PARIS – Another year, another Cannes Festival and in preparation the Cannes authorities have released a poster which will be hung above the Palais du Cinema in May.

In the past Cannes has gone with icons of cinema history – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Marcello Mastronianni and Ingrid Bergman – as a way of both celebrating the glamour of the movies but also the prestige that they have achieved. This year is no different and the most famous European film festival is paying tribute with an image of Kevin James in Paul Blart Mall Cop.

Thierry Fremaux spoke EXCLUSIVELY about the thinking behind the decision:

There are two cinemas in this world. There is the cinema that existed before 2009 and the cinema that came after 2009. That year was the year of Paul Blart Mall Cop starring Kevin James, the heir of Chaplin, Keaton, Sandler, and directed by Frank Coraci, the American Fellini as he known around these parts. I believe with Paul Blart looking down on the Croisette, this festival will be inspired to ever greater heights and also humbled to some extent about the task of carrying on the great legacy that Coraci and James have left us.

A recently restored version of Paul Blart Mall Cop will also be shown as part of a season of digitally restored Kevin James films, – including Here Comes the Boom and the rediscovered classic Grownups – which will be shown during the festival. Of course Paul Blart has a long history with the festival after Paul Blart 2 opened the festival only last year.

The Cannes Film Festival takes place from 11th of May to the 22nd.

Image courtesy of @ThePixelFactor.


VENICE – Our intrepid Studio Exec has braved the screening rooms of the Darsena, the Sala Grande and even the dreaded plastic cavern that is the Palabiennale and now is here to give you his critical opinion.

The awards are out and the results are – as is traditional – baffling and underwhelming.

Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson should have won the Golden Lion, but instead got the runner up Grand Jury Prize for Anomalisa. It’s like an R-rated Wallace and Gromit film, but with Gromit dead and Wallace really unhappy and perhaps mentally ill. The best director prize went to El Clan which was the best Argentinian Martin Scorsese film of the last year. The winner was Venezuelan film From Afar, which is okay. But a quick glance at some past winners will show how often a fairly twee choice will trump better films. Does anyone remember Scra GRA? Somewhere? Did anyone see Faust? Or the Pigeon Sitting on a Branch Contemplating Existence, which won last year? The last two were actually good films, but Somewhere? How did that win? How did Quentin Tarantino’s ex-girlfriend Sofia Coppola’s rather drab film impress the head of the jury Quentin Tara… oh.

There is a chance that Venice were copying Cannes who awarded Dheepan the Palme d’Or despite the fact it was only a bit better then How to Train Your Dragon 2.

The Venice Film Festival is done. I hope you enjoyed our coverage which is all available here.


VENICE – Our intrepid Studio Exec has braved the screening rooms of the Darsena, the Sala Grande and even the dreaded plastic cavern that is the Palabiennale and now is here to give you his critical opinion.

I’ve seen films you people wouldn’t believe.

The Danish Girl: Stephen Hawkings wants to be a girl. Flutters eyelashes and weeps. No pastries.

The Childhood of a Leader: Brechty Ibsen W.H. Audenish, soundtrack by Scott Walker. What else do you need to know? And Robert Pattinson isn’t in it much.

L’Attesa: Juilette Binoche weeps.

A War: Danes again. Now in Afghanistan. One of the best films ever about the conflict. Shits on Lone Survivor from a height.

Janis: Little Girl Blue: Janis Joplin caterwauls and then dies.

L’Hermine: Funny and French. And it’s not every day you can say that.

A Bigger Splash: Voldemort is a record producer and Tilda Swinton can’t speak. Heavenly.

The Endless River: Pink Floyd’s dullest record gets an album to match.

El Clan: Great Argentine true crime caper with lots of brutality and a very bad daddy. How do you say Scorsese in Spanish?

Rabin: The Last Day: Israeli Prime Minister gets shot for making a peace deal.

Venice continues despite my best efforts.



