Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Up In The Air
As with all of Jason Reitman's movies they are very talk heavy complimented with smooth and artistic photography. Since I saw "Thank you For Smoking" I have always liked Jason Reitman as a director/writer and even producer. He writes simple dialog, but uses them in an extraordinary manner. I can see people dropping quotes from his work left and right. Sometimes things will edge people a little bit, but he has a way of making it seem like everyone is in on the same joke as not to offend anyone.
Latest from our hero behind the camera is "Up In The Air" which has been getting a lot of buzz ever since buzz about it started well....buzzing.
We have the suave and integrity oozing George Clooney scoring top billing in this dramedy about a company downsizing expert Ryan Bingham who gets flown around the country and is hired by company bosses to fire employees because they are too chicken shit to it themselves. This is a pretty good gig to get if you love flying, travelling around the country for over 315 days of the year, leaving you with roughly 40 days to yourself to go home and spend time with your family or whomever it is you've got to retire to at the end of the day. - In some cases that may not be anyone at all. - That's nearly the case here with Mr. Bingham as he really doesn't care to ensure time along with his family. He is quite content in being a skip down the block work-a-holic.
He does however attempt to make a connection with another downsizing expert Alex (played by Vera Farmiga, whom I don't really care for as an actress. Her choices of roles reminds me of Amanda Peet. They both seem to take on these promiscuous roles where if they can show off how skanky they are, they're on board! How Farmiga got cast in Scorsese's "The Departed" is quite beyond me. All though she was bad ass in "Running Scared".)
Back to our synopsis, they both have roughly the same job and have to make arrangements throughout the month for where and when they can meet up to enjoy each other's company primarily on the physical level. This proves to work very well in the screenplay as a subplot. Mr. Ryan Bingham is addled by his superior (played by the always entertaining Jason Bateman) to take on a protege Natalie Keener (played by Anna Kendrick). This is where everything gets a little cliche with Ryan taking on the younger, attractive nose to the grind stone-hard working rookie and there are of course laughs aplenty as she stumbles and retrieves herself throughout her learning experience with the stereotyping and proud of it, Bingham. But that's okay! Its okay because they are making this a movie about finding connections with people they are firing/letting go and within themselves. I am not spoiling anything from your film experience for this movie, believe me. There is a lot in this movie to appreciate. These are just some of the finer points that help the characters get by.
Aside from the character development, Reitman gets you the feel of taking an airplane. They get into the step by step process of taking a trip. Everything from packing your bags, zipping them up, rolling them into the airport, arriving to hand in your ticket, pick up your boarding pass and go through security handling before headed onto the plane. Wonderful work is done here. Truly engaging and thought provoking for anyone and everyone that has ever lost a job, fired someone from a job and even starting your life over once there is nothing left in it. Speaking both figuratively and literally.
Clooney doesn't seem awkward in this role at all. He meshes so well with his character you feel and even understand his daunting philosophies about love and marriage and how absent he is of all these thoughts and emotions. He's a work-a-holic and proud of it. Even if he has to fire a few people in the process.
Anna Kendrick is stellar in her breakthrough performance. She's apparently also been in the "Twilight" films up to date with "New Moon". I can imagine getting a gig with "The Clooney" must've been quite overwhelming. But she handles herself very well and makes the most out of her screen time. Complimented by her stunning good looks is her acting talent. She seems nervous enough as a protege to Bingham, but not as an actress to Clooney.
Directed and written by Jason Reitman (of "Thank You For Smoking" and "Juno" fame.) Starring George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman and Vera Farmiga.
I love the dark humor made about the internet here. Very subtle yet classy. In this day and age, I think most people should pay proper attention to those "messages" being touched upon. Pun intended.
Cine-a-meter rating: 4.5/5