Every Friday, NewsCult Entertainment Editor Jeffrey Malone recommends the entertainment essentials of the week – at least three, often more, and usually at least one cinematic and at least one televisual, but it could be ANY combination.
1. Movie: Bad Times at the El Royale (Theatrically Nationwide) – The Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorite films of all time, and it was the debut directorial effort from Drew Goddard. Thus, I am interested in whatever the future of his career has in store. We’ve been waiting some time for a follow-up, and six years later we finally have his second feature, and thankfully, it does not disappoint. Bad Times at the El Royale is about a bunch of kooky characters uneasily spending the night together at the titular hotel that straddles the California-Nevada state line and attracts all sorts of neo-noir shenanigans.
2. Movie: First Man (Theatrically Nationwide) – Whiplash and La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s latest is a strikingly intimate biopic about Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon. It’s primarily an accomplishment on a technical level, with Ryan Gosling’s intensely interior lead performance and Justin Hurwitz’s gentle score combining with Chazelle’s direction to create a crushing portrayal of the stresses of space exploration and having the weight of the world on one’s shoulders.
3. TV: The Haunting of Hill House Season 1 (October 12 on Netflix) – Could this take on the 1959 gothic novel by Shirley Jackson (which was twice previously adapted into a film) be the first great original Netflix horror series? Sure, we’ve already got Stranger Things, but that’s also got the coming-of-age elements, whereas The Haunting of Hill House looks to be more straight-up terrifying. We’re definitely in good hands, as it comes courtesy of Mike Flanagan, the director behind such modern horror gems as Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Gerald’s Game. He’s brought on board some of his previous actors, like Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, and Lulu Wilson.