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.
  • The 'Think Like a Man' Trailer Makes Us Think: What Is This Movie About?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    Call me stupid, but after watching the below trailer for Think Like a Man, I'm still not entirely sure what the movie is about. It starts out with a group of women who are disatisfied with the behavior and maturity levels of their boyfriends. And then, Steve Harvey writes this book that is meant to teach them how to "think like a man." So far, so good...but after that, it gets a bit confusing. I'm not sure in what way the women use the book to their advantage, except for the fact that a good deal of "long-term goals" questions are asked. I know at some point, the men find out about this book, although how this plays out is also a mystery. And I am really uncertain as to what any of this has to do with the opening scene of the trailer, where the group of guys is bullied off a basketball court by a team of much taller men. But I implore the lot of you to watch the trailer and educate me. See what you can pick up on. Maybe the plot is a nonlinear one, and the story is simply a study of adult romantic relationships. Maybe there's an elaborate conspiracy in which the book is used to brainwash the public into buying Soylent Green, or something (probably closer to the first one). Whatever it is, I know there's more to Think Like a Man than I'm understanding. So what do you think? Think Like a Man, starring Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J, Jenifer Lewis, Romany Malco and Gabrielle Union, comes out in the spring of 2012. Source: Yahoo
  • ABC Extends Fourth Season of 'Castle'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    ABC's drama Castle has roped viewers in with the charm of its leading man Nathan Fillion and its exciting melding of crime and human drama. The series is currently in its fourth season, which was set to be 22 episodes. However, ABC loves the show just enough to order one more episode for the season. Although it's not exactly a huge addition, fans should take comfort in knowing that their series is being graced with a good deal of appreciation from its home network. No matter how small, any addition is a terrific thing in the world of network television. The new 23-episode fourth season of Castle is, as of this past Monday, on winter hiatus. The series will return to its Monday night, 10 p.m. ET/PT time slot on Jan. 9 on ABC. Until then, just consider how you'd like Fillion and Stana Katic to spend their additional hour on television in 2012. Source: EW
  • 'Young Adult' and Other Films Prove Our Generation Doesn't Want to Grow Up
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    Sometime over the course of the last year and change, I began to notice a trend in movies—more accurately, regarding my reactions to the developing movies I was hearing about. I’d catch wind of a concept or theme that someone was trying to bring to the big screen, and would, with escalating frequency, say, “Damn it! I just had an idea like that!” It’s a phenomenon with which we’re all familiar. And for writers, it can be frustrating. So what was the rationale behind this outbreak of films ripped straight from my secret ideas journal? Certainly a government conspiracy to keep me from the revolution-inspiring success I’d otherwise inevitably achieve, I thought*. But my eventual realization was much simpler, and more emotionally healthy: people are starting to make the movies I’d make because the people who are now making movies are, for the first time ever, around the same age as I am. And that’s when I had to admit the most horrifying truth for someone in my generation to accept: I am an adult now. A preoccupation with, and fear of, aging is quite prevalent among today’s twenty-, and some early thirty-, somethings. It is sweeping the lot of us leaving college, starting families, or entering the workforce—and within that last collection, it is adamantly attaching itself to the aspiring filmmakers of today. Young Adult, which stars Charlize Theron and opens in theaters this week, is a great example, the very epitome of suspended adolescence. And Young Adult is one of many in-development projects by contemporary filmmakers themed around, be it analytically or vicariously, this obsession with the dichotomy between youth and adulthood. The trend began shortly before last year’s Happy Madison debacle Grown Ups, and continues through developing movies like Ten Year, American Reunion, I Melt with You, Jeff Who Lives at Home and the aforementioned Jason Reitman-directed Young Adult. It's the