You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl says 'Labor Day' is refreshing with its implications of sexual desire rather than graphic depictions of gratuitous sex. Meanwhile, Andy Garcia produces and leads in 'At Middleton', a romantic comedy.
KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:
Jan Wahl Movie Reviews: Labor Day & At Middleton
AT MIDDLETON (R)
Andy Garcia is one of the producers of this romance, which is what it took to get him a lead in a romantic comedy. He plays an uptight cardiac surgeon who falls in love with a free spirit, played by the gifted Vera Garmiga. The only thing their characters have in common is that they are taking their kids on a university campus tour.
The two grow close as they split from the official tour and find themselves connecting in that push/pull, attraction/repulsion romantic dance. Though they become almost ready to upend their lives for this brief encounter (unlike the David Lean classic of that title) we do not really root for them. But we do have an easy, escapist romance with good actors. Hats off to that.
Two & 1/2 hats.
LABOR DAY (PG-13)
There is so much graphic sexuality in movies, so when a filmmaker makes the choice to show us the desire instead of the act, it's refreshing and effective. Labor Day is a touching romance, taking place in small town U.S.A. circa 1980's. A man who has escaped from prison begins the Labor Day weekend with a depressed single mother and her sensitive son.
The casting of these characters is perfect; especially Kate Winslet's pained watchfulness. She's an actress incapable of a dishonest, shallow performance. Josh Brolin is full of unstated passion. It's clear why she would want to keep him around.
Director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno) keeps it well paced, detailed, and sensual. Even though some of it is far fetched, let yourself go with this one, the lead characters make it worth it.
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