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Wild At Heart

Wild At Heart

It's almost that time of year when some people are just starting their Christmas shopping. Luckily I finished long ago which gives me plenty of free time to work on some traditions likes planning on going to see a film on Christmas morning after opening presents. I have 2 films opening today to talk about starting with the film which currently sits as my #1 film of the year.

That movie is the new George Clooney film "Up In The Air" where he plays Ryan Bingham, a 35 year old career transition counselor at a Denver-based management consulting company, Integrated Strategic Management (ISM). It is his job to fly around the country conducting employee layoffs on behalf of bosses too cowardly to do it themselves which might strike a cord for area workers who see the film, esp since there is one scene at a Detroit company they go to. Ryan's big trait is that while he is a people person on the job his social life revolves around his travelling 300+ days a year while trying to be just the 9th person to get to one million frequent flyer miles. However his job is updating their way of doing things and switching to a computer based system thanks to upstart Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), which means being stuck in Omaha. He also deals with his younger sister's marriage and a relationship with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). He takes Natalie on a trip in an effort to show how important it is to be in a one-on-one with the people he is firing and his boss Craig Gregory (Jason Bateman) gives him one last chance for continued life in the air. Jason Reitman, who directed "Juno" and the under-appreciated "Thank-You For Smoking", is showing himself to being a very accomplished director with a flair for bringing laughs to typically serious moments. "Up In The Air" is full of wonderful performances all the way around including cameos by JK Simmons, Sam Elliott and Zach Galifianakis among many others as he takes a hard line of work, esp in this town and economic times and gives us something that can actually bring smiles and hope. I give the film an enthusiatic thumbs up and an A+ as this might be the best film of 2009.

On a different note, your kids will enjoy "Chipmunks: The Squeakqual" more than you might. The film isn't that bad but I find these films somewhat boring and long for the early animated cartoons more than anything. However, here Dave Seville (Jason Lee) is injured during a Paris benefit gig and the Chipmunks are sent to life with an aunt but instead due to her being injured are set up to live with slacker 21-year-old cousin Toby (Zachary Levi). The Chipmunks also go to school and are met with adoring female fans and eventually bullies. Meanwhile, Ian Hawke (David Cross - sorry Dave) searches the world for animals who can sing and dance and comes across the Chipettes. Eventually the Chipmunks are asked to help the school win funding for their music department which will close without the $25,000 prize (since the Chipmunks are superstars, couldn't they just donate the money???) but Hawke comes in and sets the Chipettes against the Chipmunks. We have Alvin letting down the others by missing the event but things work out when Chipmunks and Chipettes get together to defeat Hawke and win the contest. I wasn't totally put off by the movie and think that kids will love it, esp if you enjoyed the first film. This might even be a bit better though I am not really sold on most of the human actors in the cast. All-in-all, there is some charm to the movie which gets it a C+ from me which is probably the Christmas season speaking through me.

Also don't forget that for you college football fans, Ohio vs Marshall is the matchup for the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl (used to be the Motorcity Bowl. Why they just couldn't name it Little Caesar's Motorcity Bowl or something like that, I'm not sure. The game itself which is the only bowl game played in the area will kick-off around 1PM on December 26, 2009 at Ford Field which is a great place to watch a game. I was there a couple years ago to watch Memphis beat Akron. This game marks an unexpected renewal of the Battle for the Bell, the rivalry between the two nearby teams which has been on hiatus since Marshall's move from the MAC to C-USA in 2005. This will mark Ohio's fourth appearance in a bowl game while this is Marshall's 5th Motorcity Bowl. Ohio won the eastern division of the MAC while Marshall is from Conference USA since the Big Ten didn't get enough teams to qualify for bowls this year. The bowl is also committed to giving back to the community, esp through its Stocking Stuffer Program upon which thousands of youngsters from the local community are given an opportunity to attend the game. Tickets are donated to groups and organizations such as schools, community service organizations, churches, youth groups and others. Players from the two competing teams also partner with the Salvation Army to serve breakfast each Christmas morning to needy people in Detroit. Their are still tickets available and the opportunity to see a competitive game at the lovely Ford Field should attract numerous college football fans.

Lastly, have a wonderful Christmas and here is a song by my favorite singer Cyndi Lauper along with the Hives, entitled 'A Christmas Duel'. I can't play this on the air due to some swearing so I hope the fans of my radio show (sat mornings 8-10AM on WXOU 88.3FM) enjoy esp since we are off the air for the holidays.