In our ongoing effort to bring you the very latest critical distaste for every prestige film this fall, we follow up last week's collection of lukewarm W. reviews with hot-off-the-presses ambivalence toward Frost/Nixon. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play reunites Frank Langella and Michael Sheen as, respectively, the 37th president and his pesky TV inquisitor; the early word confirms that the film offers gravitas to spare, but you'll want to bring your own pillow:· "It’s difficult to think of a director less-suited to take on the intricate, minutiae-obsessed writing of Peter Morgan than Howard — a director who, even in his finest films, has always been interested in the big picture first, with characters serving history rather than the other way round. [...] Leading with his impressive, booming approximation of the Nixon voice, Langella is allowed to actively chew scenery and the performance becomes increasingly detached from the overall work." — Guy Lodge, InContention [via Patrick Goldstein] · "Sheen's impersonation of Frost starts with the classic tics: the head waggle, the nasal droning, the tiny soupçon of Brucie - but he soon sounds like ... well ... Tony Blair. [...] Nixon is a juicy part and Langella extracts every tasty drop.But the performance has no room to grow. Frost and Nixon have no 'real-world' encounters: it is like a boxing movie about two combatants who never meet outside the ring." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian · "Although it all pays off in a potent and revelatory final act rife with insights into the psychology and calculations of power players, the initial stretch is rather dry and prosaic. Perhaps needlessly adopting a cinematic equivalent of the play's direct-to-audience address, Howard 'interviews' several of the characters, witness-style, about the events, which only serves to make the film feel somewhat choppy, half like a documentary at first. [...] It might even be that the film could have done without the talking heads altogether." — Todd McCarthy, Variety All right, all right — fine. Let Grazer write this one off to Gigi and let's just move on to '09, already.
Submitted discussions can be approved by the author or users followed by this blog.