degree of this passion, bordering on pandemic, that feels specific to our time. In our recent interview with Young Adult writer Diablo Cody on her creation of the new film, the screenwriter admitted to a concern that she was channeling youthful characters—like the heroines of her movies Jennifer’s Body and the wildly popular Juno—as a vicarious attachment to her own younger days. Cody illustrated the conception of Young Adult as both an attempt at a more mature story as well as an inspection of this very attachment to youth (albeit, in a more villainous way than the incredibly wonderful Diablo Cody could ever represent in real life). Said Cody in the interview: “I was constantly being asked why I write about teenagers. And I never knew how to answer the question. Then I started to think about it, and I was like, ‘What if I’m actually just living vicariously through these young characters, because I can’t mature? What if I’m just stunted?’… But I was inspired. I thought, ‘What if I really am just a messed up woman-child?’ And then, of course, I eased up on myself. I thought, ‘What if there was a character that was a young adult novelist who truly was immature to a really extreme degree and just desperate to relive her glory days? And goes to extreme lengths to make that happen?’ And I thought, ‘I like this character. I haven’t seen this character before. Let’s go with this.’” Whereas Young Adult addresses the issue with a promise of honesty, some other films made to date or in the works are breaching the subject in a different fashion. You can sense, when watching Grown Ups—starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider and David Spade as a fivesome of childhood placed friends back in their old vacation spot to live out “one last” extended weekend as they did in youth, and to teach their families how to do the same—that the writers of the movie were channeling their own heartfelt nostalgia. Seeming to borrow a bit from both the embrace of nostalgia and the maturity of authenticity might be the upcoming Channing Tatum-led, Ten Year. You can feel, from watching clips from the film, the evocation of a genuine angst over an ever distancing past, as if the retrieval of such would be the sublime. I do eagerly await the release of Ten Year, excited to be educated on a walk of life of which I myself am in the early stages. And although I presented these as a contrast to the more biting introspection of Cody’s Young Adult, there is certainly a value in stories like these, as well as in the simple fact that they are being written. It is human to long for the “good old days,” and even more human to rerun them in our minds to be far more “good” than they ever really were. Any movie that admits this, and deals with it in some genuine way, is a valuable example of a major component of what it is to be a young adult in the present. Good writers, successful writers, real writers (not the writers who just write about having their ideas stolen by real writers) write what they know. They write what they feel; what represents them, both as individuals and as members of a greater phenomenon. People write about their times. Our generation, sometimes called the Information Age, sometimes called the Snowflake Generation, often called a bunch of hipsters, has had some discontinuity with its identity. We’re the ones who have seen advancements in technology nearly Jetson-ian. We’re consistently and rapidly, turning our world into the future we’d like to see. All the while, we’re also a generation affixed on the past. We've brought back Converse shoes, we’re remaking The Munsters, and the Sixties” is a common answer to the hypothetical question, “During which time period would you most like to have lived?” Our generation is one that, as a whole, struggles and plays with its identity. As do its members, individually. So it’s natural for us to fear the concretia of adulthood. Adulthood suggests self-acceptance, it suggests deliberation, it suggests having some clear-cut idea of what you’re supposed to be doing at any given moment. And as such, it’s natural for our writers to write about it. I am confident that, when studied by future readers and filmgoers, a movie of this genus—one about the plight of a Gen-Yer (worst moniker ever) to deal with the loss of his or her childhood—will be the iconic representation of our time. As Jay Gatsby’s pursuit of the American dream and Holden Caulfield’s hypocritical rejection of all things superficial were for those before us, Young Adult and its kind might very well be looked upon as “what our generation was all about,” for better or worse. *I only kind of thought that.
