Friday Feature: Weekend Movies for Sep. 2, 2016

Labor Day is not the best time for quality movies, as proof in this weekend’s top releases, which include a romantic time period drama, “The Light Between Oceans”, and the science fiction thriller, “Morgan”.

”The Light Between Oceans” stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz and is based on the 2012 novel by M. L. Stedman, while “Morgan” is produced by Ridley Scott and stars Kate Mara, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Paul Giamatti in a fairly generic, predictable and at times creepy thriller. These films could not be any more different.

In “The Light Between Oceans”, Fassbender plays Tom Sherbourne, a WWI veteran who takes a job as a lighthouse keeper off the coast of western Australia. He soon meets Isabel (Vikander), who he falls deeply in love with and quickly marries. Living on a lonely island that supports the lighthouse, Tom and Isabel attempt to have children with no luck. When a small rowboat washes up on shore carrying a baby and a dead male body, Isabel begs Tom to keep the newborn. The birth mother, Hannah (Weisz), eventually comes forward in search of the baby, and the Sherbournes must decide whether to stay quiet or not.

For multiple reasons, the film just isn’t for me. The adaptation is well acted, features gorgeous visuals, dramatic music and heartfelt moments that continues to appeal to the viewers heartstrings, but overall the pacing is a bit too slow, uneven, and the movie may be too emotional for some. It’s often difficult to watch and think about Isabel having miscarriages, and similarly when Hannah believes her husband and baby are dead. The film may be better suited for older, more mature audiences who prefer something that moves at this pace or may be able to relate to its content, instead of a viewer looking for something with a bit more action and excitement.

“The Light Between Oceans” is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content. Running time is 2 hours and 12 minutes. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars.

In “Morgan”, a genetically engineered, bio-organic humanoid is created in a secret lab by a group of scientists. Walking/talking within a single month and becoming self sufficient at just six months, its intelligence and superhuman qualities are astounding. But when Morgan is confined to isolation, becomes angry and throws a tantrum that injures one of the scientists, corporate sends a risk-management consultant (Kate Mara) to decide whether the project needs terminating.

Think a poor man’s version of “Ex Machina”, or a cheap, modern day version of “Species”, without the alien aspect. It’s a decently intriguing, yet extremely generic and predictable premise that holds your attention for a little more than half the film before things start to get out of control. It’s the kind of film that features a bunch of “don’t do that” moments and “watch out behind you” reactions from the viewer. While Ridley Scott and his Scott Free Productions are behind it, first time director, Luke Scott (son) steers the ship, and unfortunately the inexperience shows. The film feels like pieces of other science fiction thrillers piled together.

“Morgan” is rated R for brutal violence, and some language. Running time is 1 hour and 32 minutes. Rated 2 out of 5 stars.

If going to the movies over Labor Day weekend is your plan, then your choice of films will be slim. If you’re not interested in “The Light Between Oceans” or “Morgan”, you can check out other new releases in “Yoga Hosers”, a fantasy horror-comedy from Kevin Smith (“Jay and Silent Bob”), Rob Zombies’ horror thriller, “31”, “The 9th Life of Louis Drax”, a mystery thriller starring Jamie Dornan and Aaron Paul, “No Manches Frida”, “White Girl”, or “Max Rose”. “Don’t Breathe”, “Suicide Squad”, “Mechanic Resurrection”, and a handful of other films are also still playing.

Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance writer, photographer/videographer, and filmmaker in Dallas, TX. You can find more of his work on Selig Film News. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and when he is not reviewing movies, Hayden works in film production. Don't like what he has to say? Let him know at hpittman87@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt. Enjoy the movies!

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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