Michael Arbeiter
Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.
  • The Ballad of Hershel Greene: Our Unsung 'Walking Dead' Hero
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 11, 2013 12:44pm EST
    Gene Page/AMC We swoon over Daryl. We fawn over Michonne. We identify with Carol. We pity Rick. We root for Glenn and Maggie. And we can't stand Carl. But when's the last time anybody said a word about Hershel? Yes, Hershel. The rock of Walking Dead. Since we met him back in his farming days, Hershel has provided the audience with a rare source of stability. For these past two years, we have been able to cling to the wise, kind, and level-headed veterinarian through all the chaos — in the darkest, most harrowing of episodes, we can take ease in the presence of Hershel. "Oh good," we sigh when he hobbles into a scene. "He's here. Something is going to make sense now." Since Hershel kicked his habit for the spirits, that has been the case. He's doled out proverbs and compassion, never allowing pride or resentment to steer his actions, acting instead in the interests of what we can all identify as a "good." Unlike Carol's (who we miss already), Hershel's good is not controversial. His is one of obstinate humanity. He sees suffering, he sees incongruity, and he fixes it. Unlike Rick's (who we could take or leave), Hershel's good doesn't waver. He always knows what to do. He doesn't just abide by right and wrong, he understands their parameters. And then he brings them to life. In "Internment," we see Hershel brought to his most trying limits yet. Even with the loss of his friends and family members looming over him forever, his feats of strength this week seem like new, unprecedented torture. Hershel aims to contain the sickness that is spreading through the jail, to keep all patients alive and free of suffering. But this one-legged, gray-haired God-fearing man cannot accept the cruelties of the Earth upon which he lives — he loses resident after resident to the ailment, watching friends transform into zombies at a rapid rate. But he doesn't stop. He drives a knife into the head of his protegee, a young and kindly doctor with whom Hershel was beginning to identify. He sees a father bitten by his own undead child, turning quickly afterward into a monster all his own. He is forced to stare into the face of the young man who has been granted his daughter's heart, whom he has come to think of as a son, as he chokes violently on his own blood. He rushes, on one leg, to obtain a breathing apparatus from a cannibalistic walker in order to save his surrogate son's life. He wrestles with the zombie as it snaps repeatedly at his flesh, aching to take his life away. But he doesn't stop. And finally, after retrieving the oxygen tank for Glenn (thanks to a well-placed bullet into the head of the zombie, courtesy of his daughter Maggie... who chose her father's life over the risk of destroying her boyfriend's last hope at breathing, we might want to note) and bringing him back to stability, Hershel holes up in his cell, fans through the pages of his Bible, and begins to cry. Openly, loudly, and deeply. And he doesn't stop. We, along with just about everybody in the camp, take Hershel for granted. His unfolding heroism. His kempt responsibility. His ability to see through the bulls**t that haunts this collection of decaying human beings and always highlight the best course of action. Here, we are shown Hershel's internal, the toll that this world, and his roll in it, has taken. Next week, we'll probably see Hershel back in his old saddle, handing out wisdom, advice, and compassion. He doesn't stop. Ever. And we all need to pay a little more mind to that. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'Thor: The Dark World' Is More Fun and Exciting Than 'Thor,' But We Still Don't Care That Much
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 08, 2013 11:56am EST
