Scott Marks 4:21 p.m., Dec. 16
Alex Cross is a detective whose powers of deduction border on the clairvoyant; he can look at your shirt and tell you what you're having for dinner tomorrow night. But the third big-screen outing for novelist James Patterson's celebrated Washington D.C. come solver will probably be best remembered as a routine cops-and-psycho drama that features Tyler Perry's first job as an actor-for-hire. Matthew Fox plays an industrious serial killer who shows up as a "walk-in" at an unauthorized church boxing match. The point of entering the pugilistic display is to attract the attention of his next victim (Stephanie Jacobsen), who is sitting ringside. So taken is she by his powers that the young vixen can't help but invite Fox back to her home for some kinky sex. Torture and murder ensue. The killer later leaves a clue in the form of a sketch that only someone well versed in the art of the Mad Magazine fold-in could divine. This type of intricate narrative may well serve Patterson's loyal readers, but it tends to set eyeballs a-rolling among multiplex wags. Rachel Nichols, Edward Burns, Giancarlo Esposito, John McGinley, Jean Reno, and Cicely Tyson (sporting the sparkliest damn wig I ever did see) round out the cast. 2012.
— Scott Marks