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New in Theaters Jan. 31: Labor Day, That Awkward Moment

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By Chris Kavan - 01/30/14 at 06:39 AM CT

Seems the cold weather is finally catching up to the box office as audiences have been giving a cold shoulder to most of the new releases recently. That has been good news for a few of the lucky holdovers that have been heating up the box office (Ride Along and Lone Survivor among them) but can this weekend bring some new blood into the top five? It's going to be an uphill battle, that's for sure, let's see how the new films stack up:

LABOR DAY Director Jason Reitman has given up gems like Up in the Air and Juno - but I thought his last effort, Young Adult, was pretty forgettable. Labor Day stars Kate Winslet as a single mother to Henry (Gattlin Griffith) when an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) enters their lives. Of course the two fall in love while a pesky police officer (James Van Der Beek) pokes his nose in their business. Early reviews point to this being melodramatic - maybe too much so - straying into the "sappy" Lifetime Movie category of films. This movie is going to fail or succeed based on how much of the female audience it can attract - because that is the only audience I can imagine would want to watch this overly-sentimental mess. Despite the caliber of actors involved - this looks exactly like the kind of movie I do everything in my life to avoid at all costs. Granted, there hasn't been a movie targeting the female audience for awhile, so it could surprise, but it could also very well fail spectacularly.

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT Michael B. Jordan is coming fresh off the highly-praised Fruitvale Station. Miles Teller just gave a refreshing, raw and real performance in The Spectacular Now. And yet, somehow, both are now co-starring with Zac Efron in a goofy rom-com. What gives? Eh - this, like Labor Day, is not the kind of movie I'm every going to seek out. And, it looks like it's competing with pretty much the same audience (female) though it is taking the humorous route rather than the dramatic one. Which movie is more date-worthy? Well, given the choice, I will always take comedy over drama - so more power to Jordan, Teller and yes, even Efron - hopefully this film isn't that awkward and it finds a decent audience but I have a feeling this isn't going to be the highlight for any of the actors involved.

That's the skinny this weekend - one drama, one comedy - both pretty much going after a female-centric audience - it will be interesting to see which one comes out on top and if either has what it takes to unseat some of the holdovers that have dominated the box office.


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