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.
  • 10 Things That Are Horrible About the New Trailer for 'The Giver'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 19, 2014
    What GIVES? However long ago, you were in seventh grade, you were assigned, begrudgingly began to read, and then almost instantly fell in love with the great Lois Lowry tome The Giver. A work of allegorical fiction that built a dystopian future around humankind's desire to preserve "sameness." Identical individuals in identical family units leading identical lifestyles... until one kid who was just special enough (the Katniss, the Harry, the Tris, the Ender, the Mortal Instrumentalist) learned the truth and lay waste to the customs of his corrosive society. It was a great book. One we all knew, eventually, would be granted cinematic form. And one we all knew wouldn't get the justice it deserves. The Weinstein Company/YouTube Silver lining: at least we can probably say we were right. The new trailer for Jeff Bridges' Giver adaptation doesn't look too promising. We're inclined to hold out judgment until the film actually hits theaters, but we can't help but foster pessimism considering the abundance of issues we've taken with the first promo: 1. It's in color. A major conceit of The Giver was that nobody, except Jonas (eventually) could see color. It was part of the government's suppression of creativity and imagination and hope and the free-wheelin' crayon industry. This would have been a super easy thing to convey onscreen — easier than in the book, even.2. Jonas' age. Lowry's main character was 12. In this thing, he's played by a genteel looking fellow named Brenton Thwaites, who is pushing 25.3. Jonas' eyes. All Receivers (Jonas is a Receiver — that's like being a Divergent, or a Girl on Fire, or a Boy Who Lived, or a Mortal Instrumentalist) are supposed to have uniquely light eyes. I'm not quite sure how this compromised with the general lack of color, but I don't remember having too much of a problem with it.4. The Giver. What's he doing out of his secluded mountain house? Why does he appear to be interacting with Meryl Streep? Go back inside, Giver. You only talk to Jonas.5. The injections - "morning injections." This one's a two-parter. Voice-over here suggests the existence of "morning injections," suggesting them to be a regular part of the routine for all living citizens. But injections in the book were lethal, and as such not regularly scheduled.6. The injections - the "release." What is that young lady doing getting a release injection? Those are for babies and old people only! Only the Giver's daughter (Taylor Swift) got a mid-life release. Oh, and that brings us to the next issue...7. Taylor Swift. Hm.8. So much action! Please don't let this turn into an action movie, Phillip Noyce. It's a cerebral, temperate, emotional drama. A C.T.E.D! Relevant...9. The post-escape chase. In the book, one Jonas gets out of his society and into the territory of "Elsewhere" with baby Gabriel in tow, he's all set. Smooth sailing until the ambiguous ending signifying plausible death. But here, he's hotly pursued!10. The spaceship. There's a spaceship in this trailer. I don't feel good. Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Wraps Up Stories for Ranjit, Blitz, Sandy Rivers, Scooter, and More
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 18, 2014
    CBS Broadcasting We've been looking forward to the wrap-up to How I Met Your Mother's story for quite some time. But a late sequence in this week's episode, "Gary Blauman," gave us some narrative conclusions that we hadn't been anticipating. After Marshall makes a somber remark about losing touch with old friends, Future Ted enlightens the audience unto the fates down the line for some of the pals he hadn't kept in his life: -Carl, the MacLaren's bartender, had a son and turned the pub into a family business-Jeanette was arrested for stalking some fellow named Val Kilmer, and got married to Robin's old boyfriend Kevin-Ranjit made some wise investments and ended up buying his limo company-Patrice started her own drive-time radio show-Billy Zabka won the American Humanities Medal for Literature-Zoe continued her life of activism-Scooter married Lily's stripper doppelganger-Blitz suffered from a gambling addiction, but kicked it-Blah Blah got a name (Carol)-Sandy Rivers moved to Russia, continuing his news career overseas-James got back together with his husband Tom All this, combined with the fates we've come to learn about a handful of other characters — Victoria moved back to Germany and continued her career as a baker, Stella lives in California with Tony (presumably riding comfortably on The Wedding Bride money), the Captain began a relationship with Boats Boats Boats — actually leaves us a bit wistful. If there is one thing How I Met Your Mother can be credited with, it