Star – Bill Murray
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 102 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Golden Globes – 2 nominations
Awards – 6 Wins & 9 Nominations
Amazon – £3.35 DVD £6.35 Blue Ray
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So what did happen to the great Bill Murray? He was hilarious in the 1980s and the early 1990s in films like Ghostbusters, Scrooge and Groundhog Day as the obnoxious rascal and then went off the rails with some real dross towards the end of that decade. The new millennium he went all somber and boring trying to be the lugubrious and serious actor chasing Oscars and so not very funny in films like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation and The Life Aquatic, getting involved with pretentious directors like Wes Anderson that sucked the humor out of him. He was actually Oscar nominated for the rather tedious and slow burning Lost in Translation which would launch Scarlett Johansson into the stratosphere and Murray into the gutter.
With that in mind I was not expecting much of him in St Vincent, cast alongside Naomi Watts and new Hollywood motormouth Melissa McCarthy. The girls and first time director Theodore Melfi seemed to be what he - and we - needed and Murray ripped it up here as the cantankerous and mean neighbor with flashes of 1980s Bill Murray. Let’s hope he keeps doing this stuff and stops answering Wes Anderson’s phone calls. If Theodore Melfi can drag back the best of Murray then a great career beckons for the young directing talent, nominated by The Academy for his second film Hidden Figures this year about a group of black NASA mathematicians in the racial rebalancing Oscars of 2017.
• Bill Murray as Vincent MacKenna
• Melissa McCarthy as Maggie Bronstein
• Jaeden Lieberher as Oliver Bronstein
• Naomi Watts as Daka Parimova
• Chris O'Dowd as Brother Geraghty
• Terrence Howard as Zucko
• Dario Barosso as Robert Ocinski
• Kimberly Quinn as Ana
• Scott Adsit as David
• Donna Mitchell as Sandy MacKenna
• Ann Dowd as Shirley
• Nate Corddry as Terry
• Lenny Venito as Coach Mitchell
• Ray Iannicelli as Roger
Grumpy and slovenly retiree and Vietnam vet Vincent MacKenna (Murray) is living a frugal life in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He smokes and gambles that life away after his wife Sandy (Donna Mitchell) developed Alzheimer's and can no longer recognize him. With his care homes permission he poses as a doctor to visit her in the rather expensive home and does her laundry once a week like he always has. Vincent only close friend is a pregnant Russian sex worker named Daka (Naomi Harris), which h has to pay her time, and his cat Felix. Despite his aggressive and aloof attitude towards her and strangers, Vincent draws a few people in who care about him regardless of the screw up he clearly is.
A relationship of sorts is forged when Vin’s new neighbor’s movers van backs into a tree and fells a big branch on his old car in the drive and also wrecks his picket fence. Single parent Maggie Bronstein (McCarthy), a radiologist at the local hospital, is as apologetic as she can be but to no effect, offering to pay the damage on the car. Vincent is not insured, of course and demands that cash and to stay out of his life until she can get that cash.
Her quiet, friendly and knowledgeable 10-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) is starting a new school this week and soon bullied. When Maggie is forced to do overtime she has to call on Vincent to babysit, who begrudgingly agrees but demands payment for his services. The bank is on his back over missed payments for the care home and so every little bit helps. Oliver is also broke after the kids steal his phone and wallet in the tough Catholic School.
Vincent's ideas of after-school activities involve visits to the track, watching the Golden Girls and pitching up in seedy bars. The mismatched pair begins to bond and grows up some. Vincent decides to teach Oliver how to defend himself, resulting in Oliver breaking school bully Robert's nose, who later apologizes and gives back what he stole and befriends Oliver. Vincent has loan sharks on his back and needs some winner’s, which Oliver duly delivers, helping to pay down the nursing home for a while. These two are going to get along just fine. Oliver also helps Vincent to respect Daka some more and decides Vincent would be a great subject for his school project that he will have to deliver in front of school assembly.
Although mushy and schmaltzy at times to deliver sympathy to Murray’s despicable character this is a sharp comic film with some snappy writing and funny scenes. There is buddy cliché here but the characters are good fun and comedy potential a plenty delivered. Melissa McCarthy plays it straight and so somewhat wasted, as is Chris O'Dowd, given a weak cameo role as Brother Geraghty in the Catholic School. He is way past that in his film career and carried the film The Sapphires in a comic lead that should have earned him bigger roles as the funny, likable and handsome guy he is. Little Jaeden Lieberher warms up the film as Oliver with his likable role. You do worry that McCarthy is already doing that Murray thing of wanting to be taken seriously as an actor and so less of the big girl that wants to be noticed loud mouth stuff on screen that gets the laughs and mad her famous in the first place. If you haven’t placed her yet she was exactly that in Bridesmaids and very funny in Spy with Jason Statham alongside our very own Miranda Hart, who has also lost a few pounds in denial that girls are generally only funny to men when they are chubby and self deprecating and so not someone guys have to fancy or made to feel inferior to when watching a movie or a sitcom. That’s the only reason The Vicar of Dibley works.
