Criticwatch - Getting Their Wires Crossed. Alex Cross-ed!
by Erik Childress
How much Keeffe is in this movie? Miles O'Keeffe. Thank you Mystery Science Theater 3000 for that one. Criticwatch is a little loopy jumping back into things this week. Though things have been mostly quiet on the whore front since the end of September, there have been the occasional questionable judgment used by studios in that time to raise some eyebrows. Warner Bros. still hasn't made a junket whore they haven't coddled and it's amazing that even when they have THE best reviewed film of the year in Argo (95% at Rotten Tomatoes), the studio still added Ben Lyons of all people to their list of praise in the television ads. Why? Why? Why? Regardless, its only his third mention of the year and there are bigger fish to fry and carve up. Like Peter Travers, who despite my plea to studios to cut him off has managed to hit the 50-quote plateau we were so hoping to keep him from. Wait, what's that? He's now up to 51 with a quote this week for Holy Motors. That's at 91% favorable with at least 63 other positive reviews, many of which have existed since Cannes. The disturbing reality is upon us. 10 weekends to go. Only 10 more quotes will have Travers matching last year's career Criticwatch low of 61. We're supposed to be going down here studios. Not up. Hell, Saturday Night Live is still parodying Travers. But even that show at its best couldn't do justice to the Alex Cross ads this week.
The numbers on Alex Cross are not exactly in the same league as Argo and Holy Motors. The Rob Cohen reboot of the Morgan Freeman/James Patterson series did not exactly have an ace in the hole when they replaced Idris Elba with the likes of Tyler Perry. They just have the hole. Tracking 115 wide releases in 2012 to date (generally the most seen and the most reviewed), Alex Cross currently ranks - ready for this? - 108th. That's right. As of the morning of this publishing, only seven films on the year has received a worst percentage at Rotten Tomatoes than this film which stands at 10% with 68 reviews registered. (UPDATE: It has since risen to 13% with 88 reviews.) That's an astonishing achievement considering that Perry's garbage directorial and transvestite-starring efforts have ALL received better reviews and, with the exception of two (Diary of a Mad Black Woman and For Colored Girls), none have been pre-screened for critics. Alex Cross is the worst reviewed film of Perry's career.
Speaking of holes though, do you think that stopped some of the nation's top quote whores from stepping up their praise? Oh, hell no. Before we begin trotting them out, we want you to understand the true disconnect with these people. As we have always said, while we do judge, we also want you to judge for yourself. Maybe you like Tyler Perry. Maybe you like James Patterson's airport fiction. Maybe you love Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Whatever it is you will find support and dissenters. There is something to occasionally be said about a majority opinion though. How often do you truly love something that everyone despises? And how often would you try to match your thoughts with the words of something that you knew was far superior and yet did it to make sure you were heard? Alex Cross is currently the 8th worst-reviewed film of 2012. And yet...
"Best villain of the year - Matthew Fox. A must-see." - Maria Salas
Bane. Loki. Woody Harrelson in Seven Psychopaths. Any of those dudes living in the penthouse in The Raid: Redemption. But Maria Salas is going to go with the bug-eyed MMA fighter who can't whoop an out-of-shape detective in the finale? Argue amongst yourselves about the best villain of the year. We don't have time for such nonsense from Salas like that, especially when she's calling Alex Cross "a must-see." The 8th worst-reviewed film of the year and the worst-reviewed film of Tyler Perry's career is "a must-see?" Straight from this mouth at the right over here. Provided of course that those were not, you know, provided for her. This is Salas' 9th quote of the year. Five of the previous ones received rotten tomatoes with two of them ranked 90th & 98th on the list of 115. Here's a sample:
"The perfect date movie. It's Dear John meets The Vow." (The Lucky One) "Awesome. Eye-popping 3-D. Pure adventure." (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) "A spectacular and funny Snow White for all ages." (Mirror Mirror) "Fun for the whole family." (The Three Stooges) "The most fun you can have at the movies." (This Means War) "The most action-packed fun you'll have this summer!" (The Expendables 2)
The last film Maria Salas called "a must-see" was the Farrelly Bros.' Hall Pass in 2011. Next up on the list is one we haven't heard from since early August. Way to go Summit & Lions Gate at resurrecting the name of this idiot:
"Awesome action and intrigue, and all that is James Patterson!" - Mark S. Allen
That actually sounds like a shot at the author, doesn't it? This crap is ALL him and his woman torture fantasies. Do you know that by the time Alex Cross hits DVD in, say, February, Patterson will have released another TWO Alex Cross mysteries? Can't wait to see the next commercial. Alex Cross...IN...A Binder Full of Women! Sorry, we're just putting off the inevitable. It's always great when Criticwatch can practically write itself once we do the research. Who knew that Mark S. Allen thought everything was awesome?
