"Up in the Air" Wins No. 1 Spot
It has happened again. Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" has been named favorite 2009 movie by the Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC). The film's star, George Clooney, has been named Best Actor, and director and co-writer Jason Reitman is Best Director.
In other FFCC rankings, Gabourey Sidibe won Best Actress for "Precious."
Christopher Waltz was voted Best Supporting actor for "Inglourious Basterds" and Mo' Nique earned Best Supporting Actress for "Precious."
Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber were recognized for Best Screenplay for "(500) Days of Summer."
"Avatar" won Mauro Fiore Best Cinematography.
"Sin Nombre" was voted Best Foreign Language Film.
"Up" won Best Animated Film.
"The Cove" earned Best Documentary.
Gabourney Sibibe earned special recognition as Breakout performer.
I liked "Up in the Air" and admired George Clooney's performance- his best ever- as a glib, globe-trotting corporate hatchet man, Ryan Bingham. I did not love the film.
It is hard to love someone as superficial, cold and distant as Ryan Bingham or his latest hottie fling, Alex Goran, played by Vera Farmiga.
Oh, there is onscreen heat generated by Clooney and Farmiga, but this is sex, not anything resembling love.
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner adapted Walter Kirn's cynical novel about the heartlessness of America's large corporations and the emptiness of Ryan Bingham's jet-setting life (322 days on the run, and a sterile cubicle in Omaha as home base) with chilling effect.
Jason Bateman is appropriately hypocritical as Ryan's glad-handing boss, but the surprise is dewy Anna Kendrick as a whiz kid downsizer, Natalie Keener. Natalie thinks she has the science of downsizing refined to the next logical step: she doesn't even have to meet her victims; she does it by telephone-video conference call.
Of course if this works out for corporate, the days of free-spending, nice guy face-to-face termination are numbered, and so is Ryan's lifestyle.
Life has a way of defying expectations, and there are a couple of nifty twists in this decidedly unromantic film. Clever? Yes. A great film? No, I don't think so, not even by the standards of soulless 21st century corporate America.