October 19, 2012, - 5:47 pm

Wknd Box Office: Alex Cross, Paranormal Activity 4

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing that great among the new movies at theaters, this weekend. Ironically (or maybe not), the low-budge movie is far better than the big budget one subsidized by the Michigan Film Tax Credit.

* “Alex Cross“: Absolutely awful. Just laughable, and not intentionally so. Tyler Perry assumes the role of police detective and profiler Alex Cross, previously played by Morgan Freeman in a couple of other, far better thrillers. The movie, paid for in no small amount by Michigan taxpayers, this movie is set in Detroit, and it stinks. The funniest part–which wasn’t meant as comedy–was when Cross’ wife isn’t sure she wants to movie to Washington, DC, because, she says, “I don’t even know what the public schools in Washington are like.” As if the public schools in Detroit are so shout-from-the-rooftops awesome. The audience at the screening I attended hooted and snickered with laughter.

A good mystery/whodunit gives the viewers some sort of hint as to the murderer (or his handlers) and why the murders are being done. There is no such hint in this flick, until the man pulling the strings and his reasons are unmasked. And I really didn’t care. This movie is just that G-d-awful bad. Alex Cross’ sidekick, played by actor Edward Burns, has a perfect Detroit accent . . . if you come from the Brooklyn, New York borough of Detroit. And there are so many other ridiculous things about this joke of a horribly violent, gruesome movie, not least of which is that it’s rated PG-13, and misguided parents will actually think it’s a good idea to bring their kids to this movie chock full of brutally graphic scenes of people dying while on fire, a woman having all ten of her fingers cut off, and a woman having had her eyes gouged out, along with facial disfigurement. Yup, it’s an incredibly disgusting unbearable movie.

And it’s filled with silly, unbelievable, soap-opera-like melodrama that is so over the top and overwrought, it’s absurd. The movie was neither thrilling nor entertaining. It was just slow, boring, and pointless. And the acting is terrible.

Then there’s the “story,” if you can call it that. Perry and Burns are on the trail of a crazy serial killer (Matthew Fox), the motivation of whom they cannot figure out, other than that he’s targeting a wealthy German man and his employees. Soon, he is also targeting the cops and their loved ones. But I just wanted everyone to die quickly, so this horrible piece of garbage would end and I could leave the theater.

You’ll do better than I did, if you just skip it altogether. I’m cross that I spent nearly two hours of life (I’ll never get back) on this.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Paranormal Activity 4“: This wasn’t the best of the “Paranormal Activity” movies. I liked the last one better, but this is better than the first. And it’s fine for its apparently target audience, which is teens and 20-somethings, other than the constant four-letter words. While it’s slightly scary, it’s not nearly as scary as “Paranormal Activity 3” (read my review) and some of it is slow-moving.

The movie begins with a scene showing an aunt taking her baby nephew away from a house. The aunt is the character from a previous Paranormal Activity movie, but you needn’t have seen it to understand this movie. We are told that they’ve never been seen again. Then the movie flashes forward to a new, unrelated story, or what appears to be. A cute, blonde teen girl (Kathryn Newton) and a teen guy friend of hers communicate via a laptop (it might be an iPad). The girl also has a video camera. Both the iPad and the video record what is happening in her house, and it appears to be haunted, as strange things keep happening. Some of the strange things appear to be connected to a boy from the house across the street. His mother has become ill, and the girl’s family takes him in. That’s when the strange things really start to happen at great frequency.

The movie is a tiny bit violent and it’s clearly not for young kids. But, as I said, it’s fine for the target audience and isn’t objectionable, so much as it is bland and seems like old hat after three previous “Paranormal Activity” movies with somewhat similar storylines.


Watch the trailer . . .

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11 Responses

When I saw a preview of “Alex Cross” in an NYC theater a while back some in the audience were yelling “WHERE’S THE DRESS”? This was a good point I thought. Tyler Perry can’t be a bad-ass if he’s famous for wearing drag in movies and stage productions. People want to see men as men in action movies and not as LGBT poster boys.

