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Paper Monitor

11:13 UK time, Friday, 8 October 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's Friday! And as with most Fridays, Paper Monitor is counting down the hours until home-time, interspersing long stretches of clock-watching by formulating plans for the coming weekend.

A trip to the cinema - or, if you prefer, an excuse to sit in darkness and munch Maltesers - sounds enticing after a long week. So Paper Monitor turns to Fleet Street's film critics for advice.

The big cinematic release this week, it transpires, is Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Oliver Stone's sequel to his 1987 morality tale. The original, cinephiles will recall, was set among Lower Manhattan's financial alpha males and made Michael Douglas's name as anti-hero Gordon Gekko.

Paper Monitor has fond, if vague, memories of the first instalment, and harbours a secret affection for pinstripes and oversized mobile phones. A plotline concerning misdeeds among bankers and stockbrokers could hardly be more relevant.

So this must be the obvious choice on that trip to the multiplex, surely?

Not according to Guardian film columnist Anne Billson, who admits that "whenever I hear the words "insider trading", "subprime" or "hedge fund", my eyes glaze over and I start thinking about hats, or miniature dachshunds".

The paper's review of the film awards just two stars to a film which leaves critic Peter Bradshaw not angry, just disappointed:

The issues are fudged with creamy indulgence; and speculative trading, notionally reviled, is finally shown to be the means of getting vital funding for politically correct clean energy, and even of reuniting father and daughter. Gekko winds up as a lovable grandad: the biggest jungle beast is a sweet old pussy cat, and a rather boring one.

Christopher Tookey in the Daily Mail is even less forgiving of Stone, spitting: "Hollywood's most notorious champagne socialist seems to be turning into the poor man's Vince Cable."

In the Daily Mirror, David Edwards is equally scathing. "Money never sleeps," he drawls, "but you might."

There is some sympathy for all involved. Kate Muir in the Times says it suffers [subscription required] under a "weight of expectation, trying top be a history lesson as well as a movie". She awards it four stars "for trying, for old time's sake".

A ringing endorsement it is not. So much for the clock-watching. Paper Monitor will be staying in tonight.

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