is building what feels like a vivid, full, far-reaching universe. A reality populated with living characters — some everpresent and some who only occasionally show their faces, but all feeling like active features of this spinning world. As such, we look forward with even more vigor now to the ultimate conclusion of the stories at the center of the show: Marshall and Lily (it seems like they spend the next year of their lives in Italy, although there are still a few questions left unanswered), Barney and Robin (the entirety of Season 9 has hinted at "second thoughts" from both parties, but flash forwards do indicate that they stay together... at least in some capacity), and Ted. Three days after the wedding, he has his first date with The Mother. A date during which she insists that she's not ready for a relationship. A date during which Ted resists his old ways to make some gallant gesture and thrust himself upon her as an act of true devotion. A date during which she proves herself too a kinetic force of romance and insists that the two stay in one another's lives, despite her apprehensions. We still don't know how they meet, or what eventually happens to her down the line (there are some depressing theories...). But we're quite excited to find out. After a few lackluster years with the MacLaren's gang, this show has certainly reclaimed its old magic. And we're really going to miss it. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • The Most Important Takeaway from Last Night's 'Girls'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 17, 2014
    HBO We don't want to be reductive here — we think the Hannah/Adam rise and fall is interesting, the Jessa relapse is emotional, and the desperation exhibited by both parties in the Marnie/Ray relationship is exemplary. But the greatest takeaway from this week's episode of Girls, and perhaps the season overall? Adam's British accent. True, this was not the first time this year that we heard Adam try his hand at a Londian affect in preparation for his role in a Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's play Major Barbara. But it was the first time we were treated to Adam's go at an energetic h-dropping salutation: "'ello!" he exclaimed midway through the episode, upon hearing a rapping at the chamber door of his mate Ray's flat. Or something. Up until now, we thought we had Adam's vocal range pegged: vaguely Midwestern and '60s-era outer space cowboy musician. But his Shaw storyline has thrown us for a loop. Now all we want from Adam Driver (as opposed to Adam Sackler) is a series of British roles. A Shakespeare AdaptationPreferably a comedy, since Driver's knack for the accent is wholly hilarious. A Guy Ritchie Crime ThrillerBefore he was tarnishing Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie was making passable action-filled, comedic crime movies, like Snatch. Driver as a British street tough would be enchanting. A Ricky Gervais SitcomAlthough Driver's accent is a bit more heightened and hyperbolic than Gervais' naturalistic style, the earnest twentysomething could play well against the oft smarmy Gervais. A Mary Poppins RemakeSaving Mr. Banks proves that Disney is, to this day, infinitely proud of its bastardization of P.L. Travers' children's book. So why not give it another go, this time with Driver taking on Dick Van Dyke's all-smiles bastardization of the Cockney speak? A Wallace & Gromit ShortThere's the winner. But of course we shouldn't distract from Hannah, Jessa, Marnie, or Ray — each worked with particularly interesting material this week. Hannah quit her job in a, once again, Patti LuPone-inspired huff. Jessa got a job as the assistant to photography maven Mary Hartman2, one that could have been Marnie's were she not too vain and self-doubting to dare present herself in the confrontational light that the gifted artist wanted in her second-in-command. Marnie continued to exhibit her insecurities when she vied for the romantic affections of Desi, continuing to understand herself to be of value only when boys want to sleep with her. So she slept with Ray, who, like her, is just fragile and desperate enough to fall into the arms of the sort of person he considers "beneath" him. It's a wonderful relationship these two have brewing... especially now that Hannah knows about it (yes, she walked in on them, without regard, in the final moments of the episode). All that is well and good. But Adam's accent is weller and better. Pip pip. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Might Be Suffering the 'True Detective' Problem
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 11, 2014
