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 New Trailer for Starz's 'Magic City' Stand Out Among Other 60s Dramas?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    We can all understand the desire to spearhead another period drama. Mad Men is still so many people's favorite show, and although Playboy Club tanked and Pan Am isn't exactly a ratings victor, the exploration of days long past is always going to be interesting. The question for Magic City, which takes place just a year before the 60s in the crime-laden, alcohol-induced high society of 1959 Miami, is: how far beyond the general premise are you willing to extend yourself? Mad Men's charm isn't invested entirely in its 1960s backdrop. We watch the show because of Don Draper, and Roger Sterling, and Joan Harris. Magic City stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko and Danny Huston -- all actors with great capability. So, we can hope that the writing will be rich enough for them to actually build characters we can get involved with.  Magic City will premiere this spring on Starz. Watch the trailer below and see what you think. Source: Deadline
  • New 'ParaNorman' Trailer Tells a Bewitching Story!
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    Just yesterday, we got our first look at the upcoming phenomenon of whimsy, ParaNorman in an illuminating poster. In the interim period, we all prayed hard enough for an imminent trailer release, that the woodland spirits have accumulated to create one. ParaNorman centers around a young boy with a Tim Burtonian fixation on the macabre. He brushes his teeth with a skull toothbrush and adorns his bedroom with pictures of ghouls and the like.   Once the darkness overtakes his town, Norman uses his unique familiarity with the shadowy world to come to the rescue of his family and neighbors. However...it'll be quite a journey: ghosts inhabit everything around him. Shady men track his every move. No ordinary people are safe. But Norman isn't any ordinary person. Team all that with the most victorious use of a song in a movie trailer, Donovan's "Season of the Witch," to get very, very excited about ParaNorman.    Source: Yahoo
  • What's Sexier, Trees or Ryan Gosling?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    You don't even have to know what this movie is about and you'd already be swept in by the coolness of the below picture. The Place Beyond the Pines stars Ryan Gosling (pictured below, if you were too enamored by the mystifying glance to perform basic facial recognition functions), Bradley Cooper (also suave), and Rose Byrne (the girl version of these people) in a story about a motorcycle stuntman who turns to crime (Gosling, who might be in danger of becoming victim of the most specific typecasting ever) to support his son financially. Gosling's Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance is helming this project. Now, it's hard to really tell anything from a still photo...but I'm willing to go out on a limb (tree joke) and assume that this will be a beautiful frenzy of human desperation. Though, of course, I'm just a sap (tree joke) for Gosling—even if he might need to branch out (tree joke) from all these stuntman movies. But, with cast members like Rose (plant joke) Byrne and Emory (tree joke) Cohen, I really don't think I'm barking up the wrong movie. Source: Indiewire
  • Bill Murray Joins Charlie Sheen in Roman Coppola's 'The Mind of Charles Swan'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    Bill Murray was once referred to as the "tippy-top of the A-List" (by a man from Tallahassee—but not the man from Tallahassee), and has been celebrated by many of us as one of the finest actors in the history of Hollywood. With all sincerity do I mean that: he is comedically brilliant, and dramatically exquisite. So, whatever side of himself he'll be hosing us down with in the upcoming Roman Coppola film, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, we should be ready to be doused in some vehement amazement. Murray will be joining an already impressive cast including Charlie Sheen, the indy-maestro Jason Schwartzman and the heart-stealing Aubrey Plaza. Murray has regaled us with talent for over thirty years. Some of his career highlights include Carl Spackler in Caddyshack, Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters, Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, his roles in Wes Anderson films such as Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Acquatic (not to mention the upcoming Moonrise Kingdom), and Bob Harris in Lost in Translation. Murray is also one of the few non-Johnny Depp actors to portray Hunter S. Thompson in film (to the writer's delight, at least), playing Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam. My point: Bill Murray is good. His range is insurmountable. His delivery is human and deliberate. His everything is everything it should be. Charlie Sheen will play the titular Charles Swan III, a wealthy, famous graphic artist whose life enters a dismal downward spiral after a devastating breakup. No word on who Murray will play just yet. But guaranteed: BEST CHARACTER. And this is coming from someone who really loves both Jason Schwartzman and Aubrey Plaza. ... Funny People was awesome. Source: Variety
