5:00 AM PDT 7/6/2012 by Todd McCarthy, Chris Godley
With the release of "Savages," The Hollywood Reporter's chief critic ranks the works of the director whose feature films have made Hollywood history from most to least (more applicable, somehow, in his case, than best to worst).
Nixon, as problematic as it may be, stays in the mind because of the determined effort of a filmmaker diametrically opposed to the subject temperamentally and politically to understand this uniquely complicated president.
Savages, his latest, feels more like a real Oliver Stone film than anything he's made in a while, as the druggy lifestyle and ultra-violence play to his dramatic and artistic strengths, as do the invitations to outlandish supporting performance and stylistic play.
Alexander, Stone's big fiasco, continued to improve through two additional post-theatrical release versions until reaching its likely best possible form as Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut, at 220 minutes, which is how it should have been presented in the first place.
U Turn, the director's least overtly political film, is a colorful, sometimes outrageous wallow in noirish modern Western pulp, paradoxically appealing only to those with the most and least refined tastes.
World Trade Center almost feels like the work of a different filmmaker, and certainly that of a director who desires to prove that he can make a responsible, right-down-the-middle topical drama in a conventional way.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, about the return of Gordon Gekko, is hackneyed and contrived and, most glaringly, refuses to take advantage of the recent economic collapse to aggressively get at the heart of the matter.