I can’t tell if the 190-minute “Extended Cut” version of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven opened at the Laemmle Fairfax on Friday 12.23 or three days ago (Wednesday, 12.28), but it’s playing there now…and I wish New Yorkers could see it also. Why didn’t they book this version into a smallish Manhattan theatre, or, better yet, why didn’t Fox Home Video release it as a year-end DVD attraction? (The 145 minute theatrical version came out on 10.11.) David Poland, who lives two and a half blocks from the Laemmle Fairfax, says the extended cut “is night and day from the original.” It makes it clear that as far as the theatrical version that came out last May 6th was concerned, “Fox literally cut out the story of the movie,” he says. “I was so shocked by what was back in that I had to rent the [theatrical version] DVD that is now out to make sure I wasn’t crazy. What is breathtaking is that every major character in the movie, except perhaps Ghassan Massoud’s already brilliant turn as Saladin, is significantly enhanced by the additions. Edward Norton’s cameo as The King of Jerusalem now feels like a real performance. Marton Csokas is no longer just a caricature. Liam Neeson’s character has history and motivation, not just people telling us how great he was. And even Orlando Bloom’s Balian is given greater depth, his despair and his need for forgiveness actually making sense when you see Scott’s real vision for the film. [Fox] gutted a great film and made us all think it was shallow. Shame on them.”