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) 48%

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: Season 1 (2018) 92%

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

Christmas Apple Box Office Drama medical drama Quiz Photos PaleyFest historical drama mutant Thanksgiving biography TBS American Society of Cinematographers Netflix cars game show green book Chernobyl 2017 zombies Extras Disney Mary poppins CW Seed natural history Trivia boxoffice Universal diversity Cartoon Network 2018 discovery Sneak Peek harry potter theme song A&E Disney Channel DC Comics Elton John Best and Worst book Nominations zero dark thirty cinemax Cosplay Music Ellie Kemper ghosts El Rey blaxploitation Britbox TCA spinoff binge crossover technology justice league aliens Starz Bravo Election The Witch RT21 Freeform VH1 Walt Disney Pictures unscripted Binge Guide Premiere Dates Awards Tour Horror AMC DGA kids Pet Sematary MSNBC Women's History Month nature Reality ratings Year in Review E! Lucasfilm Disney streaming service Rom-Com Food Network teaser spider-man Summer BBC America National Geographic series Masterpiece toy story true crime 2015 Crackle dramedy Country Comedy Polls and Games Ovation social media Calendar Syfy YouTube Red travel Mary Poppins Returns GIFs elevated horror PBS BBC Countdown HBO Max Hulu Superheroe Action Sundance Creative Arts Emmys Anna Paquin sitcom 24 frames TCA 2017 21st Century Fox Spring TV Reality Competition Tarantino RT History SundanceTV adventure Toys Amazon Prime Western Trailer LGBT The CW Fall TV TCM Mindy Kaling mockumentary Podcast DC streaming service Adult Swim X-Men psychological thriller composers streaming Musicals Marvel crime drama Star Trek talk show doctor who sequel USA docudrama Kids & Family President dceu Vudu Brie Larson cooking NYCC stand-up comedy cops New York Comic Con Oscars anime History politics dragons Character Guide award winner psycho Star Wars facebook revenge Mary Tyler Moore police drama Marathons crime thriller children's TV thriller cats period drama Martial Arts comiccon Mudbound adaptation political drama anthology Mystery singing competition LGBTQ Epix tv talk Nickelodeon Watching Series Family hist Superheroes Warner Bros. spy thriller GoT dc TV Trophy Talk zombie 2019 VICE First Look festivals BET quibi Grammys Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt OWN 45 Sci-Fi Ghostbusters comic romance YA crime ABC golden globes Stephen King SXSW Lifetime See It Skip It Emmy Nominations Pixar Columbia Pictures television Comic Book Lionsgate Holidays Spike GLAAD Set visit TLC CNN Fox News Fantasy Red Carpet Video Games Esquire Sundance Now Valentine's Day IFC Awards Writers Guild of America Acorn TV animated Nat Geo Paramount MTV WarnerMedia cults Shudder Biopics Song of Ice and Fire what to watch FX TNT CBS All Access vampires Amazon Emmys Dark Horse Comics Heroines Cannes ABC Family Pirates sports YouTube Premium finale Tumblr Amazon Prime Video Interview SDCC Opinion 20th Century Fox Showtime Spectrum Originals Winners jamie lee curtis TIFF Captain marvel Logo richard e. Grant TV Land E3 Rocketman movies 2016 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Tomatazos Rock Film DC Universe disaster Schedule MCU San Diego Comic-Con Rocky IFC Films Super Bowl APB Black Mirror transformers USA Network casting TruTV WGN miniseries FXX CBS 007 Musical FOX NBC science fiction serial killer based on movie The Arrangement Film Festival Teen Infographic ESPN supernatural witnail DirecTV Pop Paramount Network Pride Month Certified Fresh Sony Pictures Comedy Central CMT war strong female leads Comics on TV space robots Winter TV Shondaland ITV HBO Animation