HOLLYWOOD – Charting the unsuccessful attempt by Deuce Bigalow ‘comedian’ Rob Schneider to make a movie of Frank Herbert’s classic Science Fiction novel, Schneider’s Dune is a thoughtful documentary about an almost masterpiece, an epic and what could have been ‘the best Science Fiction film never made’ (The New York Times).

Often praised by peers as a visionary consistently let down by inferior material, Schneider has also been a lifelong fan of Science Fiction. Throughout the Eighties, the young comedian wrote script after script based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. When those attempts came to naught and emboldened by his growing success on Saturday Night Live, Schneider turned his attention to the massive 1963 Frank Herbert novel which had previously been made into a film by David Lynch in 1984. Schneider says:

I always felt that the Lynch film had got some major aspects of the book wrong. In a way that film is great as a Lynchian play with the future, but it just doesn’t sustain the sweep of the story and I had a feeling I could do it. 

Casting himself as Paul Atreides, Schneider wrote a script and prepared to direct. George Lucas – a fan of the book and Schneider’s Tiny Elvis – was on board as a consultant and producer, but the two ultimately fell out over a comic character Lucas wanted to introduce into the film, who would later become Jar Jar Binks. ‘This is the one time in comedy history when Rob actually had more taste,’ jokes collaborator John Milius.

Jonathan Demme‘s documentary is an entertaining portrait of a period as well as of the non-making of an almost classic. Talking head interviews with all the principles – except for Meg Ryan who pulled out of the project at a late stage for undisclosed reasons – are enlightening though there is the rosy hue of nostalgia distorting some of the harder economic realities. And despite Schneider’s presence there are moments of genuine comedy such as the casting reel, which shows Robert Downey Jr and James Caan struggling to get into their roles, Duke Leto and the Beast respectively. 

Ultimately, heavy drug use and a spiraling budget doomed the project, but its influence can still be seen in such far flung regions of the galaxy as Paul Blart Mall Cop and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

To read more Reviews CLICK HERE.  


HOLLYWOOD -The 9,593,421 population of Sweden were confirmed to all have roles in the upcoming Avengers movie, Avengers Civil War.

The entire Swedish population will join Paul Rudd, Martin Freeman, Daniel Bruhl, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Frank Grillo, William Hurt and Don Cheadle in Avengers Civil War, the third movie in the sequence. The Russo brothers popped in to the Studio Exec bungalow to explain EXCLUSIVELY their thinking behind the move.

Anthony Russo: We want this movie to have a genuinely epic scale. Civil War! You know it gives you that feeling of size, of magnificent hugeness. In the past Avengers movies have concentrated on teams and cities, but now we’re into armies and nations. So Sweden seemed like the perfect choice. They speak really good English and we picked up some nice tax breaks.

But when you say cast, you mean extras, right? I mean nine million people here.

Joe Russo: Well, the positive thing is they come with their own infrastructure and a system of government. Ha ha! No, but seriously, we are talking about speaking roles here. Not just what we used to call Background Artists.

That’s crazy!

AR: Is it? Terrence Malick used the entire population of France to make To the Wonder.

No he didn’t.

JR: Did so! But in the end he cut most of them. To their immense relief, it has to be said, once they saw the movie.

Avengers: Civil War will be released in 2016.


LONDON – King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director, Guy Ritchie will direct the forthcoming movie version of the First World War flying ace, Biggles.

The Captain W.E. Johns created hero Biggles has been a young boy’s fantasy figure for years, though he has recently fallen out of favor with the rise superhero movies and toy franchises. Ritchie spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the Studio Exec on condition we did not refer to his former marriage to Madonna. Madonna first came to prominence in the early Eighties with a series of pop hits produced by her then partner Jellybean. After a stormy relationship with Sean Penn, she went on to release a series of albums which were both commercially and critically successful. Her relationship with Guy Ritchie culminated in the motion picture Swept Away, which subsequently was. Speaking about Biggles, Ritchie (neé Madonna) had this to say:

James ‘Biggles’ Bigglesworth is by far the most interesting British hero since Sherlock Holmes and James Bond and yet because of certain old fashioned attitudes he has been unfairly maligned and has all but disappeared from libraries and schools. I hope my film Biggles and the Darkie Menace will make people rethink.

