At least, this is as official an announcement as has been made so far. The big screen adaptation of “Arrested Development” has been in a constant state of rumor or conjecture for seemingly forever now. However, every word of it has only been reported via cast members through internet interviews or the like. Today, one of the big boys came down with the news, taking its status from campfire fairytale to physical presence.
“The Hollywood Reporter” revealed some details today that to my knowledge weren’t thrown about in the rumor mill. Although the show’s creator, Mitch Hurwitz, has always been spoken of regarding the writing of the script, he is co-writing it with the show’s co-executive producer, James Vallely. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, which produced the show, are producing the film alongside the Fox Searchlight label, not 20th Century Fox. Finally, it will be Hurwitz handling the directing duties and not Howard, though he’s never stepped into the director’s chair before.
Unlike the possible Friends film we reported on last week, “Arrested Development” was already a single-camera sitcom which could visually make the transition from small to big screen without too much difference. All that’s really needed is an expanded story. I think this news could get fans far more excited than anything else previously reported. Like many others, I didn’t come to the show until after its cancellation, but think it could work tremendously in the expanded format. It’s good to have an official announcement and at least put the speculation to rest.
The last time the often experimental Gus van Sant directed a film, he brought a studio-fashioned take on the life and times of Harvey Milk, which won two Oscars out of the eight it was nominated for, with Milk. It appears van Sant may continue on the studio-fashioned path as he’s chosen his next project, a distinct take on young love, Restless.
The film was written by first-timer, Jason Lew, who had originally written it as a play, but through insistence of his NYU classmate, Bryce Howard (who’s apparently dropped her location-conceived middle name), reworked it as a screenplay. Howard eventually brought it to her father, Ron, and the two will produce, alongside Brian Grazer, for Imagine Entertainment.
I have no idea why reading the above made me think of Jonathan Demme’s great Rachel Getting Married, but it did. I’m sure the first time writer thing had a lot to do with it. Maybe it’s because the writer’s initials are the same (RGM was written by Jenny Lumet). Both Demme and van Sant have a slight aversion to Hollywood at this point in time. Either way, there isn’t too much gained from a logline-less script description, but with the goodwill van Sant earned from his last outing, this could be one to look out for.
Universal Pictures has attached Ron Howard to direct “The Parsifal Mosaic,” an adaptation of the espionage thriller by “The Bourne Identity” author Robert Ludlum.
David Self will adapt the Ludlum novel about a CIA operative who thinks he witnessed the execution of his lover after she was identified as a KGB double agent.
Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer will produce with Captivate Entertainment partners Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith. Imagine’s David Bernardi will be exec producer.
It sounds like it’s about to be 1965 all over again(that’s when the spy genre blew up HUGE with James Bond and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. It wasn’t hard to see coming, since the Bourne series and the rebooted Bond franchise with Daniel Craig have been raking in the dough over the last couple years. Neither Spielberg nor Howard have directed any spy movies yet, but I’d love to see their respective takes on the genre, since it’s one of my favorite genres of film. I’m a huge Bond fan…BTW. Do you guys think Ron Howard can make a good spy/action film (the Robert Langdon Da Vinci films don’t count). Oh, by the way, what did you all think of Ron Howard’s appearance in Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It (On The Alcohol)” video? I thought it was very bizarre…hilarious but bizarre. If you missed it, catch it here.
Directing heavyweight Ron Howard, part of our first First Features post and helmer of Angels & Demons is likely to direct his daughter, actress Bryce Dallas Howard in The Originals, a drama that she co-wrote. Now that is a bit of a handful for the multi-hyphenates. BDH and writing partner, Dane Charbeneau penned the script about the following via B.Kit:
“Originals” is an ensemble film about a group of twentysomethings who reconvene for a weekend in New York after learning that the teacher who shaped their childhoods has fallen into a mysterious coma.
