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.
  • Sandra Bullock to Play Clint Eastwood's Daughter in 'Trouble with the Curve'?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    Legend has it that Sandra Bullock is actually the embodiment of the Mayan bat-spirit Roazgurda, who will take her natural form to fend off evil in an apocalyptic battle one year from now. Prior to that, however, she might be signing on to the new movie Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood. Directed by first-timer Robert Lorenz, this film (which is actually not about a man's difficulties configuring his new Blackberry) will star Eastwood as an aging baseball scout whose gradual loss of his vision is making it difficult to do his job. Thus, he commissions his daughter (possibly Bullock) to help him look at one final, very promising, player. We can expect this film to be less about checking out a new ball player and more about the (probably strained) relationship between an aging father and his daughter. Eastwood is gruffled beyond redemption. And if we've learned to trust anything, it is that Bullock can, and does, often, play disgruntled quite well. So this teaming might not only be dramatic, it could be phenomenal! Clint Eastwood might very well have raised the type of woman Sandra Bullock is accustomed to playing. And she'd, in turn, when the time came, come back into his life, sour and spiky, ready to teach him everything he forgot that he taught her. If Trouble with the Curve ropes Bullock, it won't have any trouble telling a good story. Source: Indiewire
  • Michael Douglas and Matt Damon to Star in a Liberace Biopic for HBO
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    There are two signs that you are (or were) an iconic figure. The first: you are known by a single name—Cher, Madonna, Barbra...you get the idea. The second: they make a movie about your love-life. These are just solid facts, people. So, if there was any doubt about Liberace's iconicism, all of it can be put to rest now. Director Steven Soderbergh and producer Jerry Weintraub are putting together a biopic about the famous singer as an HBO movie. Impressive figures are not limited to those behind the camera; Michael Douglas will play Liberace himself, while Matt Damon will play his lover Scott Thorson. Liberace's relationship with Thorson was famous for two reasons. First of all, it was an open secret that Liberace was homosexual (despite his many denials). Obviously, during Liberace's time in the spotlight in the 1950s and '60s, prejudices against homosexuality were rampant in American society. Suspicions about Liberace being gay resulted in a good deal of ridicule against him. Additionally, after his and Liberace's relationship ended, Thorson opened a palimony lawsuit against Liberace in the 1980s, not long before the pianist's passing. The film will cover the love and lawsuit between the two men, likely highlighting Liberace's fame as well as the secrecy of their love as a strain on what could have been an otherwise healthy relationship. Production will begin in the summer of 2012. Source: EW
  • Adoptive Parent Groups Attack 'Glee' for 'Quinn Wants Her Baby Back' Storyline
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    Glee has stirred up its share of enmity in certain groups with regard to its depiction of homosexuality and sexually active (very sexually active, in some cases) teenagers. However, here's one facet that no one really expected to drum up this much controversy: adoption. Season Three opened a new storyline for Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron), who has undergone drastic physical and emotional changes. At the inception of the series, Quinn was a popular cheerleader, dating football player Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith). In Season One, Quinn became pregnant with the child of Finn's alleged best friend, Noah Puckerman (Mark Salling), instigating the downward spiral that would become her teen life. Quinn gave the baby up for adoption, in the Season One finale, to recurring guest character Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel), who, just to make things oh-so simple, is actually the birth mother of Quinn's fellow McKinley High Glee club member—and the fourth, very prominent corner of the love quadrangle in which she, Finn and Puck are perpetually involved—Rachel Berry (Lea Michele). And now, over a year and a couple of nervous breakdowns later, Shelby has come to McKinley High to lead a rival Glee club...and just the sight of her makes Quinn decide that she wants her baby back. In this, adoptive parent groups are taking issue. The primary problem, as voiced by Change.org's Amber Austin, is the perpetuation of the idea that this is something that happens often in situations of adoption. The "I just want my kids back" storyline is one hardly unique to Glee: television shows have found material in this theme for years. Austin expresses that this is a harmful story to expose adopted children to, as it might instigate the fear of being "taken" by their birth parents -- which, of course, is not allowed. It also illustrates a malicious relationship between adoptive and birth parents, which Austin states is just about never the case. Austin extended a plea to creator Ryan Murphy to place a more honest and positive spin on an adoption storyline. She did credit the series for handling issues like racism, homophobia, and prejudices against the handicapped in admirable and progressive lights, and begs for this sort of mentality to be attributed to adoption. You can read Austin's essay here at Change.org. Glee airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Exclusive: Enjoy an In-Depth Look at New AMC Series 'Hell on Wheels'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    AMC built its nearly indestructible reputation with critically-acclaimed, mesmerizing programming, so we're fairly willing to invest some faith in the network's newest series, Hell on Wheels. The post-Civil War-era drama, starring Anson Mount, Common, Dominique McElligott, and Colm Meany, will combine fiction with history to examine the lives of former slaves and soldiers adapting to the new America under the reign of the conglomerate railroad company.  This featurette offers some words from the cast and producers of Hell on Wheels, discussing the history of the period and the stories, characters and themes that will be explored in the series. In addition to interviews the featurette offers clips from Hell on Wheels' inaugural season, which will explore the rise of the transnational railway industry, as well as former Confederate soldier Cullen Bonnehan's (Mount) quest to avenge his wife's death. Click here to watch a preview for the upcoming series, which will debut Sunday, Nov. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
  • 'Company You Keep' Ropes Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard & Others to Earn a Diverse Audience
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    The headlining duo of The Company You Keep is already a double demographic: Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf are a pair that fiftysomething fathers and their preteen daughters can enjoy together. But the film seems to have advanced this retrieval of the omni-audience to a do-or-die mission. August saw the film grab the very up-and-coming Brit Marling, and, shortly after, a slightly older collection of stars including Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, and Julie Christie. The film is pulling in the gruff and grumbling Chris Cooper, and the kempt and cerebral Stanley Tucci. And somewhere along the line, Nick Nolte found his way into this production. And now, expansion continues, with a wide variety of new supporting actors: Anna Kendrick (born 1985): The tragicomic firefly known best for the Twilight films, but most astonishing in movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and (especially) 50/50. Also, Up in the Air. Sam Elliott (born 1944): The slow-speaking cowboy who has played to much applause the Wise Old Man figure in many a film (immortalized, to my generation, as the Stranger in The Big Lebowski). Also, Up in the Air. Terrence Howard (born 1969): A stalwart supporting player in hits including Iron Man, Crash, Mr. Holland's Opus and The Best Man (and possibly its upcoming sequel). Brendan Gleeson (born 1955): Harry Potter fans will reognize Gleeson as Professor MadEye Moody, although his career has included roles in Gangs of New York, Troy and In Bruges. Jackie Evancho (born 2000): Um, she's eleven. So...not much yet on the movie front for her. But this is where it all begins. Who knows what other actors will be drafted to the all-encompassing army of The Company You Keep cast? YOU could be next! Source: Comingsoon
  • The 'MythBusters' Will Host Steve Jobs Documentary on Discovery Channel
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    There will likely be many film and television projects in the near future with Steve Jobs as the subject matter. One in the works is a documentary hosted by the co-hosts of Discovery Channel's popular MythBusters series, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. The special, iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed the World, will feature appearances by computer engineers Daniel Kottke and Lee Felsenstein, as well as journalist Tom Brokaw and musicians Stevie Wonder and Pete Wentz. Arranging this variety of voices to speak about Jobs is understandable, as he helped revolutionize the worlds of technology, broadcasting, entertainment, and music. Speaking to AOLTV, Adam Savage said of Jobs, "He defined entirely new ways of thinking about our lives in the digital space: productivity, creativity, music, communication, media and art." The documentary will explore the miraculous effect the innovator had on lives worldwide and it will examine each of the disciplines Jobs changed with his work. iGenius will air Sunday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery. Source: AOLTV
