UK Cinema Releases: Friday 8th October 2010


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (20th Century Fox): The sequel to the 1987 film begins with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) getting out of jail in 2001 and moves forward to 2008 where a trader, Jake Moore (Shia LeBeouf), is looking for revenge after his firm is taken over by a ruthless rival, Bretton James (Josh Brolin).

Enter Gekko, now the author of a new book warning of a market meltdown. Jake happens to be dating Gekko’s estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan) and agrees to help him reconnect with her, in return for information about James’ firm.

Although watchable, this is curiously flat and lifeless and despite being set amidst the recent economic meltdown, lacks tension and intrigue.

The best thing about it is Douglas, who portrays a fallen villain with just the right amounts of regret and cunning, so when he is absent for long stretches the film gets bogged down in characters talking inside rooms about finances or their relationships.

Oliver Stone appears to have lost the energy and anger that marked out his best work and too much of the film is given over to inconsequential domestic drama, which makes this a missed opportunity to bookend the long economic boom which began in the 1980s.

Fox opened this early on Wednesday and with built-in awareness from the first film, can expect a decent opening weekend which will almost certainly see it claim the top slot. [*Read the full review here*] [Cineworld Haymarket, Empire Leicester Sq., & Nationwide / 12A]

The Death and Life Of Charlie St. Cloud (Universal): A drama based on Ben Sherwood’s best-selling 2004 novel about a sailor (Zac Efron) who has to choose between keeping a promise he made to his brother, who died in a car accident, or going after the girl he loves (Amanda Crew).

Directed by Burr Steers, it co-stars Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta. Universal will be hoping teenage girls turn out in force for this one as the poor box office and negative reviews from the U.S. do not bode well for its prospects over here. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 12A]

Life As We Know It (Warner Bros.): A romantic comedy about a caterer (Katherine Heigl) and sports director (Josh Duhamel) who have a first a bad first date, who have end up looking after their goddaughter.

Directed by Greg Berlanti, it co-stars Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks and Jean Smart. Warner Bros will be hoping that undemanding female audiences don’t read the mixed reviews for this and won’t mind the fact that Heigl seems to be getting typecast as a sour, struggling career woman. [Nationwide / 12A]

Mr Nice (E1 Entertainment): A British made biopic about drug dealer Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) and his life and times, adapted from his autobiography of the same name.

Directed by Bernard Rose, it co-stars Chloe Sevigny, David Thewlis and Christian McKay. [Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Vue West End & Nationwide / 18]


Restrepo (Dogwoof): A documentary that chronicles U.S. soldiers on a remote 15-man outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley during the current conflict.

Directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, it garnered mostly positive reviews in the US and also won the documentary prize at Sundance earlier this year. [Curzon Renoir, Empire Leicester Sq., Ritzy & Nationwide / 15]

A Town Called Panic (Optimum Releasing): Based on the cult European animated TV series, this features three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian and Horse who share a house in a rural town. Directed by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar. [Curzon Soho & Key Cities / PG]

Jackboots On Whitehall (Vertigo Films): A satire set in an alternative WWII where the Nazis have seized London and the Allies must fight back from Hadrian’s Wall. Utilising the same techniques used in Team America: World Police, it features animatronic puppets and the voices of Ewan McGregor, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Timothy Spall, Richard O’Brien and Richard Griffiths.[ Empire Leicester Sq., & Nationwide / 12A]

Freight (IndyUK Films/Icon): A British crime film about a Russian human trafficking gang who cross a local businessman. [Selected Key Cities / 18]

> UK DVD and Blu-ray picks for this week including Se7en, Memento and Greenberg
> Get local cinema showtimes for your area via Google Movies

Cinema Reviews Thoughts

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Two decades since Oliver Stone chronicled financial greed in Wall Street, he returns with a sequel set amidst the recent global economic meltdown.

Opening with Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) getting out of jail in 2001, the story quickly moves forward to 2008 where a trader, Jake Moore (Shia LeBeouf), is looking for revenge after his firm is taken over by a ruthless rival, Bretton James (Josh Brolin).

Enter Gekko, the author of a new book warning of the market meltdown. Jake happens to be dating Gekko’s estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan) and agrees to help him reconnect with her, in return for information about James’ firm.

