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Sentenced to a night with The Sessions, my punishment for missing a prior screening for another film, I immediately identified with film's protagonist, a poet/writer (John Hawkes, Oscar-nominee from Winter’s Bone) confined to an Iron Lung. Adding to my feeling of discomfort and helplessness was seeing this film, in which Helen Hunt is fully nude for about 90 percent of it, with a colleague from work. Needless to say, the experience was awkward.
A more emotional and bizarre take on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the film opens with the poet suffering from an itchy nose in the middle of night. Unable to move his limbs, this guy’s has had an itch his entire life that he could not scratch. With the help of his priest, a superbly uncomfortable William H. Macy, and a sex therapist, the aforementioned, robe-less Helen Hunt, the writer sets off on the timeless male rite of passage of getting laid. Awkwardly paced but, ultimately charming, The Sessions proved to be a heartwarming story told with compassion and humor. (***) -- Michael Liang
I didn’t realize that Alex Cross was a continuation (or rather a prequel) to Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. It didn’t take long to catch on. One of the first scenes depicts Alex (played by Tyler Perry) proving to his wife Maria (Carmen Ejogo) that he is indeed paying attention. The recitation of minute details including new lipstick color and a washed car reminded me instantly of the films I had seen years ago... and I knew I was in for a treat.
After the film, I learned that this was Perry’s first crack at acting in a film which he didn’t also direct and/or produce. He did well playing a younger but still experienced detective that has been previously portrayed by the (not dead) Morgan Freeman. Still, I think the fearless detective was outshined by the sadistic villain whom the credits refer to as “Picasso” (played by Matthew Fox, from TV’s Lost). I can’t recall a villain of this caliber since Se7en. This guy was everything a criminal antagonist should be... cruel, tough, smart, and relentless. He was also very believable and convincing.
Overall, Alex Cross was well-paced and folded into the franchise well. (***) -- Brent Summers
"There were no critics screenings for Paranormal Activity 4, which means all the surprises are for you to find, but we can't tell you whether it's any good or not, either. Chances are there are a few good scares, but increasingly repetitive ones.