Critics Consensus

First Man Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is disappointingly formulaic, Titans makes an impressive debut, and The Haunting of Hill House and Bad Times at the El Royale are also Certified Fresh.

by | October 11, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got one giant leap (First Man, starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy), one supernatural sequel (Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, starring Wendy McLendon-Covey and Madison Iseman), and one wild night (Bad Tmies at the El Royale, starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Hemsworth). What are the critics saying?


First Man (2018) 87%

Sending people into space easily ranks among the most impressive achievements we’ve ever pulled off as a species, so it only stands to reason that our first manned flight to the moon remains a persistent subject of fascination for filmmakers. In fact, it’s inspired enough feats of cinema that a director would have to be blessed with a lot of moxie to try and add to the list — which is why it’s extra fortunate that this weekend’s First Man is being brought to us by the award-winning duo of Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling. Chazelle, who most recently directed Gosling in the acclaimed hit musical La La Land, reunites here with his leading man to tell the story of Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who became the — wait for it — first man to walk on the moon. They’re obviously telling a very different type of story, but critics say their respective strengths are well served by this biopic, which foregoes a fair bit of the expected sweeping space vistas and epic narrative grandeur in favor of a more intimately focused drama that pulls back the curtain on Armstrong’s occasionally quite arduous personal journey. As an inspiring example of what we’re capable of when we work together or a gripping piece of solidly crafted entertainment that’s further elevated by stellar cinematography and an outstanding supporting performance by Claire Foy, First Man looks like a fittingly successful voyage.


Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) 47%

Hollywood famously pumps out mediocre horror sequels as if it were controlled by an occult hand. But while it was probably inevitable that the delightful Goosebumps would get a part two, critics say Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is too slavishly devoted to the original template to take any — ahem — spook-tacular risks. Once again, a group of youngsters must stop the evil machinations of Slappy the Dummy, who escapes from the pages of an enchanted book; this time out, Slappy’s got a gang of monsters to help sow chaos in the small town of Wardenclyffe. The pundits say that kids will probably like this new Goosebumps just fine, but their parents or guardians are likely to wonder what happened to the wit and energy of its predecessor.


Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) 74%

In his feature debut The Cabin in the Woods, director Drew Goddard demonstrated an almost preternatural knack for wringing fresh surprises out of well-worn genre cliches. Now he’s back in the director’s chair with the Tarantino-inspired thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, and critics say Goddard and his cast are in top form. El Royale is the story of seven strangers (whose ranks include Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Cynthia Erivo) who congregate at the titular motel and find out what happens when things start to get surreal. The pundits say the cast is terrific, the plot is deliciously twisty, and the production design is impeccable, and even if it doesn’t deliver all that it promises, the Certified Fresh El Royale is definitely worth a visit.


What’s New on TV

The Haunting of Hill House: Miniseries (2018) 93%

The Haunting of Hill House is an effective ghost story whose steadily mounting anticipation is just as satisfying as its chilling payoff.


Titans: Season 1 (2018) 78%

Despite a few tonal growing pains, Titans does justice to its source material and truly shines when its titular ensemble finally assembles.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Liyana (2017) , an animated adventure combining African tradition and actual events, is at 100%.
  • All Square (2018) , in which a small-town bookie comes up with a decidedly unorthodox way of fixing his failing business, is at 100%.
  • Over the Limit (2017) , a documentary look at the controversial system for training Russian Olympic athletes, is at 100%.
  • After Everything (2018) , starring Maika Monroe and Jeremy Allen White as a young couple whose budding romance is threatened by some fateful news, is at 92%.
  • The Sentence (2018) , a documentary unspooling the aftermath of a woman’s imprisonment for crimes committed by her ex-boyfriend, is at 91%.
  • Sadie (2018) , a drama about a teen’s increasing determination to keep her mother from striking up a new relationship in her father’s absence, is at 86%.
  • B&B (2017) , a thriller about the unhappily memorable stay awaiting two men who sue for the right to book a room at a Christian lodge, is at 83%.
  • 22 July (2018) , a Paul Greengrass-directed dramatization of the events surrounding Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack, is Certified Fresh at 80%.
  • The Oath (2018) , a political comedy looking for dark humor in divided times, is at 77%.
  • The Happy Prince (2018) , a look at Oscar Wilde’s final years directed, written by, and starring Rupert Everett, is Certified Fresh at 72%.
  • Apostle (2018) , a period drama starring Dan Stevens as a man determined to wrest his sister from the clutches of a cult, is at 72%.
  • Beautiful Boy (2018) , an adaptation of the bestselling addiction memoir starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, is at 67%.
  • Stella's Last Weekend (2018) , in which a family reunites to say goodbye to their dog, only for two brothers to end up embroiled in a love triangle, is at 63%.

