St. Vincent Bill Murray owns the title role, a crusty curmudgeon whose sordid routines are upended when a single mom (Melissa McCarthy) and her 12-year-old (a terrific Jaeden Lieberher) move in next door. The kid needs a caretaker, and Vincent needs cash. Life lessons, and inappropriate behavior, ensue. A charming comedy, with Murray pulling it back from the cornball abyss. PG-13

Whiplash Damien Chazelle's propulsive pas de deux about an aspiring jazz musician's torturous mentorship at a prestigious New York conservatory, with Miles Teller as the student and J.K. Simmons as his despotic prof. A hyperventilated nightmare about artistic struggle and ambition - as much a horror movie as it is a keenly realized indie about jazz, art, and what it takes to claim greatness. R

Wild Reese Witherspoon, wholly committed and wholly convincing, is Cheryl Strayed, the best-selling memoirist who hiked 1,100 miles from the Mojave to the Cascades, trying to right a life gone terribly wrong. Blistered, bloodied feet were a sure thing; self-discovery less so. In the end, Strayed gets both. R