Sunday, January 3, 2010

Up In The Air

Jason Reitman, the director of Up In The Air, has only directed three feature films, and this is the third. All of them have been praised by critics (and by me and Brooke, normal people who have no business scrutinizing movies anyhow); the other two are Juno and Thank You For Smoking. He seems to have a peculiar wit that cooly makes its way into every crack of the story lines and images. When the film ends, you know you haven't witnessed anything ground-breaking, but you also sense that telling a small tale could scarcely be done any better.

This time he directs a big-time movie star, George Clooney, in the role of a businessman who thoroughly enjoys flying and being away from home 46 weeks per year. Mr. Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, is very likable, but his philosophy is sad, and you're not sure whether you should laugh at him or cry over him. Bingham's job is dreadful, and the juxtaposition of it and the personal independence he has chosen make for a curious mix of themes. Is this movie as full of contradictions as it appears? Maybe. Maybe not.

Mr. Bingham is joined in his travels by a 30-something woman with whom he (possibly or probably) begins to fall in love, and by a 20-something coworker who is a fireball and adds just the right amount of comedy to this tragedy.

Is this the best film made in 2009? No! But it's certainly worth adding to your Netflix queue, as long as you don't mind a few seconds of nudity and about twenty uses of a four-letter word that starts with "f". Brooke: C+...Grant: B-

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