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.
  • Anna Kournikova Will Not Be Returning to 'The Biggest Loser' Next Season
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 14, 2011 8:36am EST
    This 12th season of The Biggest Loser saw the departure of starring trainer Jillian Michaels, who had been with the series since its inception. Hired to replace Michaels was the household (if not unspellable) name of former professional tennis player, Anna Kournikova. Although NBC was optimistic about Kournikova's joining the series -- considering her notoriety and expertise with physical well-being -- she will not be returning to The Biggest Loser for another season. On the series, Kournikova trains contestants alongside Bob Harper, who has also been with the show since its beginnings in 2004. For reasons not yet entirely explained, Harper will be alone once more. Kournikova stated, "I enjoyed my time on The Biggest Loser ranch. Although I will not be returning as a full time trainer on season 13, I will always be a part of The Biggest Loser family and my commitment to bettering lives through health and fitness will continue." Kournikova's replacement is not yet determined. The Biggest Loser airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Source: AOLTV
  • Sneak Peek: A Slew of Toe-Tapping 'Happy Feet Two' Clips
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 14, 2011 8:13am EST
    Happy Feet Two reaches theaters this Friday, Nov. 18. In the spirit of this musical winter upon us, we've compiled a group of clips from the upcoming sequel to the 2006 family favorite. Returning are stars like Elijah Wood and Robin Williams, but we've also got some surprising new stars in store, as you'll see in the below scenes. The penguins of Happy Feet Two may be enamored by music, but not quite every member of the seafaring kingdom is. In the below clip, a pair of shrimp (Matt Damon and Brad Pitt...seriously) engage in a strenuous debate over the value of embracing the essence of melody. In short, one sings Wham!, the other grows hostile. As in the human world, the penguin world is riddled with its share of lunatics. The one in question here: the Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria), who manages to sway an entire community of weak-willed arctic birds into believing his Tony Robbins-esque maxim. Now that Happy Feet hero Mumble (Wood) is a father, it's up to him to instill the podiatric happiness into his son. Below, we see Mumble giving his young child his first dancing lesson, which really riles up the whole community. "Rhythm Nation" is sweeping Antarctica (which is technically not a nation, but what are you gunna do?). While all of the penguins have embraced dancing along with singing, they're still not totally on board with Mumble getting in the vocular aspect of the music game. It's a reunion for Mumble and his old pals, including Ramon (Williams) and his new love Carmen (Sofía Vergara), who seems particularly uninterested in him as a suitable mate. Nonetheless, spirits are high when the penguins reunite in the below clip. It was inevitable. The final Happy Feet Two clip brings "fluffy" back as a bunch of young penguin chicks pay tribute to LL Cool J and Justin Timberlake alike in one musical number from which you just can't seem to look away. 
  • Be 'Brave' and Check Out Image of the Pixar Film's Frightening, Funny Savages
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 14, 2011 7:37am EST
    Clearly, the red-haired young heroine in Brave will have to be quite... oh, it's on the tip of my tongue... I want to say "impavid"... in order to share screen time with the three savagely barons depicted in the image from the Pixar film below. As large and rough as they may seem, however, viewers should probably take comfort in knowing that traditionally, large, intimidating forces of this caliber in animated movies often have a good sense of comedy surrounding them. And from the looks of their hairstyles, Brave isn't treading light on the humor. Speculation permits that the below figures are Lords MacGuffin, Dingwall and Macintosh, voiced respectively by Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltraine and Craig Ferguson. Click the below picture in order to see the mighty Merida herself, voiced by Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald, channeling a blue amorphous spirity in a splendidly awesome way, over on Empire Online. Source: Empire Online
  • Russell Brand to Star in 'The President Stole My Girlfriend'
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 14, 2011 7:06am EST
    If you were Russell Brand, what would you do next? The high-energy comic actor started out as the hedonistic rock star archetype in the massively celebrated comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He followed this up by reviving the character in the still-pretty-funny sequel, Get Him to the Greek (sandwiching a family-friendly Adam Sandler movie in between). Since then, Brand has voiced a mad scientist and a mythical rabbit, and has portrayed a Shakespearean jester and a Dudley Moore classic. Quite a range, you'd say. So where to go from here? Well, a simple algorithm tells us that the next logical step for Brand is to play a man whose girlfriend is stolen by the president. But what sort of film has a plot like this? Perhaps The President Stole My Girlfriend (...if you wanna grasp at straws). Brand is starring in and producing the upcoming comedy, written by Matt Portenoy (the mysterious Movie 43). Source: Indiewire
  • Chelsea Clinton Joins Brian Williams as NBC News Special Correspondent
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 14, 2011 6:28am EST
    What happens when you combine the might and charm of Brian Williams with the power of an American dynasty? We're about to find out. Williams has held the anchor and editor position at NBC's Nightly News for seven years now, and was recently afforded his own news program, Rock Center with Brian Williams. Joining Williams on both these programs as a special correspondent will be a young woman particularly familiar with life in the public eye: Chelsea Clinton. Clinton will contribue to both NBC programs with reports concerning the "Making a Difference" news segments, which are often enlightening accounts of individuals and organziations striving to accomplish a particular, usually humanitarian, goal. Although one would likely align the Clinton name to politics -- especially in a news setting -- the new correspondent's contribution to the NBC news circuit will have little to do with politics. Rather, Clinton's range will include inspiring stories of humanity's brightest achievements. Nightly News with Brian Williams airs every night at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Rock Center with Brian Williams airs on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Source: THR
  • Streep Makes Margaret Thatcher a Rock Star in 'The Iron Lady' Trailer
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 14, 2011 4:37am EST
    Once I got past the disappointment that The Iron Lady was not actually a movie about Tony Stark's younger sister, I brought myself to watch the trailer, and was surprisingly excited by it. Admittedly, I'm not particularly well-versed in the personal or professional history of Margaret Thatcher, so maybe this is foolish to say, but I certainly did not expect the trailer for the upcoming Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady to be so...rock star. Meryl Streep appears to take Thatcher through all the invigorating highs and jagged lows ventured by many a rock star biopic; she's at the top of her game, yet attacked furiously with enmity. Her family life suffers. Her success wavers. She becomes ensconced by her image.  But what makes this film far more valuable than many the rock star biopic is that Margaret Thatcher was a world leader. The balance of her professional choices with her personal weaknesses wasn't necessarily simply for her own well-being, or that of her band, or the radio-owning public. It was necessary for the entire free world. Thatcher remains one of the most unforgettable figures of power in modern history. Combining that thrilling story with the exciting style of film most associated with the triumph of artistry, and you've got yourself a biopic worth seeing. The Iron Lady opens Jan. 2012. The film is directed by Phyllidia Lloyd and also stars Jim Broadbent and Anthony Head. Source: The Film Stage
  • 'Boardwalk Empire' Recap: Two Boats and a Lifeguard
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 13, 2011 9:13pm EST
    S2E8: I say this with all due respect: Terrence Winter must have some pretty hardcore daddy issues, and this week’s Boardwalk Empire is dedicated to exploring that theme. In regards to Nucky, Eli, Jimmy and Agent van Alden, we get glimpses into the pangs attached to fathers and fatherhood—a connectivity of four men playing four different corners of the game board that is this series. “That was June, your brother’s wife…Your father has died.” – Maggie “Okay…I’ll eat something at the office.” – Nucky. The episode is bookended in a fashion unusual for the series: a surreal dream sequence. Nucky—who, as you might recall, was shot last week—dreams that he is in an elevator with a man who comments on a boxing match that has yet to occur. Nucky then enters a silent room of well-dressed ladies and gentleman, noticing a punctured baseball mitt, followed by what seems to be a younger version of himself with a bullet wound in his hand, to whom Nucky tells, “Father eats first,” as he stands over a suffering deer in his office. Now, unless they’re planning on bringing Richard Dreyfuss in to play Sigmund Freud, we likely won’t be getting much of an analysis of the dream, but Nucky is and has been overcome by a dangerous resentment of his father for his entire adult life. Last season, we saw Nucky burn down his childhood house in an act of latent rebellion against his abusive father. This week, while Nucky is recovering from his injury, he finds out that his father has died, and reacts with almost no emotional reaction. Ep. 20: Clip - Nucky, Soldier and Eddie The death of Nucky’s father comes during a subpoena serving at Eli’s home. After explaining to Margaret that he feels nothing for his father’s death, Nucky decides to pay his respects, in honor of his late mother. Not expecting to see Eli there so early in the morning, Nucky is unprepared for brotherly conversation, and the two trade kempt hostility. Their primary topic of conversation is the degree of evil that their father represented. Eli tearfully defends their late dad, who always favored Nucky overtly, but Nucky condemns him to hell. Once Eli has had enough of Nucky belittling him and rejecting his weak reaches for whatever kind of rekindling can occur between a 1920s Cain and Abel, he leaves, allowing Nucky to burst unexpectedly into tears over his father’s passing. “Manure. But what can you expect when you conduct your business in a stable?” – Rothstein Now, there are a number of ways to look at Nucky’s next move: his resignation as treasurer. What you make of it all depends on how his actions play out over subsequent episodes. All logic points to this as purely a strategic move to take down Jimmy and his cooperatives—with some intangible aid from Rothstein and Torrio. To cement this, Nucky even recommends a community strike to Chalky once his successor takes over, and speaks to Owen Slater briefly about attaching themselves to the Cause. But noting the theme of the episode, there is something more genuine to Nucky in this move than just a tactic. He considers a joke about a drowning man ignoring signs from God while considering the family he has accumulated—this occurs just as Nucky asks Maggie’s children to begin calling him Dad. So, to ignore the obvious business aspect of Nucky’s resignation would be foolish. But I’m inclined to believe there is more of a genuine reformation involved than there might seem. Ep. 20: Clip - Rothstein, Luciano and Lansky “Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan.” – Gillian Jimmy is, professionally, on the climb. By the end of this episode, he is the de facto head of Atlantic City. But there remain thorns in his side. For one: his business associate Manny Horvitz, to whom Jimmy still owes a shipment of alcohol (and he’s not too pleased about waiting). Horvitz accuses Jimmy of not being man enough to run the town, having spent his entire life hidden behind one father figure or another. As Jimmy is plagued with his issues of which father to which to align his allegiance, this surely resonates. And back at home, Jimmy’s problems are fair from sparse. An unexpectedly honest conversation occurs between Jimmy and the most unlikely of recipients of this kind of candor: his wife, Angela. Jimmy admits that he was behind Nucky’s shooting, and he admits that his mother was the one who pushed him into it. And Angela—who spends a good deal of the episode meeting, attending a party with, and kissing a San Francisco novelist named Louise—admits that she does not really love him. So, although Jimmy has risen to his desired position, he is still plagued by just about everything he has been until now. At his victory party, he solidifies his rejection of these threats by ignoring Eli’s warnings about Nucky’s capability, and throwing Micky—who is linked to Manny—over the balcony. Jimmy is crumbling, and there aren’t many dips he has yet to venture. “It’s the latest model.” – Van Alden Van Alden has hired a Scandinavian nanny to care for his infant daughter Abigail while he spends his time working. This storyline attacks the issue of fatherhood from the other end: the “Cat’s in the Cradle” end—Van Alden is neither literally nor emotionally capable of being there for his daughter, as much as he does genuinely care about her. Last week, it seemed as though Van Alden was favoring morality over monetary gain for his daughter. This week, after a conversation about the grey areas of morality and ethics with his new partner—one he actually seems to get along with, for a change—we see him stuffing away sums of cash (no doubt ill-gotten-gains earned for Abigail’s well-being). The greatest strength of this episode is the return of the show’s unappreciated hero: Nucky. Yeah, Nucky—the main character, remember?—has taken quite the back seat to more “interesting” characters like Jimmy, Van Alden, Richard, Gillian, Eli, Maggie, Meyer and Lucky, Chalky…you get it. The point is, Nucky, while more subdued and “normal” than these other nutjobs, is still capable of delivering intriguing character stories. And an episode focused majorly on him is a welcome treat once in a while.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen to Join Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'?
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 11, 2011 11:57am EST
    We thought all of the wow moments were over. We thought, "Django Unchained casting is going to start settling down now." Sure, there'd be a few additional players added to the list, but would we be really reveling over new actor announcements in regards to this movie anymore? Well, our cynicism be damned, because the latest individual to discuss joining Django might be the most gasp-inducing one yet: Sacha Baron Cohen. Cohen is a fascinating figure in the Hollywood of today, and sort of a reversal of your standard "becoming a star" story. Cohen made a name for himself instantaneously with the creation of his own characters Ali G, Borat and Bruno, who gained popularity on his TV series Da Ali G Show, and then excelled in individual feature films, with Borat being the most culturally wowing. Ever since, Cohen has found his way into the films of some of the greatest directors around. He teamed up with Tim Burton in Sweeney Todd, with Martin Scorsese in the upcoming Hugo, and now, he's in serious talks to join the Quentin Tarantino team for Django Unchained. The brilliant thing about Cohen is, while he has very much a style and character of his own, how willingly and capably he adapts to the style of the films, actors and directors with whom he is working. Whereas some famed comic actors try and add their own flavor to other people's films, Cohen seems more interesting in broadening his horizons and transforming very much into a product of his surroundings. And it is regularly to grand results. So, three cheers for Cohen, Tarantino, and everyone else involved in Django: the film that just keeps getting better and better before we even see it. Also starring in this masterfully cast film: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kurt Russell, Anthony LaPaglia, Don Johnson, Gerald McRaney, RZA, Misty Upham and like, forty-five other people (all AWESOME). Source: Variety
  • Paul Bettany Will Bring His Spark and Charm to 'Masters of Sex' Series
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 11, 2011 11:22am EST
    Paul Bettany has had a pretty substanital film career up until now. To some, he's best remembered as Russell Crowe's "prodigal roomate" Charles in A Beautiful Mind who, aside from being not particularly real, is a pretty good friend played to excellence by Bettany. Others align the actor more with his roles in the same year's A Knight's Tale and Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang). But Bettany's success has lasted long past 2001. Since, his placement in Wimbledon, The DaVinci Code, The Tourist and Priest. And now, Bettany is venturing to the small screen in a series provocatively titled Masters of Sex. The hook-line-and-sinker project is based on the book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier. The title and content refer to the research team of Masters and Johnson who, beginning in the late 1950s, pioneered research on human sexuality and treatment on sexual diseases and disorders. Bettany will be playing gynecologist William Howell Masters. No word on who will take the role of his partner, sexologist/psychologist Virginia Eshelman Johnson. Michelle Ashford (21 Jump Street, Boomtown, John Adams) is writing the script, and Sony Pictures TV is developing the project. Source: Deadline
  • Watch Rapper Immortal Technique Gives His Review of 'Immortals'
    By: Michael Arbeiter November 11, 2011 10:43am EST
    Today marks the release of Immortals, a movie that has grabbed many of our interests with its winning cast, impressive aesthetics, and always-interesting subject matter: Ancient Greek mythology. But with fans, come critics...and sometimes, some interesting film critiques come from the most unlikely sources. Rapper/hip-hop artist Immortal Technique decided to give his spin on his namesake film, weighing both the pros and cons, and delivering them in a very interesting and humorous, but sincere, monologue below. We're sharing the video with you, courtesy of, because not only is it an enlightening, interesting take on Immortals, it's also a good deal of fun. In addition to analyzing the film, Immortal Technique discusses the abundance of Euro-centricism in Hollywood movies, his hatred for The Phantom Menace and the Clash of the Titans remake, and what he would rather do than watch a bad movie.   After you watch the video, check out our own, Matt Patches' review of Immortals here. Get More: For more from NextMovie: Trailers | Movies | DVD & Blu-Ray Source: NextMovie