Given that 23 years have passed since the original film, it is remembering that its cultural status built over time. Although Douglas won an Oscar, it was not a huge critical or commercial hit and it took time for his phrase ‘greed is good’ to enter the lexicon.

Gekko was loosely based on disgraced figures such Michael Miken and Ivan Boesky, but gradually became a hero over time to a generation of financial workers who helped stoke the boom years under Clinton and Bush Jnr.

LeBeouf noted that for this film, Stone and Douglas were treated like royalty whilst filming on Wall Street because of the impact of the 1987 film – a cautionary parable about greed that ironically inspired a generation keen to emulate the villain.

The new film has a promising concept: what would Gekko himself make of the financial crises of 2008 and the bailout of Wall Street banks by the taxpayer?

Much of the plot involves a thinly veiled dramatisation of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, although the names of the firms have been changed, and the efforts of the US government to stop the financial system collapsing.

On the plus side, the return of Douglas as Gekko is actually the most enjoyable aspect of the film. Not only does he paint a convincing portrait of a disgraced titan looking to get back in the game, but he balances genuine emotion with sly humour.

Where the film is less successful is the way in which it crams in too much domestic drama alongside the Gekko narrative.

The screenplay by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff is weaker when it comes the emotional conflicts of Jake and Winnie, which feels stodgy and undercooked, and it never really nails the extraordinary events of the last 2 years.

Although Le Beouf is agreeable in the role, his character’s passion for green technology seems forced and Mulligan is almost completely wasted in a one-dimensional role.

Brolin is suitably menacing as the natural successor and rival to Gekko, but there is a curious lack of drama to scenes involving his bank and a global financial apocalypse.

The actual news bulletins from 2008 felt more exciting than the dull sequences here where bankers gather round tables and spout dialogue like it is some kind of TV reconstruction.

Roderigo Prieto’s visuals are curiously muted and also feature a bizarre amount of old school split-screen effects (some not seen since the early days of MTV) and an overuse of graphics which don’t actually explain that much.

At around 130 minutes, it lacks the spark and fizz of the original and by the end credits audiences may be wondering what Stone was thinking as it flounders towards an unsatisfactory conclusion.

The biggest strike against the film is that it doesn’t place the 2008 crash in proper context. Although a few neat lines are offered as explainers, it should have gone deeper in to why the Clinton and Bush years led to the current disaster.

Strangely for the Oliver Stone, there is little of his energetic anger or style, and he seems more concerned with sentimental family drama than the underlying social issues, which must rank as a massive missed opportunity.

Douglas ultimately provides a reason for watching, but it seems like this film will have a much more muted cultural impact than the first, as it fails to form an effective response to the current financial meltdown.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opens on Wednesday 6th October

> Official UK site
> Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps at the IMDb
> Reviews at Metacritic
> Find out more about the original Wall Street film and the current economic crisis


Trailer: Wall Street Money Never Sleeps

The latest full length trailer for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps has arrived.

Directed by Oliver Stone, the sequel to his 1987 film sees Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) return to the financial world he once dominated and hook up with a young, idealistic investment banker (Shia LaBeouf), set to marry his estranged daughter (Carey Mulligan).

It also stars Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella and Eli Wallach.

The UK release date is Wednesday 21st April.

> Official site
> IMDb entry


Trailer: Wall Street 2 Money Never Sleeps


The first trailer for the Wall Street sequel Money Never Sleeps has arrived.

(Click here if the above one doesn’t work)

There are some nice touches (especially the mobile phone) but doesn’t this feel like it should have been made a few years ago before the collapse of Lehman Brothers?

It started filming in New York last September with Michael Douglas back as Gordon Gekko and Oliver Stone returning to direct.

The plot is the modern-day story of Gekko, who has recently been sprung from prison and re-emerges into the current chaos of the financial markets, whilst trying to rebuild a relationship with his estranged daughter (Carey Mulligan).

Meanwhile Shia LaBeouf plays a young trader and Frank Langella stars as his mentor, whilst Josh Brolin has a key supporting role as a hedge fund manager.

It is released in the UK and US on Friday 23rd April.