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.
  • NBC Picks Up Sarah Silverman Comedy Pilot, Backed by Ron Howard
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    This summer, a bidding war broke out over a new comedy pilot to star and be co-written by comedian/actress Sarah Silverman. The increasingly ambitious NBC won out, and has just finalized the pilot order for this new project, which will be executive produced by Ron Howard and his Imagine associate Brian Grazer. The pilot, written by Silverman and her Comedy Central series The Sarah Silverman Program writers Dan Sterling and Jon Schroeder, will be a humorous, semi-autobiographical account of Silverman's transition back into single life after a decade-long live-in relationship. Many are probably familiar with the long-term relationship Silverman shared with ABC's late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel from 2002 to 2009. This new single-camera comedy is still untitled. What begs a few questions is Silverman's merge with network television. The comedian is infamous for her very crude, very raunchy brand of humor. Naturally, getting a way with this sort of material was not as big a problem on her former cable station, Comedy Central. However, the Silverman we know might be amended to fit what the standards of network TV. Perhaps a more regimented, more balanced format is what Silverman needs to really excel. The comic actress is a talented one, but her Comedy Central series was a bit too all over the place to really work for many of us. Putting the wild Silverman in a more grounded universe could be a formula for comedic success. And having Howard involved inspires a great deal of faith. Soure: Deadline
  • Ewan McGregor Joins Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest in HBO Pilot 'The Corrections'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    News regarding HBO's developing drama pilot The Corrections is both sparse and invigorating. The small, somewhat perplexing synopsis hints at a series with a lot of character, and a lot of heart (though likely, a lot of sadness). The newest piece of information about The Corrections pilot furthers our optimism: Ewan McGregor has been cast as one of the lead roles. The story centers on an aging Midwestern couple, nearing the winter of their lives as the year 2000 approaches rapidly. The couple, who will be played by Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest (as it was announced last month) vow to organize "one last Christmas" to be celebrated with their three estranged children. McGregor will play the couple's middle child, Chip, with a sordid personal and professional life. Chip, a radical Marxist, worked in education before losing his job as a result of his illicit affair with one of his students. When the pilot opens, Chip will work for a Lithuanian crime ring that operates by defrauding business investors in the United States. The pilot is based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Jonathan Franzen. In the novel, the two older children (yet to be cast) are Gary, the oldest, an unhappy, alcoholic banker who resents the hold his wife and children have on him, and Denise, the youngest and only daughter, a bisexual chef who loses her job due to a messy romance involving both her boss and his wife. Directing the pilot is Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale), who also co-wrote with Franzen, while Scott Rudin produces. Source: Deadline
  • 'A Warrior's Heart' Trailer: Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene's Romance/War/Lacrosse Drama
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    There are people who will be deterred by the trailer of A Warrior's Heart. If you watch below, you'll see everything one might expect from a movie starring Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene and Chord Overstreet: it's the story of a boy just damaged enough to need saving, but just down-to-earth enough to be worth the effort. Conor Sullivan's (Lutz) father dies overseas in Iraq, which thrusts the boy into a spiral of contentious behavior, including attacking classmates violently and destroying school property. But there's a glimmer of hope. Three glimmers, actually. There's lacrosse: the one thing that makes sense to Conor. There's Sgt. Major Duke Wayne (Adam Beach), the enigmatic Native American soldier who teaches him how to be the man his father might be proud of. And, most of all, there's Brooklyn (Greene), the one girl worth this damaged boy's heart. So, yeah. It's sappy. It's angsty. It's melodramatic. There's a lot of locker-pounding and rain-crying. But let me ask you this... why is that a bad thing? Why is an amplification of human emotion in cinema necessarily deemed "silly"? Why can't we be dealt a hyper-emotional story, with extraordinarily expressive characters? Maybe ones that don't necessarily act exactly as your typical actual people above the age of thirteen do, but who, more importantly, represent struggles, challenges, emotions and pangs we are all quite familiar with? I think we ought to consider that question, and give A Warrior's Heart its fair chance. And why am I so passionate about this? Well, because Ethan Rom is in it. And that's reason enough for me to back any movie.