  • The Magnificently Terrifying Javier Bardem Confirmed for 'Bond 23'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    Javier Bardem. The man has a presence so ominous, so demonic, so dastardly and dark, that you can't help but shudder when he looms into a scene. This tour de force of villainous acting drains the comfort from a well-lit set with just a momentary blinkless gaze. And now, the No Country for Old Men star's wicked talents have earned him entry into the most prominent league of cinematic antagonists: Bardem will play a Bond villain in the upcoming film Bond 23. Although this has been rumored for quite some time, there is still little known about which character Bardem will be playing...other than the fact that he'll be a hell-sent warlord of unparalleled horror...probably. As he is a Bond villain, Bardem's character may be ill-fated from the start. However, this could be the tide that turns the dynasty. Will James Bond (Daniel Craig) actually lose this time around? He might. Daniel Craig is no slouch, but I'd bet a pretty (money)penny on Bardem to take him down with sheer scowlitude any day of the week. Do you have it in you, Sam Mendes, to make this the film where James Bond doesn't get his man, and is, as a matter of fact, the man gotten? Ambitious, unruly, unprecedented! But...no. As awesome as Javier Bardem is, nobody's going to want to see him take down James Bond. Unless they pull some kind of Empire Strikes Back stuck-in-catatonia cliffhanger ordeal. Now that's a Bond movie I'd see! But of course, I'd see any Bond movie. We all would. On a serious note, Bardem is working on a documentary to publicize the travesties undergone by the inhabitants of a Western Sahara community. A war over territory has made refugees of many of the civilians. Bardem explains the severe situation in the video below and discusses his related film project.   video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player Source: ABC Nightline via Comingsoon
  • 'Footloose''s Julianne Hough Is 'Rescued' by Tom Cruise: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 11, 2011
    Last night, Footloose star Julianne Hough appeared on The Tonight Show to talk about the heroic Tom Cruise coming to her rescue when she was injured, and how she accidentally let her dog run rampant on the set of Ellen DeGeneres' talk show.  Modern Family's Ty Burrell showed up on Conan to enjoy a catastrophic interview: cast members try to get in on the interview, the set falls apart... Once things start functioning, he talks about tricking his daughter into liking football, the experience of accidentally walking in on his parents sleeping together, his amazing mustache, and his very odd blinking habits.  Again on The Tonight Show, Aaron Eckhart stopped by to talk about his pretty interesting, and surprisingly weird life: he hunts Bigfoot with his parents, and flies cross-country for ten-minute blind dates (that he immediately cuts short if he doesn't feel the "kaboom").  Finally, Tracy Morgan paid a visit to The Late Show to issue one more apology and explanation about his much unappreciated comments this past summer. Watch how quickly he shifts from speaking like a cartoon character to a regular person.
  • 'Terra Nova' Recap: What Remains
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 10, 2011
    S01E03: Terra Nova has stakes in human drama and in science fiction—and while it doesn’t fail entirely in either, it has a long way to go to really nail either. Tonight’s episode covers a territory well-traversed in both of these genres: amnesia. Elisabeth Shannon and Nathaniel Taylor investigate a laboratory-gone-awry in the middle of the wetlands, and contract a pathogen that causes them both (as it did all of the lab workers) to gradually lose their memory. Meanwhile, the ol’ “rivals teaming up” storyline overtakes Jim and Malcolm, who need to use their unique abilities (Malcolm’s scientific genius and Jim’s apparent invulnerability to pathogens—way to go Jim) to save their joint love: Elisabeth. And Taylor too, I guess. “So you’re gunna tell her it’s twenty years later than she thinks it is, and shes gone back in time twenty-eight million years...but you think a husband and kids will confuse her?!” – Jim The episode opens with some palpable tension between Jim and Malcolm. Malcolm is still pretty