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Celebritology 2.0: September 12, 2010 - September 18, 2010

Lindsay Lohan on Twitter: I did fail drug test

Lindsay Lohan, potentially headed back to jail. (AP) After initially denying reports that she failed a recent court-mandated drug test, Lindsay Lohan has confessed. On her Twitter feed, the recently released-from-rehab actress wrote: "Regrettably, I did in fact fail my most recent drug test and if I am asked, I am prepared to appear before judge Fox next week as a result." She followed up with several more tweets....

By Jen Chaney  | September 18, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Celebrities, Lindsay Lohan  
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Celebritology Weekend: Lady Gaga attempts contact with members of Congress; Adam Lambert vs. a Miami photographer

Three celeb-centric stories on our radar this weekend... Gaga, engaging in a game of telephone: Lady Gaga -- the meat-dress-wearing pop star known for, among other things, a song called “Telephone” -- had some recent phone issues of her own. In a seven-and-a-half-minute video clip posted Friday on YouTube, -- one that features a somber Gaga dressed in a muted suit and tie and sitting in front of an American flag -- the MTV Video Music Award winner asks fans to call their senators and request that they vote for the repeal of the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy, if and when it comes to the Senate floor next week. As a demonstration of her own commitment, she attempts to dial up her own Senate reps, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), but with no luck. The phone at Schumer's office rings for more than a full minute,...

By Jen Chaney  | September 18, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Celebrities, Celebritology Weekend  
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'Devil' reviews indicate movie not as bad as feared

Producer M. Night Shyamalan shouldn't scare people away from "Devil."(Kerry Hayes/Universal Pictures) Posted by Sarah Anne Hughes The new trapped-in-an-elevator-horror flick "Devil," produced by the increasingly disappointing M. Night Shyamalan, opened nationwide last night with no advance screening for critics. In the biz known as show, that's a bad sign. Reviews are slowly trickling in from reviewers and common folk who braved the midnight showing. The general feeling so far is that the film, directed by John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine"), isn't great, but it's not terrible, either. Currently, "Devil" has a 6.4 rating on IMDb, although only 407 votes had been cast as of early Friday afternoon. Rotten Tomatoes has only a few "Devil" reviews posted, but the audience score is more than 60 percent. Pretty respectable numbers thus far....

By Sarah Anne Hughes  | September 17, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Movies  
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Sacha Baron Cohen will play Freddie Mercury. But can he sing? Let's go to the video clips!

Sacha Baron Cohen and Freddie Mercury. (Reuters and AP) As we noted in the morning mix, Sacha Baron Cohen has been tapped to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic based on the Queen frontman who died of AIDS in 1991. The shock-comic certainly bears a physical resemblance to Mercury, a fact that Entertainment Weekly also mentions. I also must note that Cohen's got the chest hair for the part as well. But, as someone best known for wearing body thongs as Borat, dropping ridiculous hip-hop slang as Ali G. and prancing around with vaguely Justin Bieber-esque hair (long before Bieber did) as Bruno, can Cohen handle a dramatic role like this one? And is there any way he can sing the way the powerful Mercury did? For an attempt at answers, let's go to the video clips!...

By Jen Chaney  | September 17, 2010; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  
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Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert to host rally on the Mall; Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cRally to Restore Sanitywww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party Celebrity Beat: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announce plans to host rallies -- title of Stewart's is Rally to Restore Sanity, while Colbert's is dubbed "March to Keep Fear Alive" -- on the Mall in Washington on Oct. 30; Stewart has even pre-made signs with slogans like "I Disagree With You, But I Am Pretty Sure You're Not Hitler" (updated with clarification)... Lady Gaga takes legal action against Pipedream Products, a company that manufactured a blow-up doll based on the singer; in a related story, Kim Kardashian is also reportedly pursuing legal action against the same company because of their Kinky Kim Filthy Love Doll... Speaking of Kardashian, she and mom, Kris Kardashian, apparently went on a $100,000 shopping spree in Paris... Shelley Malil, actor who appeared in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin,"...

By Jen Chaney  | September 17, 2010; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Celebrities, Daily Mix, Pop Culture  
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Joaquin Phoenix: Yes, it was a hoax

Joaquin Phoenix, in character as Joaquin Phoenix. (AP) What we all suspected about Joaquin Phoenix for the past couple of years has turned out to be true: he was never genuinely pursuing a hip-hop career, or messed up on drugs, or suddenly incapable of forming a coherent sentence, or totally losing his mind. His behavior since late 2008 has all been an act. Casey Affleck -- Phoenix's brother-in-law and the director of "I'm Still Here," the documentary about Phoenix's alleged new direction in life -- confirmed in a New York Times interview that nothing in the movie nor in Phoenix's off-camera antics, including that famous interview with David Letterman, was real. (See the full clip of said interview at the end of this post.) "It's a terrific performance, it's the performance of his career," Affleck tells reporter Michael Cieply, later adding that, "We wanted to create a space ......

By Jen Chaney  | September 17, 2010; 7:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
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Tim Gunn takes aim at the Salahis

When it comes to Tareq and Michaele Salahi, Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" doesn't mince words. In an appearance earlier today on "Access Hollywood Live," he was asked what he thought about the White House party crashers/reality stars -- while, I might add, the Salahis were both listening via satellite and waiting for their turn to be interviewed. His response: "I don’t mind if the Salahis hear this -- I believe that they are sociopaths. They believe their own lies. When you’re dealing with a sociopath, you can’t reason. You can’t deal with logic. … They do believe their own lies in my view.” He also cast more than a little doubt on the "Real Housewives of D.C." star's recent revelation that she suffers from multiple sclerosis. “I would never wish MS upon anyone. And if in fact Michaele has MS, I feel very bad for her. I have a...

By Jen Chaney  | September 16, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
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Oprah Winfrey chooses next book club selection. Surprise! It's Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen, Oprah's chosen author. (Photo by Greg Martin) Remember when Oprah Winfrey chose "The Corrections" as one of her book club selections back in 2001, and author Jonathan Franzen expressed such discomfort about the whole thing that she decided not to have the writer on her show after all? Well, apparently it's time for bygones to be bygones. Winfrey is on the verge of announcing her next book club title, and according to the Associated Press, it's Franzen's lauded, best-selling "Freedom."...

By Jen Chaney  | September 16, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Books, Oprah Winfrey  
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'Bridalplasty': When reality TV hits rock bottom

Oh, this chick would *so* lose on "Bridalplasty." (File photo from Bigstockphotos) For those who were struggling to determine exactly how low reality television can sink, I have "good" news. The answer has become clear and it can be summed up in one word: "Bridalplasty." The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that E! is planning a new reality series called, yes, "Bridalplasty," in which blushing, nose-job-seeking brides-to-be compete in a series of wedding planning challenges. With each victory, they get to undergo the surgical procedure of their choice, all in an effort to look like the "perfect" bride just in time for the big wedding day, when they will reveal their new appearance to all the rubber-necking horrified honored guests at their splashy nuptials....

By Jen Chaney  | September 16, 2010; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Pop Culture, TV  
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'The Tourist': Johnny Depp, meet Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp have never appeared in a movie together. That all changes with "The Tourist," the spy thriller/romance in which Jolie seduces Depp, but for reasons that are not based purely on physical attraction. The trailer is now circulating online and provides our first glimpse of what director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has described as "incredible chemistry" between the two stars. It's a bit difficult to assess that chemistry in the trailer, though; many of the scenes feature close-ups of an impossibly sultry Jolie, or Depp seeming confused and/or panic-stricken. Still, the notion of Edward Scissorhands and Lara Croft, together at last, is pretty intriguing. Take a look and share your reaction to this cinematic pairing -- to be seen in December on the big screen -- in our comments section....

By Jen Chaney  | September 16, 2010; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Fall Movies, Movie Trailers  
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Michael Jackson's mother sues concert promoter; winners of 'America's Got Talent,' 'Big Brother' and 'Top Chef' revealed (spoiler alert)

Kid Rock, preparing to testify. (Bob Andres -- AP) Celebrity Beat: Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, is suing concert promoter AEG Live LLC on the grounds that the company did not provide life-saving equipment nor properly monitor the cardiologist supervising her pop-star son's care... Kid Rock expected to take the stand today in civil trial related to 2007 Waffle House brawl... Kanye West writes personal essay in XXL magazine, explaining his feelings after last year's Taylor Swift/VMAs debacle. Because, you know, we haven't heard enough about that recently... 25th anniversary covers of Elle Magazine cause controversy for allegedly lightening Gabourey Sidibe's skin and not showing a full-body image of the "Precious" star... George Clooney's rep denies rumors that the star and girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis are engaged... Lawyer for Ashton Kutcher denies latest story by tabloid Star Magazine, alleging that Kutcher cheated on wife Demi Moore... Jamie Oliver and wife...

