Give ‘Em Hell, Malone

Like a drifter, he was born to walk alone.

Living the hardscrabble life, Thomas Jane prowls the dirty, dangerous streets, gun in hand, scowl permanently etched on his face.

He used to be a private eye with a family, now he’s something different – a hard man willing to do rough jobs if the pay is right.

But, somewhere deep under the layers of bitterness and hurt still (barely) beats a conscience which won’t be completely silenced.

Directed with customary snap by Highlander main man Russell Mulcahy, this might be mid-level noir.

But mid-level noir is still better than no noir.

The Vanished

Weirdness in the woods.

Nothing is as it seems in this twist-heavy missing child mystery, which starts overheated, then descends into all-out bat-shit crazy territory.

A child goes missing, her parents start acting out in increasingly odd ways, and melancholy, haunted small town sheriff Jason Patric watches everything go to Hell on a case which he hopes offers personal redemption.

Writer/director Peter Facinelli, a solid actor making a case for himself as a man of many talents, keeps everything percolating, adding little mysteries to the big one, then having great fun playing with our expectations.

This one’s a devious delight.

The Mist

Right in the nads.

Director Frank Darabont is an old pro at translating Stephen King to the screen, having helmed The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

His third time out, he goes for the jugular, delivering a devastating ending that, while different from the original source, drew praise from its writer.

“The ending is such a jolt!,” King said, and the bleak, unforgiving nature of the final scene makes the film it caps one which lingers in the imagination.

There are monsters out there, hidden in the swirling fog, but there are monsters inside as well. Never doubt that.