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.
  • John Goodman Will Tie for Most Coeny Actor in Coen Bros' 'Inside Llewin Davis'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    And John Goodman snags the tie! It has been announced that Goodman, repeat offender in the Coen Brothers' filmmaking family, will join the casting of Inside Llewyn Davis. This will be Goodman's sixth Coen appearance, earning him a tying position as the most recurring Coen actor in Hollywood. Joel and Ethan Coen are known for their casting of several actors in multiple films. John Torturro and Jon Polito can each be seen in five different Coen Brothers films—Torturro is known best in the Coeniverse as the lead character in Barton Fink, or perhaps the bizarre pederast (who can roll) Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski, whereas Polito's big Coen role was his opening monologue in Miller's Crossing. While five Coen films is an impressive resume, Steve Buscemi tops them with six (if you include their short segment of the compilation film Paris, Je T'Aime in the mix). But winning on that technicality as the only individual to star in six full Coen Brothers feature films is Frances McDormand, whose most memorable role is undoubtedly in Fargo. But McDormand won't be the sole record-holder for long. John Goodman currently has five Coen films under his belt, and his recent casting in the developing Inside Llewyn Davis will make six. Earlier today, it was announced that Justin Timberlake was being reached for a major role in the film. Oscar Isaac is set to star as the title role, with Carey Mulligan playing the wife of the character being offered to Timberlake. Source: Indiewire
  • Get a Look at Adam Sandler as Dracula in 'Hotel Transylvania'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    Adam Sandler as Dracula? Now I've seen everything*! The great animator Genndy Tartakovsky, responsible for some of your favorite childhood memories (Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack) is bringing us Hotel Transylvania: an animated movie about the misadventures of some of horror fiction's greatest figures. Sandler will lead the cast as Dracula, who runs the Hotel Transylvania as a safe haven for monsters who wish to live free of human interference. Andy Samberg will play the human who inevitably comes across the resort, throwing the residents' lives into chaos. Other monstrous favorites (and their voice actors) included will be Frankenstein (Kevin James), the Bride of Frankenstein (Fran Drescher), Quasimodo (David Spade), a werewolf couple (Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon) and a mummy (Cee Lo Green). Below is a storyboard illustration of Sandler's Dracula. Click the image to see more illustrations of the character over at  *I have seen nothing. Source: Comingsoon
  • Celebrate Halloween with Our Modern Horror Movie Montage
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    Many people don't get Halloween. Some think of it as a silly holiday. Just an excuse to indulge your hedonism without public disapproval. Some call it a demonic festivity. Others, just plain stupid. But all of those people know nothing of its true nature. Halloween is a holiday that celebrates the most base human sensibility there is: fear. In our normal lives, we try to avoid fear. It's Darwinian to do so. But once a year, it is healthy to embrace all of the things that terrify us—be it rational or not. Below is a montage of classic scenes from the horror genre. The clip has got every trademark of the theme: contorting faces, mirror appearances, after-hours forestation, blood, anthropomorphic reptiles, creatures emerging as if from nowhere, Freddy Kruger, backwards crawling, blades, sharks, pitchforks, cells (both prison and biological), the Devil, werewolves, ghost children, zombies, bugs, drowning and human centipedes. Enjoy! Or cower. Whatever your preference. 