Tag Cloud

video on demand batman Marathons Film revenge crossover Year in Review YouTube Super Bowl Tags: Comedy AMC Plus composers golden globe awards robots Rock Hollywood Foreign Press Association Funimation Pirates spanish language Fox News series spinoff Opinion 2015 Hallmark 007 binge psycho Musical Broadway Spring TV Lifetime ABC Family boxing Apple Writers Guild of America Disney Channel documentary Family TV movies reviews green book 1990s award winner Marvel Studios spanish PaleyFest superhero A24 vampires Paramount Plus DC streaming service 2019 anime Nat Geo VICE Lucasfilm worst mockumentary Walt Disney Pictures science fiction kong nature Logo fresh black comedy 93rd Oscars comiccon french Masterpiece Horror Turner Classic Movies romantic comedy screen actors guild what to watch Toys mcc 71st Emmy Awards reboot Hulu President Polls and Games slasher Martial Arts cults NYCC Character Guide independent nfl TNT new star wars movies The CW OWN natural history Mystery BET cinemax Baby Yoda theme song Interview trailers New York Comic Con Captain marvel black Comic-Con@Home 2021 trophy harry potter satire Exclusive Video Cartoon Network National Geographic dramedy superman 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards VOD sitcom twilight Fantasy feel good Mary Poppins Returns Song of Ice and Fire gangster FX on Hulu canceled TV shows prank spy thriller movies supernatural Red Carpet cats The Purge italian critics Oscars genre politics X-Men festival japan Tokyo Olympics documentaries cancelled Discovery Channel TIFF DirecTV docudrama The Walking Dead live action wonder woman comic book movies Mary poppins olympics Holidays facebook mutant 21st Century Fox canceled child's play Emmys YouTube Red Ovation versus Epix Creative Arts Emmys sports unscripted worst movies Cannes cancelled TV shows Tarantino DC Comics scorecard Video Games sequel game of thrones blaxploitation thriller CW Seed streaming movies FXX CBS All Access serial killer Quiz kids toronto ESPN Marvel Television slashers E! Pet Sematary Premiere Dates new zealand Nickelodeon CMT Black Mirror Spike romance new york disaster Awards The Walt Disney Company venice Star Trek football Film Festival Kids & Family scary movies Bravo animated legend Podcast Action Hear Us Out spider-verse Infographic Amazon monster movies Black History Month Columbia Pictures BBC America Spectrum Originals VH1 Fargo Acorn TV SDCC spain Apple TV Plus Endgame transformers richard e. Grant See It Skip It HFPA international Pixar comedies 45 IMDb TV 73rd Emmy Awards finale strong female leads crime thriller Amazon Studios Tomatazos El Rey breaking bad telelvision WGN APB high school heist movie Adult Swim aliens TCA Winter 2020 hispanic heritage month Awards Tour FOX dc Schedule indie hispanic E3 halloween Amazon Prime Video Women's History Month video zombies casting Britbox lord of the rings talk show HBO Warner Bros. concert crime drama debate all-time DGA TV renewals Sundance TV biography 79th Golden Globes Awards LGBT BBC USA Network CBS HBO Go Animation AMC festivals Set visit children's TV social media Ghostbusters Starz ViacomCBS posters fast and furious BBC One 2017 sag awards 2020 australia 24 frames Hallmark Christmas movies GLAAD PlayStation Television Academy godzilla remakes women justice league Comedy Central parents nbcuniversal halloween tv GoT obituary period drama adventure Rocky rt labs critics edition chucky dragons james bond jurassic park stop motion directors Disney RT21 aapi Paramount Network 4/20 comic Music comic book movie SXSW joker Cosplay Netflix Christmas movies Country japanese TLC leaderboard Reality Competition Alien war Turner Image Comics Disney streaming service biopic true crime action-comedy MCU Pride Month mob rom-coms Brie Larson jamie lee curtis Peacock cancelled TV series Christmas 2016 Showtime Sundance Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Box Office DC Universe Photos Television Critics Association screenings based on movie USA space The Witch Watching Series Sci-Fi hidden camera Trivia spider-man christmas movies adenture ID classics Mary Tyler Moore BET Awards 2021 political drama docuseries Food Network Chernobyl discovery rt labs die hard streaming Crackle ABC technology Trophy Talk a nightmare on elm street FX Rocketman Pacific Islander TV Land Election emmy awards elevated horror laika dreamworks Winter TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina LGBTQ indiana jones Comic Book Shudder diversity NBC Arrowverse Lifetime Christmas movies WarnerMedia MTV Classic Film free movies book YA Elton John Syfy Thanksgiving renewed TV shows king kong Sundance Now Binge Guide Winners comic books Marvel TCA YouTube Premium target Netflix basketball zombie 20th Century Fox blockbusters Calendar comics Trailer Lionsgate name the review 72 Emmy Awards Star Wars BAFTA Fox Searchlight TBS 90s asian-american rotten movies we love TV One cartoon best PBS Travel Channel Dark Horse Comics Shondaland boxoffice Reality hist singing competition live event TruTV quibi Summer Teen Biopics stoner crime golden globes San Diego Comic-Con suspense critic resources book adaptation royal family Pop saw dogs Disney+ Disney Plus CNN Superheroes Musicals RT History A&E stand-up comedy archives know your critic mission: impossible art house 2018 Mudbound anthology Crunchyroll adaptation TCA Awards pirates of the caribbean cooking cops doctor who hollywood kaiju movie Anna Paquin toy story scene in color young adult marvel cinematic universe latino TV dark IFC Films films IFC cancelled television dceu Tubi psychological thriller south america SundanceTV Amazon Prime Certified Fresh OneApp miniseries historical drama dexter Esquire Paramount Countdown ITV Sneak Peek Disney Plus Vudu witnail rotten History Emmy Nominations Stephen King tv talk NBA Prime Video Rom-Com zero dark thirty cars 99% franchise TCA 2017 game show Universal Pictures sopranos Drama Tumblr Avengers criterion GIFs foreign rt archives Neflix Fall TV teaser ghosts MSNBC Mindy Kaling blockbuster Western Heroines ABC Signature police drama Apple TV+ Wes Anderson Valentine's Day Extras popular werewolf Academy Awards universal monsters news Superheroe Legendary First Look American Society of Cinematographers king arthur Instagram Live television Comedy First Reviews ratings medical drama Sony Pictures Comics on TV Grammys HBO Max Pop TV TCM deadpool Universal sequels Nominations Freeform Holiday razzies Best and Worst The Arrangement Ellie Kemper vs. travel The Academy marvel comics scary