Up in the Air

Sabin
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 7501
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:24 am

Up In The Air is a good film, but it does lose its way toward the end. It was quite edgy and different for the first half, til it decided to turn into a story of a man on a journey to find himself.


It was always the story of a man on a journey to find himself. It's just so adept at it, that it doesn't appear to be. Where else is it going to go? Aside from the V.O. in the air, it ends perfectly.

I know three different groups of people: those who love UitA and annoy everybody else, those who are mildly indifferent, and those who hate it. I'm inclined to call it one of the most if not misunderstood the misrepresented films of the year.

I ask those who hate it, why? I get incredibly confusing answers. I fall back on WHAT DID YOU WANT FROM IT? I get observations and not critiques. Complaints that it's a pro-family movie. I honestly didn't think we were at a point where any movie that legitimately posits that you need more than your job to be happy is a conservative, insensitive work of out-of-touch elitism. There are some more complaints, but the rest are on the line of those who just don't have much use for it. Jason Reitman certainly doesn't linger on the delicious character moments like a less sequence-happy filmmaker would. I think it's rather sad that this kind of thing is going a little bit out of style, the Rite of Passage movie. When there is one, it has to be like As Good As It Gets. Up in the Air doesn't have as many level-headed fans out there.




Edited By Sabin on 1265300789
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4031
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:06 am

Damien wrote:I'm glad you appreciated Up In The Air, Marco. I think your thoughts on iy are spot on. It's just so intelligent -- a quality that at one time was fairly common in American films but, sadly, has become a rarity.

I think it towers over all the other nominated films.

I still haven't seen all the nominated movies, but yes, I'm sure that this must be at least one of the best. I must admit that, seeing it after so many disappointing movies, the last being Nine, it was like breathing fresh air for the first time in months, a feeling that it's difficult to explain but very pleasant, believe me. Up in the Air is also a big hit in Italy, and it was nice, yesterday, being in this packed cinema and seeing (and hearing) the audience reacting with warmth and pleasure, for once, to something which wasn't silly or shallow.

Your Cary Grant comparison is very true, I thought the same while I was seeing the movie, before reading the comments on this thread. He's that rare combination, a film star AND a fine actor.

Let's hope it gets at least the screenplay award.

Ah, and I forgot one thing. The family. It happens SO rarely, in recent American films (and I don't mean only very recent) to see a family whose dynamics are realistic and believable, not just banally grotesque or conveniently sentimental. For once, I saw a "normal" family, if you know what I mean, not a family designed so that the audience could easily take sides or identify with.




Edited By ITALIANO on 1265278773

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Postby Damien » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:16 pm

Reza wrote:
jack wrote:but Clooney played Clooney like he always does.

.....which is why he is so often compared to Cary Grant which, in itself, is not such a bad thing.

Like Grant, George Clooney creates completely believable characters, you can't see the wheels turning (or to be literal, the actor acting), which makes him a first-rate actor.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

Reza
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8238
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Postby Reza » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:07 pm

jack wrote:but Clooney played Clooney like he always does.

.....which is why he is so often compared to Cary Grant which, in itself, is not such a bad thing.

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Postby Damien » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:59 pm

I'm glad you appreciated Up In The Air, Marco. I think your thoughts on iy are spot on. It's just so intelligent -- a quality that at one time was fairly common in American films but, sadly, has become a rarity.

I think it towers over all the other nominated films.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

jack
Assistant
Posts: 863
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 4:39 pm
Location: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Postby jack » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:58 pm

Up In The Air is a good film, but it does lose its way toward the end. It was quite edgy and different for the first half, til it decided to turn into a story of a man on a journey to find himself.

As for the performances, the two women were very good, but Clooney played Clooney like he always does.

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4031
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:45 pm

Just when I thought that this year would be hopeless and America was only about The Blind Side and I could skip the Oscars this year because who cares about Avatar and The Hurt Locker - here comes this very pleasant surprise. It belongs to the kind of cinema I like - well written, well acted, and about contemporary issues - and while it may not be the best example ever of it, it's certainly a good, solid one. A bitter comedy one rarely sees nowadays, whose characters are observed with affection but without indulgence - I mean, I'm not saying that Jason Reitman is the new Billy Wilder of course, but after so many disappointing movies, finally an intelligent one, one I, as a viewer, don't feel superior to.

And the acting is truly good. Even I would choose Farmiga over Kendrick, but it's a close race, and Kendrick is, I think, perfectly cast - her spoon-shaped face, her grey eyes, her short body. I don't think I've seen before either of them, but they definitely deserve at least their nominations. Clooney has never been better.

This is the type of movie that Americans can really do well - when they have the talent and the insight. I'd love if this were the "compromise choice" which wins Best Picture in the end over the two overrated favorites; by now we know that it won't happen, or that if it happens it won't be this movie. But it doesn't mean that it shouldn't.

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 393
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Postby danfrank » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:25 pm

***SPOILER***

The line that got by far the biggest laugh in my audience was when the Anna Kendrick character revealed that her boyfriend had broken up with her via text message, to which the George Clooney character responds, "Kind of like firing someone over the internet."

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6597
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:33 pm

Sometimes I think, if you can't catch a movie prior to the reviews, it's best to wait for the hype/overkill/backlash/backlash to the backlash cycle to all pass, so you can go see it as just a movie, not as a pawn in the critical/Oscar industrial complex.

Having seen this film pass through all those stages (all within a few weeks of release -- talk about a truncated cycle!), I had no way of guessing how much or how little I'd like it.

