Labor Day has traditionally been the lowest box office weekend of the year, as I believe there has never been a film hitting 20 million. Doesn’t seem like that will change.
There is some Oscar bait with The Light Between Oceans (61), a soap opera about a baby and a lighthouse off the coast of Australia. Stars real-life couple Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander. Has been on the shelf for two years. Lawrence Toppman: “Writer-director Derek Cianfrance knew he was dealing with a story full of coincidences when he adapted M.L. Stedman’s novel The Light Between Oceans, so he avoided melodrama by holding himself and his excellent actors in check. The result is a movie that crackles quietly without flaring up into an emotional blaze.”
The horror movie de jour is Morgan (45), about which seems, from the description, very much like Stranger Things, but certainly not as good. Peter Hartlaub: “The film tries to split the difference between thoughtful science fiction and action-driven horror, and blows the chance to truly succeed at either. Morgan is an enjoyable enough experience in the moment, but it never quite coalesces.”
Strange movie of the week has to be The 9th Life of Louis Drax (38), about a kid who keeps narrowly escaping death. Neil Genzlinger: “It’s not clear whether The 9th Life of Louis Drax is deliberately inconsistent or merely an example of confused filmmaking. One thing is certain, however: It sure leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.”
Finally there’s The Sea of Trees (23), which was pilloried at Cannes and apparently no one likes–there’s only one review over 50 on Metacritic. Gus Van Sant’s career takes a furthr slide into obscurity, and Matthew McConaughey is going to lose all the good will he gained back. Eric Kohn: “Not even Matthew McConaughey can sustain the mushy, amateurish story, which digs itself a deeper hole as it moves along. The established talents of both director and star only serve to magnify the many wrong moves that this stunning misfire takes.”