Comedy plot mechanism wise of a miscreant adult loser taking the kid with a brain to places like the track is nothing new on film but it’s almost like he bought Bill Murray back to life after 20 years of slumber when he did just that. It’s so pleasing to have the old Bill Murray on screen, the character he plays where his career has been, some would say, with the emphasis on has-been.
I laughed here and there and quickly into the rhythm and premise of the comedy. It is funny and if you can imagine a compendium of Bill Murray’s film characters were retired then this is who he would be. We like that Bill Murray. It’s not a screwball comedy in any way and smart and adult in its own way and doesn’t rely too much on sentiment (accept the silly ending) and edgy insult. There is something about Bill Murrays face and attitude towards other people that you want to cheer for him from the rooftops the way you do Larry David in Curb. There is a certain truth about his comedy.
It was low budget coming in at $13 as Murray’s stock declines and earned just $54m back, the audience expecting boring and lugubrious Bill Murray yet again and so staying away from this in the cinema. Well it isn’t that Bill Murray folks and if you want the old Bill Murray back then here he is waiting for you and well worth watching…
Imdb.com – 7.3/10.0 (79,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 64% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentary –
Quite funny as Murray joins the director to take the piss of the film
Quite a few as the comic cast liked to ‘improv’ on set.
Murray and co tear up the set.
Times –‘Bill Murray eases into the role of cantankerous curmudgeon Vincent like it's a pair of threadbare old board shorts that he's had since the mid-1980s. It's something comfortable that he can pull on without really thinking about it’.
The independent –‘The writer-director Ted Melfi's comedy provides a perfect platform for Bill Murray’.
Guardian –‘Murray's natural freewheeling charm and star quality carry a rather formulaic and slushy picture.’.
The Coast Times –‘St. Vincent is both enjoyable and tear-making-it's a terrific debut for Lieberher-even though you really, really know better’.
The Sun –‘A lovely little movie with a lot of laughs and a good heart - and a warning signal for a direction Murray's career could take, if he's not careful’.
NZ Herald –‘Yes, we have seen this story before, but St Vincent is a warm, enjoyable yarn with just enough sharp lines and laugh out loud moments to see you through’.
The Telegraph –‘With his first feature film, writer-director Theodore Melfi has accomplished what many inveterate filmmakers haven't - he's gotten Bill Murray to come alive’.
--- City Screen, York ---
I tend to go to the cinema around once a month - I never go for the sake of it, but if a film really sounds up my street then I try and go and see it.
In York there are three cinemas, there's a Vue cinema (formerly Warner Brothers), a Reel cinema (formerly ODEON) and there's also a City Screen cinema (part of the Picture House group).
Of the three cinemas City Screen in my favourite, as it is right in the centre of town unlike Vue, and less shabby and dated than Reel. The only reason I don't always go there is that they don't show all film releases. When a film comes out that I want to see I do always check whether City Screen is showing it first though.
The reason City Screen don't show all films is that they have a lot of alternative films and other entertainment which they show. For example, they show a lot of foreign films, and they also have live music performances and comedy acts. I've seen an art exhibition there before too. There is a cafe/bar inside the building which people do use even when they're not visiting the cinema.
It can be hired as a venue for conferences and events too.
---My last visit---
The last time I went to City Screen was to see Alpha Papa (The Alan Partridge film). We pre-booked our tickets on the website as the film had not long been released and we didn't want to risk not getting seats, plus there were eight of us going. Upon entering the cinema there is a counter to the right where you queue up for tickets and refreshments. We already had tickets so we queued for refreshments (which were overpriced as they always are in a cinema - £2.50 for a small bottle of Pepsi Max) and were served by really friendly members of staff. At City Screen you can purchase alcoholic drinks to take into the film with you, and in the past me and a friend have had a bottle wine which is a really nice way to spend a Friday evening, or maybe to start off a night out!
