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.
  • Will Forte Tells Us His Favorite Scene in Movie History
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 04, 2014
    Paramount via Everett Collection Most folks would sooner call Will Forte "the guy from MacGruber" than they would "the guy from Nebraska." Although his comedic chops as the Saturday Night Live action hero are awe-inspiring, Forte's work in Alexander Payne's Oscar nominated father-son story shows off a special talent for the dramatic. According to Forte, there's not a great deal of difference between the two kinds of acting — in chatting about the Blu-ray release of Nebraska (which you can purchase now), Forte blurred the lines of comedic and dramatic performance and clued us into his favorite scene in movie history. I think a lot about when I first heard you were going to be in Nebraska. When a comedic actor takes a dramatic role, people always ask, "Are they moving to drama?" as if it's a diametric shift. But I was wondering, since you balance comedy and drama in this movie, if you think that the different types of acting coexist, or if you do view them as separate?Well, coming into the process, I was nervous because I looked at them as two very separate things. After going through it, I realized there are a lot more similarities than I thought. In fact, at the end I just realized, "Oh my god, it's the exact same thing!" Bruce Dern would always say during this process — he would give me this advice, because I was really intimidated and nervous in the beginning — he'd say, "Don't worry. Relax. Just listen and find the truth of the scene. Listen and be in the moment." At first, I thought it was all just drama school mumbo jumbo, but then it really, really started to make sense the further we got in. I just realized that it was exactly right. If you're really listening and trying to be real in every moment… that's all anything is. That's all you're doing in comedy, too. The situations may be a little more absurd, but you're still just trying to find whatever the truth is in that scene and then commit to it a hundred percent. And lock in. After a while, it was like I was inside the Matrix. [Laughs] I'm not fully there yet! I have a ton of work to do, by the way. I think you're known best for your deadpan style. Do you think specifically being a deadpan comedian lent to this kind of role in a movie that balances comedy and drama so adeptly?That's so funny you say that — and I'm happy to hear you say that! Because I remember when I was first starting at the Groundlings, I loved doing deadpan stuff. But then the further I went through, I would think a lot of people would think of me as this loud, obnoxious person who does crazy, crazy stuff. So I love to hear that you think of me as deadpan, because that's something I've always loved doing. And absolutely. I think the best way to answer that — and I don't know if it's an answer at all — when I was starting out in comedy at the Groundlings, everyone would write and act in their own stuff. So you would write your stuff on your own, you would be the crazy person, and you'd have your friend as the straight man for you. And then you would do them that favor in their stuff. I guess had some experience being the straight man from that. And you know, you learn little bits along the way as you're going. I've learned so much through Saturday Night Live. You're doing so many different sketches each week that you're really getting some kind of training in all this without even knowing it. It was so much fun to get a chance to do a role like this. I would always think, "God, I wonder if I could ever do something like that," when I was watching a more dramatic movie. But I never thought I'd get a chance to see if I could. So this was such a wonderful, rewarding experience for so many different reasons. But it was also fun to have this challenge to see if I could do something like this. Paramount via Everett Collection Thinking about this movie, and Bruce Dern's Oscar nomination, he’s obviously the showy role. When a lot of people think of the best roles in cinema, they think of Raging Bull and Streetcar Named Desire. I think that's the kind of role that Bruce Dern is doing here. But I think there is something so mathematical about what you're doing in this movie — takes that you do, the way you look at Bruce when he says something heartbreaking. I was wondering if you had a specific reverence for downplayed dramatic performances, and if there are any particular ones that you hold close to your heart?Oh man. That is such a tough question. One thing I will say … getting to watch Bruce deliver this performance with my own two eyes is something I will never forget. It felt so special while we were making this — his performance — and then when I got to see it on the big screen for the first time after Alexander had finished putting it all together, it was every bit as special as I remembered. What a gift to be able to able to experience that from that proximity. As for appreciating [downplayed roles]… Man, it's the old thing where you — well, record stores don't really exist anymore — but I'd go into a record store, and for months and months I'd think about all these records that I'd be wanting to get, and then you find yourself in the record store and you can't remember a single one. So you just invited me into the record store and I can't think of the records I want to get. What are your favorites and I'll tell you if I like them! I always think of Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer. He goes a little nuts, but he's a little bit more tempered than those other characters.Oh yeah! Wow. Yes. I remember seeing that movie in the theaters with my parents. My God, was that '78, '79, something like that? Yeah, '79.God, yes. Well, anything he does is amazing. I don't know if this even qualifies, but my favorite scene of any movie of all time is the scene in Dr. Strangelove when Peter Sellers is calling Dmitri — right? It's Dmitri, right? — Peter Sellers is the President of the United States calling him to apologize for having all the bombs sent over. Yes! "It's great to be fine."I know that's not the answer to your question, but that's all I could think of. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • How Pissed Were You About Last Night's 'How I Met Your Mother'?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 04, 2014
    CBS If you haven't seen this week's How I Met Your Mother episode "Vesuvius," turn back now... the ep, and as such this post, contains what is likely the biggest spoiler in How I Met Your Mother history (which places it somewhere around the area of Kristin shot J.R./The hospital is in a snowglobe/The numbers meant nothing). A quick summary... By the time we hit 2030 and meet a long-winded Future Ted recounting his youthful forays to two closed-mouth Mosbiettes, the woman we spent eight years waiting to meet and one season getting to know will be dead. This was all but confirmed outright in this week's episode "Vesuvius," in which the usual framing device shifts to a matted-haired Josh Radnor chatting with Cristin Milioti at the Northampton hotel where they met many years prior. The reveal — which, we might note, was suggested by series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, who insisted that the series finale would be "heartbreaking" —  is peppered gradually throughout the episode, hinted at when The Mother insists that she doesn't want Ted to "live in his stories," and emboldened when Ted breaks into tears over the thought of a mother not being around for her daughter's wedding day. By the end of the episode, it was terrifically clear that Milioti's character would not be long for this world. That Ted spent more time chasing the woman of his dreams than he might end up getting to spend with her. Reactions took the form of rage, sorrow, and your series-appropriate skepticism. Each side is at once differently valid and uniquely psychotic, and we wouldn't be a complete fan base were not for all components. So here's what sprung from the id-heavy minds of the HIMYM loving (and hate-watching) community last night. Anger"She's dead?! The mother is dead?!? What the f**k?!?" Nine seasons spent waiting to finally meet this lady, to watch her yank Ted out of his lifelong melancholy for an ultimately happy and loving life. To institute the idea that true love is not something that makes you feel sick and lonely (re: Ted's feelings for Robin) but whole. We waded through the Scherbatsky-induced misery, holding fast to the idea that one day Ted would meet someone who puts this whole ordeal to shame, who exhibits his relationship with (or, more accurately, "at") Robin for what it is — toxic, immature, and not the best that he can do. And now, all that has gone to s**t. Mother dies. Ted's alone again, nursing his wounds with meaningless distractions like stories and his children. But wait, brief hope: does this mean he can end up with Robin? That after the death of Milioti, Ted rekindles things with Ms. Scherbatsky (free of Barney for some inevitable reason) and spends his life with the love that he always knew to be his one and only? ... No, that's dumb and ridiculous. He's probably going to be alone. Or, as foreshadowed by Miloti's own brush with loss, forced to trek out again to find happiness once more.  On the side of this troupe is Alan Sepinwall, all but retired from HIMYM recaps, who felt it necessary to take to the web to pronounce his impassioned distaste for this choice. A great husk of Twitter echoed his sentiments. After investing so much time in a comedy series that, while impressive in its subversion of "traditional love" in the past few weeks still promised a "happy ending," we get this. Nothing shy of betrayal. Sadness"She's... she's dead? The m-mother is... dead? Oh... my God..." We hadn't seen this coming, despite warnings from Bays and Thomas. We didn't want to believe it. We wanted Ted to be... happy. This isn't quite what we had expected. But, in earnest, it's a touch of beauty. It's hurtful, jarring, and mean. But it sure is doing its job: making us well up.  