VENICE – Our intrepid Studio Exec has braved the screening rooms of the Darsena, the Sala Grande and even the dreaded plastic cavern that is the Palabiennale and now is here to give you his critical opinion.

I’ve realised I’ve not been the best correspondent, but Jesus Christ it is difficult when you have to balance drinking with work responsibilities like finding cocaine. I realise that I have left many of you bewildered by my lack of film reviews, so I’ve decided to round up the films I’ve seen so far and give you the lessons I have learned.

Here goes:

Everest: Donnie Darko and John Connor go up a mountain. They do not come down.

Neon Bull: if someone ask you to help them steal horse semen, say no. Brazilian.

Beasts of No Nation: children are horrible. Idris Elba is brilliant and horrible. Africa is beautiful and horrible. It would be nice if we could stop having films set ‘in a fictional African nation’. Smacks of racist laziness.

Looking for Grace: always look before you cross the road. Set in a fictional country in Australia.

The Endless River: has nothing to do with the Pink Floyd album, but is just as dull.

Francofonia: apparently there’s some art in the Louvre.

Black Mass: Johnny Depp’s spin off from Alice in Wonderland sees the Madhatter get into some serious shit. Boston is full of gangsters.

Spotlight: Birdman and the Hulk bring down pedophiles. Boston is full of rapist priests.

Equals: Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult live in a future uniquely suited to Kristen Stewart’s acting abilities. I wish I was in Boston.

Venice continues despite my best efforts.


VENICE – The 72nd Venice Film Festival is on the Lido in Italy and we’ve managed to infiltrate the Studio Exec onto the narrow island in order to bring you the biggest stories. So shut up, put that hot dog down and read.

In all my life as a studio exec I’ve met a whole series of assholes. And some of them weren’t relatives. But there is a type of asshole that has been getting my goat more than others recently. That’s the one who boos a film at a film festival. Don’t get me wrong I’ve often booed a film, or even better micturated in the direction of the screen – once at Cannes it was from the balcony (and I was in the Jury that year). But the time has come to stop.

You see I’m allowed to boo, because I get up in the morning and go and make films. I know what the hard work is like because I’ve done it myself, but these asshole critics haven’t. They have their reviews to write and they have their blogs to post, so they really don’t need to boo a screening with the director and the actors all sitting there in their Sunday best.

If I had my way booers would be taken to the Excelsior and ritually slapped with the scaliest fish in the kitchen. I’m betting it’ll be lobster.

What has raised my gall is the fact that the films booed this year have been among the best. The Childhood of a Leader and A Bigger Splash both got boos. Sometimes a lone voice will use the two second fade to black that often signals the end to shout out his (and it is always a he) abhorrence as if anyone could give a flying f*ck. I particularly hate that because it is a moment of sensitive reflection and some jumped up bozo of an arrogant shit for brains just stamped on it with his shit stained brain farts.

So behave. Learn some civility. Have some respect for the people who put in some hard words. And even if it is bad, remember the words of Billy Wilder, ‘Even if it’s a piece of shit, you still have to get up at some Goddamned awful hour in the morning to make it.’

Our Venice coverage continues.


VENICE – In Venice, on the Lido, Italy – our very own Studio Exec wanders dazed among the stars and the paparazzi to bring you this latest report.

Goddamn Italian food. They stole Pizza from us. And now they steal spaghetti and meat balls too! And you cannot find a Starbucks anywhere in this God forsaken hole! Still, the fizzy grape juice is delicious. But I’m not here to talk about that I’m here to talk about the 72nd Venice Film Festival and all the films I’ve seen. Well first thing, if I had a star system (and I don’t) everything would be three stars. Nothing great, and worse still nothing completely rotten.

Beasts of No Nation: Was kind of depressing, looked beautiful, bits of savagery and  was way better than Season 2 of True Detective. Plus Idris Elba was and is amazing and should forget about James Bond and stick to acting in good films. Jesus Christ, Pierce Brosnan could play Bond and he can’t even play ping-pong.

