Alex Cross

Universal Pictures

In October 2012, Alex Cross was promoted by the full faith an effort of Summit Entertainment as a would-be hit. Before the film was even released, Double Crossed, another book in James Patterson’s detective series, had been greenlit to follow shortly after, making Alex Cross the inaugural entry in a franchise organized around Tyler Perry as the titular character. But Alex Cross grossed only $25 million against a modest $35 million budget, and was subject to blisteringly poor reviews that called out the film’s ineptitude and its miscasting of Perry. Eric Hynes of The Village Voice deemed Alex Cross “a strong candidate for the dumbest film of the year.” The highly visible critical and financial failure of the film effectively put to rest any plans to franchise the series. Filmmaker Rob Cohen’s helming of Alex Cross was labeled “inept,” and its poor performance effectively prevented its studio from its franchising goals. In some circumstances, such a rollout could seriously threaten the career of a director. Yet here we are, slightly over two years later, and Rob Cohen has another Hollywood film coming out in ten days, the Jennifer Lopez-starring thriller The Boy Next Door.


discs paul williams

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Paul Williams: Still Alive Like many kids in the ’70s Stephen Kessler was a fan of singer/songwriter Paul Williams‘ particular brand of sad, melodic songs that gave equal time to love and loneliness. As an adult Kessler wondered what happened to his childhood idol, and being a film/commercial director he decided to investigate and make a documentary on the 5’2″ award-winning legend. The result is a fascinating look at a man and a talent who could never have attained such stardom in today’s physically-obsessed world, and for Williams it’s a chance to look back and publicly acknowledge his past demons. At least, that was Kessler’s plan, but he may have neglected to share the idea with the talent. Williams makes for an engaging subject, due both to his personality and his aversion to the whole process. Kessler’s own needs permeate the film, and while he threatens to take over as its focus he actually adds an interesting element to the story about fame. [Extras: Bonus concert footage]



Alex Cross is not a good movie. There’s no singular reason as to why that is, but you can take your pick from the messy script to the casting of Tyler Perry in the title role as a police detective previously played by Morgan Freeman. Director Rob Cohen sat down to record a commentary for the Blu-ray/DVD which hits shelves next week, and he speaks highly of his film, his cast and crew while detailing the making of the film. He makes it very clear that he’d like the series to continue too, so tell everyone you know to buy a copy. Keep reading to see what I heard with this week’s Alex Cross Commentary Commentary…



Alex Cross director Rob Cohen has never been one what could label a “critical darling.” There are a few notable exceptions in Cohen’s filmography, like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story or The Rat Pack, but even his most successful and well-liked blockbusters – xXx and The Fast and the Furious – didn’t get much love from the critical community. To Cohen, that doesn’t matter so much, especially if the audience eats it up. A bad review may hurt Cohen, as he compares it to someone calling your baby the ugliest baby of all, but it won’t ever match the power of having a mass audience enjoying one of his popcorn movies. Obviously Alex Cross, his latest film starring the box office overlord Tyler Perry, hasn’t been met with a kind response thus far. Considering who Cohen wisely cast in the lead, those reviews won’t matter much when he sees this weekend’s box-office receipts. Here’s what Rob Cohen had to say about crafting Alex Cross‘s bug-eyed villain, critics, his love for Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, and why Raiders of the Lost Ark wouldn’t get made today:


Alex Cross Tyler Perry Matthew Fox

You’d think a thriller about a brilliantly dogged detective matching wits with a sadistically smart serial killer would be at least somewhat entertaining. You’d be right in thinking that too, and if that’s the kind of film you’re looking for I recommend Memories of Murder, Copycat or Seven to fill your needs. Because there’s nothing about the new film Alex Cross that comes even close to brilliant, smart or intentionally entertaining. Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is a homicide detective and doctor (of some kind but probably a psychologist) in Detroit who’s grown weary of his police beat and is considering taking an adviser role with the FBI. Before he can convince his pregnant wife that the move to Washington DC is in their best interest he’s tasked with solving a multiple murder with a tortured woman at its center. Cross’ team includes his childhood friend, Det. Tommy Kane (Ed Burns), and the young but talented Det. Monica Ashe (Rachel Nichols), and their target is a determined and very capable killer whose name changes with the turn of the script’s page. Picasso aka the Four Roses Killer aka Cadillac spokesperson (Matthew Fox) is targeting high-ranking executives, but after he’s almost caught during an attempted hit he turns his focus towards Cross and friends. It doesn’t take long before you’ll start wishing him the best of luck.