infatuated with Jim's wife, and seems to think he is somewhat entitled to her, what with their mutual careers in medicine and their history together. However, they are capable of being civil: Malcolm gives Jim a medicinal root to chew on when he contracts a cold. The two also team up to go find Elisabeth and Taylor (out on their excavation of the wetlands lab) when they have not called back to base long past the allotted check-in time. Washington insists that everyone stay at camp, but the two men devoted to Liz pay no mind to her orders. The story here is Jim's journey to prove himself more worthy of Liz's love than Malcolm is. We all know that Jim is her true love: first and foremost, he's her husband., Secondly, Malcolm is conniving and underhanded, albeit not entirely a bad guy. But when the duo encounters an amnesiac Liz, only Malcolm knows how to handle the situation. Even worse, it's only Malcolm she remembers (since the last twenty years of her life are blocked out, and she met him in college). Malcolm eventually contracts the disease himself, and begins to put the moves on Liz, which naturally infuriates Jim to the point of violence. He is upset by the fact that Liz takes Malcolm's side, but persists in trying to help her in any way he can find the cure (for her own disease; she is, conveniently enough, the only one capable of figuring out the cure to this disease). Gradually, working in close quarters, Liz begins to ask questions about Jim's life. She infers that she and he know one another, and that they are friends. The slow but steady increase in her trust in him encourages Jim, and she eventually comes to figure out that they are married with children. Around this time, she figures out that Jim (the only one not afflicted by the memory loss) is immune due to his cold, and surmises that if she can transfer the cold to other people, they, too, will be cured. Climactic moment: he kisses her. It's the culmination of science (the transfer of particles for the purposes of combatting a brain disease) and love (no explanation necessary). If it wasn't a little melodramatic, it would have worked. But that's sort of the show's problem: it is light on the science aspect and a little too heavy-handed on the drama. We don't always need the highest possible degree of raw emotion or interpersonal conflict. People are usually more subtle and intricate than that. The Shannons are good characters, and they're all pretty believable, but they need to dial it back to more realistic levels, and maybe amp up the mythology a bit. "You promised Cara you'd try to get her here. What if I told you I might know a guy who could help you with that?" - Skye Josh is conflicted about his budding relationship with Skye, due to his commitment to his past/future girlfriend Cara. Skye, ever the noble young lady, tries to help Josh in getting Cara to Terra Nova. She brings him to a shady bartender who 'specializes in that sort of thing,' but he needs to know that Josh can be trusted: he wants Josh to work for him. Josh agrees. Anything for his girlfriend (except abstaining from kissing other girls every once in a while, apparently). The end of the episode reveals the underwhelming twist that this bartender is the Sixers' mole, and that he has manipulated Josh into working for him because he's "the sheriff's son," and that apparently has a lot of potential for whatever the Sixers are up to. This could develop into something interesting; let's not write it off immediately as a lame ransom plot. The episode does give us a little more insight into Taylor's character. When he goes crazy from the pathogen, he reverts back to a savage Apocalypse Now-esque figure of his past, looking for his wife and son. We find out that his wife is dead, and we already know that his son is out there, somewhere, not being too great a son. He does some damage, and we get a glimpse of his pain (he doesn't want to live in a world without his wife), but once he's back to the past/present, he's essentially back to normal. To reiterate the main plot: Jim struggles to gain his wife’s trust as she battles her inability to remember him. Through “re-meeting” Jim, she comes to build up a trust in him and to eventually realize (not remember, but realize) that he must be her husband. The message here: love is stronger than anything. While that’s a fine message and one that certainly can be conveyed adequately in sci-fi, the actual science fiction going on here is not substantial or detailed enough to hold up that aspect of the show—rather, it’s flimsy and vague, and nothing original. However, credit due: they are building up a thick bond between the Shannon couple. So long as they keep building on this, the family’s relationship could be enough to maintain interest in the not-as-big-a-sci-fi-as-it-should-be series.