    Walt Disney/Marvel In his first movie, Thor's story was a simple one: stop being a jerk. Ego deflation is a common theme among fictional princes or aristocrats — before achieving greatness, you must obtain goodness (I think I stole that from Oz the Great and Powerful, which only furthers my point). Although it works as a narrative device, it also stands as, arguably, the least interesting of the arcs that face the subjects of the Avengers Initiative. Steve Rogers had an underdog story — the "little guy" becomes the hero (comic book fans are suckers for that kind of thing). Bruce Banner struggled with major psychological traumas and an existential crisis. Tony Stark... well, he also kind of had the "stop being a jerk/ego deflation" thing, but he was a lot funnier about it.  And then, the powers. Captain America is a mortal man imbued with superhuman might and spirit. The Hulk is a behemoth, nearly impenetrable monster, but one undone by his own inability to control himself. Iron Man is only as good as the gadgets he himself can invent and bring to life... and those gadgets, mind you, are immutably cool. And Thor... he's a bulky demigod, one who has never toed the line of true peril, with a gigantic hammer. Even here, he stands as the least interesting of the bunch.  As such, when filmmaker Kenneth Branagh delivered a clunky, distracted story in his Thor, there was far too little intrinsic value in the character to keep us optimistic. The principal merits of Branagh's movie were its stars: even with dumpy material, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Stellan Skarsgard were charismatic enough for a few bits of fun. With a vastly improved script in Thor: The Dark World — which ups the ante on the stakes, the excitement, the cleverness, and the humor — the returning players can shine even brighter. The followup feature, this time from television director Alan Taylor, is the second Marvel Universe film to release after The Avengers, and the second to really harness itself to this Whedonized vision for these characters. Like Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World makes its sense of humor a chief priority, allowing its story of intergalactic warfare and the apocalyptic threat of a Dark Elf's accumulation of mystical power feel quite intimate. Piercing through these grand, fantastical elements, which command our attention just enough to set up their narrative importance but then fade to the background of some great character work, is the relationship between Thor (Hemsworth) and Loki (Hiddleston) — brothers who, despite everything they've been through in these past two years, have not entirely abandoned their love for one another. Beside them, we have the team back home: scientist Jane (Portman), who has been trying to get her life back in order since her otherworldly beau high-tailed it back to Asgard. We pick up with Jane in the middle of a blind date with an affably nervous Chris O'Dowd (I hope he, somehow, stays in the Marvel canon), carting her into the action when her plucky sidekick Darcy (Kat Dennings) alerts her of a wormhole of sorts located in a London back-alley. That's as scientific as I'm able to get, both because I got a C in physics and because Thor: The Dark World is never all that concerned with laying down the rules of quantum mechanics. Jane will begin to blather on about the nature of some space-time anomaly before the movie shuts her up, content (as is its audience) with employing suspension of disbelief. "Just accept that these things are happening," Thor 2 says, "because we need them to happen. Besides, they're no more ludicrous than anything else you've seen so far, right?" Maybe a little — The Dark World is beyond the biggest purpetrator of Marvel's reliance on some weirdo hocus pocus — but that's what we signed up for. Kooky magic. And with the Dark Elves, the hellish planets, the intergalatic portals, and the venemous smoke monsters, there's a lot more impressive wizardry to behold than in Hemsworth's previous installment. But it's not any of the elements of Thor: The Dark World that are the problem. The plot works, the magic works, the comedy works (even when it feels like Joss Whedon's B reel), and the character material works in spades — Thor and Loki's arc will both thrill and surprise everyone who has stuck with them through Thor and The Avengers. The only thing holding us back from really latching onto Thor: The Dark World is Thor. Standing up against Iron Man and Captain America, it might simply be that Thor cannot prove himself worthy of our independent attention. With the competition of these two riveting heroes, he and his films can come off primarily as filler material — what we'll take until Captain America: The Winter Soldier, preparation for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We might never feel as fulfilled with a Thor movie as we do with a Captain America or Iron Man standalone feature. But at the very least we can admire this one critically. If Thor: The Dark World was about a hero we could really care for, it'd be one hell of a movie. 3.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Analyzing 'Justin Bieber Sleeping' — An Art House Film
