The Oliver Stone Collection [Blu-Ray]

The Oliver Stone Collection [Blu-Ray]
Oliver Stone's output as a director proves that the line between visionary auteur and self-indulgent filmmaker is wafer thin, and this new collection on Blu-Ray handily demonstrates this. The Oliver Stone Collection could hardly be called "definitive," containing just three films. And the three selected aren't even his best three, but they do represent both ends of the quality spectrum, with something firmly in the middle. Natural Born Killers caused a huge furore upon its initial release back in 1994 due to its alleged glorification of violence. Obviously the ante has been raised when it comes to movie violence, but Natural Born Killers is still an incredible film. It perfectly captures the attention span deficient reality television generation with its ridiculous number of cuts, pop culture references and garish colour palette, which makes for an over-the-top, psychedelic mess. There's absolutely no restraint in any of the performances from the likes of Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Downey Jr. and especially Juliette Lewis, who has never been this good since. It is an absolute classic and one of Stone's best films. 1999's Any Given Sunday is more of a mixed bag simply because for everything it does right it does just any many things badly. It captures the action on the field better than any other football movie, yet recycles so many sporting clichés that it's possible to see every plot element from a mile away. There are some good performances amidst it all though, with both Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx standing out in early dramatic roles. Stone's "director's cut" adds an additional six minutes of weirdness, including a gory eyeball injury that contributes absolutely nothing. Alexander was much maligned when it first hit cinemas in 2004 and rightly so. It was Stone's attempt at a historical epic and in addition to taking itself way too seriously, the story is muddled and confusing. The studio allowed Stone to make an extended version to try and deal with the issues and the result was Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut. It turns out that adding another 40 minutes doesn't help because it translates into more onscreen time for Colin Farrell, who is so out of his league that he completely sucks any life out of most of the scenes he's in. Angelina Jolie is marginally better, but she's going through the motions. Alexander is one of Stone's worst movies simply because it's so bloated and dull. The upside of the collection is that they've all made the transition to Blu-Ray looking just fine. Even the oldest film, Natural Born Killers, has wonderfully vibrant colours and the upgrade to Blu-Ray isn't a complete waste. All three films have a wealth of extras, with Stone contributing commentary tracks for each, plus the typical deleted scenes and "making of" featurettes. However, most of them are from earlier DVD releases and aren't hi-def. Alexander Revisited, funnily enough, has the most interesting extra: a pair of feature-length hi-def documentaries made by Stone's son that focus on the problems during the creation of the film and also the reception to it. They have some surprisingly candid moments and are actually much more entertaining than the film itself. Considering that all three movies are available separately, there's no incentive to pick up this collection unless you have a particularly masochistic streak. Instead, stick with Natural Born Killers to see Stone at his absolute best. (Warner)