Monday, February 15, 2010

A mini film festival up in the air...

Anyone who ever travels for work will tell you it isn't nearly as glamorous as one would imagine.

Well, that's not entirely true, I suppose. Earlier in my career when I travelled to Paris or Manhattan or even Pennsylvania (which isn't exactly glamorous but at least I was close to one of the largest malls in America, and you don't know me by now if you don't realize how much that DOES work for me...) it was quite a fun time. There were no kids, not as many work commitments and a life partner who travelled as much as I did or even more. But once you have a family, with school aged kids at that, and a life partner who travels even more than he did before, well, things change. Big time.

We watched "Up in the Air" over the Christmas holidays, and it confirmed one thing for me - I would NEVER want to travel that much for work. But I have already started to pack extremely lightly, and have a rhythm of how to handle the security check - just like you see George Clooney deal. I've pulled out my SPG rewards card and started counting miles to see when I will be eligible for upgrades- a sad commentary, I know.

There are a couple of things that I do enjoy on the trans-Atlantic flights, though, and they are both free:

1/ Booze;
2/ Ear buds.

Both of which, if not used in moderation, will give you a massive headache.

The ear buds, however, are handy to catch up on all the movies that I never have a chance to watch when at home. So after a couple of 7 hour plus flights this past week, I offer you the following capsule reviews of the films I managed to stay awake for. Just in time for the Oscars, too.

1/ An Education: So this was what all the fuss was about - Carey Mulligan. What a find she is. What a wonderful movie. A high school girl in London in the 60's thinks about going to Oxford, but wants to experience life ... and who walks into her life but a swinging playboy played by Peter Sarsgaard (LOVE him). He seduces not just her, but also her family. This was a great movie with some fantastic performances even outside of Carey - Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina.

Very deserving of all the Oscar talk.

2/ Love Happens: I was thinking of renting this when it came out on DVD. It's got Jennifer Aniston in it, playing, well, Jennifer Aniston (although she did surprise me in Marley & Me a while back) and the fabulous Aaron Eckhart playing a widower/ inspirational author and speaker who hasn't yet dealt with his own grief.

I thought Aaron was great here (I've always loved him since I first saw him as the total prick in "In the Company of Men" and he continued to impress- see "Erin Brockovich", "Possession", even "Dark Knight" - you really should see his work in "Conversations with Other Women"... with Helena Bonham Carter - a talking movie, but an excellent one, nonetheless).

The plot of this was fairly contrived, but I like him, I really, really like him.

3/ All About Steve: A guilty pleasure, really, just for me to enjoy my latest celebrity crush, Mr. A-Team himself, Bradley Cooper. I usually like Sandra Bullock, but I found her much too annoying in this role (even though she was supposed to be annoying...). She's set up by her parents on a blind date with Bradley (Steve - a news cameraman) and thinks she's found her true love. He takes off on assignment mid-first date, honestly just relieved to be free of her; but she takes what he says at face value and decides to follow him. If I had hot red boots like hers in this movie, I would consider stalking Bradley all over the country too.

Bradley didn't have to do much here other than look good; I thought Ken Jeong was hilarious even outside his Hangover role, Thomas Haden Church a bit wasted in this role of a one-note annoying reporter.

Bradley was pretty cute. Not enough to save it, though. The movie overall - annoying.

4/ Bright Star: A Jane Campion movie about the love affair between John Keats and teenage and aspiring fashion designer Fanny Brawne. I was curious about this film, given the rave reviews about Abbie Cornish. And the Piano is one of my favourite films ever.

Abbie was quite good, but I just wasn't really feeling that passion between the two characters. The different class thing, the poor poet who develops TB, the fact that they can never really be together... or maybe it was the poetry that wasn't doing it for me... or being in the air for 7 hours. I didn't bawl when he died - and I'll bawl over anything. Maybe it's because I figure Abbie has Ryan Phillipe in real life to console her.

A bit of a disappointment for me, really. But perhaps I'm in the minority here.

5/ Lymelife: This was a surprise for me. I'd never heard of it before, but looking at the stellar cast, including Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon (I keep wanting to call her Miranda), Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton (oh man, this guy is so good, why did he never make it to A-list?!), the Culkin brothers Rory and Kieran and the gorgeous Emma Roberts, who is giving her Aunt a run for the acting money - I had to check it out. A dark coming of age comedy about life in the suburbs, produced by Martin Scorsese. You follow the lives of these two intertwined families, disintegrating marriages and the devastation that Lyme disease can leave in its wake.

A smaller film, but I loved it. It reminded me a bit of "American Beauty", "The Ice Storm" ... and the music really added to the whole flavour of the movie.

6/ The Invention of Lying: I like Ricky Gervais in small doses. Like as host of the Golden Globes, where he rocked it. So I had to turn this movie off after the first 10 minutes as I didn't think I'd be able to bear hearing people "telling the truth" as in being brutally, insultingly honest, for two hours. I turned it off to watch Lymelife, but came back to it as I had time left. Another 90 minutes, actually.

