Neely Swanson

“Bay of Silence” – Better that way [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Bay of Silence” – Better that way [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Bay of Silence,” directed by Paula van der Oest (“Zus and Zo”) and written by Caroline Goodall, is a film of almosts. Aiming to be a mystery/thriller in the vein of Hitchcock, it never achieves that lofty goal. It’s almost a thriller, it’s almost a mystery, it’s almost a love story; but […]

 Neely Swanson

“Kaye Ballard–The Show Goes on” –– Oh! Kaye! [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Kaye Ballard–The Show Goes on” –– Oh! Kaye! [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Kaye Ballard- The Show Goes On” is a love affair directed by Dan Wingate about one of the most talented singer/actresses of the 20th Century who is virtually unknown to anyone under the age of 50. Her last television series regular roles were on “The Doris Day Show” (1970–72) and “The Mothers-in-Law” […]

 Neely Swanson

“Sometimes Always Never” – Almost [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Sometimes Always Never” – Almost [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Sometimes Always Never,” a valiant effort at making a Wes Anderson-type film, is just that – an effort. It would have been better if it didn’t look so deliberately copied from the Anderson playbook (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Royal Tenenbaums”), using his color palette and shaggy dog-type narrative. Adopting the […]

 Neely Swanson

“And We Go Green” – and really fast [MOVIE REVIEW]

“And We Go Green” – and really fast [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “And We Go Green” is the fascinating story of a new race for speed. Directors Fisher Stevens and Malcolm Venville have laid out the story of Formula E, the all-electric race that follows the Formula 1 template but with newer, even more cutting-edge technology. What follows is a speedy (yes, I meant […]

 Neely Swanson

“Lance” – Straight through the heart [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Lance” – Straight through the heart [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “LANCE,” is an outstanding documentary by Marina Zenovich, the award-winning director of “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.” Clearly Zenovich is unafraid of untouchables. A two-part documentary made for ESPN as part of their excellent 30 for 30 series, traces Armstrong’s life, goals, successes, and failures beginning with his childhood. And to quickly […]

 Neely Swanson

“Military Wives” – Conduct very becoming [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Military Wives” – Conduct very becoming [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Military Wives,” directed by Peter Cattaneo of “Full Monty” fame, treads familiar, mine-strewn territory and comes out alive. The soldiers, both men and women, of Flitcroft military base have just been called up for another Afghanistan deployment of up to six months. The spouses will be, once again, left to cope on their own. The […]

 Neely Swanson

“Robert the Bruce” – No pining here [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Robert the Bruce” – No pining here [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Two hours has rarely seemed as never-ending as “Robert the Bruce,” the film directed by Richard Gray and written by Eric Belgau and Angus Macfadyen. Beginning several years after the events in the far superior “Braveheart,” and using the conceit of having Macfadyen reprise his “Braveheart” role as Robert the Bruce, the […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Booksellers” – Content but no content [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Booksellers” – Content but no content [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson D.W. Young set out to pay homage to the magical world of books and those who revere them in “The Booksellers.” Opening on the 2018 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, Young profiles various book dealers who inhabit that world, as well as some of the collectors who frequent their stalls. I […]

 Neely Swanson

“Resistance” – No problem [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Resistance” – No problem [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Resistance,” a film written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, had a presumably interesting topic to cover, the wartime heroics of Marcel Marceau, and squandered it. Marcel Marceau, the internationally famous mime, was born Marcel Mangel, the Jewish son of a butcher in Strasbourg, France. Wanting nothing more than to act, he honed […]

 Neely Swanson

“D. Wade: Life Unexpected” – And well-lived [MOVIE REVIEW]

“D. Wade: Life Unexpected” – And well-lived [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “D. Wade: Life Unexpected” is a documentary directed, filmed, and produced about the life of Dwyane Wade by his friend Bob Metelus for ESPN. Very much in the cinema verité style, Matelus was fortunate to have access to home movies and videos from Wade’s early years, as well as exciting footage from […]

 Neely Swanson

The Times of Bill Cunningham – In no time at all [MOVIE REVIEW]

The Times of Bill Cunningham – In no time at all [MOVIE REVIEW]

The Times of Bill Cunningham, a delightful documentary written and directed by Mark Bozek, hitherto most famous as CEO of the Home Shopping Network, chronicles the life of a true individualist. Many people viewing the film will instantly recognize the name of Bill Cunningham as the photographer of the fashionable for the New York Times. […]

 Neely Swanson

“Premature” – But just a bit undercooked [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Premature” – But just a bit undercooked [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Premature,” the thoughtful independent film directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green and written by Green and Zora Howard, who also plays the lead, is, like the title, a bit premature. The writers’ desire was to tell a story of their community that veered from the current beaten path. The Harlem they know and […]

 Neely Swanson

“The White Sheik” – Many different colors [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The White Sheik” – Many different colors [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson In a new 4K restoration by Rialto, “The White Sheik,” directed and co-written by Federico Fellini in 1952,  is given a new lease on life. It is an interesting choice for re-release because artistically it is something of a mess, but historically it is well deserved. “The White Sheik” is the story […]

 Neely Swanson

“Three Christs” – Too Many [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Three Christs” – Too Many [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Like Mary McCarthy’s famous quote about Lillian Hellman: “Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the,’” “Three Christs,” a film claiming to be based on fact is as manipulative and dishonest as the study it allegedly recounts. Instead of opening with “Based on actual events,” it should say “Three […]

 Neely Swanson

“Mob Town” – Bom(b) Town [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Mob Town” – Bom(b) Town [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson So much can be said about “Mob Town” and none of it is good. Directed badly by Danny A. Abeckaser, an actor of little renown, written poorly by Jon Carlo, Abeckaser’s collaborator (there can be no better use of that word) on their ill-received feature “First We Take Brooklyn,” and Joe Gilford, […]

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