By Jen Chaney  | September 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Celebrities, Daily Mix, Pop Culture  
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How to binge on pop culture: A user's guide

The Lost-a-thoners, soaking in the Sawyer back in May.(Photo courtesy of Anthony Quintano via Flickr) With the new fall TV season about to get underway, many pop culture junkies may be contemplating a last-minute gorge -- perhaps an attempt to ingest the entire first seasons of "Glee" or "The Good Wife" in one sitting in the days before their second-season premieres. Or, if you're anything like the "Lost" fans currently holed up in London's Prince Charles cinema to watch every episode of the drama's six seasons, perhaps you're up for plowing through an older show in its entirety. (Random aside: is it me, or is that one guy in the front row at the "Lost" marathon a dead ringer for Ron Weasley?) Whatever the case may be, a pop culture fest of this magnitude should not be approached lightly. Preparations are needed. So I asked two of the three...

By Jen Chaney  | September 15, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Lost, Pop Culture, TV  
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Video: A look at Justin Bieber's 'CSI' performance

Why wait to watch Justin Bieber on the Sept. 23 season premiere of "CSI" when you can get a sneak peek of it right now?...

By Jen Chaney  | September 15, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Celebrities, Justin Bieber, TV  
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'Catfish': The challenge of marketing the movie's plot twists

Nev Schulman in a scene from "Catfish."(Rogue Pictures via AP) The new documentary "Catfish" -- which opens in limited release in New York, L.A., Austin and San Francisco on Friday -- raises all kinds of questions about social media, personal identity and what constitutes overstepping one's bounds as a documentary filmmaker. But the film -- a destined-to-be-debated look at the relationship that develops via Facebook between a young New York photographer and an 8-year-old painter and her family -- also raises a more immediate, practical question: how do you market a movie whose impact relies almost entirely on the audience's fresh discovery of its plot twists?...

By Jen Chaney  | September 15, 2010; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  
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Ben Affleck: A case study in making a comeback

Ben Affleck, reinvented.(Carlo Allegri/Associated Press) Not too long ago, Ben Affleck was considered the punchline of a joke. The actor-director seems acutely aware of this. As he told The Post's Ann Hornaday in her report from the Toronto Film Festival: "I've come to a time in my life where everything is make or break." His awareness of not-so-distant show biz history was even more apparent in a recent Entertainment Weekly profile. "You’ve got to help me out in this article. You’ve got to help me sell the new movie," he tells writer Chris Nashawaty at one point. "Don’t write endlessly about 'Gigli.' I understand it has to be in there, but…” Honestly, Affleck doesn't need to worry so much. After his assured directorial debut with 2007's "Gone Baby Gone," the Academy Award winner has definitively demonstrated his skills behind the camera with his follow-up, "The Town," opening Friday. And...

By Jen Chaney  | September 15, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Celebrities, Movies  
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Can Jennifer Lopez revive 'American Idol'?

From the block to "American Idol."(AP) Posted by Sarah Anne Hughes Jennifer Lopez will reportedly join the judging panel on "American Idol," signing a contract with Fox worth $12 million. For that amount of money, we have to ask: Is she worth it? Ratings for "Idol" have declined in the past few years. May's finale pulled in about 23.2 million viewers, the lowest number since "Idol's" first season. This isn't to say that "Idol" doesn't still have a huge fan base. But the combination of fewer viewers, the departure of sharp-tongued Simon Cowell and the failure to properly replace judge Paula Abdul, whose unpredictable antics were consummately entertaining, definitely spells trouble for "Idol."...

