Rather than using the extended running time to dig deep into these characters, director Andy Muschietti, who also directed the original, piles on the frights in a manner that builds to an ending drenched in hysteria.
Angel Has Fallen plays out exactly as you would expect from a potboiler of this type. No surprises here, other than that it exists at all. It’s the kind of movie one expects to be released at the shank end of summer. Time to turn the page to fall.
The pacing of the picture is problematical. It’s curiously inert in the early going, with a lot of time spent in cars with the characters as they drive around and around on freeways, side streets and boulevards in Hollywood.
The new version amplifies and deepens all that is good in the original. The key is in the visuals. Photorealistic computer-generated imagery renders its African landscapes and animals with astonishing realism.
Horror is a fragile thing. Suspension of disbelief is key to its effectiveness. A sudden inappropriate guffaw from someone in the audience can be enough to break the spell. In Midsommar, the spell breaks at the end and the picture collapses.
All Is True is handsomely mounted, filled with shadowed interiors underscoring the darkness of its story, the darkness artfully interrupted by candlelight and firelight. The movie’s impressive appearance notwithstanding, Shakespeare’s domestic problems do not a classic make.
Though his character bears Fails’ name and the picture is autobiographical, it’s not a documentary. Fails and co-screenwriter Rob Richert have embroidered on his experiences to create a story that melds realism with make-believe.
What we have here is a standard-issue comedy-tinged crime thriller indifferently directed by Tim Story (the “Think Like a Man” and “Ride Along” movies). Its nothing-special plot, the product of writers Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow, features ill-defined villains and briefly touches on Islamophobia and military veteran PTSD and drug abuse — and never follows up on any of those issues.
Phoenix goes off the rails in the second half when Kinberg piles fight scene atop CG-enhanced fight scene, backed by Hans Zimmer’s oppressive pounding score, until the picture devolves into a chaotic mess.
The true power of “Penguins” lies in the breathtaking visuals of Antarctic scenery and overhead shots of penguins, thousands upon thousands of them, moving across ice fields, black dots on bright white background stretching to the distant horizon. When it steps back from the schmaltz, “Penguins” becomes an impressive piece of work.