Frankofonia: Wandering around the Louvre with Sokurov, a muttering Russian film director. It was funky but when he said: ‘It’s almost over, bear with me’ he won my first gut laugh of the festival. And it was of relief.

Looking for Grace: They find her.

Black Mass: It wanted to be a classic. It looked like a classic. But Goddamned Johnny Depp and his love affair with his Goddamned make up artist and costumer continues unabated. He looks like Nosfer-f*cking-atu. For all the talk of a comeback to serious acting, I’d like to see behind the curtain. Just once,can we have a performance from the man that doesn’t involve the word ‘unrecognizable’ in the review.

That’s it. I’m off for something they call ‘gelato’, that looks an awful like ice-cream to me.

The 72nd Venice Film Festival continues.


HOLLYWOOD -The 72nd Venice Film Festival has begun and the Studio Exec is loose on the Lido. Check out what he saw and why.

Last night I attended the Variety party at the Danieli Hotel in Venice. It’s a dapper little place with a nice view of the Grand Canal which you can enjoy while sipping your prosecco and avoiding Alfonso Cuaron – I still owe him $500 from a little bet I made him about Sandra Bullock and success.The food was science fiction inspired and came in little plastic pods that were fired into your mouth by myopic chefs. Delicious. Outside they were serving water melon cocktails, blue blinis and normal drinks that human beings might want. The whole place was chock-a-block with journalists, film professionals and struggling young actors and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t punch anyone, though – in my defense – I was loud and obnoxious.

This morning was a rude awakening. Back on the Lido I stumbled into the screening of “Everest”. Many people have asked me in the past ‘Why don’t you climb Everest, Exec?’ But I’ve always assumed they were just being rude, or surreal. I didn’t realize but there are actually idiots who do this. Or at least try to. The film Everest is record of the latter kind. Lesson to take home: if you’re a postman, don’t try and climb Mount Everest. More generally, if you’re anyone, don’t try and climb Everest. Jason Clarke is a great actor and I’d like to see him in more stuff. This is IMAX and 3D and has a huge mountain in it (one of the biggest I’m informed) but it is Jason Clarke who really gives the movie heart and credibility.

I also went to see a Mexican film – “A Beast with a Thousand Heads” – by the same guy who did “La Zona” back in 2007. It’s a fair thriller. Restrained, intelligent and quite funny, but it’s spoiled by one glaring implausibility. I won’t tell you because it’d spoil it for you  and I know you already have your ticket.

Tonight I’m off to see Netflix’s new movie “Beasts of No Nation”, which ironically is what I used to be referred to after I got fired from Universal.

More Venice diaries to follow.


HOLLYWOOD – The Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival will be marrying and having children, it was learned today

Alberto Barbera unveiled the lineup to the 72nd Venice Film Festival this morning, and in doing so he also stated that the event will be getting together with its archrival the Toronto International Film Festival and marrying sometime in October:

We want to have beautiful babies and I believe the time has come to put our differences aside and get down and dirty and produce progeny that will shock the world.

The announcement has come as a shock as the two festivals have always competed for movies and often argue about the type of thing a festival should do. Toronto has played the field—a promiscuous beast gladly accepting streams of lovers into her arms without much care for quality. She has also been more than happy to take Venice’s leftovers, but in recent years she has grown jealous and wont to grab anything Venice has written an artful sonnet to.

Toronto chief Cameron Bailey confirmed the news via Skype:

We got together early in the summer to see if we could organize things so we wouldn’t overlap so much. We had some wine. Then some grappa, and one thing led to another. Why always be fighting and grappling? There’s room enough for both of us and we’re both so beautiful. Imagine the gorgeous offspring that will fill the world with cinematic love.

Venice has three adult children from a former marriage with Cannes.