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Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Editing, FROST/NIXON ($40) was definitely one of the most compelling motion pictures of 2008. Based upon the play by Peter Morgan, FROST/NIXON offers a fictionalized account of the historic interviews of disgraced United States President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) by television personality David Frost (Michael Sheen). I have to say that I was utterly blown away by the Oscar Nominated Langella, who truly gives the performance of his career as the former President. Sheen also amazes with his performance as Frost, a man who bet his entire career on outbidding the U.S. television networks to secure the first interview with Nixon.

Much of the film is concerned with the negotiations that lead up to the interviews, as well as the strategy sessions designed to create questions that would get Nixon to admit to his part in the Watergate scandal. Anytime Langella and Sheen share the screen, the movie bristles with electricity, as the cagey politician and determined interviewer try to out maneuver one another in their game of verbal chess. The excellent cast of FROST/NIXON also features Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Andy Milder, Kate Jennings Grant, Gabriel Jarret, Jim Meskimen, Patty McCormack, Geoffrey Blake and Clint Howard.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made FROST/NIXON available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is quite good and does what it needs to do. FROST/NIXON emulates the look of the 1970ís era movie, but this wasnít exactly the most visually captivating decade at the cinema. Image sharpness and fine detail are fairly strong, but they do come across somewhat softer than the very best high definition presentations. Colors are rendered with a respectable level of saturation and the California setting is recreated with a fairly warm palette. Certain sequences, set in a different time frame, feature a cold, muted color scheme. Blacks are accurate and the whites appear crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are everything that one should expect from a movie with a seventiesí setting. The elements from which FROST/NIXON are transferred appear virtually pristine. Mild grain is present and maintains an organic quality.

FROST/NIXON is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This is a very good quality sound mix, but is limited by the talky nature of the story. Considering that FROST/NIXON is really little more than an opened up stage play, the sound design canít be anything but reserved. The forward soundstage has some modest separations, but the surrounds are relegated to the realm of ambient sound and musical fill reproduction. Fidelity is quite strong due to the lossless encode, but the material really doesnít offer any true challenges. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Ron Howard. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Featurettes include The Making Of Frost/Nixon (twenty-three minutes), Discovering Secrets: The People And Places Behind The Story (thirteen minutes), The Real Interview (seven minutes) and The Nixon Library (six minutes). About a half hourís worth of Deleted and Extended Scenes, close out the standard supplements on the disc. FROST/NIXON is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

FROST/NIXON is a compelling piece of cinema that features outstanding performances from Frank Langella and Michael Sheen. The Blu-ray presentation is very good, but the nature of the material prevents it from being as compelling as the film is itself. Still, FROST/NIXON is very highly recommended on Blu-ray.



Frost/Nixon [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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