Monday, 31 January 2011

DVD & Blu-ray Round Up: Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps

Popsiculture's release of the week has to go to Oliver Stone's Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. The follow up to his legendary 1987 polemic against the excesses and shady dealings of the American banking industry, Money Never Sleeps could not have had a better real-life backdrop or it's release last year. Following the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market, and subsequent worldwide economic crisis, surely Gordon Gekko's mantra that 'Greed is good' has never been more contentious.

So the iconic Gekko being released from prison for his former indiscretions, and returning to his old ways is an interesting and timely subject for Stone to explore. Unfortunately though, the resulting film fails to hold interest as it should.

Michaels Douglas' performance is captivating as he dons the sharp three-piece suits of Gordon Gekko again - it is almost worth the purchase alone - but too much else is unconvincing. Shia LaBeouf (essentially reprising the Charlie Sheen character from the original) and Carey Mulligan as Gekko's daughter carry on an unlikely relationship, him a budding investment banker, her an anti-capitalist journalist. And meanwhile the analysis of the 2008 economic crisis seems by turns over-complicated, and over-simplified, failing to find a happy medium.

More promising is Winter's Bone, the story of 17 year old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence, right) who sets out to find her father after he uses the family house for bail before fleeing. She battles through layers of intrigue and family secrets to discover an unsettling truth, all in order to save her impoverished family from being made homeless. I haven't seen this film, but I certainly intend to after the glowing reviews it has received elsewhere.

I could say the same about The Town too, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, this tough crime drama has received a fair bit of critical acclaim, and earned comparisons to The Departed and Heat.

For a bit more light hearted fun though, I was pleased to find the complete TV series of Yogi Bear in the new releases list this week, as well as Yogi's 1964 feature film outing Hey There, It's Yogi Bear. Brilliant stuff.

And finally, how about this for some more mature (i.e. NSFW) fun? Jungle Burger AKA Shame of the Jungle is an x-rated cartoon take on the Tarzan story staring the vocal talents of Bill Murray, John Belushi and Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap).

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