Robert Downey Jr. is said to be interested in the role, because it will continue his recent run of films in which ‘I don’t really have to act or anything.’ Ritchie said that he hopes Downey Jr. will take the part:

Me and Robert have a true understanding having worked together on two pictures. He is one of the most instinctive actors I know. He seems to do no preparation whatsoever. Almost as if he is just ‘dialing in a performance’ as we used to say down London way. Of course, behind that air of casual laziness, I can assure you lie literally minutes of hard work.

Ritchie will hope to reproduce the massive success of Biggles: Adventures in Time, a 1986 film that everyone has largely forgotten.

Biggles and the Darkie Menace will be released in 2019.


AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON: REVIEW – The Avengers return in Joss Whedon’s slick screwball comedy.

Crash, Bang, Wallop – what a picture! There’s wit – fan service – action scenes and other stuff, but to be honest I’m getting a bit tired of Marvel and superhero pictures in general. There’s nothing wrong with the picture. Far from it. The gang are back together and fighting Hydra in some snowy mittel-European Ruritania, providing The Avengers with a nice ‘elsewhere’ setting in some exciting punch ’em up scenes: the hero shot comes early! And then we have a glowing blue doo-hah which must be protected because it’s so powerful. But Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) can’t help but fiddle with it in an attempt to create an artificial intelligence defense system which would effectively render the Avengers obsolete.  Oopsy-daisy! Ultron turns into a super villain intent on wiping out humanity.

Despite the clear intelligence of Whedon as a filmmaker, his actually characters are whoppingly stupid, none more so than the ‘genius’ Stark, who frankly gets off incredibly lightly for his potentially genocidal error. There’s some soap opera with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) grab some of the funniest lines, proving that occasionally it’s the straight men who can snatch the laughs when the self-knowing wit of RDJ grows wearisome. Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Paul Bettany are new heroes, the former seems to be spending this phase of her career tripping through rubble (see also Godzilla).

So it’s fun and all that. But I can’t say I care as much as perhaps I’m led to believe by score etc. that I should. I don’t care about Hulk and Black Widow. I’m unconvinced by the moral conundrums, when no one seems to want to take responsibility for their actions. Doctor Banner is supposed to be the conscience of the group but after he wreaks havoc through a city center his only solution seems to be to run away. And perhaps I’m weighed down by the prospect of another two Russo brothers directed movies: The Avengers: Infinity Wars Parts One and Two, but I’m beginning to suffer from a genuine fatigue with this sort of thing, regardless of its quality. It’s going to go the way of the Western. There are simply too many and no matter how good an individual film might be – and this is a stand out entry – there are only so many times you can watch a city destroyed, a blue doo-dah purloined, a bunch of costumed sociopaths ruminate on morality before you begin to think it might be time for the whole sub-fascist circus to be wrapped up and put away.

For more Reviews CLICK HERE.


HOLLYWOOD – He’s Alan Turing in The Imitation Game and Smaug in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, but who is Benedict Cumberbatch really?

We sent the Studio Exec FACT squad to England to collect the Benedict Cumber-FACTS.

1. Although exotic to American ears, in England, from whence Benedict Cumberbatch hails, the name Benedict Cumberbatch is the second most common name in the British Isles, beaten only by Engelbert Humperdink, ironically enough the stage name of Benedict Cumberbatch’s father.

2. Benedict Cumberbatch’s appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness was marked by tragedy. The reveal that he was in fact Khan was such a surprise for audiences that five hundred and seventeen people died of the subsequent heart attacks during screenings. The surprise was so strong that after the first five days J.J. Abrams decided to publicize ‘the best kept secret in Hollywood’ to avoid further deaths.

