MySky HDi … Frost/Nixon, The International

This weekend Sky Movies premieres in HD two of 2009’s most riveting releases.

Frost/Nixon (8.30pm Saturday) fiercely but fairly dramatises how a lightweight British talk show host (Michael Sheen as David Frost) risked humiliation and bankruptcy to score the coup of his career: a series of televised interviews with a disgraced President of the United States (Frank Langella as Richard Nixon) that exacted an historic apology for White House wrongdoing.

Ironically, such is the intensity and anguish of what went on behind the scenes of this odd-couple encounter that the outcome seems almost as anti-climactic as the movie winning none of its five Oscar nominations, including best picture, actor (Langella), director (Ron Howard) and adapted screenplay (The Queen’s Peter Morgan).

Meanwhile, screenwriter Eric Singer’s inspiration for The International (8.30pm Sunday) sprang from two sources: a 1980s financial scandal in which the world’s third biggest bank was exposed as the choice of criminals, drug dealers, arms traders and terrorists; and his desire to stage a gunfight in the Guggenheim.

The latter is a sensationally exciting setpiece but not the sole reason for watching this tense, intelligent thriller that owes as much to the paranoia classics of the ‘70s (The Parallax View, 3 Days of the Condor) as it does to contemporary concerns about corrupt banking practices (the bank in question seeks to profit from the debt of the international conflicts it helps to create).

Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) directs Clive Owen, Naomi Watts and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

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