BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Up in the Air ★★★★
10.15pm-12 midnight BBC2
This is described as a comedy drama but it isn’t really. There are laughs certainly but the theme could be very painful to a lot of viewers. The protagonist, George Clooney, is employed to fly around America firing people. He’s very good at it and delivers comforting advice to the fired on how to cope. He has no commitments and home for him is a seat on an airliner. But he does have a girlfriend, Vera Farmiga, another frequent flyer whom he meets for casual sex. Clooney’s own job is threatened, however, when his company’s latest recruit, Anna Kendrick, suggests dismissal by videoconference. But she doesn’t know how to sack people and he is obliged to take her with him to teach her the not-so-gentle art. In the process they each learn discomforting things about themselves and what they are doing. It’s a clever, thought-provoking film, skilfully directed by Jason Reitman and very well played by the three leads.
The Princess and the Frog ★★★
A prince is turned into a frog, so he kisses a girl to break the spell: As if by magic (actually, by magic), they’re both frogs. So begins this animated fantasy from Disney.
Aliens get a lot of bad press in Hollywood, but here’s one with a good sense of humour, voiced by Seth Rogen and the brainchild of stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Inside Man ★★★★
Clive Owen pulls a bank job in Manhattan, but there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface of Spike Lee’s thriller, as hostage negotiator Denzel Washington soon finds out.
A Fistful of Dollars ★★★★★
Clint squints and growls his way to iconic status in the spaghetti western that made all other westerns look decidedly old hat. And it still looks pretty cool over 50 years on.
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