Liz Smith: Madonna in Venice — Like A Director?

Madonna: from global pop star to director

And more from our Gossip Girl: Will Maria Shriver tell Oprah all? … Dressing Ryan Gosling … Is Sarah Palin still “Undefeated?” (You betcha!)

“THOUGH THERE are some disagreeable things in Venice, there is nothing so disagreeable as the visitors,” wrote Henry James of the fabulous city on the sea.

I suppose Mr. James did not consider himself as a visitor?

* * *

NEXT MONTH, a whole lot of visitors will descend on Venice. Movie people, models, wannabes, has-beens, never-weres, probably a few athletes. If Venice is truly unlucky, reality TV creatures will go all gondola. And of course, the media will be there, in droves. These mostly agreeable people gather for the annual Venice Film Festival, which runs from Sept. 8th to the 18th.

I am especially interested in this year’s event. Fascinating films will be shown, in and out of competition, including Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights,” “Wilde Salome” (directed by Al Pacino) and Abel Ferrara’s “4.44 The Last Day on Earth.”

But, the movie whose reception I am most anxious to hear about is “W.E.,” directed by Madonna. This film weaves two corresponding tales — one about the kingdom-shaking romance of Duke and Duchess of Windsor; the other about a young modern woman, fascinated with the tale of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII. Nothing Madonna has ever done professionally — no album, no concert, no acting job — has consumed La Ciccone as has “W.E.” She’s poured everything she’s got into the movie. To say it has been an exquisite labor of love would be vastly understating her effort, commitment and talents.

Aside from possibly a few of her four children and perhaps a gentleman to hold her hand, Madonna will surely be accompanied in Venice by Harvey Weinstein, whose company will release the movie, later this year. After “W.E.” shows in Venice, it moves on to Toronto.

Some people might assume Madonna will be a little wistful in Venice, recalling the voluptuous girl, writhing along the fabled canals, in 1984’s classic video, “Like a Virgin.”

But they’d be assuming incorrectly. Madonna never looks back. She is totally in the now and in the future. She probably doesn’t even remember the 1980’s anymore —that was another life; she was another person. And so were the rest of us. Remember the shock waves caused by a pop song with the word “virgin” in the title?

* * *

WHILE THE unimaginative try to figure out where Casey Anthony is hiding and what she or her people will “do” with her — books, interviews, strip clubs — others who seek a higher plane are wondering what Oprah Winfrey is cooking up for her friend Maria Shriver. They are good friends. And Maria is getting plenty of emotional support from O. They even went to dinner last week at Spago in Hollywood — Oprah, Maria and Maria’s son Christopher, who was recently injured in a boogie board accident. The paparazzi went nuts.

Although Oprah’s daily show is no more, she still has the opportunity to do interviews whenever she wants — a monthly special on her own OWN Network? Why not?  Millions of women are rooting for Maria and would love to hear the tale of Arnold’s betrayals from her lips.

* * *

PARIS HILTON and Lindsay Lohan are friends again. To be honest, this might not be a bad thing for … Lindsay. Really!

Miss Hilton has earned a fortune, has kept out of trouble since her famous jail-time a few years back. Indeed, she is rather respectably off the radar now. It might not do Miss Lohan any harm to hang around with Paris. On the other hand, despite her merchandising success, Paris was sincerely miffed recently when an interviewer implied that her best days as a “celebutante” were over. Maybe Paris wants a bit of her crazy back? My advice? Paris — teach Lindsay how to shop online. And keep your crazy as a memory.

* * *

REMEMBER the Angelina Jolie/Johnny Depp thriller-romance “The Tourist?” It received middling reviews and seemed to vanish quickly, but thanks to Jolie’s popularity — especially in Europe and Asia — the movie made a bundle.

Miss Jolie looked lovely in “The Tourist” and much was made of her beauty-enhancing get-ups and the frequency of her costume changes. About a dozen shifts in her wardrobe took the place of a script. But it is not just women who are serviced so luxuriously by their costume designers.

Take Ryan Gosling, for example. The young heartthrob, who is now in “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” has 36 — count ‘em! — 36 costume changes in the movie. Designer Dayna Pink put Ryan in Prada, YSL, Lanvin and Alexander McQueen. His shirts were all bespoke.

