Maybe it’s a side-effect of just watching The Fighter, but the title Frost/Nixon makes this film sound more like a prize fight. The comparison is not wholly inappropriate. David Frost (Michael Sheen) was a media bantamweight trying to move up in class while Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) was a political heavyweight looking for an easy tune-up for his eventual rehabilitation from the Watergate scandal.
Filmmaker Atom Egoyan shifts gears a bit with this evocative potboiler based on the novel by Rupert Holmes. His best known prior works, Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter, were notable for their somber tone and pacing that made glaciation seem downright snappy. You could probably criticize Where the Truth Lies for being conspicuously melodramatic, but I think you would be missing the point. This movie is sort of a thinking person’s Wild Things, only without the “full monty” from co-star Kevin Bacon.
Oliver Stone‘s JFK is a movie as admirable in its technique as it is troubling in its agenda. Much like Birth of a Nation sought to rewrite the early history of the original Ku Klux Klan, JFK represents a concerted effort on Stone’s part to insert certifiable falsehoods into the historical record of the Kennedy assassination. He gets two basic facts correct. John F. Kennedy was indeed assassinated on November 22, 1963 and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison did actually prosecute businessman Clay Shaw for his role in an alleged conspiracy. After that, the facts and Mr. Stone have a strained relationship at best. I sincerely hope that this movie will be as routinely dismissed by future generations as Birth of a Nation is today.
Don’t come into Apollo 13 expecting a deep, acutely insightful portrait of the inner lives of astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon are basically playing stock Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon characters, and this is probably a good thing for a big budget summer movie like this one. Real astronauts are invariably cool, hard-to-ruffle, by-the-book kinds of people. Sometimes it seems you could set their pants on fire and it would barely raise their pulse. This makes for successful space missions but not for a particularly exciting movie.
Someone involved with this movie watched a lot of Saturday afternoon television as a kid, a lot like I did. They obviously saw something they liked in cheesy fifties horror movies, a lot like I did. So when they they grew up, they went out and made one.
Tremors is a pitch perfect send-up of any number of Atomic-age monster movies. Starring a solid cast, it features an intelligent, humorous script and a collection of broad but vividly drawn characters.