In a somewhat amusing twist to the whole affair, Dane started dating Bryce Dallas’ sister Jocelyn during the writing process, and the two are now engaged. Now that is a move I respect. He grinds it out and tries to work his way into a powerhouse filmmaking family. The shortest distance in industry connections is always planting yourself between A and B and Dane firmly grants himself immediate access to Ron. Thus, he can toss around any script idea he wants moving forward in hopes of furthering his career. I mean, pardon me, if he is really in love, but I would venture to guess if he is an enterprising type such as most decent men, he saw an opportunity and seized it. I have to wonder if he had some success with BD, she whispered about him to Jocelyn and the rakish reputation developed. Dane, I salute you.
As for the film, ummm, sounds marginally interesting at best though I can understand Ron trying to go with something smaller after dealing with such larger fare. I’ve seen BD in the underwhelming The Village, but outside of that, she is primarily an unknown quantity to me. Chime in with your thoughts on the project if you have them.
I had a screenwriting teacher in college who spoke about the art of adapting a script from another source. He said that ultimately the writer owed nothing to the original material except for retaining its spirit. Aside from that, characters, plot points, objects and certainly dialogue could be freely changed as long as the soul of the source material remained. Of course, freely making changes or this nature to a beloved and best-selling novel is more difficult to do as the studio and the public know what film they want and it’s a visual version of what was written in novel format. Cuts and trims will always have to be made to ensure a decent runtime, but that’s understood even by the film-going public. Angels & Demons is one of those films where changes could be only minimal and what little they were didn’t hinder the result.
Angels & Demons is the follow-up to mega-grossing, but critically disappointing The Da Vinci Code. Although the book by Dan Brown was written and released before “The Da Vinci Code,” it’s treated as a sequel in the cinematic world. The film follows Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, fresh off upsetting the Catholic contingent with revelations about Jesus Christ. Langdon is called upon by Vatican City officials when a CERN scientist is killed and a canister of antimatter is stolen and hidden somewhere in the city limits. An amigrammatic logo for the Illuminati, a secret society long thought to be extinct, is left at the scene of the crime and Langdon is the Vatican’s only hope for discerning the meaning of the crime and to help find the antimatter.
As if the threat of instant annihilation via the megaton bomb antimatter has the potential to become wasn’t enough, the city and the Catholic world has lost its pope. The cardinals are to meet in the Vatican and deliberate over who their next choice chosen pope is to be. The four preferiti, considered to be the odds-on favorites to gain the position are kidnapped and hidden somewhere in Vatican City. The kidnapping is determined to be the work of the Illuminati and instructions are received stating each preferiti will be killed an hour apart, at 8, 9, 10, and 11 p.m., with the battery for the antimatter canister – the only thing stopping it from going off – set to fail at midnight.
Langdon is looked at to be the only person who can detect the hiding places of each preferiti and stop the antimatter from triggering. He uses all of his acquired knowledge and the human resources around him to aid him in the process. He enlists the help of Vittoria Vetra, the lab partner of the murdered scientist at CERN, who possesses the ability to change the antimatter canister’s battery if they can get there in time and also Camerlengo McKenna who was the pope’s right-hand man and is the interim pontiff until a new one is elected. Together, they must act quickly to decipher the Illuminati clues and codes in order to save the preferiti and the fate of Vatican City.
In case you forgot Langdon was a professor, here he is in front of a bunch of books.
Although as the viewer you fall prey to Langdon’s knowledge of ancient symbols in order to crack the codes set forth by the Illuminati, he lets you in on exactly what he’s thinking as it comes to mind. It becomes a game of “riddle-me-this” that although you don’t have any real knowledge of how to solve it, you feel your brain churning as you attempt to figure out the path while Langdon lays it in front of you. It’s a cool trick that allows you to become an active viewer, almost participating in the revealing of the mysterious hiding places, although you had no prior knowledge of the layout of Rome or the ancient Path to Illumination Langdon must follow.
When this project was announced right after the release of The Da Vinci Code, the studio made it a point to lock up the same writer, director and star, which they did. What I find interesting is writer Akiva Goldsman shares credit with David Koepp (Panic Room) in this installation. That would mean Koepp was brought in, most likely to right a wrong. The Da Vinci Code caught a lot of flak for having too much exposition. Perhaps that could be blamed on Goldsman for being too faithful to the source material. Koepp was most likely brought on to condense the material and it was done successfully. Gone is the romantic subplot between Langdon and Vetra, which would have felt forced anyway. What the streamlining of the writing allows for is a brisker pace for which to tell this fast-paced story and it works to the film’s advantage.
Along with the script, the direction from Ron Howard is to be commended for making a less-talky, thrill-ride of a film this time around. I’ve always found it difficult to pinpoint a particular visual style for Howard, as he refuses to force himself upon his material and lets it play itself out. He employs CGI to show the creation of the antimatter much like you’d imagine David Fincher would. He’s also able to create moments of such great tension a page being torn out of a book will make you gasp aloud. In a way, he can be viewed as a perfect choice to helm this franchise as so much of the story power is encased in the content itself.
The film is far less blasphemous to the Catholic Church than its predecessor, as there aren’t many criticisms made, but rather a depiction of the process it goes through when electing a new pope. Dan Brown has a way of making history and learning fun, which may sound more like an attempt to get a child to read than an endorsement of the film, but it’s true. When adapting a novel, there are always going to be certain elements that are lost from the transition and I believe what was left on the cutting room floor only went toward helping the film. If you’re wondering why I have yet to mention the film’s star, Tom Hanks, to this point, it’s because he’s really not in it that much. Or least it didn’t seem like it. The story is the star of this film and if fast-paced adventure is what you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Angels and Demons.
In anticipation of director Ron Howard’s new film, Angels & Demons, to be released this Friday, his 20th feature film in the director’s chair, we take you all the way back to 1977 to revisit his first, Grand Theft Auto.
The title will undoubtedly sound familiar to you, but not for the film, but rather the multi-million copy selling video game produced by Rockstar Games. Although the text on the newly released DVD of the film may look similar, the only things the film and the video game have in common are their titles and stolen cars. There are no guns in Grand Theft Auto. No gangs. No prostitutes get picked up (even though the film centers on a trip to Las Vegas). Nobody gets ripped out of the driver’s seat and beaten down to have their car stolen. You know, all the fun stuff the video game contains.
They apparently had car phones in '77. At least Rolls-Royce's did.
Howard’s Grand Theft Auto stars himself as Sam Freeman, alongside Nancy Morgan, who plays Sam’s love interest, Paula Powers. Sam and Paula are a bit like Romeo and Juliet. Paula comes from a rich family. Her father is on the verge of making a run for California’s governorship (Arnie would have beat him down). Her family has essentially promised away her hand in marriage to the son of another high society California family, Collins Hedgeworth. Sam doesn’t come from a wealthy background and is therefore frowned upon when Paula announces she wants to marry him. He is kicked out of the house and Paula is sent to her room (presumably, these are characters just out of high school). Paula sneaks out of a house through her bedroom window, steals her father’s Rolls-Royce, picks Sam up and they head out to Las Vegas for a quick ceremony. You’ll notice she stole her father’s vehicle. That’s stolen car number one in the movie and the number of boosted vehicles snowball from there.
Bigby Powers (Paula’s rich father) hires a line of bounty hunters equipped with a helicopter to stop Sam and Paula from driving into Vegas and marrying. Collins Hedgeworth (Paula’s presumed fiance) is a nerdy twit, who hears the news of Paula’s flight with Sam while stepping off his horse. He hops in his Porsche, flying down the road, still in his equestrian helmet, trying to ward off the imminent wedding. He even calls local radio station TenQ to flood the airwaves of the news of his predicament and offers a $25,000 reward to the person who brings Paula back to him.
