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.
  • New 'American Reunion' Red Band Teaser Shows Jim Up to His Old Habits
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 13, 2011
    As you can see from the new red band American Reunion teaser, the characters haven't grown up that much. This NSFW clip gives us our first look at the upcoming film with reunites us with the group of Michiganians that defined "teen comedy" for our generation. Below, we get a quick glimpse at the married life of Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), now parents and nearing their thirties, but still, at the core, the same people we got to know twelve years back. What with the collection of American Reunion pictures we posted yesterday, it seems like we have no choice but to get excited about this new movie. Will it live up to its predecessors? Will it bring something entirely new to the table? Will it redefine the genre its original incarnation redefined? Hard to say. But the below teaser, reminiscent of the very first scene that started off the American Pie series, seems to promise something very relatable: the war between one's instincts to grow up and one's urge to remain the youthful, magic-in-the-eyes eighteen year old who wasn't above fornicating with a baked dessert. Maybe I'm reading too much into it; it could just be another funny, sex-charged comedy. But I'm willing to bet otherwise. American Reunion reaches theaters on April 6, 2012. Click the image below the trailer to see more pictures from American Reunion.  <a href='http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-trailers/#/video/099bb2c4-ef9b-4f9e-9d7f-404f8e5d8b36?src=FLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title=''American Reunion' movie trailer (mature)' >Video: &#39American Reunion&#39 movie trailer (mature)</a> Source: Latino Review
  • Bill Clinton Joins Letterman's Vendetta Against Leno: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 13, 2011
    Last night, former President Bill Clinton appeared on The Late Show to explain that in general, Americans are a noble people who do not resent other people's success...however, there is one exception to this rule: Jay Leno. Zooey Deschanel stopped by The Tonight Show to talk about an interesting occurrence involving a hallucinating man and a lily pad pond in the audience of her band's show, and the fact that one of the Jersey Shore castmembers stole her dog's name. Rob Lowe visited Jimmy Kimmel Live! to give literally the greatest interview I've ever seen. He talks about visiting the White House and having staff members (even President Clinton) pitching him and Aaron Sorkin story ideas for The West Wing. Finally, Dexter star Michael C. Hall showed up on Conan to talk about his favorite kills, how the dark deeds of his character have started to give him nightmares, and how easy it is to stalk people, and his creepy seven-year-old "biggest fan."
  • 'Modern Family' Recap: Hit and Run
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    S03E05: This week's Modern Family made me realize something that explains a great deal about the show’s success. And it’s funny that this should occur as a result of this episode, “Hit and Run,” because I would call it, arguably, one of the least funny episodes I’ve seen in a long time. Something about the dialogue this week seems clumsy, overcooked, and out of step. But once all the plots are set up (Claire is running for city council against David Cross; Phil dedicates himself to being a more hands-on dad; Jay is having trouble with a young client who demands flash and Gloria just wants him to accept her advice; and Mitchell thinks Cameron is too confrontational with strangers), and they merge into a climactic scene involving all of the adult males, things start to pick up on the funny, and, more importantly, it becomes extremely clear to me why I—and everyone else in America—enjoy this show so much: these people really work as both a family and a comedy team. “If you want to fly, I’m not going to hold your feet to the ground. I want to be the one to push you off the cliff.” – Phil If you recall last week, Claire’s whole stop-sign expedition didn’t really have much of a conclusion. Apparently, that’s because the writers were planning on picking it up again this week, only with a hike in the stakes: Claire decides to run for city council against the jerk who both denied her the necessary stop sign and had the audacity to put a negative connotation on puggles. This is good news for two reasons. The first is that I imagine Claire running for office has great potential to develop her character and to give Phil some hilarious “the world of politics” B-stories. Secondly, it means we’ll be seeing more of David Cross. Of course, after talking with Cross’ character about this, Claire becomes intimidated, and worries that she will lose. In the meantime, Phil promises Claire that while she is busy running for office, he will be there to take care of this kids, assuring her of his capability in this realm. Minutes after this promise, Phil gives Luke a black eye, drugs Alex, and overlooks the fact that Haley has lost $900 of her friends’ money trying to buy fake IDs from an untrustworthy character (the same guy who ‘ruined’ the group in last week’s Community—this actor must have “easily hateable” on his resume). “We just got rear ended! Are you okay?” – Mitchell “I think I cut the roof of my mouth on the straw!” – Cam “So, yes.” – Mitchell Despite its lack of ‘quotable humor’ (as explained above), this is probably my favorite Mitchell/Cam story in quite a while. For once, the two aren’t bickering because one is neat/one is sloppy, or one is high-maintenance/one is more laid back. Although their differences do emerge, it’s not in the same formulaic, “Well, we’ll see who wins this one!” way that we’ve been seeing far too much of. Two incidents early on in the episode show Cam reacting with hostility to strangers with whose behavior he takes issue (one is taking his children to an inappropriate movie, the other commits a hit and run). Both times, Mitchell seems exasperated with Cam. Now, fans of the show since its inception might find this a little odd: the very first Modern Family scene we see of the pair actually has Mitchell verbally attacking a group of strangers who he thinks made homophobic slurs about the two of them, with Cam being the embarrassed one. But, shows do change, and perhaps the creators have decided this kind of confrontational characteristic is better suited for who they want Cam to be. I can live with that, as long as they keep up the “Mitchell and Cam at odds with the world” stories as opposed to all these “Mitchell vs. Cam because one likes Leno and one likes Letterman” stories. “Police. Aren’t they too busy winning the war on drugs?” – Luke The Jay/Gloria/Manny story is also a big departure for this household’s archetype. For once, Jay isn’t so much fighting with either his wife or stepson as he is trying not to bother them with his business problems. Jay tries to sell closets (I guess he sells closets) to a young, trend-obsessed CEO played by the great Samm Levine. All Gloria wants is to help, but both Jay and Manny—who is writing a school paper on, of all things, the Mafia—deny her this privilege. The precious climactic scene is where everything comes to fruition. Once Haley admits that her $900 was stolen by a dishonest fake-ID peddler, Jay, Phil, Cam and a reluctant Mitchell all head out to the guy’s house to get her money back. And: greatness. It’s not so much the slapstick comedy of a terrified Mitchell tackling the runaway man and pulling his pants off. It’s not even a rarely heated Phil’s incredible fist names (England Dan and John Ford Coley). It’s the dynamic of the four men working together to help their family member. Four men who couldn’t fit together any less perfectly in a logical sense work together ideally as a family. Every beat in this scene is perfect, because the comedy and the fun derives from the closeness we feel to the family at this moment—and of course, this kind of scene would not have worked in Season 1. We earned this moment by sticking with the family and learning about the them over the past two years. We understand that every quirky action each man does is natural and in-character. These are the kinds of things that Modern Family does best: it allows us to invest in worthwhile characters who form a worthwhile family. And though it may not always be the most riotous show on the air, this scene makes it clear to me why Modern Family is so popular. It makes us feel like we’re surrounded by, or even a part of, this terrific family.
