DID YOU READ

Cannes Review: “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”

Cannes Review: “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” (photo)

Posted by on

Reviewed at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

For at least its first half, Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” — the sequel to his 1987 original — may be the cinema’s best dramatization of the 2008 financial meltdown. With its rapidly cut split-screens and downward spiraling electronic numbers reflecting on the panicked face of its protagonist Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf), the film captures the fast, frenzied terror of computer-driven economic freefall like nothing else on recent screens.

The digital trickery of such sequences — not to mention some fantastic animated end credits — shows that Stone has embraced the new technologies of filmmaking with innovative panache. Too bad that hackneyed Hollywood melodramatic clichés get in the way of the final result.

At its best, “Money Never Sleeps” takes on the mood of Stone’s “JFK.” Conspiracy lurks in the air and great actors deliver ominous bits of dialogue: “Are we going under?” asks the innocent Jake, an ambitious trader who watches the world collapse around him. Answers Frank Langella’s wizened trader Louis Zabel: “The question is: Who isn’t?”

Even octogenarian legend Eli Wallach shows up as an old-school Streeter whistling away at his enemies. For amateur economic-watchers, the film also offers a surprisingly sophisticated account of the instruments of financial collapse, with its talk of subprime mortgages, short-selling and credit default swaps.

05142010_WallStreetMoneyNeverSleeps5.jpgBut the film falters in its overtly dramatic triangles: Jake’s girlfriend-fiancé happens to be the liberal HuffPo-like blogger daughter (Carey Mulligan, cute but underwritten) of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas, of course, reprising his mix of charismatic sliminess from any number of recent roles).

While Gekko, recently released from prison, uses Jake to get to his long-estranged daughter, Jake must also contend with a contentious relationship with another mentor figure, Bretton James (Josh Brolin), the head of a rival investment bank. Blink and you’ll miss it, but there’s one point in which Langella’s Zabel appears like an Obi-Wan Kenobi figment, a reminder that Jake Skywalker must resist the temptations of the dark side of Wall Street.

Stone has never been known for subtlety. When he has focused on past political events, such as “JFK” or “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” impassioned political conviction helped smooth over any emotional excess. But as seen in his last film “W.,” his biopic of George W. Bush, Stone is less sure-footed on the contemporary homefront. His real world spaces veer toward the surreal; this must be intentional, as evidenced by some deliberately strange scenes in “Money Never Sleeps” surrounding Bretton’s philanthropic efforts. But such moments undermine the emotional truth that Stone clearly wants us to feel for his romantic leads.

Most problematic is the film’s final reels. If Stone’s central message is that money corrupts relationships, the movie’s conclusion indicates that he has ultimately sold his audience short.

“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” will be released by 20th Century Fox on September 24th.

[Photos: “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” 20th Century Fox, 2010]

Watch More
Brockmire-103-banner-4

Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

Posted by on

He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire_101_tout_2

Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire-Sam-Adams-great-effing-beer

Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on

From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet