Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Up in the Air Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 39.6 GB
Film Size: 30.4 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: ABC
The Video
Up in the Air comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The quality of this release is great and while not among the best transfers on the format it still manages to impress. The film just looks very natural and warm.

The high-def presentation features a strong level of detail while keeping all natural grain intact. The movie’s color palette shines on Blu-ray; they are always rich and satisfying. Black levels are generally inky as can be.

The film really just pops off the screen and stays impressive in every way. The clarity and level of depth to be seen in the picture are magnificent. Up in the Air presents everything about as well as one could expect, its only downfall being the locations of the film itself. 8.5/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and sounds quite good. The movie itself is extremely dialogue driven, featuring very few opportunities at all to include any surround use whatsoever. Dialogue is presented front and center while staying crisp and clear at all times.

The film’s effects are also quite front heavy but do expand from time to time. Despite some moments that could have added more light touches to create environment, I was more than pleased with the quality of the audio track.

Everything that needed to be presented is easy to understand and sounds far from lifeless. This is a very satisfying mix that I don’t think could have sounded much better. This is definitely a very good audio track. 8/10.

The Extras

Audio Commentary
By Writer/Director Jason Reitman, Director of Photography Eric Steelberg and First Assistant Director Jason Blumenfeld.

Shadowplay: Before the Story (2:27) (HD)
Learn about the company behind the opening sequence in the film.

Music Video – “Help Yourself” (1:02) (HD)
Performed by Sad Brad Smith.

Storyboards (1:27) (HD)
See the video storyboards compared to the final film.

Deleted Scenes (23:16) (HD)
Thirteen deleted scenes are included and include optional commentary by Writer/Director Jason Reitman.

American Airlines Prank (:38) (HD)
This is a mildly entertaining turbulence prank.

Teaser Trailer (2:00) (HD)

Theatrical Trailer (2:32) (HD)

The extras on this release are actually quite bland to be honest, which makes me believe a double-dip may be planned for release within the next couple of years. The extras included are certainly satisfying, particularly the audio commentary and deleted scenes. Overall I’m pleased but I think they could have been better. 5/10.

The Movie
‘Up in the Air’ is directed by Jason Reitman and is based on the book of the same name from 2001. Alright so let’s talk about Jason Reitman, a young Director who clearly knows what he is doing. He has become quite known for directing films such as ‘Thank You For Smoking’ and ‘Juno.’

While I understand not everyone loves the movies that he has directed, I definitely have. Jason Reitman was really involved in the film ‘Up in the Air’, he even co-wrote the screenplay. Jason Reitman is also the son of Director Ivan Reitman, who is mainly known for directing the Ghostbusters franchise which many have come to love.

The film stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham. His co-stars are the ones getting all the recognition though, with Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick both receiving Best Supporting Actress nominations at almost every film awards show. Unfortunately for both of the actresses, this was definitely Mo’nique’s year for her powerful performance in ‘Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire.’

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a man who spends his life up in the air, literally. He travels almost every day out of the year to companies which need to fire people and he’s the man to do it. His life is basically all about work and he loves it.

During one of his trips he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), a married woman who he likes and quickly develops a sexual affair with. Soon another woman comes in his life, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), although this time it’s not to his benefit. Natalie is employed by a company which Ryan is used to fire people; they send her with him to learn his techniques when it comes to firing individuals. They plan to use their techniques so they can begin to fire people via webcam, eventually no longer needing Ryan’s services.

Ryan has family who he does keep in contact with, although far from as much as he should. Very soon he realizes that the job which made him was no longer going to be there, really making him realize what is actually important in life.

There are many jobs like the one which Ryan has, constantly traveling with very little time to spend with family. Sometimes we get so caught up with things that we don’t realize what is most important. Of course the economy doesn’t help things, many have these jobs because it is their only option, but others do it simply because they believe it is what really makes them happy.

George Clooney as Ryan is perfectly cast; he manages to play a very believable character with qualities that are likeable and dislikable. The truly powerful performances in the movie have already been recognized, with both Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick playing powerful roles not like any of their previous work.

The film is not among my favorite of the nominated titles of the year, but it is a very good film. Replay value will depend on the viewer, but I would say the film has some decent replay value compared to most films. There is a nice touch of humor added to this drama, which will certainly keep viewers of all kinds entertained. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
Up in the Air is a very entertaining film that many will enjoy. The Blu-ray release is great, featuring an impressive video presentation and good audio track. The extras are bland, but at least they are included in high-definition. Overall Up in the Air on Blu-ray is ‘Recommended’ to all. I would have said 'highly', but the lack of many extras screams double-dip.

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