See, it actually kind of makes sense. Ted's whole story is about putting one love behind him to find another. To find someone who can make him happy now, in real life and real time, rather than relying on fantasies and memories... and stories, as Milioti puts it ever so warmly. His quest to overcome Robin is really just a precursor to his quest circa 2030, to overcome the loss of The Mother and again set out to find happiness, and bring this happiness to his children. It might be tough, but it works. And it's going to drum up some tears... but that's what a good series finale does. Skepticism"Psh. She's not dead." We've seen this before, How I Met Your Mother. You make it REALLY OBVIOUS that something is going to happen, and then BAM. The other thing happens. Well, not this time. She ain't dyin'. There's no way you'd be crazy enough to end your CBS comedy series on such a bleak note. Maybe she's sick now, but gets better. Maybe the vague hints at death were in reference to someone else (hey, maybe Robin's dead, or something ... somehow, that doesn't bum us out as much, and we like Robin!). There are plenty of possibilities here. But The Mother dying ain't one of 'em. So which camp do you lie in? Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'Girls' Heads to 'Nebraska' ... Thematically Speaking
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 03, 2014
    HBO Last week, we delved into the theory that Girls was tackling the same themes as Spike Jonze's latest film Her — which we can now call Spike Jonze's Oscar winning film Her. This time around, the HBO series borrows a few elements from another Academy highlight, Nebraska: most obviously, the casting of June Squibb as Hannah’s ailing grandmother Flo, the going-home-again story that frames the episode, and more subtly, in the soft touches of humanism that we don't often see in Girls, but which were plentiful in Alexander Payne's spectacular dramatic comedy. If you didn't see Nebraska, you should (it's just as necessary as Her), but here's a brief recap: delusional octogenarian Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) believes himself to have won a million dollar sweepstakes and heads back to his home state of Nebraska to claim his prize money, stopping in his old neighborhood along the way with his put-upon son (Will Forte) and belligerent wife (Squibb) in tow. It's not as deftly connected, thematically, to Hannah's exploits this week as Her was last time, but there are certainly similarities. Hannah heads back home, at her mother's behest, to say goodbye to her grandma in the hospital before she passes. We meet Hannah's aunts Margot — high-strung and hostile — and Sissy — frazzled and spacey — and her contentious med student cousin Rebecca (Sarah Steele), with whom Hannah attempts a friendly connection that turns into a bitter argument and eventually a minor car accident. But the seasonal throughline is Hannah and Adam's relationship, which is brought to the forefront when Mrs. Horvath asks Hannah to tell her dying grandma that she and her bozo boyfriend are getting married. Hannah resists on the grounds of progressivism at first, but her mother's request Hannah with an abrupt realization of her own desires to maintain a life with Adam — a desire she defends when Mrs. Horvath suggests to Hannah that she might want to consider "other options." After Hannah and her cousin incur a fender bender — the result of an in-car argument about preadolescent masturbation — Adam rushes into down via the good graces of Desi's motorcycle to make sure that she's okay. Hannah's mother notes appreciation for his kindness, but dubs him "such an odd man," as well as "angry" and "uncomfortable in his own skin." It's actually a very ominous scene, building upon last week's subtle hint that Hannah and Adam will, soon enough, grow apart... but this time around, it's Hannah outgrowing Adam that is suggested. But she won't hear any of it — she's committed to him. Even Hannah's protests seem sad, implying that she's adhering to this man not out of genuine love but perhaps out of something a bit darker, like fear. The idea that Hannah is masking inner turmoil is noted in her grandma's final scene, when Flo curtly but caringly says, "You don't look good." Hannah responds with a sullen hesitation, a quick review of her own life and inner makeup, trying to take a glance from the kind of earnest perspective that only a grandmother can boast. She's not happy with who she is, but she's not ready or capable to come to grips with an honest look at herself just yet. Still, it's perhaps the most tender episode of Girls we've seen in ages, hearkening back to the demeanor of Squibb's latest big screen foray. We've come to expect a cynicism from Lena Dunham's series, but we're pleased to see that it can still hit its marks just as effectively when playing it soft. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • '12 Years a Slave' Wins Best Picture at the 86th Annual Academy Awards!
