starts, the lights dim and the chants of their practice take focus. In unison, they march as the team captain leads. You are automatically allured and intrigued by the cinematography, the flashing fabrics, the vibrant colors, and the precision of their march. This film uses wonderful cinematographic techniques such as birds-eye views, worms-eye views, and slow-motion videography. The combination of birds-eye views and different perspectives makes you focus on their movement. The beginning of this film was aesthetically beautiful. The camera then goes on to show the girls of the team in a Chinatown playground, having fun after their practice, and talking amongst themselves. You are shown how well-bonded these girls are, as they’ve found their community through the team. You feel like a part of them like you’re there with them.

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Stories of Queer Joy: Past, Present, and Future

Review of Seattle Queer Film Festival at Three Dollar Bill Cinema

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Abby Bernstein and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

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Content Warning: Mentions of homophobia, self-harm, and bullying“There are gaps in Queer history because we haven’t focused so much on telling our own stories, and we’ve lost a lot of history that way. I think [storytelling] is a way to leave a record of who we are,” says Jen Markowitz, the director of Summer Qamp. At the Seattle Queer Film Festival, hundreds of filmmakers worked to fill these gaps, making visible the stories of the Queer community. The Seattle Queer Arts Film Festival took place October 12 to 22, showcasing Queer films from around the world. The festival's focus this year was Queer Joy and its significance to the Queer experience. It explored this theme through a range of perspectives and styles, moving from comedy to drama and national issues to small, mundane moments in a person's life. Through their portrayals of diverse experiences, the films managed to build bridges across the past, present, and future of the Queer community to tell the timeless stories of Queer pain, perseverance, and, most profoundly, personal and communal joy. 

From the hundreds of selections the festival offered, I was able to watch Summer Qamp, directed by Jen Markowitz, and LGBTQ: From Gen A(lpha) to Z, a series of short films including The Last Gay in Indiana (Olivia Fouser), Piece by Piece (Reza Rasouli), My Life at the Beginning (Ana Puentes Margarito), Tater Tots (Julia Berkey), Bruno (Michael Dean Wilkins), Zeke’s Magic Plant Shop (Lucas Marchu and  Keaton Hanna), To All That We Are (Kristian Cahatol), and Carly Dolls (Maudie Schmid and Jaxson Power).

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New Styles Falling Upon Us

Teen Editorial Staff October 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Kyle Gerstel and Audrey Gray

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Fall has fallen upon us, and with it comes a new batch of exciting art to be covered on the TeenTix blog in October. This month, our writers are covering a range of films and plays that seek to tell stories usually left untold, in styles never before seen. Dust off your TeenTix pass, bundle up against the dropping temperatures and check out the unique and international perspectives showcased in Seattle this month.

SIFF’s 31st annual Seattle Polish Film Festival will kick into full gear on October 13 with a selection of the last couple of years’ best Polish films. Included among them is Anna Jadowska’s Woman on the Roof, screening on October 15 at the SIFF Film Center, a visually stunning existential drama following a 60 year-old woman as she makes the desperate decision to rob a bank at knifepoint.

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Carpet Cowboys: What to Expect When You're Expecting Carpets

Review of Carpet Cowboys at Grand Illusion Cinema

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Milo Miller and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker


When you sit down in one of seventy seats in the Grand Illusion Cinema, you feel a sense of surreality, when the lights in that small theater dim and a film begins to play on that small screen, all while the Grand Illusion becomes larger than life. That surreality carries over to the screen when you watch a film as bizarre as Emily Mackenzie and Noah Collier’s documentary Carpet Cowboys. In the film, a collection of self-proclaimed cowboys and rugged entrepreneurs find disillusionment in the mystical world of carpet business, design, and production. Immediately, we are made aware that the film’s setting, northwest Georgia’s Dalton, is the “Carpet Capital of the World,” although, throughout the film’s runtime, the audience is never given a clue as to how it got to be that way or what such a title entails.

