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.
  • Terrifying 'The Woman in Black' Trailer is a Good Sign for Horror Movies and Daniel Radcliffe
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 19, 2011
    Scary is IN. Truly chilling, frightening cinema is hard to come by—a genuinely fear-inducing movie is a difficult thing to produce nowadays due to how familiar audiences have become with the ins and outs of the genre. This is why many films opt for the crossover: horror-comedies, horromances, histhorrorcal fiction. But The Woman in Black looks to be a classic stab at surging audiences' hearts (or perhaps a surge at stabbing them). However, this doesn't mean it'll be devoid of anything beyond cheap shocks. The scariest things of all don't arise from surface value "Boo" moments, but from carefully crafted psychological disarray. This will be Daniel Radcliffe's first role since the Harry Potter series ended with Deathly Hallows Part 2 (and only his third big screen non-Potter role altogether), and it is with no uncertainty that I predict he'll make this role his own. It's courageous for an actor to jump right into a conflicting niche role after years of being recognized for one character in particular—to few actors does this curse really apply to the same degree that it does to Radcliffe. How many franchises have spanned eight movies without any reboots or major cast changes? So, applause to you, Daniel. After this, I think it'll be easier for him to be accepted in a Potterless world: playing comedic heroes, romantic interests, historical figures. So this movie is a good step for two things: the horror genre and Daniel Radcliffe, both of which have a lot more to show us than we may think. Enjoy the trailer, and click here to check out the creepy motion poster on Entertainment Weekly. The Woman In Black Trailer Get More: The Woman In Black Trailer Source: Spike, EW
  • Selena Gomez to Star in 'Hot Mess' Comedy
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    Selena Gomez is advancing into the world of movies with slightly older target demographics. Known primarily for The Wizards of Waverly Place, the nineteen year-old actress has already taken a mature step with the film Monte Carlo. And now, she'll be taking another in the Dave Meyers-directed comedy, Hot Mess. The film will follow Gomez's character and three close friends vying adamantly to avoid their inevitable fates of becoming "hot messes." In addition to planting the seed for what could be the beginning of a new chapter for Gomez, this movie's existence also tells us something about our lexicon. But I'm not sure what. The variety of Urban Dictionary definitions of Hot Mess touch on mental disarray, physical attraction, unmistakeable disaster, and public intoxication. How exactly Selena Gomez, Dave Meyers and screenwriter Jenni Ross will pinpoint the true denotation of the all-encompassing term is as of yet a mystery. We'll just have to wait and see... We'll just have to wait and see... Source: Deadline
  • Casting Roundup: Carla Gugino Joins 'Justified,' Sarah Silverman and Jeff Goldblum on 'The League'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    Carla Gugino has so much great work under her belt. Gugino played major roles in films like Watchmen and on series including Entourage. Plus, she holds the distinction of having been in both Sin City and Spin City. Gugino will extend her talents to the third season of the FX series Justified, playing an assistant director to the U.S. Marshals Service, based out of D.C. Gugino's character, Karen Goodall, will have something of a history with Timothy Olyphant's Raylan Givens, dating back to their Miami days. Justified's third season will premiere in early 2012 on FX. -TVLine This Thanksgiving, The League will be picking up two free agents for a holiday-themed episode: Sarah Silverman and Jeff Goldblum. Silverman will play Andre's (Paul Sheer) sister, while Jeff Goldblum, in the most perfect casting in recent history, will play the father of Nick Kroll's character, Ruxin. Both of these actors are well-experienced in some of the outrageous comedy typical to The League, so we should expect a lively family reunion this November. The League airs Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on FX. -EW Community is two for two with outstanding Christmas episodes. Where the first taught the group a couple of more or less light-hearted lessons about tolerance and friendship, the second was a much darker, and more fascinating, insight into the mind of (most) everyone's favorite character, Abed. So, this year has a lot to live up to. It's already got some promise, what with the casting of Saturday Night Live's secret weapon, Taran Killam. Killam will play a choir teacher at Greendale Community College, who is most likely destined for the destructive powers of the study group. -TVLine
