Neely Swanson

“Maineland”- Not mainstream [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Maineland”- Not mainstream [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Maineland” is a thoughtful documentary by Miao Wang that is intended to shed light on the trend of newly wealthy mainland Chinese parents sending their high school-aged children to the United States for an education that will prepare them for the global economy. Several factors, whether or not intended, complicate this rather […]

 Neely Swanson

“Summer 1993” – A change of seasons [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Summer 1993” – A change of seasons [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson The world of six-year old Frida has just been upended in Carla Simón’s autobiographical film, “Summer 1993.” In putting much of her own personal story on screen, director/writer Simón balances the tragic with the heroic, the perplexing with the knowing. Frida’s parents have recently died and she is shipped from her native […]

 Neely Swanson

“That Summer” – Hot and cool and messy

“That Summer” – Hot and cool and messy

by Neely Swanson Andy Warhol! Jackie Onassis! Mick Jagger! Truman Capote! Appearing briefly in “That Summer,” a messy, delightful and perplexing film that plays like the home movie reels they are, trying to be one thing and then another and another, never quite succeeding, but never failing either. Peter Beard, a renowned photographer, was on […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Escape” – Hers or ours [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Escape” – Hers or ours [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “The Escape,” a film conceived, written and directed by Dominic Savage is a well-intentioned effort to portray the slow suffocation of a young wife in her role as the stay-at-home mother with a seemingly perfect life. Savage understands full well that what seems perfect on the outside is often not the complete […]

 Neely Swanson

“Le Corbeau”- Malevolence takes flight [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Le Corbeau”- Malevolence takes flight [MOVIE REVIEW]

  by Neely Swanson Le Corbeau, by Henri-Georges Clouzot has been reissued in a 4K digital restoration that emphasizes every shadow, angle, and atmospheric danger that lingers around every corner of this seemingly picture-perfect town. Recognized now as an early classic of film noir, it was Clouzot’s masterpiece of psychological suspense, misinterpreted and reviled by […]

 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 […]

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