    CBS With the biggest mystery of How I Met Your Mother solved, we've taken the past couple of months to move onto new ones: Will Barney and Robin actually get married? Will the Mother die at the end of the series? Will Billy Zabka ever find happiness? And the somewhat overlooked question that we revisit in this week's episode — who did Lily call after that big fight with Marshall? That last one ties into the larger query of whether or not the Eriksen-Aldrins would be relocating to Italy post-series. Last we left the argument, Lily conceded that the family should stay in the U.S., but this week's turn changed gears for the couple. In a love letter of sorts to How I Met Your Mother fans, Ted dons his sleuth cap to determine who Lily called when she drove off into the night, where she went, and what she did while there. Surprisingly enough, he's pretty close. In lieu of meeting Robin's mother, Barney high tails his groomsmen (where the hell is his brother, by the way?) to the Captain's Northampton house after Marshall concludes that he must be the one who Lily phoned. That's where the hypothesizing takes place, with Ted drawing elaborate conclusions from minuscule clues to determine the true nature of Lily's secret... well, the false nature (he thought she was hiding the fact that she'd been smoking), but it did lead to the true nature (spoilers!): she's pregnant. This reveal, plus a good swift kick in the ass from his conscience, leads Marshall to decide that the family should in fact move to Italy. And, as far as we learn from a flash forward, they do. All of them — Marshall, Lily, Marvin, Marshall's mom, Lily's dad, and their new baby daughter Daisy. Beyond just being a moreover fun episode, the aptly named "Daisy" is in a way Carter Bays and Craig Thomas breathing life into the mile-a-minute voices of their longtime fans. How I Met Your Mother audiences are full of theories on every element of the show... something it provokes and abets with its hints, misdirects, call-backs (and -forwards), and various other teases. Even telling us who the Mother is (Cristin Milioti, in case you forgot) didn't appease viewers; we've come up with plenty of other things to wonder about this year alone. But as we saw with Sunday night's True Detective finale, questions aren't always answered in the way that audiences might want or anticipate. Not everything is about the mystery. So we worry that after nine years, HIMYM might come to a close that leaves viewers feeling incomplete. Right now, we're obsessing over questions like those above, perhaps at the expense of the emotional (and humorous) core of the show, as was the case with many a True Detective viewer. In the end, that show was bout Rustin Cohle and Marty Hart — two troubled men who needed one another more than they could have anticipated. This show is about plenty in that vein, but we seem to be forgetting that. We know, we're guilty of this too. But let's not make the same mistake as we might have with True Detective. Let's step away from all these harrowing questions and hold tight to the characters. We might feel duped or misled or underwhelmed by any of the How I Met Your Mother finale's "reveals," but we can bet that Bays and Thomas have something heartfelt and substantial in store for the conclusion of Ted's journey. And hopefully happy! Milioti did say that the death-of-the-Mother theory was "crazy," after all, so there's hope. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'Girls' Recap: Setting Hannah, Adam, and Jessa Up for the Home Stretch
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 10, 2014
    HBO We have two episodes left to go in this season of Girls, which means everyone's story is beginning to wind down to a conclusive point. This week solidifies the immediate future for Hannah and Adam (and not in a particularly promising way), and tosses Jessa a little bit closer to rock bottom. The Hannah and Adam Story Two weeks back, we compared the Hannah-Adam arc of Season 3 to the romantic story of Spike Jonze's Her. Not a particularly insightful analogy, since Her is as all-encompassing as a movie about love and relationships can get, but our predictions are validated with the ultimate conclusion of the latest episode, "Role Play." Hannah goes out drinking (excessively) with work friends, returning up the next morning to the shock that Adam was too enveloped by his play to even worry about what might have happened to her. All this plus a dismissive morning attitude and his apparent embarrassment when she showed up to watch his rehearsal equates to Hannah deciding to try and "spice things up" between them, instituting an elaborate role play scenario in which she gets back into touch with the dark patterns a Hannah and Adam of yore used to enjoy. But things run afoul when Adam is offended and put off by the attempt, perhaps using the ordeal as a vehicle to access feelings he seems to have been entertaining for a while: he wants out. At least temporarily. As such, validating not just our predictions but Hannah's worries from earlier this season, Adam says he needs time apart from her to devote