Well..I'm way up the ladder. I think this is a tender, grown-up, incisive film about contemporary situations, with well drawn characters and sparkling dialogue. From some of the reaction here, you'd think such things came along once a month, rather than being a Halley's Comet rarity in our current mainstream culture. I can only credit goddamn awards fever, for raising people's expectations so high that only an "And the Oscar goes to" orgasm could justify the film.

As Damien says, it's not as if Reitman has suddenly become a stylist, but he has a strongly humane touch with his characters, and, simply in writing terms, I think this film is a quantum leap over his previous efforts. The movie has a pleasing humor throughout -- never getting to manic highs (I don't even know what "big laugh" people are referencing), but also never losing a light comic touch. Even when the film strays into more somber areas, I felt like Reitman hit the sweet spot: it seemed to flow from what had come before, not mark a sudden downbeat.

I think Clooney does solid work here, and, I too thought what Damien said about Cary Grant -- just because he makes it look easy doesn't mean it's not to be cherished. And both ladies are wonderful. I, too, would opt for Farmiga first among equals, partly because I've long been fond of her, and partly because her character went more interesting directions. (And I have to say I was very surprised by the reveal about her in the closing momenst. I fully expected she'd have someone else; I'd just never have dreamed the extent of the riskiness of her life. When she said she was like Clooney with a vagina, she wasn't being truthful by half)

I do agree the running offstage moment was movie-false; I'd have tweaked it so he did his professional best and THEN took off. On the other hand, I don't get people gripning this wasn't a movie more centered on the situations of the newly unemployed. Alot of those complaints reminded me of Gene Siskel's perennial "if I were making a movie on this subject, it would have been about..." -- go ahead and make that movie if you want, but don't criticize Reitman for not doing it.

I still think this film has a faint shot at best picture, just because Avatar seems too trivial and Hurt Locker too grueling for middle-aged audiences -- this film seems like it might fill the Goldilocks "just right" slot. I recognize awards season is not going all that well for it at the moment, but I wonder if the new graduated-voting system might help a compromise choice like Up in the Air this year.

Sabin
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 7501
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:21 pm

I saw Up in the Air again and it holds up very well in my opinion. Complaints about Up in the Air being a Hollywood luxury ride over the problems are certainly valid, but this label can be assigned to just about any Hollywood production in various forms. If it's a little innately disingenuous, it's also incredibly sharply written. You can chalk it up to a karmic shift in perspective on my part, but openness is a tenet of the brave and successful. Up in the Air suggests this. Every scene of this movie either sets-up or pays-off quite strongly. This movie has gone from over- to underrated at whiplash speed. The pleasures in it are very real and I think Up in the Air is going to age as well as George Clooney will.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

FilmFan720
Tenured
Posts: 3461
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Postby FilmFan720 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:52 pm

They all talk about Avatar too, but not with the same "importance" as Up in the Air. Avatar they all seem to feel is an awesome event movie, but Up in the Air they take more seriously...like a Best Picture winner.
"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
- Minor Myers, Jr.

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Postby Damien » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:43 pm

FilmFan720 wrote:I haven't seen it yet, but I would still call this the frontrunner for Best Picture...everyone I know who has seen it (who tend to have "Academy-friendly" taste won't shut up about it, and it seems to hit home in a modern-film way that will make it seem like a timely, meaningful choice.

I'm glad to hear that, FF. No one I know is talking about it. But they can't shut up about Avatar.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

FilmFan720
Tenured
Posts: 3461
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 3:57 pm
Location: Illinois

Postby FilmFan720 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:34 pm

I haven't seen it yet, but I would still call this the frontrunner for Best Picture...everyone I know who has seen it (who tend to have "Academy-friendly" taste won't shut up about it, and it seems to hit home in a modern-film way that will make it seem like a timely, meaningful choice.
"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
- Minor Myers, Jr.

Sabin
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 7501
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:09 pm

Damn Josh, you have developed into such a wonderful and lively writer on film. You'd be like Pauline Kael had Kael ever evinced any intelligence.

Gosh. That's quite a compliment. Thank you.

You cite Vera Farmiga. Given that Rachel Weisz and Edith Scob have zero chance of being nominated, I'd be more than happy to see Vera Farmiga win the Oscar. Anna Kendrick has more of a character on paper than Farmiga, but she makes just as strong of an impression. She describes herself as Ryan but with a vagina. That's really it on the nose. But playing a character that George Clooney could conceivably fall in love with is not easy at all. She does it superbly and I afford a lot of the film's success in the third act to her creating such a persuasively three-dimensional presence.

Ultimately, Up in the Air ends conventionally. It doesn't say anything condescending, though perhaps in a somewhat condescending manner with the testimonies. I agree with its message and I strongly approve of precisely where the film leaves George Clooney. I honestly don't know where else the film could have gone. I more have problems with its pacing dearth of character pauses along the way and somewhat scattershot third act. But not the text. It's a good movie that's been overhyped a little too much. That being said, the best way to make Up in the Air look like a better movie is to watch it after Avatar.

It's already made $45 mil. With a $25 mil budget before P&A and no real signs of significant stalling, it should make at least as much as No Country for Old Men before the Oscar night, on which it will damn near go home empty-handed. Reitman and Turner will win Best Adapted Screenplay and if a Precious backlash increases perhaps Kendrick or Farmiga will win for two.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
Damien
Laureate
Posts: 6331
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:43 pm
Location: New York, New York
Contact:

Postby Damien » Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:08 am

Sabin wrote:Here's what I wrote. Although I now no longer think it will win Best Picture because it's become much less than I thought it would.

Damn Josh, you have developed into such a wonderful and lively writer on film. You'd be like Pauline Kael had Kael ever evinced any intelligence.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell


Return to “2009”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests