“Up in the Air” is a funny movie

“Up in the Air” was laugh-out-loud funny. Enough satire on business, relationships, customer loyality programs and even generations.  Another good movie with George Clooney. A bonus in watching the movie was finding the shots in St. Louis, especially when those scenes were supposed to be other movies.

Movies that were made better by trains

While watching “North by Northwest” by Alfred Hitchcock recently, I realized how trains make much better movie settings than planes.

NorthByNorthwestIn the movie, there’s the scene in the train’s dining car where Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint flirt. There are the scenes in her room, both humorous and romantic. And then, of course, there’s the last scene, where even 12-year-olds realize that the train going into the tunnel has some other meaning.

Trains are great settings because they have so much potential for action and to move the plot. There are the public settings, dining cars, observation decks and great scenery in the background. There are the private settings, rooms — and beds. In a plane it’s almost entirely public, and it’s all sitting. Can you image Cary and Eva Marie being sat together and as they flirt, the child in front of them decides to put his seat down. It might be funny, but it would spoil the moment.

The only private space on a plane is in the rest room, and that’s just where the bad guys go to arm the bomb or get the weapons ready.

Trains allow entrance and departure. You can get thrown off a moving train without anyone’s notice and live to re-appear. If “Silver Streak” had been set on a plane, how many times could George have been thrown from the plane?

And people can even change costumes in trains, which lets you include scenes about the luggage or the accidental opened door to the wrong compartment

Trains, as do all forms of public transportation create areas of conflict. The authorities are waiting at the train’s departure point, how will our stars escape? There’s also the increase tension when the train is running out of control. In the out of control area, trains and planes are evenly matched there.

There are two advantages planes have over trains. The movie “Snakes on a Plane” wouldn’t have the impact on a plane. And Goldfinger would not have been sucked through the window if he’d been on a train.

Five favorite movies with trains being essential to the plot are:

The General” with Buster Keaton
The Lady Vanishes
North by Northwest
Silver Streak
“The First Great Train Robbery

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons”

benj_buttonsAs part of birthday present, we went to see it. I knew it had 13 Oscar nominations, and I knew the story line, and I still came out of the movie excited abou it. A very good movie with an interesting story line and special effects. Glad I saw it.

I wonder how many Oscars it will win?

The Simpsons finally arrive

We were slow to appreciate the Simpsons. It was probably lots of evening events over the years. But after seeing The Simpsons Movie on opening night, we’re now big fans. And with years of DVDs of the TV shows, we’ll be laughing for a while.

“Once” an enjoyable story about music

Saw “Once” tonight. It was really a wonderful movie about music and people. Music was great and I enjoyed Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who wrote most of the songs in the music. I’m not surprised to see that it won the Audience Award at Sundance. FYI, I don’t like the frame from the trailer. There were so many other scenes that could have chosen instead.