  • The 'Two and a Half Men' Ashton Kutcher Scorecard: Week Four
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 10, 2011
    S9E3: Last week's Two and a Half Men, "Big Girls Don't Throw Food," was a bit of a fumble. Thus far, Ashton Kutcher's been doing a solid to above average job of turning the show into his own, departing from Sheen's style while finding a groove that is quintessential Men. But episode three didn't work—Walden's writing was shotgunned and ambiguous, the character doing whatever the scenes required. Was this week different? For that, we go to the scorecard. Here's the breakdown: One Charlie Sheen Head (1 - 10 Points): Ashton, you were in this episode. Two Charlie Sheen Heads (11 - 20 Points): Ashton, you landed a few jokes, but we can't stop thinking about good ol' Charlie. Three Charlie Sheen Heads (21 - 30 Points): Ashton, you earned tonight's laugh track. Solid. Four Charlie Sheen Heads (31 - 40 Points): Ashton, we're impressed. You've surpassed Sheen-level kookiness. Five Charlie Sheen Heads (41 - 50 Points): Ashton, you're scaring us with classic levels of comedy. Charlie who? That's that, now on with the fourth round of the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard! "Nine Magic Fingers" 1. "Why are you wearing masks?" - Walden     "I'm at a charity event...for people without faces..." - Bridget Points:  2 Walden Schmidt's continuous dilemma is his inability to get over his soon-to-be ex-wife, Bridget. Naturally, Ashton would then play his character sad. But it seems as if he is having trouble differentiating from playing sad and not 'playing' at all. Ashton Kutcher delivers his lines flatly and without much enthusiasm. Just because Walden Schmidt is depressed and languid, it doesn't mean his performance needs to be lazy. 2. "Sometimes I lay down. Sometimes I curl up in a ball." - Walden Points:  4 One thing to Ashton's credit: he's managing pathetic reasonably well. It seems that Walden Schmidt has had almost no interaction with human beings. Whether this is a conscious choice or not by the creators and Ashton is ambiguous, but it makes it more believable that a handsome multi-billionaire would have trouble finding love. 3. "You need to get out there and find Ms. Right. And you need to do it immediately." - Alan     "Now? But I was gunna curl up in a ball." - Ashton Points: 3 It's hard to tell what the creators really want to do with Ashton and this character. Is he supposed to be parallel Alan's relationship with Charlie? Is the new relationship supposed to be a role-reversal, with Alan being the on-the-ball alpha male to Walden's whiny, morose loser? It seems, mostly, that neither the show nor Ashton has figured out just what Walden is, and what purpose he'll serve. It's early yet in the season, so this is forgivable. But hopefully they'll figure it out soon. 4. "Alan called and told me you were doing something stupid. I just met her." - Bridget Points:  3 Ashton faces a showdown between his ex-wife (Judy Greer) and new girlfriend (Jenny McCarthy; the woman who tried to con Charlie into a marriage previously). This sort of face-off could warrant something emotionally explosive from Ashton's extremely fragile character, but instead we get a predictable lewd joke and some more flat delivery. Get this man a coffee! 5. "Let this be a warning to you, Alan. There are women out there who will just be nice to you to get to your money." - Walden     "Thanks, but that's not very high on my list of priorities." - Alan Points: 2 And the tag that proves that, in the end, this show is not about love between a man and a woman, but the bond between two men (the other "half man" is featured strangely infrequently in this and recent episodes). As Ashton mumbles through a profession of his appreciation of Cryer's character, we take little of it as genuine, as the performance seems like the actor is half asleep. There was always something heated and alive on both ends of the Cryer-Sheen dynamic. And although Cryer is still as animated as ever, Ashton Kutcher doesn't really seem all too excited to be there at all. Total Points: 14 - TWO Charlie Sheen Heads! Ashton Kutcher is not a man without acting talent. In fact, he is known for playing lively, animated, and slightly kooky characters in film and television. This begs a lot of curiosity, as he is bringing none of this enthusiasm to Walden Schmidt. Perhaps he just hasn't figured the character out yet. Perhaps he's nervous in filling Charlie Sheen's shoes. Whatever it is, let's hope he rectifies it quickly.