Stuck between a rock and a hard place, recently divorced single mother of one, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), is forced to leave her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) with a crotchety neighbor named Vince (Bill Murray) for after school daycare. The trouble is, Vince is anything but a decent upstanding man, cavorting with a Russian hooker (Naomi Watts), making frequent trips to the race tracks, and living in what appears to be a constant state of inebriation. But, it’s Oliver’s fresh set of eyes that sees something different in Vince, how to commemorate the true nature of a man that most people have already written off? Could there in fact be more to Vince? First and foremost, don’t allow the half hearted effort of the film’s poster dissuade you from this diamond in the rough. Written and Directed by Theodore Melfi, this well balanced comedy dips from light to dark, hot to cold, and absurd to real, all punctuated by the masterful comedic stylings of Bill Murray– he’s a force of nature. In fact, playing to Murray’s strengths, McCarthy’s straight (wo)man delivery operates as the perfect springboard to launch downright hilarity. Furthermore, dashes of reality and a failing medical system fit squarely into the crosshairs as a fine subtext. This is a must see in 2014 for laughs alone, St. Vincent is rated PG-13.
April 1945, one month before Nazi Germany would surrender, the Allies have made strong advances deep beyond enemy lines and into the heart of the beast. Outgunned, outmanned, and, with all odds stacked against them, one Sherman tank named Fury and her crew of five men (Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal) would make waves unlike any tank before them. With getting home alive a priority this band of brothers would have to fight with unparalleled tenacity, but would that fight alone be enough? Written and Directed by David Ayer, hints of the Red Badge of Courage seem evident throughout, meanwhile, brutally honest violence and the senseless nature of war are captured with painful detail. Top notch acting from the ensemble further elevates the ruthless and lawless behavior of warriors in action and at play. Perhaps angling a little on the long side this gritty tale of war from the front lines spares no emotional impact and will definitely leave a mark in the viewer’s mind. Worth your consideration, Fury is rated R.
Big time defense attorney Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) is called back to his hometown in Indiana for his mother’s funeral. While home, long standing tensions between Hank and his father (Robert Duvall), are pushed to a new level. Hank’s father happens to be the town’s judge, who also happens to be under investigation for murder; meanwhile old flame Samantha (Vera Farmiga) has a few life lessons to impart as well, this homecoming is bittersweet to say the least. Making amends, becoming the fair and good man his father would want him to be, and defending his father in court against Prosecutor Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton), will Hank have the chops and strength to make it all happen? Directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers and The Change-up), The Judge is a distinct change of tone from what one might expect from Dobkin and angles drama with elements of dry comedy as only Downey Jr. can deliver. Meanwhile, a strong performance from powerhouse Duvall doesn’t go unnoticed either. Sadly the film’s stereotypical, paint by numbers character development fails to create real meaningful depth, try as the screenplay might. And, the overall too convenient storyline perfectly bundles up all loose ends for an ending that ultimately falls flat. Sadly, scoring from Thomas Newman even feels unchallenged and uninspired. That’s not to say the film is all bad; rather, the film’s just not as compelling as one might hope. Perhaps a matinee or rental later, The Judge is rated R.