Posts Tagged ‘dark comedy’

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Up in the Air

A Review of Up in the Air
A Landscape of Impossible Options

By KIM NICOLINI

If you’d asked me before I did this movie, “What’s the worst thing about losing your job in this type of economy?” I would’ve probably said the loss of income. But as I talked to these people, that rarely came up. What people said, time and time again, was: “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” It was really about a lack of purpose. They would say, you know, “After I finish this interview, I’m going to go get in my car, and I have nowhere to be.” And I can’t imagine thinking that every day.
– Jason Reitman on the making of “Up In The Air”

“How much does your life weigh?” This is the question that Ryan Bingham (played to perfection by George Clooney) asks in Up In The Air, Jason Reitman’s brilliant new movie that so beautifully, hilariously, and brutally encapsulates America’s current cataclysmic economy. This is a question for the current economic landscape where people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their every possession at astronomical rates, an economy where people are being left empty handed and without many options for a new future. Ryan Bingham thinks he understands the transience of material culture. That’s why he delivers informational seminars telling people to eliminate excess weight in their lives. Bingham understands the fragility of economic stability and material acquisition because he spends the large majority of his life traveling the country and telling hard working Americans they’re out of jobs. Yes, Ryan Bingham is a professional hit man in this depression era economy which has generated a real unemployment rate of 22 percent. He packs his suitcase, takes to the air, and is like some kind of corporate downsizing angel of death as he delivers bad news encased in motivational speeches that sound like something he pulled out of a fortune cookie.

As the movie follows the story of Bingham and the people he encounters, it delivers one hell of a powerful commentary on where we stand in today’s economic landscape. While it could be classified as a depression era comedy (and it plays like the best of them), in the end the movie is more devastating than funny. Sure, it has loads of exquisitely hilarious moments in which we laugh our asses off, but ultimately the movie is a sad and tragic tale of the dehumanizing effects of neo-liberal economics and the decimation of the American workforce.
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The Yes Men Fix The Wrold
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Coming Soon!

An Interview with Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men
Pranksters Fixing the World

By MARK ENGLER
Foreign Policy in Focus

Over the past ten years, the Yes Men have emerged as an infamously daring and creative duo of anti-corporate pranksters. In their new movie, The Yes Men Fix the World, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (known in their non-activist lives as Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos) explain their methodology: “What we do is pass ourselves off as representatives of big corporations we don’t like,” they say. “We make fake websites, then wait for people to accidentally invite us to conferences.”
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

DVD: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Blu-ray: Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (Director’s Cut)

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 drug frenzied diary is brought to the screen care of Terry Gilliam, with Johnny Depp in the role of Thompson.

Thompson’s twisted prose and Depp’s narration are what make this descent into madness so completely hilarious. Thompson was a force of nature, his own rogue state provoking and challenging everyone everywhere he went. In the words of Tom Wolfe, each encounter with Thompson was “an event.”
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