Screen Junkies » Up In The Air http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Wed, 03 Sep 2014 19:43:13 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 Road to the Oscars: ‘Up in the Air’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/road-to-the-oscars-up-in-the-air/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/road-to-the-oscars-up-in-the-air/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000        

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Last week we looked at my frontrunner for this year’s Best Picture, James Cameron’s 3D furry-fest Avatar.  But we must not ignore this year’s other contenders, not the least of which being Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air

Reitman’s third feature came into this year’s award season with a good deal of positive buzz.  However I’m inclined to believe this is an industry-wide apology for lap-dancer Diablo Cody winning an Oscar for the text message transcript she called the Juno screenplay while Reitman’s impressive directing was all but ignored.  As the shiny gold dude on Cody’s mantle gathered dust, Reitman bided his time, content with the knowledge that he would someday be vindicated.  After all, while Diablo’s dad was doing whatever it is fathers do to turn their daughters into strippers, HIS dad was directing Ghostbusters.  Yet while the lesser Reitman is certainly due some recognition, it should not be for Up in the Air, which was the cinematic equivalent of a Southwest Airlines flight over America’s heartland: Flat, dull and seemingly endless.  

Which it had no reason to be.  It was well-directed, well-acted and well-photographed.  But on every other level it suffered from cinematic Asperger’s.  While devoid of laughs — or any other genuine expression of emotion – the cast did include a number of talented comedic day players, including Zach Galifianakis, Danny McBride, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons and Sam Elliott.  I spent most of the film hoping Clooney would round them up into a makeshift crew, morphing Up In the Air into Ocean’s 15. Alas, such was not the case.  Tepid and lifeless, the film droned on and on like a Sunn0))) record, dancing back and forth between failed attempts at humor and failed attempts at delivering its muddled, faux-earnest message about the importance of settling down and starting a family like every other minivan-driving sheepanoid in gated suburbia.  Why did this message ring so untrue?  Gee, I don’t know, maybe because it was being shilled by HOLLYWOOD?  You know, where a glory hole encounter in the Coco DeVille bathroom is considered a long-term relationship?

In a year when the most talked about film was rendered in better-than-life 3D, it’s ironic that Up in the Air, with its muted colors, seemed somehow less than 2D.  I will give its makers credit for the soundtrack, however.  The use of Elliot Smith was particularly apropos, as it came just as I was ready to plunge a knife into my heart ala the now-deceased songsmith.  George Clooney, for his part, was George Clooney.  As always, the man could charm his way onto Air Force One carrying a blood machete and briefcase full of C-4.   His character, a hired-gun contractor specializing in cutting corporate heads, was a spiritual brother to Aaron Eckhart’s tobacco spin doctor from Thank You for Smoking: A loveable scumbag true, but scum through-and-through.  Yet ironically the filmmakers didn’t seem to realize how reprehensible this character was; he was constantly framed as the good guy.  It would be like if Spielberg had decided to make Amon Goeth the hero of Schindler’s List.  Oh, that wacky Amon!  If only he’d found himself a good woman to settle down with, maybe he wouldn’t have exterminated all those innocents.

Still, these are all just opinions, and particularly jaded opinions at that.  Given its 90% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes I am certainly in the minority here.  So I must once again turn to the objectivity of the scientific method by consulting our benchmarks in order to gauge Up in the Air’s Best Picture chances.

RETARD STRENGTH (0/5): For a movie that seemed tailor-made for awards season, Up in the Air was sadly lacking in retardeds; there was nary a simp or gimp in the entire film.   Had Joaquin Phoenix been available for a walk-on I could have at least awarded it a harelip sympathy point.  I was even tempted to give it a point due to the presence of Danny McBride, who here plays the exact same character he plays in every other movie and TV show.  But while that one character McBride plays is a bit naive and delusional, he is by no means a water-head.  As we established last week, if you’re retarded enough for the Special Olympics, you’re retarded enough for an Oscar.  But ignorance and a mullet alone do not qualify you to swim the 100 meter freestyle with the Down Syndrome kids. 