The seats were perfectly comfortable and the screen was nice and big. I've been put in little screens before at other cinemas where you feel like you may as well have just watched at home, but this actually felt like a trip to the cinema. The seats are laid out so that the further back you are sat the higher you are, so you are unlikely to have the screen blocked by the person sat in front of you.
The whole building, including the toilets seems to be very clean and well maintained. It doesn't have a particularly modern feel to it but it's well maintained and doesn't feel shabby or old.
As I said, City Screen is right in the middle of town. It's a great location as it's just off what I would class as the main high street in York. It's in a little alcove which comes off the street and there are a couple of bars in this alcove too. Whenever we go at the beginning of a night out, we come out of the cinema and are already right in town so it's great for that.
Peak Prices (Every day except Wednesday after 5pm)
Student / Retired: £8.00
Child : £6.00
Family of 4: £26.00
On Wednesday it costs £6.50 for an adult ticket which I guess is their equivalent of the Orange Wednesday promotion.
Yes it is pricey now compared to the cost of a DVD but all cinemas are now about this price and the added bonus of it being in a great location helps. It is cheaper if you go in the daytime but as a full time worker I haven't done this since I was a child.
I like City Screen a lot, it doesn't feel like your normal cinema, as I said it feels like it can be made part of a night out, and also the fact they have other entertainment and a bar means it actually is much more than just an average cinema.
Nice place, nice atmosphere, friendly staff and good selection of entertainment.
city screen in York is part of a small group of cinemas called Picturehouse. The show a mix of films from blockbusters to Art house and foreign films
You can join them an become a member for £25 which gives you certain benefits which include -
discounted tickets (£2 off per ticket and no booking fee)
10% of the bar and food
and discounts at local business
Now I have never become a member so I cant really comment on this but I guess before signing up with would pay to do your maths to see if the £25 represents value for money as depending on the screening and your age ticket price varies from £7.20 for a evening adult to as cheap as £3.50 for silver screen ( any performance for someone over 60 during the day and includes a hot drink)
The facilities at the cinema I would rate as good the seat are wider than most cinemas I have been to eg Vue and certainly more comfortable. The lift provides access to the three screens which are upstairs and the toilets which are in the basement.
The also have regularly changing art work on the walls displaying modern art and photos which can be purchased
The sweet and drink select to take in with you is the regular run of the mill choice i would say with nothing special compared to other cinemas
A god send during my maternity leave was The Big Scream this is a free to join club for parents with a child under one. It runs on a Wednesday morning with a different film each week. What makes this great is there is a buggy park that is manned for safety so you can leave your pushchair whilst you watch the film safe in the knowledge it will be there when you get back. The don't dim the lights as much or have the volume as loud as normal so you can see what your little one is up to and see to change nappies as most mums do on a change mat in the aisle. Most of the little ones I would say have their own few minutes off noise but as everyone is in the same boat there is no tutting or daggers looking at you as they would in a normal screening. As the film starts at 11 am you tend to see people eating a sandwich watching the film and I have never seen this frowned about by the staff ( which can happen if you take your own sweets or drinks to the local Vue cinema)
They have recently started a Autism-Friendly Screenings screenings especially for people on the autism spectrum and their families, friends and carers all tickets cost £2.50 As I haven't been to these I can't comment on how well these are running but thought it was useful information for people to be aware of
I would definitely recommend this cinema to people and feel that if you are wanting a pleasant cinema trip that this would be the place to go for it in York
I love to watch films. Who doesn't. And the best place to watch films. Well thats obivious isn't it. The cinema.
I recently moved to York, and one of the first things to look for was my local cinema. There used to be an Odeon but that closed down, and aparently theres a Vue cinema somewhere, but i havn't found that. I really have no need to because right in the middle of town is one of the best cinemas ive ever been to.
Back home we have a Cineworld. To be honest i always resented them for forcing me to pay £6.20 to have my back done in with their chairs, have screaming kids and teenagers while steeping on sticky floors. (i don't hate them that much, but it is very over priced). When i got here and found the City Screen though, i was pleased.
This cinema has character. In one of the screens there have curtins that pull back when the film starts. Thats a very nice touch i think. The seats are very comfortable and the price is very reasonable (£4 on Wednesdays, £3 if you have membership).
There is still the sticky floor but i guess i can forgive them for that.
