News, Sept. 2: Venice Film Festival Fetes Some, Boos Others; Jerry Lewis Telethon Breaks Bank; Cybersquatters Defined, More…

Top Story: Coppola’s Film a Hit, Banderas’ Film Booed

Making its debut Sunday, Sofia Coppola‘s Lost in Translation is generating a huge buzz at the Venice Film Festival, wowing audiences and critics alike, Reuters reports. Star Bill Murray is getting particular notice for his deadpan performance as a has-been actor who strikes up a friendship with a bored young wife (Scarlett Johansson). “These are some of the most satisfying laughs I’ve ever got in the movies,” said Murray. Meanwhile, the drama Imagining Argentina, starring Antonio Banderas, got a less than warm reception when audiences literally booed it at Monday’s screening, Reuters reports. The film tells the story of thousands of Argentines who were killed or “disappeared” during the 1976-1983 period of dictatorship and focuses on one character (Banderas) who uses psychic powers to try and find his missing journalist wife (played by Emma Thompson).

Lewis Telethon Hits $60 Mil Mark

The nearly 22-hour Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon broke its own record Monday by receiving a whopping $60.5 million in nationwide pledges for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Associated Press reports. “I’m consistently humbled by the generosity of the American public. Every year I ask, and without blinking, you open your hearts and wallets,” Lewis said. “You’ve also let ‘my kids’ of all ages, and their loved ones, know that they aren’t alone in this fight.” Ed McMahon co-hosted with the 77-year-old comedian, his body bloated due to steroid medication he takes for pulmonary fibrosis, while entertainers such as Cher, Celine Dion and Don Rickles performed.

VMAs Couldn’t Top Last Year’s Ratings

Despite pop diva Madonna and pop princess Britney Spears‘ kiss, the 20th annual MTV Video Music Awards couldn’t top last year’s ratings. The Thursday night broadcast, hosted by acerbic comedian Chris Rock, drew 10.7 million total viewers, down from the record 12 million who watched last year, Reuters reports. It did, however, get the highest concentration for 12-34 viewers on cable for the year to date.

De Laurentiis Awarded Golden Lion

With more than 60 films and 30 Academy Award nominations under his belt, producing giant Dino De Laurentiis was awarded a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement Monday at the Venice Film Festival, Reuters reports. “Each movie is a son, they are all my children,” De Laurentiis said at the press conference. The 84-year-old producer is currently busy on the film adaptation of Alexander the Great’s life, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Baz Luhrmann.

Rodriguez Won’t Take Maid Roles

Tough gal Michelle Rodriguez, currently starring in the police drama S.W.A.T., vows she will never play a maid in a movie. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Rodriguez said she was recently handed “a script about a Latina maid…I was, like, ‘You must be on drugs, right?'” The actress said the roles are exploitative and asked, “Where is the movie with the blue-eyed, blonde-haired maid? There are tons of them out there.” Hmm, maybe she had a bad experience playing a hotel maid who surfs in last year’s Blue Crush.

Daly’s Show Gets Third Go-Around

Carson Daly‘s very late night show Last Call with Carson Daly was given the thumbs up for a third season, Variety reports. The show has been generating solid ratings in its 1:35-2:35 a.m. timeslot. “The bottom line is that when we first started this show, we were careful about rolling out a big television show,” exec producer David Friedman told Variety. “Here we are two years later, and it’s time we made this show look and feel as big as it has become.”

Grace Will Grace ’70s Show a Little Longer

That ’70s Show star Topher Grace signed a new lucrative deal with Fox and Carsey-Werner-Mandabach production to stay on the sitcom through a potential 2004-05 season, Variety reports. The actor is the last cast member to work out an agreement, as the production company already locked deals with the show’s other stars, including Ashton Kutcher.

Brosnan Stops Cybersquatter

Actor Pierce Brosnan has won a legal battle against a company that was a front for the well-known cybersquatter Jeff Burgar, who redirected to a commercial Web site. What’s a cybersquatter, you may ask? The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) describes the term as someone who “constitutes a pattern of conduct intended to capitalize on the goodwill associated with others’ fame for its own illegitimate purposes,” Reuters reports. Burgar has 10 days to appeal the ruling, after which time the site name will be transferred back to Brosnan, Reuters reports. The cybersquatter has also been involved in several other disputes over celebrity Web sites and has lost cases against singer Celine Dion, rock group Pearl Jam and actress Pamela Anderson.