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Cesar Millan

 Cesar Millan

Credit: NatGeo

Press Tour: Cesar Millan goes to the dogs for NatGeo, helps canine soldiers

The 'Dog Whisperer' says it's time to save military dogs from death

Unfortunately, "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan" star Cesar Millan didn't bring any canine companions to his NatGeo panel during press tour, but the trainer did repeatedly pop to his feet to imitate his four-legged friends. When asked why so many people misjudge dogs, Millan demonstrated canine posture and explained how humans tend to ignore what dogs are trying to say. "The dog is always speaking to the human, but the human is always trying to impose a different identity on the dog, so they don't understand the language... they disregard the conversation with the dog. That's why I train people and rehabilitate the dog."

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence, seen here in 'The Hunger Games,' is an important figure now in the future of both Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate.</p>

Jennifer Lawrence, seen here in 'The Hunger Games,' is an important figure now in the future of both Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate.

Credit: Lionsgate

Summit and Lionsgate make it official and announce their merger deal

'Twilight' and 'Hunger Games' under one roof? Too good to be true.

There's a fair amount of online chatter this week about the impending purchase of Summit Entertainment by Lionsgate, and while I've seen a fair degree of snark and a lot of "Twilight" related comments, this is a significant deal, and it deserves some real consideration about what it means to the creative community and what it means for both companies.

First, if I'd known that Summit was selling for a mere $412.5 million, I might have made a bid on it myself.  What a bargain.

I kid, but that number seems low when you look at the success of Summit's "Twilight" movies.  The truth is that for many people, Summit IS "Twilight" and vice-versa, and the question of what they might be after that series ends is a scary one.  I've often said that both the best and the worst thing that ever happened to New Line was "Lord Of The Rings."  Best because of the huge financial and critical success they enjoyed, finally winning a Best Picture Oscar, something that would have been impossible to imagine in the "Pink Flamingos"/"A Nightmare On Elm Street" early days of the company, but worst because after they made "Lord Of The Rings," they started chasing that success, making much more expensive movies and eventually pricing themselves right out of business.

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<p>&quot;Think Like a Man&quot;</p>

"Think Like a Man"

Listen: Jennifer Hudson, Rick Ross and Ne-Yo all 'Think Like a Man'

Is it a good combo?

If this film's movie poster were a person, I would punch it in the face. But I'm willing to look beyond it: "Think Like a Man" could very well have a hit song to promote its release.

Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo and Rick Ross actually make for an interesting combo on this rhythmic R&B title track. The "Dreamgirls" star carries the weight with Ne-Yo helping mainly on that hook. By the time Rawse jumps in with his verse, there's a pretty good groove going.

But then he does. And there's something in the way that Rick Ross says the word "money" that makes me weak in the knees, and that's the ONLY thing he's got going for the rap. It's requisite, after-all, and a retort to Hudson's original plot point, that her man screwed up, and they broke up.

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"Project Runway All Stars"

 "Project Runway All Stars"

Credit: Lifetime Television

The latest reject from 'Project Runway All Stars' talks about ballgowns and being misjudged

Sweet P explains why she gave up on clothing design

Thanks to a frumpy skirt and a bathing suit top, Sweet P Vaughn got her walking papers on "Project Runway All Stars" this week. The much-loved season four contender talked to reporters during a conference call Friday about defending her designs, what she's doing now and which designer she hopes will win.

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<p>&quot;Bridesmaids&quot;&nbsp;producer Judd Apatow is returning to TV with the HBO&nbsp;comedy &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

"Bridesmaids" producer Judd Apatow is returning to TV with the HBO comedy "Girls."

Credit: AP

Press tour: Judd Apatow talks 'Girls,' 'Bridesmaids' sequel and 'Freaks and Geeks'

Comedy mogul returns to TV for the first time in a decade with HBO Lena Dunham comedy
PASADENA - "I was hurt and wounded and sad from my television experience," Judd Apatow said of that strange period a decade ago when he was a fixture at press tour with a pair of shows - "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared" - that were beloved by critics and mistreated by their networks.
 
Things turned out okay for Apatow - and Paul Feig, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel and almost everyone else he worked with on those two adored but low-rated series - and he was far more serene and confident when he came back to TCA to discuss "Girls," the new HBO comedy series he's producing with writer/director/star Lena Dunham ("Tiny Furniture") and former "Undeclared" writer Jenni Konner.
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<p>Trent Reznor performing with Nine Inch Nails in 2009</p>

Trent Reznor performing with Nine Inch Nails in 2009

Credit: AP Photo

Trent Reznor is writing new Nine Inch Nails tunes, too: why that's good

How To Destroy Angels isn't the only music project the Oscar-winning writer's up to

At the end of the cold, nightmarish "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is a How to Destroy Angels cover of Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough?". It was Fincher's idea. I don't think it worked at all.

This is largely because I'm not 100% sure Hot To Destroy Angels works, period. I've always found Maandig's voice to be too honeyed for the darker, industrial tones of Reznor's more-rhythmic songcrafting. "Strong Enough," granted, isn't the group's song, but it further reveals how out-of-water a sugar-malaise voice can be.

But some good news to this hater: Reznor won't only be working on a new HtDA album this year. He's writing for some new Nine Inch Nails action, too.

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<p>&nbsp;Ricky Gervais</p>
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 Ricky Gervais

Credit: HBO

Press Tour: Ricky Gervais has his Golden Globes targets ready

'Life's Too Short' star-creator is returning to host because we said he wouldn't
Members of the Television Critics Association have grown accustomed to Ricky Gervais visiting us via satellite from Across the Pond, but on Friday (January 13) morning, reporters were treated to Gervais in the flesh. 
 
