Guys, it’s here. Seriously, right there on the internets, the thing that was taken away from us well before we were able to become intimate. When it left, we solemnly wrote “Do Not Eat” on its paper bag as we placed it in the freezer. We held onto the hope that a return would be approved, but I think most of us quietly accepted the loss. Then the unthinkable happened; Netflix rolled up like Jake Ryan just to let us know that he hadn’t forgotten our birthday…I mean the show we like (this reference worked a lot better in my head). Cut to: Sunday morning, “Arrested Development” returned.
Ryan Bingham likes to keep things simple. A constant traveler for work, he lives his life with his frequent flyer cards, his hotel reward programs, everywhere he goes, he is greeted with a chorus of, “it’s great to see you again, Mr. Bingham.” Ryan Bingham is a professional down-sizer.When companies need to trim their staff down, they send in Bingham to be the hatchet man. The work is not important to Bingham, it’s the lifestyle that the work allows him to live. He spends as little time as he can in his apartment. It’s too close to having a life. He doesn’t seem to have friends, he has his job. And his backpack of clothes. As the movie opens, Ryan meets a fellow traveler, who lives by a similar ethos. If they’re in the same city, or on the same layover, they’ll meet up. Her name is Alex Goran and Ryan finds himself feeling something he usually doesn’t: he cares about her.
Meanwhile, things at work are getting complicated. A young go-getter has come up with a way to virtually fire people on-line, thereby saving millions of dollars a year and thousands of miles in the air. You sit down in front of your computer terminal, the firee sits in front of their terminal and they are told their services are no longer required. Ryan thinks the concept is asinine. You need to fire people face-to-face, you need to give them that respect. To give the inventor a sense of what he does, he takes her with him on a trip, showing her that perhaps firing people isn’t as easy as she thinks it is.
This is Jason Reitman’s film and you can clearly see his imprint on the material. Based on the book by Walter Kirn, it seems to have Reitman’s sensibilities throughout, much in the same way his first film, an adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s “Thank You For Smoking,” felt like a collaboration.
The cast is uniformly excellent. George Clooney is outstanding, playing Bingham in a very subdued and carefully mannered performance. Vera Farmiga, who usually disappears in her past films, (“The Departed,” “Running Scared,” amongst others,) is excellent here, playing Alex as the yang to Bingham’s ying. Also impressive is Anna Kendrick, best known for her work in the “Twilight,” films, but turning an excellent performance as Natalie Keener, the inventor of the on-line executioner. Reitman fills out his cast with some of his stock performers, veterans from his other movies, (Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott,) who all work perfectly yet again. The rest of the cast, mostly those facing firing are actual victims of downsizing, brought in by the filmmakers to re-count their initial reactions. And it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. It feels natural.
“Up in the Air,” is the kind of movie that sneaks up on you. While you may not be expecting greatness, it sneaks up on you, introducing characters that may at first blush appear comic, but Reitman peels that away, quickly showing the vulnerabilities of each one in a way that draws you in. By the end of the movie, there is a definite affinity and caring for Bingham and his compatriots that I did not expect. Much like “Juno,” “Up in the Air,” wins you over at first with charm, but quickly reveals a greater depth. It is a movie that, upon walking into, you may not think you’re going to see a great movie, but by the end, you know you’ve seen something special. It’s one of the year’s best. -Sam
Ryan Bingham likes to keep things simple. A constant traveler for work, he lives his life with his frequent flyer cards, his hotel reward programs, everywhere he goes, he is greeted with a chorus of, “it’s great to see you again, Mr. Bingham.” Ryan Bingham is a professional down-sizer. [Read more…]
It’s been talked and rumored about for some time now. Usually the person doing the talking have been someone with no ties to the project, or one of the cast members of the TV show, but now, Reuters is reporting that creator Mitch Hurwitz and co-executive producer James Vallely are working on the “Arrested Development” feature film. The pair is also currently working on a sitcom for Will Arnet, the actor who played GOB on the show.
Hurwitz has said in the past that he didn’t want to do a movie unless the entire cast is involved. Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Arnet have seen their careers boom since the show was cancelled.
On a personal note, I’m excited, but worried. What if the movie doesn’t live up to the show? My fingers are crossed, hoping for the best. The report says shooting could start as soon as this spring.
Martin Short confirmed his involvement in the upcoming Arrested Development movie while doing a promotional tour for a comedy tour in Australia.
Fans of the show will remember Martin playing Uncle Jack, a fitness guru in the second season of the canceled Fox show.
Martin Short is hilarious, this is just one other reason the Arrested Development movie, WILL rock.
Jason Bateman could be coming back to Fox, despite the bad taste left after the undeserved canceling of ‘Arrested Development.’
The first-look deal, Bateman will be showing anything he develops with his F+A Productions Label. He recently directed the pilot for a new Fox series “Do Not Disturb” which is on the schedule for this Fall. He is also doing the voice for the new animated fox show “Sit Down, and Shut Up.”
I can’t wait to see what Bateman comes out with, he’s usually the best part of anything he’s in, and its good to see his transition from in front of the camera, to behind the camera. We’ll see him next in the new Will Smith movie, “Hancock.”
Mike Judge’s newly founded production banner Ternion Productions will be taking on ‘Extract’ as its first project.
Having cast Jason Bateman, the comedy explores what it’s like to be the boss when everything seems to be shifting around you.
The film was written by John Altschuler and Dave Krisnky (Blades of Glory), and will be directed by Mike Judge. I loved ‘Office Space’ (I question you if you don’t) as well as ‘Idiocracy’ (which had a difficult time reaching its audience).