Mar 1, 2010

[Movies] Up In The Air (2010)

Up In The Air (2010)In these modern times rich with blogs, spoiler sites and other sources of online information, it's really hard to be able to watch a movie without hearing anything about it beforehand. As much as most people generally don't like reading spoilers about the movie, so many more people seem to invest so much time in saturating the internet with them in order to "spread the word" or whatever reason they have for posting this kind of stuff.

Personally, I hate reading spoilers and I do everything that I can to avoid them like the plague. I like researching about movies in order to know what they're about to who's starring in it but beyond that I try to keep myself generally ignorant. Even just limiting myself to that can lead to unintentional spoilers included in commonplace advanced peeks or synopses of the movie or movies in question may still involve learning something very unique or spoilery. Don't you hate it when that happens?

So it's nice to occasionally enter a theater with absolutely no idea of what the movie is about - you get to be genuinely surprised by the entire experience, just as you should be.

ROME - OCTOBER 17:  Actor George Clooney and d...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Up In The Air is interesting comedy / drama directed by Jason Reitman of Juno fame. The movie involves the life of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), who works for a company that handles larger layoffs and downsizing efforts when the company is unable (or unwilling) to handle this difficult process themselves. With the current economic situation, business is very good and Ryan spends most of the year travelling by plane, thus helping him attain his other goal in life - to attain 1 million frequent flier miles with American Airlines.

His self-proclaimed perfect life starts to become threatened when a young coworker Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) makes a radical proposal to switch over to an online telecommuting model for terminating people that would eliminate the need for anyone to travel. This comes just as Ryan starts a casual relationship with fellow traveler Alex (Vera Farmiga) who appears to share Ryan's love for travel and the associated acclaim. Now Ryan is charged with showing Natalie more of how the business works so she can fine-tune her proposal.

Given I entered the cinema with absolutely no idea of what the movie was about. Thanks to a free ticket to the premiere from the folks at New Worlds, my partner and I took a gamble on the movie and certainly weren't disappointed. This was especially true given I'm no fan of the likes of George Clooney at all. Really, there's just something about him that rubs me the wrong way when I see him on screen.

Clooner really did work in the role of Ryan, perhaps because he kept thing low key and didn't make it all too over the top like he normally does. He had the right amount of charm and and for lack of a better term - assholishness to really make his character work. After all, here was a very jaded person who had steeled himself to handle terminations day in and day out while largely ignoring and neglecting his family for most of his time.

Kendrick was also rather good in her role - a know-it-all in her own way and quite impressive given her age. She really carried herself well and her character was definitely one a lot of us could relate to given her challenge of balancing the demands on a career on a younger person. Her performance was interestingly contrasted against the colder, collected portrayal of Alex by Vera Farmiga, who made for a very alternative kind of romantic interest.

While music did not play a role as large as it did in Juno, it still accented the entire movie nicely and made for some interesting moments. I really enjoyed how the whole thing was put together and it certainly made things a lot more enjoyable to see. It wasn't an outright comedy or anything like that given the dramatic spin to things but the music certainly helped keeps things a bit lighter and thus giving the movie a nicely quirky feel.

Quite frankly, I found myself laughing out loud like mad during this movie and it's nice to find a nice, intelligent movie like this to enjoy whole-heartedly and without shame. Plus it was nice that the audience that we watched the movie with also enjoyed it and were laughing at all the right bits. This is definitely a movie that I'd recommend to anyone with an appreciation for smarter comedies.

Up In The Air deserves a full 5 empty backpacks out of a possible 5.

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