As the first-run theaters fill up with new holiday releases, it's time for the bargain theaters to absorb some of the fall releases -- including a few disappointments. ---
The best option may be RED, director Robert Schwentke's adaptation of the popular graphic novel. It trots out the over-used concept of a professional killer -- in this case a retired government operative played by Bruce Willis -- then gives him a few more wrinkled-around-the-edges ex-colleagues to team up with against someone who wants to eliminate them. The pacing is brisk enough and the action often satisfying, but Willis can't do enough that's different with a role that has become a movie cliche.
An even bigger bummer comes from director Clint Eastwood in his supernatural-tinged drama Hereafter. He combines three stories -- including that of a reluctant psychic (Matt Damon) -- into something that grasps unsuccessfully at profundity by eventually having the characters meet. It winds up as little more than a long, uninvolving stew of melancholy.
Want a more straightforward journey into the supernatural? Give Paranormal Activity 2 a shot. The prequel to last year's hit again employs the "found footage" concept, and offers a few really effective scares. The rumbling sense of menace that fills the space between those scares just might not be enough to justify even a bargain-theater ticket. All three films open at the Cinemark Sugar House, with RED and Hereafter also debuting at Cinemark's Valley Fair and Sandy locations.