  • 'Without a Trace' Star Anthony LaPaglia Joins Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    Gather 'round for more Django Unchained casting news! Without a Trace star Anthony LaPaglia is joining the cast of Quentin Tarantino's slavery-era Western. LaPaglia will play a vicious Australian gangmember who will, according to the actor himself, be partnered with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (recently reported as a possible castmember) as the 50/50 star's brother, despite being twenty-two years older than Gordon-Levitt. It seems that this Civil War-era film set in the United States' Deep South is attracting a wide variety of international characters. In addition to LaPaglia and JGL playing Australians, Christoph Waltz will play a German bounty hunter who comes to the aid of the titular Django (Jamie Foxx), on a quest to rescue and avenge his wife, Broomhilda (the recently cast Kerry Washington). The character LaPaglia is set to play will be one of several Australian criminals who cross paths with Django and his German associate while trasnporting slaves to the property of evil plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). LaPaglia is right on the money for Tarantino casting. He's known for a niche television role: the sort of pop culture Tarantino celebrates in all of his films. The potential brotherly pairing with Gordon-Levitt would seem bizarre and curious in a film by any other director, but that sort of weird, not-quite-right quality is a Tarantino staple. Source: Deadline
  • BIFA Nominees Include 'Tinker, Tailor,' 'Shame' and 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    The Moët British Independent Film Awards have announced this year's nominees—and most of them are very, very good. Among the films nominated are the espionage mystery/thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy, Steve McQueen's severe human drama Shame starring Michael Fassbender, the horrifyingly tragic We Need to Talk About Kevin, Richard Ayoade's artistic novel adaptation Submarine, and many others. Expect many of these to be Oscar possibilities. The 14th Annual Moët British Independent Film Awards will take place on Sunday, December 4th, 2011. BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM SENNA SHAME TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY TYRANNOSAUR WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN BEST DIRECTOR Ben Wheatley – KILL LIST Steve McQueen – SHAME Tomas Alfredson – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY Paddy Considine – TYRANNOSAUR Lynne Ramsay – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR] Joe Cornish – ATTACK THE BLOCK Ralph Fiennes – CORIOLANUS John Michael McDonagh – THE GUARD Richard Ayoade – SUBMARINE Paddy Considine – TYRANNOSAUR BEST SCREENPLAY John Michael McDonagh – THE GUARD Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump – KILL LIST Abi Morgan, Steve McQueen – SHAME Richard Ayoade – SUBMARINE Lynne Ramsay, Rory Kinnear – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN BEST ACTRESS Rebecca Hall – THE AWAKENING Mia Wasikowska – JANE EYRE MyAnna Buring – KILL LIST Olivia Colman – TYRANNOSAUR Tilda Swinton – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN BEST ACTOR Brendan Gleeson – THE GUARD Neil Maskell – KILL LIST Michael Fassbender – SHAME Gary Oldman – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY Peter Mullan – TYRANNOSAUR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Felicity Jones – ALBATROSS Vanessa Redgrave – CORIOLANUS Carey Mulligan – SHAME Sally Hawkins – SUBMARINE Kathy Burke – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Michael Smiley – KILL LIST Tom Hardy – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY Benedict Cumberbatch – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY Eddie Marsan – TYRANNOSAUR Ezra Miller – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER Jessica Brown Findlay – ALBATROSS John Boyega – ATTACK THE BLOCK Craig Roberts – SUBMARINE Yasmin Paige – SUBMARINE Tom Cullen – WEEKEND BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION KILL LIST TYRANNOSAUR WEEKEND WILD BILL YOU INSTEAD BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT Chris King, Gregers Sall – Editing – SENNA Sean Bobbitt – Cinematography – SHAME Joe Walker – Editing – SHAME Maria Djurkovic – Production Design – TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY Seamus McGarvey – Cinematography – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN BEST DOCUMENTARY HELL AND BACK AGAIN LIFE IN A DAY PROJECT NIM SENNA TT3D: CLOSER TO THE EDGE BEST BRITISH SHORT 0507 CHALK LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT RITE ROUGH SKIN BEST FOREIGN INDEPENDENT FILM ANIMAL KINGDOM DRIVE PINA A SEPARATION THE SKIN I LIVE IN THE RAINDANCE AWARD ACTS OF GODFREY BLACK POND HOLLOW LEAVING BAGHDAD A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • Fox Orders More 'Bob's Burgers'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    Fox's Sunday night lineup is primarily dominated by Seth MacFarlane cartoons these days, but the network's other animated series continue to flourish. For instance: Bob's Burgers. In May, Fox announced that the series, created by Lauren Bouchard (Home Movies, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist) and starring H. Jon Benjamin (of Bouchard's other series as well as FX's Archer) would be picked up for a second season. Now, that second season has been expanded by nine additional episodes, bringing the count to 22. However, it is uncertain when this second season will air. The debut of Bob's Burgers' second season is contingent upon the success or failure of Fox's other new animated projects, Allen Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite. Season 2 of Bob's Burgers might not find its way on air until the 2012-2013 television season. The series focuses on a hapless American family who own and operate a hanging-by-a-thread hamburger restaurant. Benjamin plays Bob Belcher, the varyingly levelheaded patriarch who tries tirelessly to make his business a success while taking care of his three bizarre children. Source: Vulture