Marc on October 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

Can’t convince my wife to see Paranormal Activity 4 yet. As much as they’re low budget and slow, they have those delightful armchair gripping moments where the tension keeps getting built up. That camera attached to the slow moving base of the fan in #3 was brilliant. I’ll promise the missus a nice dinner to bribe her.

gmartinz on October 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm


“People want to see men as men in action movies and not as LGBT poster boys.”

FWIW, Tyler Perry is now engaged, and to a former model. Here is his future wife:


Also, Perry had a small role as Starfleet commander in Star Trek a few years back. While I will never forget his role in foisting the abomination that is “Precious” on us, it is good that he is taking risks trying to achieve mainstream success instead of being content to stay within his genre.

Gerald on October 20, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    He is expanding beyond his genre?

    You can do that when you’ve made millions on silly black movies for silly black people. Of which there are many, as witnessed by his hundreds of millions in bank he’s taken from them.

    PitandPen on October 21, 2012 at 12:51 am


      Who has made more silly movies for their silly audiences? Blacks? Or whites and Jews? To put it another way … who owns and controls Hollywood and the larger media? Blacks? Or whites and Jews? (To answer your question … there is only one legitimate studio owned by a black person, and that happens to be Tyler Perry’s very small and independent one. Also, NONE of the big media companies are owned and/or run by blacks.) So why focus on the former and not the latter? See the dreck and drivel that Ms. Schlussel gives her Marx reviews to week in and week out. Go look at who directed, produced, wrote, financed, distributed, and starred in them. Guess what? 99% of the time, it isn’t blacks like Perry. So methinks you are barking up the wrong tree.

      Gerald on October 21, 2012 at 11:18 am

        Gerald who cares who makes the movies when 99% of Hollywood films are CRAP? They have been insulting my intelligence since I was 12. Take the identity politics out of it and the question we should be all asking is why are they serving up this rancid crap to the happy masses?

        Then take the dopes who like it to task. These movies are retarded!

        As a teen I shunned ANY Arnold Schwarznegger film because his hammy one-liners made my eyes roll out of my head. But the general public ate it up like free cake. Puh-leeze!

        I remember way back in the early 90’s when I wanted to write a letter to BET and whinge about how they are a Black Entertainment channel but devolved into ghetto/rap channel. I resent that Blacks are predominantly seen in that vein (however, with the 70% out of wedlock birth rate and recipient class rate it’s the only road left traveled these days for that demographic…).

        BET could have really used their identity politics channel to at least delve into Black America culture and history in a more erudite and didactic way. Nope. It became a glorified “Yo, MTV Raps”. YUCK!

        My point is it doesn’t matter who is serving up the slop America likes to chug. It’s still slop and Yanks love to chug it! THAT is what pisses me off. But race always gets you off the beaten track!

        Skunky on October 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I’m “GLAAD” to see that his future wife has accepted his lifestyle choices. What would compel a man to dress as a woman if he didn’t aspire to be one…

    Marc on October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

It does not appear from your review that this movie will be another “Shaft”.

Panhandle on October 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm

The only “Shaft” you get these days is the one up your a** by paying exorbitant amounts of money to watch the garbage being produced by Hollyweird. There are very few movies these days which would compel me to shell out money to see at the theatre, even less so to rent it. It seems the best they can come up with is poor remakes of classics or based upon books in which the storylines are completely altered.

Unfortunately, the public seems to thrive on copious helpings of this fetid crap while padding the pockets of the movie industry shit mongers.

IceNoMore on October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

@ Gerald

You need to get your ass off the pity pot and quit playing the race card BS; Skunky was spot on calling BET out for what it is: the black answer to MTV. It may have started out on a good premise but morphed into another trash heap just as MTV did over the years. Another note….Soul Train was the black answer to American Bandstand. Everybody always has to have their own spin. I don’t have a bigoted bone in my body but I’m over this bullshit. Time to put your glasses on McGoo and see it for what it truly is.

IceNoMore on October 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Too bad about Alex Cross movie. I actually like most of Tyler Perry’s movies, even with the silly characters like Medea (Perry’s cross dressing role). The movies generally promote family and church over gangsta rap values.

Dave on October 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

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