December 31, 2009

Up in the Air - 2009

Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner
Starring: George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga

"All the things you probably hate about traveling...are warm reminders that I'm home." The third film by Jason Reitman (and second he adapted for the screen) finds Ryan Bingham (Clooney), a man whose job it is to travel the country and fire people so they don't take revenge on their actual bosses, about to be grounded from the life he loves because Natalie Keener (Kendrick) has created a technological system and fire people via webcam. However, Keener lacks the knack for personal interaction that Bingham has built up over the years, so she becomes his unwanted protege.

I'm thinking I need to either invest in a thesaurus, read some legit movie reviews, or see bad movies for a change, because I feel like I just repeat myself every time I gush about my latest trip to the cinema. I could find no fault with this film (except for perhaps the fact that it has people getting further past security than they're allowed in the post-9/11 world); it's obvious why this film is leading the pack in Golden Globes nominations. While some elements of the plot are predictable, one thing near the end threw me for a loop. What really impressed me with this film, though, was a decision made by Reitman et al. From IMDB:
  • With the exception of the famous actors (Zach Galifianakis and J.K. Simmons), every person we see fired in the film is not an actor but a real life recently laid off person. The filmmakers put out ads in St. Louis and Detroit posing as a documentary crew looking to document the effect of the recession. When people showed up, they were instructed to treat the camera like the person who fired them and respond as they did or use the opportunity to say what they wished they had.
A masterstroke that catapults the film above what it would have been otherwise.

My updated Top 10 Films of 2009:

10. Inglorious Basterds
9. Zombieland/Sherlock Holmes/Star Trek
8. Brothers Bloom
7. Whip It
6. Up
5. Up in the Air
4. (500) Days of Summer
3. Moon/District 9
2. Where the Wild Things Are
1. Fantastic Mr. Fox

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