himself to his art, opting to stay with Ray (Ray! That means he'll be back!) for a while. We don't expect Hannah and Adam to make it to the end of the season, partially because of this new turn and partially because every season premiere sees her waking in bed with a different partner (first Marnie, then Elijah, then Adam... who's next?). The Jessa Situation (with a bit of Shoshanna sprinkled in) Jessa has not come very far from where we found her at the beginning of this season — although she cleaned up for a while, she never fully embraced the problematic nature of her addiction and her approach to life in general. This week, the unlikely voice of reason that Shoshanna has become confronts Jessa and Jasper (Richard E. Grant) by surprising the two with a visit from the latter's daughter Dot (an allergenic Felicity Jones). Jasper all but breaks down, at first resisting his daughter's pleas for affection but gradually coming to her (and his own) defense when Jessa accosts the both of them. The conclusion of the union sees Jessa without even the man who fostered her voyage back into drugs, with her substance abuse presenting itself as less of a problem than her addiction to pushing people away. And while we leave Jessa in a dark place at the end of the episode, it is perhaps the depths to which she needed to fall in order to climb back up. She finally accepts her aloneness — she has to — now that even her cousin, who once idolized her above all else, has seen her for her ugliness. The Black Hole of Marnie I'm a member of the very sparse Marnie camp, but her turn this week seems particularly void of interest. She might become Soojin's (Greta Lee) assistant at an art gallery, despite her feelings that such work is demeaning? More importantly, Marnie is clearly harboring feelings for Adam's pal and fellow actor, the spirit walker Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), but only as such that she really wants him to be attracted to her, as Marnie has identified herself as of value only when she is attracting men. Desi obviously cares for Marnie in his encouragement of her song-writing and creativity, but he is devoted to his girlfriend. Sadly, she takes this as a rejection and spirals deeper into her pit of despair. So there we are. Everyone feeling happy? Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Hand-Picked Flix: Watch 'Battle Royale' for Your Saturday Night Fever
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 08, 2014
    Anchor Bay via Everett Collection It's Saturday night. The game is on. The town is yours. You're ready to go. But you need a little cinematic pep-talk. A movie that'll get your adrenaline rushing top speed. Something with action, adventure, excitement... hell, maybe even something fantastical every so often. This week, our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Saturday Night Fever is Battle Royale. It says a lot when a movie's title becomes a permanent fixture in the international lexicon. The 2000 Japanese action movie Battle Royale is an unmistakably influential piece of cinema, predating America's fight-to-the-death franchise The Hunger Games by more than a decade. The movie, itself adapted from a 1999 novel, centers on a junior high school student who is thrust into a lethal competition with his classmates at the whim of the government. Making everything in American cinema look tame by comparison, Battle Royale is not only brutal but skillfully delivered, with dazzling aesthetics, fun characters, and the emotional throughline of the hero's journey to overcome the death of his father. There are few films as capable of kicking up your pulse, and even fewer that can do so and still maintain an artistic air. You can watch Battle Royale on Netflix, and check back tomorrow for our Lazy Sunday pick. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' Is Somewhat Sloppy, But with Heart, a Message, and So Many Puns
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 07, 2014
    DreamWorks For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material. For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue. Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing. DreamWorks But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe. The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling. But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now. If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns. 3/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Is Flawless — Funny, Touching, Shocking, and Truly Adventurous
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 07, 2014
