Jason Reitman's “Labor Day” is a soggy soap opera revolving around baked goods and improbabilities. Based on Joyce Maynard's novel, it tells of Frank (Josh Brolin), an escaped convict, who while on the lam encounters the recently divorced Adele (Kate Winslet) and her 13-year-old son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith), in a sleepy rural New Hampshire store over Labor Day weekend in 1987.
Forcing her to take him home, he proceeds to bind her up and then cook — his real passion — along the way seducing Adele, who is depressed over her failed marriage and a miscarriage. Her emotions seem to come pouring out with each bite. First it's with chili and later, pie, all this with Henry curiously observing. A grown-up Henry (Tobey Maguire) is the narrator of the story, and, not surprisingly, going into the baking business. (No wonder, if you think the best way to get a woman is to tie her up and make tarts.)
You have to wonder what Reitman, the director of much better films such as “Young Adult,” “Juno” and “Up in the Air,” was thinking, falling for this romantic hash. Winslet and Brolin give solid enough performances, but that can't save this rather staid affair, where much of the sexual action is behind closed doors.
Chilean writer-director Sebastian Lelio's “Gloria” is a lively but unsentimental portrait of a woman in her 50s trying to find herself.
Played winningly by Paulina Garcia, Gloria, a divorcee, has questionable taste in men. Neither her ex-husband nor the man she is trying to attract, Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), seems like a great catch.
With a dull office job, she meddles too much in her grown children's lives more out of need than concern, and drinks and smokes a bit too much. Still, she has a spirit about her that overcomes those things that make most people sad, and that is what is so charming about the film.
DVDS out Tuesday
The Legend of Hercules
Escape From Tomorrow
Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge, The Complete Second Season
Dynasty: The Eighth Season, Volumes One and Two
Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series
Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed
The Wind and the Lion
Notes on a Scandal
Sophie's Choice: Collector's Edition
Bob Hope Classic Comedy Collection
Francis the Talking Mule Collection
Il Sorpasso: The Criterion Collection
Gamera: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 1
Gamera: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 2
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