Saturday, December 12, 2009

Up In The Air

Went tonight to see Up In The Air, the new movie from Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking, Juno). It's won a couple of critics' awards so far for best picture of the year. I think it might be the second best movie I've seen so far (Inglourious Basterds is really, really good), but definitely no worse than second, and nothing else is a close third (we're talking Star Trek or The Hangover at that point). I can see why critics would love the film so much, it's what one might call a "movie lover's movie".

It's the kind of movie that's perfectly enjoyable at face value. George Clooney's performance is note perfect, the kind of role at which he excels and it's hard to imagine anyone else playing it. The other performances are very strong. The script is touching at times and very funny, flirting with movie cliches but never giving into them. It's poignant as a letter to the many people who have been laid off in this economy, using real people at times talking about what it felt like to be fired. The film is stylish, the music is that sort of acoustic guitar that pulls at the heartstrings, etc.

The "movie lover's movie" bit comes because of how subtle and nuanced the film is. There are very slight motions that add unlimited depth to the story, a nod of the head here, a small smile there. There are lines that are funny, but, when examined more closely, provide a deeper look into the character's soul. One such line, "I type with purpose," seems to be a total throwaway line that got a couple of laughs, but I can't stop thinking about what it said about the character that delivered it. The camera work even changes subtly at one point to show a change in theme. It's the kind of movie one could watch two or three times and discover something new with each viewing. Go see it at least once. It will surely get nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay -- it's based on a book -- and Clooney will most likely get nominated for Best Actor.

A side note on the previews before the movie. There was a trailer for a movie starring Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, and Tracy Jordan Morgan. They go to a funeral for Rock's father and weird things start to happen. Someone takes drugs, starts hallucinating, and gets naked up on the roof. Peter Dinklage appears, to insinuate that he had had a homosexual affair with the deceased. Chaos and hilarity ensue. This may sound familiar, as it is the plot of the great British movie Death at a Funeral, that came out two years ago. Shoot, Dinklage was even in that one. As the trailer progressed, I kept looking at the people with me and we couldn't quite believe this movie could be so similar. The name of the Chris Rock movie? Death at a Funeral. It's a remake of a movie that came out in 2007. Forget the fact that there's no chance that the new one will be as good as the original -- Netflix it if you haven't seen it, it's really funny. How do you remake a movie that's two years old?! And nobody's remade Death Wish or Dirty Harry yet, which are just begging for updates?!?!?!?!?!


steve said...

I think you mean Tracy Morgan, not Tracy Jordan. The TJS character from 30 Rock doesn't get too many real-life roles.

Josh said...

That's funny, I totally did it without thinking about it.