MPAA YANKS POSTERS FOR KEVIN SMITH'S "PORNO" FILM

The Motion Picture Association of America confirmed Wednesday that it has banned the poster for the new Kevin Smith film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The decision came after the MPAA had originally given the film an NC-17 rating but changed it to an R on appeal. The poster shows the two stars, Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks in split images, fully clothed, with a tuft of hair at the bottom of the two pictures at about crotch level. "I understand [the MPAA] has got a job to do, but c'mon ... this image isn't that dirty; they're both fully clad" Smith told Entertainment Weekly. The movie is due to be shown this weekend at the Toronto Film Festival -- and the posters are on display throughout the city. Smith, who is on hand for the festival, commented, "I've always loved Canada and Canadians for giving us hockey. Now I love them just a little bit more -- for allowing tufts of hair."

TORONTO, VENICE STEP UP RIVALRY

The Toronto and Venice Film Festivals -- always close rivals and usually overlapping one another -- may become direct competitors next year. Venice artistic director Marco Mueller said Wednesday that next year's festival will start a week later, on September 2, about the same time that Toronto is due to begin. (This year's festival opens today). Mueller indicated that the reason for delaying the start was to give filmmakers a bit of extreme time to put the finishing touches on their entries. But reports noted that it could force some filmmakers, who are unlikely to try to be in two places at the same tie, to make a choice between screening their films at Venice or Toronto. USA Today observed today that even without the direct competition from Venice, Toronto's festival "isn't quite its bellwether self this year. Factors such as rising travel costs, delays caused by the writers' strike and weakened art-house divisions have kept the most likely best-picture candidates out of the lineup."

ROEPER BECOMES AS FAMOUS AS STARS HE REVIEWS

Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper writes today about his cameo appearance on HBO's Entourage this Sunday -- as himself reviewing the movie Medellin. It was, he writes, the culmination of eight years as a celebrity reviewer for the syndicated show At the Movies. (He joined Roger Ebert after the death of Gene Siskel in 2000.) "Over the last eight years, my job on the show led to some amazing pop culture moments. Homer Simpson, David Letterman and Mad magazine made jokes about me. I got to sing on a Jimmy Kimmel special(!). I was an answer on Millionaire,Wheel of Fortune and the New York Times crossword puzzle. I had dinner and/or drinks with Robert Redford, Al Pacino -- and I could keep dropping names, but enough's enough, eh? And I got to do at least four other things I'm never going to talk about, at least not in public. Entourage was one of the greatest kicks of all for me. Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed doing it."

SNOOPY ANIMATOR MELENDEZ DEAD AT 91

Animator Bill Melendez, who worked on Walt Disney movies, including Fantasia and Pinocchio, in the 1930s then joined Warner Bros. in 1941, where he worked on the Looney Tunes cartoons, including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts, died in Santa Monica, CA Tuesday at age 91. The cause of death was not disclosed. Melendez may have been best known for his work on the Peanuts cartoons, in which he also made the sounds for Snoopy.He and partner Lee Mendelson eventually produced, directed, or animated some 70 Peanuts cartoons.

Brian B.