Frost Notoriously Wrestles Nixon
Frost/Nixon: Frost/Nixon was our 8th ranked film in last year's top ten of 2008. Of it, Dan wrote: "Frost/Nixon is the best film Ron Howard's ever made, as well as a telling reflection of his skill as a director and the path he's taking. Written by Peter Morgan, who adapted his own play, Frost/Nixon is an intelligent, brisk, engaging, wonderfully acted film that benefits as much from Howard's skill with set-ups and pacing as it does his complete inability to take something and make it his own. It's a good film precisely because of what Howard doesn't bring to it, or rather, what was already there before he arrived. It's the kind of deft, interesting, skillfully told tale that could only be directed by a man this invisible. Howard is able to both peel back the artifice inherent in his film and also amp it up to the point where it feels like a solid re-creation of fact. It's another in a long list of seeming dichotomies that mesh beautifully, turning a historical drama into an honest meditation on the price of power, the cost of fame, and the perils of an imperial presidency run rampant. Though based on fact and using real people, the film never comes across as satirical or abusive, and even though a "number of the events have been fictionalized," the story is, on an emotional level, undeniably true."
Notorious: Prisco was unimpressed with Notorious, a standard biopic, this one on the life of Biggie Smalls: "Notorious is well acted with some great performances, but there's really nothing heady or captivating to the story. Much like Biggie's music, what's done is done well, but it's not reinventing the genre so much as perpetuating it. There's no doubt his life touched many people, especially those in the urban communities where he came from, but it changed nothing. That he was gunned down -- potentially over a rap feud (no light is shone on the unsolved mystery) -- didn't stop violence in rap music. The game just kept on being played."
The Wrestler: Of The Wrestler, which landed at number nine on our top ten films of 2008, Prisco wrote: "The Wrestler lives and dies by the performance of Mickey Rourke, and it is something to behold. Robert D. Siegel's script at times feels like an allegory for Rourke's own less-than-glorious career. Randy is a hideous mess of a man, a sagging giant with peroxide-bleached Vince Neil hair and a turkey-basted tan. Mickey's plastic-surgery ravaged pout, craggy face, and world-weary body add a depth to the character that no cinema star's makeup-laden smile could have ever captured. The Wrestler is a blisteringly uncomfortable film to watch, because it's the story of a man who doesn't know how to be anything else. Rumor had it that Nicolas Cage was attached to be Randy the Ram, but this is Mickey Rourke's film, both figuratively and spiritually. Rourke is a fallen star, a man who mauled himself in the name of drugs and craft, who keeps lumbering through projects like a lost bear. When Randy the Ram dons the tights to recapture glory, you feel a little like Mickey Rourke's getting his last moment to shine as well."
Caprica: The pilot episode of "Caprica" -- a television series set in the same universe as "Battlestar Gallactica," 58 years earlier than the events of "BSG" -- comes out on DVD today. The season won't start until early next year, but I'm sure "BSG" fans are probably going to want to pick this up, as it's an extended version of what will air in front of the series. We hope to have a review up soon.