matthew fox

It’s fair to say Matthew Fox is still in a transitional period post-LOST. After six years on the air, the rapid fanbase, and ending on that hugely divisive note, it’s naturally going to take time moving away from a show that big. Picasso, the egotistical psychotic assassin at the center of Alex Cross, is certainly a role which could assist Fox in that department. The actor transforms himself somewhat similarly to the way he did a few years ago with Speed Racer, a box office bomb he rightfully calls far ahead of its time. Racer X and Picasso may not be share personality traits, but both characters rely heavily on Fox’s physicality. As anyone can see in Alex Cross, making a transformation in achieving that physicality is a challenge the star embraces. Here’s what actor Matthew Fox had to say about defending a psychopath, avoiding villainous monologues, and his love for Speed Racer:


Alex Cross Matthew Fox

If you needed further proof that making your voice gravely doesn’t make you seem nearly as cool as you think it does, look no further than the trailer for Alex Cross. Tyler Perry – like Karl Urban’s constipated Eastwood in Dredd and Christian “Where are the Drugs?” Bale – forces out a low guttural that makes him sound like he’s doing a hard math problem in his head while recovering from a cold. Of course, it doesn’t help that he seems to be sleepwalking. Fortunately, Matthew Fox looks like he’s gone full-on insane to play a vicious serial killer obsessed with causing pain. Based on the James Patterson novel “Cross,” the trailer shows a bit of promise, but Perry is going to be a hard pill to swallow. Check it out for yourself:



What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s the end result of a long work day, a half dozen mini doughnuts, a glass of cheap Canadian whisky, Robert Fure, and a keyboard. Suck on it, suckers! This week’s movie news after Drinking is brought to you by Revel Stoke spiced whisky (We should not get paid for this because I’m not drinking this again. Or no we should still get paid, but I’m not drinking this again). But basically the deal is I get kind of drunk and then try to type up a whole bunch of movie news before my arms stop working. If you’re wondering why I’m typing all this nonsense, it’s because we need a certain amount of buffer before we move into the news to put a proper text break in here. But totally keep reading because Will Smith NO JOKE SLAPS A RUSSIAN IN THE FACE IN THE FIRST STORY. (OH LOOK AT ME I’M FRILMCRIT HULK BECAUSE THIS IS ALL CAPITALS)



Alex Cross is a reoccurring character in the novels of James Patterson. His stories have already been adapted for the screen a couple times with Morgan Freeman playing the lead role. Those films were Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Well now the character is looking to get a reboot with Tyler Perry as the lead. It’s old news that I, Alex Cross is being directed by xXx and The Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen, but there is some new casting news to report. Mathew Fox has signed on in a key role as an assassin. Add to that the fact that Ed Burns is going to play Cross’ assistant Tommy Kane, and this looks like a movie that is starting to come together. But I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think a lot of people have been trained to see Tyler Perry’s name and treat it as a joke, but he’s made some things that are more dramatic than those cheesy black family sitcoms and cross dressing Madea movies that he is known for. And I saw him act in Star Trek and it wasn’t bad. Rob Cohen’s movies I can’t really defend, but they’ve managed to make a lot of money from what I can tell. Still, just give me those two names and I, Alex Cross sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.



Morgan Freeman was already a bit too old to play Alex Cross – the iconic James Patterson detective – in Kiss The Girls and Along Came a Spider, but he was still Morgan Freeman. You don’t turn that man down, and the job he did was more than capable. Now, QED wants to bring back the character to the big screen. At one point, Idris Elba was in the starring seat. Now, it’s Tyler Perry, who can’t even be described as the poor man’s Idris Elba. Perry will play the master psychologist for I, Alex Cross – based off the novel of the same name. According to Deadline Lincoln, distributors are currently being sought out, and Paramount (who released the other Cross flicks) might be interested. To say this is terrible casting is understatement. Cross is a terribly complex character – compassionate yet tough, an intellectual giant who self-imposes a life of solitude while also managing to volunteer in one of the poorest communities in DC. So far, Perry just hasn’t shown the depth to bring this character to life. There’s also always that tiny fraction of a possibility that it turns into Alex Cross-dress. Jokes aside, Tyler Perry is no Morgan Freeman. He’s also no Idris Elba, and it’s a damned shame that we won’t get to see the Elba version of Alex Cross. Perry will have to have a lot of surprises up his sleeve that he hasn’t tapped into yet in order to pull this off.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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