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, […]

 Neely Swanson

“Citizen K” – Special [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Citizen K” – Special [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Citizen K,” the multi-layered documentary by the masterful Alex Gibney (“Going Clear”), focuses its lens on the enigmatic and peripatetic life of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, formerly the richest man and one of the first oligarchs of the “new” Russia under Boris Yeltsin. Unapologetic in his pursuit of wealth, K (as we will refer […]

 Neely Swanson

“Scandalous” – It really is [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Scandalous” – It really is [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer,” a wonderfully conceived documentary by Mark Landsman, will really surprise you. From the history of its creation to its sordid present, it doesn’t disappoint. It all goes back to Papa, or Generoso Pope, an Italian immigrant, who with the help of “connected” friends set up the Italian […]

 Neely Swanson

“Mr. Klein” – Nothing small about it [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Mr. Klein” – Nothing small about it [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Mr. Klein,” Joseph Losey’s brilliant, multi-layered film of 1976 has been given a well-deserved rerelease by Rialto Pictures, a company that Kenneth Turan justifiably called “the gold-standard of re-issue distributors.” In a sterile examination room a naked woman, terrified, stands. The physician’s nasal voice drones as he pokes and prods at her. […]

 Neely Swanson

“Sound of Silence” – Too bad it’s not [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Sound of Silence” – Too bad it’s not [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Sound of Silence,” directed by Michael Tyburski and co-written by Tyburski and Ben Nabors, was based on their short film of the same name. Never have I seen a more vivid example of why most short films should stay short films. Briefly, and I wish they had been, Peter Lucien (Peter Sarsgaard) […]

 Neely Swanson

“Spider in the Web” – Quite tangled [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Spider in the Web” – Quite tangled [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Spider in the Web,” a film from Israeli director Eran Riklis with an international cast, is a somewhat convoluted thriller with John Le Carré pretensions that succeeds more than it fails. A tale of the Mossad, international espionage, Syria, biological weapons, and industrial corruption at the highest levels, Riklis and writers Gidon […]

 Neely Swanson

“Vita & Virginia” – Not for the virginal [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Vita & Virginia” – Not for the virginal [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Vita & Virginia,” a snapshot into the upper-class bohemia of London in the 1920s, delineates the lives of two major female literary figures in ways both intellectual and erotic. Directed by Chanya Button and written by Button based on a play by the incomparable actress Eileen Atkins (who should be credited as […]

 Neely Swanson

“Non-Fiction” – Not without friction

“Non-Fiction” – Not without friction

by Neely Swanson “Non-Fiction,” a film written and directed by Olivier Assayas, is a movie only the French would make. From the positive side, this is a clever, deep, thoughtful and intelligent film. On the negative side, this is a verbal exercise that American audiences may not have the patience for; and more’s the pity. […]

 Neely Swanson

“Tolkien” – Finding Middle Earth [MOVIE]

“Tolkien” – Finding Middle Earth [MOVIE]

by Neely Swanson Director Dome Karukoski and writers David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford take us on a marvelous journey in “Tolkien,” the rarest of biopics that truly enlightens and entertains. There is a proviso, however, as the Tolkien estate disavowed the film without having ever seen it. More’s the pity for, authorized or not, it […]

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