By Amy Nicholson
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Calum Marsh
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Inkoo Kang
By Voice Film Critics
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
Even before our current economic slump, the financial world and its institutions had mutated over the years since corporate raider Gordon Gekko touted that greed is good in Wall Street, director Oliver Stones landmark 1987 drama. Returning to the scene of the crime, Stone and his Oscar-winning star, Michael Douglas, have invested right-here, right-now relevance into their follow-up, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. I spoke with Stone by phone about his first-ever sequel and this mess were in.
Who knew you would ever make a horror flick? [Laughs.] Its actually a fun movie. A tough subject like that is best covered in a satiric manner. I wouldnt get too heavy with the blame, because its very hard to focus it in a way thats understandable for the present audience. Trust was lost between banks. When trust is lost, the system cannot work. So it is a George Romero fucking horror show, and nobody trusts anybody, like in Night of the Living Dead. Thats a good idea! I should have made the bankers into zombies and called it Day of the Living Dead. There are a few good bankers left, but they get venom into their system and start to crack up.
Was it hard to find a place in this modern world for Gordon Gekko? Yeah, he gets out of jail, and thats the hook. Who was he? There was some identity loss in a sense. His older son committed suicide in his absence, and his youngest daughter is alienated by him. His wife is gone, so he has no family. Hes got nothing. Zero. Outside the game. Hes not a player anymore. How does he get back in? I wont give that away.
What can you reveal? All I can say is we tried to tell a great story. I like his movies very much, but its not a Michael Moore movie. Its about Gekko, his daughter [played by Carey Mulligan], and a young investor/trader [Shia LaBeouf] who is trying to do some good in this world. Josh Brolin is a surprise as one of the big institutional investment bankers, and Frank Langella is an older mentor of Shias. Its the story of those five people and how it plays out against this two-year period. If you work in this environment, how do you maintain your values as a human being? That was the fundamental question in the original, because Charlie Sheens values were threatened by Gekko. The same question applies in a more sophisticated way now. And its a love story, believe it or not.
In the long view, are we all just screwed? Thats why we end the movie in a question mark, because I dont know. You gotta break up the banks. All these bankers, when they went in front of Capitol Hill, had no solutions: Lets continue as before. There will be periodic ups and downs, but dont regulate us too much. We supersized everything and steroided banking, but it cant go on like this. Steroided athletes die early, dont they? This guy, Sandy Weill, super-marketed up the whole goddamn thing. He took brokerage, insurance, American Express cardtype companies and banks, and merged them into a huge thing called Citicorp. Nobodys figured out what the fuck that is, and nobody wants to, because nobody wants it! [Laughs.] Its very funny. You cant take this too seriously, because its the demise of capitalism at this ratewhich is what Lenin and Marx predicted: that wed hang ourselves with our own rope. But Im going into too much detail. You wanted a movie preview here, and Im talking economically.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opens September 24 (20th Century Fox), wallstreetmoneyneversleeps.com
Fall Film Picks
Kings of Pastry
Having grappled with tricky subjects like Bob Dylan and U.S. politics, esteemed documentarians D.A. Pennebaker (Dont Look Back) and Chris Hegedus (The War Room) unexpectedly discover World Cup-size thrills, tension, and glory in the Meilleur Ouvriers de France culinary competition. Over a three-day endurance contest, 16 pâtissiers pour their marzipan, sweat, and tears into gastro-porn so mouthwatering and jazzily presented that it makes the Food Network look like reheated leftovers in comparison. Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, filmforum.org
Enter the Void
Irreversible provocateur Gaspar Noé unleashes another avant-garde assault upon audiences in this deliriously wicked, undeniably daring acid trip through Tokyos neon-splattered underworld. After young American stripper Paz de la Huertas drug-dealing brother (Nathaniel Brown) is gunned down by cops, the camera takes the p.o.v. of his disembodied spirit as it floats over buildings, through walls, down sewers, and even inside a fallopian tube. If youre prone to seizures, anxiety, or staying in your comfort zone, might we instead recommend Kings of Pastry? IFC Films, in limited release, ifcfilms.com
48th New York Film Festival
September 24October 10
Rarely does the citys most prestigious fest offer a world premiere on opening night, which means director David Finchers The Social Networkstarring Jesse Eisenberg as billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbergmight be NYFFs most hotly anticipated film in years. Other must-sees include Cannes faves like Lee Chang-dongs quietly devastating Poetry, 101-year-old auteur Manoel de Oliveiras The Strange Case of Angelica, and the enigmatic masterwork Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Liveswinner of the Palme dOr. The Film Society of Lincoln Center West 65th Street and Broadway, filmlinc.com