Tag Archives: Up in the Air movie

Director’s cut

I love Jason Reitman.

Or, more specifically, the movies he directs.

He first caught my attention in 2005 with Thank You for Not Smoking.  Then along came Juno, its oh-so-unique voice the brainchild of writer Diablo Cody.  And in 2009, Reitman brought us the brilliant George Clooney vehicle Up in the Air, my choice for Best Picture Oscar.

Sadly, the Academy was more impressed by tales of the war abroad than at home.  Whatever.

Reitman and Cody have teamed up once again to bring us Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt.

This film has none of Juno’s quirky teen speak; Theron’s character is way past that. This golden girl blew out of her one-horse town years ago and is living large in the big city, a successful writer of youth literature.

Or that’s what it looks like from back home.  Her reality — and the lives of the people she left behind —  are very different than they appear on the surface.

I love this film.  I love the performances that Reitman pulled out of his actors.  I love that he didn’t feel the need to ‘nicen up’ Theron’s character as she continues her path of destruction.

And I especially love the possibility that Oswalt — Patton Oswalt, the chubby standup comedian — might get an Oscar nomination.

Jason Reitman did that.

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Look again

There is nothing I love more than watching a movie and discovering a hidden gem.

You know — that actor or actress who’s the friend of the lead who looks kinda familiar but you can’t figure out where you’ve seen ’em before.

But I can.

It’s one of my favorite pastimes.  Ask my friends.  I’m actually pretty annoying about it.  So I cannot believe that I totally missed this one.

After seeing Anna Kendrick play Jessica in three “Twilight” movies and nab a much-deserved Oscar nomination for her work in “Up in the Air,”  it was only this week during publicity for her upcoming stint in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” — opening in theaters today — that I realized that I had seen her years ago in a little movie musical called “Camp.”

I think I hear my friends laughing at me….

If you haven’t seen it, “Camp” is about a summer camp for theater geeks.  Anna plays Fritzi, a wallflower who attaches herself to the camp diva…or so it appears.  At the end of the film, when all the campers are performing at the big gala for the parents, Fritzi sabotages the diva and steps in to sing her big number, “Ladies Who Lunch,” blowing off the roof in an incredible performance.

Of course, I didn’t know it was Anna then…just that there was this HUGE voice coming out of a teeny tiny little girl.

And that little girl was Anna Kendrick.

Well, knock me over with a vampire.

Crying

This week the ever-interesting lemondrop.com introduced us to the  “Crying Wife,” who confessed to crying at pretty much every movie she watched, regardless of its original intent.

Of course, a wave of weepers jumped to her defense, admitting to tearing up at such classics as “Monsters, Inc.,” “Reading Rainbow,” “Pokemon,” and “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”  I couldn’t really throw stones because I watched “Harvey” again this morning, and James Stewart’s gentle relationship with his invisible rabbit made me a little misty.

If animals are involved, I’m pretty much a goner.

I know that crying can be cathartic — just call me the “Crying Dog Mom”  — but I’m starting to wonder if movie studios have done research on the specific tear-producing triggers.  There is a reason that some scenes reduce you to tears and others make you sneer in response.

A great example is my recent favorite “Up in the Air.”  When George Clooney is speaking with Vera Famiga on the phone after surprising her at her home, the simple devastation on his face made me cry.  It was authentic, real.

What movie scene has made you cry like a little girl?

The “Crying Dog Mom” wants to know.

Grand gesture

The 82nd Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday, and for the first time in the show’s history, the “Best Motion Picture” category was expanded to 10.

And the nominees are:

“Avatar”
“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“A Serious Man”
“Up”
“Up in the Air”

By increasing the field to 10, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences theorized that they would be able to recognize ‘more truly deserving films.’

Who are they kidding?

The directors, producers and actors recognized will be able to add “Oscar-nominated” to their resumes and demand higher paychecks for their next projects.  And the ratings for the awards broadcast itself may go up a bit, with a few more box office favorites in the mix.

But one of the serious contenders for “Best Motion Picture” will still win the Oscar, and this year, there are still only five….so they could have avoided all the drama.

Just look at the Top Ten:

  • “The Blind Side” was slammed by the critics, but beloved at the box office.  Sandra Bullock’s nomination for “Best Actress” was recognition enough.
  • “District 9” seems like a bit of a stretch.  Indie sci-fi overachiever, maybe…but Oscar nominee?
  • “Up,” only the second animated picture to be nominated in the category, is not a serious contender.  (Count yourself lucky.  The producer’s speeches to date have been real snoozes.)
  • “An Education” is the foreign film rep.  Carey Mulligan’s nomination gives it credibility, but no real chance.
  • “A Serious Man”  is, in my opinion, an automatic inclusion.  The Coen Brothers seem to get a pass on whatever they produce and direct.  I’m not even sure the members watch their films anymore.

Which leaves us with…

“Avatar”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious”
“Up in the Air”

These are your five serious contenders for the Oscar for “Best Motion Picture.”  The others?

