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 Celebrates Halloween with 'Community', 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Whitney' Clips
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Halloween kind of snuck up on us this year, but NBC's best comedies are well-prepared with episodes celebrating the holiday. We've got clips from next week's Community, Parks and Recreation and Whitney, each putting their own unique, dysfunctional spin on one of TV's favorite festivities.  After last week's jump back to into its beloved, unique style, we're all excited about Community once more. On next week's Halloween episode, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) makes a half-hearted attempt at an exciting pre-party—a notion which baffles Pierce (Chevy Chase), frustrates Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Annie (Alison Brie), and underwhelms Jeff (Joel McHale). However, Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) are, of course, entrenched in the Halloween spirit, already dressed in their "pre-costume costumes."  Community's Halloween episode, "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps," airs Thursday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Halloween in Pawnee is something we should all experience once in our lives. Next week's episode of Parks and Recreation will showcase one of Andy's (Chris Pratt) and April's (Aubrey Plaza) unbeatable parties. Last time they threw one, there was an unexpected wedding. So, this time around, we're thinking...baby? Potential shocks aside, the Halloween spirit appears to be embraced by everyone in our favorite Indiana town...except Ben (Adam Scott), who isn't in much of a partying mood in the below clip. Leave it to Andy to try to cheer up his roommate. Park's and Recreation's Halloween episode, "Meet 'n' Greet," airs Thursday, Oct. 27, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Halloween over on Whitney will be terrifying for a completely different reason. Friend and neighbor Mark (Dan O'Brien) has taken to peeping on Whitney (Whitney Cummings) and Alex (Chris D'Elia) using a spy camera. He may not have a lot of dignity, but as you can see in the below clip, he still clearly takes pride in trick or treating. But the laughs (and terrors) don't end with Mark's creepiness. Whitney gets a little visit from a very recognizeable character from horror movie history, and he doesn't seem to be swayable with candy. Whitney's Halloween episode, "The Wire," airs Thursday, Oct. 27, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Talks to Join Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Ten years ago, if you'd have told me that the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun might be the next Tarantino star, I'd have been skepitcal. But if you told me that this morning,...well, I'd probably ask why you're still referring to Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun. He's been in a ton of films since then. And his possible next venture might very well be the best of all: Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. Word has it, the 50/50 and Inception star might be joining the Civil War-era Western from the Inglourious Basterds director.  Tarantino movies are capable of inspiring excitement over apparently mediocre casting decisions; the director has derived unforgettable performances from otherwise forgettable actors. So, when we hear that someone we're all very into lately might sign up for a Tarantino role—especially someone with the quirky versatility of JGL—it produces an almost unhealthy level of glee. If cast, Gordon-Levitt will join Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson in the film. The closest thing Gordon-Levitt has done to anything Tarantino-esque was probably the rhythmic, stylistic 2005 neo-noir Brick, in which he played a lonely teenager investigating a drug ring at his high school. Nonetheless, Tarantino's twisted world would be a leap for the actor, which makes it all the more exciting. Again, Tarantino movies are known from provoking unexpected tour-de-force performances from unappreciated actors. After John Travolta had lost a chunk of his credit as a talented actor, his performance as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction catapulted him to a level of profound respect. Likewise, these films have also brought out sides to actors we never imagined we'd see: who really expected Daryl Hannah to be so chilling, or Eli Roth to be so gripping? So what new things could we experience with Gordon-Levitt in Django Unchained? His recent film run has hit us with a few pleasant surprises already. If this deal does come into fruition, we can bet that whatever it does end up showing us will be nuts. Source: Variety
  • Fox in Talks To Adapt 'The Punisher' As A Crime Drama
