As we count down to Halloween, the scares and shocks are leading off the movie list.
The two Hollywood titles vying for box-office glory are both R-rated thrillers. One is "Paranormal Activity 4," the latest in the found-footage horror franchise. This time, the setting is a Nevada suburb, where a family notices some strange goings-on after a single mom and a little boy move in across the street. (Hint to those familiar with the series: The single mom is named Katie.) Since it's set in 2011, cameraphones and laptop cameras get a workout. The movie was not screened for local critics, so here's a less-than-favorable review from USA Today's Claudia Puig..
The other Hollywood production is "Alex Cross," which returns thriller novelist James Patterson's forensic detective to the big screen. (A decade ago, the role was played by Morgan Freeman in "Kiss the Girls" and "Along Came a Spider.") Cross is played here by actor-director Tyler Perry, who turns out to be a lousy action star – too kindly for the tough dialogue, and too doughy and slow for the action sequences. Worse, though, is the villain, a muscular skinhead played with too much crazy-eyed enthusiasm by a trimmed-down Matthew Fox.