SOCIAL RELEVANCE (3/5):  Our country’s double-digit unemployment rate is certainly a topic of concern.  Up in the Air’s makers went all-out in their attempt to tackle this hot button issue, using actual laid-off employees to play the victims of Clooney’s corporate downsizer.  I guess the point being that if you’re laid off in real life, your reward is to be laid off by George Clooney in the movies?  The problem is, while the world of corporate downsizing served as Up in the Air’s backdrop, it really had nothing to do with the film in terms of theme or message. Clooney’s character did not learn anything from the people whose lives he’d ruined.  He did not have a change of heart, epiphany or turn over a new leaf.  At the end of the film he’s still going about the business of killing careers.  All he really learned was that perhaps his life would be more complete if he had a girlfriend.  I’m sure his ennui lasted right up until he nailed his next flight attendant in the men’s room on the American Airlines executive lounge.

EPICOSITY (1/5): While Up in the Air’s cinematography was excellent, the airports, hotels and office spaces that comprised its locales did not lend much in terms of Middle Earth style epicocity.  And at 109 minutes it certainly wasn’t Bondarchuk’s War and Peace.  But I will give Up in the Air this: It at least FELT like a three-hour movie. 

UPLIFT (3/5): I suppose if you’re one of the many folks out there who’ve recently lost a job, Up in the Air might offer some solace that at least you’re not alone.  It might help you realize that so long as you have family and loved ones to lean on, you’ll make it through the trials and tribulations of being unemployed in one of the worst economies since the Great Depression.  If you don’t have a family however, you’re pretty much screwed.  At least that seemed to be the message.  We’re supposed to feel sorry for Clooney’s jet-setting downsizer, because while he might be wealthy, handsome, and able to bang random chicks in airport bathrooms, he isn’t happy, right?  RIGHT?  Okay, think about it too hard and the logic falls apart quicker than a Haitian shanty, but I suppose in these dire times people will latch onto anything that makes them feel a little bit better about themselves and their miserable lives. 

TOTAL POWER RANKING: 1.75.  The numbers don’t lie.  Up in the Air has no chance of winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, though I won’t be surprised if it nets a sympathy Oscar or two in the lesser categories (perhaps a Best Adapted Screenplay to complete the circle of irony).  For those of you who feel I’ve been too hard on this film, be assured that I am a fan of its director and firmly believe he will have a long and fruitful career.  However, he’ll have to wait for another awards season to take home a Best Picture trophy.  Perhaps with his next film, Jason Reitman will remember to throw in a few retardeds.
 

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You’re Fired! 10 Best Downsizing Movies http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/youre-fired-10-best-downsizing-movies/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/youre-fired-10-best-downsizing-movies/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 If you’ve got to be fired, there’s no better person to break the news than George Clooney. That’s the plot of his new film, Up in the Air. He travels the country firing people for companies who can’t do the dirty work themselves, but he helps people get a new start and has fun on the road too. It made me think of the other movies about downsizing, and I came up with quite a list of diverse titles. Honorary mention goes to the TV series The Office, which has been chronicling the economic crisis in real time.In Good Company

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If you’ve got to be fired, there’s no better person to break the news than George Clooney. That’s the plot of his new film, Up in the Air. He travels the country firing people for companies who can’t do the dirty work themselves, but he helps people get a new start and has fun on the road too. It made me think of the other movies about downsizing, and I came up with quite a list of diverse titles. Honorary mention goes to the TV series The Office, which has been chronicling the economic crisis in real time.

In Good Company


If you have to lose a promotion to a kid half your age, at least you can have a heartwarming relationship where you both learn something. Dennis Quaid takes the high road after his company makes Topher Grace his boss. What the young hotshot can teach the old timer about business, the father and husband can teach his new boss about real life. But still, dude, don’t date the guy’s daughter. That’s just wrong.

A Life Less Ordinary

 
How’s this for revenge on the company that wants to replace you with a janitor robot? Take the boss’s gorgeous daughter hostage for a wild road trip full of surreal fantasy visions courtesy of a post-Trainspotting Danny Boyle. This is really charming and weird fun.