"Awesome!" (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) "Awesome" (The Matrix Reloaded) "A masterpiece! An awesome example of movie perfection" (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) "Awesome Even better than the first!" (Wrath of the Titans) "Awesome! This summer's must-see!" (Bad News Bears 2005) "Awesome! The most amazing images you'll see on the big screen this summer!" (Poseidon) "A is for awesome!" (Easy A) "An epic and awesome experience." (300) " Awesome, fun, funny with action sequences that will leave you breathless, but gasping for more." (The Rundown) "Intelligent! Satisfying! Intense and relentlessly suspenseful! Awesome! Harrison Ford at his best." (Firewall) "Awesome fun for thy whole family! Elephant sized laughs! Divine! Thou shalt laugh a lot!" (Evan Almighty) "Zoinks, this movie is awesome!" (Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed) "One of Disney's finest. Awesome for everyone!" (Home on the Range) "Awesome. This is the Cinderella to remember." (A Cinderella Story)
That's a lot of awesome. Now with "action" and "intrigue." The last time Allen used the latter he was describing "suspense and intrigue beyond your wildest dreams." The film he said that about is on the left. It had Ashley Judd. She was in Kiss the Girls. Now there's awesome intrigue with Alex Cross. Coincidence? Probably, but c'mon, it's ALL James Patterson. The last film that Mark S. Allen said "had it all" is on the right. What about the "action" though?
"Quite possibly the first perfect action movie!" (The Rundown) "The most sophisticated, smartest, coolest action movie in years!" (Smokin' Aces) "Funny, action-packed and cooler than the first!" (Ice Age: The Meltdown) "Extraordinary special effects and unbridled action. One hell of a good time!" (Constantine) "Non-stop explosive action!" (A Man Apart) "Non-stop, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat action and suspense!" (Firewall) "Thrilling and jam-packed with edge-of-your-seat action!" (National Treasure) "It's out-of-control action and laughs." (The Dukes of Hazzard) "Over the top-under the sea action and non-stop laughs." (Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie) "Never-before-seen effects combined with HULK-sized action!" (Hulk) "The perfect mix of sexy-funny-rock-the-house action! You will see this again and again!" (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle)
Yeah, no shit Mark. Again and again. The same dance with your B.S. Doesn't matter if it's good, great or crap. It's all the same to Mark Shithead Allen. Now it gets interesting though. Fun even. Sad, most definitely. About a week after the Alex Cross junkets took place, the first whore-centric TV commercial appeared. Give it a look:
You saw Maria Salas in there at the end, but it is those first two quotes we need to take a second look.
"An emotional powerhouse...that will keep you on edge." - Pete Hammond "Tyler Perry like you've never seen him before." - Andrew Freund
When yours truly first saw the quote from Andrew Freund, apparently the last person to be associated with MySpace, I laughed out loud. He means out of the dress? In a film not directed by Tyler Perry? Just trying to act? The quote is even funnier than him calling this year's Gone "suspenseful" or calling Something Borrowed "the best romantic comedy of the year" in 2011. But was it actually his quote?
If you turn your attention over to the right here, you will see what the newspaper ads for Alex Cross look like. It started on the Sunday prior to Alex Cross' release and days after the first TV ad with the quotes were seen. By golly that sure looks like Pete Hammond's name under the "never seen him before" quote while Freund has one suspiciously close to Hammond's "emotional edge" quote from TV. Is this just an epic cock-up by the studio, mixing up the association of who exactly said what? We can look at Pete Hammond's written review of Alex Cross which states in the opening paragraph:
"Perry is like we have never seen him before in an emotional, powerhouse performance that doesn't let up"
And in the third (final) paragraph...
