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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Oliver Stone
Cast:
Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Daryl Hannah, Martin Sheen, Hal Holbrook, Terrence Stamp
Writing Credits:
Oliver Stone, Stanley Weiser

Tagline:
Every dream has a price.

Synopsis:
In this riveting behind-the-scenes look at big business in the 1980's, an ambitious young stockbroker (Charlie Sheen) is lured into the illegal, lucrative world of corporate espionage when he is seduced by the power, status and financial wizardry of Wall Street legend Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas in his Oscar winning performance). But he soon discovers that the pursuit of overnight riches comes at a price that's too high to pay. Daryl Hannah and Martin Sheen co-star in Oliver Stone's gripping morality tale about the American dream gone wrong.

Box Office:
Budget
$15 million.
Opening Weekend
$4.104 million on 730 screens.
Domestic Gross
$26.643 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 4.0
Spanish Monaural
French Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 9/18/2007

Bonus:
DVD One:
• Audio Commentary with Director Oliver Stone
DVD Two:
• Introduction by Oliver Stone
• “Greed Is Good” Documentary
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “Money Never Sleeps – The Making of Wall Street” Documentary


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Wall Street: 20th Anniversary Edition (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 6, 2007)

After his Oscar-winning success with 1986’s Platoon, director Oliver Stone wasted no time addressing a different form of warfare: the corporate battles that occur in the stock market. Barely a half a year after he took home Hollywood’s biggest prize, Wall Street, his view of the affairs of the Eighties’ go-go financial marketplace hit screens. The movie didn’t cause as much of a fuss as did Platoon, but in many ways, it’s a superior effort. Both films have their flaws but I find Street to be a generally more entertaining and satisfying effort.

Actually, in many ways Street directly echoes the themes of Platoon. The latter was largely about the fight over the soul of a young soldier played by Charlie Sheen; two sergeants - one good, one nasty - tried to pull him to their side. The same theme plays out during Street. Young go-getter Bud Fox (Sheen again) has to decide if it’s better to follow greedy financial bigwig Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) or to be true to his blue collar roots along with dear old dad (played by Charlie’s real-life dear old dad Martin Sheen).

Yes, it’s basically a morality play as Bud has to choose between selfish excess or doing the right thing, and the movie often seems pretty predictable in that manner. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises to be found in Street. For the most part, it depicts the denizens of Wall Street as self-obsessed, callous and money-oriented blowhards, and it follows a typical progression as we see Bud enticed by the big money that Gecko can help him obtain. He gets the nice apartment, the sexy girlfriend (Daryl Hannah) and all of the other accoutrements of wealth so he gets a taste of the high life he never experienced during his middle class upbringing.

Will Bud continue to embrace Gecko’s “greed is good” philosophy or will he go for his dad’s support of friends and family? I won’t detail the ending, but if you’re unsure how this one’s gonna go, you don’t get out much. It’s not exactly a surprise to learn that wealth-obsessed Wall Street types are jerks, so the movie occasionally feels pointless; don’t watch this film if you expect any revelations or depth.

Although Street lacks many surprises, it presents a nicely executed and entertaining piece at least. The story moves forward at a good clip, and most of the actors perform their roles well. Douglas won an Oscar for his portrayal of Gecko. I’m not sure that prize was warranted, especially since he never gives the part much depth or breadth, but he does neatly encapsulate a fairly cartoonish look at a stereotypical corporate bandit.

Ultimately Wall Street stands as one of Oliver Stone’s better films, mainly because it’s one of the least flawed. I don’t think Stone has ever made a movie that didn’t have problems, but at least Street stayed away from the stylistic excesses of later works and it maintained a generally compelling tone. I don’t think Wall Street is a classic, but it offers a generally interesting look at the period.

Continuity footnote: what period Street covers is up for debate. At the movie’s start, we’re told it takes place in 1985. I’d bet that this was added at the last minute to separate the film’s events from the fall 1987 stock market crash. Evidence to support this concept: one character refers to the Challenger disaster, something that didn’t occur until 1986.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B+

Wall Street appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. No severe problems cropped up here, but the movie still never offered a terribly memorable presentation.

Sharpness usually seemed acceptably crisp and well-defined, though a bit amount of haziness occurred as well. Occasional bouts of mild softness occurred, usually during interior shots. Much of the movie appeared pretty distinctive, though. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws were also negligible. A few specks cropped up but not with any regularity.

Hues seemed a little muddy and bland during most of the movie, as Street often presented a rather brownish look. On some occasions, I thought colors appeared acceptably bright and accurate, but these were rare; mainly the hues came across as flat and without much life. Some of that related to production design and film stock, but I still felt the flick could have been more dynamic. Black levels were decent, though, and shadows tended to be reasonably clear. Neither of those elements excelled, but they didn’t cause concerns. This was a generally positive picture despite the minor problems.

As for the movie’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it remained very heavily oriented toward the front spectrum. The forward channels displayed acceptable spread from music and some effects and the audio blended together fairly well. However, it wasn’t an active environment and it presented a pretty restricted image through most of the film.

