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"The Mist"

Directed by Frank Darabont.
Written by Frank Darabont.
Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden and Toby Jones.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  11/26/07


Stephen King, Frank Darabont, "The Shawshank Redemption."  Stephen King, Frank Darabont, "The Green Mile."  Stephen King, Frank Darabont, "The Mist."  Let's admit it--Frank Darabont just gets Stephen King, and the movie adaptations Darabont has done of King's work has been nothing short of fantastic.

"The Mist" has an even simpler initial setup than the other two King movies Darabont has done: an artist (Thomas Jane) takes his son (Nathan Gamble) from their home in Maine to a nearby supermarket just after a major storm.  About fifty people are in the store when a strange mist overtakes the visibility outside the store, and a older man (Jeffrey DeMunn, who like others in "The Mist" has appeared in other Darabont flicks of the past) runs inside the store screaming some nonsense about how a thing just came out of the mist and took a loved one.  Then, a whole bunch of craziness ensues.

"The Mist" is horror/sci-fi like many other King novels, but what makes the film so great is its pacing.  90% of the movie takes place in the supermarket, and somehow Darabont never makes this confining or rigid; he continuously re-invents the space to give us a fresh perspective on how things are going.  The horror elements and the special effects are sometimes cool, sometimes nasty, sometimes really bloody; but, they aren't played out like some of the recent "horror" PG-13 movies I have seen that rely solely on sounds or spooky, this horror is a mix of the supernatural and how scary we as a people can be when we are scared absolutely shitless.

And, Darabont once again has a great cast to play this drama out.  Jane has been the prototypical up-and-down star; great in the HBO baseball film "61*", bad in "The Punisher", great in "Deep Blue Sea", forgettable in another King thriller, "Dreamcatcher."  But, in "The Mist", he is great, mainly because he never really dominates the screen; he's believable as the unlikely leader of sanity within the supermarket.  Bit players are great--William Sadler, another Darabont regular, is once again superb, Laurie Holden (who was the female lead in Darabont's "The Majestic") is pretty good, Marcia Gay Harden as the lead religious fanatic is great, and Toby Jones, who played Truman Capote in a film called "Infamous", is good as a meek supermarket bagman, and Andre Braugher even gets some play here as a skeptical New York City lawyer who happened to pick the wrong day to visit his house in Maine.

I'll admit that there won't be many people who love "The Mist" as much as I do; even thinking about it now, some of the film will appear hokey to others.  But, the combination of the pace, the ideas, the acting and the brilliant ending (yes, brilliant) all made "The Mist" great, great stuff.  Give this one a look!

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09