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<p>The horses of &quot;Luck.&quot;</p>

The horses of "Luck."

Credit: HBO

Interview: 'Luck' creator David Milch on the series' premature end

Would he have made the call to cancel? And how does this compare to the 'Deadwood' finale?

Though there are a few moments in tonight's "Luck" suggesting creator David Milch had a premonition that the series would be abruptly canceled due to the third horse death during production, Milch told me in an interview on Friday that he never had it in his mind that this would be a series finale. (You can read my finale review here.) In fact, if the ultimate decision-making power on this fell in Milch's hands, the show would have continued, though he says he understands and supports what HBO chose to do.

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<p>Dennis Farina and John Ortiz in &quot;Luck.&quot;</p>

Dennis Farina and John Ortiz in "Luck."

Credit: HBO

Series finale review: 'Luck' - 'Episode 9': It takes two

The horses and their owners thrill in their last day in the sun

And so "Luck" has ended earlier than anyone expected or planned for. I interviewed series creator David Milch about the abrupt end, and I have a review of the series finale coming up just as soon as we can afford multiple hot tubs...

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<p>&nbsp;One Direction</p>
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 One Direction

Credit: Charlies Sykes/AP

Music Power Rankings: One Direction tops The Hunger Games and Madonna

Veteran rockers also make the list

1) One Direction: The boy band becomes the first British group ever to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first album. We doubt Paul McCartney is losing any sleep over not getting that record.

2) "The Hunger Games" soundtrack:
The movie will likely break the $138 million mark this weekend, while the excellent T Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack will handily come in at No. 1 next week. Let’s home he doesn’t have to fight Adele to the death for the top spot.

3) Motley Crue and KISS: The two veteran rock groups announce a summer tour together. They promise to rock and roll all night or until the early bird special, whichever comes first.

4) Madonna: As she prepares to release “MDNA” on Monday, she holds a Facebook Q&A with Jimmy Fallon on Saturday. We’d loved to have seen a few TV performances, other than the Super Bowl. We’re just saying.

5) Dr. Dre: The hip-hop artist/producer will produce the forthcoming horror thriller, “Thaw.” Man, he’ll do anything to keep from finishing and releasing “Detox.” It’s his “Chinese Democracy.”

6) Adam Levine: His resurrection continues. After “The Voice’s” exposure helped give the Maroon 5 singer the band’s biggest hit yet, he is now delving into acting, and is in negotiations to appear on season two of “American Horror Story.” Taking bets now on how his character will die.

7) Skrillex: Skrillex, David Guetta, Diplo and 30 other electronic dance musicians sign exclusive residencies with the Wynn in Las Vegas. Folks can go to their sets right after seeing Garth Brooks.

8) The Black Keys: The duo apologizes to Nickelback for calling them the worst band in the world in an incredibly backhanded apology by adding they aren’t the only ones who don’t like the Canadian band.  Hey, at least they said Chad Kroeger has better hair than they do.

9) Lionel Richie: The icon sells more than 20,000 copies of new album, “Tuskegee,” on HSN. Susan Boyle, who sold 80,000 albums when she plugged it on QVC laughs. Her record-setting hour required no dancing on the ceiling.

10) Whitney Houston: The autopsy released this week reveals cause of death is drowning and hardening of arteries brought on by cocaine use. Nothing but sadness.


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<p>One famous wedding from the movies that shouldn't have too much in common with Kris and April's big day.</p>

One famous wedding from the movies that shouldn't have too much in common with Kris and April's big day.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Cinejabber: Wedding bells

Kris ties the knot today

Okay, we haven't done of these in a while -- welcome (back) to Cinejabber, your weekend open thread to kick around whatever's on your mind film-wise or otherwise, while we seek life beyond the movie theater.

This weekend, however, the biggest event in the In Contention family has nothing to do with the box-office blocks being predictably busted by "The Hunger Games," the current industry hot topic of Variety going up for sale or, indeed, anything to do with the movies whatsoever. Today, I'm happy to remind you, a certain guy we all know and hopefully love, Kris Tapley, is getting married to his longtime partner and fiancée, April Smith. And I'm sure I speak for us all when I say I couldn't be happier for them.

Not to get into speech mode or anything, but Kris has been an invaluable friend and colleague to me for over four years now, and it pains me that I can't be in Los Angeles to share the most important day of his life with him. I had the pleasure of meeting April in London back in 2008, and know what a special and storied relationship she and Kris share; I was delighted to hear of their engagement the following year, and am thrilled it's all coming together today.

