What’s happening on Seattle’s movie scene this week.
Here are snapshots of what our reviewers thought of the movies opening this week in the Seattle area. (Star ratings are granted on a scale of zero to four.)
★★★★ “First Man” (PG-13; 141 minutes): Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) have created a portrait of a man who stands apart from his myth in their biopic about the late Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen, Special to The Seattle Times
★★★★ “Free Solo” (PG-13; 100 minutes): The visually stunning documentary intimately probes the psyche of one of the world’s most interesting athletes, Alex Honnold — who climbed rope-less up El Capitan, a legendary rock face in Yosemite National Park — and asks the question: How can he risk pain to the people who love him in pursuit of a lofty personal goal? Full review. Multiple theaters. — Evan Bush, Seattle Times staff reporter
★★★½ “The Hate U Give” (PG-13; 132 minutes): The whole cast delivers, but this is Amandla Stenberg’s movie, playing a 16-year-old who witnesses a police officer shoot and kill her unarmed friend. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Brent McKnight, Special to The Seattle Times
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★★★ “The Old Man & the Gun” (PG-13; 93 minutes): In his latest (but now apparently not last) film, Robert Redford returns to playing a good-hearted scalawag in the mode of the Sundance Kid and the flimflam man he portrayed in “The Sting.” Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen
★★ “Bad Times at the El Royale” (R; 140 minutes): Imagine being wowed at a magic show, only to have the magician explain how every single trick worked. That’s what it feels like to watch writer-director Drew Goddard’s new pulp thriller. By the time Chris Hemsworth and his torso arrive to raise hell at the trashy hotel El Royale, all of the mysteries have been explained. Full review. Multiple theaters. — J.R. Kinnard, Special to The Seattle Times
★★★½ “22 July” (R; 144 minutes): Paul Greengrass’ powerful, must-see film explores several of the lives altered when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik (a frightening Anders Danielsen Lie) went on a deadly rampage in Norway in 2011, killing 77. Shot like a documentary, the first third lays out the horror of July 11, 2011, and the rest of the movie tracks how both a terribly wounded survivor, Viljar (a stunning Jonas Strand Gravli), and a lawyer for the gunman (a superb Jon Oigarden) struggle in its aftermath. The film comes to a climax at Breivik’s trial. Viljar’s victim’s impact statement is a brilliant aria about surviving violence and the power of life. With tenderness and toughness, Greengrass has made a great film about a terrible act. Crest. — Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
★★ “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” (PG; 90 minutes): The 2015 adaptation of R.L. Stine’s popular “Goosebumps” book series, starring Jack Black as a freewheeling version of the author, was smart and silly and scary. But the follow-up is a serious disappointment, starting with how Black is barely in it. A new group of kids are taken in by the evil machinations of ventriloquist dummy Slappy. He wants to make mischief, and mischief he makes, with the assistance of all the creatures he brings into existence. But instead of raising Stine’s monsters from the page, Slappy merely animates every Halloween decoration in sight. This is a kid-friendly monster mash, but it’s truly no graveyard smash. Multiple theaters. — Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Inventing Tomorrow” (not rated; 87 minutes): I’ve seen more than a few documentaries addressing vital environmental issues, chief among them climate change, and they are all terrifying. So it’s commendable that someone has tried to make a film about hope. “Inventing Tomorrow” takes a personal look at some international students working on projects to make things better — including a boy in Hilo, Hawaii, who is conducting a study of arsenic in soil. The students are winning and heartening, and their mission is one you just can’t take issue with. The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews. SIFF Cinema Uptown. — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
“Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” (PG-13; 93 minutes): The drama, which did not screen in advance for review, focuses on the police investigation and trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Dean Cain and Earl Billings star. Multiple theaters.