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.
  • Does the Trailer for De Niro/Paul Dano Starrer 'Being Flynn' Tell the Same Old Story?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 15, 2011
    Writers are, in general, a narcissistic bunch. From your grand, esteemed novelist to your lowly movies blogger, you'd be hard-pressed to find a writer who isn't, to some degree, invigorated by the idea that his own story would make a great story. And though I say this with a tone, it's really not at all a bad thing. This is because everybody—writer or otherwise—has his own story to tell. Everyone's story is different. And when it comes to writers, the stories behind the stories are different as well. So, we can have tons of movies about writing: Finding Forrester, Shakespeare in Love, Adaptation., Barton Fink (to name only four of the dozens). All unique, all interesting in their way. So there is nothing at all a problem with a film about a writer trying to find his story. Unfortunately, in the case of what Being Flynn seems to be, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of originality in the story or the characters. Judging by the first trailer, which features Robert De Niro as a troubled, wayward author and estranged father to Paul Dano, himself an aspiring writer, Being Flynn is not too much we haven't seen before. Instead of striving to make an original, unique and specific story for this duo of adept performers to capture, it looks as though writer/director Paul Weitz opts for a sweeping, general, overtly sappy and traditional Hollywood tale that "plays it safe." This is even indicated by the retitling of the film from Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City to Being Flynn, although it's highly understandable why such actions might have been necessary. Of course, this is all a judgment based on a single, fairly brief trailer. Weitz has delivered us some memorable class in the past, and both of his leading men, as well as some of his other major players (Julianne Moore and Olivia Thirlby) can pack powerful performances. See for yourself what you think of Being Flynn by watching the first trailer below. Source: Apple
  • CBS Benches 'Rules of Engagement' For Rob Schneider Comedy
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 15, 2011
    This is the time of the year when the slots for midseason replacements are solidified. Yesterday, we got a glance at NBC's midseason schedule, which contained some apocalyptic absences. Now we look to CBS, which has decided to put one of its sitcoms on the bench. Rules of Engagement will be on hold for the spring semester, leaving a space in the network's Thursday night lineup for a new comedy series: the Rob Schneider starrer ¡Rob!. Rules of Engagement, starring David Spade and Patrick Warburton, airs on CBS on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Come the return of television's post-winter hiatus, ¡Rob! will assume this timeslot, allowing Schneider to take a stab at one of network television's most prized positions. Schneider's series, loosely based on his life, will follow the misadventures of an American man (Schneider) who marries into a very close, eccentric and overbearing Mexican family. Familial tensions, culture clashes, and "You can do it!"s? We're in for the works. This does not mean that Rules of Engagement is canceled. On the contrary: the sitcom will go back to airing in its Thursday time slot later in the season, albeit with fewer episodes (totaling 15 for the season as opposed to the original deal of 20). ¡Rob! will premiere Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. The status of other CBS shows are as follows: Undercover Boss' third season will premiere Sunday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Amazing Race will pick up sometime in the spring season as well. Source: TVLine
  • Listen to Cameron Crowe's and Sigur Rós' Jónsi's Original Song for 'We Bought a Zoo'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 15, 2011