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<p>Ana Moreira and Carloto Cotta in &quot;Tabu.&quot;</p>

Ana Moreira and Carloto Cotta in "Tabu."

Credit: Adopt Films

No subtitles needed to be seduced by trailer for Berlin sensation 'Tabu'

Fledgling distributor Adopt Films has U.S. rights to Miguel Gomes's film

We're not quite past the first quarter yet, but I feel comfortable saying that if December arrives and Miguel Gomes's "Tabu" isn't on my Top 10 of 2012 list, we have one hell of a year ahead of us. This Portuguese black-and-white marvel was, as I rather gushingly wrote back in February, the highlight of an unexpectedly strong Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Alfred Bauer Prize for Innovation. It stands comfortably as my favorite film of the year so far, which sounds like fainter praise than it is.

Earlier this week, a Portuguese trailer surfaced -- and while the absence of subtitles might leave you a little confused, the glimpses of its swoony imagery and soundtrack should hopefully give you some idea of why I'm so besotted with the film. To be honest, even with subtitles, chances are you wouldn't be much the wiser as to what's going on in this enigmatic fusion of contemporary absurdist comedy and luscious period romance -- though you would have a clearer sense of how rhythmically and poetically written it is atop its more immediate sensual delights.

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<p>Colton of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Colton of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Colton Cumbie talks 'Survivor: One World'

What did this season's 'Survivor' super-villain have to say for himself?
It would be easy to call Colton Cumbie the most polarizing castaway of the "Survivor: One World" season, but that would imply that there are multiple poles of opinion. 
"Survivor" fans love Villains, whether they've been miscategorized like Boston Rob was in the "Heroes vs. Villains" season, or even if their actions have seemingly been beyond the pale. Jonny Fairplay. Russell Hantz.  Even "Thailand" winner and puppy shooter Brian Heidik probably has defenders.
At least for now, Colton has very few people in his corner. That's what comes from calling an African-American contestant "ghetto," from dubbing a little person a Munchkin and an Oompa Loompa and from tormenting an Asian player with eye-based slurs. 
Colton was also the season's dominant player, orchestrating a slew of bold moves to eliminate threats, including the unprecedented decision to lead his clan to Tribal Council despite winning Immunity just to evict a castaway he disliked.
In the end, Colton's sway over his colleagues remained unabated and it was only a medical emergency that pulled him out of the game in a shocking twist this week. Even carted out on a stretcher, Colton got the last laugh, taking a coveted Immunity Idol with him.
In our exit conversation this week, I asked Colton to address as many of the unseemly aspects of his run as I could. To his credit, he never cut off a single line of questioning and it'll be up to readers to decide how sincere he comes off. 
We also discussed his hopes for winning a jury vote and his thoughts on playing "Survivor" again in the future. 
Click through...
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<p>The cover of the &quot;Hunger Games&quot; soundtrack</p>
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The cover of the "Hunger Games" soundtrack

Will 'The Hunger Games' top the Billboard 200 as well as the box office?

Movie soundtrack has a wide margin going into the weekend

The revolving door at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 looks likely to continue next week as “The Hunger Games” soundtrack will be the fourth title to top the chart in as many weeks.

As of Friday, the soundtrack to the box office winner had a commanding lead over Adele’s “21,” which has hung out at No. 2 since being pushed out the top spot by Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” a few weeks ago, according to Hits Daily Double. “The Hunger Games” is on track to sell up to 200,000 copies by Sunday’s chart close. “21” will likely see up to 135,000.

In addition to “The Hunger Games,” three other albums will likely debut in the top 10: The Shins’ “Port of Morrow” will come in at No. 3, while Odd Future’s “The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2,” will bow at No. 5. Grammy winner Melanie Fiona’s sophomore set, “The MF Life,” should hold off a charge from “Now That’s What I Call Music” to land at No. 8.

This week’s No. 1, One Direction’s “Up All Night,” will likely fall to No. 4, while Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” drops to No. 6. Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Hits” remains in the top 10 six weeks after her death at No. 7.
Rounding out the top 10 is fun.’s “Some Nights,” which will likely remain at No. 10.

Billboard will announce the chart results Wednesday morning.