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 03, 2014
    Fox Searchlight Pictures via Everett Collection Just as many of us had expected and most of us had hoped, 12 Years a Slave has won the Best Picture Oscar at the 86th Annual Academy Awards. It is a move that a select few can take great issue with (Armond White among them), as director Steve McQueen's American slavery epic is as technically masterful as it is emotionally harrowing. And while it might seem the obvious choice in hindsight, there was a period during which we weren't altogether sure that the top trophy would land in the deserving hands of 12 Years. In the weeks leading up to the race, skeptics wondered if the top honor would in fact go to David O. Russell's American Hustle, a far lighter picture that grabs at the Academy's love for pizzazz and showmanship. But McQueen's far more dire but equally artful 12 Years did indeed earn the prize, and rightfully so. Taking the stage to accept the award, producer Brad Pitt spoke briefly before handing the mic to director Steve McQueen. Visually affected by the win, McQueen rifled off his gratitudes at a rapid fire rate, articulated the efforts of his production team and staff, and ultimately dedicating the award toward the spread of knowledge about slavery of past and present. Congratulations to 12 Years a Slave, a uniquely powerful film that more than deserved the Academy Award this year.
  • Cate Blanchett Wins Best Actress Oscar for 'Blue Jasmine'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 02, 2014
    Sony Pictures Classics Anyone who saw Cate Blanchett's riveting turn in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine was sure she'd take the Best Actress Award come Oscar season. Even after the duly talented Amy Adams took the honor at the Golden Globes, we knew that Blanchett would carry through with the Academy. Tonight, she validates our hopes and expectations, winning for her role as the titular socialite enduring a downward spiral, economically and psychologically. Blanchett, who has been nominated in the category once prior and for Best Supporting Actress thrice (winning in 2005 for The Aviator), paid honor to her competitors in the category... except Julia Roberts, whom she told to "suck it." Surprisingly enough, Blanchett did mention the newly controversial figure Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine's writer and director, for the film in a positive light. But the highlight of her speech was a call to arms for studios to realize that people do want to see movies about strong, interesting women, declaring, "The world is round!" and that people are more evolved than Hollywood gives them credit for. We wish a heartfelt congratulations to Blanchett, who offered a terrific performance in Blue Jasmine as she has so many times before.
  • 86th Annual Academy Awards — Full Winners List!
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 02, 2014
    AMPAS The complete winners list for the 86th Annual Academy Awards... Best Supporting ActorJared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club Best Costume DesignThe Great Gatsby Best Hair and MakeupDallas Buyers Club Best Animated Short FilmMr. Hublot Best Animated Feature FilmFrozen Best Visual EffectsGravity Best Live Action Short FilmHelium Best Documentary Short SubjectThe Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life Best Documentary Feature20 Feet from Stardom Best Foreign Language FilmThe Great Beauty Best Sound MixingGravity Best Sound EditingGravity Best Supporting ActressLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave Best CinematographyGravity Best EditingGravity Best Production DesignThe Great Gatsby Best Original ScoreGravity Best Original SongFrozen Best Adapted Screenplay12 Years a Slave Best Original ScreenplayHer Best DirectorGravity Best ActressCate Blanchett Best ActorMatthew McConaughey Best Picture12 Years a Slave
  • Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore Talk Fear, Prejudice, and Addiction in 'Non-Stop'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Feb 28, 2014
