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This Rotten Week: Predicting Alex Cross and Paranormal Activity 4 Reviews

Coming off a big week for the Rotten Watch, we’re looking to keep the momentum going. This time around we’ve got Alex Cross catching serial killers and more folk recording crap going bump in the night.

Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.

Alex Cross

Though I don’t have any actual evidence of such, I’m fairly convinced James Patterson runs a third world sweatshop of underpaid and exploited child writers who churn out thousands of words each day for fifteen cents an hour. How else to explain how many books this guy pumps out? What do you think? He just likes to write and is one of the most prolific (in terms of sheer numbers) writers of the last thirty years, including writing or co-writing twenty-seven books in the last two years? I don’t believe it. I barely get this column handed in once a week.

The other explanation: he has a document, a shell of a novel, that he just auto-populates with a new character or plot line that he comes up with. This would fit the “If you’ve read one Patterson book, you’ve read them all” idea.

Yet for the number of crime novels he’s “written”, surprisingly few have come to the big screen. Only two in fact, with Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls. Other than that, Patterson isn’t too much of a theater guy.

But in this new movie, Detective Alex Cross makes a return to the big screen. Seeing as how Morgan Freeman is probably too old to keep tracking down murderers, the mantle is passed to Tyler Perry. This is the first time Perry has starred in a movie that he didn’t write or direct (so already a positive for this flick) and he tracks down a serial killer played Matthew Fox.

One more not-so-quick sidenote: The tag line for this flick is “Don’t Ever Cross, Alex Cross.” Are you kidding me? That’s the best they could come up with? Just for sh#$s and giggles, I’m going to throw out some other options. These are just off the top of my head:

He’s got a Cross to bear

Don’t get Alex, Cross with you

You’ll need the sign of the Cross

Alex Cross’es another killer off the list

They're not better, but they're certainly not worse, and I took literally thirty seconds thinking of these. Come on Hollywood.

Directed by Rob Cohen, who the trailer folks remind you directed The Fast and the Furious (52%), but conveniently leave out The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (13%) Stealth (13%), Alex Cross appears a stunning mash up of over the top killing, contrived action, Perry emoting at every opportunity, a fairly scary looking Fox, explosions, Perry getting ggrrrr-so-angry!, horrible dialogue, and every action/detective cliche in the book. In other words, it looks bad. If this was the effort to boot up a run of Alex Cross movies over the next few years, it might not completely work. But not to fear, there are roughly a jillion other Patterson books to choose from. Adapt one of those. The Rotten Watch for Alex Cross is 29%

How do you think ghosts, ghouls, spirits and other paranormal odds and ends feel about the technological age? It has to have made their jobs harder. It used to be, in a simpler time, the undead demons could run roughshod over a house (or group of kids, or whatever) with little recourse. And at the very least they didn’t have to worry about any evidence, other than anecdotal crap from the town loony tune fringe, impeding on their scaring/haunting/killing ways. Hell, it usually took to the third act to find out what some of the scary stuff even looked like. But man technology has to be f@#$ing their s#$% up big time. What with every single person on the planet carrying around no less than one iPhone and Skype-ing/ video-chatting becoming part of our daily conversational identity. Our technological world means everything is already getting recorded, no one even needs to go out of their way to set up a freaking tripod. The spirits must hate it, cramping their demonic style and all. They’ve had to adapt and find new ways to drop Hershey sguirts into otherwise clean trousers.

Bringing us to Paranormal Activity 4, a culmination of bumps in the night and haunted demon storylines that began with said tripod and now relies on the protagonist “documenting” the freaky stuff with her own brand of teeny-bopping connectivity. And yeah, there’s a deeper story being told here, by Paranormal Activity 3 (68%) directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, back for the fourth one. They’re getting their paranormal on in the same neighborhood to possibly diminishing returns. Early reviews are mixed and I think will drop a bit as the week goes on. If anything, we might be getting close to style fatigue.

But what we’re learning is one no longer needs to trek into the woods looking for the Witch from Blair in order to document the demons among us. Just set up Skype, get an iPad or two and you’ll have all the footage you need. The Rotten Watch for Paranormal Activity 4 is 44%

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Recapping last week:

Nice little week for the Rotten Watch. To start with, my biggest gamble, Here Comes the Boom (Predicted: 43% Actual: 44%) paid off. Kevin James has had a miserable run of movies so predicting this one close to the middle could have looked bad. Instead, I nearly hit it on the nose. Boom! is right.

Next, Argo (Predicted: 94% Actual: 94%) was a direct hit. There was a healthy head start on this one, so I can’t go totally crazy. What is funny though, as I mentioned last week, is every Affleck-directed film has scored exactly 94%. Completely amazing.

Meanwhile, Seven Psychopaths (Predicted: 92% Actual: 84%) was another win that already had a bunch of reviews in before post. Cinema Blend’s Eric Eisenberg gave the movie five stars, but also wrote a very different, sort of meta, completely excellent review that is more than worth the read.

Finally, Sinister (Predicted: 85% Actual: 63%) dipped significantly over the week and represents my only miss of the week. Up until October 8th, and through thirty-seven reviews, Sinister held an 81% rating. Over the next seventy or so reviews it carried a 53% rating. That’s a stark dip as more critics got their eyes on it and meant I finished way over the mark.

Next time around we hang ten, get our head in the clouds, go to a Halloween party and trek back up Silent Hill. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

Doug began writing for CinemaBlend back when Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actually existed. Since then he's been writing This Rotten Week, predicting RottenTomatoes scores for movies you don't even remember for the better part of a decade. He can be found re-watching The Office for the infinity time.