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Marvel Comics characters have done pretty well on the big screen. Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and all of the Avengers have made quite an impact with audiences. However, there is on exception to this rule. One Marvel hero (rather, antihero) just can't seem to find his feature film footing: The Punisher. There have been three attempts to give the vicious vigilante Frank Castle a worthy cinematic depiction: one in 1989, one in 2004, and one in 2008. However, none really won over the viewing public. But Marvel isn't ready to give up—this time, however, they're vying for television. Fox is considering picking up The Punisher in the style of a procedural detective drama. Frank Castle will be a New York City cop by day who, by any means necessary, extracts vengeance on wrongdoers under the alias of The Punisher. The series is being developed by Ed Bernero, creator of Third Watch and writer/director/producer on Criminal Minds. Source: EW
  • 'Jersey Shore''s Ronnie Will Enter the Ring on SpikeTV's 'Impact Wrestling'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    In the most "Yeah, that's about right" news in quite some time, Jersey Shore's bed-throwing Ronnie Ortiz-Magro will pursue a new expression of televised machismo: wrestling. On Nov. 3, Ronnie will enter the ring on the SpikeTV series, Impact Wrestling (formerly known as TNA iMPACT!). This is about as unsurprising as news gets. Ronnie and his fellow Jersey Shore castmembers have made subtle mention once or twice in the series' run about the pride they take in maintaining an overwhelming physique. But organic a development as it is, what exactly is the inspiration for this move? Why now? As you may know, Ronnie and his girlfriend and fellow Jersey Shore castmember Sammi Giancola officially broke up just two days ago. Now, I'm just going out on a limb here, but maybe beating oversized men to a pulp is Ronnie's way of coping. Ronnie's episode of Impact Wrestling will air Thursday, Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SpikeTV. Source: Impact Wrestling
  • 'X-Men: First Class' Director Matthew Vaughn Reteaming with 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Every artist has his muse. Shakespeare had Anne Hathaway. Hugh Jackman has...Anne Hathaway. And it seems that Matthew Vaughn has Mark Millar. Vaughn is the screenwriter/director who worked on films like X-Men: First Class, The Debt, Layer Cake, Stardust and (most importantly to this discussion) Kick-Ass. Millar is the comic book writer who created Kick-Ass in its original print incarnation. In 2010, Vaughn adapted the comic into an action/black comedy film starring Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Moretz. Vaughn's passion for the creations of Millar do not stop with Kick-Ass. The director is currently deciding which of Millar's projects to adapt next. His choices: Superior, a montly series that was created by Millar in 2010, and The Secret Service, which is a new comic being developed by Millar, Vaughn and Watchmen artist and co-creator David Gibbons). Superior is the story of Simon, a young boy afflicted with multiple sclerosis as a result of an accident. One night, an alien monkey (are you hooked?) grants the boy his wish to become his comic book idol, the superhero Superior—the price, however, is his soul, as it turns out the alien monkey (hooked???) is actually a demon dealing with the boy on behalf of the Devil. However, the same deal is granted to Simon's school bully, who becomes Superior's arch enemy—there's a lot going on, but it's well-written, well-drawn, and unceasingly fun. The Secret Service details are still undisclosed, but considering the talent of each of the three men involved (to the few of you who haven't read or seen the movie version of Watchmen, you've got some mind-blowitry awaiting you), optimism is high. Matthew Vaughn currently holds the film rights to both projects, and will reportedly supervise writing on Superior. Source: THR
  • Clooney Out, Bradley Cooper in for 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Bradley Cooper: the next George Clooney. I mean this as literally as possible, since Cooper is now suspected to take over the starring role in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., previously held by Clooney (who dropped out due to the roles' physical demands). But this could also come to fruition in a more general way. U.N.C.L.E. is not the only thing on the Hangover star's horizons. In production right now for Cooper are the drama-thriller The Words, the David O. Russell dramedy The Silver Linings Playbook (wherein he'll be ruiniting with Limitless costar Robert DeNiro), and, most excitingly, an adaptation of John Milton's