  • 'The Simpsons' Spoof 'Avatar', '127 Hours' and More in 22nd Treehouse of Horror
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    The Simpsons is nothing if not wild and silly, but it does adhere to a level of reality, which limits it from getting away with a few more outlandish jokes and spoofs. Once year, however, all hell breaks loose, and The Simpsons disregards any restrictions in one of its many celebrated "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episodes. This season will feature the twenty-second "Treehouse of Horror," and, in keeping with tradition, will pay homage to some well-known adages of science fiction, horror, and just plain unpleasantness. Films parodied include Avatar and 127 Hours. The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XXII" will air Sunday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. As always, the episode will start with a brief opener that frames three separate stories to come. "Treehouse of Horror XXII" will be threaded by a parody of last year's 127 Hours. While recklessly exploring Candy Peak, Homer will find himself trapped in a cravasse with his arm stuck under a boulder. In an attempt to free himself, Homer (as Fox's Facebook page puts it) "channels Aron Ralston (guest-voicing as himself)." Somehow, this will link to the following three stories: "The Diving Bell and Butterball" In a parody of the 1997 memoir -- turned 2007 film by Julian Schnabel -- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Homer will become paralyzed after being bitten by a poisonous spider. He is unable to communicate until Lisa figures out a way for him to express himself through "natural gases." "Dial D for Diddly" Borrowing its title from the 1954 movie Dial M for Murder, the Simpsons' pious neighbor Ned Flanders will play a "devout preacher by day" and a "cold-blooded vigilante by night." "In the Na'Vi" In a long overdue Avatar parody, Bart and Milhouse will travel to a distant planet with the mission of extracting a precious mineral, but they'll need to take the form of the native beings in order to earn their trust. Like his Worthingtonian counterpart, Bart will fall unexpectedly in love with a native of the planet, and could end up defending new friends against old. These natives might be a little more...grotesque than the Pandora citizens. Simpsons fans: think Kang and Kodos. Source: AOLTV
  • Anne Hathaway Will Dream a Dream in 'Les Miserables' with Jackman and Crowe
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    After weeks of rumors (and to absolutely no one's surprise), Anne Hathaway has been officially given the role of Fatine in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Les Miserables. To take the female lead in Les Mis, Anne Hathaway was the obvious choice. You might even call her the safe choice. But she is, nonetheless, a great choice. This movie isn't vying for breakout stars; it's roping in all the classics. Hugh Jackman as the hero, Jean Valjean? Yes, it's none too surprising, and none too risky. But it'll be none too disappointing either. Same goes for Russell Crowe as the villainous Inspector Javert. This even applies to the director, Tom Hooper. Last year, Hooper served us The King's Speech, as classic and traditional as a movie can get. It was still good, but it was a shoe-in from the start for the Best Picture. The real question is: does this indicate a problem? Does the "Better Safe than Sorry" mindset that is enveloping this project (classic musical, classic cast, classic director) indicate a cynical deterrence from anything new, unfamiliar, or different in any way? Or is it simply an appreciation of a certain type of talent, and an application of that talent in a way that will produce an enjoyable, worthwhile film? It's probably the latter. Entertaining the former theory is really just looking for things to scorn. And while I love looking for things to scorn, I also love Les Miserables. And I love Hugh Jackman. And I love Anne Hathaway. And in the end, would you rather have a heart full of scorn...or a heart full of love? Source: Deadline
  • 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes': Caesar IS (Available to Watch at) Home...on Blu-ray!