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And this is why I liked the City Screen in York. In small words, and simple language for the hard of thinking (like wot I is). WHy Did I go there ------------------------------------------- I was in York for the weekend visiting a chum (hello Chum). We walked past the building and thought- shall we have a look? Once inside the building Chum pointed out that the film 'AMELIE' was playing. We had a brief discussion on this and decided to come back and watch it the next day. What is the Place Like? ------------------------------------------- As that collossus of taste and elegance Tony the Tiger would say, "ITS G-rrrrrrrrrr-ate". The City screen is part of the same style & grouping of cinema's that gave us 'the duke of York' in Brighton. Therefore the chances of a good film, for artsy, hip, smooth, lefty, academics and Movie buffs are always high. I felt that it was a better venue than Brightons 'duke of York' although brighton has the best building, as it is an old theater. I wont go into detail about location as the other ops talk about it. Its by the river, in the town by the church. Once through the sliding doors you are in a chintz free 'hint of the 20's new york' clean, uncluttered but friendly ticket & snacks area (grey tiled floors). Down stairs leads to the toilets, of which I can say the Gents were very clean, with metal trougths (my own personal preference for ease of use & lack os splash), not ceramic urinals. THe water, soap and driers were all of good standard. I presume the ladies were of as high a standard (since THAT incident i have given up trying to get ito the ladies to make my opinions 100% - thanks again for the ride home PC.193). On the ground floor is also a nice looking Cafe /bar / coffee area, with river views. Sadly people were smoking in there so I didnt try anything (for myself eating foo
d & stinking like a tramp dont mix) but hope to. between films this area seems to do a roaring trade so that points towards quality. The Bar is also a venue for quizes, comedy nights & other such events & readings. Up the minimal style stairs and we are approaching the screens. THe waiting area for the films is against the river side of the building, which gives great views as it is all glass. THere are some art-deco'ish leather sofa's, small glass tables & chrome tubed chairs to rest in. I found the table the right size to tip my popcorn off and onto the floor (can't take me anywhere). Through the doors and into the theatre area, with some info on the city screen and york Cinemas on the wall. The screen I was in was 2. It was a nice sized auditorium, with a steep slope, so hopefully even if you are the short lady that the lanky bloke in the top hat always sits in front of you can still see. THe chairs were suprisingly good, blue crushed velvet & well looked after. THere were no cupholders, nor could the chair arms be moved like in modern W.Bros movie houses. THe leg room was far superior to most venues, with there being only an inch or two difference between City Screen and the large new W. Bros village style of place. The Screens & Sound -------------------------------------------- The screen quality was very good, and even cooler it stretched and adjusted to suit the aspect of the film. For a child like me that was cool enuff to make me go again! THe sound is Dolby and more than adequate, good infact, although I think that some THX places I have been to may be better. If you are a compleat stereo film nerd you may not be satisfied. The service and all the other bits. -------------------------------------------- All the staff seemed to be happy to help and enjoy (as much as one enjoys ) working at the City Screen. Even the ticket sales people were not moody gets, which is a pl
easent change. The range of sweets and so on is great, with Ben & jerrys ice cream and Free trade chockies for the eco warrior, pseudo lefty, genuine 'doo gooder' and fellers/ felleress's trying to impress the new date. Some Final stuff ----------------------------------------- THe ticket area is full of good info about new releases, special showings and the Cinema in general. The Cinema also operates a very good mailing list & 'Friends of city screen' for regular users to revel in. THis also gives great city wide discounts, which is neat. The film times booklet is full of all relevent details. THe website is WWW.picturehouse-cinemas.co.uk All in all. -------------------------------------------- Its chuffin ace. Try it. you know you want to. All your friends like it. Go on. I dare you. You know you want to.....
The City Screen in York is situated on the banks of the River Ouse right in the middle of the town centre. As York is a pedestrian only town centre this does mean that you can’t park too close to the cinema. The seating in this cinema is extremely comfortable with wide seats and plenty of leg room. The auditorium is quite steep so that there is no problem regarding people in front of you blocking your sight of the screen. The staff were all extremely polite and the whole cinema was spotlessly clean. The large wide screen had a very clear picture and the Dolby sound system gave a wonderful all around sensation to the film. Tickets were £4.50 each for adults (£3 for children) and we felt this was very reasonable considering the high quality of the cinema and it’s facilities. There are some reductions at certain times of the week. There is a café-bar overlooking the river that serves drinks, snacks and light meals with quite a comprehensive menu. Apparently there is also a crèche for 3-8 year olds, but we did not see that. (Our children are too old for that now). One thing we particularly liked was the PA announcements telling you when a film was about to start. This meant that everyone could enjoy a drink in the bar or relax in the lounge area without the fear that they were going to miss the start of their film. Overall this is a very pleasant cinema and one I am sure we will be visiting again.