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.
  • 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
  • New 'Boardwalk Empire' Previews Show Trouble for Nucky and the Schroeders
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 28, 2011
    Last week's Boardwalk Empire left us with some interesting developments for Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) and Maggie Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald). It seemed as though Nucky might finally be getting a little bit of good luck on his side. What with the Attorney General and the prosecutor willing to help out with his case, everything should be smooth sailing. But if that were the case, then this wouldn't be Boardwalk Empire, now would it? These clips show Nucky's associates might not be as entirely devoted to him as he may have thought. In fact, the only thing they really do care about is money. Meanwhile, Maggie is concerned with raising good children...but how can she set an example when she and her kids live in the home of a known criminal? Maggie takes her son Teddy to speak with a stern priest who doesn't think too highly of her parenting. Finally, watch the preview for the episode to see the show's trademark balance between the mystifying showmanship of Atlantic City and its dark, haunting underworld of ruthless crime. Boardwalk Empire airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
  • 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.'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