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Monday, December 7, 2009

Up in the Air

Up in the Air - A Paramount Pictures Release


Release Date: December 4th, 2009

Rated 14A for coarse language, mature themes

Running time: 109 minutes

Jason Reitman (dir.)

Jason Reitman (writer)

Sheldon Turner (writer)

Based on the book, Up in the Air, written by Walter Kirn

Rolphe Kent (music)

George Clooney as Ryan Bingham

Vera Fermiga as Alex Goran

Anna Kendrick as Natalie Keener

Jason Bateman as Craig Gregory

Amy Morton as Kara Bingham

Melenie Lynsky as Julie Bingham

Our reviews below:


Up in the Air Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

After the brilliant satire Thank You For Smoking, and the wonderful teen-pregnancy dramady Juno, Up in the Air is Jason Reitman’s third, great triumph. It’s unquestionable to doubt the profound effects his films have had on audiences, and while Juno will always have a special place in my heart, Up in the Air may well just be his best yet.

George Clooney, in his best performance to date, plays Ryan Bingham. A corporate downsizer, who spends much of his life on the road and up in the air, collecting frequent flier miles, trying to reach the ten million mark.

Though his “perfect” world starts to get turned upside down when his company, run by Craig Gregory, (Reitman regular Jason Bateman), considers the idea of replacing him with Natalie Keener, (brilliantly played by Anna Kendrick). A young woman who wants to revolutionize the business of firing people for the internet age.

On his travels, he meets his match in Alex (Vera Fermiga), another frequent business traveler, who just might make him rethink what he wants from his life.

On the surface, audiences might see this film is an enjoyable romantic-comedy. The truth is, it is funny. On the flip side, though, it’s a thought provoking, powerful and moving meditation on our times.

Real people lose their jobs, and what may be harder to remember is that the people firing them are also human. They do what they do for a living, and shelter themselves from the real world perhaps because they aren’t proud of being the bearers of bad news. Ryan takes comfort in the world of loyalty programs and one night stands, almost afraid to connect, because he knows best of all that with one surprise trip to the office it can all be over. The false loyalty of the airports won’t go away, as long as he continues to fly. He’s constantly connecting with people, but never actually making connections.

He gives motivational speeches about how our relationships with people weigh us down. It’s almost a Fight Club mentality, except instead of saying you are not special, he says you are, especially if you have loyalty programs to prove it. But you’ll be happiest alone, and alone you’ll end up.

The song that plays over a key scene in the film, Help Yourself by Brad Smith, has sadly already been disqualified for the Oscar’s Best Song category. It’s one of the best, and one of my favourite film songs of the year. As with Jason Reitman’s other two films, all the musical choices in Up in the Air are excellent.

Whether or not it will is still up in the air, but this film really should win Best Picture. Up in the Air is one of the most important, and best, films of the year.


Up in the Air Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Ryan Bingham, (George Clooney), is comfortable with his routine life of traveling. He works for an agency that lends him out to companies that are downsizing, in order to break the news to their employees. Flying all over the country for the company, he has collected millions of air miles, traveled further than the distance to the moon, and only been home for 43 days in the past year. But all that is about to change. Just as he is so close to meeting his target of collecting 10 million miles, a new employee of the company, Natalie Keener, (Anna Kendrick), comes up with a plan that will revolutionize their workforce - firing people via webcam. She is paired up with him to go on the road and have him show her the ropes - much to his dismay. Along the way, he meets a woman, whom he believes is very much like him, also traveling and collecting miles, called Alex Goran (Vera Fermiga). The thing is though, that Ryan is very used to living life alone, barely ever stopping traveling long enough to care.

I loved the movie Up In The Air. It is a very powerful film that gives you something real and important to think about. It was nice to see that some of the people in the movie playing those who've lost their job are people that actually have gone through downsizing. All of the acting in the film is great, and the music fits well, as do the songs, (which are unfortunately not elegible for Best Song at the Oscars). All three of Jason Reitman's directed films thus far, (Thank You For Smoking, Juno, and Up In The Air), I have really liked. They all are shot in a quiet, subtle, and touching way.

Up In The Air is high up on my top 10 list of this year, and I hope to see it pick up some awards at the Oscars. I would guess nominations for Best Picture, Directing, Adapted Screenplay, and one of the acting categories. Everything about this movie makes it worth seeing. Try to catch it if you can, especially once it hits wide release on December 25th.


