Sep 5, 2011, 8:13 p.m.

Steven Soderbergh talks "Contagion" and retirement

LOS ANGELES (Reuters)LOS ANGELES, September 5 (Reuters) - Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh explores how a lethal virus is transmitted from one person to another, until the entire world is affected in "Contagion." The film, which debuted over the weekend at the Venice film festival and hits theaters Friday, features an all star cast that includes Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law among others.

"Real Housewives" opens to message: "life goes on"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marred by a tragic suicide, reality television show "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" kept to its scheduled debut on Monday night, opening with a distinct message for its viewers, "Life goes on. It has to." Late last month the show, a popular fixture on the Bravo TV network, was rocked by the suicide of Russell Armstrong, the estranged husband of housewife, Taylor Armstrong.

"The Help" wins box office, summer hits record

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The maids of "The Help" didn't take the Labor Day weekend off. The surprise summer hit held firm at the top of the domestic box office for the third straight week with $19 million in ticket sales. The drama about white women and their black maids in Civil Rights-era Mississippi polished off three new films based on four-day estimates released by movie studios on Monday, the U.S. Labor Day holiday that ended a record summer at U.S. and Canadian theaters. "The Help," a critics favorite that debuted a month ago in the No. 2 spot, was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by Walt Disney Co.

David Gest, Jacksons plan tribute tour to Michael

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Producer David Gest, Tito Jackson and others close to Michael Jackson on Monday unveiled a singing and spoken-word tribute tour to the late King of Pop. "A Jackson Named Michael: Remembering a Legend," kicks off in the United Kingdom in March 2012, and follows another tribute set for October in Wales that has caused some controversy among fans of the "Thriller" singer.

Telethon raises $61 million in absence of Jerry Lewis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Absent but still the star of the show, comedian Jerry Lewis helped the 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon raise more than $61 million over the weekend. An annual event that stretched over 21 hours on Sunday honored his efforts during the past 45 years to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the disorder through medical research, the organization said on Monday.

Le Carre, Clooney, Carnage contest Venice film prize

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - The Venice film festival has largely lived up to its billing so far, providing a steady stream of A-list actors on the red carpet and a lineup of movies which has pleased most critics. As the world's oldest film festival hits halfway Monday, an adaptation of John Le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," George Clooney's political thriller "The Ides of March" and Roman Polanski's comedy "Carnage" lead the charge for the coveted Golden Lion for best picture.

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