This sets off a wave of interest as Collins’ mother, Vivian, sets after him and puts out a $25,000 reward on his head. Two wrench-monkeys join the chase, as well as a preacher and anybody else who happens to encounter the young lovers on their trip to Sin City. The film is essentially It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (released 14 years earlier) with characters chasing after a mobile object and a less recognizable cast. Paula and Sam’s search for freedom doesn’t come easily when TenQ’s radio DJ, Curly Q. Brown, hunts the couple down in a traffic copter, advertising their precise location and giving a play-by-play commentary of the ensuing events. He’s not interested in the reward money, but only in delivering sleazy entertainment to his listeners.
I believe this is how they said "hi," back in '77, too.
There are a lot of stolen vehicles in the film, as Howard and his father, Rance (co-writers of the script), work to maintain the integrity of the film’s title. Again, none of the cars are ever taken by force, so the overall tone of the film is a fairly jovial one. Nothing dark or violent here, just an old-fashioned chase movie. There really isn’t much plot or characterization, either. The film barely stretches out to 84 minutes, and it only reaches that number because they throw so many characters into the pursuit of the purse that they all need a little screentime. Sam and Paula only have one scene of significance and it’s when Sam feels conflicted about wedding the daughter of a wealthy man who doesn’t agree with the nuptials.
The film was exec produced by the master of the low-budget film, Roger Corman. He’s granted directorial initiation rights to a number of big-name directors, some of which we’re bound to cover down the road in this column. He allows for a hint of exploitation as one of the film’s climactic scenes involves the main characters unwittingly involved in a demolition derby with Bigby’s Rolls-Royce. The script deficiencies aside, Ron Howard the director does a great job for his first time behind the camera and even succeeds in the task of directing himself. He was only 23 at the time. Howard isn’t known for visual trickery or flair as his latter films attest, but in terms of conveying a story, he does it with a minimalist approach that saves time for key moments and scenes. He jumps immediately into the story in Grand Theft Auto and the film never really stops. I think his experience working on this film and with Corman have helped shape the director he’s become.
Grand Theft Auto certainly won’t ever be one of Howard’s popular works, simply because it’s not as good as the others. However, for anybody that enjoyed It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Cannonball Run, Rat Race or any other chase film, it’s something worth checking out, even if only for the fact you can then say, “I saw Ron Howard’s first feature.”
MSN.com has paired up with the new Dan Brown adaptation, Angels & Demons, to bring you a series of challenging online games for prizes, including a trip to Rome.
This would normally be non-news to me, but I remember getting hooked on the Google/The Da Vinci Code contest a couple of years ago and it was fun as hell.
I screwed around with this new “Path of Illumination” contest for a long time last night and it’s safe to say I will be as addicted to this as I was last time. It’s far more challenging and indeed frustrating, but so far they’ve made for good brain-teasers. If you remember the problem-solving logic question about the fox, the chicken and the chicken feed, this is that to an exponential degree. Hopefully you can have fun with it, like I have to this point.
There’s been a lot of hype about the Transformers sequel over the past few weeks. We were given the teaser poster, we put the movie up as one of our Top 20 Anticipated of the year, we’ve learned there wouldn’t be any Dinobots and now we have the first official footage from the film. Below is the Super Bowl spot for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s short. Only 30 seconds, but for anybody planning to check out the re-boot of Friday the 13th in a couple of weeks, you can expect to see a longer teaser attached to that. Behold the TV spot:
I LOVE that huge robot bursting through the freeway and emerging right at the end. That’s just beautiful. I’m also very happy to see a quick glimpse of a robot transforming into a car. It’s a magnificent sight.
You can indulge your nostalgia for the first film here and go back even further and pick up the 1986 animated film. All will help bide time until June 26th.
I’ve never seen an episode of “Star Trek” in my life. I’ve actually worked hard to avoid it. It’s always been around me in its several incarnations on TV, but I’ve managed to make myself sparse during those times. It’s the Klingons that I can’t look at. Like Worf. I could hardly stand to look at that guy through a commercial. Look at that thing. The stuff nightmares are made of. For the same reason, I’ve never seen any Planet of the Apes films. The faces are too difficult to look at for me.
