Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
David Elliott shines a big light on In Darkness and its director, Agnieszka Holland: "Holland, 63, is one of those strong, honest, humane directors (The Secret Garden, Europa Europa, Washington Square) whose films get terrific reviews but seldom leave the art-film 'ghetto.' In Darkness is a consummate work, not so soberly elegant as Polanski’s The Pianist and less rigged to make a Total Statement about the Final Solution than Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Next to Oskar Schindler, Poldek seems a modest hero. That is why he deeply fits this scared, self-doubting, honestly detailed heroism, and by the end he looms large in our gratitude." That last bit about the hero is what has me the most interested. I like heroism that shows up as a tiny diamond buried in soft self-interest - something unyielding that has to be dug for, or forcibly exposed.
On a much brighter note, he also enjoyed Chico & Rita, a cartoon for grown-ups about Cuba, music, and love. "As in many animations, the story is skeletal. Also generic and a touch corny. But couldn’t the same be said of many good songs and musicals? Chico & Rita has a molten heat of belief in its lovers and its music."
And Rampart, Woody Harrelson's entry into the Bad Policemen's Ball? Woody is "is built like a bullet to play the role," but "maybe because writer Ellroy was so busy slumming and sleazing the material, the film never gains much plot speed or the absorbing grip of last year’s The Lincoln Lawyer." Still.
More like this:
- Opening this week: See Fecha de Caducidad at the Digital Gym before it expires — Aug. 9, 2013
- The best and worst movies of 2012 — Jan. 2, 2013
- Bert Fields, a Hollywood lawyer on the side of America's good taste — Oct. 24, 2012
- Movie Reviews: In Darkness, Chico & Rita, Rampart — Feb. 22, 2012
- Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance — Feb. 18, 2012