Picks of the Week
(R, 138 minutes, Paramount): With nerve-racking authenticity, director Robert Zemeckis puts viewers on board the routine 52-minute short hop that will have life-changing repercussions for ace pilot Whip Whitaker.
Portrayed by DenzelWashington with his characteristic somber focus, Whip is introduced in the films opening sequences waking up after a night of hard partying. Just another day at the office, until turbulence and a defective plane send Whip, his crew and his passengers on a spectacularly terrifying controlled dive from which the pilot will emerge a hero. Only a handful of people know that hes a sullied Sullenberger. The twist is that the arrogance and illusion of invulnerability that could keep him from saving his own life are the very qualities that help make him an excellent pilot.
Zemeckis reins in the storys potential for moralizing and melodrama, instead delivering a refreshingly sophisticated, mature human drama.
Contains drug and alcohol abuse, profanity, sexuality, nudity and an intense action sequence. Extras: behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes; Anatomy of a Plane Crash featurette; cast Q&A highlights.
(PG-13, 102 minutes, Lionsgate): Does Tyler Perry carry it off? Sort of.
As novelist James Pattersons beloved detective/forensic psychologist Alex Cross, Perry has a tall order to fill. Not only must he banish all thoughts of Morgan Freeman, who portrayed the character in earlier films, but he also must shake his association with Madea, the over-the-top drag role for which Perry is best known.
Over the course of Alex Cross, which follows the detectives pursuit of a psychopathic assassin who has killed Cross wife, our hero turns into a morally dubious avenging angel. Alex Cross is surprisingly violent.
Contains brief crude language, gunplay, torture, violence, drug references and sex. Extras: commentary with director Rob Cohen, The Psychologist and the Butcher: Adapting and Filming Alex Cross featurette, deleted scenes.
Here Comes the Boom
(PG, 105 minutes): Kevin James plays Scott Voss, a Boston biology teacher who comes to the aid of the schools gentle music instructor, Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), when the board tries to cut extracurricular activities, band included.
So the former wrestler looks into MMA, where the loser of a bout can bank $10,000. For the most part, Boom lazily follows Adam Sandlers proven recipe for box-office success. Safe, predictable director Frank Coraci does the bare minimum. Sandler holdovers Winkler and Grown Ups beauty Salma Hayek waltz through the motions while contributing next to nothing.
Because of James, however, Boom isnt a total bust. The genial entertainer remains as likable as a slobbering puppy dog. But whats missing is the bizarre touch of eccentric humor Sandler often lets creep into his comedies. By comparison, Boom comes off as bland; it needed to land a knockout blow.
Contains some rude humor, language and bouts of combat sports violence. Extras: deleted scenes, gag reel, Here Comes the Cast featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: five more featurettes, including Learning How to Fight and Gino vs. Richie. TheWashingtonPost