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes was so good, it almost poses a problem. That problem being, when the ape planet does eventually rise and overtake our oppressive human regime, it'll just seem kind of meh in comparison. But you know what won't seem kind of meh? The Rise of the Planet of the Apes Blu-ray and DVD, coming out on Dec. 13! Andy Serkis, James Franco, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, Tom Felton, Tyler Labine, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval and Brian Cox make Rupert Wyatt's new take on the classic series a wonderful ride. And this ain't no monkey busin—um... tomfoolery. There is a hefty sum of intriguing special features (listed below the picture) to make you go bana—uh, moonstruck. So stop futzin' around! Ape-proof your house, build up an immunity to the deadly pandemic, and make sure you hide all of your Draco Malfoy memorabilia. The best movie of the summer is coming out on Blu-ray and DVD, and the only question is...will you join the craze? Okay, maybe there is one more question. SPECIAL FEATURES Feature Film Deleted Scenes Alpha Gets Shot Will's Meeting with Lab Assistants Will Discovers Caesar Has Solved Puzzles Caesar Plays with Bicycle Caesar Questions His Identity Caesar Bites Off Neighbors Finger Will Ignores the Risks of an Airborne Mutated Virus Rodney Gives Caesar a Cookie Rocket Gets Hosed by Dodge Caesar Destroys the Lab and Koba's Attempted Revenge on Jacobs Caesar Pushes Helicopter Koba with Shotgun Pre-vis for The Future Capturing Caesar – Script to Screen Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene A New Generation of Apes Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes Ape Facts  Chimpanzee Gorilla Orangutan Audio Commentary by Director Rupert Wyatt Audio Commentary by Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver Character Concept Art Gallery Three Theatrical Trailers Source: Comingsoon
  • 'The Dark Knight Rises' to Film Around Occupy Wall Street Protests
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    Those currently involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests would likely not be too keen on a Bruce Wayne type: a frivolous millionaire and owner of a conglomerate corporation, violating the privacy of his decaying city's denizens with some top notch surveillance equipment, secretly working with the law to rule the town as he sees fit (at least that's how some might spin it). However, would they, in turn, pass up a chance to appear in The Dark Knight Rises? Only the most principled, I'm sure...and even that tier would likely be hard pressed to shirk this opportunity. As The Dark Knight Rises filming comes to New York City, the Los Angeles Times suggests that the OWS protests will serve as backdrop for scenes in the upcoming Batman movie. It actually makes a lot of sense: Gotham is a corrupt town, filled with dissatisfied citizens—sooner or later, they'd be taking to the streets with picket signs. Wherever you stand on the issue, you'd be inclined to agree that the flavor of it all fits pretty well into the setting of The Dark Knight Rises. The only problem here is the prevalence of some recognizeable political figures at the rally. Although, I guess Jimmy McMillain could pass as a Batman villain... The Dark Knight Rises production will arrive in New York on Oct. 29. Source: Los Angeles Times
  • Jesse Eisenberg Flick 'Zombieland' Is Becoming a TV Series
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    This is the sort of thing that many of us will go back and forth on until it comes to fruition. Zombieland was a surprisingly well-received movie—although in retrospect, it doesn't seem that shocking. It had all the components of something today's audiences would naturally love: apocalypse, sub-beta male lead, super-alpha female love interest, self-referential breakdown of story structure via voiceover and funky SFX titles...the list goes on. So yeah, now it seems obvious, but nobody actually expected it at the time. But those behind it have high hopes a new incarnation of Zombieland: a TV show on Fox. It's hard to find a stance on this, considering how much I (and pretty much everyone else) love Zombieland. In the pros column, the movie was originally conceived as a TV show, but the creators were unhappy with the network's vision of it (and vice versa). The movie's success will likely afford the creators a little more leeway to manifest their series as they see fit (also a pro). Finally: Zombie Kills of the Week. But now for