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Massawyrm calls FROST/NIXON not only one of the best of the year, but possibly Ron Howard's best film to date!!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. Occasionally, at this very time of year, you see a trailer to a movie that just screams “FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.” While it may have been made out of passion for the material or the sheer joy of filmmaking, it looks like it was made and funded for the sake of bringing home Oscar gold. Most of the time these films never pan out – tending to be drown in their own swelling ponds of pretension and industry pandering. Oh sure, they’re nicely put together – they just seem to be trying TOO HARD for something that is just supposed to occur naturally. So when one of these films comes out of the gate swinging like Frost/Nixon does and delivers the goods, proving to be one of the best things you’ve seen all year – well, it is something to talk about. Because at first glance, Frost/Nixon screams For Your Consideration. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Frank Langella as Richard Nixon, and sprinkled with just the sorts of actors who elevate the Oscar buzz factor like Toby Jones and Sam Rockwell, this thing is gonna get talked about over and over again. But the kicker is that this is the real deal. Easily Howard’s best film of the last decade (and arguably his best ever), this film is everything Howard does well brought together into one scintillating barn burner of a drama. The movie is simply incredible. Absolutely incredible. And to be honest, it’s hard to believe they pulled it off. Not for lack of talent, but the content. This is the story about an interview, pure and simple. There are no backroom sessions screwing people over. There’s no physical danger as an embittered ex-president sicks CIA agents on the interview team. No romantic tension tearing at the characters. It is a battle of wills between one of the most intimidating and cunning Presidents in modern history and a television personality woefully out of his depth. And it is not the stuff of fiction – but historical fact. What makes it work is that Howard sets this up and delivers it like you would a boxing match. He builds his menace (Nixon) and then spends the movie building up this plucky team of investigators who are getting the shot of a lifetime – a bout with the champ. A man no one has been able to defeat in the verbal arena. David Frost was not the man set up to take him down. It was supposed to be Mike Wallace – exactly the type of contender you would put in the ring with a man like Nixon. Instead, with some financial maneuvering and an overconfident opponent looking for an easy win, this interviewer scored a chance at history. And history is what he got. The resulting tale is positively riveting from beginning to end, and watching the verbal sparring between the showy Frost and the stonewalling Nixon is as jarring, tense and thrilling as any boxing match. This is the Cinderella Man of political biopics. Only it’s better than Cinderella Man. Everyone in this movie is at the top of their game, from veteran character actors Oliver Platt and the always frenetic Sam Rockwell as Frost’s research team - to the other side, where Toby Jones continues his climb as the go to character actor of the year, giving a great performance as Nixon’s sleazy entertainment agent ‘Swifty’ Lazar. Also in Nixon’s corner is Kevin Bacon, giving a wonderfully moving portrayal of one of the last of the Nixon loyalists, Jack Brennan. But the real story is Langella as Nixon, which truly is, without hyperbole, the single greatest performance of his career. Langella has never been given a role with this much depth, power and range before, and he meets it on all fronts with the tenacity of a man possessed. He is simply astonishing, and it is completely incomparable to his previous work. Michael Sheen, who plays Frost, also gives a powerful performance. But there is this moment in the film when Nixon says to Frost “the thing about being in the limelight is that it only shines on one person,” and I couldn’t help but think about how true that was, even at that very moment. Sheen is acting his ass off, taking a character that amounts to little more than a professional smile and a hairdo and confers upon him a level of depth that makes you really feel for this guy who has bitten off more than he can chew. But as good as he is, every time Langella is onscreen, you can’t take your eyes off of him. Based upon the play of the same name, these two actors no doubt honed their chemistry performing it together on stage and every bit of that shows here. But this film never feels like a play. Quite the contrary, Howard manages to pace this in a way that keeps it thrilling, exciting and makes you feel more like you are watching a spirited sporting event rather than an interview. Never dull for a moment and positively gripping the whole way through, this movie is going to get itself a lot of Oscar buzz and earns every bit of it. If ever there was a year for Langella, this is it. Now that Warner Brothers has chosen to pursue best supporting for Heath Ledger, the Best Actor category is wide open and Langella has just moved to the position of frontrunner. Handily one of the best films of the year, this NEEDS to be on your must see list. Check this out the very first chance you get. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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