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St. Vincent (2014) - Blu-ray Review

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St. Vincent - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

John Candy had Uncle Buck.  Bill Murray has St. Vincent.  The role of the grizzled and unexpected father figure makes its comeback with the release of Murray’s latest on blu-ray this week.  Written and directed by newcomer Theodore Melfi, the by-the-numbers dramedy is made most excellent by Murray’s presence as the gonzo-inspired incarnate.  It’s a role we love him in.  It’s a role he plays off-screen as well with his free-spirited photo-bombing antics.  Seeing him pull off St. Vincent is simply the cherry on top of an already celebrated dessert-like career in comedy that few of his former Saturday Night Live alums can brag about.

Meet Vincent MacKenna (Murray).  He’s a Vietnam vet who lives in Brooklyn, lives in a junked up home, and likes to drink … a lot.  He’s a degenerate that few people like and even more hate.  He shares quality time with Daka (Naomi Watts), a pregnant Russian stripper and prostitute, who calls him an asshole any chance she can.  He’s constantly broke, bets on losing horses, and is definitely in need of a change.  When his new neighbors move in, he positions himself to babysit the 12-year-old Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) son of Maggie Bronstein (Melissa McCarthy), a recently divorced single mother struggling to make ends meet.

This coming-of-age narrative is actually a tale of two boys.  It’s extremely predictable but mixed in with all that familiarity is Bill Murray in the role of the glorified curmudgeon.  There are so many reasons why St. Vincent shouldn’t work.  And then there’s Murray who makes it all gel.  He teaches the boy to fight, gamble, drink, and more.  Oliver’s once ostracized and bullied life at Catholic school is drastically improved and so is his tense relationship with Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd) after he stammers when asked to pray out loud, claiming that cannot because he’s Jewish.

The movie wears its themes in a very visible manner.  Nothing is suppressed.  While Melfi goes with the expected, there’s enough wacky-sensed comedy to keep things interesting.  The cast is a fine collection, too.  Murray might be the hero but McCarthy is the surprise as a fairly sensible hard-working character.  She’s honest and not at all what was expected, given her performance in the grueling Tammy.  Watts is also out of her comfort zone as the heart of gold Russian prostitute.  And that’s really what we learn with St. Vincent, a film that shouldn’t be this well received by critics because it is so formulaic.  The hidden heart of character-driven narratives works when all the pieces come together anchored by a solid centerpiece.  Oh, and there's one thing more we learn...

Bill Murray is The Patron Saint of Comedy.

St. Vincent - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language.
Runtime:
102 mins
Director
: Theodore Melfi
Writer:
Theodore Melfi
Cast:
Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts
Genre
: Drama | Comedy
Tagline:
Love thy neighbor.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You need to defend yourself, or you get mowed down."
Distributor:
The Weinstein Company
Official Site: http://stvincentfilm.com/
Release Date:
October 17, 2014 (limited)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 17, 2015
Synopsis: Maggie (McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine -- the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart.

St. Vincent - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 17, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy
Region Encoding: A

Anchor Bay presents St. Vincent in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 with a stellar 1080p transfer.  In terms of colors, the movie has a generally warm palette.  Hues consistently seem clear and concise.  Black levels are deep and firm, and shadows show good smoothness.  Sharpness, too, looks good.  A marginal amount of softness creeps into the image at times, but not frequently.  As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it works pretty well. The audio tends to be somewhat restrained most of the time, but some sequences – such as those at bars or on the street – open up the ambient spectrum in a satisfying manner.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There are two supplemental items.  First up is a collection of 12 Deleted Scenes.  In these, we see a lot more of Oliver’s bully and his backstory/development.  We get a little more of some other supporting characters as well.  A few nice moments emerge, but none of this material seems important.  The final item is a Q&A from the Toronto International Film Festival.  The panel includes writer/director Theodore Melfi, Scrooged writer Mitch Glazer, Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, and actors Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Jaeden Lieberher. 

  • Deleted Scenes (11 min)
  • The Patron Saint of Comedy (20 min)

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