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.
  • Has The Lizard Slimmed Down in New 'The Amazing Spider-Man' Image?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 30, 2011
    Here in the world of the Internet, there is a bit of skepticism attached to's newly released concept art image of The Lizard, a central villain in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man, played by Rhys Ifans. Comingsoon points out that The Lizard, as depicted below, resembles a slimmed-down version of the villain first seen in a clip from the film that was screened at 2011's San Diego Comic-Con. This has led a few to surmise that the art below might be an outdated depiction of what has become a bulkier, generally larger Lizard. But that aside, basically, the Lizard will look something like the figure illustrated below. This taken into account, The Amazing Spider-Man looks to be a darker, grittier, more intense rendition of the Marvel Comics superhero story than its 2002 Tobey Maguire counterpart. The Amazing Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Parker's Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and Denis Leary as Gwen's father, George Stacy. The film, directed by Marc Webb, opens July 3, 2012. Source: via The Lizard
  • HBO Announces Dates for 'Luck', 'Eastbound & Down' and Ricky Gervais' 'Life's Too Short'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    HBO has announced premiere dates for two new original series, in addition to a returning favorite. One of the most talked about new shows is Luck, the horse track drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. Luck will be airing a special preview of its first season on Dec. 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT (right after the second season finale of Boardwalk Empire), but its season will officially begin with a premiere on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Returning to HBO is the frenzied, quirky comedy Eastbound & Down, starring Danny McBride as tactless baseball star Kenny Powers. Following the third season premiere of Eastbound & Down will be a series new to America: Life's Too Short, created by and starring Ricky Gervais, Warwick Davis and Stephen Merchant. The series will follow Davis' (playing a fictionalized version of himself) tribulations in life as a dwarf and aspiring actor.  We've already gotten a couple of glimpses at the series (including cameos by a hostile Johnny Depp and a very "comedic" Liam Neeson), which already started airing over in the U.K. If what we've seen is any indication, this should be quite a promising series. Sunday, Jan. 29 Luck (9 p.m. ET/PT) Sunday, Feb. 19 Eastbound & Down (10 p.m. ET/PT) Life's Too Short (10:30 p.m. ET/PT) Source: Deadline
  • Casting Roundup: 'Glee' Aims for Ricky Martin, 'Happy Endings' Gives Megan Mullally a Partner
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    McKinley High must have a stipulation that all of its Spanish teachers must also have a resume of professional singing. Glee is seeking to fill the seat of a new Spanish teacher with a pop artist who was omnipresent in the 1990s: one Ricky Martin. Martin is in talks to appear on a late-January episode of Glee, wherein he'd participate in two songs. Considering both Martin's potential guest role and the return of Trouty Mouth Sam (who'll be vying for Mercedes' love once again, as reported earlier today), Glee is really pulling out all the stops to make our favorite characters' senior year a noteworthy one. Glee's episode "I Kissed a Girl" airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. -TVLine All news about Happy Endings instills me with unabashed joy, but this time around, we're bordering on sheer nirvana. The great and powerful Michael McKean is paying a visit to the ABC series, and in the best kind of guest role: asone of the main characters' fathers. So far, we've met the parents of Max, Brad and Penny (the stellar Megan Mullally, in a guest spot almost as good as her recurring role on Parks and Recreation), and now we'll be treated to an introduction to Dave's father, in the form of McKean. And Mullally is back. Dave's dad and Penny's mom will come to town on the same episode - and not by coincidence. Mullally's last appearance on Happy Endings explored her character's divorce, and the newly single woman has taken up a new romance with none other than Dave's father. A bit to wrap your head around, I know. But trust me: this is an unstoppable idea. The episode will air in early '12. Happy Endings airs Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. -TVLine In new TV developments, we have the Showtime pilot Ray Donovan, which is now set to star Liev Schreiber. The multitalented Scheiber will play a "go-to guy" for the upper echelon of modern day Los Angeles. Schreiber's title character will solve and coverup the sordid problems in which his wealthy socialite clients often find themselves. Ray Donovan is created and will be executive produced by Ann Bidermann (Southland). -THR
  • ABC Confirms 'Pan Am' Is Not Canceled Despite Star's Tweet
