St. Vincent Blu-Ray Review by Pete Macabre

Blu-Ray Review- St. Vincent

Distributor: Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Street Date: February 17th 2015

Technical Specifications: 1080P Video, Color, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Runtime: 102 Minutes

St. Vincent (Anchor Bay Home Entertainment)

St. Vincent (Anchor Bay Home Entertainment)

The Film:

If a saint is someone who is not made or created by a given church, but simply recognized for their good deeds and nature, then ask yourself…has there ever been a figure in your life that deserved sainthood? I hope so. Everyone deserves to know someone deserving of that title. It’s often the least likely or unexpected individual that deserves more praise than they will ever get. In St. Vincent, Bill Murray plays a man much like this. Emotionally scarred and weathered from a life of loss and admitted mistakes, he still manages to shine and make a difference in others, a rather atypical sainthood indeed.

I’ve had the good fortune of knowing many people who are worthy of such a title. Though he certainly didn’t hail from Brooklyn like Murray’s character in the film, my Uncle Bob came to mind many times while watching St. Vincent. Throughout my childhood Bob lived with my family periodically, during what I’m guessing (but would never ask) must have been trying times. But few things got me more excited than hearing his Red Ford Pick-up pull into the driveway after school. Though I didn’t have the perspective then that I do know as an adult, Uncle Bobby must have been exhausted by the time he pulled up to our house. But as soon as I ran outside, basketball in tow, he never once turned me down. We’d play horse, around-the-world, and 1 on 1 for at least an hour or two before my Mom called us in for dinner. He would watch cartoons with us when he easily could have changed to ESPN (and I’m sure he wanted to), help us with our homework, talk us through any problems we were having, and even make his special tortilla chip dip for the family on movie night. Though Murray’s character was much more of a curmudgeon than my Uncle would ever be (and never was to us), his atypical sainthood is appropriately comparative. Though I do understand I’ve strayed from the topic, watching St. Vincent allowed me to reflect on those that deserve more than they will ever receive.

In the film, Bill Murray plays the aforementioned Vincent; a Vietnam war veteran, hard drinker, gambler, and all-around curmudgeon. Amidst all his personal flaws he still finds the time to visit his wife Sandy at the local nursing home, a lovely woman who unfortunately is in the final stages of Alzheimers disease and doesn’t remember her husband. It somehow makes it easier for the both of them for Vincent to pose as a doctor during these visits, distancing himself from the pain but still allowing himself time to check-in on her. When Maggie Bronstein (Melissa McCarthy) and her 12-year-old son Oliver move in next door, it’s just another annoyance added to Vincent’s already doomed daily living. It doesn’t help that their moving truck runs into Vincent’s tree and the broken branch subsequently falls onto his car hood. An accident, yes, but unfortunately not the best way to start off a relationship with someone who is naturally skeptical and suspicious of others.

Our story takes hold when Oliver’s first day of Catholic school doesn’t go very well. Not only is he getting bullied by his classmates but his clothes and personal items are stolen from his gym locker. Without many options to pursue, Oliver asks Vincent if he can stay with him until his mother gets off work. As it turns out, Vincent needs the babysitting money to watch Oliver and Oliver desperately needs a male role model in his life, but what starts out as a necessity for both parties turns out to be one heck of a great friendship.

I hesitate to say too much more about St. Vincent and allow you, the viewer, to experience it for yourself. Though St. Vincent ventures into seriously sappy territory in its latter half, the film has a moving and often hilarious story, fine performances from the supporting cast, and a mostly spot-on script with great dialogue. Bill Murray continues to amaze as an actor in a performance that offers a delightful mix of both comedic tendencies and dramatic flair. I took more away from the film than I ever expected going into it, and therefore St. Vincent comes recommended (flaws and all).

Video Quality:

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment offers up a fine looking HD presentation for the film with stunning clarity and detail, vibrant colors, and no signs of pesky DNR or anomalies to report. Fine object detail in faces and surrounding scenery looks fantastic, and I particularly enjoyed taking in the dynamic color scheme chosen by the filmmakers in High Definition.

Audio Quality:

The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track included here regularly balances dialogue, the musical score, and background sound design to the full effect for your home theater. Sure, this is certainly not demo-disc worthy nor is it trying to be, but it suits the film perfectly well enough to recommend. There are no hiccups or anomalies along the way and I felt fully enveloped in the little cinematic world that is St. Vincent.

Special Features:

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has provided fans of St. Vincent with a limited selection of bonus features to accompany this Blu-Ray release. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:

  • Deleted Scenes- Nearly 11 minutes of deleted scenes including: Ocinski’s Mom, Five Grand, Playing Basketball, Saint Oliver, I’m Seeing a Shrink, Life Insurance Policy, Vincent Gets Even, Oliver Succeeds, Oliver Strolls with Dad, Maggie and David, Breakfast, and Lunch with Sandy. Some of the deleted content is interesting, but it’s rather obvious why most of these scenes were left on the cutting room floor.
  • Bill Murray is St. Vincent: The Patron Saint of Comedy- This nearly 20 minute Q & A was filmed following a special world premiere screening of St. Vincent as well as a 30th Anniversary screening of Ghostbusters. Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, and Theodore Melfi (among others) discuss the films and Murray’s career and personality. Footage from the Q & A is edited together with select scenes from St. Vincent. It’s a fun and often laugh-out-loud affair, though I do wish it was presented uncut and edited separately for each film.

The Packaging:

As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Blu-Ray edition from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment features a very nice gloss-finish slipcover featuring the man cast from the film. Murray’s smoke halo is a particularly nice touch. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a plot synopsis, a list of bonus features, and technical specifications. On the interior of the packaging is the Blu-Ray disc as well as the Ultraviolet Digital Copy Code insert (not shown).

St. Vincent (reverse)

St. Vincent (reverse)

St. Vincent (interior)

St. Vincent (interior)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Report:

Though St. Vincent ventures into seriously sappy territory in its latter half, the film has a moving and often hilarious story, fine performances from the supporting cast, and a mostly spot-on script with great dialogue. Bill Murray continues to amaze as an actor in a performance that offers a delightful mix of both comedic tendencies and dramatic flair. This Blu-Ray edition from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment features outstanding video and audio, not to mention some worthwhile (though limited) bonus content. I have a feeling that some may be less forgiving of the films’ sappy and predictable finale. In my eyes, these characters had to go somewhere and the road they traveled kept me smiling throughout. St. Vincent comes easily recommended.

Pete Macabre

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