By Sarah Anne Hughes  | September 15, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Casey Affleck settles harassment suits; Jennifer Lopez reportedly on as 'Idol' judge

Celebrity Beat: Casey Affleck settles pair of sexual harassment suits filed by women who worked on the documentary "I'm Still Here"... Jennifer Lopez has reportedly signed $12 million contract to become "American Idol" judge... Lady Gaga gets through airport security with handcuffs (and, also, while being half-naked)... Assault case against Jodie Foster has been dropped... Jon Voight accuses Time magazine of being anti-Semitic... No Doubt bassist Tony Kamal and girlfriend expecting their first child... Is this really Mel Gibson in disguise? Pop Culture: Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," starring James Franco, causes some Toronto Film Festival audience members to faint... Ryan Reynolds to produce NBC comedy.. Billie Mae Richards, voice of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer," has died... "Getting to Happy," Terry McMillen's sequel to "Waiting to Exhale," will be made into a movie... TBS cancels comedy "My Boys."...

By Jen Chaney  | September 15, 2010; 7:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
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Remembering Patrick Swayze on the first anniversary of his death

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing." (Lionsgate) | Swayze photo gallery Today marks the anniversary of the passing of Patrick Swayze, who died Sept. 14, 2009, after a very public struggle with pancreatic cancer. In his honor, here are a few clips designed to pay homage to the departed and missed star of "The Outsiders," "Ghost," "Point Break" and, of course, "Dirty Dancing."...

By Jen Chaney  | September 14, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Celebrities, Obits  
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Lady Gaga, calling on Sen. Harry Reid

Lady Gaga, making cold calls and issuing Twitter pleas.(Interscope Records via Reuters) Lady Gaga may still be getting criticism for wearing that meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards. But the Queen of the Little Monsters seems far more focused on another issue: the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Earlier today, Gaga tweeted a message to her 6.2 million-plus followers and asked them to call the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to request that a Senate vote be held on the matter of how gays in the armed services are treated....

By Jen Chaney  | September 14, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
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George Michael sentenced to 8 weeks in DUI case

George Michael will serve time in jail. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP) George Michael was sentenced Tuesday to eight weeks in jail for driving under the influence of drugs, the Associated Press reports. The singer, 47, pleaded guilty last month to driving under the influence and for possession of cannabis after he drove his car into a London Snappy Snaps store in July. He was also fined nearly $2,000. In August, Michael was banned from driving for six months. This is not first drug-related arrest for the former Wham! frontman. He was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to driving while unfit in 2007. In 2008, Michael was arrested, taken to a police station and cautioned for possessing Class A and Class C drugs....

By Sarah Anne Hughes  | September 14, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
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'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and its many faces

An excited Oprah fan. (Screengrab from Faces of the Last Season of Oprah blog) The final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" began yesterday in, you know, the same way that most of us kicked off our last year of high school: everybody got a trip to Australia! Naturally, that big announcement from Ms. Winfrey elicited lots of gushing, screaming and general mega-freaking-out from the crowd. It also prompted Oprah to repeat the word Australia so emphatically, so many times, I honestly feared she might be having an asthma attack. Of course, this will likely be only one of many emotionally overcharged moments on the final "Oprah" season. A new Tumblr blog -- entitled Faces of the Last Season of Oprah -- is determined to capture every eye-bugging, tear-flowing, jaw-slackened image along the way. Check it out and see the gems they've already managed to preserve just from day...

By Jen Chaney  | September 14, 2010; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Oprah Winfrey, TV  
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Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem expecting first baby; John Mayer quits Twitter; MTV VMAs score highest ratings since 2002

John Mayer is never speaking up again... via Twitter. (Richard Drew - AP) Celebrity Beat: Penelope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem are expecting their first child together; "Penelope is 4½-months pregnant," their reps confirmed to People... John Mayer closed his Twitter account; The notoriously foot-in-mouth musician had more than 3.7 million followers... Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher welcome baby No. 2, we're just not sure when... After splitting last month, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth may be back to together... Attention tweens: Justin Bieber is "kind of looking," "kind of trying to stay single." Pop Culture: Despite host Chelsea Handler's mixed reviews, the MTV VMAs drew 11.4 million viewers, the highest number since 2002; Handler defended herself against critics including Perez Hilton... Jennifer Lopez's "American Idol" deal is reportedly set, according to an inside source... Oprah kicked off the final season of her daytime show by giving an...