  • Justin Timberlake to Join the Folk Scene in Coen Bros' 'Inside Llewyn Davis'?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 31, 2011
    We have all been pleading with our various deities to return Justin Timberlake to his rightful place in the music world. Now, he's not entirely there yet, but he has been making small steps. He will be playing a musical icon in the Neil Bogart biopic Spinning Gold. A week and a half ago, Timberlake was featured in FreeSol's "Role Model" video. The latest has it that he might be getting into a new musical scene: folk. Now, Timberlake fans might not necessarily be a big folk-loving audience, but a more encouraging aspect of this story might come attached to the names behind it all—the Coen Brothers. Joel and Ethan Coen are directing a film called Inside Llewyn Davis, chronicling the career of a folk musician in 1960s Greenwich Village. Starring in the film are Oscar Isaac as the title character and Carey Mulligan in a supporting role. Both actors were featured in the Ryan Gosling action twister Drive. The character offered to Timberlake (he has not yet accepted) is a folk musician named Jim, and will be the husband of Mulligan's character. Timberlake's early film choices were pretty flimsy, including crime dramas like Longshot and comedies like The Love Guru (although, Alpha Dog...really not so bad). The Social Network bumped up his average substantially, and this summer's Friends with Benefits and last week's In Time are unexpectedly fun. So, the next logical step is a Coen Brothers movie. If you are indeed trying to make acting your primary career, JT, this is the way to go. Plus...we all really want to see you sing again, folk music or otherwise. Source: Variety
  • 'Boardwalk Empire' Recap: The Age of Reason
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 30, 2011
    S2E6: It’s a testament to creativity in writing when a television show like Boardwalk Empire can maintain a larger, introspective theme among several of its subplots within an episode, even loosely—especially since Boardwalk is a show with a dozen disparaging storylines going on at once. The themes of this week’s episode, “The Age of Reason,” are religion and God—such are focal in the storylines of Nucky Thompson, Margaret Schroeder, Nelson van Alden (big surprise there), and, subtly and interestingly, Jimmy Darmody and his business partner, Manny Horvitz (the horrifying new character played by William Forsythe). On the secular side of things, Nucky’s legal matters take another dip when the malleable prosecutor is set to be replaced by someone more suited for the position. “I’m pretty confident that between the three of us, we can save his soul. I’ll be in the car.” – Nucky It is time for young Teddy Schroeder’s first communion, which is not exactly a comfortable endeavor for Maggie. Upon meeting with the priest with Nucky—a particularly non-God-fearing individual, despite his abundant familiarity with the practices of Catholicism—and her son, Maggie is provoked to endure a confession herself, which inspires a lot of anxiety in her. Nucky is suspicious that Maggie, taking the deed quite seriously, will reveal incriminating information about his practices, indicating that he doesn’t trust even men of the cloth (which is both unsurprising about Nucky’s character, and none too unwise—there are few individuals in this show who warrant anybody’s trust). Ep. 18 Clip - Father Brennan, Margaret and Teddy However, Maggie is plagued by guilt that is entirely unrelated to Nucky’s criminal dealings. As we’ve all suspected, Maggie has been harboring an attraction to Owen Slater, which finally manifests openly in this episode. First, she scolds Katie for her romantic rendezvous with Slater inside the house, tense and frigid over her own jealousy that Slater finds Katie attractive and not she. Buried somewhere in this is Maggie’s identity crisis of which we’ve been seeing a lot: is she the woman she used to be, the “lowly working girl” like Katie? Or is she of the upper-class now? And which does she wish to be? She doesn’t seem to be able to decide. Slater, however, is smoother than Cool Whip, and manages to induce a minor catatonia in Maggie with a simple touch of her hand. Maggie finally admits her feelings for Slater aloud in confession, still keeping them a secret from both Slater and Nucky. This is good news for Maggie’s character. The more time the series invests in her, the more she strays from the woman she was at its inception. She began in the neighborhood of van Alden, and might even surpass Nucky in terms of corruption. She has already proven, at times, to be one step ahead of him in the crime game (stealing his ledger book from the office). Now, even her visceral makeup is turning; her affection for Slater is unlike her previous actions as there is no measure to protect her family involved. This attraction to the handsome, risky young criminal indicates that she’s simply changing, and