I’ve seen a few movies lately on DVD and cinema, so here are a few thoughts on them …

First up, Up In The Air starring my favourite, George Clooney. This is a comedy drama based in the corporate world, in which Ryan Bingham is the Personnel man-for-hire that will let people go for you – why should bosses have to do their own dirty work! Bingham essentially lives out of a suitcase, flying from city to city, hotel to hotel, company to company, with his brochures and speeches letting people down gently – it’s an opportunity to do what you really want to do after all; he’s an motivational expert. During his travelling he crosses paths with Alex, a businesswoman, and they get together whenever they can. 

When his boss hires a sparky young business graduate who wows him with the idea of doing the firings remotely – George’s job is under threat, and he takes Natalie out on the road to prove to her that the personal touch makes a difference. Meanwhile, Mr No longterm-relationships is also beginning to fall for Alex, and when family life intrudes, he takes her to his little sister’s wedding as his date…

The first half of the film is light and fun, with plenty of good laughs. Anyone who has ever travelled on business will envy Ryan his frequent-flyer perks, but be thankful that they (hopefully) have more to come home to than the souless studio apartment that’s Ryan’s base. When Ryan is forced to realise that there is more to life than the job, the film takes a much darker tone, and we end up rather pitying him.  I won’t give away any more of the plot!

This is a thoughtful film, which doubtless some in the business world will wince through.  The acting from Clooney, Vera Famiga and Anna Kendricks as Alex and Natalie was excellent and I thoroughly recommend it.

Now on to Let The Right One In [2008]. I reviewed the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist here  last year during my season of vampire reading finding it a serious contemporary addition to the vampire oevre, (does that sound pompous? – apologies if it does!). I finally got around to watching the Swedish film, adapted by the author, and was equally impressed – it will become an arthouse classic.  The two young leads were utterly convincing as the bullied schoolboy and forever twelve-year old vampire, and it was almost exactly as I’d imagined it – totally atmospheric. Being visually-driven, the sub-titles were nearly superfluous, and it was very true to the book, although pared-down. For a 15 film, it can still shock, but you mostly see the after effects rather than having to read through the violence! Totally gripping.

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Lastly, I went to see the ‘final’ Shrek movie – Shrek Forever After today.  In the scheme of things, I would order the films 2, 1, 4, 3 in decreasing quality, so this one wasn’t the worst, but the series has slightly run out of steam, and Donkey is still the most annoying sidekick since Jar Jar Binks.

However, we still enjoyed it hugely, and were overjoyed that Puss got all the best lines.  This chapter was still full of references and in-jokes to other movies. My favourite on first viewing was a wonderful moment where Fiona in ogre mode, as an outlaw warrior princess stands in her tartan kilt, with hair blowing, posed just like Chris Lambert in the Highlander posters (remember that – where is he now? I wonder). 

Toy Story 3 next week … can’t wait!

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