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 07, 2013 12:20pm EST
    Expectaculos/YouTube Justin Bieber Sleeping A short film. Written and directed by some girl. Film school came in handy this morning when a short film capable of uprooting the tectonic plates of pop culture popped into the zeitgeist this week — an officially untitled art house project that we have dubbed Justin Bieber Sleeping (philistines that we are, shooting for the obvious). Tackling a wide array of themes in its 15-second runtime, JBS is dripping with artistic merit and sociopolitical implications, standing as the most important cinematic composition to hit our public conscious since The Kimyele Fiançailles. A fool's errand though it may be, we're daring to delve into this Kubrickian masterpiece and uncover everything that it is challenging us to understand about film, about society, about ourselves. The Approach of the SingularityThe feature opens on a shot of two deceptively placid gadgets resting on an blanket-less sofa/bed hybrid. Monopolizing the bulk of the sleeping quarters while their allotted humanoids — the sleeping Bieber — lies helpless, a victim of the diabolically giddy anti-heroine whose video phone instills in her all the power that she might crave... or so she might think. It is not she, this nameless would-be sorceress, who is in control, but the electronic device. She dotes dutifully on its attentive eye, trying to please it with her incarceration of the languid prince and her fearsome choreography... but the hopelessness in the dead eyes of our leading lady shows too vividly that there is not enough food on the planet for this insatiable beast. The Emptiness of the Hollywood ImageWe transition to our second vignette: a long, quavering shot of Bieber lying somnolent beside his baseball cap, rearing a florid tattoo. A hapless victim of his own brazen quests through infamy, Bieber has traded in his humanity for placement as an icon — his arm for an Rorshach test and his bedside counterparts for the blushing hat that has all but replaced everything to sit beneath. Nobody comes to Bieber's side in this time of need, in this time of hapless destitution. All he has are the items and the images he has amounted... with nobody left to revel in them, rendering them, and he, an element of nothingness. The Dark Truths of Human PerceptionFinally, we meet our protagonist. The captor of our dissipating young artist. The eyes through which our story is told — with them, we gaze upon the tranquillity of innocence. We see not the menace in the gadgets, the hollowness of Bieber, but a scene of preserved tranquillity. But when these eyes are turned back upon themselves, we see things all too differently. The lighting dampens, the shots quaver hastily, and we're welcomed into the grimace of this woman. The venom of her deeds surfaces as we see her bask in the apprehension of the icon, clamoring for the approval of the all-seeing gadget. To our heroine, everything on scene rests easy. But from the swapped vantage point, we see the villainy, the treachery, the unholy sorrows in all that is represented in Justin Bieber Sleeping. As our film's creator and cinematographer, she represents the viewer as well. Our eyes. Us. She is recognizable as the epitome of human, doing all that she can to best and appease, to feed her own hungers for power and approval, these hungers strong enough to paint her meals with a picture of Rockwellian sanctuary. But as she blows this image, this horrifying image, her farewell kiss, we know that what she sees is not what is there. What we've seen... what we've known... it's all what we've forced ourselves to see and know, as the truth would be all too horrible to face. el fin Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Ranking 'The Hunger Games' Wildlife in Order of Danger!
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 07, 2013 10:51am EST
    The Hunger Games/YouTube MOCKINGJAYSFor those who don't know: An unintended hybrid of natural mocking birds and the government's genetically engineered jabberjays. They serve no harm to the human race and, instead, prove as a symbol of rebellion for those who oppose the Capitol.Danger rating: Friends of the common man! A rare non-dangerous animal in Panem. (1) STINGING BUTTERFLIESFor those who don't know: They are genetically engineered butterflies with sharp, potentially lethal stingers.Danger rating: Yes, they can kill you... but come on, you can handle a butterfly. They flutter, for goodness' sake! Just walk briskly and you're fine. (3) JABBERJAYSFor those who don't know: They are a special breed of mimicking bird engineered to spy on Hunger Games competitors and report their actions and conversations back to the Capitol. Not physically dangerous, but quite a hazard for anyone who values his or her privacy against a tyrannical, murderous government.Danger rating: If you know how to outsmart one, you're in the clear. But if you don't have a keen eye, these birds might be your undoing. (4) CANDY PINK BIRDSFor those who don't know: They are sharp-billed descendants of the flamingo with a knack for piercing the epidermis.Danger rating: They don't show up too much in the Hunger Games, but when they do, it's not a particularly pleasant ordeal. (4.5) GOLDEN SQUIRRELSFor those who don't know: They are carnivorous tree rodents who'll devour a Hunger Games tribute alive.Danger rating: Don't let the fluffiness fool you! (5) WOLF MUTTSFor those who don't know: They're wolves. Wolves with the DNA (and eyes!) of dead people. That's just disturbing.Danger rating: They're gigantic, vindictive, and potentially haunted by the restless souls of the dead. So... bad news. (7) FLESH-EATING RATSFor those who don't know: They're a pretty nasty breed of zombie rodent that infests the streets of Panem.Danger rating: In truth, they might not be as big a threat as the wolf mutts. But tack the phrase "flesh-eating" on something and it automatically bumps it up a few degrees of terror. (7.5) SWARMING INSECTSFor those who don't know: They're above and beyond your ordinary pesky mosquito, overtaking and feasting on their victims in a buzzing, petrifying cloud.Danger rating: Death by bugs? That's a plague-worthy horror. (8) MONKEY MUTTSFor those who don't know: They're monkeys. Wrathful monkeys with sharp talons that can induce internal bleeding. So, not the fun kind (like Marcel from Friends). The bad kind (like Mighty Joe Young, or Marcel from Friends in that episode where he wouldn't listen to Ross).Danger rating: Internal bleeding is, far and away, the worst kind of bleeding. Way worse than external bleeding. (8.5) LIZARD MUTTSFor those who don't know: They're humanoid reptiles with the ability to scuttle along on all fours or walk upright, attacking with brute force and deadly venom anyone who gets in their way. Danger rating: The cold blood that courses through their mutated veins makes them an even more treacherous force than their simian brethren. (9) THE BEASTFor those who don't know: We're not even sure what this thing is, but Katniss watched it take down a fellow tribute.Danger rating: The Sasquatch factor gives it a point boost. Also, its proclivity for murder. (9.5) TRACKER JACKERSFor those who don't know: They're the worst. Vindictive bees with a sting that is not only lethal, but that also induces traumatic hallucinations.  Danger rating: If you consider the degradation of the living mind even more horrifying than death (which we do), then we give these pests the top rating. (10) Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'New Girl' Recap: The Return of Coach!
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 06, 2013 11:07am EST
    Adam Taylor/FOX Since the second episode of the first season of New Girl, we have been waiting patiently for the return of Coach. More of a "character" in his single half-hour onscreen than Winston has managed to be in two and a half seasons, the hypermasculine, stringently monikered meathead left a gaping hole in the show when he parted ways with the loft boys to head into Chicago for his stay on Happy Endings. And yes, Damon Wayans Jr. was immaculate as the dapper, effeminate Brad Williams on the short-lived ABC sitcom, but at the cost of New Girl's thematic symmetry. When Jess entered the lives of Nick, Schmidt, and Coach back in the pilot, she did so as a unique institution of strong, substantial womanhood. Each of the three represented the downfalls of their adherence to gender norm restrictions: Nick was insistently closed off to emotional growth. Schmidt was a diabolical "womanizer." And Coach represented the abrasive, athletically-obsessed alpha male bravado as Jess' ultimate foil. But then he left, transformed into Brad, lost that show, and returned. So how was it? Was Damon Wayans Jr.'s performance Brad-caliber?Anyone who did tune into Happy Endings knows that this young comedian is far and away the funniest performer in his highly successful family. Although Happy Endings met a sour fate, I'm glad that Wayans spent his time on that show as opposed to on New Girl, as it gave him the chance to try out a more original character than what Coach was setting up to be, and one perfectly condusive to his talents for squeals and twirling. As Coach, Wayans is still funny... but he is inherently less funny spouting his bravado than he is eliciting tears of giddiness. Is this the Coach we once knew?We barely got to know the character in the first place, but we got a taste of him with one defining scene in which he admitted to Jess that he doesn't "know how to talk to women." This abject standoffishness derived from his obsession with all things manly, thus leaving him clueless in the pursuit of female attention (which, really, is probably why he went all out in being so "manly" in the first place). Although he's still nowhere close to a gentleman, Coach seems to have adopted more of a Schmidt-like persona than we might have expected. He returns to the loft after a long, highly invested romantic relationship, he "schmoozes" strippers to ease his heartbreak. He's still a jackass, but a slightly different sort of jackass. Will he be here to stay?Wayans doesn't have a regular gig since Happy Endings went off the air; additionally, Schmidt has moved across the hall to the vacant apartment (that was not too long ago occupied by 23-year-olds). So there's plenty of room for Wayans on New Girl. But will this be a regular ordeal, or just a one-time thing? The way the material's quality has been in decline lately, we wouldn't mind mixing up the formula with a new character. Also, other stuff happened.Nick acted like a jag to impress Coach. Jess got mad. Nick got mad. Nick went to a strip club. Jess flirted with Taye Diggs. They made up. Jess and Nick, not Jess and Taye Diggs. Taye Diggs got punched in the face and placed in an elevator, naked, which was a little unsettling. But that's it.Technically, Schmidt and Winston were in this episode. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • A Neo-Nazi Metal Musician Was Arrested for Flushing Oranges Down the Toilet in an Attempt to Cause Mayhem in France
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 05, 2013 1:12pm EST
    abdul-yunir/Flickr Take a minute to peruse this comprehensive list of Pinky and the Brain episode premises, if you haven't already today. You will find schemes ranging from "Pinky and the Brain travel to the Hubble Telescope in an attempt to melt the ice caps and flood the Earth," to "Brain grows an army of giant, animated vegetables to take over the world," to "The mice become baseball players and lead their team to victory so that Brain can release a special perfume on the pitcher's mound at the right time to enslave the human race." They're all more or less of that ilk, as is the recently revealed plan of black metal icon and neo-Nazi Varg Vikernes, who spent his weekend trying to overthrow France. By flushing oranges down the toilet. No, you're not really missing anything. That's it. That's the plan. See, the 40-year-old, Norway-born Vikernes — holed up at Paris' L'Hotel Aisselle — came up with this airtight ploy that flushing oranges down his toilet would disrupt the plumbing, result in some flooding, and unleash mayhem unto the French city and thus result in widespread panic and a governmental overthrow. I'd repeat that for you, but I fear that writing it twice would actually result in a deterioration of brain matter. As a result of this diabolical scam, Vikernes was apprehended by hotel staff, arrested by French police, and detained for 47 hours, during which time he revealed his brainchild to the authorities. While the city crumbled under the weight of a citrus-clogged toilet, Vikernes would oversee the rise of a proto-fascist black metal dictatorship! All, as Vikernes would declare, "in the name of Odin!" So... how's everybody else's day going? Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • This Creepy Robotic Baby Almost Made 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' the Scariest Horror Movie of All Time
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 05, 2013 11:41am EST
