Yes, "St. Vincent" is a formula, but oh! does it honor the guidelines. The formula is about the old gar and the young child. The geezer is usually a man, and the boy is usually a runt. The old guy is usually grumpy and grungy; the little man is polite and bullied.
At their best, innovative, experimental films offer thoroughly astonishing cinematic experiences. And director Alejandro González Iñárritu provides exactly that in "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." Following middle-aged Riggan Thompson trying to jump-start and salvage his acting career with a Broadway play, Iñárritu unspools a tour-de-force of technical distinction and spectacular performances.
Remember news coverage of the December 26th, 2004 tsunami that struck Southeast Asia and the inconceivable devastation it wrought. Spanish director Juan Antonia Bayona’s “The Impossible” takes the experiences of one British family as a way to represent that tragedy with terrifying realism. More astonishing, the film tells the true story of the Spanish Belon family.
Director Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar takes on the portrayal of that famous, if not infamous, F.B.I. director from its beginnings as the Bureau of Investigation in 1935 until Hoover's death. A fine director of Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Flags of Our Fathers, among other outstanding films, unfortunately Eastwood fails here to energize a largely sedentary Hoover.
Woody Allen has forged a film career exploring dysfunctional relationships and the individuals drawn to them like moths to the flame. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is Woody's latest interrogation of the numerous ways recognizable characters thrash about emotionally.