Sunday, December 13, 2009


Watched another movie I got in the mail for the awards season—UP IN THE AIR. I dug it, though I kept missing a line of dialogue now and then and wasn't sure if that was my brain still having trouble (today's the month marker if you go strictly by the date) or if the movie just requires a second viewing to pick up on everything.

It was another relatively "easy" movie for me to follow, with only a few main characters and mostly confined settings and an at-first seemingly simple and direct plot line. George Clooney carries the film and as always is a delight to watch in action—or inaction.

He is definitely our one true old fashioned Hollywood movie star, the Paul Newman of his generation. And though the movie is close to all surface (I kept thinking of paintings by Alex Katz, no shadows, flat seemingly two-dimensional figures that on a closer look somehow project a greater depth than the surface tension that supports the abstract sense of the way the figures figure in the breadth of the canvas initially seems to support—or something like that—my brain's tired, it's late, but my fingers are connecting to my thoughts and the keys on the computer much better these past few days with fewer corrections being necessary, though till much more than pre-brain surgery) it evokes deeper meanings with every frame.

The films seems to create a paradox that it never resolves, which is how the goal of simplifying one's life can actually lead to creating a more self-centered, selfish existence—or vice versa.

Clooney's main co-stars—Vera Famiga (doesn't that sound like one of those 1940s Hollywood stars who were refugees from the war in Europe or pretending to be—most of whom were never heard from again?) and Anna Kendrick are a great match for him, Famiga not a favorite of mine but nailing this role and Kendrick a revelation. But it's Clooney's show and he doesn't disappoint.

Neither does the flick. Deceptively complex despite, as I said, it's seemingly only skin deep surface tension(s). I'd see if I were you.

[P.S. UP IN THE AIR is a pretty good description of what's it's felt like to go through this recovery from brain surgery, like each day's decisions seem to leave me mostly there.]


Unknown said...

You sound just like the "old" Michael. I don't think they cut very deeply into your brain. Actually, when I saw you the other day you both sounded and looked that the Michael I know. In other words, way less dyslectic than I am normally. (I know it's tougher than you make it sound and seem.)Keep it up man, and soon we will do a piano jam.

Unknown said...

You use "dug" less soften post op.

Toby T. said...

As I posted on Facebook, the film reminded me, strangely, of "The Graduate." Same generational angle--"plastics"--and the largely acoustic soundtrack. Cooley's character is what Benjamin might have become. And despite the odd and not entirely believable romantic twist at the end, a major film. Great novel, too, if you haven't read it. Quite different.

Toby T. said...

I mean Clooney not Cooley, natch.