Up in the Air (4.5 RED DOTS) is an incredibly well-done, thoughtful movie that tries pretty successfully to tie today's modern woes into a sort-of romantic comedy formula. It stars George Clooney as a corporate downsizer with no relationships in his life. He meets a woman (Vera Farmiga) who stirs his emotions, works with a young woman (Anna Kendrick) who jolts his precious ideals, and reconnects with his family and hometown. Director Ivan Reitman moves up into the rarefied air of our best directors. He takes detours in the typical rom-com world and most of them pay off. It's a very enjoyable film to watch, though if you're single and/or have lost a job in the last couple years, there will be a few twinges. The job-lost confessions from the "actors" - done in that Woody Allen interviewing style - are all too real for someone who has gone through that, and indeed, Reitman did tape real people who had lost their jobs. Just leaves a bit of a sour aftertaste - usually not my normal feeling after seeing what I consider a very good movie - but to steer into a cliche, I ceryainly feel the pain here. Kudos to Reitman for also allowing Kendrick to tell her boyfriend that Clooney is way old for her and mean it. It allows the film to stay in reality and deliver its punches.
So the Post finally wrote up the micro-sculptures of Willard Wigan at the wonderful Parish Gallery in Georgetown. In the above photo you can see the microscope on the left where the sculpture is contained. (The "painting" is a huge blowup of the art.) It's something you should see. I was there opening night and Mr. Parish said that he will have another reception for the works. I'm not sure yet if that will be the regular Third Friday (Dec. 18) that the galleries at 1054 31st Street usually claim. I will let you know and maybe we'll even put a meetup together. Wigan said that he works on his minute pieces - often displayed on needles - crafted from diamond chips "between his heartbeats." He was demonstrating to visitors how steady his hand can be compared to ours. He's showing sculptures of the Titanic, the Obamas, King Henry VIII, Hulk and Charlie Chaplin among others. I marveled at a "regular" one of a couple having dinner at a restaurant. The details - her earrings, the glass of wine - are spectacular.
I spoke with a friend yesterday who said that getting free tickets to the Terra Cotta exhibit at the National Geographic was not that difficult. Here's the deal: every Wednesday they give out about 200 free tickets for 6pm viewing. They tell you to come as early as 3pm, but he said he got there at 5pm. The rain probably helped, he said. The exhibit goes to March 31, 2010, so if you're patient, this free option might pay off.