Author

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.
  • Sylvester Stallone Tears Down the Wall in 'The Expendables 2'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 16, 2011
    We might have been hoping to see a few more of the principle cast members in the first official The Expendables 2 poster, but this is pretty good, too. After all, who doesn't love property damage? In this new poster, the film's star Sylvester Stallone stands tall and proud behind a work of artistic demolition. The very wall that Stallone has chosen to emasculate (and I think we're supposed to assume he did all of that with those guns) is garnished with the sames of his costars: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. So, whole bunch of people who are probably good at breaking things. Check out the trailer here to get an even better idea of just the degree of the breaking abilities instilled in this cast. The Expendables 2 comes to theaters summer 2012. Source: Ain't It Cool News
  • Celebrate a 'Clueless' Reunion when Alicia Silverstone Joins 'Suburgatory'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 16, 2011
    Sure, it's been over a decade since the 1990s ended. Sure, this new millenium has brought us an onslought of new culture and technology for which we should be grateful. Sure, it doesn't make sense to keep living in the past and enabling an addiction to nostalgia. I understand all of this. But it doesn't mean I'm not going to embrace my excitement for the Clueless reunion that is about to take place when Alicia Silverstone joins Jeremy Sisto on his new ABC sitcom Suburgatory for a multi-episode arc as the series star's love interest. Suburgatory has been a bit shaky in its premiere season. But one thing it does have going for it in large doses is good casting. Leading lady Jane Levy is full of talent. And Sisto, as her father/closest friend/leading antagonist, is always a pleasure. Although the last fifteen years have seen Sisto in a slew of projects, we will always remember him as the self-absorbed snob Elton in Clueless, who Cher (Silverstone) vowed to set up with her high school's newcomer Tai (Brittany Murphy). For a long while now, we could have only imagined a re-Clue-nion (just go with it) in our wistful fantasies. But ABC is granting our wishes, and inviting Silverstone on for a few episodes to play a romantic partner to Sisto's single dad George Altman. It's more than likely that we'll see some confrontation between Silverstone's character and George's confrontational daughter Tessa (Levy), but as of yet, we're not exactly sure what is in store for this exciting story arc. Sure, it might be bizarre that I'm so enamored by the idea of a Clueless reunion. Sure, latching on to something like a guest casting stint on a sitcom might be an unhealthy way of coping with the passage of time. Sure, you might tell me to "get a life" or "stop living in the past." But to that, I proudly say: as if. Silverstone will find herself rolling with her old homie sometime after Suburgatory's midseason return to ABC, on Wednesay, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Source: TVLine
  • Daniel Craig Arm-Wrestled Stephen Colbert: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 16, 2011
    Last night, Daniel Craig stopped by The Colbert Report to discuss his new movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...and then to engage in the most epic competition of masculinity in the history of time: Craig vs. Colbert—arm-wrestling. The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive I can't believe we haven't heard of this sooner! Last night on The Late Show, Tom Hanks, master of the historical drama, showed the country the first footage of his new HBO miniseries about American hero Burt Loomis. Hanks has developed some masterful stuff in the past, from Band of Brothers to John Adams. But this new project, created by and starring Hanks, looks to be his most inspirational piece of work yet. Matt Damon, who, by the way, is in the process of buying a zoo, appeared on The Daily Show to discuss, at length, his newly shaved head. After deliberating the pros and cons of the hairstyle, Damon went on to talk about working with Cameron Crowe and grizzly bears in We Bought a Zoo. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook Finally, a very sick Robert Downey, Jr., appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss his and Jimmy's hatred for their respective Christmas parties, and how cool it is to be friends with Sting.
  • New 'The Hunger Games' Poster Is a Fiery Arena of Excitement
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 16, 2011
    Yesterday, the world jumped eagerly into the The Hunger Games Poster Puzzle Hunt: a mission to gather all of the pieces of the new The Hunger Games poster in an effort to be the first to compile the complete image (you can check out our site's thrilling shot of the acting credits here). Below, the final product is finally seared into our eyes and minds. We see stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson reflected throughout the deadly stadium, in which the titular fight to the death must take place. Call me a sucker for imagery, but the flaming symbol soaring above the crowd of thousands gazing out at the ominous battleground...well, I'm one of the many who'll be watching when The Hunger Games comes to theaters March. 23, 2012.
