Saturday, September 12, 2009

TIFF: Up in the Air

Just as it wowed Telluride last week, Jason Reitman's Up in the Air is now bowling over critics and audiences alike at Toronto. Try as you might, you will not find a single person with a negative opinion of the film.

The latest to fall for the film is Roger Ebert, saying on his blog:

"It stars George Clooney in one of his best performances, as a frequent flyer. During the course of the movie he passes the 10 million-mile mark in the American Airlines Aadvantage Program, becoming the seventh such person in history. Asked on an airplane where he lives, he replies, "Here." He's a Termination Facilitator. He fires people for a living. When corporations need to downsize quickly, he flies in and breaks the news to the new former employees. In a lousy economy, his business is great.

You can be 32 and already have three good films under your belt. Look at Spielberg. You need to find the financing, of course, but that's not the hard part. The hard part, as wise men have said for generations, is story, story, story. Reitman's films are not in the business of following formulas. All three have pointedly ended in ways we probably didn't expect. All three have insights deserving consideration. All three require actors who can deliver complex and fascinating dialogue. All three make us care. That with Reitman we also usually laugh a good deal is so much the better."

With not a bad bit of buzz to be found, I have to wonder if this is a title that will be a major player come next March. There are certainly plenty of others yet to be seen (Nine, The Lovely Bones, Invictus, to name a few), but for the moment, Up in the Air is seeming the one to beat.


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