    Yahoo! Movies "A film franchise about vampires and werewolves? I am in!" Back in the fall of 2008, many a hopeful horror buff became dejected over the revelation that The Twilight Saga would be anything but scary. Sure, it has its share of chills, intensity, and character-driven gasps. But Stephenie Meyers' creation falls comfortably in the territory of romantic fantasy, not horror. At least, it wouldn't until the fifth and final movie in the series, Breaking Dawn - Part 2. "What are you talking about?" And no, this isn't the same speaker of the above quote  — this is someone firmly on board with the Twilight movies as we know them. "I saw Breaking Dawn - Part 2," (see?) "and sure, it has adventure, but it ain't no horror!" That's because the film you saw subbed out its most disturbing element for a more... palatable replacement. We're talking about Renesmee.  Bella's preternatural mudblood baby was played by a number of young human actresses, most notably Mackenzie Foy. But in the original incarnation of the film, producers hoped for the character to embody an eerier feel. So they brought in a robot baby. The most treacherously horrifying robot baby in the history of time. The unholiest abomination of our great planet to drag its dastardly appendages into the sorrowful light of day. The most sickeningly unforgivable piece of monster vomit that has sprung from the most tragic corners of the human imagination. And so we present to you, courtesy of Yahoo, the original animatronic demon that played the role of Renesmee... just start shuddering now. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: In What Way Is a Lighthouse Like 'Traveling Back in Time'?! (Season 9, Episode 8)
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 05, 2013 10:35am EST
    CBS Finally, after that long dry spell to follow her sharing train cookies with Lily, we get some mileage out of Cristin Milioti. It's post-narrative flash-forward mileage, but at least it's something. The well has run dry on character development for Ted. At this point, all he is is... waiting. Waiting to believe in love again (or does he believe in it wholeheartedly this week? It kind of ebbs and flows with whatever the episode calls for), and waiting for that love to come his way. Now that we have a face attached to the intangible idea of "the Mother," we can get a little bit more excited about his melodramatic groans. But even more exciting than whatshername's meeting with Ted is her meeting with everyone else. We know, thanks to extra-curricular research, that she'll meet every other member of the group prior to Teddy Westside. Her initial encounter with Lily was fine at best, but Lily's the "sane" one. Milioti coming into contact with Barney, Marshall, and Robin (probably in that chronological order, if we want to think about this stream with accelerating significance) is bound to be a lot of laughs. And speaking of the rest of the troupe, "Lighthouse" deals with moreover interesting material involving longstanding psychological problems. More prominently, we have Robin, whose parental traumas are so deeply rooted that the mere mention of her mother — before even the Future Ted interjection spelling out just how weird a phenomenon this is — feels like a weird phenomenon. For the past few weeks, Robin has been feuding with Barney's mom Loretta, and tosses a jab her way in regards to her world famous scrambled eggs, asserting that her own mother makes better eggs. Just as the inception of the Robin-Loretta warfare might have proved an appropriate venue to really dig into Miss Scherbatsky's piercing mommy/daddy issues, "Lighthouse" presents the opportunity and snatches it away from us. Robin's mother, at the very last minute, phones her daughter to reveal that she won't be at the wedding. The show uses the canon of Robin's mom being afraid to fly as the reason, although this does seem like a cop-out. There are plenty of Scherbatsky fissues to offer a more substantial, more painful reason for Robin's mom not making it to the ceremony. But instead of treating this as a window into Robin's festering pains, the show just uses it to bridge the gap between Robin and Loretta, the latter kicking on her maternal instincts to comfort her new daughter-in-law in her time of need. But there is one piece of noteworthy character development in this episode, and not a particularly favorable one: at the behest of Daphne, Marshall drops his longstanding "nice guy" identity, stranding Ted's step-father Clint (who hitched a ride with the two of them after Marshall and Daphne stopped at Ted's mom's house in Cleveland to grab a meal and an embarrassing childhood picture of Ted) in the woods and seizing control of the trip. Now, we've often commended Marshall as being the only halfway decent human being among the troupe. But if Daphne's words really got through to him, if he's really now the sort of a**hole who would abandon a family friend in the middle of nowhere without so much as a warning, then we might have to bid adieu to the last speck of humanity in this show. At least we got a callback to the "I Wanna Be" gag though, which, while predictable, was quite funny. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Watch Spike Jonze and Greta Gerwig Get Wonderfully Goofy with Arcade Fire's New 'Afterlife' Video
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 04, 2013 3:34pm EST