    Universal via Everett Collection You wouldn't take Liam Neeson for a man of many fears — he's fought Batman, Darth Maul, half of Europe, and now a mysterious terrorist hidden aboard a civilian airplane in Non-Stop. But real life Neeson is a gentler sort. In fact, it took him quite a while to board his first flight. "I was a late developer in every department," Neeson told a crowd of reporters during a press conference for the action thriller, now in theaters everywhere. "My first flight [was] at the age of 21, I believe, to fly to Amsterdam from Belfast ... It was terrifying, quite. It was a hop and skip, that’s all it was, but that was my first time. I was very, very scared. Very nervous, I should say." Neeson's Non-Stop co-star Julianne Moore is no stranger to fear herself. The esteemed performer felt that true fear is an important element to gripping movies like the pair's latest. "Whenever you’re constructing [a piece of] entertainment, all the kind of thrillers and horror movies, or anything ... with this kind of scare, they're all based on what our natural worries are," she said, delving into her personal perils. "You sort of take them and exaggerate them. Are you scared of ghosts, is it the devil? I'm very scared of the devil." Moore continued, comparing Non-Stop to some of her favorite scary films: "In this case, you take something that's sort of routine. Obviously when you enter an airplane, you're giving up some control, all of us, and you play on that fear and you take it. And what I like so much about this particular script and [director Jaume Collet-Serra's] handling of it is that he takes a rather ordinary circumstance and turns it into a sort of Hitchcokian event. You know, it’s very reminiscent of those older movies and of the disaster movies that I loved as a kid, like Poseidon Adventure and Towering Inferno, so it becomes kind of a classic entertainment." Alongside the universal notion of fear, Non-Stop delves into gigantic themes like prejudice and addiction. On the former theme, Neeson praised the movie's ability to turn the audience's preconceived notions on their heads. "I think on the first glance [the characters are all] kind of stereotypical. But I think Juame played with that in our own heads too. Of course there's the Muslim doctor. You go, 'Uh-huh, yeah, this is interesting...' But it's not gonna be him. [And] it's not going be the African-American kid that you think is 'definitely the guy.' He's got a real attitude." Neeson also touched on the topic of his character's biggest struggle in the film: addiction. "He's an alcoholic. He's an addict. That's always in charge, so his big battle is just doing a seven, six-and-a-half hour flight without having a short one. That's his goal, to do that without having alcohol, and of course all s**t breaks loose. And I love the fact that — and it was in the script, but Juame covers it without the audience being banged of the head with it — in the height of the crisis, there’s a beautiful bottle of whiskey waiting to be drunk ... It's a little human gesture, I think that resonates with people. It is human and many of us are addicts. So, I like those little human touches." Moore dived in to explain how this makes Nesson such a compelling hero, beyond the likes of your ordinary action schmoe. "I think that's why audiences respond to Liam this way. I think he does present a very humane, sensitive, complicated person — a real person — who then becomes the hero. It's not like a superhero coming in. You know that Superman's going to be able to do it, he's not even a real person. [But Liam] brings real sense of authenticity to all of these characters." But even with so many grave themes present, Neeson takes issue when people attempt to draw too much of a sociopolitical statement from films like Non-Stop. "We all know the nightmares of airports. Obviously it's playing on those fears. But it's entertainment. A lot of the journalists in Europe — quite a few, actually — were asking about September 11th [in regards to the movie]. It’s like, 'Oh please!' That being said, I don't think the film could be made a few years ago, of course. It would have been totally insensitive. But it's a backdrop to a thriller, is what it is." Getting more to the core of the story of Non-Stop, Moore and Neeson relished in the fact that the movie was far more a cerebral whodunnit than people might think. Moore was particularly intrigued by the naturalism achieved by the distribution of the characters. "I like the fact that there was a mystery about all of the characters, because I feel like in life, that's the way it is," Moore said. "In cinema, people are always walking into something and saying, 'This is who I am, this is what I want, and this is how I’m gonna get it.' And we don't [do that] in life. Particularly not in a public situation. People don’t know your name ... they don’t know what you do, and you're not going to offer it up. So, if you start there, you realize this is probably a much more normal presentation in film than what you would ordinarily have." Neeson agreed that the roles in Non-Stop were all expertly constructed: "I relied on Juame a lot, because he's a very, very prepared director. Any queries we had about the script or what the characters should do or should not do, we always tried to judge it to the Nth degree. Because he was always thinking of the overall arc, the symphony of the whole film. Just the raise of an eyebrow sometimes might be just too much." Still, the actor