Neely Swanson

“Lives Well Lived” – A collective knowledge of 3000 Years [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Lives Well Lived” – A collective knowledge of 3000 Years [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Lives Well Lived,” Sky Bergman’s joyful little documentary had its roots in one particular life well lived, that of Bergman’s gregarious Italian grandmother Evelyn Ricciuti. Marveling at Ricciutti’s energy whether cooking for her extended family or going regularly to the gym to work out, Bergman felt that there must be some key […]

 Neely Swanson

“Quai des Orfèvres”- Truly golden [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Quai des Orfèvres”- Truly golden [MOVIE REVIEW]

  by Neely Swanson “Quai des Orfèvres,” by Henri-Georges Clouzot, has been reissued in a 4K digital restoration that crisply heightens the shadows, angles and grit that made this a masterpiece of film noir. Clouzot, perhaps most famous for two films that followed—Diabolique and The Wages of Fear—knew how to create a complex psychological drama […]

 Neely Swanson

“An Ordinary Man” – In no sense of the word [MOVIE REVIEW]

“An Ordinary Man” – In no sense of the word [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “An Ordinary Man,” written and directed by Brad Silberling, is a perplexing film. It is not perplexing in terms of how the story is told, only why there was a need to tell it. A Bosnian general, convicted in absentia of crimes against humanity, has been hidden in plain sight since the […]

 Neely Swanson

“Shelter” – Us [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Shelter” – Us [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Shelter,” advertised as a subtle thriller suffers from a bit too much subtlety. Eran Riklis, the director/writer of “Shelter,” attempted, with this film, to integrate the contradictions in the meaning of shelter. Shelter implies protection and safety but his film illustrates the illusory nature of such a thing. Mona, a Lebanese woman […]

 Neely Swanson

“Ismael’s Ghosts” – Not very haunting [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Ismael’s Ghosts” – Not very haunting [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Ismael’s Ghosts,” Arnaud Desplechin’s latest attempt to create a philosophical legacy, is an unholy mess with either too many or too few messages. Gifted with an extraordinary cast of internationally acclaimed actors — Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the incomparable Marion Cotillard — Desplechin embroils them in a complicated scenario that he […]

 Neely Swanson

“Oh Lucy!” – Makes us oh-struck [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Oh Lucy!” – Makes us oh-struck [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Oh Lucy!” is another in what is turning out to be a trend in multi-national film-making. Directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, based on her short film of the same name, and co-written with Boris Frumin, “Oh Lucy!” is a stunning feature film debut. The movie is set in the Japan of robotic career […]

 Neely Swanson

“Young Karl Marx” – A head of his time [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Young Karl Marx” – A head of his time [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Young Karl Marx,” the multi-national film directed by Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro), who co-wrote the screenplay with Pascal Bonitzer, is a very ambitious film. Breathing life into the historic characters of Karl Marx and his, shall we say, co-star Friedrich Engels is a gargantuan task. Peck attempts, and mostly […]

 Neely Swanson

“My Art” – But not mine [MOVIE REVIEW]

“My Art” – But not mine [MOVIE REVIEW]

  by Neely Swanson “My Art,” is a very personal film by artist Laurie Simmons who not only wrote and directed it, but also stars as lead character Ellie. She is, unfortunately, not a triple threat. Ellie is an art teacher of renown in New York city, an influence on many but anonymous to most. […]

 Neely Swanson

“Big Sonia” – A giant in stature [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Big Sonia” – A giant in stature [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Big Sonia,” a documentary and labor of love by Leah Warshawski (Sonia’s granddaughter) and Todd Soliday, is a tribute to an unsung heroine with secrets to reveal for the better good and secrets to withhold for her own sake. Sonia Warshawski, 92, still goes to work every day at John’s Tailoring, an […]

 Neely Swanson

“Rebels on Pointe” – Definitely not pointless [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Rebels on Pointe” – Definitely not pointless [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Rebels on Pointe,” directed by Canadian documentarian Bobbi Jo Hart, is a celebration on so many different levels. A gay (both the literal and colloquial meanings of the word) fairy tale where all the characters (and they really are characters) triumph and live happily ever after; or so they would have you believe. “Rebels on […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Crime of Monsieur Lange” – a crime to miss [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Crime of Monsieur Lange” – a crime to miss [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson In a new 4K restoration, Jean Renoir’s too seldom seen 1936 classic “The Crime of Monsieur Lange” is a pure pleasure. Spoiler alert: this is an “old” (some would say ancient) black and white film with actors you’ve never heard of in a style that some might consider stagey and I consider […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Square” – More than four sides [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Square” – More than four sides [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.” So reads the inscription on the work of art around which this complex narrative flows. Ruben Östlund, as director and writer of The Square, has stated that he was interested in exploring the topics […]

 Neely Swanson

“Polina” – Ballerina [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Polina” – Ballerina [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Coming of age movies come in all shapes and sizes but rarely do they deal with the issues faced by Polina.  A dancer groomed at a very early age to gain entry to the prestigious Bolshoi ballet, she trains relentlessly. Enormous parental sacrifices are made in order to help their daughter, who, […]

 Neely Swanson

“Le Trou” – Whole in so many ways [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Le Trou” – Whole in so many ways [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Thousands of prisoners have been incarcerated at La Santé prison in Paris since 1867 and many were guillotined, a practiced that was abandoned when the death penalty was ended in 1981. Only three have ever escaped. “Le Trou” (“The Hole,”) originally released in France in 1960 and the U.S. in 1964, presented […]

 Special Contributor

Documentary “Whose Streets?” is a captivating call to action [MOVIE-REVIEW]

Documentary “Whose Streets?” is a captivating call to action [MOVIE-REVIEW]

by Morgan Rojas/www.cinemacy.com On August 9th, 2014 – a little over three years ago– an 18-year-old, unarmed black student named Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Just a day before, this northern suburb of St. Louis was virtually unknown to the rest of the world, but that would soon change in the most […]

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