So I watched and was actually impressed by all the cameos in the flick. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Louis CK the hilarious comic; Ed Norton; Tina Fey; Rob Lowe; Jason Bateman...kinda cool. But the fact that I missed the last 15 minutes as we landed and didn't feel disappointed, told me one thing.

This wasn't a great movie.

And I was so ready to get home.


If you manage to see any of these movies, let me know what you think!


Cheryl said...

fantastic reviews!!!! I saw about 30 min of the invention of lying and we turned it off...baddddd
I fell asleep during up in the air...but it looked great, and hubby watched it and agreed with you!
The other I will have to check out!
I loved travelling for work when it was a once in a while thing...not so much fun when it becomes regular. There is no bed like our own!!

Knatolee said...

I watched Bright Star on the flight home from Mexico, and it fell flat for me. I agree with you about the lack of passion!

Kat said...

I have seen NONE of these movies. Can you believe it? I can't. Then again, when do I EVER get to go to a movie these days? ;)

Not a Jen Aniston fan. I thought she played the same role in Marley & Me as she always does. She bores me.
I DO love Bradley Cooper though. Yum! :)

Tara R. said...

We watched Hangover at home recently - definitely not a family flick, but it did have its funny moments. I haven't seen any of the others, but have to agree with you that Bradley Cooper can make just about any movie worth watching.

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction to Up in the Air. I could tell you exactly how many points I had before my next free ticket. I have a wallet full of free drink coupons that could get an airbus knocked on its ass.

I've found traveling a great way to catch up on TV shows I've meant to watch, but I don't have time/HBO/Showtime. That's how I caught up on Entourage, True Blood and the Tudors. Trust me, when you're alone in a hotel room, there's no one you want with you more than Jonathan Rhys-Myers.

April said...

Haven't seen any of these...including Up in the Air. More to add to the Netflix queue.

WarsawMommy said...

I loved 'Up In The Air'. Loved it. Clooney is just so great; he's the kind of guy that women adore and men really like. I thought the whole story was so timely, as well, and Jason Bateman was the ultimate opportunist, rejoicing at layoffs and downsizing, as his company benefitted. And of course, that little 23-year-old chit, thinking up cutting-edge ways to save cash whilst sparing not a thought to PEOPLE. Great, great movie...

I also really disliked 'The Invention of Lying'. I mean, how did Ricky Gervais become God? OK, it was an interesting view of religion and how blind belief can happen, but overall, it was just handled clumsily. But maybe that's just me ;)

Traci said...

I'm so jealous. Just about all those films are on my "list" and I've seen none. The most recent film I saw was "The Tooth Fairy". Cute, yes. Oscar worthy, no. My husband and I really have to get out more. LOL

Thanks for sharing your reviews. Have a great day!

Cherry said...

That is a lot of movies to have watched while traveling!

I haven't seen any of these, in fact haven't heard of a number of them. I think I live under a rock!

I totally want to see The Invention of Lying and a long line of movies. Perhaps things to rent while I veg.. I mean breastfeed. :-)

C said...

1/ Booze;
2/ Ear buds.

Love it! I've seen a few of the ones you mentioned. Funny enough, on one of the flights I took (from Japan to Bali or Singapore? Can't remember!), they played "The Green Mile". I bawled my eyes out. The passengers on the plane were mostly Japanese businessmen. I was the only one crying.

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Jessica said...

I'm bouncing in the bog universe and saw that your saucy.
I can't even remember the last movie I saw. Maybe it's time to take up flying.

J at said...

I saw Lymelife, and I really liked it. I don't think I LOVED it, but I did like it quite a bit.

I very much dislike traveling for work. I like traveling for pleasure, but missing my family sucks, and spending my time in offices instead of getting to know another place sucks. And flying sucks.

J at said...

I saw Lymelife, and I really liked it. I don't think I LOVED it, but I did like it quite a bit.

I very much dislike traveling for work. I like traveling for pleasure, but missing my family sucks, and spending my time in offices instead of getting to know another place sucks. And flying sucks.

J at said...

Oh, I did see Up In The Air, which I loved. :) Really, really good.

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Tooj said...

I'm a sucker for chick flicks and "Love Happens" is one I want to see. I'll sit and watch Jennifer Anniston be J.A. a lot. The Object of my Affection....Picture Perfect.....The Break Up.....

I hope you're well. It sounds like you're busy and enjoying work. Travelling for work DOES sound and appear glamorous and I can imagine how it ISN'T but I think it's the status that comes along with being a "traveler". Must mean you're somewhat important right?? :) Happy Saturday.

Mrs4444 said...

I'm glad there's a bright side.

I didn't realize you were traveling so far. What is your job, anyway??

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