Oliver Stone returns to Wall Street, Woody Allen returns to the well, and Ryan Reynolds spends 90 minutes in a coffin. Who wins your ticket money?
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin
ANDREW: Okay, pros and cons time. Pro: a film about greed being good for the weasels of Wall Street is even more timely now than when Oliver Stone wrote and directed the first Gekkopalooza back in the go-go '80s. Pro: Michael Douglas' recent brush with mortality is making his late-career screen presence ever more compelling. Pro: no movie with Austin Pendleton in the cast can ever be totally bad. But the flipside of that truism is also the film's biggest con: no movie with Shia LaBeouf in the cast can ever be totally good. Why, Hollywood? Why all the LaBeouf? Does he have incriminating blackmail photos of you or something? Why?
SCOTT: Hey, I'm no big fan of LaBeouf either, but I wouldn't call his presence here a deal-breaker. No, I'm more concerned about experiencing traumatic flashbacks to the original Wall Street, the movie wherein Oliver Stone's camera-swooshing technique first became a full-on psychotic disorder. Stone has settled down a bit since then, but his recent body of work (notably W. and Alexander) doesn't leave me much more than cautiously optimistic.
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto, Naomi Watts
SCOTT: Speaking of well-known auteurs and their recent bodies of work: I hate to keep picking on a guy who made some of my favorite movies of all time, but as long as Woody Allen keeps churning out wan, uninspired rehashes of his done-to-death pet themes, I have no choice. Once again, the Woodman has assembled an eclectic cast to enact yet another complicated tangle of romantic relationships among upper-class white people who don't talk like anyone who has ever actually walked the planet Earth. I'll probably stick this in my Netflix queue, because I can never quite cut the cord with Woody, but the time when his new movies were priority viewing has long since passed.
ANDREW: But then again, Allen's always been uneven, releasing gloomy disappointments like Interiors, September, and Another Woman in the midst of his Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Crimes and Misdemeanors heyday — and while it's true he's churned out some truly atrocious dreck in the latter half of his career, it's only been two years since the most excellent Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In other words, I'm still willing to give Woody the benefit of the doubt — as a filmmaker, if not a babysitter — though I'll admit the geriatric snoozefest of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger's trailer doesn't exactly inspire a whole lot of confidence.
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Stephen Tobolowsky, Samantha Mathis
ANDREW: Which pretty much leaves, uh, Ryan Reynolds as an Iraq War contractor buried in a coffin for approximately the length of a season eight Project Runway episode. This could be the cinematic equivalent of a typical NBA game (where things never get really exciting until the final ten minutes or so). I mean, if the whole movie is about a guy in a box, then it's a pretty safe bet he'll be okay until at least the final reel, so maybe I'll just slip in for the end after watching Money Never Sleeps the rest of the time.
SCOTT: Agreed, this looks like the latest in a line of gimmick thrillers, including Phone Booth and Nick of Time, where the suspense is overshadowed by your awareness that you're watching a stunt. Maybe if you were actually buried in a coffin while watching it, like these recent contest winners, the claustrophobia would enhance the viewing experience, but barring that, I'll join you for the return of Gordon Gekko and hope for the best.
The One Movie You Should See This Week: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps