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*** Official UP IN THE AIR Review Thread


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted December 23 2009 - 02:39 PM

"Up in the Air" - as a film about Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), an air miles whore of a traveling hatchet man for corporations too chicken-shit to fire their employees themselves, it's timely and depressing.  Enter Natalie (Anna Kendrick) the young wunderkind with ideas to cut costs, and basically cut out the middleman in such firings, the irony is not lost on Ryan, but he's not about to let a whippersnapper obsolete him out of a job, and takes her under his wing to show her it's not just about saving money when people are cut adrift to fend for themselves, but there's a human element to the process that shouldn't be summarily dismissed in service of the bottom line.

Ryan's job becomes a lifestyle of unattachment when it comes to friends and family and lovers.  That changes one day for him when he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga) at a chance meeting at a hotel bar.  Flirting and airport rendezvous ensues for this new pairing of hectic travelers.

Overall, I can't say I was wowed by this film, perhaps I didn't appreciate Ryan's character arc, nor the plight of Ryan through the film's running time, and it's just hard to work up much sympathy for professional hatchet men, and invest much into Ryan, even with his experience to deliver crushing news to strangers on a daily basis while impressing upon them a glass-half-full demeanor.

That being said, the main trio of actors (Clooney, Kendrick, and Farmiga) are all very good in their roles, I just never got a foothold with the script.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

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#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted December 23 2009 - 02:52 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Up in the Air". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an
Official Discussion Thread.




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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Chad R

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Posted December 30 2009 - 06:55 AM

This is a very impressively constructed film. Not in its shots or anything, but in all the elements that really showcase character. By the end of the film, you may not like or be able to sympathize with Ryan Bingham, but you understand him.

On its surface, this is the story about a corporate ax man who loves his job because it fuels his lifestyle of casual acquaintances and very few long term attachments. Ryan even gives seminars on how to unpack your backpack and leave "things" behind -- whether those things be houses, or cars, or people. But underneath this film is about the human spirit surviving in an increasingly unattached world.

Simply put, George Clooney plays George Clooney pretty much like he always does. The man has more charm than God should allow. But that doesn't mean he doesn't give the most nuanced performance of his career. Acting isn't in so much what a character says, but lives in the moments when they say nothing. There are very few instances in this film where you can't read Clooney's face and see exactly what his character is thinking. He's immersed in the role and it shows. The two leading ladies perform admirably, but this is Clooney's movie.

Jason Reitman continues to impress me with his direction. He has a way with actors that brings out their best, but you can also tell he spends a great deal of time with his set designers and costumers to deliver a total world for his characters. You can actually track the progression of Ryan's and Alex's relationship by where they sleep. He doesn't do anything revolutionary with the camerawork because he doesn't have to, he's done all the work in the environment he creates that he only needs to capture it on film to tell his story.

The story is certainly timely, and doesn't necessarily end where you're trained to expect movies such as this to end. But the conclusion to Ryan's story is very honest. People can't be fixed that quickly, but by the end you at least get the impression that Ryan is open to the possibility of changing his life. And that theme is what rings loudest this year.




#4 of 9 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 30 2009 - 09:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad R 

But underneath this film is about the human spirit surviving in an increasingly unattached world.

Perfectly expressed. Ryan Bingham is a window into the only relevant portrait of 2009 America in cinema this year. It's a melancholy movie that is often very funny, but it is not a dark comedy because the film believes in humanity and the human spirit. I was moved by the montages of offices that were often more than half empty, and I was moved by all of the newly unemployed sitting across the table from Ryan and Natalie who ranged from the hopeless to the angry to the open minded but were portrayed without exception as dignified and worthy of respect.


#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 05 2010 - 12:24 AM

Chad,

Excellent review.  

Watched this film the other day and I was deeply moved.

This is Clooney's best performance to date and I do hope
that he gets an Oscar nomination for it.

The film itself is exceptional.  Also worthy of a Best Picture
nomination.   

Up until watching this film I placed Inglourious Basterds
as my favorite film of '09.  However, now I have two 
favorite films that are equally good.

I would highly recommend this film!

Ronald J Epstein
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#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Hanson

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Posted January 05 2010 - 04:33 AM

I really did not think I would like this film as much as I did.  The script and the performances were pitch perfect, and the movie has so much charm, humor, and emotion that it's palpable.  The subject matter also resonates -- the snippets of interviews with real people who were laid off adds to the emotional layers of the movie.

And kudos to Jason Reitman for both the adaptation and direction.  One of the reasons I was resistant to seeing this movie was the reaction to Juno, which I regards as one of the five most overrated movies of the decade.  I now realize that Reitman created a silk purse out of a sow's ear with that script.

This still doesn't trump Inglourious Basterds for my favorite movie of the year, but it is definitely in my top ten.


#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Mediajunkie3

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Posted January 12 2010 - 05:10 AM

I thought "Up In the Air" was great, which isn't suprising since I'm usually impressed by George Clooney.  The characters were awesome.  Natalie's character actually resonated most with me, and you can actually see her progress throughout the film as she learns from Ryan.  I guess the real twist for me came through Alex.  It turns out that the whole time Ryan's character is looking for something that Alex's character is trying to escape.  It's just one of the many ironies that fill the plot of this thoughtful movie.

I think 2.75 is too low for this film, I'd definitely give it at least a 4.

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#8 of 9 OFFLINE   CVille

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Posted January 14 2010 - 10:00 AM

I recently saw this movie as well.  George Clooney was great as usual (Big Fan of Ocean 11, 12 and 13).  With the way the economy has been over the last two years, I thought I would see more reviews about how can Hollywood not be sensitive to the economic times.  His job as the butcher and knowing people within my own department getting let go really hit home with this movie.  I recommend that you go and see it.


#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted January 15 2010 - 05:07 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed this film from beginning to end.  Clooney, coupled with Reitman's direction, reminded me of Preston Sturges or Billy Wilder films of yesteryear.  I read that this film was "Clooney's Jerry Maguire" and I think that's fitting, albeit Up in the Air is a bit more somber.  Anna Kendrick is a revelation and I was in love with her by the end.  It's definitely worth seeing on the big screen. 

****.5/*****
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