Ryan’s character in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is extremely fashion-conscious. He wears something new in every single scene onscreen. Why, he’s just like Norma Shearer or Kirsten Dunst‘s “Marie Antoinette.”  (In Ryan’s next movie, “The Place Beyond The Pines,” he’s a platinum blonde biker confined to jeans and t-shirts.)

* * *

THE DOCUMENTARY about Sarah Palin, “The Undefeated,” has had a small-ish release and small-ish box-office results. The movie has grossed a little over $100,000. So, it’s off to DVD a bit more swiftly than had been anticipated.

But I wonder, did Sarah or director/producer Steven K. Bannon really expect a huge hit, in this summer of “Harry Potter” and “Transformers,” “Captain America” and “Cowboys & Aliens?” I think not. “Undefeated” was just a bit of propaganda for the faithful who will be more eager to worship at home, rather than going to the church of the Cineplex.

And anyway, failure is always good for Sarah — she spins it into a victim thing. Her take? How hateful Hollywood liberals killed her brave attempt to tell the truth. In Palin’s perpetual self-victimization she is indeed, “undefeated.”

10 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Paris and Lindsay?  Again?  Well, they were out clubbing the other night and Lindsay, in her standard five-inch heels, fell down. 

    It wasn’t her fault, she said.  She was blinded by paparazzi flashes and thrown off balance by pushing and shoving.  She was certainly not intoxicated.  What a thought. 

    You know, come to think of it, nothing Mr. Wow ever did was his fault, either.  There!  I feel so much better. 

    • avatar rick gould says:

      Dang, here I was hoping Ms. Hilton had disappeared to well-deserved (wealthy) obscurity…but I guess we’re stuck with, I mean, we’ll always have Paris!

    • avatar Deeliteful says:

      Mr. W.:

      ^5! I fell off my 3″ heels once and am so glad to know it wasn’t my fault. It was those other pesky dancers invading my space. It was because the band changed songs in the middle of my twirl. Or the blinding lights from the spinning disco ball. Not my fault…

  2. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Madonna’s Movie – Can’t Wait to see.

    Sarah Palin’s Movie – Ha!  I must correct you Liz. It wouldn’t have mattered what other movies were up against her film, (IMO) it was NEVER going to be a blockbuster. Much like her political life and those that adore her, her support is narrow but loud. She does not appeal to the masses, so it is silly for anyone to believe millions and millions of people that are not her supporters were going to flock to see this joke of a fim.

    Maria Shriver and Oprah – Here’s hoping the gossip is correct because I would love to see that interview!  


  3. avatar Richard Bassett says:

                              Lindsay remains on a slippy slope if her pass time is going to the Hollywood nightclubs. All kids do and usually there are several attempts to life for recovery (Has she really even said: Hi, my name is Lindsay (or Paris) and I’m an alcoholic and an addict.” at their substance abuse meetings? You know, I see the clients were need constant therapy and follow-ups. But there is an entire population that put their drug or alcohol down and say, “That’s enough”. But we do not see these people in treatment. Why would we? Everybody points to Rehab for any type of drug use these days; there is just as many people who use nothing. Another population of people who can take it or leave it. (So, we are all not saints)
                               But once it gets to the point of treating someone for their own sake, who wants it, not judge or law enforced, or for the sake of their career…there is endless help for them too. Hollywood has gone a little rehab crazy. Admitting people who fight in public, or fall down a flight of stairs, or swear in an airport. It’s setting one up for failure.
                 THEY know it. A movie is being made? Rehab first. After the film is made all hell breaks loose. They know it was being done for a career, or family, friends, being done by coming near death, going to drug court. I’m not saying that Lindsay and Paris are in one specific category. Frankly, I do not know.  In the long run neither do they, day by day.

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I doubt seriously that Paris Hilton will ever be considered “respectable” and hardly a mentor to anyone. As for this “reunion” there’s a reason why felons are not allowed to associate with other felons.  They tend to “enable” each other.

    As for Lindsay Lohan, well, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, and all the Liz Smith columns, will not be able to put her career back together again.

  5. avatar youtiaoas says:

    {w w w }{ b e t t e r w h o l e s a l e r }{ us }

    Dedi cated service, the new style, believing you will love it