  • Sean Penn and Josh Brolin Gun Up the Action in 'Gangster Squad'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    Have you ever taken your jacket out of the closet and found twenty dollars in the pocket that you had forgotten about? That's how I felt today when I came across the below image of Sean Penn and Josh Brolin in the upcoming movie Gangster Squad. Several months ago, when Gangster Squad casting news was popping up every day, I couldn't possibly have been more excited for the movie. After a while, news began to slow down, and eventually I forgot about the movie altogether, feeling just a strange, blank vacancy of spirit. But thanks to Entertainment Weekly and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (widely attributed as the inventor of the first photographic device), we can all bounce back to the highs of Summer '11, and celebrate the coming of Gangster Squad. Below is a picture from the film of Penn, playing the nefarious 1940s criminal Mickey Cohen, staring down the business end of a didactic L.A. police officer's (the great Brolin) gun. Brolin will be just one of many impressive players to square off against Penn in Gangster Squad. Others, on either side of the law (sometimes it's hard to tell), include Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Nick Nolte, Michael Peña and Giovanni Ribisi. Gangster Squad opens Oct. 19, 2012. We might forget about it once more, but think of how thrilled we'll be when the trailer comes out to remind us! Source: Entertainment Weekly
  • New 'Boardwalk Empire' Season Finale Clips Show a Whole Lot of Betrayal
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    A few of us might be a little...apprehensive about the upcoming Boardwalk Empire season finale, airing this Sunday, considering the huge (and shudder-inducing) reveal in last week's episode of the HBO drama. But as afraid as we might be, there's still a lot of excitement circling the members of 1921's sordid seaside town. This preview featurette says very little out loud, but shows a good deal of drama in which Nucky, Margaret, Jimmy and the rest of the Atlantic City denizens are enrapt. Below that are two clips from the upcoming episode that give us a bit of insight into the drama that will involve a few of the series' most captivating characters. Boardwalk Empire airs Dec. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. In the first clip from the season finale, we see Margaret meeting with no-nonsense, incorruptible prosecuting attorney Esther Randolph. Margaret has been subpoenaed to testify on Nucky's case, and it seems like she might be on the fence regarding whether or not to remain loyal. In the next clip, we see the New York boys meeting over the prospect of the heroin trade. Needless to say, Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano have been hardly reverent to their longtime employer, Arnold Rothstein. But business is business. The real question is: what will this mean for their new business partner, Jimmy? Boardwalk Empire's season 2 finale airs this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
  • Uma Thurman Joins NBC's Musical Drama 'Smash'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    Uma Thurman's movies are anything but subdued. We've seen her vie against the stringent regulations of a genetically-altered dystopia. We've seen her undertake a massive killing spree to get revenge on the man who took her unborn child. We've seen her nearly die from a heroin overdose, and then spring back to life thanks to one of the most cringe-worthy injections in movie history. So it's no surprise that her decision to try television on for size is manifesting in a show whose very name screams extravagance and stardom: Smash. NBC's new musical drama about the plight of Broadway performers and crewmembers will add Thurman in a major story arc over the course of its upcoming first season. Thurman will play an established movie star with an infamous disposition, who has her eye on the lead role in Smash's central in-series musical, Marilyn. Of course, this will dub Thurman's character a rival—and possibly, an enemy—for the aspiring Broadway actress (Katharine McPhee). Thurman joins Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing and Jack Davenport on NBC's new series. Smash premieres Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Source: TVLine
  • Charlize Theron Likes 'Down and Dirty' Methods of Traveling: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 09, 2011
    Last night, Charlize Theron appeared on The Late Show to talk about her trip through Spain, which involved a lot of "down and dirty" trains (which she prefers).   Shailene Woodley, The Descendants star and herbal remedy expert, came onto Late Night to help Jimmy Fallon with his slew of medical problems. Jeremy Renner showed up on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss imparting various unintentional childhood traumas on his young niece. Finally, Katie Couric appeared in The Tonight Show to tell a heartwarming story about Former President Ronald Reagan and Rep. Tip O'Neill. No joke here; it's just the time of year when it's okay to think about sweet things.
