December 2, 2004

Crazy Accents and Nudity Oh, That Oliver Stone


As we mentioned earlier this week, Cinecultist has been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of great movies coming into the theaters right now (House of Flying Daggers! Finding Neverland! Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou! Bad Education!), and thus it was with perhaps a bit too much Schadenfreude-tinged glee that CC plunked down our $10 for Alexander the other day. And boy, was it bad. But it's one of those movies where the badness contributed to the fun and if your butt can stand the 3 hour running time, we might actually recommend it to you.

If only Oliver Stone were less himself ("this is my opus") and more Jerry Bruckheimer (Look, it's Johnny Depp in an eye patch!), then we wouldn't feel so much like we were puncturing his auteur balloon with our reveling in the bad epic-ness of the movie. Don't worry, we'll get over our Stone as serious director guilt in a second. Whew, it passed. And speaking of eye patches, CC was fascinated with Val Kilmer's single eye. Why is he missing that eye? Who the hell know. Battle injury, perhaps? There's another minor character who also only has one eye, also unexplained, but we think we recall it was on the opposite side of Val's, which then leads to the confusing thought that perhaps continuity messes up and switched Val's good eye back and forth during the picture.

Either way Mr. Kilmer yells quite a bit, which apparently is what counts for acting in this movie. Yelling and crazy, geography-defying accents is the method to this madness. The Macedonians all sound either Welsh or Irish and then anyone from the outer provinces or who you might call a barbarian behind their back, like Angelina Jolie or Rosario Dawson's characters, sound like Natasha from "the Bullwinkle Show". Poor Rosario. She sounds weird and then she has that blush inducing nude scene with our man Colin where they growl at each other. Girl has got no where to hide, and more enormous breasts than we realized, by the by.

Despite her weirdo accent and snake fetish, Angelina is the best part of this movie. She's seventeen different kinds of crazy, but to watch her in an epic, with all the sweep of history at her finger tips and a larger than life figure to inhabit, is heaven. With her as your mother, you can understand why Alexander had issues with women. We like Colin doing tortured and sexually confused, but for our blood there isn't quite enough pay off on the love affair between his character and Jared Leto's. Perhaps Jared is supposed to be just the coy tease but we would have liked to see a little more actual "stuff," beyond longing looks, requests to "stay" and declarations of undying manly love.

All of this is mere dressing to the climactic battle scene between the bedraggled Macedonians and the Indians with their elephants. Here's where Stone really gets cooking with the reverse color correction to red and the slo mo black stead versus charging pachyderm. That's pretty awesome. If only the whole movie could have had all that energy and verve but sadly, it was not to be.

Posted by karen at December 2, 2004 10:34 AM