DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Up in the Air - Blu-ray Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}There's a poetic moment one of many impactful minutes - in Up in the Air when George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, finds himself standing nervously outside of his girl's front door and his warm emotions always coolly checked and packed tightly in his luggage become transparently excited with impulsive anticipation. It's a very brief moment that flashes subtly across Clooney's handsome face before disappearing into the thick fog of that metaphysical fortress that protects humans from each other - that dense fog where Bingham usually lives. It's also a moment that encapsulates Jason Reitman's work in what it ultimately is: a film perfect for the moment of the year in both theme and tone. Up in the Air, based loosely on the book by Walter Kirn, is America; it's a snapshot of everything right here and right now.

Ryan Bingham is the perfectly-conditioned professional; he is protected from building lasting relationships with family and friends due to the restrictive demands of his job. He is also eerily comfortable with little meaningful human connection. His technological driven on-the-go diet is well-engaged all routine and businesslike (even at play). After all, his home (as he proudly confesses at the start of the film) is inside an airport; it's the weight of his wallet with its hotel promotions and key cards, his corporate credit cards, his airline miles, and the next casual fling waiting for him at the next stop. As a result, he is always in motion from one airport to the next, from one hotel to the next lobby hopping planes as a career transition consultant for corporations. Yes, Ryan Bingham fires people for a living. His company is all about downsizing and, due to the recession impacting America, their business is booming. It is only when the slightest of cracks appears in his routine the marriage of his sister, the most recent â"casual" girlfriend (Vera Farmiga), and the inclusion of an up-and-coming protégée (Anna Kendrick) whose ideas threaten to do to Ryan what he does to others when things change. Now, before you jump to conclusions and assume you know what happens next, trust when I say that you certainly do not; the story you'll want is the predictable one, the story you get is the honest version. The story's arch and resolution whips at such an angle that predicting its conclusion becomes something of a useless chore; Reitman strips away and grounds Kirn's original flight in order to bring about the actual consequences of human connections.

Up in the AirWith Up in the Air, Clooney leads a talented, but fairly small cast that includes Danny McBride (last seen in The Land Before Time, but is in a surprisingly serious role here), Vera Farmiga (The Departed and Orphan), Jason Bateman (Extract) and Anna Kendrick (last seen in the Twilight series). Reitman exercises complete confidence and control with the cast in this his third and best film (Thank You for Smoking & Juno). He proves that he is not just a fan of quirk and is, in fact, the future of cinematic earnestness with this film. As legendary film critic Roger Ebert has declared, Reitman's talent â"represents the hope of the cinema"; however, with this film, Reitman delivers on message and medium in such a stealth-like manner that one cannot doubt his confidence behind the camera; the affect of this film upon the senses is delicate and powerful. Up in the Air is a tightly spun narrative and, at once, the perfect merging of comedy and heartfelt drama even if its hero wrestles with the weight of his own ideas of home. This is social commentary at its best equal parts philosophical and spiritual with a delicate twist of human comedy and romance to take the hardest of edges off. Yet, rest assure, the hardest of all edges is completely in tact.

Up in the Air is a complex film about harmonizing the different sides of a multi-dimensional culture in order to create its â"more perfect union" but you'd never guess that from its deceptively light and airy tone. Bingham is America this isn't a mid-life crisis he's facing; it's a cultural one and, weighed on either side of that burgeoning crisis by two polar female opposites, Bingham is challenged to recognize what works and what doesn't about his lifestyle. Essentially, he's a downsizer that is tempted by these well-balanced forces to upsize his life. His family largely ignored by him feels unwanted and returns that feeling with empty gestures when he does his best to connect with them. And, in one of the most touching scenes, he shares a series of sunshiny moments as he brings Farmiga's character to his former High School only to discover what disappointment he has caused in others and, eventually, what supreme disappointment is as cruel reality crushes his once safe-from-harm home among the clouds.

This holiday season, as friends and family gather together throughout the country, there is one film that dares to challenge the very idea of sharing a life with someone especially in the modern world of hurried travel and impersonal technologies and still delivers a very human emotion; that movie is Jason Reitman's adaptation of Walter Kirn's Up in the Air. It's also Clooney's finest hour of acting. While subtle and amazingly slight in its development of real human connections, the film is an honest look at the stark challenges of the actual world as Clooney's tour back-and-forth across America's Heartland finally returns to the air from the land of What-If.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
5 Stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

For such an amazing film, the Blu-ray release is a bit too standard. It comes with an audio commentary by Writer/Director Jason Reitman, Director of Photography Eric Steelberg and First Assistant Director Jason Blumenfeld and is a must hear for fans of the feature. In it, production notes are detailed and making-of fun facts are revealed.

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish (less)

Language and Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (less)

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; audio commentary by writer/director Jason Reitman, director of photography Eric Steelberg and first assistant director Jason Blumenfeld; deleted scenes with optional commentary by Jason Reitman; music video; additional featurettes and more.

Supplements:

Commentary

  • Feature-length commentary track with Writer/Director Jason Reitman, Director of Photography Eric Steelberg and First Assistant Director Jason Blumenfeld.

Featurettes

  • Shadowplay: Before the Story (1080p, 2:27)
  • Video storyboard comparisons (1080p, 1:26)
  • American Airlines Prank (1080p, 0:37)

Deleted Scenes - 13 deleted scenes (1080p, 23:16) with optional Jason Reitman commentary

Previews - the film's teaser (1080p, 2:00) and theatrical (1080p, 2:32) trailers

Music video: Help Yourself" performed by Sad Brad Smith (1080p, 1:02)

Number of Discs: 1 50GB Blu-ray Disc

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