There aren’t any Worf-like creatures in any of the Star Trek spots so far and I’m thankful for it. Here’s your chance to check out the Star Trek Super Bowl spot, below:
Is anybody excited for this who’s NOT a “Star Trek” fan already? I can kind of see the appeal. I think the involvement of J.J. Abrams was a good decision. It might help crossover into non-”Star Trek” fandom. What did you think of the TV spot? Did it really entice? Are you more into it, less into it or just the same?
Certainly one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Pixar’s Up, has its Super Bowl TV spot online. It’s very similar to the teaser trailer that’s already out. There’s a short tag joke at the end, which is knew. A whetting of the appetite for sure. Of course not much needs to be revealed to get people on board for a Pixar film. They just need to know it exists. Check out the spot, below.
We’ve already previewed the film here. And as the TV spot suggest, you can see an exclusive clip from ‘Up’ at Disney.com. Unfortunately I can’t embed it for you, so here’s a direct link to that clip. I won’t spoil anything about it for you.
Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up on my “Empire” magazine reading lately and there’s a couple new pics from Up I hadn’t seen before. Here they are for you:
What did you think of the TV spot? Did you check out the clip? I look forward to any comment from a devout Pixar fan, like myself.
Here we are with another Super Bowl spot before the game has been played. This one is for the filmic adaptation of the TV series “Land of the Lost.” Land of the Lost stars Will Ferrell and Danny McBride (second billing!) and they go back in time and face dinosaurs, amongst other creatures. I guess after not having Dinobots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we’ll still be able to get our dino fix this summer.
I don’t know. Never seeing the show, I don’t have any connection to the material. It could be good. I think this spot will do well in terms of selling the movie to viewers tomorrow, and that’s its main goal. I’m happy Will Ferrell isn’t in some crazy sports comedy and it looks pretty epic. Brad Silberling directs his first big movie since the unfortunate Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. That one is obviously off the “franchise” train.
What do you think of this spot? Do you want to see the movie?
This one is more of a scene from the film than just a TV spot. Kind of hard to believe you’ll see this one in it’s entirely during tomorrow’s game. That’d be $12 million! Whatever gets people excited about the film and makes them buy tickets, I guess.
The Year One is directed by Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) from a script he wrote with “The Office” scribes, Gene Stupnitsky & Less Eisenberg. Michael Cera and Jack Black star as Oh and Zed, respectively, two caveman trying to survive before civilization. In the clip/TV spot below, you’ll also meet Kane and Abel, played by Paul Rudd and David Cross.
It looks pretty decent to me. I’d love it to be good and funny. I recall the buzz being not particularly strong from some test screening reviews I’ve read. I wish I was able to tell you myself if it was worthy or not.
UPDATE: It turns out that was just a clip. Here’s the actual Super Bowl spot.
This scene reminded me of a clip from the 1981 film, Caveman, starring Ringo Starr, that I’ve seen numerous types playing “Scene It” on the 360. Sadly, I couldn’t find the exact one. Here’s a clip of music being invented.
I wonder if the Super Bowl will be holding any more surprises tomorrow. We now bring you the Super Bowl spot for the third sequel (that’s number four) to The Fast and the Furious, the creatively titled Fast & Furious! This is the first Super Bowl spot we’ve posted for a film that’s already had a trailer released, so only slightly new footage. Of course, this is going out to the few people that watch the Super Bowl, too. Behold!
Vin Diesel used to be my boy when he was coming up. For those that know his first major film role was Saving Private Ryan, an even more in-depth education will lead you to knowing Spielberg had that role written into the film specifically for Diesel after seeing Vinny’s short film Multi-Facial, at Sundance. I bought the DVD and have always enjoyed the 20-minute short. It definitely displays Diesel’s acting chops and saddens me to know he’s been pigeon-holed into this crappy action stuff. Hopefully one day, he’ll break out like I know he’s capable of.
