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Cinema Scoop

Can Alex Cross defeat the paranormal?

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a peek at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.

     Paranormal Activity 4

It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighbourhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in.

     My Take

I have to be honest and admit that I can't offer a particularly informed opinion of this film since I haven't seen the first three films in the franchise. I do really enjoy horror movies in general but for some reason I never had any compulsion to see the original Paranormal Activity. Perhaps it's because the found footage gimmick it promoted is such a tired and overdone formula nowadays and there's nothing overly creative or original about it.

The gimmick really took off in 1999 with the release of the hugely successful Blair Witch Project, a film I was quite hyped to see but severely disappointed with. In 2009 there was a huge marketing campaign behind Paranormal Activity promising audiences relentless terror and it just reminded me of the push that Blair Witch got, so I passed. Based on the footage I've seen of the film, I don't think I missed much.

Of course, due to the savvy marketing by the studio, the film went on to become a huge smash hit grossing nearly $200 million worldwide. In fact the first three films, made on a combined shoestring budget of $8 million, have grossed north of $576 million worldwide. Needles to say we can expect that this fourth chapter will rule the box office this weekend and we are likely to get a part 5 next October.

Clearly this franchise has a built in audience so it really makes no difference what critics say. If you enjoy this sort of thing then I imagine you will have some fun with Paranormal Activity 4.

Maybe one day, I'll sit down and have a Paranormal Activity marathon to see what all the fuss is about.

Nah, probably not.

     Alex Cross

Alex Cross follows the young homicide detective/psychologist (Tyler Perry), from the worldwide best-selling novels by James Patterson, as he meets his match in a ferociously skilled serial killer (Matthew Fox). The two face off in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, but when the mission gets personal, Cross is pushed to the edge of his moral and psychological limits in this action thriller.

     My Take

I'm a fan of James Patterson's books featuring Alex Cross. I've read most of them and I find these detective thrillers to be pretty entertaining. This movie is based very loosely on the 12th novel in the series simply entitled CROSS. If you are a big fan of the books however I must warn you in advance that this particular adaptation bares little to no resemblance to the original story. The filmmakers have pretty much changed everything about it by creating new characters and locales that weren't in the book at all.

The character Alex Cross has been seen before on the big screen having been portrayed by the wonderful Morgan Freeman in 1997's Kiss the Girls and 2001's Along Came a Spider. Stepping into the role now is Tyler Perry, who is best known for his comedic series of Madea films. One positive note about this casting is that Perry is age appropriate and at 6' 5" he physically resembles the character of Alex Cross as described in the books.

I have my doubts that this is going to be anything better than mediocre though based on the fact that it is directed by Rob Cohen. He's best known for making The Fast and the Furious but he's also made some duds like The Skulls, xXx, Stealth and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Basically lower your expectations for this one.

In addition to Perry and Fox, Alex Cross features a supporting cast that includes Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols, Jean Reno, Cicely Tyson and Giancarlo Esposito.

If you are in the mood for a high action, formulaic detective thriller this weekend then Alex Cross might be the film for you.

Me, I'll stick to the books.

     360

A dramatic thriller that weaves together the stories of an array of people from disparate social backgrounds through their intersecting relationships.

Featuring a stellar international cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Jamel Debbouze and Moritz Bleibtreu, 360 is a romantic drama directed by acclaimed Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) and written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon).

If you enjoy languidly paced character driven dramas set in various locations around the world then this might be worth heading down to the Paramount Theatre to check out.

I would also like to note that on Thursday October 25 at 7:00 p.m. the Paramount is showing the concert film, Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day.

On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London's O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. What followed was a two-hour-plus tour de force of the band's signature blues-infused rock 'n' roll that instantly became part of the legend of Led Zeppelin. Founding members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham, to perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalog including landmark tracks "Whole Lotta Love," "Rock And Roll," "Kashmir," and "Stairway To Heaven." Although 20 million people applied for tickets, the band's first headline show in 27 years was seen only by the 18,000 ticket holders who were fortunate enough to have secured seats through the worldwide lottery.

This should be an awesome show for fans of Zep, who I believe are one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music.

Can't wait!



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