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THE FIGHTING LOCAL FILMMAKER

  

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, July 26, 2019

An intriguing comedy-drama from our best, most successful local moviemaker, opened on Wednesday, which is appropriate as that was Salt Lake City’s annual Pioneer Day. The big summer blockbuster of the weekend is the highly touted ninth film by Quentin Tarantino and four others are independent or foreign-language pictures at the local art houses.

“The Fighting Preacher” (PG). The latest from T.C. Christensen (“17 Miracles,” “The Cokeville Miracle”) is the true story of 1906 World Middle-Weight Boxing Champion Willard Bean (David McConnell), who, with his wife Rebecca (Cassidy Hubert), served one of the longest missions in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1915 they were sent to Palmyra in upstate New York, the childhood home of Joseph Smith, where they were met with antipathy and stayed some 24 years as they re-established a Latter-day Saint community.

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” (R). Quentin Tarantino’s latest is a nearly three-hour mix of fact and fiction set in the 1960s and is described as a “fantasy” homage to the end of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt play an aging movie star and his stunt double/best friend, respectively, with a large, star-studded ensemble cast supporting them in interconnected storylines about Hollywood and Los Angeles, focusing in part on Charles Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murders.

“The Farewell” (PG). Awkwafina, the young rapper who hit it big with the movies “Ocean’s 8” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” stars in this culture-clash comedy-drama as Billi, Chinese-American writer whose grandmother in China has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A cousin’s wedding is used as an excuse for the family to gather around grandma in China but when they decide to keep the grandmother in the dark about her diagnosis it doesn’t sit well with Billi. (Exclusively at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.)

  

“Sword of Trust” (R). Two young women (Michaela Watkins, Jillian Bell) head to Alabama in this goofball comedy so that one can collect her inheritance after the death of her grandfather — which turns out to be an antique sword that he believed provided proof that the South actually won the Civil War. (Exclusively at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.)

“Maiden” (PG). This documentary chronicles the life of Tracy Edwards, a British laborer on charter boats out of Greece in the 1980s, who managed to purchase a second-hand, 10-year-old yacht and eventually entered the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race with an all-female crew, a first for the competition. (Exclusively at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.)

“Shadow” (Not Rated, in Mandarin with English subtitles). Set during China’s Three Kingdoms era (AD 220-280), the latest from Zhang Yimou (“Raise the Red Lantern,” “House of Flying Daggers”) tells of a mix of characters, ranging from a complicated king to his visionary general to a powerful commoner to the frustrated women of the palace. Notable for its lush, unusual black-and-white cinematography with splashes of color. (Exclusively at the Tower Theater.)