'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'
(Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Frank Langella, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, et al / R / 127 mins)
Overview: Famous onscreen villain Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) returns to the big screen with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, once again directed by Oliver Stone. This installment promises a "ripped from the headlines" plot, with Gekko teaching co-star Shia LaBeouf the ins and outs of criminal investments. Frost/Nixon's Frank Langella co-stars along with Susan Sarandon.
Verdict: Dour, dejected after decades of disastrous misadventures and desperate for a financial killing, he's back. Oliver Stone, that is, trying to manufacture a belated franchise out of a 23-year-old hit. Greed is good, right?
Even guys who really hate capitalism need a pension plan. Gordon Gekko, the Wall Street crook who earned Michael Douglas an Oscar, is back, too, after eight years in prison: greyer, grumpier and greedy for revenge against Bretton James (Josh Brolin), the least subtle yet of director Oliver Stone's cigar-chomping, free-market criminals.
The idealistic youngster Gekko is hoping to corrupt this time round is a hot- shot trader with eco-pretensions, Jake Moore (Shia LaBeouf, taking a vacation from battling killer robots).
Jake is engaged to Gekko's daughter Winnie (Carey Mulligan), a Leftist blogger who blames her dad for the druggy death of her brother and, presumably, the sins of capitalism in general.
The imagery could hardly be more heavy-handed or banal - dominoes topple and bubbles burst but, paradoxically, the plot is hard to follow in any detail.
Stone's typically flashy direction is needlessly confusing, with distracting split screens, digital gimmicks and graphics that make the movie look like a PowerPoint presentation by a hyperactive chimpanzee.
Meanwhile, the computer age story is slowed to the pace of snail mail by irrelevant cameos from Charlie Sheen, Stone himself and Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair.