Your Weekend Film Round-Up: What To See (and Skip) in Theatres…

By Original-Cin Staff

Looking to take in something solid at the multiplex this weekend? Here is what’s new and notable, as reviewed by Original-Cin’s intrepid writers.

 Dakota Johnson in a scene from Bad Times at the watchable El Royale.

Dakota Johnson in a scene from Bad Times at the watchable El Royale.

Hey girl, Ryan Gosling wants to take you to the moon this weekend in First Man, in which he stars as nice-guy astronaut Neil Armstrong, who made that first imprint on the lunar dust almost a half-century ago. Director Damien (La La Land) Chazelle's new film doesn't stint on the visual thrills, writes Liam Lacey but, led by Gosling's subtle performance, goes deep into the inner space between public heroism and private sorrows (Original-Cin Rating: A).

There are several other earthbound movie-going options, including All About Nina (Original-Cin Rating: A), in which Mary Elizabeth Winstead shines as an emotionally damaged stand-up comedian trying to make it in L.A. in a film that reviewer Kim Hughes calls "funny, cringe-inducing, sad and exhilarating." Kim also was high on writer/director Drew Goddard’s richly weird murder mystery, Bad Times at the El Royale (Original-Cin Rating: A), with a cast including Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, and Chris Hemsworth. Kim also had praise for the breathtaking documentary Free Solo (Original-Cin Rating: A) about daredevil Yosemite climber, Alex Honnold.

 A scene from The Hate U GIve.

A scene from The Hate U GIve.

The Hate U Give (Original-Cin Rating: B), based on a best-selling young adult novel, has earned considerable media buzz for its politically pointed youth drama inspired by Black Lives Matter. Amandla Stenberg stars as an African-American teen at a mostly-white private school whose life is radically changed when she’s the only witness to a police shooting that kills her close friend. Liam Lacey appreciated its heartfelt performances though the script was excessively explanatory.

Also, this week, Jim Slotek has a rewarding talk with Canadian tough-guy actor, Michael Ironside, a veteran of more than 300 films (!) and one of the stars in the Calgary director Michael Peterson's effective kid-vs-psychopath thriller, Knuckleball (Original-Cin Rating: B).

In other releases, Kim Hughes endured the horror of a pointless sequel with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (Original-Cin Rating: C) and Jim Slotek found the biopic Bigger (Original-Cin Rating: C) about bodybuilders Joe and Ben Wieder pretty heavy lifting. Finally, Liam Lacey is a little less than worshipful about Restoring Tomorrow, a documentary about the revival of the legendary synagogue of the stars, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Original-Cin Rating: B-).

Have a great weekend.