Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mini Review: "Up In the Air"

It's officially Sunday, so here's the first of my Holiday Reviews.

I wasn't planning on seeing Up In the Air in a theatre until dear friends suggested we see a movie at their local cinema, an ancient multi-screen theatre with a raked floor and seating for about 150 per auditorium. We (K and I) were meeting them for our Boxing Day gift exchange and dinner at their house anyway and since we all agreed on seeing it and it isn't the kind of movie that has to be seen in IMAX 3D, we went to the 70's relic for their $7.00 matinee. I love director Jason Reitman's first film, Thank You for Smoking and despise his second film, Juno, so I had no qualms about seeing it in a theater whose big claim was "Enjoy our State-of-the-Art Dolby Surround Sound System!" (meanwhile, the only sounds we were surrounded by were the rush of the rainwater through the roof's drainage system and the bleed--through of the explosions from whatever was playing next door.

I'm going to keep this one short, because it is late, so I'll borrow liberally from my friend and fellow blogger Sean with a 5 For/5 Against List:

5 For:

1. Clooney. Handsome, charming and a fine actor, George Clooney really is the Cary Grant of our generation. One can easily picture Grant in the role of Ryan Bingham, a professional "Fire-er," who spends all but 40 some days a year traveling; going from company to company and doing their dirty work for them. Clooney builds in so many layers to what on the outside seems a callously detached outsider, we honestly almost forget it's him. But, just as in Grant's finest roles, we always know it's George. Still, its possibly his best screen performance to date.

2. Vera Farmiga. Funny, charming and everything that makes experienced women so sexy; Farmiga's relaxed performance is a wonder to behold.

3. Anna Kendrick. As the uptight Ivy-Leaguer out to revolutionize the business by eliminating travel, Kendrick rises above her Twilight role and takes a step towards becoming a fine comedic actress. Her speech on the dock is amazing.

4. J.K. Simmons; Jason Bateman; Melanie Lynsky; Zach Galifanakis; Sam Elliot and Danny McBride, all in smaller roles which left us hoping to see more of them

5. The ending was perfect and would have been wrong had it gone any other way.

5 Against:

1. The pacing was a bit off and I thought it could have been 10 to 15 minutes shorter. The wedding sequence goes on for far too long.

2. Not enough Chris Lowell. The "Private Practice" hottie has a brief appearance early on as Ryan's assistant, but is never seen again.

3. Not enough Zach. It would have been funny if his character had later confronted Ryan again.

4. The music. Not as bad as in Juno (worst film soundtrack, EVER - don't argue, you won't win), but still too hip for it's own good and something that will make the movie feel dated in 10 years.

5. It felt kind of wrong to laugh at a movie about people losing their jobs, especially in the current job crisis. Made even worse by one particularly dark event.

The Movie: Three Stars (***); Clooney: Four Stars (****)

More, anon.


Anonymous said...

Nice review...I like your style :)

You're writing is much more elegant than mine.

Mrs. Pine said...

Totally agree, saw it on Christmas with the family. My gramps and mom wanted a happy ending, wrongly so. And my dad, heavily into reality and no fluff/mush, etc. loved it. But I didn't find that I laughed at the part you referred to. I think we all laughed at appropriate times, but not at the general theme of unemployment. The song in the credits was a great time, too.