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Up in the Air (2009)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Language and some sexual content.
George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Tamala Jones, Chris Lowell
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
Limited, expands: Dec. 11; wide: Dec. 25
A corporate hatchet man who loves his life on the road but is forced to fight for his job when his company downsizes its travel budget. He is required to spend more time at home just as he is on the cusp of a goal he's worked toward for years: reaching five million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.
Up in the Air (2009) | Preview
A Chat with Director Jason Reitman
A stunt he has pulled at many other interviews before and since, you might call it a creative way of quickly putting us all in his place. As Jake Coyle (Associated Press) reports, Reitman has expressed plans to turn his collection of journalist photos, hotel room snapshots, and a pie chart compilation of most-asked questions into a short documentary on the promotional process itself. As I see it, the unique slant he has added to his film's promotion is merely a confirmation of the kind of filmmaker Reitman's relatively small body of work has already proven him to be, one who simply is not in the business of either wasting his time or ours.
Stepping onto his first film set (Animal House) with his director father Ivan Reitman when he was only eleven days old, Reitman's appreciation for not wasting time may very well have begun at birth. When he sold ads for desk calendars to pay for his first film at 19 years old, he began his directing career by labeling his work as much more than just pet projects of Hollywood progeny, but ones worth his own hard work and investment. Turning out six short films in the next six years, he further spoke to his belief in the value each by racking up thousands of frequent flier miles as he took them to over 100 film festivals all around the world.
When it comes to his three feature-length films—Thank You for Smoking (2005), Juno (2007), and Up in the Air (Dec 2009)—Reitman has said that each, while based on novels and/or scripts written by others, were projects he was drawn to because they explored and answered questions of his own, marking each as not just a exercise in artistic exploration or business strategy but a personal journey.
"The first film was a question about my own personal politics," says Reitman. "My second one had to do with becoming a father and growing up. And this one has to do with the biggest question of all: how to spend your life, whether or not to spend it with people or alone, whether to escape or not."
In the film about a corporate downsizer who finds his commitment to a life of disconnect challenged when two very different women enter the picture, Reitman presents a moving answer to that question not only in the script he wrote and the talented actors he helped bring it to life, but by also reflecting his value of his own relationships in its construction. Not only does he give a nod to those as close as family, but he also acknowledges the importance of the many people he may never know but forges connections with though his films, bringing his father on as a producer, hiring actual unemployed Americans to play recently laid-off employees, and even using a song written and performed by an unemployed stranger he met while working on the film in its credit sequence.
Copyright © 2009 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
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