Monday, December 28, 2009

The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places; and one of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Once in a while a film will come out that really makes you think. Not in the deep, philosophical way but in a more self-reflective sort of way. A film that asks the question "Who am I and what am I doing with my life?" Maybe for some people they find it in war dramas or films that talk about overcoming adversity but for me that film is Up in the Air.

Up in the Air is the newest film from director Jason Reitman, the man behind some of my favorite films like Juno and Thank You For Smoking. His tongue in cheek satire mixed with great cinematography and perfect pacing makes his films a joy to watch. His newest movie however is based on the critically acclaimed book by Walter Kirn. In it, Ryan Bingham, a career transition counselor who also works as a motivational speaker. He is cynical and uncaring about most things but he loves his job and especially loves one thing: the airport; which acts like a second home for him. It doesn't matter which airport, he knows the story, knows how to get through everything in record time and its all so he can reach one goal: 10 million frequent flyer miles. He already has (assumably in the movie) well over 9 million and its his lifelong dream to become a member of a club so elite that only 5 other (i think) people have ever gotten in. He reaches a hitch in his plan however when a new girl Natalie (Anna Kendrick) comes in and wants to make the digital switch, thereby pulling Ryan off the road. Ryan makes an effort to show his boss (Jason Bateman) that she isn't ready to make decisions if she can't fire people well so Bateman decides to send the two off together on the road. Meanwhile and through all of this he maintains a casual relationship with Alex, another frequent flyer.

Up in the Air is one of those movies that does a lot by doing a little. Its not a flashy movie by any means and it won't win any special effects awards but it is brilliant in its controlled chaos. Natalie is new and struggling with people's reactions to getting fired, Ryan's home life and family life is all but gone and he worries that his job may be on the line if they DO switch. But they never really outright say most of these things. The movie is very laid back. It tells you a story without shoving a story in your face. And in that it is brilliant.

George Clooney as Ryan is amazing. Clonney is one of those actors that has gotten better with age and it shows. His performance in this one is top notch and probably the best of his career. His wit, sarcasm, charm, charisma, mannerisms, and his delivery are all brilliant. Honestly he deserves any and all awards he gets. The same goes for Kendrick and Vera Farmiga (Alex). Both of these ladies give great performances and I really look forward to seeing how they do this awards season. They both are awesome but I will say Anna Kendrick was amazing. She is so young in yet she is SUCH a good actress in this film.

Up in the Air is a subtle, brilliantly acted film and one of the best of the year. You owe it to yourself to give this one a look. You'll laugh, you'll (maybe) cry, but most of all you will feel good. This movie made me feel good.



  1. Kendrick is definitely someone to watch from here on out.

  2. one of my favorites of the year!

  3. One magazine says George Clooney is 'effortlessly beautiful' ... ^u^

  4. A well-acted piece about a man's inability to cope with a world more real than the one he lives. And the screenplay just keeps on getting better and better. Nice review, check out mine when you can!