  • Jeremy Renner Lets Out Some 'Bourne Legacy' Secrets
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    A lot of mystery has surrounded the upcoming The Bourne Legacy, the fourth movie in the series that so far consists of The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. For one thing, central character Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) will not be a part of this film—this has led some purist fans to reject it altogether. However, more optimistic members of the Bourne-again clan maintain faith in the upcoming movie, which will star Jeremy Renner as the lead. Up until now, we have known very little about Renner's character and what sort of role he'll be playing both in this standalone movie and in accordance with the series in general. Renner finally revealed some information to Empire that might appease some curious fans: "My character is called Aaron Cross, but he ends up having a bunch of different names. For fans of the franchise, [The Bourne Legacy] has that same ticking clock, but it's a new programme and new characters." Regarding the Treadstone operation that has been beyond integral to the Bourne series thus far: "Yeah, it's that same deal, it's just a new set of agents with a different leash. It's the same tempo and pace but more expansive and bigger. The differences are pretty vast but you'll know it's a Bourne movie." So, according to Renner, the movie will play to both bases: instilled with something new, but rooted in something traditional. It's not an easy balance to maintain, and with a series as enjoyed as the Bourne movies, it'll be hard to satisfy everyone. But hey, it's happening. It's a Bourne movie, at the very least marginally, with Edward Norton in it. So call me crazy, but I'm sure it'll have its share of high points. The Bourne Legacy comes out Aug. 3, 2012. Source: Empire
  • Fantasy Drama 'Grimm' Gets a Full Season Order on NBC
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    Fairy tales are cleary very much in. We've got two Snow White movies on the horizon (one very dark, one very light). LOST writers have fueled ABC's Sunday night ratings with the fairly LOST-y drama, Once Upon a Time. And over on NBC, Grimm has proven to be quite the valuable addition to the Friday night lineup: solidified by the fact that the network has picked up its fantasy-procedural drama for a full season. NBC ordered nine additional episodes of Grimm, bringing the series to full season status. The story of Grimm follows Det. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a homicide investigator who, thanks to a blood lineage that dates back an elite troupe of crime fighters called the Grimms, is branded with the responsibility of fending off the evil fairy tale characters who have begun to invade our world. It's interesting to consider the relatively young outburst of fairy tales' popularity. Further, we're curious how far it will go. Will this nostalgic captivation last long enough to give shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time healthy runs on their respective networks? Or is the subject matter too niche to keep our interests for that long? Grimm airs on Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. The series will also enjoy a special Thursday night spot on Dec. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Check out our interview with stars Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby here. Source: TVLine
  • New Artwork for 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' is Dark and Demonic
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    Many assume that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a sequel to the 2007 Ghost Rider film, directed by Mark Steven Johnson—especially considering the casting of Nicolas Cage as the hero in both movies. However, new directors Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine are creating the movie as a completely independent entity, striving to embrace the dark, hellish mood of the comics that they feel the 2007 film overlooked.   This is evident in the artwork for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance below, which certainly pays respect to the demonic and gritty imagery of the Marvel Comic. Check out the images below (and our interview with directors Taylor and Neveldine about how different they intend to make their movie from the 2007 incarnation of Johnny Blaze), then head to JoBlo and SuperheroHype for high res versions! Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance comes out Feb. 27, 2012. Source: via Slashfilm
  • Jason Segel Cries Everywhere He Goes: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 22, 2011
    Last night, Jason Segel paid a visit to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to finally come clean about how he tricked America into letting him make The Muppets, and to recount three separate occasions when he burst into tears uncontrollably: during the table read for The Muppets, on a first date, and on an airplane next to a very uncomfortable man. Modern Family star Ty Burrell appeared on The Late Show to laugh about his placement in People Magazine's Sexiest Men issue. Back on Late Night, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman discussed her friendship with Donald Trump, her Thanksgiving traditions, and to teach Jimmy a Minnesota accent. Finally, The Middle star Atticus Schaffer stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to talk about alleged (and excitable) fans who don't know what show he is on. He also spoke about his massive sum of pets...which includes chickens.
