Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle goes from “La La Land” to outer space with “First Man.” Ryan Gosling plays the ultra-reserved astronaut Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy is his devoted wife, Janet. It’s beautifully produced, but like Armstrong himself, “First Man” is emotionally aloof.
“Bad Times at the El Royale” is half of a great movie. This slick and violent grindhouse exploitation flick is involving and features a great cast, but it wears out its welcome in the bloated second half. It’s overdone and overlong but will be a guilty pleasure for some.
Amandla Stenberg gives a star making performance “The Hate U Give,” a YA offering about an African American teen walking a tightrope between her poor black neighborhood and the upscale white prep school she attends. This social drama has a lot more meat on its bones than most teen movies.
“Colette” is a decadent biopic about the infamous French writer. Keira Knightley plays the author of the semi-autobiographical novels about her bohemian lifestyle that scandalized early 20th century Paris. “Colette” may lack inspiration, but it’s never dull.
“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” is a sequel to the 2015 hit horror movie for kids inspired by R. L. Stine’s novels. Slappy the evil ventriloquist dummy is back to cause mayhem in this well-produced but completely predictable outing.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s impressive performance is the main draw of “All About Nina,” the tale of a struggling standup comic with serious sexual, addiction and relationship issues. It’s a decadent but well told story.
Also opening this week, Robert Redford stars as an elderly bank robber in “The Old Man and the Gun.” “Black 87” is an historic Irish thriller set during the Great Famine of 1847. The 18th annual Kansas International Film Festival takes place October 12-18th at the Glenwood Arts in Leawood. More information is available at kansasfilm.com.