Today’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web …
The first big question mark of festival season is looking like an exclamation point, based on the reaction to Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” after its completely expected surprise showing at the Telluride Film Festival. The “sneak preview” of Reitman’s film, in which George Clooney plays a corporate downsizer, pretty much lived up to its hearty early buzz, though of course sustaining that buzz for six more months is another matter entirely.
For now, though, the folks who have weighed in seem to agree that it’s a terrific movie, and Reitman is being compared to everybody from Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder to Alexander Payne and Cameron Crowe.
Loved it, loved it, loved it: “It finds a universal rhythm and lives in that space, making for one of the most effective works of the year” – Kris Tapley, In Contention
Loved it almost but not quite as extravagantly: “Jason Reitman knocked this one out of the park, his best film yet” – Alex Billington, Firstshowing.net
Loved it quite a bit: “a witty, charming and moving exploration of a world we all recognize” – Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood
Loved it despite a qualm about the film’s third act: “charming, funny, moving, and timely” – Peter Sciretta, /Film
Loved it quite a bit with some mild commercial concerns: “the film seems like a surefire awards contender, and the buzz will attract a sizable audience, even though some viewers might be startled by the uncompromising finale” – Stephen Farber, the Hollywood Reporter
Loved Clooney, liked the movie quite a bit but displayed a slight air of condescension in his review: “a slickly engaging piece of lightweight existentialism” – Todd McCarthy, Variety
Liked it but definitely didn’t love it : “a semi-downbeat ending that helped redeem the film for me but will leave a certain amount of Juno-lovers cold” – unidentified “seasoned entertainment journalist” commenting anonymously on Hollywood Elsewhere
Chris Willman, meanwhile, doesn’t actually review the movie on the Huffington Post, but he makes it pretty clear that he liked it before letting Reitman talk about how he wasn’t trying to be timely when he made a movie about a guy who lays people off
Finally, off the festival beat, here’s a Labor Day special from the movie that won Walt Disney the only special Oscar that ever came with eight statuettes: one full-sized and seven little ones. From "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," it’s "Whistle While You Work" — or, today, whistle while you commemorate work by not working.
(The Walt Disney Company)