(November 23, 2009) — We recently attended a screening of “Up in the Air” at Paramount Studios in Hollywood featuring George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose “travel time” is threatened just as he nears his 10 millionth frequent flyer mile mark. This unfortunately occurs after he meets the woman frequent traveler of his dreams. This dramatic comedy was directed by Jason Reitman, the Oscar nominated director.
Frequent travelers will certainly get a kick out of watching “Up in the Air”; there are a number of travel jokes, frequent flyer tales and airport humor. Hardcore domestic travelers take note of the opening sequence of images; your challenge is to try and identify all the random images of cities that flash by on the screen.
The movie is woven around Ryan Bingham who is a frequent flyer due to the nature of his business. He is the man companies call when they need their employees fired.
With only 43 days spent last year at his empty sparsely furnished apartment in Omaha and the rest of the time spent on the road, Ryan is getting close to a major milestone in his frequent flyer program. Enter Alex (Vera Farmiga), a frequent traveler looking for some fun.
Ryan and Alex find a connection in their chaotic travel lives and a romantic fling soon turns into more. Then an upstart young Princeton graduate Natalie (Anna Kendrick) puts a monkey wrench in Ryan’s travel plans and changes how his company conducts business.
The script is highly entertaining and moves well throughout. There are also several poignant and reflective scenes.
Up in The Air keeps you guessing towards the end but then it throws a refreshing twist more common of a real life situation rather than a Hollywood movie. Its not the normal comedy wrapped in a box with a bow on top ending.
Up in The Air will be released on a limited basis December 4 and nationwide on December 25.
Our Rating (Flying high)
Our roving Los Angeles and Hollywood correspondent Jim Baxter recently interviewed several of the stars including Vera Famiga and Anna Kendrick as well as director Jason Reitman.
Here are some of Jim’s notes and their comments about this movie.
Our Travel Movie Rating System
Never took off
It’s going down
Jason directed this movie and is the son of Ivan Reitman (who directed “Ghost Busters”). He is only 32 years old. Previous movies Jason has directed include “Juno” and “Thank You for Smoking”. He also wrote “UP” several years ago. For “Up in the Air” Jason interviewed people who really lost jobs. The movies “realistic” ending is original and the studios did not try to change it. The script was actually written 7 years prior to filming.
Vera had a child right before the filming of the movie. She had this to say about George Clooney “he
really accommodates the other actors. It was a joy to work with him.” Of note is that Vera will direct her own Indie film soon.
Indicated she can be a control freak at times but likes the fact that her character is highly ambitious. She saw George as an older brother and he looked out for her on the movie set. She said, “George looked out for me and offered me a lot of advice on my personal dating life.”
Her favorite line in the movie was telling George he was behaving like 12 year old child. There is a scene in the movie where her character is told something heart breaking via an SMS message. Incidentally Anna broke up with boyfriend when she was 11 via email.
During the filming in St. Louis she was able to try yoga for the first time. Recent movies she has acted in include “Twighlight” (a vampire love story) and “Elsewhere.”
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