"Cohen knows his way around this kind of material and turns the familiar story into a gripping action thriller that keeps you on edge throughout."
Easy enough for the studio to piece that together into a nice, tidy quote. Or, seeing as how Hammond's review wasn't published until Oct. 18, he was able to fit the necessary quotes into his own review. Andrew Freund doesn't write reviews as evidenced by his website so what is one to conclude here? The point here is not to try and connect the dots into who said what first and if they even said it at all. A quote like "Tyler Perry like you've never seen him before" smacks of pre-written junket publicity and is very likely that certain publicists at the studio got their wires crossed and offered the same quote to both of them. Either that is true or two moron junket whores are so devoid of anything resembling an original thought that they magically mind-melded their way to the same hyperbole. If great minds think alike, their mindless ones must also. In Hammond's case though, it is just par for the course.
"You have never seen a movie quite like Brick. (Brick) "Awesome! You have never seen anything like it before! (Steep) "A 3-D experience like we've never seen onscreen before. (Step Up 3-D) "A great story that takes us to places we've never been before. (Tron: Legacy) "An emotional powerhouse. (Extremely Loud & Incredible close) "A powerhouse of a movie. (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) "Will keep you on the edge of your seat. (Edge of Darkness) "A relentless suspense thriller with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave you on the edge of your seat. This year's Bourne Ultimatum. (Traitor) "A first-rate thriller! Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat! (First Snow) "Total excitement…Takes you to the edge and keeps you there all the way. (28 Weeks Later) "Even though it is based on well-known events it plays like an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller. (A Mighty Heart) "The year's first genuinely frightening edge-of-your-seat chiller. Even Hitchcock could not have done better. (Dark Water)
We have saved the piece de resistance for last though. Consider everything you have just read. 108th of 115th. Worst aggregate of T.P.'s career. Rampant hyperbole by the usual suspects, where their taste patterns lie and how self-serving their interests are. That two of these knuckle-draggers could come up with nearly identical quotes for two different delivery systems for whore-sponsored publicity. This is Alex Cross and Tyler Perry we are talking about. Remember everything above and now know that Shawn Edwards - yes, THAT Shawn Edwards - tweeted that Alex Cross earned:
"0 Popcorn Bags"
The same knucklehead who called Here Comes the Boom "School of Rock meets Rocky" called Alex Cross:
"A huge misstep!"
Yes, THAT Shawn Edwards. The same three-time Whore of the Year who called Diary of a Mad Black Woman "A throw your hands in the air, knee-slapping, gut-busting crowd pleaser!" and Madea's Family Reunion "Hysterical! The most enjoyable and entertaining movie of the season" said that:
"Poor casting and lack of direction kill this thing."
Lack of direction is Tyler Perry's specialty for God's sake and even Shawn Freakin' Edwards is trashing it.
Or is he?
Despite tweeting all of the above Friday morning, it doesn't stop S.E. from giving T.P. a little suck-suck in his interview. Today's Criticwatch was not even going to be about Edwards. Nowhere near him. But you have to watch the following 4 1/2-minute piece and watch Shawn Edwards in all his yellow-pants glory lie right to Tyler Perry's face.
If that isn't the essence of what Criticwatch does here, than we don't know what is. As one of my current media heroes, Jon Stewart, would say after dropping the mike on another Fox News or Mitt Romney contradiction, "we'll be right back."
“Alex Cross” is a flat out horrible movie. It lacks coherency, structure or any credible acting. And giving the job of portraying Alex Cross, memorably played by Morgan Freeman, to Tyler Perry may be the worst casting decision in the history of Hollywood. He’s awful. A mixture of dull and duller with equal parts I really need that dress. We represent the movie industry as willing participants and as a part of this industry I am embarrassed and almost sickened by the poor quality of this movie. No one should be subjective to or forced to pay money to watch this movie. It’s cartoonish, clownish and amateurish. Just a bunch if ‘ish’ Fans of “Kiss the Girls” and ‘Along Came a Spider” will be in tears. Those new to Alex Cross will wonder why the fuss? This guy is a dud. - Shawn Edwards (Oct. 19, 2012)