ALEXANDER: THE ULTIMATE CUT Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 17 days ago

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When Oscar-winning writer/director Oliver Stone first unleashed his epic Alexander the Great biopic back in 2004, critics launched a war of words and audiences retreated from the box office battle lines.  In the aftermath of its disastrous theatrical release, Alexander was re-tooled for its 2005 home entertainment debut by Stone, who trimmed 8 minutes for a special “Director’s Cut” DVD, whose packaging promised a “faster-paced, more action packed” film.  Although the “Director’s Cut” sold moderately well, certain critics pummeled Stone once again, this time for further de-gaying an already largely de-gayed narrative about history’s most famous bisexual conqueror.

Determined to placate critics once and for all, Stone re-edited the film a third time in 2007 and, rather than subtracting footage, added in a total of 40 extra minutes, which included more literal sword fighting and implied naked sword fighting.  The resulting release, Alexander Revisited, was supposed to be the final word on the film.  Seven years later, however, and we have a fourth cut of the film, Alexander: The Ultimate Cut, which shortens Revisited by seven minutes.  The question is, has Stone finally made Alexander great?  Hit the jump for my Alexander: The Ultimate Cut Blu-ray review.

Oliver Stone to Direct Edward Snowden Movie, Obviously

by     Posted 91 days ago

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Never one to shy away from controversy, it appears that Oliver Stone will be the filmmaker to bring the inevitable feature film portrayal of NSA leaker Edward Snowden to fruition.  The European co-production is based on Luke Harding’s book The Snowden Files, which recounts how the young computer professional breached the National Security Agency to leak evidence of America’s global surveillance.  The Guardian reports that Stone hopes to begin production by the end of this year, as a rival Edward Snowden film is in the works based on the book No Place to Hide.  Harding and other Guardian journalists will be consulting on Stone’s film.

Stone has never been afraid of delving into politically charged material, though it has made for mixed results.  JFK and Platoon are fantastic, while films like W. and Alexander fell short of their promise.  Stone’s recent output hasn’t been stellar, but whatever he cooks up with The Snowden Files is sure to be provocative.  Read the synopsis for the book after the jump.

Oliver Stone Departs Martin Luther King, Jr. Biopic Due to Creative Differences

by     Posted 227 days ago

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When last we reported on the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, writer-director Oliver Stone and star Jamie Foxx were in talks to join the production.  Now, it looks as if Stone has departed the picture on the grounds of creative differences between his take on the civil rights leader and that of the project’s producers.  Stone’s draft of the script would have dealt with some of the less glowing aspects of the activist’s life, including “issues of adultery, conflicts within the movement, and King’s spiritual transformation into a higher, more radical being.”  Stone exited the project after producers told him that King’s estate wouldn’t go for it.  Hit the jump for more.

JFK 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 239 days ago

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To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his passing, Warner Brothers has assembled a box set that honors John F.  Kennedy, his life, and his assassination.  In it there are three documentaries about him, and the feature films PT-109, and Oliver Stone’s JFK… which isn’t so much about the president, but the conspiracies that surrounded his assassination.  My review of the JFK box set follows after the jump.

JFK 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 271 days ago

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As we witnessed last week, the 50th anniversary of John F.  Kennedy’s death, America has never fully recovered from the loss of the beloved young president.  His public and violent assassination left an indelible imprint on the American psyche, shattering an age of optimism and halting his promise of progress.  Having never received a satisfactory answer for the whos, whats and whys of the crime conspiracy theorists have argued their versions of the truth for decades.  With JFK, Oliver Stone’s most controversial and arguably best film, Stone presents a massive catalogue of those theories with a masterful hand.  In honor of the 50th anniversary of the president’s death, Stone and Warner Brothers put together an impressive commemorative edition of the film.  Hit the jump to find out how JFK holds up and what the new edition has to offer fans of the film.

Oliver Stone Talks THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, the New JFK Blu-Ray, Why he Develops his own Material, and More

by     Posted 314 days ago

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Out on Blu-ray this week is Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.  The twelve-part documentary series, co-created with American University professor Peter Kuznick, offers an alternative historical narrative by drawing focus to the scarcely remembered moments, forces, and figures that shaped the course of post-World War II America.  In celebration of the release, I recently participated in a small group interview with Stone.  Over the course of sixty minutes, he talked about the documentary series, the upcoming re-release of JFK, his past projects, and a whole lot more.

