Movie Review: Wall Street 2

Movie Review:
Wall Street 2

By Mark HadleyTuesday 28 Sep 2010

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
Rating:  M
Distributor: Paramount
Release Date: September 23

Michael Douglas returns as the king of greed, Gordon Gecko. After serving time for insider trading, Gecko returns to the New York he dominated to discover that the doors once open to him are now closed. However as the world economy teeters on the brink of financial collapse, new opportunities for profit emerge and Gecko tempts another young stockbroker to provide him the access he needs.

Oliver Stone is as savvy as ever with this continuation of his 1987 classic. Wall Street 2 once again tests capitalism’s adage, ‘Greed is good’, asking if we have learnt anything from the string of financial failures that have stretched from the excess of the 1980s to the GFC. In fact, Gordon suggests that this time around, in an age of corporate bail-outs and executive golden parachutes, we no longer have the moral quandary associated with that line. “Someone reminded me I once said ‘Greed is good’. Now it seems it’s legal.”

An earlier version of the trailer for this film quite appropriately cut the vision of Gordon Gecko’s reintroduction into high society to the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the devil. Are human beings doomed to commit the same sins over and over again simply because they can’t recognize temptation when it stares them in the face. The only path to redemption for Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox in the first film was a full and frank admission of his culpability – but can Shia LaBeouf’s Jake Moore muster the same integrity? An excellent thriller that will test the morals of every viewer.

Junior MasterChef
Rating:  PG
Distributor: Network TEN
Release Date: Sundays, 7:30 PM

When I first heard that MasterChef would be introducing a junior series with contestants aged between 8 and 12, I thought it was an absolute stroke of genius. I’d observed the way the original series had improbably engaged my own young sons. Combining a format that had entranced as many as two million Australians a night with the youthful enthusiasm of the nation’s youngest would-be chefs – what could go wrong?

The top youthful 50 contestants from 5000 entrants across Australia are taken through a range of cooking challenges until only 12 remain. From there on in it’s the usual round of skills and invention tests under the watchful eyes of chefs Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, and food critic Matt Preston – with the addition of the more motherly Anna Gare.

On paper it looks like a winner, but in reality it makes for very uncomfortable viewing. Adult competitors struggle with emotional pressures stirred up by their series. The young contestants are so shiny keen it’s hard to believe they are going to be prepared for the grim reality that most of them will be eliminated. No matter how much the judges congratulate them, those who fail to make the cut still look devastated and the audience can’t help but reflect on the cruelty of this wholly contrived situation. Rather than foster a love of cooking in a new generation, it is very possible that this series will scar the emotionally immature contestants involved. And for what? The only guarantee for the primary school child eventually crowned ‘Australia’s First Junior MasterChef’ is that they will have to shoulder the huge expectations of a child-star for the rest of their lives.

Fundamentally Junior MasterChef lacks love. Rather than hold children back from the ‘good things’ that might potentially harm them, it shouts ‘Go for it!’ and turns up the heat…

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