    Cameron Crowe has had his share of music experience. You might recall the semi-autobiographical adventures of a young Rolling Stone reporter in the Crowe's signature film, Almost Famous. Others might remember a very stereo-centric scene in Crowe's first feature, Say Anything.... And, of course, there were the music videos and the documentaries: Tom Petty, Alice in Chains, Elton John, Pearl Jam... it's fair to say that Crowe knows his way around a tune. So, it's both unsurprising and pretty darn groovy that he has come to collaborating with Sigur Rós' frontman Jónsi on some original music for the upcoming We Bought a Zoo. Crowe and Jónsi (Jón Þór Birgisson) co-wrote "Gathering Stories," the final song on We Bought a Zoo's soundtrack, and coming from a fan of Crowe, Jónsi, Sigur Rós, stories, gatherings, soundtracks, original music, zoos, financial transactions, and this symbol: Þ, I can objectively state that this song is pretty darn groovy. Unsurprisingly. The musical Crowe-laboration is available free thanks to NPR. You can listen to it on NPR's website by clicking here. We Bought a Zoo opens Dec. 23 and stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, and Almost Famous star Patrick Fugit. Via TheFilmStage
  • 'Pineapple Express' Director David Gordon Green Takes Time-Travel Romance 'Q'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 15, 2011
    If you think the title is an eyebrow-raiser, wait until you hear the plot of Q. It's almost impossible to battle back your "Um..."s when considering the story by novelist Evan Mandery. But give it a few moments, and you'll realize just how promising this project is. Q, a film to be adapted by writer/director David Gordon Green from Mandery's time-travel/romance novel, a young man who is visited by a future incarnation of himself some time before his wedding to the titular Q (not sure why her name is Q, nor why this perplexes me more than the man-visiting-himself-from-the-future aspect of the plot). The man's future self warns him not to marry his beloved Q: a command with which the man complies. The man's subsequent Q-less life is plagued with a scarsity of fulfillment, and a surplus of future selves. One by one, future versions of himself come back to the man, warning him which paths to take: they insist he do things like apply to law school, take up instruments, become a runner, and quit each of these practices. Where will his travails with his countless future selves take him? How and why has all of this come to be? Will the man ever reunite with his beloved fiancee? That is the big Q...uestion. David Gordon Green has directed a wide variety of films, including the intimate dramas George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow, Snow Angels, as well as broad comedies like Pineapple Express, Your Highness and next month's The Sitter. Source: Comingsoon
  • Miss Piggy Talks 'The Muppets' on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 15, 2011
    In celebration of the upcoming The Muppets movie, Jimmy Kimmel welcomed a particularly unusual guest to Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night: Miss Piggy. The notoriously self-adoring performer was proud to donate her time to Jimmy, whom she stated (with regard to her appearance on the show) has "finally booked a real star." Miss Piggy went on about the tedious work it is maintaining a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is why she has chosen not to receive one, being in the "longest interspecies relationship in Hollywood" with Kermit the Frog, and how she'll watch anything with Real Housewives in the title. When the interview continued, Miss Piggy discussed the difficulties of dining out as a pig, and not being a fan of Kermit's extended family. She also discussed working with Jason Segel and her opinions of her longtime companions: Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, Statler & Waldorf and the Swedish chef.
  • Jason Segel's Face Scares Little Children: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 15, 2011
    Last night, Jason Segel appeared on The Late Show to discuss how his new movie The Muppets went over on the test audiences. Children loved the Muppets, but apparently had a hard time dealing with Segel's face. Amy Adams showed up on The Tonight Show to recall stories about sleeping in a car with her six siblings, the not-so-graceful dancing of her Muppets costar Segel, and being asked to join the movie by Kermit the Frog himself. Jane Lynch visited Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to discuss Glee and the politics of Sue Sylvester, to give her own take on the republican debates, and to talk about having participated in only three of the (as of tonight) three hundred songs on the show despite being the only actor on set who still enjoys singing. Finally, Sarah Michelle Gellar stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to debate who is "good" and who is "evil" in her series Ringer, and to argue about the very political issue of bringing pillows onto airplanes.
