Neely Swanson

“Afterimage” – Burned in the brain [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Afterimage” – Burned in the brain [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Afterimage,” the final film in the illustrious career of Andrzej Wajda, the winner of an honorary Academy Award in 2000, is ostensibly about Wladyslaw Strzeminski, the great Russian/Polish painter and one of the founders of the Constructivist movement in Poland, having worked alongside Kazimir Malevich in Russia. Moving from Russia to Lithuania […]

 Neely Swanson

Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story – eternally yours [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story” is documentary filmmaker Daniel Raim’s ode to a couple whose greatest triumph was their relationship.  Amusingly and appropriately told using archival film footage, interviews, home movies, and storyboards by the talented Patrick Mate, “Harold and Lillian” is about Harold Michelson, one of Hollywood’s premier storyboard […]

 Neely Swanson

“Burden” – Rarely [MOVIE REVIEW]

Chris Burden, one of the leading artists emerging in the 70s and part of the so-called “California School,” is given an excellent posthumous send-off in Richard Dewey and Timothy Marrinan’s documentary entitled “Burden.” Burden rose to national fame, some would say infamy, while still a graduate student in the newly formed art division at the […]

 Neely Swanson

“Truman” – An allegory [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Truman” – An allegory [MOVIE REVIEW]

  by Neely Swanson  “Truman” is a sincere attempt at showing the intimacy only old friends can share. Julián, a respected actor, is dying. He knows it, his friends know it and maybe even his dog Truman knows it. Still, he is surprised when Tomas, now living in Canada with his wife and children, shows […]

 Neely Swanson

“Betting on Zero” – but it may be all you’re left [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Betting on Zero” – but it may be all you’re left [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Betting on Zero, the brilliant new docu-thriller written and directed by Theodore Braun, follows the story of Bill Ackman, billionaire CEO and portfolio manager of Pershing Square Capital Management as he tries to uncover the true pyramid scheme structure of Herbalife, the multibillion dollar firm that, while ostensibly promoting a healthy lifestyle […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Salesman” – A tough sale [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Salesman” – A tough sale [MOVIE REVIEW]

  “The Salesman,” the latest film from Iranian master Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation,” “The Past”), is another strong character drama in which a tragic circumstance tears at the fabric of what had been a strong relationship. Present day Tehran has all the problems of big cities everywhere to which is added insoluble infrastructure problems, a […]

 Neely Swanson

“Things to Come” – Life goes on [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Things to Come” – Life goes on [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Things to Come,” written and directed by Mia Hansen Løve, arrives on the scene with a major calling card – its actress, the incomparable Isabelle Huppert. Ms. Huppert is that rare star, surely she deserves her own solar system, who bears watching no matter the material. In the case of “Things to […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Lovers and the Despot” – A film to die for [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Lovers and the Despot” – A film to die for [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson In an absolute case of “truth is stranger than fiction,” “The Lovers and the Despot” both defies credulity and inspires awe.  This documentary by Rob Cannan and Ross Adam tells the story of South Korean film makers, Shin Sang-ok, a director of renown, and his ex-wife Choi Eun-hee, that country’s most famous […]

 Neely Swanson

“London Road” – To and from and back again [MOVIE REVIEW]

“London Road” – To and from and back again [MOVIE REVIEW]

  by Neely Swanson “London Road,” ostensibly about serial killings that centered on one street, the aforementioned London Road, in the seaside city of Ipswich about 70 miles from London, is deceptively about the much bigger topic of community under siege. Originally work-shopped at the National Theatre, conceived and written by Alecky Blythe in collaboration […]

 Neely Swanson

“Fatima” – Nowhere to turn [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Fatima” – Nowhere to turn [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Fatima” is certainly a well-intentioned film. Director Philippe Faucon grew up in France as a first generation child in a family where his grandparents never spoke French. They were part of an immigrant class who came to a new country and had a difficult time maneuvering in a culture that was alien […]

 Neely Swanson

“My King” – My life [MOVIE REVIEW]

“My King” – My life [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson In “My King,” writer/director Maïwenn  has given us the gift of another superb character drama of disturbing proportions. Her pervious film, “Polisse” was an intimate, one might even say claustrophobic study of the relationships between the members of the Child Protection Unit who form unbreakable bonds and support while investigating the kinds […]

 Neely Swanson

“Abortion: Stories Women Tell” – Thoughtfully and painfully [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Abortion: Stories Women Tell” – Thoughtfully and painfully [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson Produced by HBO, one of the high water marks of documentary filmmaking, “Abortion: Stories Women Tell” is thoughtfully and incisively directed by Tracy Droz Tragos. “Abortion: Stories Women Tell” highlights the impact the lack of medical availability has on the women of Missouri, her home state and one of four states in […]

 Neely Swanson

“Argentina” – Better than the film [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Argentina” – Better than the film [MOVIE REVIEW]

  by Neely Swanson Carlos Saura, the renowned Spanish filmmaker now in his mid 80s, has focused his lens on the folk dances of Argentina, much like he has done with the Flamenco, tango and fado music cultures. Enamored of the folk tradition of the Argentine countryside he has gathered together a group of popular […]

 Neely Swanson

“Our Kind of Traitor” – But definitely one of us [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Our Kind of Traitor” – But definitely one of us [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Our Kind of Traitor,” Hossein Amini’s brilliant adaptation of John LeCarré’s novel directed by Susanna White, is breathtaking in every sense of the word from first moment to last. Opening on a dancer in mid-aerial pirouette, impossibly muscled, impossibly athletic, impossibly daring, White establishes her plot and characters immediately with this metaphoric […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Fits” – Fit in [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Fits” – Fit in [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Fits,” the narrative feature debut of Anna Rose Holmer, who directed, produced and co-wrote this film, was conceived and executed at part of the Venice Biennale Cinema College program, a complement to the Venice International Film Festival. Toni, played in a dazzling debut by Royalty Hightower, is an eleven-year old whose primary afterschool activity […]

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