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HITCHCOCK/TARANTINO

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016

Potential Oscar nominees, including a documentary for film buffs and a pair of very violent Westerns lead the seven movies that kick off the New Year in Salt Lake theaters.

Actually, “The Hateful Eight” opened unexpectedly on the Wednesday before New Year’s, a week-and-a-half ahead of its initially scheduled date — but perhaps someone felt that opening that film and “The Revenant” on the same day would be counterproductive.

“Hitchcock/Truffaut” (PG-13). Documentary about Alfred Hitchcock based on recordings made by filmmaker/author Francois Truffaut over eight days of interviews in 1962 at Hitchcock’s offices on the Universal Studios lot, which resulted in the seminal 1966 book “Hitchcock/Truffaut.” Included here are reflections by filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Wes Anderson, David Fincher and others.

“The Revenant” (R). Leonardo DiCaprio is already being cited as the one to beat in the best-actor Oscar race for this adaptation of the best-selling novel of the title, which is based on the real-life adventures of 1820s mountain man Hugh Glass. Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson co-star, with Lukas Haas in a small role. Directed by Oscar-winner Alejandro G. Inarritu (“Birdman”).

“Carol” (R). This soft-focus romantic lesbian drama set in 1950s New York is another highly touted Oscar contender. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, the film stars Cate Blanchett as the title character, a middle-aged woman who begins seeing a younger sales clerk (Rooney Mara). But complications arise due to Carol’s custody dispute with her ex-husband (Kyle Chandler) over their daughter.

“The Hateful Eight” (R). Quentin Tarantino’s latest is an ultra-violent (of course) three-hour Western set largely in a cabin during a raging storm where eight disparate characters come together for a murder mystery. The ensemble features Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Demian Bichir. Channing Tatum also has a small role and Tarantino narrates.

“The Masked Saint” (PG-13). This Canadian faith film is the true story of a professional wrestler who gives up his sport for life as a pastor in a small town. But when he sees recurring problems in the area he serves, the pastor dons a mask and becomes a vigilante. Based on the memoir by Chris Whaley. Diahann Carroll has a small role.

“The Forest” (PG-13). Supernatural thriller starring Natalie Dormer as an American woman in Japan, searching for her twin sister in the Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji, where people traditionally go to commit suicide.

“River of Fundament” (not rated but would be a hard R or NC-17). This offbeat avant-garde film — which clocks in at nearly six hours and has an intermission — documents a staged “opera” based on Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel “Ancient Evenings,” which was set in ancient Egypt. The opera is composed of three one-time live stage acts set in a replica of Mailer’s New York apartment and imagines the author reincarnated three times in different bodies. Cast includes Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Paul Giamatti. (Exclusively at the Tower Theater.)