In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'Fantastic Beasts,' 'Manchester by the Sea' and More

Read what THR's film critics are saying about films opening Friday, which include 'The Edge of Seventeen' and 'Bleed for This.'

Get to the box office early this weekend; it's going to be a big one. Magical creatures, murder and betrayal, unexpected parenthood and the comeback of a lifetime are headed to theaters this weekend in Bleed for This, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Manchester by the Sea, Nocturnal Animals, The Edge of Seventeen and The Take.
Read on to find out what The Hollywood Reporter's critics are saying about the weekend's new offerings, and click here to see how they're expected to perform at the box office.
Bleed for This
In a return for writer-director Ben Younger (Boiler Room), the story of legendary boxer Vinny Pazienza is brought to the big screen. Starring Miles Teller (Whiplash) as Pazienza, the film tells the true story of Pazienza's triumphant comeback after suffering a broken neck in a near fatal car accident. "As maniacally as he took drum playing to the limit in Whiplash, Teller fights 'til he wins or drops here," writes THR film critic Todd McCarthy. "His intensity and determination levels are extreme, his proclivity for reckless, unthinking behavior just a bit less so, and the actor cuts a convincing boxer’s figure in the many scenes of training and combat. Whether there are more levels to this guy, however, whether he has any perspectives other than to persevere and win, remains uncertain." Read the full review here.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The magical world of Harry Potter just got a lot bigger. Taking place prior to the chosen one's birth, this film follows the author of a textbook Harry receives while taking Hagrid's class on magical creatures. The title of the textbook being the title of the film; the author, Newt Scamander. Played by Eddie Redmayne, Scamander arrives in New York with a host of magical creatures in a small briefcase with a flimsy latch. "As he travels the globe collecting magical creatures, the wizard-scholar carries an enviable answer to Noah's ark: a humble leather suitcase that, like the Tardis and Mary Poppins' bag, is far larger on the inside than the outside," writes THR film critic John DeFore. Read the full review here.
Manchester by the Sea
With his third film in 16 years, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan has crafted what many are calling a masterpiece. Starring Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams, the film tells the story of a troubled janitor who, after his brother dies, is forced to care for his nephew. Taking on the role as janitor Lee Chandler, Affleck delivers, "what is by far his most impressive and deeply felt screen performance to date," writes THR film critic Todd McCarthy. "Affleck goes deeper here than ever before, his odd posturing, hesitations and sometimes scratchy speech now all seeming like a meaningful outgrowth and expression of his complex character, no longer sometimes affectations," McCarthy writes. "Young Hedges, perhaps best known for his appearances in two Wes Anderson films, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, has a lot more to work with here and thoroughly impresses." Read the full review here.
Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford, former creative director for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and now head of a label in his name, goes with a much darker tone in his second film as director. Adapted from Austin Wright's 1993 novel Tony and Susan, the film tells two stories in one. Amy Adams takes on the role of Susan, a high-class insomniac and gallery owner who, one day, receives a manuscript for a new novel written by her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). "While the novel is about the choices that define us and their consequences for people along the way, it also is about the extremely intimate act of reading, as access to another person's thoughts, feelings and experience," writes THR film critic David Rooney. "This is not a drama about atonement or forgiveness, but about unblinking discoveries that dig deep into the decayed carcass of a dead relationship." Read the full review here.
The Edge of Seventeen
"Not that we needed another teen comedy revolving around angsty white millennials," writes THR film critic Jon Frosch, "but here's The Edge of Seventeen anyway, and guess what? It's really, really good." Making her directorial debut, Kelly Fremon Craig delivers a new, and remarkably original, teen comedy focused around a girl whose brother begins dating her best friend. "The film's strength is how seriously it takes these people and their fragile emotions, even as it tweaks them for gentle laughs and ushers them toward predictable resolutions." Frosch writes. "And while the characters are all recognizable types, there's some fine shading within the outlines." Read the full review here.
The Take (Bastille Day)
From writer-director James Watkins comes the story of former CIA agent who teams up with a young con artist for an anti-terrorist mission in France. The former king of the north in HBO's Game of Thrones, Richard Madden takes on the part of Michael Mason, a pick-pocketing con artist who accidentally steals a bag containing a bomb. When he later tosses the bag aside thinking its contents are useless (the bomb is inside a teddy bear), it explodes, causing him to be viewed as a terrorist suspect. Former CIA agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba) investigates Mason and uncovers the truth behind Mason's supposed terrorist attack. Come back later Friday to read THR's review.