A serial killer is on the loose. Drugs are being smuggled into the U.S. And Pokémon wars are raging. Yep, it's another predictable week at the movies. And while critics found some redeeming qualities in all three of the major films opening this week, it doesn't sound like any of these genre pieces are remarkable enough to stand out from the crowd.

Hot from the Oven

According to critics who watched Along Came a Spider, the sequel to Kiss the Girls, the plot thins instead of thickening. Directed by Lee Tamahori and based on a novel by James Patterson, the movie mines the exhausted ground of the serial killer genre and finds little that is new or compelling.

Roger Ebert bemoans the implausibilities and plot problems. "A few loopholes I can forgive," he says in his review at the Chicago Sun-Times, "But when a plot is riddled with them, crippled by them, made implausible by them, I get distracted. I'm wondering, since Dr. Alex Cross is so brilliant, how come he doesn't notice yawning logical holes in the very fabric of the story he's occupying?" Michael Elliott at Movie Parables is likewise boggled: "A spider's web, to the human eye, is something that is precisely and intricately crafted. Along Came A Spider still has much to learn from the arachnids. The characters are forced to make incredible leaps of logic which defy understanding. The plot twists … become rather ludicrous." And The U.S. Catholic Conference review states, "The surprise ending in director Lee Tamahori's generic film does little to compensate for a sketchy story line that lacks character definition and a compelling plot."

Despite these rants, Morgan Freeman gains raves for returning to the role of Detective Alex Cross. Elliott says, "Accolades must be given to ...

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