REVIEWS

 "Beautiful Boy": (drama, R, 120 minutes, reviewed by Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times). Though showered with love and attention as he grows up, Nic (Timothee Chalamet) becomes a crystal meth addict, prone to lashing out at anyone who tries to help him, including his dutiful father (Steve Carell). We've seen this story many times before, but it's the fine writing and the heartfelt performances that elevate "Beautiful Boy" to something more than just another well-made cautionary tale. ***

"Bohemian Rhapsody": (biographical drama, 134 minutes, PG-13, reviewed by Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post): As a trite, often laughably cliched biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), an enterprise that should have been as daring and flamboyantly theatrical as its subject winds up being bowdlerized, Wiki-fied, distortingly compressed and unforgivably conventional. And yet: Every now and then, a film comes along that defies the demands of taste, formal sophistication, even artistic honesty to succeed simply on the level of pure, inexplicable pleasure. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is just that cinematic unicorn: the bad movie that works, even when it shouldn't. **½

“First Man” (historical drama, PG-13, 141 minutes, reviewed by Tim Miller, Cape Cod Times). Director Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) takes on astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and NASA’s mission to the moon in an ambitious film that combines the intimately personal (Armstrong’s loss of a child) with the spectacular (the moon landing). Claire Foy plays Armstrong’s wife. ***

“Free Solo”: (documentary, PG-13, 97 minutes, reviewed by Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times). Both intimate and expansive, this documentary about climber Alex Honnold is beautifully calculated to literally take your breath away. In this surprisingly personal film, Honnold shocks the “free-soloing” world by climbing Yosemite’s imposing 3,200-foot El Capitan, with no ropes, no harnesses, just bare hands and dazzling determination and skill. (No star rating available.)

“Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween”: (horror comedy, PG, 90 minutes, reviewed by Walsh). This sequel is a serious disappointment following the unexpected hit of the first “Goosebumps” film. With new kids and very little screen time for Jack Black (star of the original), the story of a ventriloquist dummy brought to life that then animates a variety of creatures is a kid-friendly monster mash, but no graveyard smash. **

“Halloween” (horror thriller, R, 106 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Not a remake but a follow-up to the original, trend-setting 1978 John Carpenter movie. This one brings back Jamie Lee Curtis, channeling Frances McDormand from “Three Billboards” as she plays the now tough, grumpy survivor of masked killer Michael Myers’ original rampage. It tries to mix humor with horror and is only occasionally successful at either. **

“The Happy Prince” (biographical drama, R, 105 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Rupert Everett, who also wrote and directed, delivers a bravura performance as Oscar Wilde in decline in this film about the Irish poet-author-playwright and celebrated wit. Everett focuses almost exclusively on Wilde's later years, when he went into exile in Paris after a libel suit he filed backfired and he wound up serving a prison term for sodomy and gross indecency. A complex portrait of a complex man. Also starring Colin Firth and Emily Watson, as Wilde's estranged wife. ***

“The Hate U Give” (drama, PG-13, 133 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Amandla Stenberg triumphs as Starr, a black teen who’s torn between personas: one for her crime-plagued ‘hood, the other for her private high school where she’s surrounded by privileged white kids. Overlong and at times preachy, this drama addresses the #BlackLivesMatter movement with intelligence and heart. It’s a must. ****

“Hunter Killer” (action thriller, R, 121 minutes, reviewed by Miller). A U.S. submarine captain (Gerard Butler) leads a mission to save the Russian president from a renegade Russian general. Passable, generic entertainment. Also starring Gary Oldman, Common and Linda Cardellini. **

“Mid90s”: (drama, R, 84 minutes, reviewed by Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service). A boy’s early brutal beatdown from his brother is the thesis of this film that explores the violent initiations of boys into manhood against the backdrop of a laid-back LA skate shop crew. Jonah Hill’s directorial debut is an achievement in authentic worldbuilding, and the young actors are finds, but this coming-of-age film becomes body horror and perhaps doesn’t ultimately say what Hill intended. **½

“Night School”: (comedy, PG-13, 111 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Kevin Hart plays a salesman forced by circumstances to attend night school to get his GED and Tiffany Haddish is his teacher in this lowbrow, but funny comedy. Rob Riggle shines as a wild-eyed knucklehead also taking the class. ***

“The Old Man & the Gun”: (crime comedy, PG-13, 93 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Robert Redford plays an elderly bank robber and Casey Affleck plays the cop who’s after him in this lighthearted, entertaining vehicle for its 82-year-old star. Also starring Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover and Tom Waits, who steals every scene he’s in. ***

“Smallfoot”: (animated, PG, 96 minutes, reviewed by Walsh). The story hinges on a clever reversal of perspective, centering on a tribe of Yetis in the Himalayas who fear the dreaded unknown creature – humans – known to them as Smallfoot. When one Yeti has a chance encounter with a human pilot who crash lands on the mountain, no one believes him and he sets out to find evidence of smallfoots. While the movie is formulaic and predictable, the animated designs are gorgeous and themes challenging. **½

“A Star Is Born”: (musical romantic drama, R, 135 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Or, a movie star is born, as Lady Gaga triumphs in her first major film role. Bradley Cooper, making an assured directorial debut, plays a hard-drinking, pill-popping veteran rocker who falls for an unknown singer-songwriter (Gaga) and nudges her into the spotlight. Familiar story (this is the fourth version), but the music (performed by both stars) and performances make this one stand on its own. ***½

“Venom” (sci-fi action, PG-13, 112 minutes, reviewed by Miller). Tom Hardy plays a controversial journalist whose body is taken over by an alien in this funny, irreverent superhero (or, anti-superhero) flick. ***

ALSO SHOWING

Cape Cinema: 35 Hope Lane, Dennis: "The Happy Prince," Friday through Thursday.

Chatham Orpheum Theater: 637 Main St.: "A Star is Born" and "The Old Man and the Gun," Friday through Thursday.

Martha's Vineyard Film Center: 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven: "The Old Man and the Gun": 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Wednesday, 4 p.m. Sunday and Thursday; "Free Solo": 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sunday and Thursday, 5 p.m. Saturday; MET Opera Live: "La Fanciulla Del West," 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Everything Will Be Fine": by Larry Broadbent, 7 p.m. Friday, Wellfleet Library, 55 W. Main St. 508-349-0310. 

Cult Musicals: "The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)": 7 p.m. Friday, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, 2357 U.S. 6. $12. 508-349-9428.

Dinner & A Movie: "306 Hollywood": 7:30-9:15 p.m. Saturday, Redfield Auditorium, 45 Water St., Woods Hole. Ticket holders receive discounts at participating restaurants for dinner before or after film. Participating restaurants: woodsholefilmfestival.org. $14, $10 students and veterans. Doors open 7 p.m. woodsholefilmfestival.org; 508-495-3456. 

"Rules of the Game": 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Wellfleet Library, 55 W. Main St. A 1939 French comedy-drama satirical film directed by Jean Renoir. 508-349-0310.

"Jasper Jones": 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Cape Cod Community College, 2240 Iyannough Road, Lecture Hall A, West Barnstable. Film in English with closed captions. Free on-site registration. Information/film schedule: 508-362-2132, ext. 4453.

"My Life as a Turkey!": 1 p.m. Thursday, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, 869 Main St., Brewster. Free with admission. 508-896-3867, ext. 133.

"Decoding the Weather Machine": NOVA's documentary, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Cape Cod Academy, 50 Osterville W. Barnstable Road, lower school gym, Osterville. events@whrc.org. 508-444-1520