The complete short is below, but if you find it in your heart to buy the DVD, check it out here: Short 5 – Diversity.
I was never allowed to play with G.I. Joe’s as a kid, so I never got into them. I have no idea what any character’s name is. I know “Cobra” has something to do with that universe. So, my excitement for this film is less than zero. It wasn’t really increased by this TV spot. If you want to see what G.I. Joe has in store for you tomorrow during the Super Bowl, just check it out below.
Did you like it? Are you excited for this?
I don’t hold director, Stephen Sommers, in high regard. Remember Van Helsing? It is nice that it’s trying to find a spot in August though, which over the past 10 years or so (ever since The Sixth Sense) has extended the blockbuster season. I’m all for better movies spread around. I hope this is good for anybody that has an interest. Be sure to let me know.
About a year ago, a friend and I were recalling this old G.I. Joe commercial. For the heck of it, here it is below.
The first film-related TV spot set to air during the Super Bowl was made available today via MTV Movies Blog. The spot is for the Dwayne Johnson-starring Disney film, The Race to Witch Mountain.
The film is a remake of the 1975 film, Escape to Witch Mountain. Johnson plays, Jack Bruno, a modern-day Travis Bickle (only in that he drives a taxi), who is sought by a paranormal expert, Dr. Alex Friendman (Carla Gugino), to help protect two extraterrestrials from a dastardly organization who only want to use them for evil. Sounds dastardly.
With 30-seconds of airtime costing $3 million this year, this ad is costing Disney $6 million. Do you think it’s worth it? We’ll find out March 13th, I guess.
As mentioned in my preview of the film, I’m actually looking forward to Angels & Demons, even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Da Vinci Code film. I just have some wishful thinking, hoping Ron Howard and Co. will have learned from their mistakes. I did think the book was pretty cool and would like it to be done justice on the big screen. Tom Hanks is my boy.
The following clip doesn’t really show off a hell of a lot. It’s 30 seconds long and essentially just shows a few flashes. We’ll apparently have to wait for the theatrical trailer to even get a remote sense of what to expect. I would imagine we’ll get that pretty soon, as the film’s slated for release May 15th.
What did you guys think of this spot? Was they’re really much of anything to help you get hyped? Are you looking forward to this at all?
I certainly never bothered to make my way to a Sobe booth to pick up 3-D glasses, so I can’t tell you about the dazzling things I witnessed in the additional dimension. For those of you that saw the ad, here’s your chance to relive it, and for those that missed it, here’s you chance to see it.
I think this has a chance to be good, actually. I’m not much for any other studios computer animated films, but Pixar’s, and this certainly has a vague resemblance to Monsters, Inc. (as these studios are apt to do), but I do like the eye/tongue/elbow/butt scanner joke.
For those that saw the TV spot in 3-D did it really enhance your enjoyment at all? For anybody not as ready and willing to outright reject the animated product of non-Pixar, what’s your level of interest in the movie?
For some extreme trivia, former “The Simpsons” writer and longtime friend of Wes Anderson (he played the wrestling ref in Rushmore), Wally Wolodarsky had a hand in writing the script.
A history aficionado I am not. Everything I know about Richard Nixon, I learned from All the President’s Men. Still, I found myself excited for the impending release of Frost/Nixon. I wanted the cinematic history lesson, as I liked the last one I received about an ex-president in JFK. Alas, that film wasn’t so much about the man, as it was the possible conspiracy surrounding his assassination, and Frost/Nixon wasn’t so much about the latter man’s scandal as it was the story of the attempt to kick him off his high horse and bring him down to the common man. A nation awaits his confession of wrongdoing to a British tabloid journalist, whose reputation and lifeblood are wagered against the ex-most powerful man in the world.
