Featured In Issue 140, May/June 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Some language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Ron Howard
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1, DTS 5.1
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Based on the stage play by Peter Morgan, Academy Award®-nominated Frank Langella plays President Richard Nixon. For three years after being forced from office, Richard Nixon remained silent, but in Summer 1977 the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting David Frost (Sheen) as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Frost's team harbored doubts about their boss' ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Would Nixon evade questions of his role in one of the nation's greatest disgraces? Or would Frost confound critics and bravely demand accountability from the man who'd built a career out of stonewalling? Over the course of their encounter, each man would reveal his own insecurities, ego, and reserves of dignity—ultimately setting aside posturing in a stunning display of unvarnished truth. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Ron Howard; 11 deleted scenes (SD 23:33); three featurettes: Discovering Secrets: The People And Places Behind The Story (HD 13:19), The Making Of (HD 22:58), and The Real Interview (SD 07:28); a feature on The Nixon Library (SD 06:22); My Scenes of your favorite scenes from the film; U-Control: The Nixon Chronicles archival video and picture-in-picture; plus BD-Live interactivity.

The 2.36:1 1080p VC-1 picture is sharp and clear enough, except that facial features do not appear quite accurate—perhaps the stylization produces a distortion. Sheen's face is the most problematic, while Langella fairs much better. Perhaps it's the encoding, but otherwise, objects and textures look satisfactory and natural. The disappointment is focused on the interior scenes; the outdoor scenes appear much more natural and accurate. At times the imagery appears slightly soft rather than the sharp edginess that high-definition imagery can project. The picture has a touch of documentary character and a dated production. The picture is clean, without objectionable film artifacts. Overall, this is a picture wanting in a "you-are-there" visual quality, exhibiting varying levels of visual satisfaction. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is conventionally produced, with often forward, disassociated dialogue lacking in proper spatial integration with the scenes. Not only does the dialogue often sound forward, but it is bloated in tonality. Langella, as Nixon, is captured wonderfully, even though his voice sounds deep and throated. This is basically a monaural-focused soundtrack, with brief segments that expand the soundfield with atmospheric effects and, at times, are heard in the surrounds. The music occupies brief segments and is heard at low levels in the surrounds. At times, a deep bass rumble is heard in the .1 LFE channel. For the purpose of supporting the storytelling, this soundtrack is serviceable, but only serviceable. (Gary Reber)