In this final segment Stone talks about the positive press Untold History has received, evolving his editing technique through the years, how socio-political critique has overshadowed his filmmaking, why he’s always developed his own scripts, what to expect from the JFK Blu-ray, the two unaired chapters of Untold History, and more.  Be sure to read the first and second segment with Stone here, and check out what he had to say in this latest installment after the jump.

Oliver Stone Talks UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, JFK Re-Release, the Controversy Associated with His Name, His Fourth Cut of ALEXANDER, More

by     Posted 318 days ago

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Out on Blu-ray this week is Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.  The twelve part documentary series, co-created with American University professor Peter Kuznick, offers an alternative historical narrative by drawing focus to the scarcely remembered moments, forces, and figures that shaped the course of post-World War II America.  In celebration of the release I recently participated in a small group interview with Stone.  Over the course of sixty minutes he talked about the documentary series, the upcoming re-release of JFK, his past projects, and a whole lot more.

In this second segment Stone talks about the controversy associated with his name, differentiating between skepticism and conspiracy, his hopes for the JFK re-release, the upcoming fourth cut of Alexander, reflecting on Salvador and Savages, thoughts on digital media, and more.  Find out what he had to say after the jump and check back this week for the final installment of the interview.  Click here to read the first installment.

Oliver Stone Talks UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, JFK, The Differences of Drama and Documentary, Violence in Cinema; Criticizes BREAKING BAD’s “Ridiculous” Finale

by     Posted 321 days ago

untold history of the united states slice

Out on Blu-ray this week is Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.  The twelve part documentary series, co-created with American University professor Peter Kuznick, offers an alternative historical narrative by drawing focus to the scarcely remembered moments, forces, and figures that shaped the course of post-World War II America.  In celebration of the release I recently participated in a small group interview with Stone.  Over the course of sixty minutes he talked about the documentary series, the upcoming re-release of JFK, his past projects, and a whole lot more.

In this first segment Stone talks about the appeal of making a documentary, the decision to integrate film clips throughout the series, the unique challenges and rewards of documentary filmmaking, how his approach differs as a dramatist and a documentarian, and more.  He also talked about the level of “fantasy violence” in modern films and why he thought the Breaking Bad finale was “ridiculous”.  Find out what he had to say after the jump and check back throughout the week for the next installments of the interview.

Oliver Stone and Jamie Foxx in Talks to Reteam for Martin Luther King Jr. Biopic

by     Posted 326 days ago

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Filmmaker Oliver Stone has his sights set on tackling the life of another historical figure.  The Alexander and W. filmmaker is in early talks to direct a biopic about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., with his Any Given Sunday star Jamie Foxx in talks to star.  The project is set up at DreamWorks and is expected to have the support of King’s family, unlike director Paul Greengrass’ long-developing MLK film Memphis, which provides a three-dimensional warts-and-all look at Dr. King on his final days.  Hit the jump for more on this new project, including how it might affect Greengrass’ film.

SAVAGES Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 265 days ago

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Oliver Stone has always hit home runs controversially and commercially, but lately he’s been striking out critically. Savages, which came out back in July, is a break from Stone’s controversial oeuvre. Revolving around a drug cartel kidnapping and an unlikely friendship, Savages is one well-crafted, sexy-ass slugfest. It’s more U-Turn Stone than W. (I have no idea what Wall-Street: Money Never Sleeps was supposed to be) and despite its mediocre run in theaters (nothing this summer fared well in the shadow of The Avengers), it was one of the most entertaining films of summer 2012. Hit the jump to find out how the Universal Blu-ray holds up.

Oliver Stone and Benicio Del Toro Talk SAVAGES, a Fourth Cut of ALEXANDER, LICENSE TO KILL, THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES & More

by     Posted 1 year, 279 days ago

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Oliver Stone, a remarkable wordsmith, can alternate from topic to topic with nary a breath in between.  A simple question on working with Salma Hayek can suddenly morph into Stone remarking on the nature of masculinity in the country to his first and only encounter with George W. Bush.  Add the equally outspoken Benicio Del Toro into the conversation – and it’s best just to shut up and let the two extraordinarily talented men talk.

The topic at hand was supposed to be the twosome’s collaborative effort: the unfairly maligned Savages (currently on DVD and Blu-ray); but the conversation veered from the film to thoughts on the drug war to a fourth cut of Alexander to Del Toro’s debut appearance in License to Kill to Stone’s current documentary series The Untold History of The United States, among many other topics of conversation.  For highlights from Stone and Del Toro, hit the jump.

