Jason Reitman – Men, Women & Children

October 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Interviews

Cinesnob.net editor Kiko Martinez interviews Oscar-nominated director/writer Jason Reitman in Austin, Texas for his new film “Men, Women & Children.”

Ep. 16 – No Good Deed, The One I Love, bad plot twists, and news about 23 Jump Street and filmmakers criticizing their own work

September 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Podcast

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In this week’s episode of The CineSnob Podcast, the guys from CineSnob.net review “No Good Deed” and “The One I Love.” They also discuss the newly announced “23 Jump Street,” Jason Reitman’s semi-admission of misguidedness with “Labor Day,” and our lists of really bad movie twists.
[0:00 – 4:23] Intro and screeners vs. screenings.
[4:23-31:32] Jason Reitman admits that Labor Day was “misguided.” Andrew Garfield blames the studio for cutting parts of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Discussion of those involved with films criticizing their own work.
[31:32-44:49] No Good Deed
[44:49-1:00:55] No Good Deed Spoiler Zone
[1:00:55-1:01:16] No Good Deed Wrap-up
[1:01:16-1:02:55] The One I Love
[1:02:55-1:16:10] The One I Love Spoiler Zone
[1:16:10-1:17:55] The One I Love Wrap-up
[1:17:55-1:41:30] List List, Bang Bang – Bad movie twists
[1:41:39-1:44:01] Teases for next week and close

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Labor Day

January 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Josh Brolin, Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith
Directed by: Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”)
Written by: Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”)

It’s a definitive strike one for four-time Oscar nominated director/writer/producer Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air,” “Juno”) with his new film “Labor Day,” a ridiculous love story adapted from a novel by Joyce Maynard, who, based on the way the film plays out, might come from the same school of fluff romanticism as Nicholas Sparks. We’re not quite sure what Reitman saw in the novel to engage him in this project, but whatever it was, he fails to translate that narrative into anything believable on the big screen. With such a strong track record since he started making features in 2005, it’s an extreme disappointment all around.

In “Labor Day,” single mother Adele (Kate Winslet) and her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) are approached by Frank (Josh Brolin), a stranger in a department store, who asks for their help. Feeling threatened, Adele and Henry drive him to their home where they learn Frank is an escaped convict and wants to use Adele’s home as a hideout until it’s safe to hit the road at night. His plans to lay low, however, turn into something completely different when Frank and Adele start falling for each other. Blame it on the way Frank’s manly hands caress the dough when he teaches Adele and Henry how to bake a peach pie or the fact that Adele is a lonely, desperate woman, but the connection between the two is far more eye-roll inducing than could ever be imagined.

Sure, in every romance there is room for a little corniness and scenes to sweep viewers off their feet, but what Reitman presents here between Winslet and Brolin would’ve been better portrayed on the cover of a novel where a scantily clad Adele is pressed against Brolin’s bare-chested, chiseled physique while the two stand in a meadow with the title “Convict’s Seduction” printed in script under them. Their relationship is that absurd. Adele’s fantasy – if that’s what you want to call it – is that insincere. Let’s also not forget the film’s other shortcomings, which include a series of flashbacks that do nothing for the pacing of the film; a secondary and extremely underwritten storyline where Henry is experiencing his own sexual awakening with a local girl; unnecessary and lazily written narration read by Toby Maguire, who plays an adult Henry; and a handful of plot holes, one of which shows Frank playing Mr. Fix-It for Adele in full view of the neighbors even though he’s supposed to be hiding out from cops.

“Labor Day” is a frustrating film, especially since everyone involved simply should’ve known better. Winslet and Brolin seem invested in their characters and are try to sell their love as something magical and complex, but without a script to support their efforts, “Labor Day” ends up being a waste of a lot of great talent, not to mention a long weekend.

Young Adult

January 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt
Directed by: Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”)
Written by: Diablo Cody (“Juno”)

It’s taken screenwriter Diablo Cody (Showtime’s “United States of Tara”) a few years to get the memo, but in her latest film, “Young Adult,” it looks as if she’s started paying attention to some of the constructive criticism aimed straight at her hipster heart. Besides cutting back a bit on the forced pop-culture references, Cody seems to have also put the reigns on the gimmicky prose that marked her fresh albeit frustrating pro-choice dark comedy “Juno” back in 2007. She really has! Honest to blog!