3. Robert Downey Jr. and Eddie Redmayne were both named in copyright cases brought against them by Benedict Cumberbatch claiming they had copied his work. Redmayne appeared as Stephen Hawking in the Theory of Everything, which Cumberbatch’s legal team claimed was a direct copy of Cumberbatch’s work in the BBC drama Hawking. Likewise Downey Jr. was accused of copying Cumberbatch’s work as Sherlock Holmes. Both cases were thrown out and Judge Norfolk reprimanded Cumberbatch for being ‘frivolous, though dreamy’.

4. In all of Cumberbatch’s film roles, the actor refuses to wear socks. The one exception to this was his turn in The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug in which if one looks carefully you can see that the gold hoarding dragon is wearing a pair of silk tartan socks.

5. Benedict Cumberbatch recently got married to the beautiful Sophie Hunter, an actor and theater director. Many hope this will bring to an end his tenure as the leader of the Hollywood based English actors’ club, the Jolly Bastards. The infamous group has been responsible for a whole series of crimes including swan sacrifice and old lady taunting. However, it was recently reported by den mother Emilia Clarke, that Sophie Hunter will also be joining the club and the horrors will continue.

For more Movie FACTS CLICK HERE!


Tony Stark – a hot-shot immoral defense lawyer – returns to Indiana for his mother’s funeral and meets up with his Days of Thunder consigliere father Col. Kilgore, a cantankerous judge who soon finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Will his estranged son defend him? Will their relationship be restored? Will they perhaps go fishing the way Tony Stark wants to? This is like August: Osage County meets that Hannah Montana movie where the big city gal rediscovers the joy of homeliness – and spices it up with some illicit ‘urban’ beats. Good Christ but it’s wretched. And Tony Stark is appalling. Everything in the movie services him. An encounter with some barroom thugs, sweet talking his old school girlfriend, the yokel lawyer’s incompetence are all staged to allow Downey a moment of verbal dexterity and a series of twitchy, ironic, winky and eminently punchable reaction shots. (Sidebar: his father has been a judge in these parts for forty years, is a pillar of the community and he doesn’t know a lawyer better than a part-time puker?) He even has a ‘Holy Fool’ brother who walks around with a camera all the time, allowing Downey to be patient and loving with him in contrast to his older sibling and thereby winning more audience points.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I contend that Iron Man did not kill Robert Downey Jr. Nor Sherlock Holmes who is basically Iron Man in a fusty accent and a frock coat. Downey Jr – the actor – died the moment he discovered that he could get away with being likeable. His likeability means there’s no real edge to his smarmy bastard act. Everyone in the film keeps telling him what he’s like – ‘You really are a bastard’, ‘You hate bullies, but you are one’ etc. – because his performance doesn’t do it. Look at Paul Newman in The Verdict. Now there’s a Hollywood star who was unafraid of playing moral corruption like it meant something. And likewise earning the redemption rather than it just being a predictable plot point you can spot from the Warner Bros logo.

Objection! Robert Duvall is excellent.

Sustained. But he’s been an excellent character actor from Boo Radley on. That’s a given. It’s the film that stands accused, letting him down and Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga and Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, and it must also answer for its obnoxiously wrong tone, switching from mawkish sentimentality to folksy comedy in a way I’d call cynical, but cynicism implies some facility. The small town America it shows is the kind Hollywood excels at. Driving into town, Downey Jr spots a boy and his father loading fishing supplies onto their pick up. ‘Nothing changes,’ he hisses venomously, before getting all snarky about someone waving at him. I bet the Wi-Fi reception isn’t up to snuff either.

So I find The Judge guilty. Guilty of wasting talent. Three counts of using a folksy acoustic soundtrack, like an old Jack Daniels advert. Guilty of pretending to be the proper Oscar worthy movie for me that justifies the cash grab of Iron Man. And most guilty – and this is truly unforgivable – of a scene in which the main character recaptures his youth by riding a bicycle no-handed wearing a faded Metallica t-shirt.