  • 'Bourne Ultimatum's' Albert Finney Brings His Majesty to 'James Bond 23'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    Bond 23 is racking up a pretty formidable cast. Bond films aren't always chock full of big name actors, but it's quite likely that the attachment of Sam Mendes, who employs the unique habit of making movies that are good, as director has inspired some confidence in the quality of the project. Of course, Daniel Craig is returning as James Bond. News earlier this month confirmed that the shadowmonster Javier Bardem will be playing the most horrifying Bond villain to date, teamed with the more scary-in-the-Jafar-way Ralph Feinnes as a co-villain (or perhaps a rival villain? Villainy is confusing). Plus, Judi Dench revives her M-anessence, and a whole bunch of stage actors find their way into the project, as well. The latest: Albert Finney is signing on as a high ranking BFO official. Finney has one of those long, varied careers that sort of flow by us, slightly under the radar, without demanding much flash or spotlight. But when you actually take a second to consider them, you realize that they're far more sophisticated and impressive than those of many of the stars with whom we're more familiar. The actor is also reviving his Bourne Ultimatum role in the upcoming Bourne Legacy. Over the years, Finney has played Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, Lysander, Daddy Warbucks, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Ed Masry and Kilgore Trout. Also, some original characters, too. The already promising Bond 23 is lucky to have an actor of this magnitude. Source: Indiewire
  • UPDATE: Sylvester Stallone Locked in 'The Tomb,' Antoine Fuqua Breaks Free
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    UPDATE: Antoine Fuqua, formerly attached to direct The Tomb has decided to drop the directorial position so that he can focus on helming the boxing drama Southpaw, starring Eminem. EARLIER: There have been Tombstones, Tomb Raiders, Tombs of the Dragon Emperor... but has there ever just been a Tomb? Well, there will be: We'll be seeing The Tomb sometime soon. Perhaps not tomb-orrow, but the year tomb-thousand twelve will see this project take form. And now, Sylvester Stallone will be part of that form. In the film, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter), Stallone will play Ray Breslin, expert on architectural security. His speciality: the unbreakoutable prison. Of course, whenever someone build a prison that cannot be broken out of, you know that, somewhere along the line, that person is going to end up needing to break out of it. Breslin will be framed for a high-profile crime and locked in inpenetrable cell he designed. He will need to find some way to get out, as quickly as possible, in order to clear his own name and shed a light on the real perpetrator of the crime. This is right up Stallone's alley. It's intense and adrenal with some potential intrigue. A man must discover the weaknesses of his creation—by extension, himself—in order to save his own life. That's a powerful metaphor...I hope I'm not just reading into it tomb-uch. Source: Variety
  • 'Person of Interest' Recap: The Fix
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    S1E6: I have made mention in the past about my preference when it comes to Person of Interest episodes for those that focus strongly on the backstory of either Reese or Finch, or ones that play heavily to the more overarching storyline. This week’s episode, “The Fix,” accomplishes both of those tasks, but in a way unlike that which we have seen from the show so far—which is a third plus (it’s always a positive to keep ‘em guessing). And a strictly visceral level, this might be the most basely exciting self-contained storyline to date. All in all, not a bad week for Person of Interest. ”Wanna get out of here?” – Zoe “Where are we going?” – Reese “To do something illegal.” – Zoe The self-contained plot centers around a woman (Paige Turco) not quite unlike John Reese. She has no real profession or education, but she supports herself in a two million dollar apartment. How? She’s a fixer. She does favors for people, off the record, in return for cash. And it looks like we might be seeing more of her than just this week’s episode. But for now, what