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Weekend Movie Preview: 'Alex Cross,' 'Paranormal Activity 4,' & 'The Sessions'

October 19th, 2012 9:30am EDT

Alex Cross Poster Sorry I was MIA last week folks. I had screenings of “Argo,” “Seven Psychopaths,” and “Flight” three nights in a row. The screening of “Flight” was particularly exciting because I got to meet director Robert Zemeckis beforehand. It was an honor to shake hands with the man responsible for “Back to the Future,” one of my top five all-time favorite films. In case you missed my review of “Argo,” check it out. Reviews of “Seven Psychopaths” and “Flight” should be coming soon as well.

Coming to theaters this week, we have the crime thriller “Alex Cross” starring Tyler Perry; the fourth “Paranormal Activity” film, and the indie sex drama “The Sessions” with John Hawkes and Helen Hunt.

MY PICK: “The Sessions”

ALEX CROSS

Homicide detective Dr. Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is pushed to the edge of his ethical and physical limits when he goes head-to-head with a diabolical serial killer named Picasso (Matthew Fox), who focuses on torture.

Director: Rob Cohen (“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” “Stealth”)

Writers: Marc Moss (“Along Came a Spider”) and newcomer Kerry Wiliamson

Based On: James Patterson’s novel Cross

Notable Supporting Actors: Giancarlo Esposito, Jean Reno, Edward Burns, John C. McGinley, Rachel Nichols

ORIGINALITY RATING: Low. I haven’t had a desire to see the two other Alex Cross films “Along Came a Spider” or “Kiss the Girls,” and if Morgan Freeman couldn’t get my attention, then I don’t think Tyler Perry can. No matter how mean Perry talks in this trailer about meeting Picasso at “the gates of hell,” I’m just not buying him as a tough guy. The whole serial killer/cop cat-and-mouse game is already tired, and sadly this movie doesn’t appear to bring anything new to the concept. It’s refreshing that Matthew Fox from “Lost” is playing a villain, especially since he altered his physical appearance so much to play the part. Fox looks scary thin and muscular, though he too talks a big game, overselling the fact that he’s into pain, by saying it every other word. The only reason I could think of to watch this flick is for the sheer novelty of both these actors playing against type. Something tells me however, that curiosity alone isn’t justification enough to check it out.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: James Patterson aficionados who love seeing his Alex Cross tales translated to the big screen. If you’re anxious to see how actor Tyler Perry’s performance stacks up against Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of the same character, then you should watch “Alex Cross.”

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4

Five years after the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, a suburban family experiences bizarre happenings in their neighborhood following the arrival of a woman and mysterious child.

Directors: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“Paranormal Activity 3,” “Catfish”)

Writer: Christopher Landon (“Paranormal Activity 2 &3,” “Burning Palms”)

Based On: Story by Chad Feehan (“Beneath the Dark,” “Mandy Lane”)

Notable Voice Actors: Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder

ORIGINALITY RATING: Low. Want to know something I think is unusual and scary about this trailer? There’s a box of Golden Crisp on the counter in one of the shots. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eat that cereal, so that’s freaky right? The only thing that seems different about this “Paranormal Activity” film is the use of webcam footage, where one of the characters is interacting with another in the screen. That’s really not new though. I’ve already seen that in the found footage horror flick “V/H/S” and judging from this trailer, the other movie used the visual trick in a much more interesting and compelling way. I’m going to pass on “Paranormal Activity 4,” just like I did on 1-3.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: People who haven’t grown weary of this franchise or found footage style horror. Or if you’re just bored and looking for something spooky to see close to Halloween, you might give “Paranormal Activity 4” a shot.

THE SESSIONS

A man in an iron lung (John Hawkes) who hopes to lose his virginity seeks out a professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) with the help of his therapist (Moon Bloodgood) and his priest (William H. Macy).

Director/Writer: Ben Lewin (“Hollywood Gold,” “Paperback Romance”)

ORIGINALITY RATING: High. I can’t say I’ve seen any other films out there particularly like this one. The subject matter is pretty unique: a man in an iron lung trying to lose his virginity. What’s fascinating is that this man’s coming-of-age tale involves an unexpected sexual awakening late in his life. I really like the dialogue in the trailer because it’s funny in an understated way; nothing too raunchy or over the top. Everyone in it from William H. Macy, to Helen Hunt, and John Hawkes is effortlessly charming in their respective roles. After watching the trailer I’m disappointed in myself for not seeing this film sooner.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers who love barebones indie dramas with strong actors in the lead roles. If you enjoy John Hawkes as an actor and believe he’ll have great chemistry with Helen Hunt, then you should check out “The Sessions.”

Related: Alex Cross, Paranormal Activity 4, The Sessions, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Trailers, Weekend Movie Preview

Photo Credits: © Summit Entertainment

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