the cons. Despite (or because of) its open-endedness, I thought the ending to Zombieland was absolutely perfect, considering the main character's personal battles. However, producer Gavin Polone explains that none of the film's cast would be involved with the series, as one might expect. This does not necessarily destine the show to a decreased quality, but a lot of the fun of Zombieland could be attributed to the Jesse Eisenberg-Woody Harrelson-Emma Stone-Abigail Breslin-(Bill Murray) dynamic. There are so many things to consider. Can a new cast capture the flare of the old? Can a comedic zombie series stay fresh? Will it necessarily demand comparison to The Walking Dead? It's at least partially encouraging. With the film's writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick on board as the biggest pro of all, we can focus on the positive for now. It may not end up as epic as the movie, but you know the old saying: enjoy the little things. Source: Vulture
  • 'Hawaii Five-0' Recap: Ma'eme'e
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 18, 2011
    S2E5: This week's episode Hawaii Five-0 answers everyone's, especially Chin's, questions about Kono: She is working undercover for International Affairs, under the reign of Capt. Vincent Fryer (Tom Sizemore), to take down cop-gone-bad Frank DeLano (Billy Baldwin). The episode opens on a high school girls volleyball coach—loved by his students, faculty, alumni, everyone (isn't that always the case with teachers in these kinds of shows?)—murdered in his locker room after a big victory for his team. The Five-0 investigate his living quarters, which is a guest house on the property of the Joyners, a wealthy couple who let him live there for free, and find somewhat risque photographs of one of his students. All the while, Chin has reconnected with his ex-fiancee, who makes her own attempt at reaching out to the contentious Kono, to no avail. They speak to the girl, only to find out that the photographs were not taken by the coach, but by an advertising agency. The coach was displeased with his student's decision and she relinquished the photos to him. However, upon investigating a hotel reservation, the Five-0 finds out that it was not his student that the coach was sneaking around with, but the female half of the married couple who let him live on their property rent-free. New suspect: jealous husband. Instantly, this lead is terminated. The Five-0 go to confront the man, but he is shot dead by a distant gunman before he can reveal anything beyond, "They're going to kill my wife!" Chin and Lori stake out the hotel room (apparently, aforesaid wife has not checked out yet) to catch anyone who might be after her. To their surprise, Kono is the getaway driver for a thug who tries to break in to kill Mrs. Joyner. She speeds away, but she is caught by the Five-0, who take her into custody. However, while there, the team is visited by Capt. Fryer, who reveals that Kono is working for him undercover to take down DeLano. The team accuses him of using Kono to exact revenge on his crooked former partner, but Fryer and Kono insist they continue with their mission. Kono goes back undercover, helping DeLano coerce Mrs. Joyner (who they find at her hotel room) take out and bequeath unto them her safety deposit box—when the two are alone, Kono admits to Joyner that she is an undercover cop to put her at ease. The ending bank shoot out sees Kono reclaim her stance as hero, Fryer get his revenge on DeLano, and the team back together again. Top Five Moments from Tonight's Episode 1. Another LOST reunion. After the gift of John Locke helping out the force, Jin Soo Kwon interrogating Alexandra Linus/Rosseau is just some very sweet icing on a wonderful, wonderful cake. 2. Capt. Fryer's revelation. The team sort of had a collective "Oh, so that's what's been going on" moment when they find out the truth about Kono's recent shadiness. 3. Lori's flustered rambling in the hotel room to Chin about her hardly veiled attraction to Steve...and Chin's stoic, marginally interested responses. 4. Capt. Fryer's taking Steve's slap-in-the-face with dignity, and accepting the command to never mess with his team again. Admirable, considering that this is the same man who set out on a path of bloody revenge that endangered the lives of other police officers earlier that day. 5. Kono's coming back into her own during the bank scene, wherein she takes command by asserting to Mrs. Joyner that she'll be all right, and by pretty much winning control of the standoff.
