Category Archives: U

Up in the Air

Up in the Air (2009): United States – directed by Jason Reitman

Rated R by the MPAA – contains language, some sexual content, brief nudity

Jason Reitman hasn’t been making feature length films for very long; in fact, Up in the Air is only his third.  His previous efforts have been critically acclaimed, both Thank You for Smoking and Juno [review here].  With Up in the Air Reitman has set himself a new standard.

The story and characters are unique, yet relatable.  George Clooney is Ryan Bingham, playing one of his most nuanced roles yet.  Some people might describe Bingham as a narcissist and a jerk, but he merely lives by his own life philosophy.  He does his job, and travels, and that is all.  His company gets hired by employers to make layoffs: having an unfamiliar face do the firing allows bosses to be wimps and reduces the amount of physical damage a newly terminated person might wreak.  Bingham’s position requires that he travel 310 days a year, leaving him 40-odd miserable days to spend at home.

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Up (2009): United States – directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson

Rated PG by the MPAA – contains a little cartoonish violence and some exciting/scary themes

The first ten minutes alone will probably make you cry.  This prologue is by itself absolutely amazing, and in fact a little better than the rest of the movie.  It does lend quite a bit to the main character, though, and creates a greater emotional impact later on.  I almost cried a couple times.

But then there’s all the laughing, too.  It has possibly more laughs than any other Pixar movie.  Some of the jokes, I felt, were a bit more along the Dreamworks line of animation, by which I mean rather juvenile.  However, despite some shifts in tone, the film stays together quite well.  And I really did laugh an awful lot; it was quite an enjoyable experience.

With the story Pixar probably took another risk.  That’s what their critics said when they did a movie about a rat who cooks and a robot who doesn’t talk.  Here we have a curmudgeonly old man who attaches balloons to his house in order to adventure down to South America.  You see, he and his wife had always longed to go adventuring since they were small children idolizing Charles Muntz.

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