Up In The Air

“Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.” One of the many philosophies of Ryan Bingham, a man who lives his life on the road and literally calls Hilton one of his homes. Bingham works for a corporate downsizing agency that steps in and fires people, and his biggest aspiration is to reach the 10 million mile mark with American Airlines. He also prides himself on perks, earning all kinds of points and jumping to the front of any line at an airport or hotel. This film is a dark satire about business, relationships and being on the road.

George Clooney (Oceans 11, Michael Clayton, Burn After Reading) plays the man Ryan Bingham. Although his role seemed to be the type that Clooney is best at, and to me kind of  Clooney being Clooney, this just might be enough to earn him a Best Actor Oscar. I think he will for sure be nominated, and I can’t really think of a leading role that would beat him. He plays a go getter and on the move businessman, and is really top notch in his role. Of course part of what makes George Clooney so good is his surrounding cast, and the two women that are with him throughout the movie are very good. Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Orphan) plays Alex who is a business woman who has much of the same attitude as Bingham, proud of her plastic cards, hotel and airport perks. Bingham’s coworker and travel partner is played by Anna Kendrick (Twilight). Her character Natalie Keener is the antagonist of Bingham, standing for commitment and settling down in relationships, yet she is the very one pushing the cutting edge in business about to knock Bingham out of a job. Jason Bateman (Juno, State of Play), Sam Elliot (The Golden Compass, The Contender) and J K Simmons (Juno, Spiderman, Rendition) all make appearances.

All in all, I think Up In The Air is a terrific film. Director Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking) has a wonderful style for satire. Already nominated for Best Picture in the Golden Globes, I can see this getting an Oscar nod as well. Especially with the new field of 10 nominees. With great directing and superberb charaters throughout the film, this is worth catching for sure.

Sherlock Holmes

What an onslaught of Holiday movies. Sure Hope I can keep caught up. The first film to cross off the list is Sherlock Holmes. I wasn’t sure what this film would be like with Guy Ritchie at the helm of a mainstream film. Better known for his edgy indie films like Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you wonder if he can pull off appealing to the masses for a holiday big budget film. Surprisingly, he does just fine! He still carries a lot of his “indie” style into Sherlock Holmes, especially the way he reveals information in the story and his way of cutting the fight scenes together.

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Wonder Boys) is a perfect choice to play Holmes. The seeming brilliant, yet spaced out with an over active imagination, is right up Downey Jr.’s alley, having already played a similar confident egotistical crime fighter in Iron Man. Another great choice in casting is Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Gattaca, Road to Perdition) as the level-headed sidekick, Dr. Watson. Law’s demeanor plays well off the sporadic off-the-wall ramblings of Holmes. The one casting move I didn’t really care for was that of Mark Strong (Body of Lies, RocknRolla)  as the villanous Lord Blackwood. Although he looked menacing, I wanted a little more from the character and maybe a  could have brought that. Rachel McAdams (State of Play) is also in the film, but to me was really a non factor in the film, really not offering too much when she was on-screen, but not taking anything away either.

In all, I would recommend this film. It is worth seeing for sure. Robert Downey Jr is wonderful to watch, having already been recognized for his performance with a Best Actor nomination for a Golden Globe. I would have liked a bit more information during the film, more of the Sherlock Holmes studious observations as they took place rather than leaving most all of them for trying to make a clever reveal later on. Still, if that is the only complaint, it is a very good film and good holiday movie fun. Next holiday film on the list, Up In The Air!

Helen Mirren Success!

mirren Had a nice autograph success with Helen Mirren who was doing a play in London this past spring. Known for winning Best Actress for The Queen and also State of Play and Gosford Park.  I am sure the play is over and I had given up on getting a photo back, but to my suprise….received the photo back signed and personalized.

address used was “Phedre” Lyttelton National Theatre, Royal National Theatre South Bank, London SEI 9PX, UK