really seemed to connect with the intensity of the movie's mystery. "There's a great [moment involving Julianne Moore]. When I walk away, she's lying asleep and she just opens her eyes. And it's amazing. Like, 'Oh my God!' Suspicious. And she's just opening her eyes! Every little nuance we were aware could take on some significance." Finally, the stars were probed about their experiences off set with their many adoring fans. While Moore had nothing but kind words to say about the public — "People are really nice, honestly. Sometimes I really do talk to people and have a really nice conversation. I do talk to women with children a lot, because you feel for them, man. If somebody sits down next to you with a baby, I’m gonna talk to her. Because I've been there." — Neeson had a more... colorful way of dealing with "pesky fans." "I just say f**k off," the actor claimed. "Especially if it’s kids ... Like a Star Wars autograph for some little seven-year-old. F**k off." Of course, he admitted immediately after that this was only a joke, but we enjoyed the story while it lasted. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'Non-Stop' Is Much Smarter, Tighter, and More Fun Than 'Taken' on a Plane
    By: Michael Arbeiter Feb 27, 2014
    Universal Pictures via Everett Collection  Seventeen years ago, Harrison Ford grumbled four simple words that defined a genre, a demographic, and a country: "Get off my plane." In a pre-9/11 world, there was no shortage of jingoistic glee in a movie like Air Force One, in which a man's man American president doled out justice to a militia of Russian loyalist terrorists who made the silly mistake of attempting to hijack his flight home from Moscow. In 2014, we don't have the luxury of facing a plotline like this with reckless merriment. There's a damp gravity to the premise behind movies like Non-Stop, which in another time would have been nothing more than Taken on a Plane. But rigidly conscious of the connotations that attach to a story about a hijacking of a civilian international flight into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, Non-Stop doesn't play too fast and loose. It still plays, and has some good fun doing so, but carefully. From the getgo, we're anchored into the grim narrative of Liam Neeson's U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks, who settles his demons with a healthy spoonful of whiskey. A dutiful officer even when liquored up, Marks eyeballs every nameless face in London's Heathrow Airport, silently introducing the bevvy of characters who'll come into play later on. After takeoff, Marks finds himself on the unwitting prowl for the anonymous party who's attempting to take down the red-eye through a series of manipulative text messages, well-timed threats, and clandestine killings. Chatty passenger Julianne Moore and flight attendant Michelle Dockery join Marks in his efforts to identify the mysterious criminal before the entire aircraft falls to his or her whims. So less Taken, more Murder, She Wrote. Universal Pictures Our roundup of suspects challenges our (and their) preconceived notions, and quite laughably — most vocal among Neeson's fellow passengers are a white beta-male school teacher (Scoot McNairy), a black computer engineer with an attitude of entitlement (Nate Parker), a softspoken Middle Eastern surgeon whose headwear gets more than a few focal shots (Omar Metwally), a middle-aged white businessman whose latest account landed him more than your house is worth (Frank Deal), an irate black youngster draped in irreverence (Corey Hawkins), and a white, bald, machismo-howling New York cop who secretly accepts his gay brother (Corey Stoll). Just a few talking heads short of Do the Right Thing, Non-Stop manages to goof on each man's (notice that they're all men — Moore, Dockery, and a barely-in-the-movie Lupita Nyong’o are kept shy of the action for most of the film) distaste for and distrust of one another as they each try to sidle up to, or undermine the harried Marks. Non-Stop plays an interesting game with its characters and its audience, simultaneously painting the ignorance of its characters with a thick coat of comedy while pointing its finger straight out at us with accusations that we, too, thought it was whoever we just learned it wasn't, and for all the wrong reasons. "Shame on you!" Non-Stop chides, adding, "But let's keep going, this is fun!" It is fun — that's the miraculous thing. Without any "Get off my plane"s or "Yippee ki yay"s, Non-Stop keeps its action genre silliness in check (okay, there is a moment involving an airborne gun that'll institute some serious laugh-cheers), investing all of its good time in the game of claustrophobic Clue that we can't help but enjoy. It sacrifices some of its charm in a heavy-handed third act, tipping to one side of what was a pretty impressive balancing act up until that point. But its falter is not one that drags down the movie entirely. Fun and excitement are restored, sincerity is maintained, and even a few moments of sensitivity creep their way through. We might not live in a world of President Harrison Fords any longer, but Air Marshall Liam Neesons could actually be a step up. 3.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 25 Bad Jokes About Adam Driver in 'Star Wars'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Feb 26, 2014