Paradise Lost—which has cast Cooper as the central, and most interesting, character: The Devil. Cooper's character in U.N.C.L.E., directed by Steven Soderbergh, will be Napoleon Solo, an American spy originated by Robert Vaughn in the 1960s television series. Cooper can do spy. He's debonair. He's light-hearted (but severe when severity is needed). He's secret agent material. So, all this considered, Cooper's career is on a pretty steady climb, and the variety in the above projects show off the actor's versatility. Such is why dubbing him "the next George Clooney" isn't such a stretch. He's grounding himself in comedy, drama, thriller, fantasy, action/adventure...a Cooper-driven mystery sci-fi would be something I'd look into. This could be the start of the next big Hollywood icon. And to think, it all started back in Camp Firewood. Source: Variety
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson Keeps Getting Called a Woman: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Last night, Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson appeared on Conan to discuss the nationwide conspiracy that is branding him as an "actress," to make fun of his Modern Family costars Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, and to recount the time he said "true dat" to President Obama.   Coldplay frontman Chris Martin stopped by The Colbert Report to face off with Stephen in a battle of wits and Emmy nominations.  The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive Back on Conan, Steve Harvey showed up to explain the benefit of mixed-race audiences, and to share his philosophy on the "empire-ending" power that women have over men.
  • 'Person of Interest' Recap: Judgment
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 20, 2011
    S1E5: Right off the bat, let me just say how thrilled I am with Person of Interest’s guest casting. Last week: Lindsay Weir. This week: Gale Boetticher. It’s like they’re looking through my DVD collection for inspiration. But onto more substantial matters. While the episodes are never ‘boring,’ the ones—like tonight’s—that put all their time into the “Case of the Week” without lending anything to either Reese’s or Finch’s backstories (or any part of the overarching story whatsoever) just seem a little frivolous to me. “You have two questions right now: ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Where’s my son?’ Which one do you want to focus on?” – Reese This week’s number was that of Samuel Gates (David Costabile), a dedicated, no-nonsense judge, recent widower and single parent. Gates’ young son, Samuel, Jr., is kidnapped early on in the episode by an Eastern European gang who deals in some pretty high-level money laundering. The men who have Sam, Jr. (and who killed his nanny, Cristina) are well-off, thanks to a profitable business resultant of the cooperation of one Angela Markham (Meredith Patterson), a bank employee who conveniently shuts down the monitoring of money periodically so that her “business partners” can enjoy some discrete embezzlement—and if I explained that clumsily, it’s not because I wasn’t watching the episode carefully, it’s because my understanding of the way money laundering/bank operations/the economy/most things that don’t have to do with TV work is offensively low. The significance of Markham is that she is on trial for a drunken hit and run, under Judge Gates’ jurisdiction. If she were to go to jail, the syndicate’s operation would be no more, and their vast array of clients would likely have their heads. Thus, they kidnap Sam, Jr., and inform the judge that if he doesn’t let Markham go free, his son will die. This is where Reese steps in. “No question is innocent coming from you.” – Finch Now, it’s understandable that the “You have to trust me” thing is a recurring theme in this series, but every once in a while, they should at least change up the phrasing. Seriously though: trust is an issue not just between Reese and his ‘clients,’ but between Reese and Finch. No one is willing to trust Reese—not even his business partner and only regular contact (besides the groggy and grumbling Detective Fusco, who they’re building up to be a more interesting character week by week). The episode is framed by Reese trying to get closer to Finch by probing him with a simple question about what he’ll be ordering at a diner. Finch sees right through Reese, who is, in actuality, trying to get a sense of whether or not his boss frequents the diner (thus finding out where he lives, then where he’s from, more on his backstory, yadda yadda). Although it makes up about two collective minutes of the show, this is my favorite part of the episode, because it concerns the only two characters we really care about. And we care about them for two very obvious reasons. One: they’re the only ones we actually see every week. Two: they’re, despite Reason One, the only ones we know almost nothing about. Both men are shrouded in mystery. One by choice, one by necessity. Both are emotionally damaged, although this manifests in different ways. And both are dedicated to saving the lives of strangers. In turn, this means both are often put into the position of earning the strangers’ trust. The irony: neither man is capable of returning that trust. “Try the eggs benedict, Mr. Reese. I’ve gotten that many times.” – Finch The episode wraps up as one would expect. Judge Gates lets Markham off in order to save his son. The criminals go back on their word, but Reese shows up in the nick of time with a twofer: a fancy plan that puts the bad guys in a tight spot, and some quick hands when they ignore the entire speech he has just given (this is actually kind of funny when you’re watching it). Afterwards, Markham and the rest of the criminals are brought to justice by the combined efforts of Reese, Det. Carter, and the Fusco between them. The one surprise (and not the good kind) this episode gives us is not having Gates turn out to be the killer. When he glares resentfully at Markham as she receives an innocent verdict, it seems as though he’ll be the one taking the law into his own hands eventually. But no: everything wraps up nicely. As said earlier, trust is always a theme in this show, but maybe it seems a little bit thicker this week. Reese has to consistently convince Gates that he is on his side. Finch attempts to pry Reese away from Gates, as any knowledge that anyone has about the two of them is a liability. But Reese trusts Gates. He connects with him. This is not Finch’s wheelhouse, but he seems moved by Reese’s trust in and appreciation for the man, so he does offer his partner the slightest bit of generosity in the last moments by declaring that he regularly orders the eggs benedict at the very same diner that opens the episode. Again, this is the most fun part of the show (at least for character-development junkie nerds like me). Person of Interest does terrifically when it does this. Understandably, it can’t only do this. But it should do more. Hopefully, the trend will pick up some speed.
  • Bryan Singer's 'Battlestar Galactica' Movie Deal Lands 'Anonymous' Writer
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 20, 2011
    For years now, Battlestar Galactica fans have been yearning for a feature film adaptation of their favorite sci-fi series. Or have they? See, when Battlestar Galactica was remade in 2004 for the SyFy channel, cynics pshawed its arrival. "How," they scoffed, "dare they remake a timeless adage of unprecedented science fiction?" Cynics be damned—the networks dared. And damned further be aforesaid cynics: Battlestar Galactica's remake series was a huge hit with fans. It differed in the ways it needed to, and stayed the same in the ways it needed to. But now, a movie version of the original Battlestar Galactica series is underway, to be written by John Orloff (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, next week's Anonymous). The movie, developed by X-Men and Superman Returns director Bryan Singer, has no connection to the 2004 series. Is this a good idea? What will this film accomplish as a direct remake that creators originally decided, with the series, was better suited attacking with a new approach? These questions weigh heavy on the heads of those who ask them. But answers will find themselves in much wiser men than I. Battlestar Galactica fans, we ask you: what do you think of this development? Should they focus on new material or old? Will this be a terrific addition to the Battlestar Galactica universe, or something we'd be better suited shrugging off? How many owls will make their way into the movie? Source: Deadline
  • Exclusive: Col. Grant Accuses Latif of Being a Terrorist in New 'Strike Back' Clip
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 20, 2011
    It's a battle of wills on the upcoming episode of Strike Back. Cinemax's first original series will see two of its biggest characters, Col. Eleanor Grant (Amanda Mealing) and Latif (Jimi Mistry), go head-to-head in a psychological death-match. Neither is willing to back down, and both assume themselves the superior of the two. But tomorrow, we will see what comes of this. Tomorrow, Grant will challenge Latif's actions and motives, likening him to terrorists like bin Laden. Latif, however, doesn't see himself this way, calling Jihadists "religious fanatics." Latif also affirms that he has no remorse or second-thoughts about his deeds, which stirs something inside Grant. Perhaps she is beginning to question her own actions? Find out Friday, Oct. 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Cinemax.