Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Oscarwatch 2010 - Up, Up and Away

Tonight we will take a look at two more Best Picture contenders - Up and Up in the Air (see the theme here??)... These films, although similar in title, are very different in substance. And I throughly enjoyed each of them. Let's get more in depth in them one by one...

We've got another gem from Pixar on our hands, and although there's really no way it will win against the likes of Avatar or Hurt Locker, it is such a joy to watch for children and adults alike. This film was released in 3D, and although many ignore this fact since Avatar is getting all the 3D glory in this Oscar race, the 3D in this movie really enhanced the viewing experience. And I'm not gonna lie, the opening montage where we see Carl and Ellie meet as children, then follow them as their relationship blossoms, and see Ellie's eventual death, made me cry underneath my funny-looking 3D glasses. And that was only minutes into the movie...This was probably one of the best montages I've ever seen in the movie, period.

And so it begins. We see Carl as an old man, bitter and angry, living alone. Only because we've seen the previous montage do we know that he's just sad and lonely after losing the love of his life. We see more of this as the movie unfolds, and it made me cry (yes, again. and again). But back to the plot - Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house to try and float it to a waterfall that him and Ellie had always dreamed of adventuring to...only he brings along an unexpected guest - boy scout Russell. That's when the real adventure begins - complete with talking dogs (Dug Dug Dug Dug!), lost adventurers, and GHOSTS OF MEMORIES PAST (maybe not so much). Redemption finally happens, as in any great animated film, and Carl transforms from grumpy old man to less grumpy old man, with the help of Russell.

I think this is a really great movie, entertaining, funny, touching, and entertaining to many different demographics (kids, adults, OLD PEOPLE!). I don't think it's gonna win Best Picture at all, but I do respect the fact that it was nominated, and would rather watch it again and again moreso than a lot of the other nominees. And that's gotta mean something, right?

**Disclaimer/Random thought: I'd like to take this moment to mention how unrealistic a house floating away with balloons is, and that's part of what makes this movie magical.**

4 out of 5 on the Marci Meter

And with no real transition into tonight's second nominee, since there really is no connection between them, now we'll talk about Up in the Air. This film, directed by Jason Reitman, stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a man who constantly travels around the country laying people off. That's his job. And he loves it. Well, if he doesn't love it, he's sure convinced himself that he does. He enjoys being on the road, has no real connections to people, even his family, and only focuses on getting to where he's going as fast as possible - while racking up frequent flier miles. The real story comes in when a couple females enter Bingham's life - a feisty young go-getter (Anna Kendrick) trying to change the way things are done at Bingham's compnay, and a well-traveled, playful, sexy fellow business traveler (played wonderfully by Vera Farmiga).

What happens next is veryyy interesting - we see Bingham amidst change. This man, who has tried so hard to keep people and objects at bay for the majority of his existence, starts to question if it's time to let someone in. And what happens next...well, again, I'm not doing the spoiler thing this time around, so you'll just have to watch and see. But I'll tell you what - my heart genuinely sank for this man. Until I thought about it for a second and realized that it was all his fault. And in the end, he got exactly what he deserved and what he essentially always wanted. And so that can't be such a bad thing... right?

The film was topical, and played off this whole recession thing we've been dealing with lately. The people that are laid off in the film are played for the majority by real people, not actors, talking about what it was like to be laid off. This made the film feel much more real, and brought more gravity to it.

Another great part of this movie, obviously, was the acting. George is nominated for Best Actor, while Vera and Anna are rocking Best Supporting Actress nods. And they all are fulling deserving. Clooney makes it seem so effortless, he truly is a throwback Hollywood movie star, and I love watching him do his thing. Farmiga and Kendrick on the other hand, were really pleasant surprises for me, and I really believe that if Mo'Nique wasn't a contender this year, one of these ladies would take hom the statue. Too bad for them...kinda bad timing!

This movie was really enjoyable, though, even if it was a bit miserable. But I am miserable Marci, as I'm told, so it suited me just fine. It also had a killer soundtrack, something that stuck with me for days and weeks afterwards. And although I do not think this movie will be a winner this year, it really struck a great chord with me and I think it's worth seeing. Over and over.

4 out of 5 on the Marci meter


Cordes said...

the first four movies all get 4 out of 5 marci's? time to rethink the marci scale criteria.

Anonymous said...

Marci -

First of all, who calls you "miserable Marci"? I need to have a talk with them. Second, you need to proof read your reviews better--many, many typos. However, the more Marci rating the better because I love seeing lots of Marcis at the end of each review.

Love you,


Rory said...

i am with cordes on this one. it seems as though if you like the movie it automatically gets a 4 out of 5.

Steven said...

i was gonna say the same thing as rory and cordes, but now i see that wouldn't be an original thought. ummm... good bye.