Take them away.

For more Reviews CLICK HERE.


HOLLYWOOD – It isn’t due out until 2015 but the sequel to the mega-successful Avengers is already lighting up the rumor bots across the Internets and one major news story has come to light: Avengers: Age of Ultron will meet up with the Thundercats.

Joss Whedon – long-time fan of the Japanese/American animated series from the 1980s – was initially involved in the feature film reboot which was put on indefinite hold last year, but with Marvel having published a series of comics based on the series, it seemed to Whedon that it would be a perfect fit. Lion-O and pals Cheetara, Panthro and Snarf humanoid feline aliens from the planet Thundera would it seems team up with Iron Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett…

This also gives Marvel the opportunity of making a slew of stand alone films featuring the various Thundercats characters, the first of which – Lion-O – is likely to go into production later this year with Kenneth Branagh both starring and ‘directing’.

While some fans will moan and bitch about the series having absolutely nothing to do with each other and that this is woefully misguided violation of the integrity of what they call ‘the Marvel Universe’, Marvel studio heads have responded by making ca-ching noises and waving hundred dollar bills at fans while they drive past in their souped up Ferraris.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is due for release in 2015.


HOLLYWOOD – Assorted celebrities and do gooders were feeling very pleased with themselves today as news came in that the Ice Bucket Challenge had succeeded in curing a number of previously incurable diseases, eliminating famine and bringing world peace to the benighted regions of the world.

Bill Gates pointed to the results that the #IceBucketChallenge have accrued as answers some critics who claimed it was yet another example of Slacktivism:

I didn’t invent Microsoft by sitting around moaning all day about not having invented Microsoft. No far from it. I had to get up and do it. Likewise people have been going on for years about how terrible cancer, leukaemia and leprosy are but it wasn’t until a bunch of rich people poured buckets of ice water over their heads that all these diseases were finally cured. The same with the Gaza strip. There was a hellish amount of violence going on then Steven Spielberg gives himself the old ice shampoo and whoosh, peace descends.

Robert Downey Jr admitted he was frankly amazed by the efficacy of the viral craze:

Initially I just thought it was going to be a bit of fun. I love having a joke and not taking things to seriously, like acting and what not. But when the incidence of child mortality plummeted and then George Clooney phoned up and told me the Sudan was sorted and all because of me and my little ice bucket.

However, some have admitted there are limits to the powers of the Ice Bucket. Hugh Jackman told the Studio Exec:

It only works if the person doused is adequately famous. Mike Myers has been drenching himself on a daily basis but alas Aids is still with us.

Ice Bucket Challenge: The Motion Picture will be released in 2016.


HOLLYWOOD – Today, countries from across the world joined in a minute’s silence to remember the release six years ago of Ben Stiller’s ‘comedy’ Tropic Thunder.

Heads bowed, an eerie silence fell over cities all over the world and even the sound of the traffic died down, as drivers pulled over to the side of the road, some taking the moment to say a short prayer. President Obama led the White House staff in a moment of remembrance in the Rose Garden and told the assembled press that:

This kind of thing, in our day and age, in the memory of our own lifetimes, seems almost impossible to conceive. That so many lives were blighted, so many hopes extinguished, so much pain caused should be a motive for all civilized nations to look at this moment in history, come together and learn some hard lessons so that it will never happen again.

In a rare moment of conciliation, silence was heard in Ukraine and across the Gaza Strip. In Buckingham Palace flags were lowered and across Paris the sipping of wine and the smoking of Gauloises cigarettes was halted for a brief moment.

The last surviving veterans of Tropic Thunder – Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr and Ben Stiller – chose to attend a private ceremony in which a copy of the film was set on fire and a wreath was placed on the site of the first screening of the film. A spokesperson for Stiller read a prepared statement from the actor:

We only wanted to make people laugh with a series of jokes that were supposed to be funny, but something went terribly, terribly wrong.

