By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
As long as I'm testifying, Up in the Air turns out to be a wildly witty winner about a downsizing expert's road to building up connections, and thankfully, when it starts veering toward some Hollywoody developments, things get twisty again. At the premiere, director Jason Reitman revealed that years ago, he twice turned down directing Dude, Where's My Car? because he wanted to make more personal films like this one. Radical move, dude. And he cast this well, with Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga scoring as the women who help bring out George Clooney's humanity. At the after-party, I told Kendrick I remembered her in Broadway's High Society when she was 12. "I'm so embarrassed!" she shrieked. "I must have made a fool of myself!" "But you were Tony-nominated," I remembered. "I cringe to think of things I may have said!" Kendrick carried on, cutely.
Farmiga was also refreshingly self-deprecating when I asked if they'll push her for the leading or supporting actress Oscar. "I don't know!" she swore. "They don't tell me. I don't know that they're pushing me for anything. I feel pushed and pulled. They just ask me to show up, wear a pretty dress, answer questions, wear heels, and smile through the blisters." Blisters? Well, those heels, she explained, were "half-sadistic and half-athletic." I never knew those were two different things.
Wearing naughty pumps, Eva Mendes romps it up in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Werner Herzog's hilariously entertaining non-remake, with Nicolas Cage as a corrupt copper with a painkiller addiction. At a party for the flick, Mendes told me, "I was sort of the straight man, which is funny because I play a prostitute hooked on drugs." But what was that character voice Cage was doing? Jackie Mason? "I don't know," she said. "He was going on all cylinders, and I loved it!"
For a different type of "high" culture, Karole Armitage's Armitage Gone! gala at BAM had the Hair choreographer triumphing with Itutu, her rich collaboration with the African band Burkina Electric. Armitage's goal, she said after the performance, was "to make polyrhythmic music polyvisual." How polysyllabic.