Friday movie roundup – Oct. 19

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It’s another active week for movies. Between last week’s huge list and today’s, I have been busier than the proverbial one-legged man (pictured) in the proverbial butt-kicking contest (not pictured).

I really liked “30 Days of Night,” the graphic-novel-based thriller about vampires invading an Alaskan town that has a month of darkness — which is a pretty clever idea for a vampire movie, you must admit. Mayhem ensues.

Critics are split on “30 Days of Night,” but we’re almost unanimous on “Gone Baby Gone”: We likey. It’s Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, and if you want proof that most critics are honest, sincere writers, look at how many of them are freely admitting today that they thought this thing would suck and were pleasantly surprised. If we were as cynical as some people think we are, we would refuse to admit it, the way we refuse to admit how much we secretly love Adam Sandler movies.

Anyway, “Gone Baby Gone” is a fantastic mystery/thriller about a kidnapped child and related crimes. It’s based on a novel by Dennis Lehane, who also wrote “Mystic River.” Got a thing about Boston cops and missing kids, Lehane does.

Next up: “Things We Lost in the Fire,” a respectable drama about loss and grieving and whatnot. It stars Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, both very good. Maybe Halle won’t have to give back that Oscar after all. (I said MAYBE.)

More grieving and loss in “Reservation Road,” in limited release today, about two families affected by the accidental death of a young boy. The acting is fine (Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo star), but it’s centered around coincidences that are implausible and out of place in an intimate drama like this one.

Then there’s “Rendition,” with an all-star cast of Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Alan Arkin, and Peter Sarsgaard, all of them coming out very strongly against torture. Yes, they’ve gone out on a limb here. This is my Film.com review this week, so go read it there.

Finally, two films weren’t screened for critics: “The Comebacks,” a spoof of inspiring sports movies, and “Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour,” which purports to be a spooky ghost story for family audiences.

Oh, and allegedly there’s an animated version of “The Ten Commandments,” but I’m not sure I believe it really exists.

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