Gung Ho


Remember the ’80s? Japan did everything better than us, so the big fear was that they’d come over and take over our businesses. This movie was about a Japanese company that buys an American factory, leaving Michael Keaton to run interference between his hometown boys and the new bosses. Oh, if only we could just let the Japanese bail us out this time…

Leaving Las Vegas

 
Here’s another way to respond to getting fired. Go to Las Vegas and drink yourself to death. Okay, so this isn’t any role model for how to handle tough times, but man, it was a powerful film. Nicolas Cage got a well-deserved Oscar for showing a man’s relentless pursuit of alcohol. At least it wasn’t a copout. There was no Hollywood dues ex machine. When Nicolas Cage decides to drink himself to death, he goes all the way.

Sullivan’s Travels


Preston Sturges’ classic comedy probably reveals more about the idealism of post-Depression America than it does about the actual unemployment problem. A filmmaker decides to live as a hobo to get some real life experiences for his drama, but learns that even the most hard off people just want a good laugh. It’s charming and couldn’t we all use that kind of pick me up right about now?

The Big One

 
This is by far my favorite Michael Moore movie and it’s the one no one’s heard of. After Roger & Me, he did a follow up about his Downsize This book tour. On the road, he exposed way more corporate corruption and helped more people who’d been laid off. It’s also got his most profound and effective stunts. This movie changed my life. I was a college kid worried about finding a date. I saw a movie where people didn’t have enough food to feed their kids and learned that I have no problems. I was able to maintain that perspective through all of Moore’s films until Capitalism, when I realized I was now in the same boat as his subjects.

Falling Down

 
This is the cautionary tale to any boss who wants to cut his budget, especially if you’re in a highly specialized field. Forget about the postal workers, you leave a defense contractor with idle hands and he’ll tear up the city. I love how the big controversy when this movie came out was not that he’s killing innocent bystanders. Actual defense contractors were offended that they could come up with smarter ways to terrorize a city than Michael Douglas did in the film. Defense contractors have been gainfully employed ever since.

Office Space

 
If only it were really this simple, but we appreciate the satire. A cubicle suit actually survives a round of layoffs, and thrives even, by ceasing to care about work at all. His bosses are so impressed they determine to give him a better job that more constructively utilizes his skills. And he gets to do Jennifer Aniston. Poor Milton gets the last laugh though.

Modern Times

 
Charlie Chaplin always knew what was going on. As technological advances mechanized a significant portion of labor, Chaplin turned it into arguably his greatest comic set pieces. The feeding machine is an example of impeccable comic timing, and watching Chaplin go through the gears is a marvel even by today’s special effects standards. Actually, my favorite sequence is when he roller skates blindfolded in a department store. He certainly had more fun than the squatters in Rent.

Jerry Maguire


Well, no one has made a more graceful exit than sports agent extraordinaire Jerry Maguire. After pouring his heart and soul into an emotional memo, the cold corporate suits let him go. As played by Tom Cruise, Jerry holds his head high and stands by his morals, even pretending to flip out just to freak people out. With only one meek secretary standing by his side, Jerry starts his own business and makes good with his one client. It’s an inspiration to the self-employed everywhere.

Today’s Marquee Links

Brazilian Bikini Roller Boxing

The Girls of Hollyoaks

Spiderman Cow

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‘Up in the Air’ Actress Vera Farmiga http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/up-in-the-air-actress-vera-farmiga/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/up-in-the-air-actress-vera-farmiga/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2009 19:00:55 +0000 Defy Media Vera Farmiga's got a nice figure. You may remember ogling it in Running Scared, with Paul Walker's hands groping it, or in The Departed, with Leo DiCaprio's hands groping it. Now George Clooney's hands will get the chance in Up in the Air.   A word from Vera: "I really don't feel a need to be famous. But I do feel a need to make a difference, to shed light on human emotion through acting."Not to use an outdated reference, but gag me with a spoooooooon. Cowabunga. Feel the need to make a difference with the pics after the jump.

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Vera Farmiga’s got a nice figure. You may remember ogling it in Running Scared, with Paul Walker’s hands groping it, or in The Departed, with Leo DiCaprio‘s hands groping it. Now George Clooney’s hands will get the chance in Up in the Air.

A word from Vera: “I really don’t feel a need to be famous. But I do feel a need to make a difference, to shed light on human emotion through acting.”

Not to use an outdated reference, but gag me with a spoooooooon. Cowabunga.

Feel the need to make a difference with the pics after the jump.