    Mark Schafer As you might have noticed from the smoking hole in your computer screen, the social media universe is all atwitter (SO THAT'S WHY THEY CALL IT THAT!) over the new announcement of Girls star Adam Driver taking the role of Star Wars: Episode VII's central villain. It is a bit of news that inspires critical deliberation, speculation over possible character arcs, and ... of course ... jokes. Lots and lots and lots of terrible, cynical, obnoxious, uninspired jokes. Like these, for instance: Adam Driver in Star Wars? I didn't know the G train stopped at Tosche Station! I didn't know they sold lightsabers on Etsy! What are they gonna call this one — Empire Strikes Baumbach? What are they gonna call this one — A New Co-Op? Adam Driver? Star Wars? Who's the princess — Leia Dunham? Who's the princess — Leia Shoshanna? Because her name is Leia Organa. That one wasn't as good as the Leia Dunham one. That Leia Dunham one was gold. Right? So, Adam Driver is gonna be in Star Wars, I hear. I hope this movie doesn't have Mason Jar Jar Binks! Gold. Oh! So, Adam Driver whatever whatever. I hope this movie doesn't have Jar Jar Banksy! What, are they gonna make him a Stormtrooper uniform without the shirt? What, are they gonna make him a Stormtrooper helmet shaped like a porkpie? He wears a porkpie in Frances Ha, right? Here. Is that a porkpie? My friend said it is a porkpie. Is he going to use the Force to carry a sofa back to his apartment from the curb? How's he gonna get in shape for this one — Boba FetBit? Something with this: Adam Driver is going to be in Star Wars? Who's directing this movie, J.J. Abratow? Get it? Gold? Eh, let's just watch this again: So, Adam Driver is going to be in Star Wars... He'd better change his name to Adam Flyer! Or Adam Imperial Walker! Or Adam Landcruiser! Okay, that's enough of that. So, Adam Driver is the bad guy in Star Wars. Is his girlfriend's name going to be Hannah-kin Skywalker? Okay, that's enough of that. Hey, who's Adam Driver gonna hire to do his bidding in this movie — Fetta Gerwig? Hey, who's Adam Driver gonna face off against in this movie — Frances Han? Did you hear the news? That guy from Lincoln is going to be in Star Wars! The joke there is that Adam Driver is "that guy from Lincoln." But on that note, did you hear the news? That guy from Lincoln is going to be in Star Wars! I guess the opening crawl is going to start with, "Four score and seven years ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." Eh... Hey, did you hear that Adam Driver is going to be in Star Wars? What's his spaceship going to be called — the Millennial Falcon? Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • '90s Comedy Gods Brendan Fraser and Parker Posey Unite in 'HairBrained' Clip
    By: Michael Arbeiter Feb 25, 2014
    Lovelane Pictures/Premier Entertainment Group If you put any stock into what social media tells you, you know that the 1990s were a better time. A more colorful, more charming time. A time at which pop culture hit its peak. Back then, folks like Brendan Fraser and Parker Posey were just breaking into show business — the former as a veritable jack of all trades, headlining dramas about anti-Semitism and goofy comedies about cryogenically preserved cavemen, and the latter a sharp leading lady hanging just far enough beneath the cuff to assure Hollywood that she was way cooler than anything else it had at its disposal (and she still is). It's a travesty that it took until 2014 to unite these gods of a like era in one film, but we're pleased to finally see the union take form: in this new exclusive clip for HairBrained, we see 41-year-old college student and world class schlub Leo (Fraser) take an immediate liking to Sheila (Posey), the frazzled mother of one of his classmates. The comedic film also stars Alex Wolff as Eli Petifogg, a 14-year-old prodigy who struggles socially after enrolling in a sub-Ivy League college, forming an unexpected bond with Fraser's over-the-hill slacker. HairBrained, directed by Billy Kent and co-written by Kent and Sarah Bird (the pair behind The Oh in Ohio, a 2006 sex comedy that starred Posey and Paul Rudd), hits theaters and iTunes on February 28. Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com