  • 'Terra Nova' Recap: Vs.
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 21, 2011
    S1E8: I’ve been pretty hard on Terra Nova for some time now. Specifically, I’ve found flaw with the simplistic self-contained plotlines—like Elisabeth getting temporary amnesia, or Maddy getting stuck in a tree with her brawny boyfriend (I also don’t know why I can’t make mention of the character Reynolds without highlighting his physique—not too sure what that’s about). I have also chastised the far-too-thin running story arc of Josh pursuing the retrieval of his girlfriend via the Sixers’ two-way portal. Plus, the dialogue. Oh…the dialogue. So, yeah. Maybe I’ve been a bit hypercritical of Terra Nova. But in all honesty, this week’s episode, “Vs.,” is an hour of television that—while still bearing it share of flaws (some new, some in Terra Nova—I genuinely enjoyed. It’s a little busier than usual. New subplots spring out after every commercial break. And it sure does up the ante on the campy during its “time-killer” moments. But I have to admit, “Vs.” is a fun watch, and a positive step for the series—exemplifying the lengths it is taking to instill both its characters (specifically, Taylor), it mysteries and its whole universe with more than we might have expected. The episode follows in the recent vein of making us question the governing body of Terra Nova, in two specific ways: one very overt, one very subtle. The central plot of the episode follows Jim’s investigation of Taylor himself for murder of an unidentified individual. After Jim looks in on a delirious Boylan, who has been interrogated and psychologically tortured by Taylor for suspected treason with the Sixers, he finds out from Boylan that Taylor murdered somebody and buried him beneath a tree in the nearby woodlands, five years ago. Jim battles with his own doubts, a contentious Malcolm, and, eventually, Taylor himself in the deliberation over whether or not Terra Nova’s leader could be a murderer, let alone what to do about it. "If they didn't, then the dragonfly will lead us right to the spy's front door, just as you suggested yesterday." - Malcolm "If they didn't, and if the dragonfly could fly, but the fly can't fly." - Taylor In the meantime, Taylor and Malcolm are investigating a prehistoric dragon fly that has been trained to fly a microchip from the Sixers to their TN-based spy, following a specific sound frequency to reach its destinations. After Malcolm figures all of this out and nurtures the bug back to health (it was injured by Reynolds when it flew near a group of young children—its incapacitated state allowed for Malcolm to figure out just what was going on with the bug anyway), he sets it back out so that he and Taylor may track on its quest to the sound frequency and find out who the TN-based mole is. But here’s the thing: at this point, Taylor knows that Jim is onto him, so he sets up a mechanism to deliver the same sound frequency in Jim’s home so that he has grounds to arrest him—now that is government corruption. "If the people of Terra Nova knew that all of the blood, sweat and tears they put into building this place was built on a lie, and would probably come to absolutely nothing...well, they might as well lay down and die and forget the whole damn thing." - Taylor The whole ordeal is made pretty much moot by the fact that Jim and Taylor are, like, best friends. Taylor confesses everything to Jim while he’s in custody—without all that much provocation, by the way—and then allows him to go free. This is really a “Coming to his senses” scene, but considering the lengths the man went to, it seems a little bit like a “Did he just forget what he was doing?” scene. Anyway, Taylor admits some pretty pertinent information—flashback: his son Lucas comes back to TN on the second pilgrimage, but his intentions are to develop a two-way portal so that the 2100s could mine TN for resources (or so Taylor says…I have a feeling something far more diabolical is afoot). The government then sends back Taylor’s mentor, a 2100s General, to replace him and cooperate with their paradise-paving ploy. Unbeknownst to the one-armed general, apparently, his handicap is a pretty big detriment in close-range duels. He draws a gun on Taylor, but Taylor is quicker and manages to shoot and kill him. Subsequently, Taylor banishes his own son after realizing his malfeasance, telling him he never wants to see him again. So now we know the “What happened with Taylor and his son” backstory, which has been pretty much the biggest driving force of the series. The drawings on the rocks are also explained: they are Lucas’ plans for a two-way portal, which he draws on rocks in the woods to taunt his father (or so Taylor assumes). "Good