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 – 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 – Newly weds George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin accidentally sank Venice yesterday when George left the taps running in their hotel bathroom as the two went out for brunch with their friends.

Ms. Alamuddin was wearing a Giambattista Valli Couture dress to complement her platinum wedding ring when they met guest at the Cipriani Hotel for food and drinks. Meanwhile back at the Aman Grand Canal Hotel the bathroom was filling with water and the water was leaking into other rooms causing the 15th century palazzo to subside. This set off a chain effect in neighboring structures and before long the whole quarter of the city was compromised. George, wearing a classic Armani suit and Police sunglasses, greeted fans and reporters with his trademark smile by Valentino. Eating antipasti prepared by the award winning chef, Carlo Ancellotti, the beautiful and glamorous A-listers mingled as the sound of falling masonry and terrified screaming could be heard in the distance.

‘We knew something was going on when we heard the sirens and the helicopters, but we were all having such a good time,’ said one guest, Mad Men’s John Hamm. ‘George and Amal have waited so long for this day we didn’t want anyone to spoil it.’

As the world heritage site rapidly began to resemble a latter day Atlantis, the weekend celebrations continued into the early evening, featuring music from friend and guest Adele. The party was really beginning to rock when some bleeding and half drowned survivors swam to the hotel, but were denied access because their names were not on the guest list.

As the stars came out in the Venetian sky, the newly weds gave a charming farewell to their friends and family and prepared to depart for an undisclosed location for their honeymoon.  The death toll currently stands at four thousand.



VENICE -Our man on the Lido has been roaming the 71st Venice Film festival which means that almost by accident he has seen some films. Here is that.

So here are my reviews from the Venice Film Festival so far.

The Look of Silence

Do not go on holiday to Indonesia until they fess up to the shit they been doing.

The Humbling

Al Pacino plays Philip Roth playing Al Pacino.

Far from Man

Aragorn is French and living in Algeria during the 1954 war of liberation. Very beautiful landscapes and a pretty good Western when it comes down to it.


Al Pacino plays Manglehorn, a lock smith who needs to find the key to his heart. Yep. Get through the style and quality acting and it is kind of that trite.

Fires on the Plain

Japanese retreat in the Philippines turns into madness and cannibalism. Brutal, bloody and brilliant.

Three Hearts


The Cut

Should have been.

99 Homes

Spider-man tries to make a bomb on the housing market.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Swedish remake of The Kentucky Fried Movie


VENICE – The festival moves on  and now everyone else is on their way to Toronto our man can spill the beans about the doings of the film folk.

A wise man (it was Al Pacino) once said to me you never know what’s going to happen next. Then he punched me in the face. So when I met Al again I felt I was prepared for anything. He’s on the Lido to promote two films: The Humbling and Manglehorn, one of which (and I’m not telling) is in competition for the Golden Lion.

Al’s one of the most relaxed superstars you can hope to meet. We met for a quick lunch in-between interview junkets and red carpet strolls.

‘So Al,’ I said easing into my subject. ‘Jack and Jill? What the f*ck?’

‘What can I say?’ said Al. ‘The money was good and Adam had kidnapped my kids until I signed on.’

‘Jesus that’s terrible.’

‘I know. I love my kids.’

‘No I wasn’t thinking about your kids, I was still thinking about Jack and Jill.’

‘Oh come on,’ says Al. ‘It wasn’t that bad.’

So I punched him in the face.

As security piled onto me, the last thing I saw was Al holding his bleeding nose, but I swear to God, there was a devilish twinkle of admiration in his eye.