HOLLYWOOD – First off and right off the bat, Happy Thanksgiving everybody! There I done and said it.

Now you ate the turkey? Good. You talked to your relatives? Great. You punched Uncle Dwayne in the throat and left him sitting on his ass in the yard, wheezing for breath? Check.

So perhaps it’s time you settled the whole family down around the flat screen television and put on a film for the whole family to enjoy, from little Timmy Jr to Grammy Elspeth and this is where the Studio Exec comes in to guide you to Happy Family Thanksgiving Viewing.

1. The Act of Killing: Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary takes as its subject matter the mass murders that followed an unsuccessful coup attempt in 1965 Indonesia and eventually led to thirty years of Suharto and military dictatorship. The murderers themselves have never been brought to justice, but in a stroke of mad genius they are persuaded to re-enact their atrocities for the camera and in so doing come to recognize to some degree the dark evil they perpetrated. The kids are crying; everyone’s upset. You never knew there was such darkness in the world. No? Well, maybe…

2. Prisoners: Send the kids out to play down the street near that creepy looking RV while you watch this gripping drama, featuring Hugh Jackman and Jake BlinkingHaal. Jackman is a father who’s child goes missing during a Thanksgiving Dinner when… Wait, where are the kids? Jesus Christ, where’s the RV gone? Timmy! TIMMMMY!!

3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Now, we’re on safe ground. John Candy, that big guy always makes me laugh. And there’s Steve Martin and he came out of the womb with grey hair, crazy feet and probably playing the banjo, because he’s you know multi-talented. Fantastic. I guarantee by the end of the film you’ll be weeping, and if you want to weep a little be harder, thinking that the massive talent who made this then went out turd out Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Yeah, I know. Sniff. Get’s me every time. Why, John, why? WHY!??

4. The Human Centipede Trilogy: I know what you are going to say, surely this isn’t appropriate! But think a while. All that food, the pumpkin pie, the turkey with all the trimmings, the endless potatoes, it all has to go somewhere so why not give the family a few ideas about the digestive tract. Thanksgiving is a time for feasting but it also a time for a healthy slice of body disgust and what would be better than Tom Six’s grotesque classic.

5. The Crucible: Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder have sex and we don’t get to see it. And that isn’t the only disappointment. All those cartoon versions of the Pilgrim fathers, the founders of this great nation are made cuddly with tradition and time so why not add a corrective in Arthur Miller’s wonderful play that shows what a bunch of bigoted assholes they really were. You could also watch Little Big Man or 1492 to see how the Thanksgiving we enjoy cost the indigenous peoples of this fair land … well, basically everything!

Happy Thanksgiving from all here at The Studio Exec.


HOLLYWOOD – ‘Actor’ Jake Gyllenhaal was arrested today following accusations that he had stolen Ben Affleck’s best acting beard.

The beard – which was thought by many to be responsible for Affleck’s Oscar triumph in Argo some years ago – had gone missing from the night stand by Affleck’s bed nine months ago. Fingers had immediately pointed at Jennifer Garner who many believed had been wearing it somewhere on her person in an attempt for Oscar recognition in her supporting role in Dallas Buyers Club, something she has vehemently denied. 

Suspicion then alighted on Gyllenhaal after Hugh Jackman told the press that ‘blinky’ [as he prefers to call Gyllenhaal] had loaned him a beard while they were filming Prisoners, but wouldn’t tell him from whence it came. Police were finally alerted on seeing Enemy in which Gyllenhaal wears not one but two beards! Gyllenhaal’s lawyers have denied he stole the chin herbage and has never even been to Hawaii. 

The case looks set to go to trial in August. 


PRISONERS: REVIEW – In Prisoners, father, husband, hunter, survivalist, carpenter, beard wearer and above all ACTOR Hugh Jackman is thrown into turmoil when his daughter is abducted along with the daughter of Iron Man 1‘s black guy Terrence Howard.

Jake Blinkinhaal is the intense police detective with a 100% success rate who is tasked with finding the criminals.

The prime suspect is Paul Dano – breaking with Dano tradition and playing a weirdo – but he is apparently mentally incapable of answering a question with anything but an off-putting leer. When he is released, Hugh ACTOR decides to take things into his own hands. 

Watching Denis Villeneuve’s film I was reminded of another child abduction thriller Mystic River. Both films share the same wintry, rainy palette (the brilliant Roger Deakins, here, is one of those cinematographers who I’d follow as closely as a director), and they both manage to supersede essentially pulpy material as something serious, glum even albeit not as tragic as they might wish. Everyone in Prisoners has a silly name – Jackman is called Kelley Dover, Gyllenhaal is Detective Loki! – but they act as if they don’t know it. Wolverine is particularly grimly determined to take this project seriously and the result is an ‘intense’ performance unpolluted by shades or subtlety. The heavy handed allegory and the one word title likewise weigh of worthiness, and yet when it comes down to it this is a well made thriller on a well worn story. Most will want to check out the Wikipedia plot summary to understand exactly how everything happened and too much happens because of dumb decision making (again similar to Mystic River in this regard), but it’s a high quality production and it looks beautiful. Oh, and Hugh Jackman ACTS.