“Alex Cross” — Fans of James Patterson’s bestselling “Alex Cross” series will not be thrilled with this reboot. The previous films featured Morgan Freeman as the D.C. detective who relies on his training as a psychologist to match wits with clever, albeit devious, criminals. Here, the character is moved to Detroit (couldn’t tell you why) and recast with Tyler Perry as Cross. He tries hard, but this isn’t a role with which he seems very comfortable. The film finds Cross matching wits with a brutal bad guy who is clever and sadistic, and well played by Matthew Fox. Unfortunately, it is hard to care about the characters, although Cicely Tyson has some fine moments as Cross’ mother. To top it all off, the film is littered with R-rated situations that have been excised to get a PG-13 rating. The end result is an adult thriller aimed at adolescents, I guess, and clearly missing the target.
“Flight” — Drama fans will have a much better time with this character study from Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”). The story centers on an airline pilot who becomes a hero in the media for landing his passenger plane amidst dangerous conditions. Then it comes out that he may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time and he is immediately lionized for the incident. A fine comment on the court of public opinion and an even better portrait of a person struggling with an addiction. A solid performance by Denzel Washington.
“Here Comes the Boom” — Up to now, Kevin James comedies have been mostly sophomoric, but this effort rises above its ridiculous sounding plot. He is cast as a high school science teacher who enters the world of mixed martial arts fighting to raise money for his school’s extracurricular programs. This actually works as a sentimental comedy, as they take the fighting seriously. Much better than the commercials painted it and worth a look.
“The Deadly Companions” — Sam Pekinpah’s first film finally hits DVD with a clean print. Throw out your old version and feast on this western’s gorgeous scenery. Brian Keith stars as a gunfighter who escorts a mother through Apache territory to bury her son, who he accidentally shot and killed. Along for the ride are two other guys and they prove to be the titular bad guys. Maureen O’Sullivan, Chill Wills and Strother Martin also star.