Surround usage seemed very minimal, with only mild music coming from the back during most of the movie. On some occasions, reinforcement of effects appeared from the rears, and during Gecko’s speech to some shareholders, I found that the audio offered a nicely appropriate echo. However, throughout the majority of the movie, the rear speakers seemed uninvolved.

Audio quality was decent but fairly bland. Dialogue sounded mildly thin and reedy. However, the speech usually came across as distinct and easily intelligible with no signs of edginess. Effects were clean and decently realistic but they lacked much clarity or force. Music was similarly smooth but without great dynamics; the soundtrack offered modest low end but did not stand out in any way. As a whole, the mix was roughly average; it offered a listenable but uninvolving experience.

How did the picture and sound of this “20th Anniversary Edition” compare to those of the prior DVD from 2000? I felt both discs offered identical audio, but the new one boasted improvements in terms of visuals. It looks crisper and cleaner. Neither DVD offered great picture, but this one seemed noticeably superior.

This 20th Anniversary release includes most of the same extras as its predecessor along with some new ones. I’ll mark fresh components with an asterisk, so if you don’t see a star, the piece popped up on the old disc.

First up on DVD One is a running audio commentary from director Stone. Although the track featured more gaps than I’d like, as a whole Stone offered a nice commentary. I can’t call it genuinely “screen specific”; while Stone sometimes referred to the action currently shown in the movie, that didn’t happen frequently.

Instead, Stone provided many compelling remarks about the production and his life and career in general. He discussed his relationship with his father and how it shows up on screen, casting and working with the actors, story points, and a mix of other topics. Stone seemed very forthright and honest and he never appeared to shy away from blunt details, which means that we learn some strong information. It’s a good track.

Over on DVD Two, we start with an *introduction from Oliver Stone. In this 61-second clip, the director just tells us that he loves the movie and he hopes we like it. Stone has little to say, and I don’t understand why this bit doesn’t appear on DVD One where it could pop up before the movie itself.

15 *Deleted Scenes run a total of 22 minutes, 27 seconds. Though nothing scintillating appears here, we don’t find some interesting moments. There’s a deleted client of Bud’s named Dixon who’s played by Penn Jillette, and we also get a better sense for Bud’s rise at his office. We see Marv get on his nerves in a grander fashion, and we watch him get shot down by Darien before he becomes a player.

A number of outtakes pop up as well. We see multiple takes of Stone as he tries to accomplish his only scene, and we also check out some extra takes of Douglas in some scenes. Again, none of these pieces will stand out as really impressive, but we get some interesting bits that flesh out various elements.

We can view these clips with or without commentary from Stone. He gives us some background for the scenes and also lets us know why he cut them. As usual, Stone proves entertaining and informative.

Next is Money Never Sleeps, a fine 47-minute and 34-second documentary from Charles Kiselyak about the film. This program features a smattering of movie clips and a few shots from the set along with interviews. We get comments from Stone and actors Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, and Charlie Sheen. The show looks at the film’s influences, origins and development. From there it digs into shooting in NYC, cast, characters and performances and sets.

“Sleeps” offers an honest and compelling look at the creation of Wall Street and it provided a very entertaining experience. All of the participants offer their frank thoughts about the shoot and I thought it was a fun piece, especially when Martin Sheen discusses his attempts to deviate from Stone’s script. “Sleeps” doesn’t cover all facets of the production, as it devotes most of its time to acting, story and characters, but it does so in such a fine manner that I don’t miss the broader side of the tale. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never again be able to maintain a straight face when you hear the name “Bud Fox”.

After this we get a new documentary called *Greed Is Good. The 56-minute and 32-second show mixes movie clips, archival elements and interviews. We hear from Stone, Charlie Sheen, Douglas, VDM vice chairman Robert Fagenson, brokers Thomas Samuelson, Doreen Mogavero, Michael Rutigliano, Joseph Zicherman and Jay Spindel, Circle T Family of Funds’ Seth Tobias, Schottenfield Associates CEO Richard Schottenfield, Onex Corporation CEO Gerald Schwartz, screenwriter Stanley Weiser, Hawkeye Capital Management president Richard Rubin, and actors Hal Holbrook and John McGinley. The program covers the movie’s inspirations and thoughts about the investment scene, research and accuracy, character elements and the depiction of the era, and the film’s legacy.

“Greed” splits between facts about Wall Street and thoughts about Wall Street. This makes it somewhat unsatisfying. It doesn’t act as a proper movie documentary, and it remains superficial when it looks at the business side of things. It’s a decent show but not one I consider to be memorable.

Does the 20th Anniversary set lose anything from the prior disc? Yup. It drops two theatrical trailers. All the other elements repeat.

Wall Street finds Oliver Stone repeating himself to a degree as he created a companion piece to Platoon. However, while Street lacks much originality, it presents a generally interesting and entertaining view of the self-centered world of Eighties high finance. The DVD offers bland but acceptable picture and sound plus a few very strong supplements. Wall Street didn’t do a lot for me, but I liked it for the most part, and the presence of the excellent audio commentary and documentary make this a DVD worth watching.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2272 Stars Number of Votes: 22
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main