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    There seems to be a bit of a miscommunication going on regarding ABC's period drama Pan Am. Earlier this afternoon, series star Karine Vanasse, who plays French stewardess Colette Valois, alluded via Twitter to the show's imminent cancelation. Fans were likely both surprised and saddened to hear this news, and while the sadness may not have lasted long, the surprises surely didn't end. ABC has confirmed that, despite the context of Vanasse's tweet, Pan Am is definitely not canceled. Let's sort this out. Vanasse tweeted, "Well, we received THE call, #PanAm is only coming back for one more episode after Christmas. But up to the end, we'll give it our all !" Anyone who read this would (perhaps after a short bout with denial) likely have taken it as solid proof of the show's imminent end. After all, it's quite clear that Vanasse (without ever actually using these words) meant to indicate that the show was being canceled. And she would know, right? After all, she is a member of the main cast. But whatever the source for Vanasse's bad news was, it is clearly in conflict with reports from ABC. The network is affirming that Pan Am will continue on through the spring season, and is still an open candidate for a second season. ABC confirms that Pan Am is "shooting and airing 14 episodes" and will "have one more original episode this coming week, Dec. 4 and then will return in January with new episodes, airing all of them." So, as ironclad as the contract of Twitter usually is, it seems as though Pan Am fans can rest easy, knowing that ABC is insistent on keeping the show going at least through the 2011-'12 television season. Pan Am airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Source: AOLTV, Twitter
  • UPDATE: Daniel Radcliffe Confirmed to Play Allen Ginsberg in 'Kill Your Darlings'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    UPDATE: It is confirmed today that Radcliffe has officially signed on to play Allen Ginsberg, one of the most iconic members of the Beat Generation, in the upcoming film Kill Your Darlings. Starring alongside Radcliffe in the film will be rising stars Elizabeth Olsen, Jack Huston (known for his breakout role as Richard Harrow on Boardwalk Empire) and Dane DeHaan. The news furthers our optimism for Radcliffe's post-Potter career. The actor proved his comic versatility as a recent Saturday Night Live host, and looks to be terrific in the upcoming horror film, The Woman in Black. -THR EARLIER: I have a feeling that in just a few years, Daniel Radcliffe won't be entirely pinned down as the Harry Potter kid anymore. At least, he's making efforts to expand his boundaries—some pretty fantastic efforts, as a matter of fact. Radcliffe's first post-Deathly Hallows Part 2 film roleis the leade in the eerie-looking horror film The Woman in Black, for which fans of the genre should start getting very, very excited (the first, second and third trailers all give some very frightening promise). But Radcliffe is also claiming territory in a more artistic venue: he signed on to portray the immortal beat poet Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas' drama-thriller Kill Your Darlings. The story of Krokidas' film will revolve around the highly publicized friendships between writers Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Lucien Carr, whose infamous murder of his stalker David Kammerer will be a major element of the film. Chris Evans and Ben Whishaw will play Kerouac and Carr, respectively. Over half a century after the peak of its prominence, the Beat Generation remains one of the most fascinating movements in modern and post-modern art. This is especially evident because just last year, James Franco headlined the Ginsberg biopic Howl, named after his most famous work. Ginsberg's beat poem Howl is one of the most unforgettable products of the movement, along with Kerouac's novel On the Road and William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch. Krokidas' drama is the second attempt at a film adaptation of the poet's life (starring a major Hollywood actor, no less), indicating an everpresent fascination with the man, his work and his era. Ginsberg is the sort of figure who has become, through the notoriety of his work, larger than life. But the horizon-expanding Radcliffe is an actor I would trust with Ginsberg's depiction. Let's just hope the movie doesn't open, "I've seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by the Babbling Curse." Source: Vulture
  • Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    It's a big day for indie film appreciation. First, last night's 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards recipients were revealed (you can read the list of winners and nominees here). And now, we can cast our judgments and make our predictions about the announcements for the 27th Annual Independent Spirit Awards nominations. 2011 was no slouch when it comes to the release of some quality independent cinema, and the Spirit Awards are paying tribute to that with its diverse list of nominees. On the list, we have comedy, drama, action, romance...and, for the first time in quite a while, a silent film. Check out the list of nominees below, and start your deliberations on the "Who Should Win" vs. "Who Will Win" battle—that's the bread-and-butter of awards season, after all. 27th ANNUAL INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINEES BEST PICTURE50/50 The Artist  Beginners The Descendants Drive Take Shelter BEST DIRECTOR Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) Mike Mills (Beginners) Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) Alexander Payne (The Descendants) Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) BEST FIRST FEATURE Mike Cahill, Another Earth  Patrick Wang, In the Family  J.C Chandor, Margin Call Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene Robert Pickering, Natural Selection BEST FEMALE LEAD Lauren Ambrose (Think of Me) Rachael Harris (Natural Selection) Adepero Oduye (Pariah) Elizabeth Olson (Martha Marcy May Marlene) Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) BEST MALE LEAD Demian Bichir (A Better Life) Jean Dujardin (The Artist) Ryan Gosling (Drive) Woody Harrelson (Rampart) Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) Anjelica Huston (50/50) Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) Harmony Santana (Gun Hill Road) Shailene Woodley (The Departed) BEST SUPPORTING MALE Albert Brooks (Drive) John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene) Christopher Plummer (Beginners) John C. Reilly (Cedar Rapids) Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris) BEST SCREENPLAY The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius) Beginners (Mike Mills) The Descendants (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash) Footnote (Joseph Cedar) Win Win (Tom McCarthy) BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY Mike Cahill & Brit Marling, Another Earth J.C. Chandor, Margin Call Patrick deWitt, Terri Phil Johnston, Cedar Rapids Will Reiser, 50/50 BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Joel Hodge (Bellflower) Benjamin Kasulke (The Off Hours) Darius Khondji (Midnight in Paris) Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist) Jeffrey Waldron (The Dynamiter) BEST DOCUMENTARY An African Election Bill Cunningham New York The Interrupters The Redemption of General Butt Naked We Were Here Spirit Awards
  • Louis C.K. will Return to 'Parks and Recreation' as Amy Poehler's Ex-Boyfriend
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    Back in Season 2, Parks and Recreation gave the unlucky-at-love—and we mean very unlucky-at-love—Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) a little helping of some good-natured romance, and in the most unlikely form: comedian Louis C.K. Known for his misanthropic, pessimistic persona as a standup comic and a caricature of himself on FX's series Louie, C.K. enjoyed a significant story arc on Parks and Rec as Leslie's sweet, timid and incredibly devoted boyfriend, Dave Sanderson, a Pawnee police officer. The pair parted when Sanderson moved to San Diego, Calif. for a job opportunity, and we haven't heard from, or much about, him since. But that won't be the case for long, as C.K. is slated to return to Parks and Recreation later this season. Nowadays, Leslie's heart is invested heavily in Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott), which is complicated enough, seeing as their relationship will indubitably provoke a scandal in Leslie's campaign for public office. So, bringing an ex-boyfriend into the equation isn't likely to make things run any smoother for our favorite small-town government employee. It's hard to imagine Leslie considering leaving Ben, with whom she is so infatuated, for Dave. But the idea of a face-off between the two most awkward and non-confrontational human beings ever to walk the streets of Indiana? That's comedic gold. Leslie sure has a type, doesn't she? C.K.'s appearance is set for early 2012, after the show returns from winter hiatus. Parks and Recreation airs Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Source: TVLine
  • Jason Segel and Kermit the Frog Made a Reporter Cry: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 29, 2011
    Last night, Jason Segel appeared on Conan to discuss the whirlwind of effects The Muppets has had on his life, including earning him a trip to the White House wherein he professed his love for President Obama and then promptly fell asleep, getting a lot of first (but very few second) dates, and making a Mexican reporter burst into tears during an interview with Kermit the Frog. Regis Philbin stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to discuss his departure from Live! with Regis and Kelly, to be exposed as a secret hoarder, and to lay the plans for a Regis Museum with Jimmy. Boardwalk Empire's breakout star Jack Huston (who plays Richard Harrow) made his very first talk show appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, talking about the process of creating the voice and mannerisms for a character who only has half a face, and how distracting he can be for the other actors. Finally, Damon Wayans, Jr., showed up on The Tonight Show to discuss playing a "verbal fluffer" on Happy Endings, to show us a clip from his standup, and to talk about how unexpectedly (and borderline psychotically) strict Damon Wayans was as a father.
  • 'Terra Nova' Recap: Now You See Me
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 28, 2011
    S1E9: Well, the question is answered. On this week’s episode of Terra Nova, we finally find out who the traitorous Sixer mole is. And no, it’s none of the people I’ve rattled off as suspects in my past recaps. And yes, the choice is a bit more interesting than anyone I predicted. But somehow, I am left feeling unsatisfied by the reveal. Further, I am feeling even more unsatisfied by everything else that goes on in the episode “Now You See Me.” Mainly because, for all intents and purposes, it seems kind of like a whole lot of filler. “I figure, there’s a parallel universe out there, somewhere, where we are allies.” – Taylor “I’ve had that thought.” – Mira The episode opens with a pairing we haven’t really seen before, and one I was kind of excited to explore (before I realized, come the opening theme, that we wouldn’t be seeing much of at all this week): Taylor and Skye, who apparently take annual walks together at the memorial of the latter’s late parents in commemoration. Just as soon as we are introduced to this unlikely duo are we whisked away from it—Taylor heads out into the wild on a secretive mission, and entrusts the Number One position with Jim—Washington is doing something else…they explain it in passing…I don’t know. Just roll with it. Taylor’s quest in the wilderness is to examine his renegade son’s rock drawings in order to see if he has made any progress in the development of a two-way time portal: he has. But that’s not all the bad news Taylor gets. He has a run in with Mira (de facto head of the Sixers), who takes him captive and treks him back toward her hideout. And bad news further still: there are a couple of dinosaurs who aren’t too fond of Taylor and Mira traversing through their territory. Long story short, there’s nothing like a dinosaur attack to bring two sworn enemies together. “It’s no small thing knowing you’ve done right by your child.” – Taylor The rule of television is, when two characters (especially two characters with