Sunday, December 26, 2010
Film Review: Wall Street II : 8.199
What a wonderful event, this is the first time ever an Acadamy Award winning best actor winner has been able to return for a sequel. Michael Douglas, who already has earned himself a Best Supporting Actor nomination for playing the infamous villian, delivers everything you've yearned for over the past twenty-three years since the "R" rated original. At the openiing, the film hots an 8 simply for bringing back Gekko, for being 'THE' Wall Street Sequel, and for it being about Manahattan. As you can tell from the final score- the film lacks the content, the casting, the storylines, the greatlines needed for any kind of advancement from that extremely generous starting point.
Shi LaBeefheaf, who we will call "J" in the review, was a terrible casting decision. You can easily tell he has zero understanding of the financial markets. In his comments concerning preparation for the film, J, admits he is a fool. There is one line - that had to be inserted simply becasue ut had been so long in the film since J said something intelligent about the financial markets, so , at The Met, a great scene, expcept for the terrible acting by real life NY socialites wearing bling, J coughs up a painful line:
"The CDO is a great idea, it's the execution that's the problem."
Oh... REALLY?? This line is meant to give the audience the impression J knows what he is tallking about since, he seems to claim that the intrument is being marketed, and priced wrong... this is an awful part of the film.
As much as I hate drawing away from ripping into how terrible J is in this film, I must comment on the BuD Fox scene where Charlie re-unites with Gordon. Apparently, Sheen has done so many drugs that his skull has morphed into a really awkward looking orb. Charlie confided to Ollie that he has been away from film for so long, thet he is not used to camera's being so close to his FACE. Charlie, of course, has been slumming it over at "two and .5 men." for GOD KNOWs how many years.
But returning to the point - it really was a painful moment... Bud had two of the best looking woman in the film on each arm, and it came across as ebing terribly scripted... and too chippy, and cheerful. Also, the fact that Gekko could barely remember the name of the fledgling, regional airline (bluestar) that gave him eight years in prison, is POOR directing by Oliver Stone, since he must clean up some obvious mistakes made by the three dim-witted writers who pened the screenplay. I have to tip my hat the them, though, as without them the film wold not be made.
Like Halloween from Rob Zombie's Halloween, there are always elements missing from films that destroy any chance of them becoming great, exceptional film. In the case of Wall Street II, the missing are obvious:
1. No East end. No scenes in the Hamptons, where the Wall Street crowd spend 50% of their time. This is a terrible mistake, a terrible miss.
2. Not enough Wall Street. Sure, the scenes from isnide The Fed were rosy, with the cherry wood chairs and the mahogany walls... but how about an entrance into The Fed, the camera concoursing from one of the entrances,m all the way to this room. There also was only shot of Gekko and J walking east on Wall, with Trinity behind them... this scene lasted six seconds. There wasn;t even a screen shot of the New York Stock Exchange.
3. The Calamity of the morning commute: A legendary opening scenes of the subway, the elevators, the hell of the overpopulation that exists in NYC, which also makes the city and the industryt so great.
4. The trading floor: I think they used the Bank of America floor in midtown. Not bad, but why is MD Frank Langella (more on his excellent performance later) sitting in the middle of the floor, with only the standard screen count? Shouldn'the at least have six screens? And the meeting rooms, these come standard on each floor, but did you see how small that room was? Give me a break- try to minimize the street in another way, not with a cubicle as an internal morning meeting conferecne room. The Bald-headed guy running that Hydra Offshore meeting did a great job, however.
Carey Mulligan should not have accepted this role, it is probabaly one of the worst written roles for a female in years. All she does is say no, run, and cry. She looks OK. Her new york accent is almost as bad as Brolin's - and together they are really bad. But don;t get me started on New York Accents.
Mailer's Kid: Norman Mailer had a son - and now we must suffer because he has chosen film as his pursuit. This kid tries to put on a NY, or Long Island accent, I'm not sure what the hell he was doing, but he sounded like he was from Eastern Europe. Slovakia? Russian? Yes, he had a russian accent, and it was terrible. We go from the hilarious Jon McGinley (I'm offering you the Knicks, and chicks), to a russian speaking broker. Very painful.
Frank Langella, a legendary actor who has rattled off roles ranging from Skeletor, Nixon, to the creep in "The Box" does a great job playing the fiesty Lou Zabel. He dies early here, but he does a fine job of representing NY, Wall Street. Stone meant for his fine performance to keep the film at a high level. But this falls to pieces when the russian broker enters the fray.
Jmae Brolin does a good job as the CEO of CS - but it does not come across very easily that he is the CEO. For starters, he is WAY TOO YOUNG to be the CEO fo a big Wall Street firm. Here's a tip: Use age enhancement make-up. Apparenlty, Javire Bardem turned down the role for a romantic comedy with Julia Robert (Eat-Pray-Love)... oh Javier, such a leadies man. Brolin does OK. He could have really ramped up this film if they had written in a revenge piece for him - for example, let's assume that J knows more than ONE industry (alt+e), given that there is no way he would be getting a 1 mm dollar bonus if he had an understanding of simply one industry, in addition ot the fact that he talks about a market cap of 1 billion with zero revenues. (market cap is #shares outstandingf multiplied by the market price), so here, Brolin could have initiated a revenge tactic, thwarting one of J's names, (stocks he covers), and the relationship could have gotten ripe on screen. Instead, they race on bikes, and the whole opportunity craps out, just like the film.
Michale Douglas deserved to win the Oscar for best supporting Actor. There is one scene, in the kitchen of his apartment high up on the 40th floor in a building on the East Side. He is talking to J, and J asks him "But you still have money, though, right?" after assessing the opulence of his aprtment, fresh from the clinky-clink.
"This...is.... a rental."
The best line in the film.
Overall, Wall Street II was an incredible journey for me, someon has used to watch the original Wall Street before I'd go on interviews down town after graduating from college. The film is certainly difficult to follow... but with Gekko Back,,, oh, and he IS back, you should be able to string something together.
There is more to tell, but I will leave it at this:
WHen Douglas gels his hair back and starts shoping for clothes... you hope that there'd be a Wall Street III coming. We need more Gekko... less crap, more Gekko.
FINAL SCORE: 8.199