(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.
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.
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.
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.)