a very extreme relationship) are pitted alone together in one location for the entirety of an episode, their opinions of one another will shift quite notably. As Taylor and Mira begin the episode as enemies, this experience causes them to end up admitting a mutual respect for one another. Plus, they bond over the devotion they have to their children—as well as their shared self-denotation as failed parents. Taylor banished his son into the wild when he found out he was a traitor. Mira left her daughter to grow up without her back in 2100, hoping someday to return to her with the financial means to raise her properly (this ties back into the whole “mine prehistory for resources” thing we learned about last week). Of course, they both get home safely, and with a newfound reverence for each other’s ideologies. And as big a fan as I am of enemies uniting and character-driven episodes, this subplot seems a bit hokey, obvious and without a good deal of real substance. “How did it feel, wearing the commander’s cap while I was gone?” – Taylor “I wouldn’t want to do it every day.” – Jim In other, more extended unlike-duo news, Jim takes his daughter’s soldier boyfriend Reynolds on as his Number Two this week. At the onset of the episode, Jim and Reynolds investigate a scene they believed to be a base of operations for the Sixer’s traitor (which they concluded by tracking down a communications signal leaving from the building). What’s more, Jim and Reynolds find some broken glass and a single drop of blood left in a beaker of some chemical liquid. Jim brings the liquid to his wife, and then to a reluctant Malcolm, in hopes of identifying the subject, but things go a bit awry. When Liz retrieves the blood beaker from the lab the next morning, she realizes that it has been compromised. This allows them the suggestion that the Sixer’s culprit is someone who has access to the lab. The little information the team can derive is that the subject is a female. These two clues leave only forty-seven possible suspects as the Sixer’s spy. “Remember. We’re the only ones with the cure.” – Sixer But of course, we know who it is. We are told quite early on the episode, as a matter of fact, that it is Skye. So early do we find out, that it doesn’t even seem like she could be the spy. Never has such a long-awaited solution to a TV riddle been offered so anticlimactically (except maybe when we learned the identity of Mysterion). But what’s more perplexing is why Skye, of all people, would be working with the Sixers. Oh, wait. We find that out, too. See, her mom is dying. And the Sixers have her. Apparently, the Sixers are the only ones “with a cure” to save her mom (I take this to mean that they’ll send her back to the 2100s once the technology is available…they don’t have much else in the vein of medical advancements). Skye brings them medicine and information, and they care (liberally) for her mother. A few weeks back, I made a point of praising Terra Nova for its ability to make us care about two central characters who commanded a subplot of one episode—Skye and Hunter. Back then, I really felt for both of them. But this week, I don’t really have the same attachment to Skye, even though her plotline is more significant and more logically compelling. Skye seems to lack some of the charm that makes her a likable character in other episodes. Maybe she’s too caught up in furthering the plot. But if the plot doesn’t concern characters we love, then it’s not worth furthering. We find out who the traitor is. Jim progresses in the investigation. Taylor and Mira form some sort of bond, and we learn more about their backstories. All signs point to this being a great, interesting episode. Yet, there’s something missing. The characters may be doing interesting things, but they themselves are not interesting to me this week. In fact, my favorite part of the episode is Reynolds’ nervous professions to Jim about how much he cares for Maddy. That seemed real (cartoonish, but real), and human. We need more human moments in this series, and from that, stories will develop.
  • FX Announces Return Dates for 'Justified' and 'Archer'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 28, 2011
    FX has decided to make today the day they remind us that they have the market cornered on both quality drama and comedy on television. They just announced return dates for the crime drama, Justified, and the hilariously over-the-top animated spy comedy, Archer. Justified will return to the network with a third season on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars Timothy Olyphant as renegade Miami-based U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, who is relocated to his home town in rural Kentucky as punishment for his consistent malfeasance. Surrounded by the figures of his past, Givens combats where he comes from with where he wants to go in life, all the while trying to maintain justice is his new/old hometown. Archer will also return to FX for a third season on Thursday, Jan 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The animated series, starring omnipresent voice actor H. Jon Benjamin, follows the misadventures of the narcissistic manchild and destructive force that is Sterling Archer...who just so happens to also be the top spy at ISIS, a secret agent organization run by Archer's mother Mallory (Jessica Walters). Although Archer is the biggest jerk in the department, his coworkers aren't exactly model citizens (or entirely sane) either. Joining FX this year will be Unsupervised, another animated FX comedy that follows two teenaged best friends in their day-to-day exploits. Unsupervised features the voices of Kristen Bell, David Hornsby, Justin Long, Kristen Olsen and Fred Armisen -- to name a few. It will follow Archer's season premiere, debuting on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. Source: TVLine