    Fox Searchlight You don't arrive at the Grand Budapest Hotel without your share of Wes Anderson baggage. Odds are, if you've booked a visit to this film, you've enjoyed your past trips to the Wes Indies (I promise I'll stop this extended metaphor soon), delighting especially in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and his most recent charmer Moonrise Kingdom. On the other hand, you could be the adventurous sort — a curious diplomat who never really got Anderson's uric-toned deadpan drudgings but can't resist browsing through the brochures of his latest European getaway. First off, neither community should worry about a bias in this review — I'm a Life Aquatic devotee, equally alienating to both sides. Second, neither community should be deterred by Andersonian expectations, be they sky high or subterranean, in planned Budapest excursions. No matter who you are, this movie will charm your dandy pants off and then some. While GBH hangs tight to the filmmaker's recognizable style, the movie is a departure for Anderson in a number of ways. The first being plot: there is one. A doozy, too. We're accustomed to spending our Wes flicks peering into the stagnant souls of pensive man-children — or children-men (Moonrise) or fox-kits (guess) — whose journeys are confined primarily to the internal. But not long into Grand Budapest, we're on a bona fide adventure with one of the director's most attractive heroes to date: the didactic Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes mastering sympathetic comedy better than anyone could have imagined he might), who invests his heart and soul into the titular hotel, an oasis of nobility in a decaying 1930s Europe. Gustave is plucked from his sadomasochistic nirvana overseeing every cog and sprocket in the mountaintop institution and thrust into a madcap caper — reminiscent of, and not accidentally, the Hollywood comedies of the era — involving murder, framing, art theft, jailbreak, love, sex, envy, secret societies, high speed chases... believe me, I haven't given half of it away. Along the way, we rope in a courageous baker (Saoirse Ronan), a dutiful attorney (Jeff Goldblum), a hotheaded socialite (Adrien Brody) and his psychopathic henchman (Willem Dafoe), and no shortage of Anderson regulars. The director proves just as adept at the large scale as he is at the small, delivering would-be cartoon high jinks with the same tangible life that you'd find in a Billy Wilder romp or one of the better Hope/Crosby Road to movies. Fox Searchlight Anchoring the monkey business down to a recognizable planet Earth (without sacrificing an ounce of comedy) is the throughline of Gustave's budding friendship with his lobby boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori, whose performance is an unprecedented and thrilling mixture of Wes Anderson stoicism and tempered humility), the only living being who appreciates the significance of the Grand Budapest as much as Gustave does. In joining these two oddballs on their quest beyond the parameters of FDA-approved doses of zany, we appreciate it, too: the significance of holding fast to something you believe in, understand, trust, and love in a world that makes less and less sense everyday. Anderson's World War II might not be as ostensibly hard-hitting as that to which modern cinema is accustomed, but there's a chilling, somber horror story lurking beneath the surface of Grand Budapest. Behind every side-splitting laugh, cookie cutter backdrop, and otherworldly antic, there is a pulsating dread that makes it all mean something. As vivid as the worlds of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise might well have been, none have had this much weight and soul. So it's astonishing that we're able to zip to and fro' every crevice of this haunting, misty Central Europe at top speeds, grins never waning as our hero Gustave delivers supernaturally articulate diatribes capped with physically startling profanity. So much of it is that delightfully odd, agonizingly devoted character, his unlikely camaraderie with the unflappably earnest young Zero, and his adherence to the magic that inhabits the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are few places like it on Earth, as we learn. There aren't many movies like it here either. 5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: I Have Nothing Good to Say About '300: Rise of an Empire,' So Turn Back Now
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 06, 2014
