Though it ends with the giving of the Commandments on Mount Sinai, at an intimidating running time of over two-and-a-half hours, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” may strike many as recalling more directly the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness by which the fidelity of the Hebrews was thereafter put to the test.
The holiday season turns out to be the time for the “Penguins of Madagascar” to come to the fore — and into their own.
These supporting characters from previous movies in the franchise that began with 2005’s “Madagascar” take center stage in a spirited animated adventure calculated to please kids and leave parents’ minds at ease.
This reboot marks the fifth film to feature the reptilian heroes, created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. With Michael Bay of the “Transformers” franchise on board as producer, action and destruction (and noise level) are ramped up in vivid 3-D, with the turtles effectively rendered through live action and motion-capture technology.
Though it’s not a film for kids, this latest addition to a franchise based on the work of French science-fiction author Pierre Boulle (1912-1994) has enough going for it to please most adults. Grown-ups also will find the themes underlying director Matt Reeves’ 3-D follow-up to the 2011 reboot “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” congruent with Christian values.
There may, no doubt, be circumstances that would justify a film having a running time close to three hours.
Some lavish adaptation of a Dickens novel, perhaps, or a sweeping historical epic might be expected to sustain prolonged viewer interest. A set of outsize Hasbro toys come to life, on the other hand, not so much.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 showcases a good deal of mostly stylized mayhem that’s too intense for little kids. But the positive use to which the web-slinger — once again played by Andrew Garfield — puts his powers, together with a script that’s virtually free of objectionable vocabulary, makes this adventure acceptable for just about everyone else.
“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength.” Those familiar words, addressed to God in Psalm 8 of the King James Bible, might serve as the tagline for the fact-based drama “Heaven Is for Real.”
Audiences of almost any age will benefit from this intriguing, child-guided glimpse into the afterlife.