Who doesn’t love an unremittingly soppy romance? Jason Reitman has changed tack from his previous caustically witty films to deliver Labor Day, a love story between Josh Brolin’s escaped convict and Kate Winslet’s homebound mother. It may be as obvious as a thunderstorm (yes, we get that they are both prisoners in their separate ways), and the peach pie moments stray deep into the realm of sickly saccharine overload, but Reitman steers to safer waters, producing a flawed but effective tearjerker that’s certainly worth your time.
Labor Day is elevated by top-notch performances and Reitman’s assured hand. Unfortunately, A Long Way Down is not. In a comedy/drama/romance that fails in all three categories, four strangers accidentally meet on the roof of a building while trying to commit suicide. Banding together, the unlikely gang consisting of Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul find friendship, love and a reason to live in the most tedious of ways. By the end you’ll be wishing they had just jumped.
For those still under the misapprehension that prison is a life of luxury, Starred Up is going to come as something of a shock. Jack O’Connell’s young prisoner proves too much for juvenile containment, graduating early to a more adult establishment. Written by a former prison psychotherapist, it’s a brutal depiction of life locked up, one that suggests Daily Mail stories of holiday camps are not entirely accurate.
Jennifer Lawrence, can you do no wrong? Dominating awards ceremonies is not enough. In the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, she’s queen of the box office too. After the surprise success of the original last year, Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is thrust back into danger after her popularity proves too much of a threat to the ruling elite. Top notch action, an intriguing plot and strong performances combine to better an already good first film. Roll on the third instalment.
You’ve had sci-fi week and romance week. Now it’s Marvel’s turn. Next week, the Captain is back. See you then.