Up in the Air Review – Watch this Charmer; Screw the Bachcha-ns

(For SI reader Guruji and other Movie-Lovers)

[U.S. readers: George Clooney’s Up in the Air is now in limited release in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and possibly at a theater near you too.]

Folks, just got out of Ritz 5 on Walnut St in Philadelphia after watching the absolutely delightful movie Up in the Air.

(Full review coming in a few hours after we get home. Hopefully the traffic on 95 won’t be that bad. See y’all soon.)

* Update *

After watching a surfeit of crappy Bollywood and Tollywood movies lately, Up in the Air (directed by Jason Reitman) amply redeems and completely restores our faith in movies as an art form.

Between the Bollywood Bachchas oops Bachchans’ Paa and George Clooney’s Up in the Air, it really was a no-brainer for us today.

Without a moment’s hesitation, we picked Clooney’s Up in the Air.

And boy what a right decision that turned out to be.

Unique Story
An unusual story with solid performances by George Clooney and his principal co-stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick makes the $6 we spent for the matinee show of Up in the Air a complete paisa vasool film.

George Clooney is Ryan Bingham, a Terminator.

Oh, no.

Not the Arnold Schwarzenegger kind but a Terminator of employees for corporations and bosses who lack the balls to break the bad news to their employees.

A corporate hit man.

It’s a dirty job but the cool and composed Ryan tries to bring some dignity to it as he jettisons the employees with a corny pep talk.

Forever on the road, we mostly catch Ryan at airports or hotels as he moves on his firing assignments to Wichita, Dallas, Detroit, St.Louis, Kansas City, Miami and other places in between. But always at a brisk trot, traveling light and packing and closing his suitcase with a snap.

The airport and the Hilton hotels are his home.

In Ryan’s own words, he spent 322 days on the road last year, ‘which means I had to spend 43 miserable days at home.’

For Ryan’s boss, the worst time for America means ‘this is our moment,’ a not-so-subtle dig at how some are finding their gold in others’ bad tidings.

Troubled Times
But these are troubled times even for corporate hit men.

A new hire, the driven and hyper-ambitious Natalie (Anna Kendrick) impresses the boss enough with a cost-saving technique to make him want to carry out the firings via a video connection on the Internet (‘all for the price of a T1 line’). The young girl is now Ryan’s responsibility as he’s compelled to take her along with him on his firing trips and walk her through the ropes of the business.

An unanticipated twist only adds to the charm of the movie.

The script is solid and the lines splendid.

The writers of Up in the Air (based on a book by Walter Kirn) deserve much kudos, guys.

George Clooney – Just Delightful
George Clooney has always been a delight to watch.

But in this immensely entertaining movie, Clooney just crackles as he navigates his way not merely through the various cities on his tight itinerary but also a family wedding and a blossoming relationship with another frequent-flier, the businesswoman Alex (played by the pretty Vera Farmiga).

In Up in the Air, George Clooney is almost James Bondish in his suave, debonair appeal minus the gun and the 007 appellation, of course.

But to highlight only Clooney would be an injustice to the two actresses Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, who seem to be purposely cast as opposites – One very young and the other not-so-young. One very driven, hyper-ambitious and nervous and the other calm, cool and relaxed. One very corporate-like, not-so-pretty and the other adorably pretty.

Screw Paa & Watch Up in the Air, Folks
There’s a glittering freshness and radiance to Up in the Air and its lead character George Clooney that you almost never see in Bollywood movies and seldom get to watch even in Hollywood films lately.

Its charms are manifold.

Folks, screw the Bachcha-ns Paa and watch Up in the Air.

The movie is moving into wider release toward the end of the month. But it’s playing in enough theaters across the country right now for you to be able to easily catch it.

(Trivia: As the credits rolled after the movie, we were surprised to see an Indian-sounding person Sonia Bhalla listed as the Second Assistant Director.)

6 Responses to "Up in the Air Review – Watch this Charmer; Screw the Bachcha-ns"

  1. guruprasad.s   December 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Paa has got good vibes here in India.
    Masand and rediff have positive words for Paa.
    Amitabh and Vidya Balan have done well, it seems.
    Looks like the movie has more positives than negatives.



    Paa has nothing to do with Benjamin Button.
    However, the protagonist of Paa suffers from the same condition as that of Jack (1996), which is, aging four times faster than what is normal.

    Only those who have seen Jack and Paa can say whether Balki (director of Paa and Cheeni Kum) has been original or not.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. We’ve seen 100% of Benjamin Button and about 75% of Jack (up to the point in the bar) and 0% of Paa.

    Benjamin Button is a solid film. Jack is alright but nothing extraordinary.

    2. Between George Clooney’s Up in the Air and Amitabh Bachchan’s Paa, the decision was a no-brainer for us. We picked Up in the Air.

  2. ravihyd84   December 5, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I feel that you should watch Paa and review it.

    It would be disappointing for regular readers of your site if you don’t review it. A set of bad actors may make a decent film like Kandukondain Kandukondain. Waiting for your review on Paa…

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: It would be disappointing for regular readers of your site if you don’t review it

    Ha ha ha.

    Since when has readers’ approbation or opinions been our guiding lamp?

    We march (mostly) to the beat of our own drum and to the sounds that reverberate only in our eardrums.

    2. You write: Waiting for your review on Paa…

    And we’re Waiting for Godot. 😉

    3. You write: I feel that you should watch Paa and review it.

    And we feel we should have a harem and revel in it.

    Neither the review nor (alas) the reveling will happen.

  3. guruji   December 5, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Now that you have an idea of my recommendations, try watching “Thank you for smoking”, if you have not.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. You write: Now that you have an idea of my recommendations,

    Ha ha ha.

    Kiddo, don’t give yourself airs now….when your recommendation came in we were already at Ritz 5 in Philadelphia.

    2. We’ll watch Thank you for Smoking one of these days.

  4. Vetti Jijaji   December 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    You are yet up to put up a post saying that the critics have blasted Paa?!

    The New York Times Rachel Saltz
    It’s stunt acting and frequently more creepy than moving, but it also gives Paa it’s weird I’m-my-own-grandpa charge.

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas
    The film is no more than a tedious, over-long Bollywood soap opera.

    Variety Derek Elley
    Though unrecognizable, Amitabh Bachchan is the star of — and the only reason to go see — Paa.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Here you go – U.S. Critics Pee on Paa.

    Happy? 😉


  5. Vetti Jijaji   December 13, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I saw Clooney’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Lovely movie.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We’ve read a lot about Fantastic Mr.Fox including a longish piece on director Wes Andersen in the New Yorker magazine a few months back but never got around to watching the movie.

  6. Vetti Jijaji   December 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    watched Anna Kendrick on Letterman.. not exactly pretty, but a quirky beauty.. she looked better in the movie (from the little clip that they showed) than on Letterman.. the odd dress didn’t suit her much.


    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Anna was good in the interview. Thanks. 🙂

    Can you imagine any of our Bolly/Kolly/Tolly gals talking like Anna, with such panache.

    We love Maine. 😉

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