Thursday, November 19, 2009

Up in the Air with Reitman and other thoughts

I just saw Up in the Air yesterday. I can't talk about it too much (my thoughts are too fresh on it for the moment) but let's say...I enjoyed it. It's pretty much impossible not to. Let me just say, regarding the Oscar talk, people are right about...

Clooney. His very recent win for Syriana, plus the fact that some will read this performance as easy effortless for Clooney, PLUS the Colin Firth/Jeff Bridges factor will likely prohibit him from winning. But he should snag his third nomination, no problem.

Anna Kendrick. She's plucky and funny (two things that often get you noticed in the supporting actress category) and she brings layers to what is essentially a caricature. In a category that only seems to have one lock (Mo'Nique for Precious) and one "probably" (Julianne Moore for A Single Man) I don't see how Kendrick misses here, what with the Nine ladies causing confusion left and right with this Cotillard lead/supporting mess.

I'm less sure about...

Vera Farmiga. Her performance is a lot quieter than Kendrick's and she suffers (**spoiler alert**) the unlikeable character conundrum, which tends to hurt women more than men. I may be wrong, but I'm not thinking she gets nominated for this.

Picture. I know it's a ten-wide field, but I could still see Up in the Air missing. It's not the total slam-dunk it's being built up to be. The film's third act almost collapses under the weight of everything before it. The tonal shifts provide a sort of narrative whiplash. It's not going to be a massive crowd-pleaser like Juno (again, I could be wrong, and maybe projecting a little in this case). What could potentially help Up in the Air is its own perceived relevance to the current economic recession. Potentially. But (without going into too much detail), I'll say that that's problematic in and of itself and I'm sure a lot more reviewers will discuss this at length after the movie is released. All of these comments seems to suggest that I liked the movie a lot less than I did, by the way. It's a good film.

Other thoughts:

Reitman can light up a room. He speaks very honestly about his experiences as a filmmaker and I didn't detect one trace of bullshit or entitlement, even when people asked him incredibly stupid questions. He's also very charming and funny, in a way that's completely unforced and unaffected. Kind of like how I imagine Clooney to be, honestly (aside: I know people read Clooney's coolness as smugness, but I don't...or if I do, I'm okay with it. He has the talent in front of and behind the camera to back it up. And I believe that infamous 2005 Oscar speech came from a place of genuine sentiment about how proud he is to work in what he feels is an increasingly progressive industry. It's not his fault that the Academy underwrote everything he said by giving best picture to Crash a couple of hours later. aside over). Reitman has also managed to make three good feature films at a relatively young age. It may not be for this film, but if he ever gets a chance to get up on stage, I think we'd be in for a great Oscar speech. Specific, funny and personal the likes we haven't seen since Ms. Swinton. I hope he presses on.

Full Review to Come

****Apropos to nothing, I feel it prudent to publish a mea culpa regarding my post about Lady Gaga. What can I say? The gal is talented. I concede. Sure, nearly every one of her fans I've encountered is a culturally-anorexic queen who's also currently in line to buy tickets for the new Twilight movie. But I'm not going to hold that against her. There's a right way to be pretentious and a wrong way. I'm a firm believer in hate fanboys, not the phenomenon. Mostly, I just got caught up in the fact that Perez Hilton likes her in a "friend of my enemy is my enemy" sort of way. Je suis désolé, Gaga.

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