Tales From Netflix are DVD reviews, where I tell you if a DVD is worth putting in your Netflix rental queue, moving it to the top, burying it at the bottom, or not even bothering in the first place.
XXX: STATE OF THE UNION
XXX PART DEUS is a lot like watching XXX if it were an ICE CUBE remix. Take all the parts from the first movie, which was okay at best, and dub in Cube in the starring role, adjusting the beats, or in this case scenes, accordingly. Add to that the fact that you have Willem Dafoe as the villain, playing Green Goblin with only slightly less hysteria, and you've seen it all before. Even the rap girl run chop shop straight out of Outkast's I like the way you move video.
XXX theft auto gets a mild bottom QUEUE rating from me... mildly enticing D.C. based dumb fun, as witnessed just months ago in National Treasure.
ALEXANDER: Director's Cut
Not sure what the difference is between this and the regular version. I'd heard rumblings of different context through some changes in terms of Alexander's sexuality, and I assume the length and/or rating may be extended...
From all the negative talk I'd heard around this film though, I have to tell you I was pleasantly surprised. While not without it's problems, I thought the film, and Alexander's epic quest to answer life's questions through his unrelenting march of domination, engrossing. Oliver Stone can still weave intoxicating imagery into twisted epic tales, as he did so enjoyably with The Doors or U-Turn, two Stone films that readily come to mind. You really get a sense that Alexander, though questionably cast as Farrell, is journeying to the ends of the Earth. Kilmer also turns in another great performance for Stone as Alexander's father, King Phillip.
Having just watched the Alexander anime by Peter Chung last year, I was familiar with the story, but as I know both are unique takes on it (at least the anime was), there was enough difference between the two. The homosexuality found in the Stone version being the most striking change. That may have been alluded to in the anime, but here it's at the forefront. Dunno if that's part of the original story or not, but it worked well here. I also thought the flashbacks to the crowning of Alexander worked well to drive the story. The one mis-step that comes to mind is the big "first" battle early on in the film where we're treated to the protagonists clever strategy, but then as it plays out, you wish you would've paid closer attention because the presentation is confusing.
I recommend you put Alexander to the top of your queue. Though if you've watched Stone before and found his films not to your liking, I suspect you'd find this the same.