Friday, December 25, 2009

'Up in the Air' the Best of 2009 (So Far)

So, I'll just go ahead and say it: "Up in the Air" is the best movie I've seen this year. It's a cynical coming-of-age story about a middle-aged man who has different values from almost all of the rest of us and it is so marvelously crafted that it will become a classic and will likely pick up Oscars all over the board.

The movie stars George Clooney as a man whose job takes him all over the country to fire employees from companies having to drop significant numbers of people because of the little economic gift George Bush left us upon his departure from Washington. He handles the terminations with a degree of sensitivity, mixed with detachment and he loves the part that puts him on airplanes more than 250 days a year.

His home is a barren apartment that he only visits. He has no real relationships, including with his family and his sister, asking him to do something for his other sister, who's getting married, prefaces her request with, "I know you don't like doing things for people, but ..." Not much to recommend him.

Still another flying veteran finds him attractive enough to start a non-attached affair with him, pretty much based on their flying experience, and the movie takes off from there with its lessons in life.

Our hero not only starts his absorbing and affecting fling, but is faced with some new technology--prepared by a kid just out of college--that would take him and the rest of his company's representatives who go to job sites out of the air and put them on a video screen. Firing by Internet. No personal touch at all. Lots of money saved.

Vera Farmiga is simply perfect as the love interest (a woman guys my age will drool over) and the young, hard-exterior/soft-interior Anna Kendrick is believeable and occasionally disconcerting as the kid who thinks technology has all the answers.

This movie belongs to director-screenwriter-producer Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking," "Juno), son of "Second City's" Ivan Reitman and a young fellow who is mightily impressive.

Simply a marvelous movie with its intelligence, its extraordinary wit and its total satisfaction on the faces of those leaving the theater.

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