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‘Up in the Air’ Actress Tamala Jones http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/up-in-the-air-actress-tamala-jones/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/up-in-the-air-actress-tamala-jones/#comments Mon, 30 Nov 2009 18:49:07 +0000 Defy Media Tamala Jones and her fine behind have starred in several TV shows, but they can currently be seen in ABC's Castle as Lanie Parish, the medical examiner, and Lanie Parish's booty. Also look for both of them in Up In The Air on Friday. You know George Clooney will be looking. Daaaaamn.  A word from Tamala: "I heard that I whooped Bobby Brown's ass at a Lucky Strike."Pffff, who hasn't whooped Bobby Brown's ass at a Lucky Strike? He practically replaces the bowling balls at that place.The pics after the jump are a strike and a half.

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Tamala Jones and her fine behind have starred in several TV shows, but they can currently be seen in ABC’s Castle as Lanie Parish, the medical examiner, and Lanie Parish’s booty. Also look for both of them in Up In The Air on Friday. You know George Clooney will be looking. Daaaaamn.

A word from Tamala: “I heard that I whooped Bobby Brown’s ass at a Lucky Strike.”

Pffff, who hasn’t whooped Bobby Brown’s ass at a Lucky Strike? He practically replaces the bowling balls at that place.

The pics after the jump are a strike and a half.

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George Clooney’s Travel Tips In New ‘Up In The Air’ Trailer http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/george-clooneys-travel-tips-in-new-up-in-the-air-trailer/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/george-clooneys-travel-tips-in-new-up-in-the-air-trailer/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Up in the Air Co-Pilot Trailer - Watch more Movie Trailers  An extended trailer for Jason Reitman's Up In The Air is now online and, sadly, it has nothing to do with Kevin Bacon scouting the Masai for kick-ass basketball players. But fear not, fans of slight racism, it does include George Clooney's tips for traveling. For instance, you should never get in a security line behind old people due to their love for hidden metals. The Asians on the other hand are your best option because of their efficient packing methods and penchant for slip-on shoes. God love them indeed. Click on these links. If you're old, you'll want to use the "mouse" device to do so.  10 Best TV Neighbors (HolyTaco) Jenn Sterger is Getting Rid of Her Money-Makers (TotalProSports) Sooo, You Got Wasted (TheChive) No One Can tell Twilight Douches Apart (FilmDrunk) When a Parrot Loves a Bunny (SuperTremendous) 5 Breakfast Cereals Meant for Adaptation (Pajiba) Lohan Was Dating Ledger When He Died (CelebJihad) When Patrick Stewart Invades Everything (Unreality) Does Maybe Really Mean No? (Asylum) 7 Greatest Lingerie Football Photo Crops of 2009 (BustedCoverage) If Children Created Swine Flu Cures (RegretfulMorning) How to De-Stress at Work (MadeMan) Flowchart: Is NASCAR For You? (AllLeftTurns)

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Up in the Air Co-Pilot Trailer – Watch more Movie Trailers 

An extended trailer for Jason Reitman‘s Up In The Air is now online and, sadly, it has nothing to do with Kevin Bacon scouting the Masai for kick-ass basketball players. But fear not, fans of slight racism, it does include George Clooney’s tips for traveling. For instance, you should never get in a security line behind old people due to their love for hidden metals. The Asians on the other hand are your best option because of their efficient packing methods and penchant for slip-on shoes. God love them indeed.

Click on these links. If you’re old, you’ll want to use the "mouse" device to do so. 

10 Best TV Neighbors (HolyTaco)

Jenn Sterger is Getting Rid of Her Money-Makers (TotalProSports)

Sooo, You Got Wasted (TheChive)

No One Can tell Twilight Douches Apart (FilmDrunk)

When a Parrot Loves a Bunny (SuperTremendous)

5 Breakfast Cereals Meant for Adaptation (Pajiba)

Lohan Was Dating Ledger When He Died (CelebJihad)

When Patrick Stewart Invades Everything (Unreality)

Does Maybe Really Mean No? (Asylum)

7 Greatest Lingerie Football Photo Crops of 2009 (BustedCoverage)

If Children Created Swine Flu Cures (RegretfulMorning)

How to De-Stress at Work (MadeMan)

Flowchart: Is NASCAR For You? (AllLeftTurns)

 

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