St. Vincent, December 17-18
St. Vincent is being praised for remarkable performances from its ensemble cast. Bill Murray, as retired curmudgeon is the central figure, but Naomi Watts, Melissa McCarthy, and Chris O’Dowd turn in comedic and heartfelt performances. The central relationship is between Vincent, played by Murray, and a neighbour boy he begins to babysit to pay off gambling debts. Vincent shows young Oliver the ways of the world – strip clubs, race tracks, dive bars. A friendship blossoms as Vincent helps Oliver grow into a man and the young boy sees his companion as “a misunderstood man with a good heart.”
National Gallery, December 17-20
In this documentary feature, director Frederick Wiseman “turns his inquisitive lens on the employees, patrons and paintings in London’s National Gallery.” With no talking heads, or explanatory titles, Wiseman uses the power of real action to propel his documentary. Wiseman educates in scenes in which museum guides explain the perceived aliveness of church walls in the middle ages, and elicits sentiment when a group of blind museumgoers interpret art through braille. Finally, Wiseman is critical of the National Gallery as an elitist institution, one in which individuals curate and dictate what can be seen and loved by the masses.
Foxcatcher, December 19-January 1
Based on a true story, Foxcatcher stars Steve Carell as John Du Pont, an offputting wealthy “beta male” who tries to impress his domineering mother by bankrolling the US wrestling team to a gold medal win at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Carell, physically unrecognizable in an impressive performance, is flanked by standout contributions from Mark Ruffalo, who stars as the charming and successful older brother Dave Schulz, and Channing Tatum as his “second banana” younger brother Mark. “Channing Tatum’s Mark is vulnerable and sad; Mark Ruffalo’s Dave is smart and professional and his shame at taking the du Pont shilling is correspondingly intense. And Steve Carell’s du Pont is a compelling monster – but a monster who inspires not fear but pity.”
One Chance, December 19-27
Based on a true story, One Chance recounts the tale of Paul Potts, a socially awkward Welsh car-phone salesman who shocked Simon Cowell and the other judges of Britain’s Got Talent with his stunning rendition of Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma.” As with Susan Boyle a few years later, Potts inspired millions and typified the expression “never judge a book by its cover.” In One Chance, James Corden stars as Potts and the film tracks Potts’ life leading up to that fateful audition. recounting his various misfortunes as he attempts to forge a career in opera.
A Christmas Story, December 20-21
This movie, released in 1983 and set in the 1940s, still stands up as a Christmas classic to this day. With afternoon showings on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, A Christmas Story is a great opportunity to relive your childhood and introduce your kids to this humorous and relatable tale of childhood desires and parental fears. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. All the adults warn that he’ll shoot his eye out, but the warning doesn’t halt his quest. The humour and heart of this movie live up for viewers of any age.