not really for the better (as a person, that is—as a character, she’s great). “I see you. I know what you did. Come out of there.” – Agent Clarkson Nelson van Alden becomes undone. The detective leaves the very pregnant, frighteningly disheveled Lucy to go pay a visit to Agent Clarkson, who is hospitalized after the explosion at Mickey Doyle’s warehouse. While Nelson is gone all day, Lucy—whose only request was that he pick up some lemons—breaks water and endures a long, painful, lonely labor. The steps of the birth are interspersed throughout the episode to show how Lucy, originally the flimsiest, most value-less person in Atlantic City, strengthens and comes into her own in delivering her own child: a girl. Nelson’s got some other problems, however. At the hospital, van Alden prays for Det. Clarkson (much to the discomfort of the other officers present). Clarkson awakens and tells van Alden that he “knows what he did.” This sends a stir through the detective, who is worried that G-d is sending a message through his bedridden coworker about his dealings with Mickey Doyle, his child with Lucy, and maybe that whole murder of Agent Sebsoe that seems to be of no consequence to anyone—including the dozens of witnesses. Thus, van Alden phones his wife, frantically but ambiguously admitting to his misdeeds. He prepares to do the same to his boss, but he realizes that Det. Clarkson is nothing more than a delirious burn victim who is reciting the “I know what you did” speech to everyone, channeling a childhood memory. Van Alden returns home to meet his daughter, who incites a faint but existent smile in the tortured soul that is this great, great character. However, his phone call provokes his wife, Rose, to pay a visit to Atlantic City. Once she realizes that he has fathered a child out of wedlock, she grows furious and storms out, leaving the man, as he was doing in the episode’s opening scene, to ruminate his battered interior, alone. Van Alden is consistently my favorite, save possibly for Richard, and to see him tossed into a state of rare emotionality and panic is a testament to the great Michael Shannon and his character. “You can’t kill everybody, Manny. It’s not good business.” – Jimmy Jimmy takes some lessons from two new father figures tonight (as if he didn’t have enough). First, Leander Whitlock, who chastises him for his nonstrategic method of dealing with Jackson Parkhurst last week. Second, Manny Horvitz. Now, Horvitz is a less obvious “mentor,” but his insistence that Jimmy slit the throat of Chaim/Herman, a man who betrayed both of them to Waxy Gordon, was sort of a lesson. Up until now, Jimmy’s mentors have been godless. But Horvitz’s avoidance of killing anything injured, as Herman is (treif—that’s the opposite of kosher) reflects some sort of spiritual code.Jimmy and Horvitz make a deal with Lucky and Meyer as they are making a delivery to Chucky for Nucky/Waxy/Rothstein. Under the bosses’ noses, they are all going into the heroin business together. After an episode like last week’s, it is unsurprising that the show would scatter the attention a bit more. However, even in a multi-plot episode like this, we get to see great internal developments for great characters like Maggie and van Alden. Plus, the religion theme is one that is a hit or miss on television. Here, it’s a big hit.
  • 'Saw' Meets 'Rio' in Hilarious 'Horrorio' Mash-Up Trailer
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 29, 2011
    As movies become more and more compartmentalized into specific genres, it is difficult to find a film that catches your interests entirely. Perhaps you love horror movies, but don't want to see something too dark or flavorless. Perhaps you're an animation fan, but don't like a story when the stakes are too low. Well, if this describes you, then you are in for a real treat: Horrorio, which combines the horrific sensibilities of the Saw films and the bright, fun-filled nature of movies like this year's Rio. Films today can take a lesson from Horrorio. Explore devices beyond your genre! Experiment with the flavors of other cinematic worlds! Have birds be chased by saws! HAVE BIRDS BE CHASED BY SAWS! And if you share my stance on the matter, then you will enjoy this Saw/Rio horrormation mashup: Horrorio.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger Emerges in 'Black Sands'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    Earlier today, the central The Tomb role that had Arnold Schwarzenegger's name circling around it for a while was given to Sylvester Stallone. But Schwarzenegger will never be hard pressed for roles as long as he wants them. He will be starring in a film called Black Sands, which explores a Southwestern warfare between a "lone wolf" type and a crooked arms dealing organization. Schwarzenegger will play the central hero who takes on the weapons manufacturers. Considering the star and the premise, I think we can assume that there will be very few moments in this movie that are not enrapt in gunfire, explosions, and vein-bulging. Directing are Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, who are also helming the upcoming Navy SEALs action thriller, Act of Valor. The script comes from a devoted genre writer/three time winner of the Los Angeles' Best Name of the Year Awards, Skip Woods, who has written The A-Team, Wolverine and Swordfish. He will also be writing the developing A Good Day to Die Hard. Production on Black Sands will begin on April 1, 2012...which makes me think that this whole thing might not be real at all. Source: Deadline