  • 'Terra Nova' Recap: Proof
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 14, 2011
    S1E7: This week's Terra Nova offers a slight change regarding which Shannons get the meat of the screen time/story severity. Jim plays a supporting role to Taylor for the first third of the episode, retiring to perform some handy exposition with Liz for the remaining forty minutes (albeit capping off the episode with some nick-of-time machismo). This week's Terra Nova, "Proof," invests in the elder Shannon children, who take the law into their own hands. As you might guess, Maddy is on the serve-and-protect side of things, trying to outsmart and bring to justice a man she believes to be a fraud and a murderer. Josh, on the other hand, is a less noble figure this episode: he takes on a brief stint as a criminal, all with the intention to (you already know) get his girlfriend sent back to Terra Nova. And Taylor...well, everytime Taylor's son is brought into the equation, we see Taylor slip just a little further into the abyss of lunacy. "Tell Dad I'll be home in time to make the asparagus." - Maddy An exploration team that has been gone for six months returns to Terra Nova, and the team includes Maddy's hero: Dr. Ken Horton (guest star Robert Coleby), a great scientist who wrote the book that inspired and eased her about her trip into the past, Atlas of a Long Forgotten World. However, upon meeting the fellow, Maddy finds that he's not all he was cracked up to be. He forgets and contradicts past statements of his from his book (which he attributes to a stroke) and boasts a signature that does not match the one signed on a fan letter he sent to Maddy long ago. She is probed to investigate, with the help of Zoe, who assumes the man is a vampire (apparently vampires are going to be trendy all the way into the 2100s...and then back into prehistory...so we're doomed...) and Malcolm, minorly, who also has his suspicions of the ill-tempered man. However, Maddy's real triumph over Dr. Horton comes from her own mental machinations. She channels her own middle child syndrome to realize that the would-be Horton is actually the real Horton's assistant, who murdered him before heading back in time to Terra Nova (so that he could take his place in the paradise world). Once Faux Horton realizes Maddy is onto him, he attempts to kill her, but a well-timed "code word" delivered through her baby sister to her dad gets Jim there just in time to knock the murderous maniac out cold. Now, I'm a sucker for a detective story. This isn't exactly a clue-laden, expertly crafted Sherlock Holmes tale, but it's a fun subplot...even if it really contributes nothing to the story as a whole (except maybe the "We can't really trust anyone here" theme that's been lain in place for a few weeks now). But the best part of it is, we get to see Maddy do something other than fawn over her Pakuni boyfriend. I get that Terra Nova is a new world to her, and in that world she doesn't have to just be a lonely brainiac...but sometimes, she should be a lonely brainiac. That's where her charm comes in. "They say a man's nature is revealed by how he discharges his debts." - Boylan And now, for the brother. Josh has been slated as the trouble son since the pilot, when he denounced his dad for having been in jail too long and set off into the woods with some Terra Novians as a...statement? Or boredom, or something. Anyway, ever since then, he's been dead set on getting his girlfriend sent back to Terra Nova to live in the gradually-cracking paradise. Over the course of previous episodes, he went to work for the seedy bartender Boylan, who is his link to the Sixers, who have the technology to bring Cara back to the Nove. The Sixers are willing to comply with Josh's request, so long as he steals a bunch of medicine from the community hospital (to do so, he'll have to steal his doctor mother's security card). Josh battles with the ethics behind this, ultimately deciding that it is worth lying to and stealing from his parents in order to bring his girlfriend back from the deadly 2100s. Josh's break-in goes awry, and he is forced to smash his way into the cabinets, leaving a fair amount of evidence that somebody might have been there illicitly. Jim investigates, and the clues eventually lead him back to Boylan, who reveals that the Sixers do indeed have the technology to speak to the future. Josh makes his delivery in time, but he also comes clean to his parents (and retrieves for them the amount of medicine needed to save an ailing patient his mother mentioned in passing). However, he does lose their trust, and potentially the friendship of Skye, who methinks is a bit upset that he is still so hung up on Cara after all they've been through. It seems as though this is as far as Josh's loyalties to his family can be bended. He is overcome by guilt and admits his misdeeds by the end, indicating that we probably won't see him teaming with the Sixers behind the community's back anymore. Does this mean stray Josh adventures are over, and he'll be confined to self-contained episodes for a while? Or will his girlfriend show up, and he'll be stuck with love-triangle drama? I'm not sure which is preferable... "This is the first time I've ever heard you talk about Lucas. How long has it been since he went missing?" - Jim "That's not my favorite topic." - Taylor Taylor takes Jim to the waterfront (did anyone else know they were on an island? Does anyone else hope it's a special island? With a glowing core?) for a fishing trip. While there, they discover an individual campsite thrown asunder. Jim heads back home, and Taylor tracks the injured party to realize that it is the soldier he banished from Terra Nova -- he has been attacked by a gila monster, or something. Taylor fights off his predator and nurses him to help, and promises to consider allowing him back into society...with a favor in exchange: Taylor gives him a secretive mission to, so it seems, find his long-lost son. Taylor seems to know what we do: his son isn't "lost," he's gone. He split out of malice or rebellion or some crazy calling. Whatever reason, this better come into play soon. The most promising thing about Terra Nova is the potential in this Lucas Taylor story. Taylor, Jr., has something in the works -- something big, and some crazy in his eyes to boot. This show can't last on Josh's will to see his girlfriend alone. Either they work this big storyline into the episodes soon, or there won't be much will to keep watching.
