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) 86%

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) 75%

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) 80%

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 (2018) , 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 (2018) , a documentary look at the controversial system for training Russian Olympic athletes, is at 100%.
  • After Everything (Shotgun) (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 (2018) , 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

award winner Television Academy Chernobyl Drama teaser TV Land TNT Rocky Quiz VH1 Trailer Amazon Prime foreign TCA 2017 diversity Netflix Christmas movies First Reviews crossover Lionsgate Winter TV Shondaland werewolf Black Mirror chucky Warner Bros. Stephen King Hallmark spider-man Apple Black History Month Winners dogs PlayStation serial killer Martial Arts witnail films NBC Fall TV DC Comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Schedule ghosts Classic Film nature Tomatazos TCA The CW Logo news Paramount Network Awards blaxploitation hispanic documentaries theme song USA Travel Channel DirecTV ESPN period drama Ovation halloween batman Star Wars Watching Series comedies CBS All Access Star Trek Disney Channel Rocketman tv talk renewed TV shows History Kids & Family Comics on TV TIFF Spectrum Originals criterion boxoffice rotten movies we love 2016 Amazon child's play romantic comedy Trophy Talk HBO Max harry potter Calendar golden globes Premiere Dates comics San Diego Comic-Con Avengers 21st Century Fox YouTube Premium E! dragons Mary Poppins Returns MTV aliens psycho Photos Binge Guide spinoff Extras cancelled TV shows Emmy Nominations Walt Disney Pictures Cannes BBC America science fiction cinemax 24 frames E3 BAFTA breaking bad Tumblr Teen Film Sundance NYCC Disney Plus LGBTQ Film Festival critics video CNN Character Guide indie Oscars YouTube Red canceled TV shows Pet Sematary composers cancelled television HBO 45 Superheroes PBS Video Games 2020 Cartoon Network travel TCA Winter 2020 Holiday LGBT Heroines universal monsters Grammys children's TV a nightmare on elm street Ghostbusters Discovery Channel A&E CMT TLC Countdown Universal Comedy Central VOD cults Music sequel biography Tubi facebook Biopics 2015 cars franchise Baby Yoda transformers screenings asian-american crime drama Pixar Cosplay dramedy FOX christmas movies WGN Lifetime Christmas movies 007 VICE Masterpiece OneApp Women's History Month cats dc BBC binge Pride Month MSNBC Lifetime Box Office Year in Review blockbuster Peacock DC Universe Turner Classic Movies Esquire what to watch DC streaming service Comedy quibi jamie lee curtis romance Certified Fresh SundanceTV Country RT History HBO Go Podcast crime thriller reboot Horror streaming Syfy twilight scary movies TruTV Sundance Now political drama IFC Films Epix comic joker independent spanish language Creative Arts Emmys Spike natural history First Look Emmys doctor who Disney+ Disney Plus SDCC justice league YouTube sitcom 2017 71st Emmy Awards TCM festivals Bravo TBS discovery game show true crime Infographic Song of Ice and Fire television concert Awards Tour zombies Captain marvel 4/20 casting thriller See It Skip It singing competition game of thrones parents Super Bowl Marathons war Rom-Com TV renewals Sneak Peek Tarantino Red Carpet adaptation CBS Turner The Purge Shudder robots satire sports documentary medical drama Musicals GLAAD Polls and Games Sony Pictures Trivia Columbia Pictures American Society of Cinematographers kids movies mockumentary RT21 Rock Anna Paquin stoner Spring TV free movies die hard The Witch police drama Paramount FX Fox News Crackle crime Mindy Kaling Writers Guild of America A24 Animation Fantasy book Mystery indiana jones Family Holidays FX on Hulu technology strong female leads Crunchyroll TV Freeform National Geographic Adult Swim El Rey reviews Hear Us Out vampires FXX anime name the review Mary poppins Marvel Pirates ITV Nominations Lucasfilm WarnerMedia Interview latino dark 2018 elevated horror USA Network directors versus animated Western IFC richard e. Grant Set visit anthology cancelled TV series zero dark thirty sag awards cops docudrama unscripted Acorn TV Apple TV+ BET dceu Thanksgiving Ellie Kemper revenge social media hist finale Summer APB Musical Pop CW Seed psychological thriller Chilling Adventures of Sabrina GIFs Amazon Prime Video Marvel Studios DGA Nickelodeon all-time Nat Geo disaster Comic Book Disney AMC spain Christmas Best and Worst series Action canceled Mudbound Hulu Netflix Endgame The Arrangement Toys BET Awards toy story Marvel Television GoT comiccon Sundance TV Food Network Arrowverse based on movie stand-up comedy ABC Family Showtime Opinion cartoon spy thriller BBC One Elton John Superheroe President space adventure Disney streaming service video on demand Sci-Fi SXSW slashers Academy Awards best supernatural Brie Larson Britbox X-Men cancelled 2019 Pop TV Mary Tyler Moore talk show ABC mission: impossible Reality Competition Valentine's Day screen actors guild Dark Horse Comics 20th Century Fox Hallmark Christmas movies Funimation cooking YA Apple TV Plus Vudu Election historical drama PaleyFest politics ratings zombie Reality miniseries green book Starz MCU south america The Walking Dead mutant OWN New York Comic Con Amazon Studios movie