Richard Nixon was shamed into resigning from the presidency as he was on the precipice of the first and only impeachment of a president in the history of the United States. David Frost (the “Frost” section of the title, if you were wondering), a talk-show host, fresh from interviewing the Bee-Gees, glimpses Nixon’s resignation speech on television and wonders what the ratings must be like for such an event. The exorbitant viewership numbers, coupled with the controversy swarming around the president concerning the Watergate scandal equal big dollars in Frost’s eyes, and he sets out to grill Nixon for the promise of money.
How does one go about arranging a sit-down with the most publicly embarrassed figure in history? Especially one with Frost’s pedigree? Imagine Ryan Seacrest interrogating George W. Bush about his war crimes. The poor guy can’t even get Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to look his way. It’s the same prospect that interested Frost in the first place: money. However, Frost is no fool and knows the potential magnitude of the situation he’s getting himself into. He hires two crack investigators, to go along with his producer, in order to aid him with questions and research. He lets them do their job, while he goes out and tries to sell the impending interview to the big three networks in the U.S. Unfortunately for Frost, the networks fear the worst and refuse to finance the project. He had already handed over $200,000 of his own money to Mr. Nixon, cocky that his (somewhat limited) reputation and the rarity of the interview would sell themselves. It was not to be.
With the stressors of staking his personal and financial neck on the line for the project, Frost has difficulty focusing on the task at hand. Four interviews are scheduled, at two-hours each in length, to cover a wide range of agreed-upon topics, with Watergate being the topic-du-jour on the final day. From the beginning, it is clear Frost is outmatched by a far superior opponent. A man who brought himself from nothing, battling the cronyism in Washington politics to rise above all contenders. It’s evident how Nixon was able to accomplish everything he had. Amidst constant pressure from his own research team about the results he’s attaining from the interviews, Frost retains his calm exterior throughout, making time to attend the premier of The Slipper and the Rose, a film he produced. But, can he reel in all of his focuses to deliver “Richard Nixon the trial he never had?”
David Frost versus Goliath.
Based on a play by Peter Morgan (The Queen), who also wrote the film, Frost/Nixon was far more cinematic than I could’ve imagined. I expected to be overpowered and entertained mainly by the back and forth of the interview banter between the two titular characters, but the film contains far more than that. Indeed, there is so much the presence of a camera and the art of editing was able to contribute, I wonder how it could’ve been a play at all. The reliance of the on-camera close-up was such a viable part of the storytelling it would appear the story was tailor-made for the big screen. Director, Ron Howard, no doubt had much input in the adaptation from stage to screen, and it allows him to bring a richer immersion in the world than inherently allowed by the story.
I was amazed by Frank Langella’s Nixon. My familiarity with Langella and his work to date, was spotty at best. He crafted a character I didn’t have a firm grasp on, but one whose reputation far precedes him. It’s a performance Langella will be instantly associated with in my eyes, as he embodies one of America’s largest mistakes. It’s a wonder to me that the producers of the film stalled lengthily before succumbing to allowing him to reprise the character he had already earned a Tony Award for in Morgan’s play. We can’t thank them enough for finally coming to their senses. The rest of the performances are deservedly lauded, but like Nixon, Langella’s is a giant among them. His easily goes down as my favorite leading-man portrayal of the year.
The film did not grant me everything I wished for, but through no fault of the film itself. I can learn history from other media. The viewer feels for Frost’s financial struggles and circumstance, but it is difficult to understand why he refuses to bring the effort he should have known would be necessary to catch the big bad wolf. This is understood as the character’s cocksure nature at the beginning, but losing his one-on-one battles and lacking the confidence of his team certainly should have forced him to strive for perfection. This brings the summation down to less-than-perfect, but in no way mars the entire production.
Good cinematic material is elevated wholly by an award-worthy performance from Frank Langella. The film is getting a bit more props than I feel it deserves, but makes for an enjoyable two hours and at least one riveting portrayal. Richard Nixon has been re-written in the form of Frank Langella, and we are all better filmgoers for it. Frost/Nixon makes for a rich character piece, even if you feel you know the characters already. A great depiction of a disheartened Goliath taking on a literal David.