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<p>Joshua Jackson of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>
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Joshua Jackson of "Fringe"

Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'A Short Story About Love'

The show gives some answers, but also provides a sub-par case of the week
Well, now we've got two of our real characters back. So that’s a start.
I’m accentuating the positive because I know if you’re still around, you still like “Fringe” and have little interest in reading anything negative. I don’t see a way in which this wasn’t the start of the show’s final stretch, but I really and truly hope there’s a fifth season of this show. Why? Well, for starters, it beats the hell out of another Gordon Ramsey-hosted cooking show populating the airwaves. Second? It might give the show a chance to go out on something besides a 22-episode recovery from a fundamental narrative mistake.
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<p>No matter what ending you saw for 'Mass Effect 3,' chances are you walked away disappointed.&nbsp; Does that mean Bioware should change it?</p>

No matter what ending you saw for 'Mass Effect 3,' chances are you walked away disappointed.  Does that mean Bioware should change it?

Credit: Bioware

The Bigger Picture: 'Mass Effect 3,' 'Mutant Turtles,' and The New Tyranny of the Fan-trum

What rights do consumers truly have when it comes to the content they digest?

When you write about entertainment all day every day, you tend to get caught up in minutiae, and it leads to editorial decisions I would call questionable.  When you're writing breathless headlines about Pez dispensers, you may be working too hard to find relevance in the irrelevant.  Getting hung up on the micro often prevents us from focusing on the macro, but I'd like to take the opportunity to take a step back from time to time to examine 'The Bigger Picture.'

There have been two stories developing this week that fascinate me because of what they seem to suggest about the larger world of media and the way the audience is starting to truly drive the major choices being made.

Last night, I was thinking about these two stories, about the controversy surrounding the ending of "Mass Effect 3" and the reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and I was watching reports stream in about the crowds turning out at theaters for the midnight screenings of "The Hunger Games," and it all seems to be further proof that we are in the midst of The Age Of Fan-Fiction.

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<p>Lionel Richie</p>
<br />

Lionel Richie

Credit: AP Photo

Interview: Lionel Richie talks country, a Las Vegas residency and much more

New album, 'Tuskegee,' pairs him with Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and more

Lionel Richie now knows what it feels like to give birth. The superstar expected it to only take a few weeks to record “Tuskegee,” his new album out Monday  (March 26) that pairs him with a number of top country acts on new versions of his classic tunes. Instead, the process dragged on for nearly 10 months.

“We had a baby, and by the way it was the most painful baby I got in my whole life, but in the end, look at the baby,” he says, glowing with pride. And what a baby it is— with many, many parents. Among the acts recording both his solo and Commodores hits with Richie are Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, Jimmy Buffett, Shania Twain and Willie Nelson. The album also reunites Richie with Kenny Rogers, who took Richie's "Lady" to the top of three Billboard charts in 1980: country, Hot 100 and adult contemporary. Rogers' version also reached No. 42 on the Top Black Singles chart.

Before the first volume has even been released, Richie is already hoping for a volume two and there’s plenty of hits left off “Tuskegee,” including “Still,” “Three Times A Lady,”  and “Sweet Love,”  to warrant one. “They’ll be a part two with more new songs,” Richie predicts.

Richie has been stumping for the new album harder then the Republican presidential candidates and his enthusiasm about the project is infectious. He recently held a party at his Beverly Hill mansion for select radio program directors and press. It’s as gorgeous and lovely a home as you would imagine (my whole apartment would fit into the drive way). He played each of the album’s 13 songs and gave amusing anecdotes about recording each one.

The acts picked their own songs, many made their selections based on memories a certain tune triggered for them. Richie encouraged them to make the tune their own. “They’d say, ‘But Mr. Richie that will overshadow you,’ and I’d say, ‘Exactly. What a wonderful thing’,” he said when I interviewed him at the end of the evening. “What I’ve found in artistry sometimes is there’s an ego that happens where I have to out sing you or outperform you. That’s if you’re purely a singer. I’m purely a writer.”

By approaching the project as the writer, his attitude was. “How can you make my kids shine?  We’re going to buff up my babies... Someone said to me tonight, which I thought was the best compliment ever, ‘Why am I thinking that this version of your songs is better than the old version?’ I said, ‘Because it’s the new version’.”

The boldest artist was Darius Rucker, who flatly told Richie that he was singing Richie’s part on “Stuck On You.” “By the way, he was dead serious,” Richie recalls with a laugh. “Can you imagine telling Frank Sinatra  ‘I’m singing your part and you have to find your part.’ Frank would be out of there. [I said], ‘You guys, I want you to make this songs yours and I’ll kind of scat in between. I’ll be around.”

