4 February 2015
10:00am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 7:15pm
In St Vincent, Bill Murray works with an unknown writer/director, Ted Melfi, whose first feature (Winding Roads, 1999) never got released. Murray plays a man who drinks and smokes and lies around a lot, when he's not gambling on the ponies. His major exertion is to have sex once a week with a Russian prostitute called Daka (Naomi Watts), who's pregnant. Vincent has no job. He borrows against the value of his rundown house in the Brooklyn suburbs. He's decrepit and deeply unpleasant – the kind of guy Murray can play lying down. And he does.
Melfi's script goes out of its way to offend, partly to hide its sentimentalism. This is basically Little Miss Marker, the old Damon Runyon story about a bookie saddled with a dumped kid, but with full ashtrays and a brassy blonde hooker. Melfi takes the weight off Murray by adding two reliable comic actors – Melissa McCarthy plays Maggie, the single mother who moves in next door after a recent break-up. Her son, Oliver, (Jaeden Lieberher) needs after-school care so Vincent charges her $11 an hour to babysit. At school, Brother Geraghty, an Irish teacher (Chris O'Dowd), takes the boy under his wing. Oliver is Jewish, but that doesn't mean he can't learn about the Catholic saints and the church's many rules.
Vincent also teaches the boy, more by example. They go to the track and Oliver learns about trifectas and odds; when they win, they go to a bar and dance to a rock'n'roll jukebox. When neighbourhood kids bully Oliver, Vincent teaches him to fight. Faced with long hours in her new job, Maggie has no idea of the many new skills her son is acquiring. And of course, Vincent's atrophied heart begins to thaw, because this kid is so sweet.
Although we’ve seen it all before, there's no-one less predictable than Murray in front of a camera. Melfi just has to set up situations around him and point the camera. Murray does the rest, milking humour from his own physical disintegration. He looks older than his 64 years here, with thin hair and pallid skin and all the wrinkles of a man who has lived life the hard way.
Murray's face may be ravaged, but his energy helps to paper over the film's tendency to force our emotions. It's almost inevitable that things get icky with this kind of story. Murray acts as a handbrake on that, simply because we don't know what awful thing he'll do next.
The Annual General Meeting of the Noosa Film Society will be held on 4th March 2015 at the Noosa Five Cinemas. At the meeting a new management committee will be elected. If you would like to nominate for the committee, please contact Susan Nyman on 5471 3131.
FLICKERFEST, Australia’s premier international short film festival, celebrates 24 years of screening the best short films from Australia and around the world in 2015. A selection of films screens at the 'J', Noosa Junction, on Saturday 14th February at 7:30pm. To book tickets ($16/$14) contact the J on 5329 6560 (www.thej.com.au)
The Pixar Film Festival showcases some of the most popular animated features of all time from the renowned Pixar Studios. Starting with Toy Story on 21st and 22nd February, and continuing with The Incredibles (28th February/1st March), A Bugs Life (7 and 8th March), Cars (14 and 15th March) and Up (21st and 22nd March), this is a delight for lovers of amazing animation – both children and adults. All tickets are only $8.
The Metropolitan Opera continues with Die Meistersigner Von Nurnberg screening Saturday and Sunday 21st and Sunday 22nd February. This is followed by The Merry Widow on 14th and 15th March 2015.
The Exhibition on Screen series commences with Girl With A Pearl, screening on Saturday 28th February and Sunday 1st March. This beautifully filmed new documentary seeks to investigate the many unanswered questions associated with this painting by Johannes Vermeer. For bookings to all events, please contact Noosa Five box office.
2015 - 4th and 18th February, 4th and 18th March, 1st and 22nd April, 6th and 20th May; 3rd and 17th June.
For more information and tickets ask at the Box Office.