Saturday, K. and I grabbed brunch at the Royal Tavern, the first time in ages, and then caught a showing of Up In The Air, which of course is nominated in just about every category at next week's Oscars, deservingly so for the most part. It's the story of man who lives most of his life in airplanes and hotels, traveling from company to company as a hired gun to lay off employees when the management doesn't have the backbone to their own dirty work. And it's great.
I'm really becoming a big fan of director Jason Reitman. All three of his film have really impressed me. I know a lot of people hated Juno because of Diablo Cody's dialogue (personally I thought the dialogue was super fun), but you can't argue with the direction and acting in it. And Thank You For Smoking was a film I went into planning to hate, but came out loving. His style marries a seemingly impossible combination of slick and deep while coming off as breezily effortless.
George Clooney, to no one's surprise I'm sure, was able to charmingly carry the entire picture (of which he was in every scene) all by himself. He's probably as good a leading man as Hollywood has ever had. Unfortunately, that can have the downside of exposing weakness in less capable actors. Despite her Oscar nomination for her role, Anna Kendrick (who I adored in Rocket Science and Camp) was just so-so for me. She played Natalie, a young up-and-comer at Clooney's company who wants to shake up the status quo. At times she was quite good, but there were a handful of moments where I just wasn't buying her character and could see her openly trying to act. Fellow Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga, on the other hand, was amazing as Clooney's love interest Alex, a fellow corporate nomad. She was even able to steal scene from Clooney. Her performance was so splendid that I can't believe I don't know her from anything else. On the plus side, there's a whole list of her films in IMDB that I have to look forward to.