In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'First Man,' 'Beautiful Boy' and More

8:00 AM 10/12/2018

by Linda Xu

Watch Ryan Gosling take "one small step for man" on Friday.

FIRST MAN_Zurich_embed - Publicity - EMBED 2018
Daniel McFadden/Universal

Ryan Gosling in First Man, which screens Oct. 2. 

The Ryan Gosling-led Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man, has generated plenty of Oscar buzz and will hit theaters this Friday. Other films stacked with Oscar nominees, such as Beautiful Boy and Bad Times at the El Royale, are also slated for a weekend release.

Tiffany Haddish follows up Night School with The Oath, starring alongside Ike Barinholtz, who directed the movie — theatergoers may find catharsis in the politically charged, satirical dark comedy. And to get in the mood for Halloween, Goosebumps 2 will also hit the big screen Friday.

Read below to see what critics for The Hollywood Reporter have to say about the upcoming offerings.

  • 'First Man'

    Director Damien Chazelle's dramatic account of the years leading up to the historic Apollo 11 mission — the first successful manned moon mission — stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as his first wife, Janet Shearon. Prior to First Man, Chazelle and Gosling worked together on the Oscar-nominated La La Land. THR critic David Rooney writes, "What is perhaps most notable is the film’s refusal to engage in the expected jingoistic self-celebration that such a milestone would seem to demand."

  • 'Bad Times at the El Royale'

    The mystery thriller Bad Times at the El Royale boasts a versatile cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm and Dakota Johnson. The film follows seven strangers staying at a seedy hotel straddling the Nevada/California border and is set some time in the 1960s. The plot isn't clearly discernible from trailers or reviews, but at some point it seems like surveillance systems and two-way mirrors come into play, and dark secrets are eventually uncovered. The cast also features Chris Hemsworth, Cynthia Erivo and Nick Offerman.

    "It's great to look at, nearly giddy with pop-culture love, and its particulars are intriguing," writes THR's Sheri Linden. "But those pieces — by turns weird, soulful and exhilarating — merely accumulate, when they should be generating magic."

  • 'Beautiful Boy'

    Beautiful Boy, based on the memoirs of father and son David and Nic Sheff, chronicles a family grappling with a son's addiction to methamphetamines and heroin, among other substances. Timothee Chalamet plays the son riding the waves of rehab and relapse while Steve Carell plays the elder Sheff, who tries calmly to coax him back to shore. Felix Van Groeningen directs the adaptation. In his review of the film, THR critic Todd McCarthy begins by writing, "Beautiful Boy is a one-note, prosaic, on-the-nose look at drug addiction that’s set up as a showcase for two fine actors."

  • 'The Oath'

    Ike Barinholtz's directing debut follows a couple (Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish) in a fictional United States who refuse to swear an oath of loyalty to the president. Throw in the premise of a Thanksgiving dinner with politically divergent guests and government agents knocking on the door, and tightly wound tension ensues. THR critic John DeFore called Barinholtz's direction "heavy-handed" and wrote, "Clearly coming from the left but happy to make characters of all political stripes look bad, the film is often hard to take, offering laughs that are rarely cathartic enough to compensate."

  • 'Bigger'

    Bigger depicts the entrepreneurial journey of brothers Joe and Ben Weider, who launched a fitness empire that included the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competitions. Director George Gallo helms the film and Tyler Hoechlin, Aneurin Barnard, Victoria Justice and Julianne Hough round out the cast.

  • 'Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween'

    R.L. Stine's bone-chilling book series comes to life once again. Slappy the Dummy returns as the film's villain, who appears when two kids open up Stine's book, Haunted House. The film features a new cast including young It actor Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Madison Iseman. Ken Jeong, Chris Parnell and Wendi McLendon-Covey also star.