It's a pretty crazy ride that revels in the violence on display, while at the same time lashing out at the media's sensationalism and the audience's lack of critical standards.
The good stuff
Oliver Stone's Alexander is an ambitious film. It tackles the life of Alexander the Great, who took his army around the world to conquer kingdoms from Egypt to India. These historic epics are by nature quite cheesy and dramatic, but Oliver Stone really takes it the next level here. I'm not sure the rest of crew had any idea of what he was trying to accomplish though.
Not sure what the directions were for the actors, but even though the film is stocked with veterean A-listers, the performances are weak and over-the-top. Not just that, most of them are dressed as if they were participating in a local theater play. I don't think someone like Colin Farrell has ever looked so silly on camera.
The film as a whole doesn't look very realistic, almost fantasy-like in places. Especially the foreign kingdoms feel like they'd fit right in with the upcoming Avatar sequels. There are a handful of decent moments, in particularly the pink-colored fight at the end, but overall it's a disappointing mess that comes off surprisingly amateurish for a film this expensive.
Another political epic from Oliver Stone, this time focusing on Nixon. The film isn't just the Watergate scandal though, but span's Nixon's entire career. While it starts off pretty decent, the rise part of the story is by far the most interesting. The second half is way more dramatic and starts to drag quite a bit.
Nixon is a successful lawyer who sides with the Conservatives and wants to unite his country. A first attempt to become president fails, but after Kennedy is assassinated and the US finds itself stuck in the Vietnam War, Nixon sees his chance to try again. This time with more success, though he'll find that being a president isn't as easy as he'd hoped.
Stone has quite a bit of fun with the rise of Nixon. The pacing is solid, there's some (limited) visual prowess and some memorable scenes. Once things go downhill for Nixon the film grinds to a halt. Hopkins is too much of a caricature, the drama doesn't really register, and the film goes on for way too long. If you're really interested in Nixon, it's probably better to watch a good documentary.
Oliver Stone is pretty hit-and-miss and this was one of his misses. It's interesting to see he made this just one year before Natural Born Killers (still my favorite Stone), I guess he needed to get all the saccharine out of his system after making Heaven & Earth. Don't expect a typical Stone war flick, this is hefty Hollywood romance in a far away country.
Le Ly lives in a small village that gets torn apart by the war. No matter who visits, the villagers are tortured and raped regardless. Le and her mom escape to Saigon, where she gets pregnant and has to turn to prostitution to make a living. Walking the streets, she meets Steve Butler, a kind-hearted soul who wants to marry her.
Loud, sentimental music, overbearing drama and some tourist-like cinematography scream Oscar contender. So much that even the Academy got a queasy from all the pandering and passed it right by. At 140 minutes, it's also excessively long. There's a handful of interesting scenes, other than that this is just one big misfire.