we know of her is that she is hired to retrieve an incriminating recording for Mr. Lawson, (Tim Guinee), a trusted businessman and public figure who runs a pharmaceutical company owned by one Mr. Keller (Brian Murray), whom we find out later on is just as corrupt as his underlings. Assumed to be a recording of an extramarital affair, the tape that Zoe is hired to retrieve from some conniving Internet writer—the worst kind of people—actually reveals a discussion about the horrible side effects the company’s drug has on its users. The conversation is between Lawson and a woman named Dana Miller (Anna Koonin), who was murdered—but pronounced dead by a brain aneurism—six months prior. This is where the interesting part of the episode comes in. Miller’s number, much like Zoe’s does at the beginning of this week’s episode, came up on Finch’s machine half a year back. However, this was before Finch had tracked down his leg man. So, when Miller was killed, Finch was tortured. This was not specific to Miller: before Reese came around, Finch had to sit idly by as innocent people were murdered whom he could not save. In this episode, Finch explains wistfully how helpless he felt to just watch the machine spit out numbers, forced to accept the inevitability of the circumstances. Although it’s not as gripping as some more concrete backstory, it is good development. Usually—especially in interactions with Reese—all we see of Finch is sort of a hollow, robotic man who has “decided” on this mission he has accepted for himself and for his partner. But to see Finch actually overcome with emotion, it actually shines a little more sense onto the question of why this guy would be leading his life this way. It never actually seemed right to me. Granted, the few snippets we saw of his past—working with a partner who scorned him for his younger days’ disinterest in the “irrelevant” crimes—gave us some insight about what would be driving his superhero complex. But to see Finch actually gutturally affected by a person’s death, and bent on avenging her death by saving another potential victim of the same murderer, makes it ring true a bit louder. “That’s what I wanted to be. The person who knows what to say and always has something to trade.” – Zoe Another interesting facet developed in this episode is the idea of a new recurring character. We haven’t gotten any new recurring characters since the pilot, and it’ll be nice to see someone who isn’t Reese or Finch that also isn’t a cop. As stated above, Zoe is a lot like Reese—they establish that from the very beginning, when a parallel is drawn between them in the casing of Zoe’s apartment. Finch finds it odd that Zoe does not have any personal belongings (“things that she cares about”), but Reese identifies immediately with this, claiming that he is the same way. After saving Zoe (he has been posing as her chauffer to stay close to her) from the clutches of Lawson’s henchmen, he opens up some honesty about his ‘line of work’ with her, and they build a kind of Bonnie and Clyde thing, to some degree. The duo is eventually apprehended by Keller, Lawson and co. Once Zoe reveals that she has sent the incriminating file to a trusted source, she is given the opportunity to live if she leads the men to said source and gives up the file. The events to follow are straight out of a good deal of spy/kidnapping/crooks-in-love movies: everyone thinks she’s leaving him to die, she secretly slips him a clothespin to undo his handcuffs before leaving, once alone with the buffoon-of-a-henchman, the hero takes him down with his own weapon and comes to the rescue of the heroine right as the bad guys find out that she has been playing them. Nothing out of the ordinary here. But what I do like is the hint that Zoe drops at the end regarding a possible reoccurrence. It’ll be nice for Reese to have a friend. Maybe someone to get between him and his work? Him and Finch? Could be interesting. The Det. Carson storyline in this episode sort of baffles me. I’m not too certain where it is coming from, or where it is going, but we’re invested in it right from the start. What I do like about it is the third awesome guest appearance in a row on POI: Dan Hedaya, one of the best character actors ever as a good-natured cop helping Carson investigate a homicide. The episode ends with Hedaya’s character killed, indicating that the possible reappearance of Zoe isn’t the only cliffhanger this week. POI is experimenting, and is doing so with success. We’re learning about the characters even when we aren’t aided by flashbacks. Don’t get me wrong—I love the flashbacks…but less is more. Plus, new developments on the Reese/Finch front and the Carson side of it all means stronger overarching story that will, hopefully soon, start to tie all our loose ends together.