Most of the album was recorded in Nashville, but Richie traveled to the Bahamas to record an island-flavored “Endless Love” with Shania Twain, who was recording for the first time after going through a debilitating vocal paralysis that left her unable to sing.

“I think the one that was the most rewarding was pulling Shania out of that thing she was in. I didn’t realize it, she was gone,” he recalls. “By the way, she’s still gone because I need to talk to her more to get her back, but the more she performs, the more she’s going to get it back. But she was scared to death. I think [Vegas] will help her.” Twain starts a residency at Caesars Palace in December.

Speaking of, is Richie the next artist, following in the footsteps of Elton John, Cher, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and Twain, to start a concert residency in Las Vegas? He seems a natural fit given his raft of hits and his wide appeal.

“I would love to do that “ Richie says, and admits he’s been approached already. He thinks it will happen eventually, but it is likely a ways off.

"It would be a great thing after a while, probably a couple more years, where I’ll have a [residency] where I can stay here, hang out, go there... commute or even what’s happening right now with Garth Brooks: he flies in and out [after each weekend’s shows].  I’m still a songwriter. There’s something about flying around the world. By the time I get home, I know the next album, I know the next song.”

Richie will be hitting Vegas the weekend of March 31 for the Academy of Country Music Awards, which air live April 1. The following night, CBS will tape “Lionel Richie and Friends: A Lifetime of Hits.”  The special, which will air later this Spring, will feature many of the artists who appear on “Tuskegee,” as well as several others, including The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum.

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitfixMelinda

"Tuskegee" Tracklisting

“You Are” with Blake Shelton
“Say You, Say Me” with Jason Aldean
“Stuck On You” with Darius Rucker
“Deep River Woman” with Little Big Town
“My Love” with Kenny Chesney
“Dancing On The Ceiling” with Rascal Flatts
“Hello” with Jennifer Nettles
“Sail On” with Tim McGraw
“Endless Love” with Shania Twain
“Just For You” with Billy Currington
“Lady” with Kenny Rogers
“Easy” with Willie Nelson
“All Night Long” with Jimmy Buffett


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<p>Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth in &quot;The Hunger Games.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth in "The Hunger Games."

Credit: Lionsgate

Tell us what you thought of 'The Hunger Games'

The long-awaited adaptation opens today

It's heeeeeere. "John Carter" may have got blockbuster season off to a false (if unseasonally early) start, but the real deal arrives today -- Gary Ross's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' young-adult publishing phenomenon "The Hunger Games" has been breathlessly anticipated for months, if not years, and early box-office numbers (not to mention a broad swathe of reviews) already suggest the hype has not been misplaced. I confess I haven't seen it yet. Ill health got in the way of press screenings this week, plus I've been dutifully catching up on the book -- which, rather to my surprise, I found entirely captivating. So I'll be queuing with all the other excited punters this weekend; in the meantime, if/when you've seen it, be sure to share your thoughts here.

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<p>&quot;Archer&quot;&nbsp;edged out &quot;Louie&quot;&nbsp;last week; can it beat &quot;Modern Family&quot;&nbsp;in this round?</p>

"Archer" edged out "Louie" last week; can it beat "Modern Family" in this round?

Credit: FX

Hulu's Best in Show moves into round 3

Can Walter White take out SAMCRO? Can Sterling Archer defeat Phil Dunphy?

I've been working on the road the last couple of days (which is also why I'm skipping "30 Rock" reviews this week; I haven't seen the episodes), and a few things get lost in the shuffle when you're on the move. One of those is my weekly check-in on Hulu's Best in Show contest, which I continue to serve as guest judge for, and which has just moved into the third round.

Among last week's notable results: "Archer"(*) edged out "Louie," "Community" solidly beat "Parks and Recreation," and "The Walking Dead" beat "Fringe." 

(*) Which I am many weeks behind on, and will catch up on eventually when I am in need of several hours of concentrated, explosive laughter.

Thus far, "Archer" is beating "Modern Family," when "MF" has to this point done very well against various cult-y competition, "Community" is thumping "New Girl," "Game of Thrones" is losing by a good margin to "Sons of Anarchy" and "Breaking Bad" is neck-and-neck with "The Walking Dead" 

If you are displeased with any or all of those results, now is the time to go vote, and we'll be back next week (and hopefully on Thursday morning again) to discuss the final four.

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