Just filler.

Critics schmitics

Did you see the winners’ list for the 2010 Critics’ Choice Awards last night?

Did you know they were on?  (Did you even know they exist?)

I found them quite by accident.  But hey, it’s an awards show, and Kristin Chenoweth was hosting, so I decided to hang out for a while and see what was what.

Here are the night’s big winners:

Best Picture: ‘The Hurt Locker’
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, ‘Crazy Heart’
Best Actress: (tie) Sandra Bullock, ‘The Blind Side,’ and Meryl Streep, ‘Julia And Julia’
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’nique, ‘Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire’
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, ‘The Hurt Locker’
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Best Adapted Screenplay: ‘Up In The Air,’ Ivan Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Best Acting Ensemble: ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Best Animated Feature: ‘Up’
Best Young Actor/Actress: Saoirse Ronan, ‘The Lovely Bones’
Best Action Movie: ‘Avatar’
Best Comedy Movie: ‘The Hangover’
Best Foreign Language Film: ‘Los Abrazos Rotos’
Best Documentary: ‘The Cove’
Best Song:The Weary Kind’ from ‘Crazy Heart’
Best Score: Michael Giacchino, ‘Up’
Best Picture Made For Television: ‘Grey Gardens’
Best Cinematography: ‘Avatar’
Best Editing: ‘Avatar’
Best Visual Effects: ‘Avatar’
Best Sound: ‘Avatar’
Best Costume Design: ‘The Young Victoria’
Best Makeup: ‘District 9’

I’ve noted in orange where my Golden Globe predictions and the Critics’ Choice winners have crossed paths.  Obviously, the two ceremonies have very different categories — the Globes honor television as well — but when you consider movies alone, the Critics and myself feel quite differently about the best movies of the year.

For Best Picture, they chose to reward yet another war picture.  Now, I know the “The Hurt Locker” is being billed as a truly spectacular film about war.  But I am really hopeful that the Golden Globes (and other subsequent awards shows) will chose to give their trophy to films that took an original cinematic bent on original cinematic topics.

Call me crazy, but I think audiences prefer a little variety.

We’ll see who’s right (me) and who gets the awards.

Lower still

Oh, the tabloid media.  They’ll do just about anything to sell magazines.

Just ask Tiger Woods.

And now the more legitimate press is getting in on the action…if you want to include Vanity Fair under that umbrella.

TMZ.com and ‘Access Hollywood’ may have brought us photos of Tiger’s crashed car and collected the names of his ever-growing stable of mistresses, but Vanity Fair ‘got the get’ we’ve all been waiting for —

Tiger’s naked chest.

True, it’s not a photo related to the scandal.  (I don’t think anyone got a shot of his bloodied lip following the car crash, gosh darn it.)  And the Vanity Fair photo spread was snapped long before any of this ugliness took place.  But at least it was taken by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, which means the photos are excellent, even if they aren’t really pertinent.

But Vanity Fair is going to make them seem that way.

The article itself?  Pure conjecture.  An interesting comparison between Tiger’s handling of the scandal and George Clooney’s character in the movie “Up in the Air.”  But no interview with Tiger.  No new details about the situation or his future on the tour.

Vanity Fair, you’ve done the tabloids proud.

Seeing double

The Golden Globes have always been a bit of a bad boy in the awards community.

The Hollywood Foreign Press is in charge, so newcomers and outsiders are recognized (to the insiders’ dismay).  Everyone is clearly drinking during the ceremony, which can lead to some rather colorful acceptance speeches. (Remember Kate Winslet’s semi-hysterical ramblings after she finally won not once but twice last year?)

And then, there is the name of the awards themselves.  Golden Globes?  I’ll bet pretty much every man out there visualizes a certain part of the female anatomy when he hears that term.

Based on this year’s Golden Globe nominations announced just this morning — my, aren’t I topical — we will all be seeing double come January.

Sandra Bullock is nominated twice — for Best Actress, Drama, “The Blind Side” and Best Actress, Comedy, “The Proposal.”

Meryl Streep is nominated twice as well…this time in the same category (Best Actress, Comedy), for “It’s Complicated” and “Julie and Julia.”

Matt Damon is nominated twice, too — for Best Actor, Comedy, “The Informant!” and Best Supporting Actor, Drama, “Invictus.”

Pretty exciting, huh?  With all those nominations, you’re bound to snag at these one, right?

Not necessarily.  Just ask Julianne Moore.  She’s been nominated twice before and walked away empty-handed.  Kate Winslet’s vapor-inducing win last year was the exception, not the norm. I think multiple nominations often muddy up the field and, if anything, just point more clearly to the other actors in that category.

And let’s not forget — the Golden Globes recognize television as well.  Anna Paquin, nominated Best Actress,  “True Blood”, was also nominated Best Actress, made-for-TV movie “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.”

Who’s going to win it all?  It’s still “Up in the Air.”

He he he