    Legendary Pictures Gun to my head, I might be able to say something positive about 300: Rise of an Empire. In a vacuum, I suppose I'd call its aesthetic appealing, its production value impressive, or its giant rhinos kind of cool. But these elements cannot be taken alone, embroidered on a gigantic patch of joyless pain that infests your conscious mind from its inceptive moments on. It's not so much that the 300 sequel fails at its desired conceit — it gives you exactly what it promises: gore, swordplay, angry sex, halfwit maxims about honor and manliness and the love of the fight. It's simply that its desired conceit is dehumanizing agony. Holding too hard and too long to its mission statement to top its Zack Snyder-helmed predecessor in scope, scale, and spilled pints of blood, Noam Murro's Rise of an Empire doesn't put any energy into filtering its spectacular mayhem through whatever semblance of a humanistic touch made the first one feel like a comprehensive movie. Legendary Pictures Now, it's been a good eight years since I've seen 300, and I can't say that I was particularly fond of it. But beneath its own eye-widening layer of violence, there was a tangible idea of who King Leonidas was, what this war meant, and why Sparta mattered. No matter how much clumsy exposition is hurled our way, all we really know here is that there are two sides and they hate each other. When Rise of an Empire asks us to engage on a more intimate level, which it does — the personal warfare between Sullivan Stapleton (whose name, I guess, is Themistokles) and Bad Guy Captain Eva Green (a.k.a. Artemisia) is founded on the idea that she likes him, and he kind of digs her (re: angry sex), and they want to rule together, but a rose by any other name and all that — we're effectively lost. With characters who don't matter in the slightest, material like this is just filler between the practically striking battle sequences. Legendary Pictures But when the "in-between material" is as meaningless as it is in Rise of an Empire, the battles can't function as much more than filler themselves. Filler between the opening titles and closing credits. A game of Candy Crush you play on the subway. Contemptfully insubstantial and not particularly fun, but taking place nonetheless. Without even a remote layer of camp — too palpably absent as Rise of an Empire splashes its screen with so much human fluid that "The End" by The Doors will start to play in your head — there's no victory in a movie like this. No characters to latch onto, no story to follow, no joy to be derived. Yes, it might be aesthetically stunning (and really, that's where the one star comes in... well, half a star for that and half for the giant rhinos), but the marvel of its look shrinks under the shadow of the painful vacancy of anything tolerable. 1/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • All the Awkward Shots of Mark Wahlberg's Gigantic Arms in 'Transformers 4' Trailer
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 05, 2014
    There is one thing that really sticks out in the new trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction — not the robots, not the Texas, not the Tucci. It's the arms. Mark Wahlberg's hulking limbs, clumsily on display in the vast majority of the video's runtime. Unbound by fabric, Wahlberg's arms play central protagonist in Michael Bay's latest teaser, showcasing an unprecedented range of joy, frustration, and pushing as Bay's camera awkwardly slips them into every other frame. It seems we have finally met this Transformers movie's true hero. Take a look — In case you missed a few, here's a quick rundown of all the awkward arm shots: We first meet our main character, Wahlberg's Arms, at about :19, thrusting himself toward a clear Texas sky as his veins course with an optimistic vigor. Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Just a few seconds later (:25), Wahlberg's Arms sets to work, employing the only element as powerful as they — fire — to uncover the mystery of something far less visually stimulating than a flexed appendage. Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube "Now wait just a minute!" cries Wahlberg's Arms at :33, fastening their face-bases at the hips of the braindead organism they use as transport, and taking issue with whatever is going on at the other side of this room. Was it something to do with that truck? Can we just take a peek? No, no, stay focused on the biceps. Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Finally, Arms sees some action! At :39, W.A.'s chief adversary — a heavy door — makes its first appearance, setting off what could be Bay's most exciting combat sequence yet! Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Hey, what's that pesky metal bar doing getting in the way of Wahlberg's Arms at :47? Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Oh, thank God. (:51) Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Bay knew that sacrificing the aesthetic of a clear background would be a risky move for Transformers 4, but it proves successful when Wahlberg's Arms takes center stage at :59, hanging low and stiff in a yet unseen dramatic turn for the actor. Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Wahlberg's Arms exhibits his most impressive feat yet at 1:48, taking on a sleeved look for a darker, more cerebral performance. You hear it here first: mark 2014 as the Armaissance. Transformers: Age of Extinction/YouTube Have a great day, everyone. Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com