  • Casting Roundup: NPH Subs For Regis on 'Live!', 'Mad Men' Star Joins New ABC Comedy
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 14, 2011
    The idea of Neil Patrick Harris guest-hosting on Live! makes me envious of the unemployed, because they can stay home and watch a heap of NPH's daytime glory come the end of this month. After Regis Philbin's resignation from the show, Kelly Ripa will be enjoying a series of guest hosts, one of whom will be the film, TV and theater star Harris. The actor has enjoyed guest spots on Live! in the past, and he'll be regaling viewers with his magic once more from Monday, Nov. 28 to Friday, Dec. 2. -Deadline We're not sure what Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23 is up to, what with its provocative title and James Van Der Beek starring as himself, but we're definitely intrigued. It doesn't hurt that Apartment 23 (or Don't Trust the B—...we're not sure which is the official shorthand just yet) is roping in a guest star from the glorious Mad Men. Young Kiernan Shipka, the AMC series' Sally Draper, will guest on the new ABC comedy, playing herself. In the reality of the show, Shipka will co-star with Van Der Beek in a "single dad" movie. DTTBIA23 (okay, that's definitely not the shorthand) will premiere on ABC as a midseson replacement. -EW A new Christmas tradition is about to be set in place: Pamela Anderson has signed on to play the Virgin Mary on a Canadian comedy TV special called A Russell Peters Christmas Special. The program will be a sketch comedy show, featuring Anderson as the Virgin Mary in a sketch themed after the birth of Jesus at the manger. Those familiar with Peters (and those who comprehend why he chose Anderson) can expect that the show will be far from reverent. The special will air in the U.S. on Dec. 1. -THR
  • 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn' Star Ashley Greene Joins 'Pan Am' For a Few Episodes
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 14, 2011
    All  Twilight fans have it marked down on their calendars/carved into their furniture/tattooed on their arms that this Friday marks the theatrical release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. As exciting as this is to Twi-hards everywhere, the big screen isn't the only place we'll be able to see one of our favorite stars of the series. Ashley Greene, who is known for playing Alice Cullen in Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and the upcoming Breaking Dawn films, will be finding a spot on television, as a guest star on ABC's period drama Pan Am.  Greene's character on Pan Am will be quite dissimilar from her clairvoyant sister of Twilight hero—or villain, depending on your team—Edward (Robert Pattinson). Greene will enjoy a three-episode arc on Pan Am playing a socialite who has a personal history with co-pilot Ted Vanderway (series regular Michael Mosley). "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," the first Pan Am episode to feature Greene, will air Sunday, Dec. 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 opens this Friday, Nov. 18. Source: THR
  • Experience the Many Sides of Rooney Mara in 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' Clip
    By: Michael Arbeiter Nov 14, 2011
    One minute in the life of Lisbeth Salander would feel like a week for the many of us who dine on the mundane. The below minute-long clip from the upcoming David Fincher film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo depicts the captivating hacker-extraordinaire Salander (Rooney Mara) in many a light. We see her as the victim to the abuse of sick, power-hungry men. We see her as she has collected herself after suffering said abuse: a survivor, a warrior, a superhero (or is she?). The below clip opens in, of all places, a tattoo parlor, wherein Salander is undergoing the painful process of inking. We also see her martial aptitude, her photographic memory, her position as a "psychological outlier"...yes, for those of you out there yearning to see all the sides of Salander, the below clip does a pretty good job to satisfy. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens Dec. 21. Also starring are Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard. Source: TheMovieBox via Indiewire