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 […]

 Neely Swanson

“The Fencer” – Stays there too long [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Fencer” – Stays there too long [MOVIE REVIEW]

“The Fencer,” the overly sincere “based on a true story” film about Endel Nelis, an Estonian fencing master who is forced to flee Leningrad after the war as Stalin ramps up his purge of Estonians, considered  enemies of the State because they were drafted by the Nazis in World War II. Arriving in Haapsalou, Estonia, […]

 Neely Swanson

“Whose Streets?” – Good question [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Whose Streets?” – Good question [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Whose Streets?” is a heartfelt and emotional documentary inspired by the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. Written and directed by Sabaah Folayan and co-directed by Damon Davis, the film vividly expresses the anger felt by African American communities everywhere faced with this and too many other similar incidents that […]

 Neely Swanson

“Stefan Zweig – Farewell to Europe” – He won’t be back [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Stefan Zweig – Farewell to Europe” – He won’t be back [MOVIE REVIEW]

by Neely Swanson “Stefan Zweig, Farewell to Europe,” is a well-intentioned portrait of the last years of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, one of the world’s most recognized writers of the pre- and post- World War II period. A secular Jew, he recognized the rising dangers in his homeland and exiled himself to England in 1934.  […]

 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 […]

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