REVIEW: LABOR DAY
OVERVIEW: Lauded as “a romance to root for” (Karen Durbin, Elle) and praised as “deeply touching” (Rex Reed, New York Observer), LABOR DAY comes home on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand April 29, 2014 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The film will debut two weeks early on Digital HD April 15th.
The LABOR DAY Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital HD includes “End of Summer: Making Labor Day,” deleted scenes and commentary by director Jason Reitman, director of photography Eric Steelberg and first assistant director/co-producer Jason Blumenfeld. The Blu-ray Combo Pack available on April 29th also includes an offer for $10 off the purchase of flowers, making LABOR DAY an ideal Mother’s Day gift.
SYNOPSIS: From writer/director Jason
Reitman, the Academy Award®-nominated director of Up In The Air and Juno, comes “a beautiful and endearing love story” (Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV) based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Joyce Maynard. “Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin are exquisite” (Karen Durbin, Elle) in this “beautifully told” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) story of a mother and son who take in a mysterious stranger over a long Labor Day weekend, leading to a second chance at love.
FILM REVIEW: Adapted from a novel by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day unfolds as a Stockholm-syndrome drama over the steamy summer of 1987. Directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, 2007), the film tries to manufacture some suspense, some sense of psychological thrills and an element of romance.
Nevertheless, this latest Reitman film overflows with much carefully unraveled details; all of which are a little too elegant to feel entirely genuine (i.e. the peach-pie baking scene), and yet it’s impossible to fault him for his efforts. This is beside the point of the underlying premise, of course, which is somewhat troubling in my opinion: that a misunderstood killer is just the father/lover that this broken family needs to feel whole again. Yet, one has to respect this director for tackling a project with such a major fundamental hurdle.
In a sorta’ nostalgic manner, this flick reminds me of J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” except that the characters aren’t junior filmmakers but up-and-coming pie-bakers, and rather than dealing with aliens, they have a hostage crisis to contend with.
In the end though, Labor Day never comes anywhere close to developing into the sexy Stockholm-syndrome drama it wants to be. It's just somewhat a pseudo-romantic, pseudo-suspenseful and pseudo-thrilling drama that plays out quite slowly nearing the tipping point in to the realm of boredom (which it never reaches). But I will say this: As ridiculous as its premise is, the acting and filming style is quite noteworthy. And “Adele” (Kate Winslet’s character) has a hunger for affection that would resonate with audiences, and could emerge as a powerful, yet implausible, romance.
Hollywood movies like this tend to make the actors look good; however, in this case it seems that the caliber of casting in this story is really what makes this movie worthwhile. Still, it is a DVD date night or pay-per-view movie by most standards. It’s certainly too complex as a 111 minute drama to truly enjoy in theaters. Three out of five stars is my being overly generous due to the oddity of the story and efforts of all involved, to bring it to life.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9
DTS-HD Master Audio
5.1/DVS English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital
English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese
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Feature film in high definition
Commentary by director Jason Reitman, director of photography Eric Steelberg and first assistant director/co-producer Jason Blumenfeld
End of Summer: Making Labor Day
Feature film in standard definition