friends, family, loved ones...we're all in this together. Without all of you, I'd have nothing." - Taylor We still don’t know who the Sixers’ mole is, but my hunch is the same as it was from the get-go: Washington. There might be a few things that contradict this, most notably her capture by the Sixers in an early episode. But there’s something about the way she pops into frame in this episode, twice—both in scenes when the spy is sort of, but not too obviously, being discussed. I’m going to have to go with my gut on this one and favor the language of the camera over logical in-universe signs. And anyway, there aren’t too many other major characters available as possibilities. With Boylan out, Malcolm too easy a choice, and Reynolds not really interesting enough to be a Sixer spy, Washington remains my bet. The Harvest Festival framing is a genuinely interesting way to illustrate the theme of this episode (plus, the whole thing ends with an elaborate fireworks show...which really, can't at all be a bad idea in a society surrounded by dinosaur-infested woods). The Terra Novans celebrate Taylor as the messiah: he is their savior, their leader, their pioneer. But, as only the ones with names know, he’s also a really messed up, emotionally damaged, anything-but-infallible head case with a power trip and a god complex and a whole bunch of other reasons why he shouldn’t be a totalitarian leader (including the one simply fact that no one should ever be a totalitarian leader). Taylor is married to his mission to preserve Terra Nova, and his understanding of how to do so allows for no substitutes as its absolute leader—this is trouble, no matter where his heart lies. And although things wrap up nicely for Jim and Taylor this time, I predict that will not always be the case from now on. portal that two-way portal should be ready any time now.
  • Chris Evans Joins Michael Shannon in 'The Iceman', Taking James Franco's Old Role
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 21, 2011
    At this point, Chris Evans is pretty much only capable of being looked at as a superhero. First, he was Johnny Storm, a.k.a The Human Torch in Fantastic Four and its sequel. Then, he shone as the star of Captain America: The First Avenger, a role he'll be reprising in next years The Avengers. And now, he's heading up the new superhero move called The Iceman, wherein he'll battle enemies with his winter breath and sub-zero rays and ability to...oh, wait, what? The Iceman isn't a superhero movie? It's a drama about a contract killer? Well, I just assumed. You know, because of Evans...Okay, I guess this could still be pretty cool. Evans is taking over the role formerly occupied by James Franco: Robert "Mr. Softee" Pronge, mentor to the titular "Iceman" figure, the real life murderer Richard Kuliski. Kuliski is being portrayed by Boardwalk Empire's terrific Michael Shannon. The project, directed by Ariel Vromen, is based on the book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, by Anthony Bruno. So no, it's not a superhero movie. No, it's not a Top Gun sequel. It's not even an adaptation Eugene O'Neill's esteemed Broadway play. But it still looks to be a pretty good movie. Source: Deadline
  • NBC Buys New Jim Henson Co. Puppet Sitcom
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 21, 2011
    As you must know, The Muppets are back, starting in theaters this Wednesday, Nov. 23. Whether anyone expected the world to get this excited over their return is hard to say, but there's no denying now that Jim Henson's theatrical clan is a force that inspires a great deal of enthusiasm. At least NBC realizes this, and they've thrown their hat into the ring for a new sitcom: The New Nabors. It's a potential series that would star a family of average humans who live next door to a family of puppets. Now, they're not exactly Muppets, but they are puppets, and they are created by a Henson. Jim's daughter Lisa -acting CEO of the Jim Henson Company - is executive producing the new show. Writing the project are Afterlife writer John Hoffman and 30 Rock writer John Riggi. It's natural to be skeptical about this sort of thing, however. Part of the magic of The Muppets comes from how much of an anomaly they are. We've seen attempts at puppet/human series before, and not always to great success. Think of My Cousin Skeeter. Think of Greg the Bunny. Yeah, you probably can't really think of these things; they weren't around for too long. But having the Henson name behind it is without a doubt a promising factor. If we do get to see this project take form, we'll have to pay it a bit more scrutiny. It's risky, but so were The Muppets I'm sure. And they amounted to something inspirational (and celebrational). Source: EW