Tag Archives: Jason Reitman

T.G.I.F. – Ten Globe Guesses

But before we get to the prognostication…and just to keep the teakettle whistling – here are the latest clips from the late night talk show hosts on the Tonight Show debacle, courtesy Gawker. Jimmy Kimmel bitch-slaps Jay Leno on his own show, and if you aren’t a Craig Ferguson fan after his clip…well, you might just be an NBC executive

So here are ten guesses for who will win at Sunday’s award show. I’ve limited this group to films; I always wonder why they even vote on American television programming anyway.

The Globes are always a crapshoot, since the voters are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who (1) may not have seen all of the nominees, (2) might not get the context of American humor and cultural references and (3) tend to vote for their favorite people – those who play the schmooze game – regardless of merit. But what the hell, it’s only internet money.

Tune in to NBCif it’s still broadcasting – this Sunday night at 8:00pm EST to find out for yourself. (Even if you don’t care about the minor categories, watch or record the program; I wager that Ricky Gervais will make this an evening to remember).

Best Motion Picture – Drama:  There’s a lot of George Clooney love right now, but as much as I liked Up In The Air I think it’s been a wee bit overrated and it won’t hold up. Even those who don’t normally like war films are praising The Hurt Locker and I think it will resonate here as well

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:  The HFPA loves Sandra Bullock. Lovvvvvvve her. And since this is being hailed as her “greatest performance” they are all but being directed to strike while the iron is hot. I thought she was great in Crash but she makes too many cheesey comedies (not that it stopped the HFPA for nominating her for that also).

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Did I mention how they love George Clooney? Caution spoiler: Morgan Freeman did play Nelson Mandela…

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical – This is a horrible category. Of the films, I liked the flawed The Hangover the best, but the all-star cast suggests It’s Compicated is probably more up their alley.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: This category tells you all you need to know about the HFPA – Bullock chewing the scenery, Julia Roberts automatic nod and two Meryl Streep roles. The only way Streep loses is if she splits her own votes, but since HFPA also loves people playing real characters, it’s Streep for Julia and Julia.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: That Sherlock Holmes is a comedy tells you a lot about why I hate the very concept of the movie, but not enough people appreciate that Joesph Gordon-Levitt is the best young actor in Hollywood and not enough people cared about The Informant. So I’ll wager it’s Robert Downey Jr.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: As intense and worthy as Mo’Nique was in Precious, and as revered as Penelope Cruz is in general, I just have a gut feeling that Vera Farmiga will benefit from being in the most likeable film in the group. Not that she isn’t worthy – tough crowd here.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – This is quite possibly the best group of nominees on the whole show (and they didn’t even nominate Christian McKay for Me and Orson Welles!) Any other year Stanley Tucci walks away with this for his chilling performance in The Lovely Bones, but Christoph Waltz probably gave a performence for the ages in Inglorious Basterds.

Best Director – Motion Picture – It makes no sense that someone could helm the Best Picture and not win as Best Director, but Avatar is a tidal wave and James Cameron gets rewarded for the sheer scope of the film.

Best Screenplay- Motion Picture – I think this is where the HFPA again gets to reward a feel-good picture (even though it was anything but feel-good) by Globing Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air.

The full slate of categories and nominees can be found here. I’ll post links to the results, along with my reactions, on Monday January 18th.

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Up in the Air

Flight of Fancy

Maybe it’s the big screen TV, maybe it’s life’s complications, but I don’t get out to the movie theatres much anymore. I usually get to see films right after they hit the DVD market, in the comfort of my own home. It’s more convenient, the food is better, the bathrooms are cleaner and if anyone does dare to talk or let their cell phone blurt out an obnoxious ringtone, I can pan back and replay what I missed.

But I sacrificed all that to catch Up in the Air the other day (no food, no bathroom need, some talking and yes, an idiot’s ringtone). I like George Clooney – he’s the Cary Grant of his era – and the cast was peppered with the likes of Jason Bateman (wonderfully smarmy again), J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliot, Zach Galifanakis and Danny McBride. It was entertaining and thankfully didn’t follow the typical Hollywood plot paths, but I’m not certain it was anything more than just a good day at the movies.

The plot centers on Clooney, whose character is a corporate terminator, hired by firms to downsize their employees. Comfortable in his non-existence, his Ryan Bingham is happy to eschew the real world as he pursues his singular goal of racking up a million air miles, with the occasional speaking engagement and harmless fling along the way. He’s very good at handling people one-on-one but we quickly learn that his script for these encounters is as pat as his presentation for his yet-unwritten self-help book “What’s in Your Backpack”.

Life then decides to intervene. He meets a woman who might be his soul mate (a wonderful Vera Farmiga), his company is about to use web conferencing to replace personal travel, and he’s about to get in a little deeper with a family he’s all but ignored during his adult life. Most of the events find him hitting the road with the new business school graduate (Anna Kendrick) to show her the ropes in an effort to convince her that technology can’t replace human contact. Ironic, since the only human contact Bingham has is with the people he’s firing.

Without spoiling the plot, these diversions are played well for the most part, avoiding the usual clichés and in some cases surprising you with the turns taken. By the end of the picture, each of the three major characters is affected in some way, but perhaps not changed. As a viewer, I felt the same emotional distance; I observed behavior but never felt like a participant.

Interestingly, director Jason Reitman interviewed unemployed people about their reactions and feelings – reportedly more than one of the cameo interviewees is a real person – in an effort to shine a light on what is a tough time in the nation’s economy. Not certain he succeeded there; while some segments are powerfully poignant, others are played for almost comic relief. And I think that might be my overall problem with the picture, too – what is he shooting for?

Up in the Air isn’t a feel-good picture, but then again it is in a way. It’s a drama with comedic elements, but also a comedy with some very pensive relationships and scenes. But does it ever…I dunno…move me in a big way? I was entertained, but I don’t think anything resonated after I left the theatre

Best Picture? Boy, I don’t know. I’d like to think the best picture of any year is more important, grander, more epic. (Then again, American Beauty wasn’t exactly Citizen Kane.) And when I look back at their respective years, I still think his most recent directorial efforts (Juno and Thank You for Smoking) hold up pretty damn well. Stranger things have happened.

Up In The Air at IMDB.com

National Society of Film Critics Awards

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