Meanwhile some survivors groups have criticized the ‘institutionalization of  Tropic Thunder’, claiming that by concentrating so much on one particular event, many other atrocities go unnoticed by the media.

Jenny Billet from Survivors Against Thunder told Studio Exec:

Although it is only right that the media should constantly remind us of Tropic Thunder, that was by no means the only Ben Stiller film to spread horror throughout the world. In the hullabaloo of today it is easy to forget that he was also responsible for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And if anything Tower Heist was even worse than Tropic Thunder.

However, today is not a day of arguments, or dissent. Today is a day of remembrance, grieving and reconciliation. Today is a day that we are united in the mission to make sure something like Tropic Thunder will never happen again.

Tropic Thunder 2: Monsoon in the Rangoon will be released in 2015.


HOLLYWOOD -While promoting his blockbusting new film Avengers: Age of Ultron, Robert Downey Jr. hinted at a press conference in Quebec that he might be returning to acting after a fifteen year absence.

‘I do miss it,’ Robert Rowney Jr. said. ‘And should the right script come along I might be persuaded, but I am making a lot of money just being me with different names.’



Spoilers for the HBO show Wedger – the whole season – follow.

HOLLYWOOD -Following the intense internet debate, including the launching of several online petitions, everyone knew that the season finale of HBO show Wedger had raised the stakes to an almost impossible extent.

With the death of Stephen ‘Paint Bottle’ Wedger (Matthew Modine) the show had lost one of its most charismatic and amusing presences. Could Robert Downey Jr’s tortured Wedge expert carry the show? Would the diabolical Wedgier be revealed? And who else (let’s hope not Mrs. Wedger played by Mia Sara)  would have to pay for the darkness in the depths of the American male psyche?

Well, this reviewer has to say the whole thing was a colossal waste of time. The cracks began to appear when Captain Balaton (Jeff Daniels) is asked by a Supreme Court Judge ‘What is a wedge expert anyhow?’ This throwaway bit of meta-commentary suddenly felt prescient as we see Wedger at work analyzing the wedgie that killed his brother. It’s obvious that Downey Jr. is out of his depth, giving an utterly unconvincing performance of how a real wedge expert would operate. Then we learn he only got the job on the strength of the fact his name sounded uncannily appropriate. The reveal that the Wedgier was in fact Wedger, trying to keep himself in work was almost too obvious to be a reveal. 

To then have the whole validity of the whole show compromised by the final ten minutes when a young boy wakes up late for school and tells his mother over a rushed breakfast ‘what a strange dream I had’ was like taking the audience and giving it collectively the biggest wedgies in the history of wedgies. I for one was howling in agony. In three words the whole thing has been ‘an. unwiped. orifice.’

For more Wedger click HERE.


Warning: SPOILERS for the HBO show Wedger from pilot through Episode 6.

We’ve got used to the anti-heroes of television’s second Golden Age, be it Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen, Walter White or Don Draper. But now we have to add another name: Wedger. This week’s episode probably pushed the limits of what we are willing to accept from a lead character and still root for him.

After getting drunk all day with his irrepressible brother Stephen ‘Paint Bottle’ Wedger (Matthew Modine), Wedger (Robert Downey Jr.) realizes that it is his daughter’s recital and so steals a car and drives across town and break neck speed, crashing into a school bus and killing all the children in the ensuing fireball.

Meanwhile across town, Kirstie Alley escapes from jail, aided by the mysterious Wedgier in one of the finest escape via ingestion by a very fat prison guard that I have ever seen. Up there with Shawkshank Redemption poo pipe crawl.  