Gervais was able to drop by the TCA press tour panel for his new HBO comedy "Life's Too Short" because he's already in Los Angeles. As you may have heard, the "Office" and "Extras" creator is preparing for his third tour of duty as host of the Golden Globe and for his third tour of duty as lightning rod for trumped up Hollywood controversy.
 
"I wasn't going to do it a third time, but then I kept reading reports, press saying 'You'll never be invited back.' So I did it to annoy them," Gervais told reporters, many of whom probably wrote similar reports.
 
Asked if he was nervous about Sunday's telecast, Gervais cracked that he hadn't been nervous previously, but he is now. 
 
"What's the worst that could happen? I end my career once a week, if you read the press," Gervais cracked. "I only do things that can end my career. That's my fun. That's my extreme sport."
 
It's obvious, though, that he doesn't especially care about reviews of his performances or the possibility of irritating more sensitive members of the entertainment community. I can surmise that conclusion because, well, Gervais says so.
 
"If you get final edit, which i do and I demand... nothing else matters, and you're bulletproof. If I'm happy with my performance. I'm a considerate comedian. I don't view comedy as your conscience taking a day off... I stand by it, like I did every joke I did last year. And I don't care what people think," Gervais said.
 
And it's equally obvious that even some of the most seemingly irate of Gervais' celebrity targets were merely playing offended on previous Golden Globes nights. Johnny Depp, for example, appears as himself on "Life's Too Short," lampooning his own degree of feigned irritation.
 
"I said, 'Sorry about the Golden Globes, do you want to get your own back?'" Gervais said of his via-text pitch to Depp.
 
When a critic mentioned that bets were being taken in some circles on which stars will be Gervais' targets on Sunday -- and also asked a preview -- the cheeky host seemed simultaneously amused and bemused.
 
"I have specific targets, yeah. I've written the gags. But 'targets' isn't a word I'd use. 'Subjects.' Why are they betting on who I'll - what sort of a bet is that? Really? Ugh! I'm going to do a monologue about the year, and then introduce six or seven people throughout the show like I did last year," Gervais said. 
 
He continued, "But I've got nothing against any of those people in the room. I've worked with many of them, I like many of them, I admire most of them. They're just gags. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or give them a bad night or undermine the moral fabric of America. I'm a comedia. I'd rather they laugh than gasp, but I cherish the gasps along with the laughs. I don't know. I think that everyone took it well. I don't know who was really outraged last year. Everyone I spoke to... was cool with it. If someone says, "I'm outraged," then there was outrage. What did I say that was so outrageous? Oh, yeah, I just remembered..."
 
As always, you can check out HitFix on Sunday night for full Golden Globes coverage.
 
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Watch: Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars play 'Hunger Game's' 'Safe and Sound'

Watch: Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars play 'Hunger Game's' 'Safe and Sound'

Swifty shows up at the duo's Nashville show

Taylor Swift, who brought up guest artist after guest artist during her recent tour, got to crash someone else's show last night:  She joined  The Civil Wars to perform “Safe and Sound,” their duet from “Hunger Games”  on stage for the pair's sold-out show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Madonna on &quot;Good Morning America&quot;</p>

Madonna on "Good Morning America"

Watch: Madonna swats at Lady Gaga on 'GMA'

But she saves her true wrath for Newsweek

What is she wearing? That was the first question I thought when I watched the below excerpt from Madonna’s interview with “Good Morning America” that aired today.

Money can’t buy taste and the fake cheerleader outfit with silver fringe and "WE" necklace distracted me so much that I almost couldn't focus on what she was saying.  The interview is largely a snore in which Cynthia McFadden tries to be titillating by asking if Madonna’s recent kiss with Nicki Minaj included tongue, but Madonna is really having none of it.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Magnetic Fields</p>

Magnetic Fields

Listen: Magnetic Fields is hot for 'Andrew in Drag'

Naked homosexuality, with heels on

It's well documented that Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt does the majority of his songwriting and brainstorming in gay dance clubs or piano bars. From the band's latest offering, it appears a drag club has been further added to the circuit.

"Andrew in Drag" is a funny, spirited sigh for Merritt, as he enjoys "the only girl I'll ever love." Again, he proves why he is one of the most refreshingly and rare overtly gay songwriters penning overtly gay songs, wielding his heartache as much as he does his humor and wit. This one is much more juvenile than, say, anthems like "100,000 Fireflies," with a playful use of the term "fag," a reference to a weiner dog and the misanthropic joy contemplating his ambiguous, sensual "misspent youth."

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 77 -- Critics' Choice Awards, DGA nominees, documentary rule changes

Oscar Talk: Ep. 77 -- Critics' Choice Awards, DGA nominees, documentary rule changes

Also: Who has offered up the best campaigns of the year?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

It's been a busy week of announcements and awards shows leading into an even busier week of same as we barrel toward Sundance next week. Plus, ballots are due today (in a few hours, in fact). So let's see what's on the docket today...

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<p>Dirty Three's &quot;Toward the Low Sun&quot;</p>

Dirty Three's "Toward the Low Sun"

Credit: Drag City

Listen: Dirty Three's new 'Rising Below,' from first new album in 7 years

'Rising Below' precedes the 'Low Sun'

As explained in my post last month, I'm breathless that the Dirty Three are prepping their first album in seven years. And, today, the trio has something to show from it.

"Rising Below" features the same attention to recording detail as their last "Cinder" did, with a close miking of the hollow kick drums, textures of the violin and the stoked, narrative guitar lines mumbling through the tubes. Drummer Jim White carries the thing as the mid-toned instruments go and have their own says, several takes and dubs eventually merging into a tension-filled series of ebbs.  I'm hot for it, I want more.

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