Up In the Air [Blu-Ray] Jason Reitman

Up In the Air [Blu-Ray] Jason Reitman
It got shut out at the Oscars, but that doesn't diminish Jason Reitman's third film (after Thank You For Smoking and Juno) in any way ― it remains a perfect movie. Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a hired gun who moves from town to American town professionally "downsizing" employee ranks. When his road life is threatened by a young up-and-comer (Anna Kendrick), we begin to see cracks in Bingham's bubble-protected world of frequent flier miles and fast-track car rental services. Bingham's emotional life is also challenged by his female equivalent in prestige hotel privileges, in the form of an executive, played with sexy maturity by Vera Farmiga. The romance is playful and banter clever, but there's an underlying sense of real-life unease in Up in the Air, highlighted by the "firings" Bingham does, sometimes portrayed by real, recently unemployed Americans. Performance, script and direction all work in balance, and Reitman once again demonstrates a remarkable deftness in balancing this tricky tone. On a commentary track with long-time collaborators Eric Steelberg (cinematography) and Jason Blumenfeld (first assistant director), Reitman reveals some fascinating details in the creation, shooting and construction of the film, including regularly filming at working airports surrounded by passengers shocked by the sight of George Clooney wandering through pulling a wheely suitcase. He's quite charming, leading long-time friends through a discussion of the film, but one name that's surprisingly absent is Reitman's credited co-writer, Sheldon Turner. (Bloggers have criticized Reitman for downplaying Turner's role in adapting the book by Walter Kim.) That may be a source for controversy, but none stems from the work presented here; it's a fascinating story well told by top-notch actors by a director who's only beginning to explore his great potential. Plus: deleted scenes, opening credits featurette, more. (Paramount)