Fleeing the scene of his crime, Wedger gets a call from Captain Balaton (Jeff Daniels) begging for him to help catch the Wedgier, but Wedger isn’t going to disappoint his daughter. So pausing only to mainline heroin in an alley and strangle a homeless person to death because ‘he looked at me funny’, Wedger punches a cyclist (a great comedy beat), steals her bicycle and heads for his daughter’s school where he is met by the teacher with whom he had a steamy episode in the pilot. She has some news: she’s pregnant! Without blinking or a moment’s hesitation, Wedger punches her as hard as he can in the belly and runs into the hall just as his daughter begins to play Debussey’s Clare de lune. As he sits down next to his wife (Mia Sara) she says ‘You almost missed it.’ Okay this I have to say. What a BITCH! I mean Wedger might be a tiny bit morally ambiguous, but what a mean spirited, whiny, irritating, dumb pain in the ass his wife is. When you think about what he has to put up with from her, all his actions suddenly make sense. Hopefully, the writers will find some way of punishing her in a really humiliating manner. 

For more Wedger click here.  


Warning: SPOILERS for the HBO series Wedger from pilot through to Episode 3.

Last week’s episode certainly put the cat among the pigeons as Wedger (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers his wife (Mia Sara) is having an affair with his brother, Stephen ‘Paint Bottle’ Wedger (Matthew Modine), just as Wedger is called in by the police to consult on a series of murders committed by the Wedgier, a mysterious serial killer who is dispatching his victims with elaborate razor edged wedgies.
Now a wider political context is brought in as a letter is sent to the First Lady written by the Wedgier and Wedger is called to the White House to investigate. His brother Stephen ‘Paint Bottle’ Wedger accompanies him, hoping to explain his relationship and apologise. However, during Wedger’s meeting with the President, Paint Bottle is left with the First Lady who turns out to be an old girlfriend. One thing leads to another and Wedger is called out of the meeting by the Secret Service to be told that Paint Bottle is being inappropriate in the Roosevelt Room. Martin Sheen and Shelley Duvall are wonderful as the first couple, but the episode seems something of an oddity. Is it trying to cash in on the House of Cards Washington mystique? The big loss is Robert Downey Jr. who despite his usual wit – especially in the scene where he tries to score speed off the White House Chief of Staff – has too little to do. That said Matthew Modine is beginning to shine as Paint Bottle, one of the darkest and most frank portrayals of sex addiction shown on television.

Wedger is broadcast 9 pm EST on HBO. For more Wedger news CLICK HERE.


Warning: SPOILERS for the HBO series Wedger from pilot through to Episode 4.

Following the Washington antics of the previous episode and the breakneck pace of the show’s opening, it was only right that Wedger the new HBO drama starring Robert Downey Jr., Matthew Modine and Mia Sara should take a moment to compose itself.
Episode 4: The Wedge Shaped Room sees Wedger and estranged wife Toni going to couples therapy accompanied by Toni’s lover and Wedger’s brother, Stephen ‘Paint Bottle’ Wedger. A bottle episode – similar to the famous ‘The Fly’ episode in Breaking Bad – sees the characters confined to a waiting room for the entire episode as they wait for the therapist to see them. The delays begin as a hallucinating Wedger – he’s dropped liquid acid onto his retina in the cold opening – gets the wrong time and then the therapist herself seems to be running late as the increasingly comic receptionist (Kirstie Alley) explains and apologizes while apparently flirting with Paint Bottle.  
It soon becomes apparent that the therapy is already taking place, as Wedger and frère snipe at each other Toni tries to keep the peace and matters are not helped by Captain Balaton’s constant phone calls pleading with Wedger to return to the station as there has been a new Wedgying Murder and the ‘press is all over my ass’. Among other tit-bits in this David Mamet scripted episode comes the revelation of how Paint Bottle got his name, putting paid to weeks of internet speculation. Although there’s always the chance that his lying. Mia Sara’s performance was heart breaking and funny at the same time. Lulled into perhaps a sense of false safety by the grinding boredom of the episode – made duller still by Mamet’s trademark repeat the same line three times dialogue – the final twist revealing the identity of the therapist completely blew my mind and has risen the stakes significantly.

For all your Wedger news and gossip Click Here.