We do, however, learn about the life and times of one Roderick James, codename “The Scottish Cowboy.” When he isn’t writing jingles for Kid Cool’s patented glue or planning to relocate to the Philippines to be with his wife—a wife whose role is reduced to bystander because the film refuses to include any information that does not involve indulging James—he tells the audience about how he’s been in the Dalton carpet industry for some thirty-odd years.

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Seattle Reconciles Future Dreams with Past History in September

Teen Editorial Staff September 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Anna Melomed

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With the first installment of articles from the TeenTix Newsroom coming out in the next few weeks, the Press Corps is writing about works that talk about the tensions between one’s dreams and one’s past as well as the different forms that one’s dreams may take.

At ArtsWest, we’ll be covering Matt & Ben, a look at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck before their fame, in their Good Will Hunting era, pursuing their dreams. Though being a comedic take on the two Hollywood headliners, Matt & Ben reminds us to not let our dreams be deferred but to take on the oncoming year in storm.

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5 Takes on the Barbie Movie

The TEDS (Teen Editorial Staff) Review Barbie

Aamina Mughal, Audrey Gray, Anna Melomed, Daphne Bunker, and Kyle Gerstel.

Reviews edited by Tova Gaster and Alison Smith, TeenTix alumni

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To kick off the 23/24 Newsroom Program, the TEDS each saw the Barbie movie. Check back every month to see art criticism for arts events they select and edit reviews of beginning in September! TAKE 1: Written by Anna Melomed, Edited by Tova Gaster, TED alumna

Barbie was a great in-theater experience and a delightful time.

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Reinvigorate Yourself This Spring

Teen Editorial Staff April 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Audrey Gray

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Even though we’re on the tail ends of the UW cherry blossoms, the spirit of reinvigoration, renewal, and reinvention remains in the air in the Seattle arts scene. In April we traveled from Jet City Improv to the Henry Art Gallery quintessential spring atmospheres. We hope you’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather and visiting all of our amazing arts partners!

We first see this theme of reinvention at the Henry with Thick as Mud, an exhibit that explores how mud represents the relationship between humanity and geography. The multimedia showing explores the violence inflicted against the environment as well as the potential for preservation and reinvigoration. Similarly, Ikat at the Seattle Art Museum uses an immersive experience to remind us of the importance of the tangible in terms of fashion. SAM describes this as “A radical departure from today’s factory-made cloth, Ikat serves as a reminder of the power of slow fashion and the sacredness of clothing as art”.

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The Hidden Wonders of LAIKA’s "Hidden Worlds"

Review of Hidden Worlds: The Films of LAIKA at Museum of Pop Culture

Written by Teen Writer Raika Roy Choudhury and edited by Disha Cattamanchi


MoPOP’s Hidden Worlds serves as a wonderful introduction to stop motion and other creative processes in the popular animation studio LAIKA’s films. LAIKA is an Oregon-based studio behind the famous films Coraline, ParaNorman, Kubo and the Two Strings, Missing Link, and BoxTrolls, all of which were nominated for Oscars and PGA Awards. Beyond their critical acclaim, LAIKA is also known for specializing in standalone films and bringing hand-curated artistry back into our increasingly digital media space. Their films are bold and distinctive whilst also aesthetic and thought-provoking, widening the appreciation for animation. It only makes sense for this accomplished studio to be celebrated with a museum exhibit.

Though it lures the viewer in with Coraline dolls, sets, and larger than life room decor such as ceiling spiderwebs and painted floors, the exhibit surprisingly starts with a video. Featuring the animators and producers behind Coraline, the video marks the beginning of its sub-exhibit, explaining the unique, groundbreaking stop-motion techniques used in the movie. Despite my short attention span, I found it truly interesting to learn who was behind one of the greatest animation films and what created its overall success. The video immediately connects the viewer to the exhibit once it's over. From the start, something about it feels off; the video was narrated by none other than the Other Mother, Coraline’s creepy, iconic, soul-sucking villain that sews buttons into the kids’ eyes. I loved this detail because it transitioned well into the physical space, the voice setting a noticeably eerie mood.

