★★★★ (out of four) “Barbarian” (R; 102 min.): Bad things happen when basic horror movie safety rules are broken. But “Barbarian” — a must-watch for fans of “Black Mirror” and “The Twilight Zone” — might not be what you’d expect. The brilliance of “Barbarian” lies in director/writer Zach Cregger’s exciting, twisted, absurd and stylish screenplay. It starts with what could have been a funny story or the beginnings of a cute encounter and ends with the eyes of evil and social commentary on what makes a monster. Full review here. Multiple theaters. — Qina Liu, Seattle Times features reporter
★★ “Medieval” (R; 126 min.): It’s clear that “Medieval” is meant to be a kind of Czech “Braveheart,” but the political machinations are so muddled that there’s no clear goal. It’s a film with an identity crisis, caught between its charm and its larger ambitions. As a quick-and-dirty 90-minute romp, it could have been a nice and nasty piece of genre filmmaking, but director Petr Jakl aims for something more epic in scope, and the film clocks in at an easy 30 minutes. Not even the electrifying Ben Foster is enough to breathe some life into this tale of court intrigue and the ensuing clash of warriors. Full review here. Multiple theaters. —Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva” (unrated, 163 minutes, in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, with subtitles): A young man on the verge of falling in love has his world turned upside down when he discovers that he has the power to control fire and a connection to a secret society of guardians . Multiple theaters.
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