This Week's Review: "First Man" and "The Old Man & the Gun."

On October 13, I actually had enough time for two films which have been in the news lately: “First Man” and “The Old Man & the Gun.” Both were worth seeing, but I was not totally pleased with either.

I still have vivid memories of the early days of the space program and staying up very late at night to watch Neil Armstrong land on the moon. “First Man” does enlarge my understanding of that event, but it never quite comes to grips with Neil Armstrong. Ryan Gosling’s version of Armstrong comes across as very passive and unfocused; Claire Foy is much better as Mrs. Armstrong, particularly in one scalding scene.

The film tries to avoid repeating anything from “The Right Stuff,” and suffers slightly from the omitted information. Even so, it belongs on the shelf with “The Right Stuff,” “Apollo 13,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

The second film, “The Old Man & the Gun,” appears to be little more than a vehicle for Robert Redford. The film is slow at first and overly repetitious. Redford, Sissy Spacek and Danny Glover work well together, but I have never found bank robbers sympathetic characters.

There was a trailer for another film starring an elderly actor; this time, it is Clint Eastwood who will appear in something called “The Mule.” It is no comedy and has nothing to do with the earlier “Two Mules for Sister Sara.” The trailer hints that “The Mule” might be Eastwood’s final effort; I hope not.