  • 'Person of Interest' Recap: Number Crunch
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 15, 2011
    S1E10: As many of the best shows do, Person of Interest really kind of sneaks up on you. Right out of the gate, you don’t really see the appeal—it comes across as simplistic and hyper-stylized with little beneath the surface. But much like its characters would, Person of Interest took effort to hide its true identity from us. The first episode to follow the pilot, “Ghosts,” was a self-contained crime procedural; the kicker in that ep was, the individual whose number the machine spat out had been declared dead for years. I remember finishing the episode with a curious thought: “Why did they start off the series with that twist?” It seemed to me that the show was vying only for what was apparent in that episode—a Law & Order with hidden cameras ordeal. So I found it odd that they wouldn’t begin things with a more straightforward mystery, and leave the “Here’s the catch” plots for later, once we’d become familiar with the formula. And the reason I bring up “Ghosts” is because now, thanks to this week’s “Number Crunch,” I understand entirely the flaw in my suppositions: Person of Interest never intended for us to get accustomed to that routine. "Either she’s the paranoid sort, or she likes to fly under the radar. Both of which I can relate to." - Finch The show started us off with a premise that wasn’t quite right because we’d be dealing with an indelibly skewed delivery of the premise soon enough—nothing about the show was meant to seem formulaic or routine; although a few episodes to follow “Ghosts” might have conformed more closely to my premature conception of the show, kicking things off with a twist on the show’s selling premise was a wise way to keep us unsettled from the beginning (whether we knew it or not). And the payoff: episodes like “Witness,” and everything from then on, including this week’s “Number Crunch.” The week-to-week murder mysteries are gradually taking a backseat to bigger storylines that celebrate continuity. On the one hand, we have Elias: a mob figure with growing power, still at large with an ominous promise to stay that way for some time. Even more intriguing: Carter has elevated from the Tom to John Reese’s Jerry into a more focal figure. Their relationship was complicated tenfold when Reese saved her life last week—although the show could have written this plotline off and served us a slightly more frazzled, but still par-for-the-course Det. Carter this week, we get anything but. “You know what would be clever? You pretending to chase this guy when in fact you’re working for him.” – CIA Agent (“Mark”) The episode opens with Carter being investigated by a man who we later find out is CIA. He’s after Reese and wants Carter to lead him to the suited bandit. He eventually reveals to be a former associate of Reese (“I was his best friend”), before, as he explains it, Reese lost it and began killing indiscriminately. Of course, we’re meant to write this off as the agent attempting to manipulate Carter. But I also think we’re supposed to wonder just how much veracity lies in what this agent says. We know very little of Reese. We know he’s been hurt, and is far from your pinnacle of emotional health. Maybe the man speaks nothing but truths, and just has an unfortunately sinister face. It puts an interesting and welcome spin on the series when we begin to distrust our heroes. “Where did you come from?” – Reese “I breached the space-time continuum…not really.” – Finch Meanwhile, we’ve got ourselves another new twist in the machine’s spit-outs: four different numbers, all connected (as suspected by Finch) by a single crime. Aside of course from the new angle of multiple victims—two of them do end up dead, but the ones we get to know (the apparently more sympathetic ones), make it out alive—the storyline is nothing spectacular. Unlike the few episodes preceding, the central Number story is not the most important aspect of the week (at least thinking in terms of the long-run). Carter is benched by her superior courtesy of her inability/refusal to identify John Reese, whom they are suspicious she might be in contact with and are sure, at the very least, she got a good look at. But Carter is torn: she affirms that she wants to bring Reese to justice, but is internally plagued by the idea of turning him in, as he did save her life just last week. A fun aspect of the Number story, however, is Finch’s contribution: due to the heightened sum of potential victims, Finch is called into the field to do some tracking. In over his head due in equal parts to a lack of training and the fact that he can’t really move his neck, he’s not too good at playing lookout. Thus, when one of the Number people is killed, he takes heavy blame and beats on himself for a scene (they never resolve this, so it’s likely we’ll be seeing the theme pervade—he has proven to be a far more emotional person than Reese, but that is not saying much). “I wanted to say thank you, Harold. For giving me a second chance.” – Reese The end of the episode is the real grab. Reese keeps Carter in the loop about a tradeoff: he and one of the Number people are going to give a couple of criminals a ton of cash in return for the other remaining Number person, whom they are holding for ransom…it all goes back to an investment banker and his dead son, but like I said, the real value of the episode can be appreciated even if you ignore everything going on with the Numbers storyline (except for Finch’s miniature freak-out). Carter takes advantage of this information to inform the CIA Agents of Reese’s whereabouts. She and they intercept him before he can leave (but after he has saved the day for the two Number women), and a tense faceoff between old friends is engaged. Unexpectedly, the agent shoots Reese, but our hero still manages to get away from the scene undetected. While fighting for his life, Reese phones Finch (who is speeding over to the scene, courtesy of his omni-surveillance), afraid he will soon be dead and wishing to thank Finch for “giving him a second chance.” The episode ends with a guilt-ridden Carter spotting Finch (who she met back in episode 2 or 3) loading a dying* Reese into his car; she gives him a hand and orders him to get the hell out of there. While Reese will quite certainly not die, the scene is still thrilling (thanks in part to the music—if anyone can identify the song, you get the coveted Favorite Commenter Award). It’s great to see more important, grander storylines come to fruition, especially after such a short time. They could have kept the formula going for quite a while: Carter chasing Reese, Reese living perpetually underground. But now, everything is out in the open. The CIA knows Reese isn’t dead. We know he may be more nuts than we think. Carter has probably got a lot of explaining to do. What do you think will become of her job on the force? And since her relationship with Reese is now completely changed, what will her role on the show be like from here on out? But more importantly: what is going to happen to Reese? All questions to consider. Terrific episode. Terrific promise for the post-hiatus. I hope everyone else enjoyed as much as I did.