  • 'Terra Nova' Recap: The Runaway
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 17, 2011
    S01E04: Now we're getting to the good stuff! The hints of mysteries to come, the "Everything is not as it seems" speeches, the scenes that make you start to rescind your trust in characters you assumed from the getgo were 'good guys.' This is a good sign for Terra Nova. Tonight's episode, "The Runaway," brings an unexpected visitor to the Terra Nova society. During a twilight woods excavation, Lt. Washington and her protegee, Maddy's Hemsworthian love interest Mark Reynolds, discover a young girl hiding (from them). They take her back to camp and try to treat her medically, but she resists all help, kicking and throwing a violent fit. Of course, the Shannons are the ones capable of getting through to her: Elisabeth talks her into giving her name (Leah), and revealing her origins: she lives among the Sxiers, both her parents are dead, she's got a twin brother, and she has been told that Nathaniel Taylor is "the Bad Man." She claims to be trying to find the portal in order to travel back to the 2100s so that she might live with her grandmother. However, Jim informs her that this is impossible—one-way portal; that's an important enough factoid to keep repeating. Side-note: I noticed something else that was repeated in this episode—Zoe's carnivorous Venus flytrap. Could just be an innocent mention, but I'd be willing to bet all my Obamadollars that somewhere along the line, this plant comes into significant play. But back to the episode: the Shannons take in Leah, while Washington and Reynolds head into the woods to find Leah's misplaced backpack. Lo and behold, they are ambushed and taken captive by Sixers. Led by Mira, the Sixers pay a visit to Terra Nova with their hostages, demanding that Taylor give up Leah. But both parties agree to leave it up to the child: Leah chooses to stay with Terra Nova; the Sixers release their hostages and retreat. Taylor threatens them with war if another invasion is attempted. “Did the overachiever just kinda-sorta achieve? Instead of open-heart surgery, did she just do an appendectomy?” - Josh So all is well and good. The little girl chooses the good guys, and even manages to bond with the soldier with the attachment disorder. That very man and his faithful sheriff start up a healthy round of McCarthyistic interrogation, looking for every otherwise-innocent member of the Sixth Pilgrimage to find out who among their society is the ominous spy. Of all people, Malcolm shoots in and comes to a fellow scientist's rescue when the questioning gets a little too heated. We can see from Jim's face that he might be coming to realize that Malcolm is right, and their behavior is unjust.  However, the Terra Novians soon learn to never trust little girls: it was all a ruse, and Leah was just biding her time until she could get into the former residence of Mira to retrieve a locked container hidden beneath the floorboards. She is caught before she can reach the borders, and interrogated by Taylor and Jim. Leah reveals that Mira insisted that she would kill her brother if Leah didn't get the package for her, but Taylor doesn't buy it. Jim is less of a cold-hearted jerk (granted, his son didn't run off to join the Sixers or become a waterfall graffiti artist or whatever it is Taylor, Jr., up to) and decides to believe Leah. Off in the woods, searching for a runaway Leah, Jim gets snagged in a Sixer trap and is almost eaten by whatever kind of dinosaur is known for its slow reaction time and relative jumping skills. The dinosaur is disposed of by a Sixer, and Jim is taken hostage. "That's the way they used to do it." - Reynolds "Technically they will do it that way. In the future. Of course, they’ll also wear corsets." - Maddy And here comes the payoff. Not just of this episode, but of the entire season so far. Up until now, we've been served the idea that these people are living in a nice little, moderately dysfunctional society, with a few loose ends here and there. But Terra Nova comes right out and explains to us here, "There's a whole lot more going on." Mira explains to Jim that Taylor got on the bad sides of a lot of people back in the 2100s, and that he's up to no good. She dismisses the idea that Terra Nova is about a "fresh start," but refuses to reveal what she believes the society/project to really be. All we know: it's a bad thing. Which is a good thing (for us). Mira also earns a few of our sympathies by revealing she was never actually going to hurt Leah's brother, and that she just wants to see her own daughter again. Jim is released. Leah is safe, and is reunited with her brother. The two are given a new home in Terra Nova. It's probably the happiest, Spielbergiest ending in recent television, especially considering the foreboding message of evil one scene earlier. And then of course, there's the mysterious container: unopenable (they can travel through time...but they can't open a box). Malcolm keeps it in his cupboard, as ordered by Taylor, until someone invents a key. Or a hammer. Or something. So all that at the end there—Mira's whole shpiel—that's what we were waiting for. That's where the fun comes out. It's nice to see Jim and Elisabeth raise their kids in dinotopia. It's nice to see nerdy Maddy come into her own (a subplot this week has Maddy shy away from medicinal practice, and become officially 'involved' with her soldier of love). But the real fun is these mysteries that are building up. Taylor's "not what he seems" arc. The Sixers "unlikely good guys" story. Maybe it's none too shocking to some of you out there, but it's a fun twist. After all, I seem to recall another series that had a group of people suddenly stranded in a natural paradise/wasteland, initially fearing some "Others," who turned out to have a lot more going for them than anyone had thought. And that one turned out to be pretty addicting.