WALL STREET – MONEY NEVER SLEEPS * * *
Cert 12A, 132 mins
Oliver Stone’s original 1987 movie Wall Street opened to mixed reviews and his belated sequel is set to follow suit.
But whatever its critical frailties, Money Never Sleeps is again so relevant to current economics that you simply can’t ignore it.
Then there’s Michael Douglas, one of the finest stars of his generation valiantly trying to live up to the greatest, Oscar-winning performance of his career as the greedy corporate raider Gordon Gekko.
That Douglas should now be ailing with throat cancer adds degrees of poignancy to a ruthless corporate world where none would otherwise exist.
Especially in a movie where the gloss has more depth than most characters.
And where even Frank Langella’s experienced boss Louis Zabel is driven towards suicidal tendencies despite his sensible mantra: ‘Good day I’m OK, bad day I’m OK... my feelings are irrelevant’.
The latest ambitious kid on the block is Jake Moore, played by Shia LaBeouf who must surely be praying his looks do not nosedive in the next two decades like the uncredited Charlie Sheen’s return as Bud Fox.
Jake tracks down the freed Gekko and plans to marry his estranged daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan, Oscar-nominated fresh from An Education).
As if by some devilish twist, the jargon-intoxicated script uses the medical C-word three times, with Gekko’s latest financial advice suggesting ‘like cancer, it’s a disease you’ve got to fight’.
Stone being Stone, he can’t resist bogging us down straight away with a wordy intro about a geological phenomenon.
Or endless shots of shiny skyscrapers.
Or cutting his film up with repetitive graphic inserts about a new technology.
His best and simplest shot is of a child blowing a bubble which floats up into the sky. Interestingly, we don’t see it burst.
Perhaps your own bubble hasn’t, despite the global financial crisis which has given Stone the perfect conditions to reinvent Gekko.
But Britain’s still-overpaid bankers deserve to spend every bedtime worrying about his phrase ‘Money’s a bitch that never sleeps... when you wake up in the morning it might be gone forever’.
* Similarly, the return of the digitally-restored 1985 hit BACK TO THE FUTURE * * * * * (Cert PG, 116 mins) has also hardly dated, making Michael J Fox another must see on the silver screen.
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT
* * *
Cert 12A, 114mins
Directed by Gerg Berlanti (The Broken Hearts Club), this is an utterly predictable romantic comedy about Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel having to cope with a newly-orphaned baby.
Since her ill-fated parents had been trying to pair the mismatched Holly and Messer prior to their accident, will baby Sophie do the trick on her own in front of a camera lens that sometimes appears to have been smeared with ten tons of Vaseline?
Divided into seasons like Tamara Drewe and sometimes replicating this year’s identikit Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez baby movies The Switch and The Back-up Plan, this film is bound up by bodily functions’ convention.
But women will certainly enjoy the chemistry between the two leads, Duhamel’s babe-magnet physique and the fact that the lead-sharing triplets Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett are already a class act.
PANIQUE AU VILLAGE (A TOWN CALLED PANIC)
* * *
Cert PG, 75 mins
Showing only at the Electric Cinema on Station St, the sheer speed of this stop-go Belgian animation makes its style well worth a look.
The action sometimes overrides the subtitles, but children of all ages could well be mesmerised just trying to keep up with the accident-prone story of Cowboy, Indian and Horse.
JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL * * *
Cert 12A, 92 mins
This low-budget British animation written and directed by unknown brothers Edward and Rory McHenry features an all-star cast including Timothy Spall as Churchill alongside Richard E Grant, Tom Wilkinson, Richard Griffiths, Richard O’Brien, Pam Ferris and even Gary Newbon’s son Neil Newbon.
It’s an ambitious, enjoyably-twisted take on the Second World War, with farmer Chris (Ewan McGregor) wondering if he’ll be able to put his big hands to good use for king and country.
If you’ve ever admired Zulu, enjoyed Thunderbirds, laughed at Dad’s Army and Spitting Image or played with an Airfix kit, then this is the film for you.
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CHARLIE ST CLOUD * *
Cert 12A, 99 mins
Now almost 23, High School Musical star Zac Efron seems like a nice boy.
Which is probably why he said ‘Yes’ to never having his hair out of place in this well-intentioned but insufferably dull, sub-Nicholas Sparks (Dear John) drivel about moving on after a bereavement.
The photography is pretty, but the Ghost-lite script makes even less sense than the silly title.
If Efron was old enough he might have known Keanu Reeves fell into a similar stupor in A Walk In The Clouds (1995) and The Lake House (2006).