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ALEXANDER

At heart, Alexander, the militaristic, world-conquerering man’s man, is a great big mama’s boy.

CAST: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Rosario Dawson, Jared Leto, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Gary Stretch, Brian Blessed

DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone

SCREENWRITERS: Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle and Laeta Kalogris

“The movie is a sprawling mess, a lox, a three-hour non-starter...too puny and fragmented for its mighty subject...the only truly heroic presence in the picture is Angelina Jolie, improbably but delightfully cast as Alexander's imperious mother, Olympias...I don't care how nuts she is, Jolie is the real deal: a gorgeous, epic-scaled actress who can transform herself from the inside out. She could eat Colin Farrell for breakfast and pick her teeth with Jared Leto. Forget Alexander: The film is a pedestal to Angelina the great.” --David Edelstein, Slate

“Mad of eye and teased of hair, Olympias, played with nose-flaring gusto by Angelina Jolie, was the mother of all monstrous mothers, a literal snake charmer whose love for her only son had the stench of incestuous passion and the tedium of the perpetual nag...Rarely since Joan Crawford rampaged through the B-movie sunset of her career has a female performer achieved such camp distinction...puerile writing, confused plotting, shockingly off-note performances and storytelling that lacks either of the two necessary ingredients for films of this type, pop or gravitas.” --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Though filled with spectacular battles, opulent sets and grand Hellenic passions, this madly ambitious film doesn't compute... Jolie, eyes blazing, arms and shoulders accessorized with serpents, delivers a grand-opera turn that falls just short of high camp...Farrell works mightily to hold Stone's sprawling history lesson together, convincingly morphing from eager boy to battle-weary conqueror. But could any young contemporary actor fill Alexander's globe-bestriding shoes? He remains beyond Farrell's grasp.” --David Ansen, Newsweek

“Alexander, as expressed through the weepy histrionics of Colin Farrell, is more like a desperate housewife than a soldier. He's always crying, his voice trembles, his eyes fill with tears...Teri Hatcher could kick this twerp's butt...Then there's Angelina Jolie as Mom...Give this young woman the hands-down award for best impression of Bela Lugosi while hampered by a 38-inch bust line...She represents the spirit of kitsch that fills the movie, and with all her crazed posturing and slinking, it's more of a silent movie performance than one from the sound era. Theda Bara, call your agent.” --Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

“How's ‘Alexander’? Not great...this three-hour buttnumbathon is hamstrung by a hectoring grandiosity, not new to Stone, and a nod toward caution, which is. The crazy energy that redeems even Stone's worst films (Natural Born Killers, U Turn) barely surfaces in this poky take on the life of the Macedonian warrior who died at thirty-two...Even Alexander's carnal confusion is presented warily... The film fails, crucially, in getting us inside the head of a man who models himself on myth.” --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Butt-and mind-numbing, Oliver Stone's three-hour ‘Alexander,’ like the equally silly ‘Troy,’ underscores just what an accomplishment ‘Gladiator’ was four years ago...Sporting a dreadful blond pageboy and a micro-mini toga while exchanging come-hither looks with his mascara-loving childhood pal, Hephaistion (Jared Leto), Colin Farrell looks more like Alexander the Fabulous than Alexander the Great... Alexander is often such a simpering, indecisive wuss that it's hard to accept he conquered most of the known world before his mysterious death at the age of 33 in 323 B.C.” --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

“Looking at Colin Farrell, we don't see much apart from a gruff young actor with puffy blond locks that don't match his caterpillar eyebrows and a fixed scowl of vague and nagging impassivity. He has no dynamism, no obsessive interior force; everything we're told about Alexander remains an abstraction, an index-card idea for a character pasted onto Farrell's less-than-mythic presence. As a man, he's grand in theory but hollow at the center, and so is the movie...‘Alexander’ is an exhausted epic, one that Stone has directed with an almost startling lack of personality or vision.” --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“Played by Irish actor Colin Farrell with a blond wave and a most convincing Irish accent, Alexander is a spoiled, paranoid snot with a batch of Greek complexes...In a scene in which Alexander is roaring at his troops to rouse them to battle, he sounds like Mighty Mouse pretending to be Superman...the casting of Jolie as Olympias is a disaster. Not only is she nearly the same age as Farrell, she's more ambitious and less talented. She does attempt a foreign accent, but unfortunately picked the one we recognize from old movies as Transylvanian...unless you want to tie yourself in a Gordian knot drawing parallels between Alexander's desire to Hellenize the world and George W. Bush's desire to Americanize it, this is a history lesson you can skip.” --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

“All hail Oliver Stone, whose ‘Alexander’ is a shock: not a campy disaster...He stages ‘Alexander’s’ numerous bloody, profitable coups with a scary fury that never boils over into ‘Natural Born Killers’ psycho-territory. And in Colin Farrell, he has an Alexander not only of finely dyed blond hair but also of finely calibrated emotions...Stone handles Alexander’s well-documented bisexuality without the kind of macho contempt you might expect from the popular image of this ballsy director...As one of the few movies around not pushing state-of-the-art animation or Jude Law, ‘Alexander’ is a damn good date movie.” --Ken Tucker, New York Magazine

“The ambiguities are not assisted by Colin Farrell's less than wholehearted embrace of his bisexuality...Nor is he convincing as a conqueror. Farrell is a fine actor, but on a human scale; he's not cut out for philosopher-king...I have always admired Oliver Stone's courage in taking on big, challenging films, and his gift for marrying action and ideas. ‘Alexander’ is not a success, but it is ambitious and risky, and incapable of the inanities of ‘Troy.’” --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Stone presents a riot of sensations, military and erotic, through which Alexander (Colin Farrell) has to hack like an intrepid soldier through an unfamiliar jungle. All of which makes for a long, lumpy trip with a charismatic guide and some brilliant detours...The hole in the center of this mythic history is Farrell, who looks overwhelmed and diminished by the burden of carrying an epic movie on his bulked-up shoulders. Jolie, however, is right at home as his mother...Olympias may be Philip's wife, but she is Dracula's daughter. And Jolie inhabits her with an awful grandeur... Jolie's real vengeance is to invade the film's story and conquer it. This man's movie is a woman's triumph after all.” --Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

“The ultimate failing of ‘Alexander’ is its lack of urgency, tension and suspense...it’s impossible to contemplate Alexander’s hubris (not simply in conquering foreign lands, but also in absorbing alien cultures into his own) without thinking of our equally hubristic President of the United States, who seeks to impose the ‘will’ of his God on other peoples with other gods... is ‘Alexander’ worth seeing? The best I can say is that though it is very far from the top of my list of end-of-the-year recommendations, it is equally far from the very bottom.” --Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer