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.
  • Watch the 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' 3D Re-Release Trailer
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 24, 2011
    Let's face it. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace wasn't exactly one of the greatest theatrical releases we've ever sat through. But that probably resulted primarily from impossibly high expectations. So maybe, this time around, it'll go a bit more smoothly. 3D doesn't hurt. As foretold by the recent poster release, Phantom Menace will be braving theaters once more, early next year. Some dub this entry the worst of the series. Some claim it actually ruined the entire Star Wars saga for them. Some were so horrified by it, they retreated to a dark cavern and haven't been seen since (we miss you, Uncle Ferguson). But I maintain: give it another chance. Maybe without those aforementioned impossibly high expectations (really, what could have impressed us?) we might enjoy a theatrical showing of this film. And pod-races in 3D? How on Earth could you not even be a little excited by that? The 3D release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace begins Feb. 10, 2012. (via Comingsoon)
  • 'Boardwalk Empire' Recap: Gimcrack and Bunkum
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 23, 2011
    S2E5: The strengths of Boardwalk Empire as a series on the whole come into play when you hold an episode like this week’s “Gimcrack and Bunkum” up to, say, anything from the first season. Your typical Boardwalk might cover six or seven storylines, each delivered via verbose, high intensity (and dimly lit) scenes filled to the brim with fast-talking characters. The latest episode is not devoid of this device—Jimmy’s scene with the business heads is straight out of Hudsucker Proxy (hairstyles especially). But this week, Boardwalk tries something very new with Richard’s storyline, and it pays off in spades. “Think I can’t play this game?” – Jimmy “I don’t think you even know the rules.” – Nucky It’s Memorial Day in Atlantic City, and Nucky is back onstage, hosting the holiday for his townspeople. The episode opens with a small illustration of the major war going on in this series: Nucky v. Jimmy. In an attempt to throw his competitor for a loop, Nucky calls an unprepared Jimmy up to the stage to make a speech for the occasion. Jimmy marshals some earnestness (surprising Nucky, Angela, and I believe himself) with a moving, if not downbeat, speech about heroism. Although Jimmy comes out the victor in this battle, the episode does not see him consistently so. A meeting with the business heads shakes him up a bit: concerned about the displacement of the Commodore, and furious about the money loss that comes along with the explosion of Mickey Doyle’s shed, the men attack Jimmy. The wheelchair bound Mr. Parkhurst—after recounting his days of slaughtering Native American tribes—even hits Jimmy with his cane to embed some respect in him. This is the last straw, and Jimmy leaves the meeting in a huff, much to the bereavement of Eli. Of course, Jimmy brings his woes to the attention of his very loving mother, and keeps them a safe distance from his poor wife, Angela. “Unless you have something to say, aside from the fact that G-d distributes his gifts unevenly, this conversation is over.” – Nucky Although things seem to move in Nucky’s favor legally this week, it doesn’t mean he’ll be spending his Memorial Day with a good deal of cheer. Nucky meets with the Attorney General, who is not as interested in discussing Nucky’s case as he is in playing a round of golf. Eventually, Harry introduces Nucky to the prosecution, who is in cahoots with the whole “Save Nucky from the Trial” game being devised by the treasurer’s henchmen. Of course, none of this will play without a little Atlantic City entertainment for the lawyers, courtesy of Mr. Thompson. A small price, but an irritating one. However, Nucky’s real trials in this episode come with a visit from his brother Eli. Now that the Commodore is out of commission (as Eli discloses to Nucky) and Jimmy is losing the faith of the businessmen, Eli is begging Nucky’s forgiveness and asking to come back to his side. Nucky, however, will not have this. He has been betrayed by his own brother, something that hurts him nearly as much (sometimes even more) than his surrogate son’s betrayal. Nucky and Eli come to blows and engage in a long, well-choreographed, violent fight that only ends when Margaret pulls a gun on Eli and demands that he leave the house. It seems as though their brotherly bond—tested by years of jealousy and resentment from Eli to Nucky—is finally severed. This takes a toll on Nucky, Maggie (who is beginning to doubt her safety), and Eli, who, in a drunken stupor later on, murders George O’Neill when he batters him about the Commodore’s health. “These woods is for hunting, fishing, seeing what the birds get up to. These woods is for living. Understand me there?” – Glenmore (or Pete) the Woodsman Two weeks in a row, Richard is the show’s shining star. As explained earlier, this episode features a storyline unlike any we’ve seen in Boardwalk Empire just yet. An actionless, primarily wordless storyline, that furthers very little in the world of crime or politics—or anything beyond the internal makings of one man, really. It is shot far from the bustling boardwalk, deep in New Jersey’s woodlands, where Richard heads on Memorial Day morning with a simple plan: he is going to kill himself. But his plan for a serene, dignified suicide go awry when a dog swipes his mask, leading Richard to the campsite of two generous, intuitive woodsmen. Long story short, with their kindness, their apparent indifference to his facial condition, and their understanding of just what he plans to do in these woods and their expression of just how they feel about that, the men talk Richard out of suicide. I deliver this point with brevity for the simple reason that no matter how detailed my explanation of any part of Richard’s storyline is, it wouldn’t do it justice. As explained, up until he meets the woodsmen, Richard spends a good deal of the episode in long, beautiful, wordless and superficially actionless scenes. Nothing I could really type out about these scenes would at all capture what really goes on in them. They are some of the most captivating scenes in the entire Boardwalk series to date. “I’m here with you. My son’s asleep in his bed. Nobody’s hungry. Nobody’s scared. What else is there?” – Jimmy “There’s gotta be something. Hasn’t there?” – Angela The Darmodys get a visit from Richard. Angela answers the door, and we can feel the tension of their forbidden connection all the way through Richard’s subsequent interaction with Jimmy. However, when Richard poses the question to Jimmy, “Would you fight for me?” Jimmy answers, “Of course I would. Right down to the last bullet.” We’re not certain if Jimmy says this because he needs Richard’s assistance this night, or if he truly means it. Call me a sap, but I’m hoping (and allowing myself to believe) it’s the latter. And so is Richard. The two break into the home of the villainous Mr. Parkhurt and send a message of power through some poetic justice by actually scalping the man. It’s one of those scenes that makes you jump up in your seat…and the exchange between a shocked Parkhurst and a collected Richard (“Who are you?” “I’m a soldier.”) is pretty chilling. Nucky loses family by the episode—Maggie is next. Meanwhile, Owen Slater is shacking up with Katie the maid, Jimmy is slipping into his father’s role, and something tells me that Nucky’s case won’t be as easily won as he thinks. But who cares about any of that? We want more Richard.
  • Casting Roundup: Catherine Tate Returns to 'The Office', Mena Suvari on 'American Horror Story'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 21, 2011
    Last season of The Office ended with a handful of questionably qualified applicants interviewing for the job of the Scranton branch's regional manager. As we all know, that job ultimately went to Andy Bernard, who has been treating it with his own trademark style of management. However, it doesn't mean Andy's competition is gone for good. One of the applicants will be returning: Nellie Bertram, played by the great Catherine Tate. Bertram may not have gotten the regional manager job, but she will play the role of a special projects manager who forms an interesting and "far from professional" relationship with Robert California, as Executive Producer Paul Lieberstein (who also plays Toby) stated in a press release. The Office airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. She was in American Beauty. She was in American Pie. And now, she'll be on American Horror Story. The apparently quite patriotic Mena Suvari will pay a visit to FX's haunted house series, playing some incarnation of the infamous Black Dahlia—the 1947 murder victim whose unsolved killing has been the stuff of public fascination for decades. Suvari will appear in the ninth episode of American Horror Story. The series airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX. - TVLine 90210 once knew Dina Meyer as Lucinda Nicholson, the promiscuous California University professor with a taste for young men. Dina Meyer is returning to the series, but not as Nicholson: instead, she'll play a modeling agent who becomes professionally involved with Matt Lanter's Liam. Meyer's episode is set for a November airing. 90210 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. -TVLine
  • 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 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.