Oliver Stone and Russell Crowe Compete to See Who Can Suck the Most

Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut

Warner Bros., $24.98

Alexander, released and just as quickly dismissed in 2004, remains three years later the film that haunts its maker, Oliver Stone. For the second time, he's tinkered with his discombobulated epic so we could make better sense of it, adding some 30 minutes of footage while reshuffling the rest of the deck. The result? Well, Anthony Hopkins is explaining the action to us like some street-corner madman; only he's hidden behind a new beginning—the end, more or less, with Alexander (Colin Farrell) on his deathbed, before we leap back and forth through time till we're utterly lost. The new version, loaded with more sex and violence (bingo!), feels more desperate than its predecessors. All it's done is make a long movie longer—though, if you need much more naked Rosario Dawson, this is your DVD. ROBERT WILONSKY

Don't Look Back (1965 Tour Deluxe Edition)

Docurama, $49.95

D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 Don't Look Back, which chronicled Bob Dylan on his English tour in 1965, remains the rock doc to which all others aspire. It's unfiltered and unfettered Bob—the genius, the bastard, the stand-up comic, the sumbitch taking his gee-tar and harmonica abroad while fiddling with the press and diddlin' Joan Baez. This astounding collection, replete with original 1968 transcript-cum-photo-album and "Subterranean Homesick Blues" flip book, adds to its unconquerable legacy with a second film culled from outtakes as important and insightful as anything in the original. "See the world the way Bob Dylan sees it," he tells a journalist to whom he loans his shades. Turns out the only film that could live up to Don't Look Back was the film made from its spare parts. ROBERT WILONSKY

49th Parallel

Criterion, $39.95

Disparaged throughout their careers as flamboyant artistes, the British team of director Michael Powell and screenwriter Emeric Pressburger couldn't have made a straight World War II propaganda piece if Winston Churchill himself had been the gaffer. The proof's in this release of their 1941 thriller, a look-out-America allegory of isolationist peril in which a stranded U-boat crew mounts a seven-man invasion of Canada. With its urgent speechifying, it would be an American Legion Hall classic if not for the devious structure (which places our identification with the enemy) and the strikingly odd characters (including Laurence Olivier's French-Canuck trapper, his goofiest performance ever). The best extra is the 46-minute propaganda short "The Volunteer," with Ralph Richardson relaying the wartime exploits of his inept dresser—perhaps the most unhurried, digressive plea ever made to grab a rifle for God and country. JIM RIDLEY

A Good Year

Fox, $29.99

OK, let's get this straight: A millionaire who looks like Russell Crowe must either move to his gorgeous French vineyard and bang a luscious cafe owner or return to his lavish and decadent London lifestyle? And we're supposed to give a shit either way? A Good Year is consumer porn of a very masochistic bent, posing as a celebration of the "simplicity" of European aristocracy. Not to sound like a pinko, but capitalist fantasies are fine when they're not quite so full of shit. Of course, everything looks great, as filmed by Ridley Scott, and Crowe is perfectly charming. But they know there's no drama here, which is why they squeeze in some ill-fitting pratfalls and jokes. It all feels like watching vacation videos from some guy you don't know. JORDAN HARPER

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny

New Line, $27.98

You probably already know where you stand on Tenacious D, the pudgy hard-rock comedy duo that made Jack Black famous. And if you haven't heard of them, this isn't the place to start: Their DVD of short films and music videos is much better. But fans of Black and Kyle Gass—especially those with their expectations chemically lowered—should be happy to give the film a shot. There are some glorious set pieces, like a musical prologue featuring Meat Loaf and Dio, and a mushroom-fueled hallucination where Black is adopted by Bigfoot (this is a midnight movie waiting to happen). But the best joke is that their music is almost as good as their swagger; use the "skip to a song" function and watch "Master Exploder," during which audience members spontaneously orgasm or have their heads blown off. You gotta admit: The D brings it. JORDAN HARPER

Other Releases

The 1989 SIFF prizewinner Apartment Zero is finally on disc; we'll review it next week. Also of local interest (from SIFF '06): the Roosevelt High School girls' basketball doc, The Heart of the Game. For the faith community, there's Conversations With God. And for those willing to watch any piece of dreck directed by Terry Gilliam, there's Tideland. For connoisseurs of British punk, Christopher Petit's 1979 feature, Radio On, features Sting in his first acting role, with a soundtrack supplied by David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Ian Dury, and other notables of the era. Will Ferrell tries a change of pace with mixed results in Stranger Than Fiction. The nuptial Britcom Confetti would make for a comfortable couch rental for any couple contemplating marriage. Anchor Bay has dug up the 1978 cult horror film The Manitou, while Warner Bros. raids its vaults for a box including both the 1937 and 1952 versions of The Prisoner of Zenda (starring Ronald Colman and Stewart Granger, respectively). If you can't wait for the Mariners to start losing, Kino offers a collection of silent baseball ball movies, including Headin' Home, with Babe Ruth basically starring as, well, himself.

dvd@seattleweekly.com

 
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