Much as I admire The Theory of Everything, the supposedly true movie of the life of scientific genius Stephen Hawking, I can't quite go along with the two women I talked with in the lobby, one of whom said she loved it and intended to see it again, and the other who said it was the best movie she'd ever seen and she wanted to see it several more times.
I'd certainly give it high marks for what it intends to be, but the material itself (especially when we learn in the closing credits that it is based on a memoir by the wife) properly precludes a complete story.
It is a hard thing to have to review Part Three of a four-part series without having seen Parts One and Two. There is bound to be a certain unclarity as to what has happened before and how the characters relate to each other, because the beginning setups are not there, and since the movie ends when it is only three-quarters done, there can be no satisfactory closure. Even those who thought The Empire Strikes Back was the best of the Star Wars trilogy had to admit that.
Whiplash is one of the strangest and most gripping movies about showbusiness I've ever seen, in its exclusive concentration on two psychological studies-- one of character actor J.K. Simmons as a drill-instructor-type jazz trainer, and the other Miles Teller as a 19-year-old who is maniacally obsessed with becoming the greatest jazz drummer in the world.
St. Vincent is a rather quiet little movie made remarkable mostly, but not exclusively, by Bill Murray's performance in a basically non-comic role, as a man scraping by on the fringes of society who is suddenly confronted with situations requiring him to do the right thing, whether he feels like it or not.
Kill the Messenger is a pretty good political movie about what happened to a reporter who revealed illicit dealings of the CIA in Los Angeles, especially the bitter revenged imposed on him with--at the very minimum--the full acquiescence of the U.S. government. Its biggest flaw is that it's so utterly one-sided, but the facts it is based on are apparently undeniable now.
Ben Affleck's new movie, Gone Girl, is two-and-a-half hours long, but has plot enough for two-and-a-half miniseries. And wonder of Hollywood wonders, it all hangs together, albeit in a rather incredible series of stories. It relies on coincidences and does not obsess about believability, but it's certainly not boring or predictable. The two people I discussed it with and I all rated it three-and-a-half stars or a maximum four, and I shared with one of them a desire to read the book.
The Skeleton Twins resembles The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby in being about a pair of people who simply cannot adjust to problems a lot of people face. Except that the Skeleton twins (I'm not going to explain that title), Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, are positively, literally suicidal from the very start, and there is a clear, though unsatisfactory, suggestion as to how their problems could be faced.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, in the version currently circulating, is a cut down two-hour combination of a three-hour double feature that will go into limited release next year, and which I hope we get to see, because the present version left me rather unsatisfied.