Despite my own “Juno”-related cynicism, I still found the Academy Award winner a sweet coming-of-age story that would probably brighten my day if I came across it on cable. The extreme likeability of Ellen Page (“Inception”) in the title role overcame the overly smarty-pants dialogue. With “Young Adult,” however, Cody and director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), who reunite for the first time since the prego indie, don’t have that same advantage. Instead, Cody challenges both herself (and her audience) with a movie character as attractive on the inside as Michael Cera showing off his pasty chicken thighs in flimsy running shorts. It’s not an easy task, but with some surprisingly refined writing, Cody proves in possession of more creativity and humor than her phony pen name would lead you to believe. (That is, of course, provided you disregard her misguided foray into the horror genre with “Jennifer’s Body” as just a bad dream.)

In “Young Adult,” Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (“Monster”) stars as Mavis Gary, the kind of emotionally detached individual who doesn’t swoon over babies or cry over breakups. Author of a young-adult book series (think “Twilight Saga” scribe Stephenie Meyer without the vamps), Mavis subsists on Diet Coke breakfasts and promiscuous sex inside her filthy bachelorette pad. She spends her time watching trashy reality TV and living vicariously through the naive teenie boppers she writes about inside the pages of her paperbacks.

Having never really matured past her high school years where she was both lauded as a queen bee and loathed as a “psychotic prom-queen bitch,” Mavis enters into a delusional state of grandeur when she is included in a mass email from her ex-boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) about the birth of his new baby. Instead of simply hitting “reply” and offering congratulations, Mavis misreads the message from Buddy as a call for help and decides to pack up and pay him a visit back in her small hometown of Mercury, Minnesota. There, the cold, calculating and materialistic Mavis forms an unlikely acquaintance with Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), a dweeby former high school classmate she hardly remembers despite the fact his locker was right next to hers. As Matt, Oswalt gives a sincere and grounded performance much like he does in the lead role of 2007’s scarcely-seen dark comedy “Big Fan.”

“Buddy Slade has a life,” Matt says trying to dissuade Mavis from wrecking Buddy’s happy marriage. In that, he’s also suggesting that Mavis needs to get a life of her own, too. There is no epiphany or happy ending in “Young Adult.” Theron embraces her lack of congeniality with a remarkable combination of resentment, hostility, and self-hatred that is both uncomfortable and compelling, especially when the end result is such a colossal train wreck.

Up in the Air

December 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Jason Reitman (“Juno”)
Written by: Jason Reitman (“Thank You for Smoking”) and Sheldon Turner (“The Longest Yard”)

People do crazy things when they are fired from their job. While most may sit in total disbelief, there is the occasional childish tantrum thrown, tearful plea, and even the somber threat to end it all by jumping off the nearest bridge. Some reactions are hilarious (at least from a cinematic sense), some are shocking, and some are simply too heartbreaking to even begin to describe.

In “Up in the Air,” director/writer Jason Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner run the gamut on the emotions an employee might experience if he or she was told they were no longer needed. It’s a frightening situation no one would ever want to encounter although today’s increasing unemployment rate continuing to rise makes people wonder just how safe their job really is.

At its most basic, “Up in the Air” is a timely story about the unpredictable marketplace. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a film that speaks volumes about isolation and loneliness and the fear of failure and uninitiated change.

The life-altering affair begins and ends with Academy Award winner George Clooney (“Syriana”). He plays Ryan Bingham, a contract businessman hired by companies around the U.S. to pull the trigger and fire their employees when they can’t find the gall to do it themselves. Firing people face-to-face with the utmost professionalism and respect is all Ryan has ever known. He doesn’t necessarily like the outcome of what his position entails, but his unconstrained lifestyle (living out of his suitcase, jumping from airport to airport, and never having to commit to anyone for anything) is what he is used to. His love for his independence is evident when he starts having scheduled flings with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), another frequent flyer who seems to share the same no-strings-attached outlook on life.

So, when Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), an ambitious efficiency expert straight out of college wants to revolutionize the way the company drops the ax (it’s only logical that firing someone over a webcam will get it done faster and cheaper), Ryan sees and end to his easy-going routine. While this bothers him a great deal, Ryan is also concerned the advanced firing technique via internet is even more heartless than doing it in person. Since the changeover at his company will take some time, he gets the chance to show Natalie there is an actual method to letting someone go that just can’t be duplicated on a computer screen.

Full of charming and touching anecdotes, Reitman makes “Up in the Air” soar. As a “road warrior” who is suddenly grounded, Clooney is Oscar bound in this multi-layered role that speaks from the heart. Kendrick, too, is very memorable as a matter-of-fact young businesswoman who thinks she has it all figured out despite her lack of experience.

It all works in “Up in the Air” from the dark comedy elements to the catchy sountrack. Not only is it one of the best films of the year, it’s also one of those distinctive romantic comedies (with a satirical and tragic twist) that is a true rarity in a usually cliched genre.