By Tony Beal

A woman finds that something sinister lies beneath the Airbnb she rented.

There’re two types of horror films that studios dump with little to no marketing: the kind that are dull and average, aimed for teenagers. Then there’s the one that “Barbarian” falls into, a unique and off-the-wall film that you’re amazed a big studio backed.

At first, director Zach Cregger guides the audience and Tess (played greatly by Georgina Campbell) through a set up where something feels off before putting the protagonist at ease with the unexpected situation. Then, suddenly, the rug is pulled out from under you and the film veers toward something bizarrely comical, yet frightening. This is one of the most intense movies of the year and is a great balance between terror and humor, with some sly commentary on class and gender. You’re unlikely to see anything like it this year.

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”
A woman discovers a genie who tells her stories of his quest for purpose.

George Miller’s fairy tale is not the fast paced and wild story that its marketing promises. Instead, it’s a quiet and, at times, somber look at love and a search for purpose that’s constantly denied. Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton are excellent, two lovers who don’t know it yet. They feel like their lives have little to show. Meanwhile, Miller utilizes a heightened sense of reality for his story that isn’t as bombastic as “Fury Road” but more charming and subtle (for the most part). It’s stunning in a way that you rarely see in a film that doesn’t care to be pinned down in one way or another, and it’s all the better for it.
A widowed father is hunted with his daughters in a South African reserve by a lion.

“Beast” is something that’s weirdly dull for what could be an entertaining premise and it’s not helped by the lack of true care or chemistry between the leads. Despite all the tragedy they speak about and the distance between Nate Samuels (Idris Elba) and Meredith (Iyana Halley), there’s not much personality to be had in this cliche-ridden script. The decision to go with long takes for many scenes is also confusing, making many of them drag on for far too long and removing tension from moments where they are most needed. When the lion attacks, it is fun, and sometimes the long takes are used well. Still, there’s little to discuss here when even the usually reliable Sharlto Copley seems bored. This movie is inoffensive, not terrible, but forgettable.
A veteran holds the employees of a bank hostage to get the Veterans Affairs check he was denied.

“Breaking” doesn’t hold back or play a ‘both sides’ narrative, it knows and wants you to know that Brian Brown-Easley was wronged. In doing so, it puts you in his shoes and plays on the intensity of the robbery. Every movement from either him or the two hostages could be life or death, and even if you don’t know what happened in real life, you still feel the somberness that preceded the protagonist’s actions. Each actor gives some of their career best, particularly John Boyega with his fearful, angry, and apologetic performance. By the end, you’ll be haunted by what you’ve watched.

• “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” (Netflix)

• “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” (Theaters)
• “Amsterdam”(Theaters)
• “Tár” (Theaters, limited)
• “Hellraiser” (Hulu)

• “Dark Glasses” (Shudder)

• “Halloween Ends” (Theaters & Peacock)
• “White Bird: A Wonder Story” (Theaters)
• “Stars at Noon” (Theaters, limited)
• “Till” (Theaters, limited)
• “Rosaline” (Hulu)
• “The Curse Of Bridge Hollow” (Netflix)

• “The School For Good and Evil” (Netflix)

• “V/H/S 99” (Shudder)

• “Black Adam” (Theaters)
• “Ticket To Paradise” (Theaters)
• “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Theaters, limited)
• “Raymond and Ray” (Apple TV+ and Theaters, limited)

• “The Good Nurse” (Netflix)

• “Prey For The Devil” (Theaters)
• “Armageddon Time” (Theaters, limited)
• “Wendell And Wild” (Netflix)
• “All Quiet On The Western Front” (Netflix)