Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Movies

Holocaust film 'In Darkness' exclusively at Woodlands Square 20 in Oldsmar

In Darkness (R) (145 min.) — Oskar Schindler wasn't the only World War II opportunist to see the light and save Jews from capture by Nazis, just the first with a movie based on that conscience shift, and a better one than this. Director Agnieszka Holland's overlong, at times indecipherable movie was nominated for the best foreign language film Academy Award but against A Separation it never had a chance of winning.

The theme of In Darkness is familiar to anyone who saw Schindler's List, but Holland's portrayal is decidedly less compelling than Steven Spielberg's. The unlikely saint in this case is an amoral sewer worker named Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz), who discovered Jews hiding beneath the streets of Lvov, Poland.

Rather than turning over the fugitives to Nazi occupiers, Socha profited from them, selling supplies to survive in a murky, septic underworld. Holland spends much of her film exploring these gloomy catacombs, and viewers should hope the projector is fitted with a new lamp, as dimly as the drama plays out in largely natural lighting. Of all the feelings this story could inspire, eyestrain shouldn't be one.

Unlike Spielberg, Holland doesn't canonize the victims, at times making the hidden Jews an unseemly lot, rutting in the shadows like animals in heat and deceiving each other when they should unite. This may be honest — the film is based on Robert Marshall's true-life book — but it undercuts the significance of Socha's risky acts. At times the sewer dwellers don't appear worth saving, except for Socha's profiting. This can't be the filmmaker's intention but it's there.

In Darkness is shown with English subtitles, exclusively at Woodlands Square 20 in Oldsmar. B-

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

Comments
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18
This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

It’s a spring cleaning weekend at multiplexes, with studios vacuuming every dollar from current releases before the Avengers and Amy Schumer drop in next week. If you’ve seen A Quiet Place, Ready Player One and Black Panther, this is probably a good ...
Published: 04/18/18
R. Lee Ermey, drill sergeant in ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ dies at 74

R. Lee Ermey, drill sergeant in ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ dies at 74

.LOS ANGELES — R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine who made a career in Hollywood playing hard-nosed military men like Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s "Full Metal Jacket," has died. Ermey’s longtime manager Bill Rogin says he died Sunday morning ...
Published: 04/15/18
Rays stadium backers sponsor free screening of ‘Field of Dreams’ at Tampa Theatre

Rays stadium backers sponsor free screening of ‘Field of Dreams’ at Tampa Theatre

TAMPA — It would take hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays, and more than a few dreams, too.So a business group advocating for a stadium in Ybor City is joining with the Tampa Theatre for a free screening of t...
Published: 04/13/18
What’s in theaters: ‘Beirut,’ ‘Rampage,’ ‘Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare’

What’s in theaters: ‘Beirut,’ ‘Rampage,’ ‘Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare’

INDIE FLICKS:BEIRUTJon Hamm has no trouble looking like a movie star. Dapper or bedraggled, it doesn’t matter what kind of role. He’ll make it believable. What he doesn’t have yet is a starring role worthy of his talent, although Beirut (R) comes pre...
Published: 04/12/18
Helen Hunt plays my high school gym teacher in ‘The Miracle Season’

Helen Hunt plays my high school gym teacher in ‘The Miracle Season’

I never had school spirit. I didn’t go to many football games, and I never owned a West High shirt. (Green doesn’t look good on me.) Then I moved away, and tragedy struck my high school.The Miracle Season, now in theaters, is the tear-jerking true st...
Updated one month ago
Why it’d be even scarier to watch John Krasinski’s ‘A Quiet Place’ at home instead of in theater

Why it’d be even scarier to watch John Krasinski’s ‘A Quiet Place’ at home instead of in theater

A Quiet Place is where John Krasinski’s hushed experiment in terror should be watched, not at multiplexes where silence is easily broken.Krasinski’s movie wrings fright from silence so well that he accidentally makes a case for waiting until home vid...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘A Quiet Place,’ ‘Blockers,’ ‘The Miracle Season’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘A Quiet Place,’ ‘Blockers,’ ‘The Miracle Season’

A QUIET PLACEReal-life married couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, right, need to keep it down in A Quiet Place (PG-13). Silence isn’t just golden; it can save your life.Krasinski and Blunt play Lee and Evelyn, whose family has survived a worldwid...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘The Death of Stalin,’ ‘Tyler Perry’s Acrimony’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘The Death of Stalin,’ ‘Tyler Perry’s Acrimony’

INDIE FLICKS: THE DEATH OF STALINDespite its somber title, The Death of Stalin (R) is the year’s funniest movie so far, delivered by director/co-writer Armando Iannucci with the politically profane snarl he brought to HBO’s Veep and In the Loop. The ...
Updated one month ago
‘Ready Player One,’ all retro references and CGI dazzle, lacks emotional pull of Spielberg classics

‘Ready Player One,’ all retro references and CGI dazzle, lacks emotional pull of Spielberg classics

After two hours of pop clutter and video game clatter, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One has the audacity to proclaim reality matters. Kind of like a snuff film with an end note saying murder is bad.Ready Player One is soulless validation of a cult...
Updated one month ago