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PHOTOGRAPHY

UP IN THE AIR

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 109 minutes, audio commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, trailers

VIDEO:  2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO:  English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Surround

Subtitles:  English, French, Spanish

 

STUDIO: Paramount Pictures/ Cold Spring Pictures/ DW Studios/ Montecito Picture Company/ Rickshaw Productions/ Right Of Way Films

RELEASE DATE:  3-9-2010

UP IN THE AIR is a romantic comedy about an isolated middle-aged man that calls airplanes his home since he travels most of the year on them to do his job, and then he starts a relationship with a woman who also travels.  Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is hired out to fire people at different comapnies.  He meets a special woman named Alex (Vera Farmiga) that he strikes up a causal relationship with.   He was content with his life, but maybe Alex will change how he views his life.   He also has to contend with an up and coming person at his company, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), who wants to change the business of firing people by having it be by video conference.   Ryan doesn't want his job to be redundant and he ends up taking her on the road with him to show what he does.

 

UP IN THE AIR feels like the type of character comedy that you can imagine Carey Grant or Jimmy Stewart in.  George Clooney does fantastic in character pieces and comedies.   He has that type of charisma to pull that off in a  movie.  As along as he has a great director no matter hwat one thinks of the story, he shines in his role.  He shows the emotions and life of Ryan Bingham by first showing a guy who loves being on the road and hates being home.  Then George brings to life the change in George when he finds love and the various emotions it comes with it.   Ryan puts on a brave face when his job is in danger and Clooney doesn't need to express in words when you see what Ryan is thinking through the face and eyes.   Ryan and Alex play like surrogate parents to Natalie when she is feeling down (so they crash a party for computer techs).   

 

Director Jason Reitman manages to make every movie he does a piece of character art.  He makes us like the people with the hardest jobs very human.   He gets us to relate to these flawed people whether they fire people or be a lobbiest for the tobacco industry.   Part of the secret is to get good actor and put in some comedy.  UP IN THE AIR adds an extra element by including people who have been let go from their jobs at big companies.  Reitman takes us on a journey with his characters as we see those characters disover what is important to them and where they will go next.   Ryan Bingham can change his life given the right reasons and Natalie learns that Ryan has a tough job that requires the in-person touch.   UP IN THE AIR is a complex romantic comedy that makes me want to see George Clooney in more films like this one.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio commentary by Writer/ Director Jason Reitman, Director of Photography Eric Steelberg, and First Assistant Director Jason Blumenfeld

 

SHADOWPLAY: BEFORE THE STORY- a brief featurette on the title sequence of UP IN THE AIR and the people who created it

 

The teaser and theatrical trailers are included on the disc.  Also on the disc are five deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Jason Reitman.  He gives reasons for cutting them from they didn’t fit in the film or they slowed the movie down (or the moment wasn’t needed).  I find this fifteen minute reel of deleted scenes to be quite interesting.  I wish some of the stuff from the extended Miami party scene and the Omaha Montage were left in the film.   I find the surreal Spacesuit dream sequence to be quite fascinating.  I don’t agree with Reitman’s choices on cutting some of the material, but I respect it was his choice as a director.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  UP IN THE AIR is a charming character piece about an isolated guy's place in life.   It is one of the better romantic comedies I have seen.

 

This DVD review is (c)3-12-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com