Oliver Stone Says He’s Doing a Fourth Cut of ALEXANDER

by     Posted 1 year, 296 days ago

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Monday evening, Universal held an impromptu dinner with filmmaker Oliver Stone and actor Benicio Del Toro. The topic at hand: the underrated Savages – which met a caustic reception at the time of release and next week will be released on Blu-Ray & DVD. However Stone, ever the wordsmith and thinker, ran through a gamut of topics ranging from his feelings on Blu-Ray to this past election to even another (this would be fourth) cut of his initially maligned epic Alexander.

Stone told the press that, due to the success of Alexander: The Final Cut, Warner Bros. has asked him to go back and do another cut of the film for a future DVD release.  Hit the jump for the director’s full thoughts on a proposed fourth cut of Alexander.

Weekend Box Office – Easy Win for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with $65 Million

by     Posted 2 years, 54 days ago

For the past six days, Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man has held the top spot at the daily box office. It should surprise no one, therefore, that the reboot easily netted the weekend prize as well; earning an estimated $65 million from 4,318 locations. That gives the film a new domestic total of $140 million, a number that’s higher than early projections but lower than past entries in the Spider-Man series. Worldwide, the film has now earned a reported $341 million, which is not too bad for reboot…

Title Weekend Total
1 The Amazing Spider-Man $65,000,000 $140
2 Ted $32,590,000 $120.2
3 Brave $20,160,000 $174.5
4 Savages $16,162,000 $16.1
5 Magic Mike $15,610,000 $72.7
6 Madea’s Witness Protection $10,200,000 $45.8
7 Madagascar 3 $7,700,000 $196
8 Katy Perry: Part Of Me $7,150,000 $10.2
9 Moonrise Kingdom $4,641,000 $26.9
10 To Rome With Love $3,502,000 $5.2

TOP 5: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, JACK REACHER, Most Anticipated July to September Movies, SAVAGES, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

by     Posted 2 years, 55 days ago

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As much as I enjoy film, my first entertainment love will always be music. As such, this weekend finds me in Chicago in anticipation of what could be my final Warped Tour appearance. That’s right, I’m a 26 year-old man (I use the term “man” lightly, of course) who still finds immense joy in the pop-punk genre. Nevertheless, it’s becoming harder and harder for my oldness to blend in with a predominantly sub-18 crowd without looking like a total creep and, therefore, today may very well be my last Warped experience. On the bright side, I still have XBox Live to remind me that I’ve never completely grown up.

Maturity issues aside, on tap in this week’s version of the Top 5 is a slew of interviews for The Amazing Spider-Man, the first trailer and new images for Tom Cruise‘s Jack Reacher, our most anticipated movies from July to September, Savages interviews with Oliver Stone, Blake Lively, etc., and more The Dark Knight Rises coverage than most humans are capable of comprehending. Links and brief recaps for each reside after the break.

Friday Box Office – THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Stays Strong with $20.7 Million on Friday; $95.7 Million in Four Days

by     Posted 2 years, 55 days ago

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The purpose of a Friday box office report is to provide some indication of how new releases will fare over their first weekends. Of course, that purpose is undermined when the frame’s biggest title has been around since Tuesday. The Amazing Spider-Man had a promising start, earning just under $60 million through the Fourth of July holiday and $75 million in its first three days. With a Friday estimate of $20.7 million from 4,318 locations, Sony’s reboot looks like it will end up with close to $140 over six days, or slightly higher than studio projections. Katy Perry: Part Of Me, the latest 3D concert film, also got a jump on the Friday box office: launching Thursday with $3.1 million from 2,730 locations. With only $2.7 million on Friday, however, Part Of Me looks like it will struggle to top $10 million by Sunday. The only new movie that stuck to the Friday release model was Universal’s Savages. The R-rated drama from director Oliver Stone earned an estimated $5.6 million from 2,628 locations towards what should be a $15 million first weekend.

We’ll have full details on the post-holiday box office tomorrow.

Title Friday Total
1 The Amazing Spider-Man $20,700,000 $95.7
2 Ted $10,500,000 $98.1
3 Brave $6,238,000 $160.5
4 Magic Mike $6,135,000 $63.3
5 Savages $5,600,000 $5.6
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