  • 'Person of Interest' Recap: Get Carter
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 08, 2011
    S1E8: One of the reasons I have found my captivation with Person of Interest waxing and waning since the pilot is a simple, but pretty major facet of any television show: characters. Person of Interest has weighted itself with a pretty arduous task—make two men, who are completely unwilling to reveal anything about themselves, or show any sign of personal humanity while hacking into computers and tracking suspects, people that we can actually care about. Little by little, the show sneaks out some insight into the pains within John Reese, and we might feel somewhat moved by his agonizing plight to compensate for his broken heart by stopping people from killing other people (still not sure how it connects entirely, but I’m sure we’ll find out someday). However, for the most part, the show’s focus has been on the action—the crime, the Big Brother theology, the looming “Is this the right thing to do?” question. But this week’s episode gives us a healthy helping of a character examination, even if it is one that only scratches the surface. It doesn’t come in accordance with Reese or Finch, though. Instead, we get a look at the trials, heartaches and driving forces behind another regular character, who just happens to be this week’s Number: one Detective Carter. The episode title, “Get Carter,” should probably have tipped us off. And you gotta love a joke title in a show with so few actual jokes. "I'm a cop. My life's always in danger." - Carter Carter has been illustrated as the sole remaining “good cop” on planet Earth, and this episode accentuates that idea tenfold. When Reese, Finch, and the lot of us at home pontificate on who might be after Carter, the police are not out of the equation. Detective Fusco meets with his old Captain, who reveals his and the general force’s distaste for Carter’s protocol. The captain also beams about the coming of Elias, a criminal who he trusts to run the town “respectably,” working in accordance with the cops the way organized crime is meant to. Among the other suspects of Carter’s assassination-to-be-attempted include the husband of a beaten woman in whom she has taken a special interest, and, more significantly in the episode, an arms dealer and gang member named Hector who she has pinpointed as the primary suspect in the murder of a young snitch outside a local convenience store. In this episode, Carter aggressively pursues each case, threatening both men with the idea that justice prevails beyond anything else, and that she is the vehicle for justice.This episode truly does let us get a better understanding of Carter’s ideology. She has the viewpoint of a much younger, fresher cop. She believes not only in the value of justice, but in the inevitability of it. She truly seems to think that criminality cannot and will not prevail, and that so long as she intends to take these men down, so will they be taken down. As a juxtaposition to both Reese and Finch, it’s valuable to have a character like Carter. Both the heroes of the show have been far and beyond jaded by the things they’ve seen and done—Reese especially. He’s practically dead inside, and seems attached to his new way of life more as a logical pursuit than a visceral one. Finch, on the other hand, is definitely still very much capable of feeling—which is why he so actively protects himself and his identity from everyone. Finch trusts no one, Reese included, out of fear and defensiveness. But Carter is an open wound. She avows her passions and her investments even to the men she is hunting. It’s sort of a contradiction then, in this very episode, that she refuses to tell her partner Detective Fusco her first name. I think the series is trying to play her off as a woman with damages of her own (indicated of course by the flashbacks to an interrogation gone awry back in her military days). But we have plenty of that with Reese, and, as it is hinted, with Finch. I’d like to see more focus on a character who is capable of and accustomed to embracing his or her emotionality. On this token, we also learn that Carter has a son. He’s the kind of son you’re likely to see in television circumstances like these: he’s warm, boyish but well-behaved, intelligent, his mother’s best friend. Someone we can’t help but feel gladdened by. Obviously, you don’t introduce a character and a relationship like this without putting it in danger in a later episode. But that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it. "Get too close, you risk getting caught." - Finch "What am I supposed to do? Let her catch a bullet?" - Reese Up until this episode, Carter’s primary function has been Reese Hunter. She hasn’t exactly shown malice for her target, but a definite stake in finding and capturing him. This episode sort of alters their relationship, however. When Carter’s fate is revealed, Reese is the one who comes to her aid. It is in fact a homeless man whom Carter has been paying for years for information that guns her down—not out of his own will, but thanks to an order from Elias (who makes a quick appearance in the episode), telling the man that he’ll kill him if he doesn’t kill her. Reese, who has made it his extra special mission of the week to protect Carter (“she’s not just another Number”), manages to convince her via a series of phone calls to wear a bullet proof vest, and then guns down the homeless man before he can finish Carter off. He also has a word with the crooked police captain, threatening him to deliver a message to Elias that Carter is off-limits. So basically, Reese has got some serious affection for Carter, even if it’s only professional. Carter never really sees Reese, but she does understand that he is the one who saves her life, and she does begin to accept that maybe he’s serving a pretty important function himself, even if he’s operating beyond the law—and, more importantly, beyond her own personal code. It’s nice to see an episode of POI get a little more personal than usual, even if it’s not with either of the two leads. Through Carter, we do actually see a heightened dedication/emotionality from Reese. So maybe Carter isn’t the only one we start to “get” in this episode, after all. Oh, and Tío Hector Salemanca as Elias' jailed father? Person of Interest, your guest casting gives me dizzy spells from awesomeness.