  • Casting Roundup: Jennie Garth Is Moving to the Country for a New Reality Show
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 15, 2011
    Moving to the country is gradually becoming a staple career move for Hollywood stars. Especially if you're willing to film your rural life and the resultant hijinks. Jennie Garth, known best for playing Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills 90210 and its spinoff series, will be taking to the fields in a new reality show called I Love Jennie, which will displace Garth, her husband Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga), and their family to a Central California seven-acre farm. As long as there are animals involved, it should be golden. I Love Jennie is set to debut in April on CMT. -Vulture This season of Dexter has seen Joey Quinn pretty much fall apart, thanks to an emotional breakdown—but maybe that's because actor Desmond Harrington is just harnassing all of his machismo for the upcoming premiere of Justified's third season. Harrington will appear on the Justified opener after winter hiatus, playing a tough Southerner with potential ties to the Dixie Mafia. Harrington's Florida accent leaves a few things to be desired (unless he was raised in Miami's South Bronx), but Justified promises Harrison in full Mississippi style. The season premiere airs Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX. -TVLine In the most monumental piece of casting news today, Jeff Tweedy—that is, frontman of the band Wilco—is changing courses in his career and taking on meteorology. This morning, Tweedy made his pioneer appearance as weatherman on Chicago's WGN morning show, delivering reports that range from cloudy to sunny. Not bad for a first day out there, JT! Although this means the demise of Wilco, it's worth it, as Tweedy's real talents and passions lie in his weather reporting. Okay, none of this is true. He read the weather today as a joke. It was funny. He's not doing it anymore. Wilco lives on. We just needed three stories to complete the roundup. Have a wonderful evening, everybody! -EW
  • How Have 'Sherlock Holmes' 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' and 'Mission: Impossible' Changed?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 15, 2011
    Tomorrow marks the release of three undoubtedly big Hollywood movies: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked, and the IMAX experience of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. What makes us so confident that they’ll be hits? Simply, these films are all things that we have seen, and loved, in the past. And I’m not just referring to the fact that they are, respectively, a sequel, threequel and fourquel. The characters and stories in all three of these new movies have existed long prior to the creation of their current film series. Whether it be from previous movies, television shows, literature or Christmas albums, most of us have had some knowledge and attachment to Sherlock Holmes, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the IMF team for many years now. Of course, just because the stories and characters are familiar, it doesn’t mean they are identical to their past incarnations. We’ve decided to keep the older manifestations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant detective, the triad of singing rodents, and the superspy IMF agency in mind when looking at these new movies, to consider what they may have left out, kept in, and added to the mix. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows The Old Movies What They Kept: The unflappable genius detective thing, equipped with an inseparable partnership with Dr. John Watson. The framework is all the same: the duo would solve a mystery or two (against all odds), defeating the evil Moriarty or some other criminal who forgot to double-check his work. What They Changed: Basil Rathbone, who is the actor most synonymous with Sherlock Holmes (he played him in fourteen feature films) embodied the character as a proper, sophisticated and elegant gentleman—this is the sort of image that enveloped the character prior to his revival in Guy Ritchie’s adaptations, which star Robert Downey, Jr., as a more rogue, ruffian character. Additionally, Jude Law's Dr. Watson is a much more competant figure than the character the old movies chose to portray.  The Books What They Kept: A lot, as a matter of fact. Guy Ritchie’s adaptation is considered a lot more faithful to Doyle’s stories than a lot of the films prior. Doyle created Holmes as an ingenious but rough fellow, who enjoyed bareknuckle boxing and a fancy cocaine addiction. Law's Watson is a lot closer to the literary version of the fellow than the old cinematic version. What They Changed: In fairness, Holmes doesn’t explicitly do any drugs in the Ritchie adaptation…it’s just kind of hinted at. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked The Music Sensation What They Kept: The basic characters created in the 1950s for the purposes of a novelty record have pretty much maintained their identities. Alvin was always a misbehaving brat, Simon was always an uptight nerd and Theodore was always also there. What They Changed: They used to sing their own original songs. Creator Ross Bagdasarian wrote well-known Chipmunkian classics such as “Witch Doctor” and the Christmas song about a hula hoop. I’d personally rather hear either of those than a Chipmunk rendition of “Bad Romance.” Plus—the look. Art design for the novelty records depicted the chipmunks as actual chipmunks. The Cartoon Series What They Kept: This is likely where a lot of us today developed our images of the Chipmunks. The 1980s cartoon series introduced the Chipettes and really fleshed out the characters’ lifestyles as a popular music troupe/unorthodox suburban family. Plus—the look. The new movies resemble the design of the cartoon characters far more than the original images, although… What They Changed: They’re a lot smaller now. In the cartoon, the Chipmunks stood two feet tall, at the very least. Now, they’re down to the size of an actual tree rodent, give or take. But what bothers me more than any of that: what happened to Alvin’s hat? He hardly wears it anymore! Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol The TV Series What They Kept: The theme song. Seriously, they could change anything else and it wouldn’t matter—the mood would be retained. Name another show with as iconic a theme song as Mission: Impossible. The theme song instilled the original show with the unforgettable excitement that has carried over into a colossal movie series. What They Changed: The characters’ roles have been revamped to appeal to the “modern world” (the film series was pioneered before the wave of nostalgia overtook Hollywood—one might imagine some more similarities had the first installment been attempted just this year). The star of the TV show was Jim Phelps, played then by Peter Graves and in 1996’s Mission: Impossible by Jon Voight. But in the film series, the real star is agent-on-the-rise Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise. Understandable, as modern audiences are generally partial to younger characters. Another understandable move: replacing the old Cold War overtones with more contemporary themes, like the threat of terrorism. There are a good deal of things in each of these films that sharp fans of the original incarnations might find fault with. On the other hand, sometimes new developments are necessary to keep the stories and characters interesting in changing times. However you feel about the modern views of Holmes, the Chipmunks and the IMF, one thing is for certain: people are still, and probably always will be, excited to have them back in their lives.
  • Rachel McAdams Might Join 'Holmes' Costar Noomi Rapace in Brian De Palma's 'Passions'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 15, 2011
    This is a weekend to celebrate the Brian De Palma of past and future. Why? First off, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is releasing in IMAX theaters—this is a movie that stems back to De Palma's Mission: Impossible film adaptation in 1996. The De Palma of the past is accounted for. But the De Palma of the future is invested in another big movie of the weekend: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. How, you ask? Simple: the casting. Holmes features Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams as two of its supporting players. Rapace has already signed on to De Palma's developing film, Passions. And now it looks like McAdams might join her, as she's in talks for a role in the movie. Passions is a loose remake of last year's Love Crime, a French thriller about a Machiavellian executive who toys with her new assistant's psyche and emotions, until the latter actually becomes a threat to her. De Palma has changed the story quite a bit: this time around, it will focus on the assistant's transformation into a brutal murderer when one of her ideas is stolen by her boss. As McAdams and Rapace are around the same age, it is hard to predict which actress will take which part (in Love Crime, the boss character is notably older than the assistant). Personally, I think a murderous McAdams would be particularly chilling. De Palma will write and direct Passions, which is set to begin filming in March. Source: Indiewire
  • Russell Brand to Host a Late Night Series on FX
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 15, 2011
    We know that Russell Brand is...energetic. But two new potenital television projects announced in one week? That's lunacy. On Monday, we heard that Brand was in talks to develop an animated series—something that, based on that information alone, is definitely interesting. But what's even more interesting, and likely a lot more chaotic, is an unscripted take on politics and current events starring the comedian. FX has ordered such a project as a late night series. The network—which is responsible for masterful pieces of comedic television like Louie, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League—has ordered six episodes of the project in question. On the show, Brand will deliver his take on current events, pop culture, and whatever else enters his manic vortex of a mind. Brand is definitely a comic presence, the question is: does he have the stamina (both figuratively and literally...seriously, the guy jumps around a lot) to maintain a long-running series? But this series could be a good one. If FX is looking to get into the late night talk show game, then an unconventional character like Brand would be a perfect match for the offbeat network. And might we see Katy Perry leading the house band? One can dream. The series is set to launch in the spring of 2012. Source: TVLine
  • New High-Flying 'Amazing Spider-Man' Images, Sequels Confirmed
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 15, 2011
    The Amazing Spider-Man has finally spawned an official place on the web (I refuse to apologize for that). One of the best aspects of the launching of the film's official site, which you can view by clicking here, is the array of great new images. Another big piece of news attached to the site: the official announcement that there will be sequels. Pictured are stars Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Denis Leary (George Stacy), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben), Sally Field (Aunt May) and Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard), in character, as well as a few striking shots of a spider's eye view of New York City (that I might have to apologize for). Check out the pictures below. The Amazing Spider-Man will reach theaters July 3, 2012. Source: The Amazing Spider-Man via Comingsoon