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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Imitation… The Sincerest…

Frost/Nixon took the lesson from Doubt this weekend and have come out swinging with new, much more aggressive spots for the film. Forget the subleties of Nixon trying to manage Frost and decided just how much he wanted to fall on his sword. This is now a mano-a-mano street brawl!!!
it aint the movie… but it might be a better sales choice.
It is one of the real problems with awards season. Marketers become respectful of the films. Too respectful. And they sell to too small an audience… a group of about 6000.
So good for you, Universal. Sell that dead president out. Make Frost look like he had some control of the situation. The movie works. Audiences will forgive you.
Next up, Milk. Wait for the gunshot… wait… wait…

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7 Responses to “Imitation… The Sincerest…”

  1. LexG says:

    If the studio cut a trailer that made RACHEL GETTING MARRIED look like a fun, sexy fantasy-fulfillment ogle-fest about a stringy-haired, grunged-up, smoking-hot, messed-up Hathaway who likes to drink, party, get messed up and fuck, I wouldn’t just finally buy a ticket, I’d instantly declare it the MOVIE OF THE YEAR.
    Just going by descriptions, but what exactly is the problem with her character?
    She sounds like my dream chick. FUCK YEAH.

  2. BurmaShave says:

    LexG, see the film, if you still can. Post-haste.

  3. Geoff says:

    Dave, I have not seen the spots you are talking about, but I just saw the film last night – that’s mainly what it is, a mana-a-mano showdown.
    SPOILER ALERT
    That’s basically the third act in a nutshell – Howard even manages to make a little Rocky-like training montage for Frost before his last interview.
    That said, I loved the movie – one of the best of the year and certainly Ron Howard’s best. I’ve had issues with the guy for years and it’s easy to give him guff since so many of his movies are in heavy rotation on cable now – The Paper was a lot of fun until that terrible third act where he tried to make it “heartwarming”, Backdraft has to be one of the most unintentionally funny films ever made, and the less said about Far and Away the better.
    But Frost/Nixon really worked for me – loved every minute of it – right in the vein of Reversal of Fortune as a real-life drama that is much more entertaining than it has any right to be, given the subject matter. Langella was great, Sheen was great, the writing crackled, the pacing was quick, and the whole supporting cast just delivered. Toby Jones has just got a career made, now, for playing creepy guys, doesn’t he? Put him in the next Batman movie, seriously. And Kevin Bacon brings more humanity that you could expect from such a thankless role.
    But Langella….wow, just owns the character who is probably among the most frequently portrayed Presidents in cinema. You loathe him, respect him, and feel sorry for him. And I love that Howard just stays out of the way of the damn thing! Doesn’t try to inject sentimentality or too much exposition – it has to be one of the best examples I have ever seen of blowing up a play into a movie, but still keeping the story on the right scale.
    One of the my five best for the year, which is shaping up to be a pretty damn good year. And I have not even seen Milk or Benjamin Button, yet.
    So far:
    1) Slumdog Millionaire
    2) Man on Wire
    3) Frost/Nixon
    4) The Dark Knight
    5) The Bank Job
    6) In Bruges
    7) Iron Man
    8) Burn After Reading
    9) Rachel Getting Married
    10) Quantum of Solace
    Soft spot for Bond, what can I say – Casino Royale was actuall in my top five for ’06, so this was actually a come down.

  4. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Every movie promoted with “Academy Award Winner” and “Academy Award Nominee” targets the same clique of 6,000. It doesn’t help that “Frost/Nixon” name-checks a movie that is now seen as having its awards bought and paid for.
    Even with those new TV spots “Frost/Nixon” will still be in limited release come Xmas Day. The closest theater to me with that movie will be the AMC megaplex in Hamilton — an hour from my home in bad weather.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    “Every movie promoted with “Academy Award Winner” and “Academy Award Nominee” targets the same clique of 6,000. ”
    This might be true of an ad in Variety or a billboard on Sunset Blvd. but not necessarily of a nationwide TV ad campaign.

  6. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I take it jeffmcm has not seen the trailer and/or poster for “Frost/Nixon”. At least I have.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, if you’re going to treat me (and everyone else here) like an idiot, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get it back in spades.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt