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.
  • Power Duos: The Most 'Super' Star-Pairings in Movies
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 2:20pm EST
    The Ides of March are upon us, and the impressive teaming of the classic George Clooney and the vibrant Ryan Gosling is inspiring. In fact, it’s such a potent power duo that it makes us think of other great pairings of the past. What films have provided us with such superhuman stardom? Whose forces have joined to relinquish unmitigated glory? Let’s take a look… Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in Philadelphia The Power of Hanks: Tireless relatability. Putting the everymanest everyman ever in the taboo position of being a gay man afflicted with AIDS makes the situation seem more real, less alien, and far more sympathetic to those who had discounted it prior. The Power of Washington: Extreme intimidation. Maybe you can brush off a message that someone else might deliver to you…but if Denzel tells you that you should feel something in a movie, you’re terrified not to feel it. He might hear about it. Then you’ll be in trouble. When They Join Forces: We get one of the most powerful movies of the 1990s—sympathetic, hard-hitting, not without humor, even in the darkest parts (that’s life, after all), and definitely something that’ll get through to you. Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in Fight Club The Power of Norton: Brooding psychological fragmentation that couldn’t possibly have been more appealing to the aging Gen-Xers to whom this movie was dedicated. The Power of Pitt: The ability to make you—no matter how happy you were with your life at the time of stepping into the movie—wish you were Tyler Durden. You begin to question the merit of your cookie-cutter life, your “surface value” job and relationships, and even your own morals. All because Brad Pitt is just so damn cool. When They Join Forces: We get the iconic story of every single over privileged young adult in the 1990s coming to terms with himself, his world, his mind, his choices, and his taste in music. The Pixies record sales must have shot up like a thousand times that year. Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs The Power of Foster: The perfect balance of courage and fear. Foster as an FBI agent braving both the waters of a male dominated industry, and taking on an incredibly dangerous case with the help of an incredibly dangerous individual to boot—but none of it ever seems hokey, thrill-driven or making-a-statement-esque on the part of the actress. She plays a very human character very humanly. The Power of Hopkins: Horror. Not just because he eats people—although that’s not exactly one of his more affectionate qualities— When They Join Forces: We get one of the strangest, most unforgettable partnerships (and, if you would be so bold as to call it this, friendships) in cinematic history, and one of the most haunting and intriguing movies of the past few decades. Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in Heat, The Godfather Part 2, Righteous Kill The Power of DeNiro: Reservation. DeNiro has his tipping point, but he keeps it bottled well until absolutely necessary. That’s what’s great about classic Bobby D performances: you know what’s coming, you just don’t know when. The Power of Pacino: The exact opposite of reservation. Al Pacino comes flying onto the screen like a bat out of hell. His idea of a subdued performance is only one heart attack on set. But it’s never overdone. When They Join Forces: We get a big heap of cement (that’s DeNiro), speckled with chunks of gravel (that’s Pacino) to form arguably the mightiest duo in Hollywood. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive The Power of Ford: That grimace. That clench-jawed, grumbling grimace that says, “Get off my plane,” “Give me back my family,” “Why did it have to be snakes?” and “Greedo never shoulda shot first.” The Power of Jones: What powers does Jones NOT have? He can play the ultimate badass. He can play a craven coward. He is a true warrior of cinema, and is nearly unrivaled in superhuman acting abilities. When They Join Forces: We get an unstoppable powerhouse cataclysm dynamite volcano explosion of wonder. Or, you know…something in that neighborhood. Christian Bale and Johnny Depp in Public Enemies The Power of Bale: Heightened strength and agility, superb detective/analytical skills, advanced technology including the Batmobile…oh, wait. Wrong movie…um, chiseled jaw? The Power of Depp: The Baritone Salamander. That’s his superhero name. When not overdoing it in Burtonian hyper-roles, Depp is actually a prized performer When They Join Forces: We get a clash of the swift-winged titans—and probably the handsomest face-off in recent history. Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in The Bridges of Madison County The Power of Streep: Authenticity. It has been said of Meryl Streep, “She’s so authentic. [You] really believe everything is actually happening to her. There's no acting there” (Elaine Benes). Well, who are we to disagree? The Power of Eastwood: Grrr… When They Join Forces: We get a pleasant surprise. As music soothes the savage beast does the whimsical Streep to the gruffled and grisly Eastwood. Sure, when we think Clint, we think shoot outs and war stories. But is this not a timeless romance, appreciated by all—except that one woman in In & Out? It is. Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man The Power of Hoffman: Complete and utter dedication. Dustin Hoffman gets so incredibly immersed into character that he was famously mocked by Sir Laurence Olivier for being far too over-prepared for his roles. But it pays off in spades— The Power of Cruise: Narcissism. That’s not a dig at the actor, it’s one at his characters. Cruise manages to channel perfectly the ideas of entitlement and self-absorption, injecting them quite well into stories like Rain Man, which was more about his struggle to open his heart to something than about his brother’s trials with autism. When They Join Forces: We get truly moving film about, more than anything else, family. Sure, Cruise’s character had no idea that Hoffman’s was his brother for the first three decades of his life…but the connection was organically formed between the two least likely of hosts. It’ll get ya. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption The Power of Robbins: Stoicism. Andy Dufresne was in control from the get-go…or at least after the whole cheating wife debacle. Something clicked in him right around the presumed time he “quit drinking,” and he managed to chauffer us all through a journey about understanding yourself and your world. The Power of Freeman: Fatherliness. Even in the dark pit of a jail cell full of deranged psychopaths, if you’ve got Morgan Freeman on your side, you can never feel too unsettled. When They Join Forces: We get friendship. An incredibly meaningful friendship. Shawshank is a story about freedom—more internal freedom than literal—and part of Red’s freedom came from his acquirement of a true friend from whom he could learn things about life. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic and Revolutionary Road The Power of DiCaprio: Humanity. In so many DiCaprio roles, these included, he is gruffled, yet clean-cut. Good guy, yet dirtbag. Whether a middle class sell-out or an impoverished young artist who lies his way into the company of an aristocratic beauty, Leo is always firing on all cylinders. The Power of Winslet: Her powers are innumerable. She’s never delivered a role that was anything below spectacular. When They Join Forces: We get heartbreak. Either both of them die, or their marriage sours to the point of irrevocability. Either way, it’s a somber tale of the experience of love. But hey—that’s Hollywood!
  • See 'South Park' Versions of All Your Favorite Movie Characters
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 2:18pm EST
    It's often fun to think what certain movies would have been like if made by other directors. If Shyamalan helmed Avatar, would Pandora have turned out to be Earth all along? If Zemeckis worked on Pulp Fiction, would everyone have gotten out okay? What about if Trey Parker and Matt Stone had a hand in these movies? Well, THAT we can actually show you. In the spirit of South Park's return to TV tomorrow night, the guys at NextMovie have created very South Parkian designs of some classic movie characters. The movies redesigned include Avatar, Pulp Fiction, Batman Begins, Harry Potter, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Twilight, Star Wars, Tron, The Hunger Games, and, as you can see below, The Big Lebowski. Click the below picture to see the rest of the images over at NextMovie. South Park's fifteenth season picks up tomorrow night at 10 pm on Comedy Central. Source: NextMovie
  • Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to Star in Comedy Inspired by 'SNL' Rivalry
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 1:15pm EST
    It's starting to feel like Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin do literally everything together. They hosted the Oscars together. Martin has guest starred on Baldwin's series 30 Rock. They're in a perpetual Saturday Night Live hosting gig competition, continuously trying to show each other up. You can say this of their relationship: it's complicated. But they've apparently grown quite attached to one another over the years. And now, director Adam Shankman will once more reap the benefits. Shankman produced the 82nd Academy Awards, of which Martin and Baldwin played co-hosts. The producer/director is now working on a new film to star both comedians. According to Deadline, the movie will borrow its theme from classic two-men comedies like Trading Places and Grumpy Old Men, and that the whole idea was inspired by Martin's surprise appearance during Baldwin's opening monologue on the SNL season premiere two Saturdays ago. The appearance was fueled by Martin's unwillingness to submit the title of SNL's most recurring host to Baldwin. This will probably not take any sort of advertizing. Who doesn't love both Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin? Someone, maybe. But not someone I know. Not someone I'd trust, either. The men have a comic chemistry that can only be borne from a mutual professional respect and a longstanding personal friendship. This is perhaps the most pleasant development to come out of Hollywood in years. Make it happen, gentlemen. Make us laugh. Source: Deadline
  • The Great Werner Herzog to Play Villain to Tom Cruise in 'One Shot'
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 1:03pm EST
    The film adaptation of Lee Child's One Shot, starring Tom Cruise as the mountain-of-a-man Jack Reacher, a perpetually on-the-road rogue agent who sets out to prove his innocence in a violent murder, has gotten itself a villain. And that villain goes by the name of Werner Herzog. Now, you may be thinking, "Werner Herzog? What in tarnation is so great about Werner Herzog?" Oh, you mean the the man who got shot in the stomach during an interview for Grizzly Man and insisted that he was well enough to keep talking about his awesome movie? Or, are you perhaps referring to the man who pulled Joaquin Phoenix from an overturned car after a crash, potentially saving the man's life? THAT WERNER HERZOG? Yes. That. Werner. Herzog. As said, Werner Herzog will be playing the villain in One Shot, to be directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Also cast are Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall and David Oyelowo. ...Werner Herzog. Source: Indiewire
  • Russell Crowe Spawns a Hero in 'Man of Steel' Pics
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 11:51am EST
    The Coolest Man in the World. He's not just a movie star, not just the emperor of a planet, not just the father of the universe's most powerful being, not just Australian...he's all of those things.     Below we see Russell Crowe, the human bearcat, suited up for the upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel. In the comic book film, he plays Jor-El, the biological father to young Superman (Kal-El at birth). As most know, Jor-El made the difficult decision of sending his only son off into a one-man rocket moments before his planet of Krypton was destined to be destroyed. The infant Kal-El crash-landed onto the planet Earth, where he was raised by the Kents, a Kansas couple who loved him despite his pesky habits of destroying large pieces of architecture and his seemingly unfounded aversion to kryptonite.     Man of Steel will star Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. The film will be directed by Zack Snyder, and is set for a June 2013 release.     Click this photo to see more pics of Russell Crowe as Jor-El on             Source: Daily Mail
  • NYCC 2011: Marvel Premiering Exclusive 'The Avengers' Footage at Comic-Con
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 11:31am EST
    Nearing are the days when you're considered a nerd if you aren't into the Marvel superheroes. Someone's fifth grade bully is getting a harsh phone call pretty soon... I knew our time would come... But this is no time to think about vengeance; this is a time to focus on The Avengers! Marvel Studios will be visiting New York Comic-Con for the first time this year, and bringing with it a panel for the upcoming super-movie, The Avengers. Visiting with the panel will be castmembers Chris Evans (Captain America), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) and Cobie Smulders (Agent Hill), as well as producer Kevin Feige. Additionally, Marvel will present never-before-seen footage from The Avengers, which is always a big sell. The best news: we'll be there reporting live from the floor! This event is scheduled for October 15 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm so you can check in at from a live report from the event. The Avengers will reach theaters May 4, 2012. And everyone is going to see it. Now to practice my triumphant laughter... Click the photo to further satisfy your Avengers fix.
  • 'Arthur Christmas' Will Be Both a Heartwarming and Clever Christmas Movie
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 11:05am EST
    There are the good old heartwarming Christmas movies. Then there are the modern, more creative, funny Christmas movies. But it seems that we've struck gold in Arthur Christmas. Taking a look at the new trailer for the movie, you might feel like you're getting the best of both worlds. Arthur Christmas is the story of Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent) and his family. His father, the retired former Santa (Billy Nighy), longs for the good-old days of riding on his rickety sleigh with his eight lyrically-named reindeer. Things have changed, since then, and now presents are delivered by a high tech mode of operations, courtesy of Santa's older son Steve (Hugh Laurie). And finally, there's Arthur (James McAvoy): the good-hearted screw-up of the family. And, since this is both a heartwarming and laugh-plenty Christmas movie, the good-hearted screw-up will be called upon to save the day when one child goes overlooked on Christmas. Watch the'll laugh, you'll smile, you'll love. Go Christmas! Source: Yahoo
  • 'The Office' Mates Discuss What They Would Do with Lotto Winnings in New Promo
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 10:42am EST
    Michael Scott may be gone, but the Dunder Mifflin employees are quickly learning that their oblivious boss was not the only source of madness. This Thursday, The Office episode "Lotto" airs, tackling a sitcom staple of teasing its characters with the possibility of winning the lottery. It seems that everyone in The Office is involved in the pipe dream, and each have different dreams for what they'd do with their winnings. Of course, Jim and Pam dole out quite sappy stories about what their lives would be like (Pam even revisits her long-dead aspirations of being an artist), provoking Kelly and Meredith to finally say what everyone is thinking. Andy, adapting with, at best, minor success to his new position as boss, tries, and fails, to rally everyone to stop daydreaming and start working. He also tries, and fails, to do a Mr. T impression...with whom he appears to be only marginally familiar. The Office episode 'Lotto' airs this Thursday, Oct. 6, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Source: Zap2It
  • NBC Cuts 'Playboy Club,' Gives 'Up All Night' and 'Whitney' Full Seasons
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 9:13am EST
    It's around the time when we'll begin finding out which new series to say goodbye to, and which shows deserve our investment. One of NBC's most volatile shows this season is The Playboy Club, which earned criticism from women's liberation groups and former Playboy Bunnies themselves. It seems that the old adage of even bad press being good press did not apply this time around. In light of its poor ratings, NBC decided to cancel The Playboy Club. The series has occupied the 10 p.m. ET /PT slot, which will go to Rock Center with Brian Williams come Oct. 31. On the positive side, NBC introduced two notable new sitcoms this Fall. The first is Lorne Michaels' Up All Night, the hardships-of-new-parenthood comedy starring Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph, which airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET. The second is Whitney, standup comedian Whitney Cummings' foray into television wherein she and costar Chris D'Elia attempt to remove all the 'niceties' from television relationships; it airs Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. Each of these new comedies received full season orders from the network. NBC is a consistent home to some of the best comedies on television. While Whitney needs some work to find its footing, it does have the promise of its star/creator working in its favor. Up All Night is already opening up with some strength. Arnett is a comic goldmine, Applegate works wonders in her straight-woman role, and Rudolph is delightfully out of her mind. Source: NBC Press Release, TVLine
  • Blake Lively Passes on 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'
    By: Michael Arbeiter October 04, 2011 8:15am EST
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has it all. Pride. Prejudice. Probably some even cooler third thing. So, why does no one want to be in it? A couple of weeks back, we reported that tacked onto the list of big name actresses approached to play the lead role of Elizabeth Bennett in Craig Gillespie's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was Blake Lively, who is most notable for Gossip Girl, but also for films including Green Lantern, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, Accepted and The Town. However, PAPAZ (best acronym ever) will not be Lively's next step towards big screen prominence: she declined the starring role in Gillespie's film. There's no word as to why Lively passed. All those attached have primarily good reputations. Director Gillespie was responsible for the outstanding Ryan Gosling starrer Lars and the Real Girl. David O. Russell, director of The Fighter and the very promising film-in-development The Silver Linings Playbook, wrote the script. And its producer is Natalie we really even need to sing her praises? Even so, it seems this film can't find a lead actress. Others who have passed on the role include Portman herself, Anne Hathway, Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson and Rooney Mara. And the search continues... Source: Indiewire