  • New 'My Week with Marilyn' Poster is the Classiest One Yet
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    Okay, all other images from My Week with Marilyn. I'm talking to you, first poster. And you, collection of narrative screenshots. You were all pretty classy...but you made one fatal error: color. Everybody knows that black-and-white is always classier than color, and that's why this newest poster from the Michelle Williams starrer is the top of the tier for all of the MWWM images to date. Don't you get all worked up, picture of Marilyn swimming. You had your chance. Black-and-white and twilight lake swimming? You could have knocked 'em outta the park. But no. You had to go for color. You all did. That's right, leering Michelle, Eddie Redmayne and Emma Watson. Quit your leering. The decision has been made. This new poster is the winner. And as for you, Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier...well, I'm kind of too afraid to tell you off. So, call it a tie?  All of these images aside, My Week with Marilyn does have a lot going for it. It has a stellar cast, and an intriguing subject matter...but who's to say if the classiness depicted by the poster below will be embraced by the film itself? For a bit of perspective on the movie, check out our HIFF film review of My Week with Marilyn.  Source: Moviefone
  • Casting Roundup: 'Dexter' Star on 'Good Wife,' Jim Gaffigan Gets His Own Show
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    There are two types of Dexter fans: those who love Jennifer Carpenter—who plays the title character's guttermouth sister Deborah Morgan—and those who can't stand her. I subscribe to the former group, enjoying Dex-Deb scenes whenever they are offered. And now, my fellow Carpentrarians and I can rejoice over the actress' guest spot on The Good Wife. No word yet on what role Carpenter will play in the sordid lives of Alicia Florick (Julianna Margulies) and company, but her episode is supposed to air sometime in December. The Good Wife airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. -TVLine Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a pretty narrow range of subject matter in his standup: his love of eating, and his aversion to doing anything other than eating. Somehow, this never, ever gets old, and Gaffigan is consistently one of the funniest contemporary comedians out there. Thus, NBC has wisely decided to give the man his own show. Gaffigan will write and star in a new single-camera sitcom. He'll will play a lazy middle-aged man, living in a cramped apartment with his hot-tempered wife and four children. The plight of the hapless manchild is hardly a groundbreaking plot for sitcoms, but the humor will come from the glory that is Jim Gaffigan. -Deadline 2 Broke Girls is bringing in Marsha Thomason, recognizable to fans of White Collar as Diana Barrigan and to fans of LOST as the acerbic Naomi Dorrit. Thomason will play somewhat of a rival to star Kat Dennings' Max. The two will butt heads when Thomason, playing a woman named Cashandra, vies for the heart of Johnny (Nick Zano), whose recurring arc on 2 Broke Girls began earlier this month. As Johnny serves as a romantic interest to Max, Cashandra's pursuit of him will naturally cause a hefty sum of problems. 2 Broke Girls airs Monday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. -TVLine
  • 'Big Bang Theory' Star Kaley Cuoco Will Host the 2012 People's Choice Awards
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    Of all the People's Choice Awards hosts since 2007, this year's is, by far, the least Queen Latifah-y. For the first time in five years, Latifah will grant the hosting duties to another: Kaley Cuoco, star of The Big Bang Theory. Thanks to her hit sitcom, Cuoco's exposure has been none too slim in recent years. However, branching out into other things—be they acting or hosting—is definitely a good move if she wants to apply some versatility to her name. This summer, Cuoco hosted Fox's Teen Choice Awards. This quick expansion from Teen to People's is an impressive maneuver in the Choice Awards world. Perhaps Cuoco's hosting abilities overshine even her acting talents? Maybe soon, she'll move onto the Golden Globes? The Emmys? The Oscars? Does Billy Crystal finally have a worthy successor? The 38th Annual People's Choice Awards will air live on January 11, 2012 on CBS. Source: THR