By Sarah Anne Hughes  | September 14, 2010; 7:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
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A look at the 'Hereafter' trailer

A film about a psychic, that focuses on the afterlife and features Bryce Dallas Howard in a supporting role. I must be talking about an M. Night Shyamalan movie, right? Wrong. Actually, "Hereafter" -- whose trailer recently debuted online -- was directed by Clint Eastwood, stars Matt Damon and looks like it has potential, despite at least one special effect that a couple of YouTube commenters rather uncharitably compared to "2012." But take a look and decide for yourself. The films opens Oct. 22 (just in time for Halloween) and I can promise this much: unlike this Friday's "Devil," this one did not spring from the mind of Mr. Shyamalan....

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Music  | Tags:  Fall Movies, Movie Trailers  
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Joaquin Phoenix to resurface on 'Letterman'

Joaquin Phoenix -- who has remained off the promotional grid even as the documentary "I'm Still Here," about his surreal pursuit of a career in hip-hop, opened in theaters last week -- is about to resurface. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Phoenix will appear on the "Late Show With David Letterman" on Sept. 22. ("Letterman," in case you forgot, is the same late-night venue where Phoenix more officially introduced his new persona to the public in February 2009.) Two days after that Sept. 22 date, he is scheduled for a Sept. 24 appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" A return to the Ed Sullivan Theater makes sense, especially if Phoenix plans to finally explain what has actually been going on with him during the past couple of years. Personally, I find it hard to believe he's going to sit across from Letterman a second time and drowsily mumble his way...

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Celebrities, Movies, Pop Culture, TV  
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Lady Gaga's meat dress and more: parsing the pop star's VMA fashion choices

Lady Gaga, puttin' on the meat. (AP) | More VMA Photos Lady Gaga wouldn't be Lady Gaga if she didn't show up at the MTV Video Music Awards in at least one over-the-top ensemble. So naturally, she donned three Sunday night. But the frock generating the most controversy is her meat dress, the one she donned late in the evening and that, apparently, was created by noted designer Sam the Butcher. The shredded, bloody-looking dress, topped off with a hat that looked like a slab of raw flank steak, was a, um, more fleshed-out version of the meat bikini she recently sported on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan, much to the annoyance of PETA. But Gaga is hardly the first person to use meat as a basis for fashion inspiration....

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Celebrities, Fashion, Music  
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Weekend box office: 'Resident Evil' is the uncontested winner, while Joaquin Phoenix fizzles

Milla Jovovich, standing triumphant in "Resident Evil: Afterlife." (Screen Gems) "Resident Evil: Afterlife" -- the fourth movie in the video game-inspired franchise and the first in 3D -- was the only major wide release of the weekend. As such, it easily topped the box office, with a projected $27.7 million to its credit. Read on to find out how its performance compares to previous "Evil" flicks, how the Joaquin Phoenix documentary "I'm Still Here" fared in limited release and why "Inception" can now be considered the summer's most durable hit....

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 8:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Box Office  
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Lady Gaga wins big at MTV VMAs; Spencer Pratt arrested for firearms possession

Katy Perry, on the white carpet at the VMAs. (AP) | More VMA Photos Celebrity Beat: Lady Gaga collects eight Moonmen at the MTV Video Music Awards; Taylor Swift forgives Kanye West via song while West pays tribute to the "[bleep]bags" during his performance; Gaga shows off three ensembles during show, including meat dress; Lindsay Lohan also appears with VMAs host Chelsea Handler during opening sketch; Handler's hosting abilities panned by multiple media outlets... Spencer Pratt arrested in Costa Rica for firearms possession, tweets that the Costa Rican prison "smells like children's tears"... Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth reportedly back together... Photographer reportedly suing "Seinfeld's" Michael Richards for allegedly attacking him last month on an L.A. street... Mario Lopez and girlfriend Courtney Mazza welcome first child, a baby girl named Gia Francesca... Zac Efron, trying on a beard for size. Pop Culture: "Resident Evil: Afterlife" is No. 1 at...

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 7:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Celebrities, Daily Mix, Pop Culture  
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Five discussion-worthy performances at the MTV Video Music Awards

Just like last year's MTV Video Music Awards, this year's VMAs will undoubtedly have most people chattering about two individuals: Taylor Swift and Kanye West.

By Jen Chaney  | September 13, 2010; 1:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Celebrities, Music, Pop Culture  
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