    YouTube Spotlight/YouTube Did you see Spike Jonze's adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are — a feature length adaptation of a 300-word children's book, wherein pre-teen Max retreats to the fantastical realms of his imagination and rules a kingdom of behemoth monster friends? Did you see Greta Gerwig's breakout vehicle Frances Ha — a ballad about the destructive tendencies of a 27-year-old Brooklynite who couch surfs, spends money she doesn't have, commits to a career in dance, and can't figure out why things aren't sticking together for her? Admittedly, both sound kind of... goofy. And that might also be the word that springs to mind when you watch Gerwig jerking sporadically to the reverbs of Arcade Fire's "Afterlife" in the below music video for the song, directed by filmmaker Jonze. Negative connotations aside, there's a time and a place for goofy. Goofy finds itself fitting snugly in the mind of a dejected young boy who seeks hospice in imaginary creatures when he feels rejected by his mom, sister, and self. Goofy can't help but seep from the pores of a pushing-30 dreamer cemented in her adolescent ideas of possibility and friendship. And goofy is, and very well should be, a sentiment called to mind when a young woman enduring some semblance of romantic heartbreak explodes into choreographed mania through the hallways of her apartment building, the snowy woodlands of a Narnia-like fantasy land, and the stage of an awards show. That's practically the capital of goofy. So you can shrug off Jonze's Wild Things, Gerwig's Frances Ha, or this new "Afterlife" video from the both of them and artist Arcade Fire for their veneer of goofiness. But you'll be missing something altogether earnest, temperate, and fun in each of these sparkling projects. Enjoy the video — and never be afraid to go full on goofy. (Okay, I'll stop saying that word now.) Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Your Friend From Brooklyn Probably Already Told You, But NPR Released the 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Soundtrack
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 04, 2013 1:43pm EST
    CBS Films Ever since the first Inside Llewyn Davis trailer was released earlier this year, we've all taken to brownstone porches and subway platforms with a nonstop recording of Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac's "Fare Thee Well" cover and a checkered pocket full of somber contemplation. The latest Coen Bros picture has the makings to be the best music movie in ages, owing both to its tale of a trembling New York folk musician facing the aching realities of the toughest industry on the planet, and to its beard's worth of actual great music. We've only gotten a taste of the latter so far — the aforementioned ditty by star Isaac (who plays the titular Llewyn Davis) and Mumford & Sons' lead singer and guitarist standing out — but through the good graces of National Public Radio, we are now treated to the full soundtrack. A number of the movie's actors, in addition to Isaac, have a place on the album: Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, Adam Driver, Stark Sands, and Nancy Blake among them. The soundtrack also employs the musical talents of artists like Brooklyn- and Queens-based folk musicians John Cohen, Dave Van Ronk, the Punch Brothers, and Bob Dylan. The Coens have done wonders with many colorful corners of the United States: Los Angeles, the Midwest, the Great Plains, the Deep South... but this could very well be their iconic stab at New York City. Not the same New York they channeled in The Hudsucker Proxy, but the one vastly overshadowed — the folksier, slushier New York that has seen resurgence in the wake of this decade's upswing in Brooklyn counterculture. We look forward with excitement to Inside Llewyn Davis as a great music film and a great New York film. In the meantime, we enjoy the lovely tunes the Coens, their players, and NPR have treated us to. Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack1. "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" — Oscar Isaac2. "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" — Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford3. "The Last Thing on My Mind" — Stark Sands, with Punch Brothers4. "Five Hundred Miles" — Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Stark Sands5. "Please Mr. Kennedy" — Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver6. "Green, Green Rocky Road" — Oscar Isaac7. "The Death of Queen Jane" — Oscar Isaac8. "The Roving Gambler" — John Cohen, with the Down Hill Strugglers9. "The Shoals of Herring" — Oscar Isaac, with the Punch Brothers10. "The Auld Triangle" — Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, and Gabe Witcher11. The Storms Are on the Ocean" — Nancy Blake12. "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song") — Oscar Isaac13. "Farewell" — Bob Dylan14. "Green, Green Rocky Road" — Dave Van Ronk Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //