Weekend Movies: Madea and the Haunted House

None of the movies opening wide this weekend curb my anticipation-slash-curiosity for next week’s ‘Cloud Atlas’. In the meantime, all we get are yet another found-footage sequel and Tyler Perry’s attempt to become an action star.

This week’s biggest release is ‘Paranormal Activity 4‘. Instead of playing out like the prequel third chapter, this one takes place after the events of the first and second pictures. The good news: That whiny guy from the first movie is still dead. The bad news: The annoying lead, Katie, is back. Hopefully, she’s still possessed. At least then we won’t have to listen to her grating voice. In this fourth installment, Katie and the kid that she kidnapped at the end of part two move into a home next door to some people who love video cameras. I can’t say for certain (because I haven’t seen it), but I’m pretty sure you can expect sheets sliding off of beds and a lot of time-lapse footage of people standing in the same place for hours.

Tyler Perry stars in the week’s second widest release, ‘Alex Cross‘. If you expect a high-octane thriller from the director of ‘xXx‘ and ‘The Fast and the Furious‘, think again. This one’s a no-octane killjoy. Tyler Perry takes off the fat-lady suit and takes a crack at playing a real character, not a caricature. Based on the novel ‘Cross’, which is part of the ‘Kiss the Girls’ and ‘Along Came a Spider’ series, Perry plays a young version of the Morgan Freeman character, Detective Doctor Alex Cross. (Yes, he has two prefixes.) When he and his task force foil the plan of an assassin (Matthew Fox), they find themselves in his sights. What ensues is a revenge-fueled game of an old fat cat chasing a dopey mouse.

This is quite the week for Sundance 2012 releases. The first that I’d like to see is only opening on four screens, but will expand soon. After winning accolades at Sundance under the title ‘The Surrogate‘, the film is now known as ‘The Sessions‘. Chameleon actor John Hawkes plays an aging man who has never known life outside his iron lung. With the help of a priest (William H. Macy), he’s about to lose his virginity to a surrogate (Helen Hunt). If rumors are true, expect Oscar bait.

The Sundance title I wouldn’t recommend is the one-dimensional and disengaging drama ‘Nobody Walks‘. John Krasinski plays a sound recordist who falls for a young boyish female intern played by Olivia Thirlby. Expect an unwatchable, strewn-out 83-minute act of lust.

The Sundance release that I can recommend is ‘The First Time‘, a charming-as-hell, sweet and innocent portrayal of high school first love. In true indie spirit, the movie may not have any familiar faces, but has plenty of good old-fashioned original entertainment.

Of Slamdance fame, ‘We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists‘ gets a limited release. This documentary introduces us to the mindset and mentality of the world’s most famous hacker group, Anonymous – the secret organization known for causing the shut-down the Playstation Network and Wikileaks.

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