Up in the Air Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Up in the Air is a funny and touching movie with a good message about relationships. George Clooney is perfect as Ryan Bingham, a man who spends most of his life traveling by air. He works as a corporate downsizer, a job that not only requires one to be some what emotionally detached from people, but also allows Bingham to pursue his quest to try to obtain 10 million frequent flyer miles. Bingham never settles down, but engages in a casual fling with his female counterpart, Alex.

Bingham's traveling days may be limited however, when Natalie (played by Twilight's Anna Kendrick), a young downsizer, creates a system of downsizing by webcam. Despite this new efficient way of firing people, Natalie is still aware of the various emotional responses of people who are laid off. Bingham too, realizes how detached he is from people, when he is invited to his sister's wedding. He has not seen his family in years.

I really liked Up in the Air. Everything about this movie worked for me. The acting, the score, the screenwriting, and the cinematography all fit together perfectly. The story is timely, in a world of recession, where greed and personal gain is rampant.

Although Up in the Air is not a Christmas movie, this movie is perfect this time of year. Don't miss it.


Up in the Air Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

Up in the Air is an intelligent and funny movie with a heart. The story focuses on corporate downsizer, Ryan Bingham (played perfectly by George Clooney), and his lifestyle of corporate air travel. His primary goal is to reach the 10 million mile mark in air miles flown. Bingham runs his life with the same efficiency that he shows when telling a client they are no longer employed.

The scenes where clients are being layed off are touching and believable. Having gone through a corporate downsizing many years ago, Up in the Air had meaning for me. What makes this film so likable is the witty dialogue and the excellent cast. George Clooney is at his best as Ryan Bingham. The two female leads, Vera Fermiga as ambitious fellow traveller, Alex and Anna Kendrick as Ryan Bingham's new co-worker, Natalie Keener are wonderful to watch.

Director Jason Reitman has taken a difficult and timely topic and brought it to our attention in a light-hearted yet serious manner. Up in the Air is one of the best movies I've seen so far this year. I hope it gets the attention it deserves come Oscar time. This is one worth seeing in theatres though it will also play well on DVD.


Up in the Air Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) flies around the country from his Omaha hub to fire people for companies reluctant to do it themselves. Like a good salesman, he tries to give a shred of hope and dignity to each client along with the bad news. However, the emotional detachment required has left him without a real home or commitments. He has mastered the art of living out of a suitcase and takes full advantage of premium cards and loyalty programs to move swiftly through airports and hotels, all the while accumulating frequent flier miles hoping to be only the seventh person to reach the privileged ten million mile status. His shedding of encumbrances is summarized in a motivational “Backpack” talk that he delivers at business conferences. A chance encounter with Alex (Vera Farmiga) who shares his lifestyle leads to a romance that flares up every time they find themselves in the same city. Suddenly, Ryan is threatened by the young aptly named Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) who has convinced Ryan’s boss Craig (Jason Bateman) that they would save lots of money by bringing agents in from the field and doing all firing by video conferencing. Ryan protests that a boiler room script and flowchart designed to remotely handle anticipated client responses is no substitute for human contact with an experienced professional. Before setting up the new system Craig gives Ryan a last chance to prove himself by sending him into the field with Natalie to show her how it’s done. When Ryan takes Alex to his younger sister’s wedding in small town Wisconsin, he begins to consider settling down himself.

Up In The Air is Jason Reitman’s third and best film to date. Like his other movies, it handles a dark subject with great wit and charm, exemplified by George Clooney and the rest of the cast. So many brilliant elements make it a strong contender for the year’s best film. I will only mention a few here. Attention to fine detail in production design always give us a sense of place. Fast-paced editing in the travel scenes mirrors the efficiency with which Ryan handles everything from packing to swiping his premium cards without missing a step. Even the cinematography has a subtle role, going from pristine at the well-controlled beginning to slightly shaky at the less-certain end, and from film to videotape in the wedding scenes. A good choice of songs provides a fine accompaniment to the action. Finally the inspired decision in the firing scenes to enrich the scripted professional cast with a number of really fired people improvising their actual responses provided some of the most moving moments in the film.


Consensus: **** (Out of 4)

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