The past is never past; it's always present enough to keep tormenting you. That's the lesson for the protagonists of this week's new wide release movies, and it's true whether you're a disgraced financial titan, a woman who thinks she's long since outgrown her high school nerd years, or an abducted owlet.
New and Noteworthy: 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'
Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin
Directed by:Oliver Stone
What It's About: More than 20 years have passed since Stone's original 'Wall Street,' but lovably reptilian financier Gordon Gekko (Douglas) is finally back and ready to corrupt another young protégé. Out of prison and looking to get back into the game, Gekko gets his chance via the whiz-kid investment banker (LaBeouf) who's engaged to Gekko's estranged daughter ('An Education' star Mulligan).
Why Should You See It? It's a chance to see Douglas sink his fangs back into the juicy role that won him an Oscar. It's the most entertaining seminar on the massive financial collapse of 2008 you're likely to enjoy over popcorn. It's an Oliver Stone movie, and love him or hate him, Oliver Stone is seldom dull.
You Might Like It If You Like: The original 'Wall Street,' 'Boiler Room,' 'American Psycho,' 'Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room'
•Showtimes & Tickets
•Two exclusive clips
•Is Oliver Stone planning a third 'Wall Street'?
•Reviews: The Hollywood Reporter | Entertainment Weekly | New York Magazine | Leonard Maltin
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jimmy Wolk, Odette Yustman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White
Directed by: Andy Fickman
What It's About: Successful career woman Bell starts to feel like a high school loser again when she learns that the tormentor of her teen years (Yustman) is engaged to her brother. What's more, the same dynamic played out a generation earlier between Yustman's aunt (Weaver) and Bell's mom (Curtis). Thank goodness wacky grandma Betty White is there to lend some perspective.
Why Should You See It? Because of the sparkling cast, because you need a romantic comedy fix, or because you're not sick of Betty White yet.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'My Best Friend's Wedding,' 'Mean Girls,' 'The Proposal,' 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion'
•Showtimes & Tickets
•Exclusive 'You Again' Clip: Kristen Bell as a Nerd, Betty White Being Awesome
•Reviews: Orlando Sentinel
Also New: 'The Virginity Hit'
What It's About: Nerd's painfully humiliating quest to lose his virginity is filmed by his buddies and posted online. In other words, it's 'American Pie' for the YouTube era, which is why it's shot mockumentary-style, to look like found footage à la 'The Blair Witch Project' or 'The Last Exorcism.' In fact, it was written by the screenwriters of 'The Last Exorcism' and produced by Funny or Die founders Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Showtimes & Tickets | Trailers & Clips
'Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole'
What It's About: Two young owlets, having escaped from the evil Pure Ones who would eradicate all owls, travel to the ends of the earth to find the legendary Guardians and enlist them to defend all of owl-kind from destruction. Zack Snyder ('300') directed this cartoon adaptation of Kathryn Lasky's series of children's books. Showtimes & Tickets | Trailers & Clips
In Limited Release
'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger' is the latest Woody Allen dramedy of love and betrayal, featuring a typically star-studded cast (Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts). Showtimes & Tickets
'Buried' stars Ryan Reynolds as a contractor kidnapped in Iraq and entombed in a coffin. All he has at his disposal are 90 minutes of breathable air, a cell phone, and his wits. Showtimes & Tickets
'Waiting for "Superman"' is the latest documentary from 'An Inconvenient Truth' Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim. This time, he tackles our broken public education system. Showtimes & Tickets
'Howl' recounts the story behind the groundbreaking epic poem by Allen Ginsberg (played by James Franco) and the obscenity trial it provoked in the late 1950s. Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, and David Strathairn co-star. Showtimes &Tickets
'Enter the Void' is a sci-fi ghost story from provocateur Gaspar Noé ('Irreversible') about a dead drug dealer who continues to watch over his stripper sister from above in a neon-nightmare Tokyo. Showtimes & Tickets
Still in Theaters, Still Awesome
•'The Town' - Guess we have to start taking Ben Affleck seriously now, not just as an actor or a director of award-worthy crime thrillers, but also as a box office power. Showtimes & Tickets
•'Easy A' - 'The Scarlet Letter' gets the 'Clueless' treatment in this smart teen comedy that finally transforms the daffy, delightful Emma Stone into a star. Showtimes & Tickets
•'Devil' - This brutally efficient, M. Night Shyamalan-produced chiller about the elevator from hell runs a tight 80 minutes, so you'll have plenty of time afterward to start your new exercise regimen: taking the stairs. Showtimes & Tickets
Staying In This Weekend?
New on DVD This Week: The 'Gladiator' team of Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott move forward about a thousand years from ancient Rome to reboot 'Robin Hood' as a gritty historical drama that suggests how the combination of the Crusades in the Holy Land and feudal tyranny at home in England might have transformed weary veteran Robin into the arrow-shooting proto-kibbutznik of legend. Cate Blanchett co-stars as a similarly fierce Maid Marion. Buy or rent the DVD | More new DVD releases
Movie Homework: In 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,' Oliver Stone doesn't point the finger at any particular villain for triggering the 2008 financial meltdown; rather, the film suggests, the whole system is at fault, and it's so big that not even a Machiavellian manipulator like Gordon Gekko can halt it -- or be blamed too much for it. It's an explanation that recalls the moment in Stone's 'Nixon' where the Vietnam War protester tells the president, 'You can't stop it, can you?' Stone's Nixon, like Gekko, is forced to recognize that the system is bigger than he is, and that he is its servant, not its master. That recognition makes 'Nixon,' like the two 'Wall Street' movies, less a portrait of individual corruption than an epic meditation from Stone on How America Got Into This Mess. Buy or rent the DVD
On My Netflix Queue: Fall arrived this week, prompting another viewing of 'Far From Heaven,' with its lush autumnal hues (leaves as deeply red as Julianne Moore's hair) and its haunting, sad story of love and repression in a seemingly golden, bygone era. Can you think of a more beautiful depiction of the last blaze of color before winter's gray chill sets in? Buy or rent the DVD
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.