I love the startling use of a seemingly honest appraisal in Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman’s statement last Monday to Variety‘s Michael Fleming about why the release date of Oliver Stone’s Alexander is being bumped from November 5th to November 24th. “We took a good look at the movie in rough form,” said Fellman, “and if it’s not the best film he’s ever directed, it’s close.” [Italics mine.] A more typical distribution-chief statement would be something along the lines of “it’s awesome…I think it’s his best work ever.” Instead, Fellman is saying Alexander is an extremely fine film, but perhaps not quite on the level of Salvador or Platoon or [insert your favorite Stone film]. You could interpret Fellman’s remark as an “obiter dicta” — words in passing — that reveals more than the speaker intended, or simply a case of unusual (and very refreshing) candor.