  • ABC Removes 'Man Up' from Schedule, Replaces with 'Last Man Standing' and 'Work It'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 08, 2011
    This season, ABC introduced a new sitcom called Man Up, focusing on a trio of friends (Mather Zickel, Dan Fogler, Christopher Moynihan) who attempt to reaffirm their masculinity on a weekly basis. News today is that ABC has removed Man Up from its schedule, and will be replacing the series with reruns of the more popular Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing...which is about one man attempting to reaffirm his masculinity on a weekly basis. ABC has not released an official statement of cancelation, but Man Up doesn't seem to have much of a future on the network. Beginning Jan. 3, Man Up's timeslot (Tuesday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT) will be filled by the network's new comedy Work It, which is about two men who dress in drag to get jobs in this "woman's world," and inadvertently begin to reaffirm their own femininity. There you go, ABC! Source: AOLTV
  • Casting Roundup: Pitbull Might Join the 'Glee' Crew, Marg Helgenberger Leaves 'CSI'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 08, 2011
    Glee is always ambitious with its guest casting, but this new endeavor takes it to the next level: the Fox series is reaching for rapper Pitbull (yep) to play the brother of Santana Lopez, who has been a heavy focus of this season. Episodes of late have invested a lot of time in Santana's coming to terms with her sexuality, and introducing her family will be part of that. We recently learned that music artist Gloria Estefan is in talks to play Santana's mom, and now the show is looking to Pitbull to join her in an early 2012 episode on Fox. -EW For the past twelve years, Marg Helgenberger has starred as Catherine Willows on CSI, and she and the CBS series are finally parting ways. Helgenberger's performance as the character has been celebrated with nominations from awards organizations like the Emmys and the Golden Globes, and victories at the People's Choice Awards. Helgenberger feels as though it is simply time to move on, and she appreciates the experiences and relationships the show has given her. Elisabeth Shue will be taking Helgenberger's place on CSI after the latter's final episode, "Willows in the Wind," which will air on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. -AOLTV Modern Family will treat us both to the reappearance of a series favorite, as well as a new guest castmember. The former will be, of course, Fizbo, Cam's clown alter ego. In an upcoming episode, we'll learn a bit about Fizbo's past: he had a partner, who will find his way back into Cam's life in the form of Bobby Cannavale. We can imagine this being either a happy reunion for the passionate Cam or an explosive conflict, thanks to Mr. Tucker's dramatic tendencies. Either way, we can be sure that Mitchell probably won't be too keen on any instigation for Fizbo to reveal himself. Cannavale's Modern Family episode will air in early 2012, after the series returns to ABC from winter hiatus. -TVLine Fox's animated comedy Bob's Burgers returns after the new year, and it will be bringing with it some small town government officials. Sounds kind of boring, maybe...but these specific government officials come from the very unboring small town of Pawnee, Indiana—the setting of the NBC masterpiece Parks and Recreation. Three of the series' hardest hitting comedy players will be lending their voices to Bob's Burgers: Aziz Ansari (who plays Tom Haverford on Parks) will be playing a nerdy teenager who forms a bond with Bob. On another episode, Parks star Nick Offerman (the powerful Ron Swanson) and recurring guest star Megan Mullally (the frightening Tammy "2" Swanson) will play a hippie married couple—quite a stretch from their respectively conservative and evil Parks characters—who hire Bob's children as "weed pickers." Bob's Burgers returns to Fox on Mar. 11. -EW