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January 31st, 2014

Movie Review - Labor Day

Labor Day

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Malika Monroe, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, Brighid Fleming, and more.

Directed by: Jason Reitman Screenplay by: Jason Reitman Based on the Novel by: Joyce Maynard Cinematography by: Eric Steelberg Music by: Rolfe Kent

Premise: Over the long Labor Day weekend in 1987, Henry and his reclusive mother end up with a uninvited guest, an escaped convict. With secrets being hidden on all sides, this unexpected visitor might turn out to be exactly what they've needed all along. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Kate Winslet was totally convincing as Adele. Just seeing her for the first time, it was obvious Adele constantly fought battles with herself to try to remain at least partially functional for her son. Josh Brolin as the mysterious Frank also did a superb job - looming one moment, unusually tender the next, then threatening again. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin had good chemistry. It was fun watching them start to feel for one another even as they fought the unexpected urges. Watching Gattlin Griffith watching them was a treat. His large expressive eyes will get him far. His narratives added an unexpectedly great flavor to the story as a whole.

2)  Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The film starts as we leisurely travel down a two lane blacktop road. The music is soft. All the views are things you might see while traveling one lane blacktop roads in New England. Put together it generates a laid back mood, like being in a hammock during a soft afternoon. And for the most part, the whole film moves in the same way throughout.

The point of view for the film mostly comes from Henry, with some disjointed tiny flashbacks thrown in about Frank's story here and there, as well as a reveal from Adele of what truly brought her to have the secluded life she leads. But because the film is mainly focused on Henry, the romance element is never heavy.

There are lots of cute, quirky moments, many coming from Eleanor, whose pessimistic wisdom get's Henry into trouble a couple of times.

3) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The story takes place in a lovely New England town cobbled together from multiple locations in Massachusetts. The shots are often idyllic and filled with feeling. Yet it is Adele's home that is center stage for most of the tale. Just looking at the facade of the house instantly gave the audience a ton of information on the status of those living within. The same view is used several times to impart changes in Adele's situation as time flows by.

Conclusion: No gun fights, no real violence, just lots of interesting people you want to know better. Some cute, tender, and even funny moments are sprinkled through the film. "Labor Day" is what you expect, yet at the same time it's not. Your heartstrings will be tugged at the end, no matter how hard you try not to let them.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission (Really! A guy said that! YES!))

And because I gotta - My urban fantasy novel "Inner Demons" has been released! Trade paperback and multiple ebook formats abound (Nook, Kindle, pdf, and more). Paperback are currently only available at the publisher's website but should come down and be available at the usual the channels soon! Huzzah!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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