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The Young Girl and the Sea

Review of Whale Rider at Seattle International Film Festival

Written by Teen Writer Lula Keteyian and edited by Audrey Gray


Twenty-one years ago, Whale Rider, written and directed by Niki Caro, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. It was met with critical acclaim, receiving an Indie Spirit Award and an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 13-year-old star of the movie. It has become a cult favorite, though it is rarely screened.

I had the exciting opportunity to see Whale Rider in person at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It was a Wednesday night, and I wasn’t expecting a large audience. Surprisingly, when I entered the theater, I observed that many people had turned up. I quickly learned Whale Rider was this month’s pick of the SIFF Cinema Movie Club. After a brief introduction that explained this to non-members like myself, the lights went down, and an arresting tension filled the theater as the audience prepared to live the world of this film for the next ninety minutes.Film still from Whale Rider directed by Niki Caro

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"Seattle Asian American Film Festival": A Whirlwind of Feeling

Review of Seattle Asian American Film Festival at Northwest Film Forum

Written by Teen Writer Lily Fredericks and edited by Disha Cattamanchi


Considering that on-screen parts for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) account for less than six percent of speaking roles in Hollywood films, it feels disheartening that few film festivals attempt to remedy the lack of AAPI representation in the industry. As the first and only pan-Asian American film festival, the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) seeks to bridge the representation disparity by inviting AAPI filmmakers to share their stories with the Seattle arts community to celebrate their creations and gain well deserved recognition.

From incidental murder, to wistful reminiscence, SAAFF boasts a versatile selection with something for everyone to enjoy. The annual showcase includes feature films and shorts directed by a diverse lineup of creators with origins spanning the Asian diaspora. Each film spotlights the universal joys and sorrows that grace our lives, colored by the nuance of varied cultural experiences.

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"Sámi Film Festival": An Exploration of the Sámi Female Experience

Review of Sámi Film Festival at National Nordic Museum

Written by Teen Writer Olivia Lee and edited by Esha Potharaju

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Content warning: sexual assault and death

The Sámi Film Festival is an exciting showcase of female focused films at the Seattle Nordic Museum. As this is TeenTix’s first act of new partnership with the Seattle Nordic Museum, this is a very special event! Honoring the work of Sámi female directors, the films reflect on difficult topics like sexual assault and violence against Indigenous women. Through an intriguing selection of nine documentary and fictional films, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy at the Sámi Film Festival.

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March Events Open Doorways to the Seattle Arts Scene

Teen Editorial Staff March 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Esha Potharaju

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This month on the TeenTix blog, we’re featuring events that force viewers to reject surface level understanding of life. These arts events venture underground, focusing on stories that have previously been untold, underrepresented, or underappreciated.

SIFF starts off on March 1st with the 2002 film Whale Rider, the story of a Mayori girl battling against stereotypes with the hopes to one day become chief. Similarly, Seattle Public Theater delves into stereotypes and their harm through the musical 110 in the Shade. The source material of the show was written in the 1950s and centers the theme of uncovering, as the main character Lizzie uncovers her own personal truths.

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Celebrating the Venues We Love This February

Teen Editorial Staff February 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Kyle Gerstel and Yoon Lee

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It’s love season and we at TeenTix have many partners we adore (partner venues, that is). We love seeing our partners invest in new works, so we are thrilled to have three world premieres from TeenTix venues this February. Dacha Theatre, a new addition to the TeenTix Pass Program, is debuting the electro-synth musical An Incomplete List of All the Things I’m Going to Miss When the World is No Longer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT Theatre Core Company member Reginald André Jackson pursued an extensive research project about forgotten Black theatre artists, which has culminated in the production History of Theatre: About, By, For, and Near. The play explores whether the history of the oppressed can properly be shared without expressing oppression.

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