Welcome to the movies at PS News.
Each week, PS News's film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
Up in the Air
Director: Jason Reitman, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 108 mins
Jason Reitman’s latest release, Up in the Air, is a delightful comedy that is sprinkled with some serious undertones but is more enjoyable than his earlier endeavours – Juno (2007) and Thank you for Smoking (2006).
Based on the novel by Walter Kirn, George Clooney (who calls himself a ‘career transition counsellor’) stars as corporate downsizing expert Ryan Bingham.
Bingham is hired by his company to travel across America to fire or ‘let go’ long-term employees.
Bingham clearly takes his job seriously and especially loves his extensive periods away (as well as building up his frequent flyer miles to achieve the 10 million mark).
But his world is turned upside-down when a young upstart in the company named Natalie (wonderfully played by Twilight actress Anna Kendrick) suggests to her boss (Jason Bateman) that it would be more cost effective and achieve the same result if people were fired using a video link.
To make a point, Bingham takes Natalie with him on his travels so she can fully appreciate the sensitivity of his job.
Clooney is completely in his element, delivering one of his best performances to date.
His role is wonderfully complemented by impressive performances from Kendrick and fellow traveller, Vera Farmiga.
This wonderful modern comedy which is an adaptation of the screenplay by Reitman and Sheldon Turner (earning the movie a recent Golden Globe Award) also addresses a range of modern issues which include the economic crisis, the generation gap, love on the roundabout, and most important of all, the downsizing of companies and how best to “let people go”.
Despite an ‘up in the air’ ending, Reitman has ensured audiences will find his latest production both entertaining and poignant due mainly to a well written script and the enjoyable performances of its lead actors.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
Charlie and Boots
Release Date: January 2010
Director: Dean Murphy, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 101 mins
Paramount’s latest DVD features a truly Australian story and stars the iconic Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) who returns to the big screen in this comedy/drama.
The film is essentially a road trip that tourism Australia would relish.
Charlie (Paul Hogan) is grieving the loss of his wife and is taken by his estranged son Boots (Shane Jacobson, Kenny) on a trip up to north Queensland.
Their ambition is to go fishing at the most northern tip of the country in Cape York, and along the way through Victoria, into New South Wales and up in Queensland, visit many famous places.
There is a wonderful chemistry between Hogan and Jacobsen with some amusing comical moments, especially one involving a somewhat rugged female truck driver and the attention she pays to Charlie.
There are also some serious moments, but not many beyond sentimental family issues.
The inclusion of the young hitchhiker Jess (Morgan Griffin) who is a country singer on her way to Tamworth adds considerably to the storyline.
Despite appearing as a travelogue of sorts, Director Dean Murphy’s humorous take on the father/son relationship and some delightful scenes from two of Australia’s funniest stars make this a wonderful DVD to own.
Paramount’s DVD also has some special features including an audio commentary from Hogan, Jacobsen and producer Shana Levine, a 60 Minutes story with Hogan and Jacobsen, as well as a Behind the Scenes featurette, Interviews and Red Carpet Coverage.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps
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