  • 'American Pie' Gang Comes Back in New 'American Reunion' Pics
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    Look at 'em. Look at how far they have come. Jim married Michelle. Heather went blonde. Kevin grew a goatee. But some things will never change. We'll still have uncomfortable father-son moments in the Levenstein household. We'll always have a scowling Finch. Stifler's mom may never stop her prowl for "young love". And, of course, Jim will never find himself free of being caught in horribly compromising positions... American Reunion will bring back all of the characters from our cherished American Pie franchise. Pictured below are returners Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein (better have an explanation for missing the wedding!), Tara Reid, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Mena Suvari, Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge. Among the conflicts faced in American Reunion will be difficulties in Jim's and Michelle's marriage, Stifler's mom's pursuit of a new young gentleman, and temptations between old flames Oz and Heather.  Source: USA Today
  • 'Die Hard 5' Is Now 'A Good Day to Die Hard' & Other Info Revealed
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    We Died Hard. Then, we did it a 2nd time. The third time, we added a Vengance. By the fourth, we were Livin' Free. But was it ever a truly good day to Die Hard? Probably not. But this day—this fifth episode of the Die Hard franchise—most certainly is. It might not be the best day to Die Hard. Possibly not even a great one. But is it A Good Day to Die Hard? Why yes. It sure as shootin' is. At least that's what Fox Filmed Entertainment's co-chairman Tim Rothman said on The Jim Rome Show this morning. The title of the next adventure for Bruce Willis' badass-everycop-turned-high-flying-renegade-super-being was not the only thing Rothman revealed. He also let listeners know that A Good Day to Die Hard will begin shooting in January 2012 for a release just over a year later, on Valentine's Day 2013. He expanded on something we already heard about: this will be John McClane's most globe-trotting adventure yet. McClane will find himself in Moscow, attempting to free his ne'er-do-well son from Russian jail, when he is thrust into the position of preventing an apocalyptic threat instituted by a group of terrorists. You've come a long way from midtown, McClane. Pretty soon, you'll have done it all: New York, America, planet Earth, the galaxy...around the time of Die Hard 9: The Day the Music Died Hard, Bruce Willis will weep...for there will be no more worlds to conquer. Source: Slashfilm
  • Leonardo DiCaprio to Play Code-Cracking Genius Alan Turing in Biopic?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    Alan Turing has many claims to fame: he developed a decoding machine, he inspired the name for Steve Jobs' supercompany, and, best of all, Leonardo DiCaprio wants to play him in a movie. Specifically, a movie called The Imitation Game, written by Graham Moore, which Warner Bros. snatched up in hopes of attracting the star to headline. Turing is one of those people about whom we really need a movie to be made. Why? Primarily, because it's very difficult to understand exactly what he did (at least for those of us with the scientific intellectualism of mere film and television writers). And when things are misunderstood, they are often either chastised or forgotten. Alan Turing was and is, unjustly, both. Granted, Turing's persecution in his lifetime was not for his scientific prowess. In fact, he proved indubitably valuable to his country, the United Kingdom, during World War II thanks to his efforts in the world of computer sciences, code-cracking and mathematics. It was his homosexuality (illegal in the UK in the 1950s) that incurred the wrath of the very government he had aided. In 1954, after undergoing involuntary chemical castration at the hands of the UK's government, Turing committed suicide via a cyanide-ridden apple that he created himself. Ron Howard is interested in directing this period film about a code-cracking genius who battles psychological demons around the time of World War II starring one of the stars of Body of Lies. Bit of a stretch for Howard, but we have faith he can pull it off. Source: Deadline
  • 'Boardwalk Empire' Picked Up for a Third Season
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    Good news: we will all live to see 1922. HBO renewed Boardwalk Empire for a third season. No surprise there. The exciting, sophisticated period drama about political corruption in Prohibition Era Atlantic City is revered by fans and critics alike. Its outlandishly talented (and infinitely expanding) ensemble cast shoots out winning performances week by week, coming directly from its more renowned stars—including film actor Steve Buscemi, who plays the central character, the dishonest but (relatively) decent county treasurer Nucky Thompson—and from its lesser known cast members alike. The first season explored Nucky Thompson's seemingly boundless reign of control over Atlantic County through his many connections to crime syndicates, including those in Chicago and New York City. The second season, however, has seen Nucky fall from power as loyalties to him have become sparse. The impressively early season order (there have only been three episodes of Season 2 broadcast thus far) is becoming a trend for Boardwalk, and probably a much appreciated one. Last year, the series was picked up for a second season after just two episodes of Season 1. Boardwalk Empire airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. Source: Vulture
  • 'Downton Abbey' Will Likely Get a Third Season
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    As many of us know, things are done a bit differently over in the United Kingdom when it comes to television. On the one hand, you've got comedy series like Ricky Gervais' The Office and Extras, which are limited to two seasons (by the creators, not networks listening to ailing ratings). On the other end of the spectrum, however, there's Doctor Who, which has been on television since before the dawn of the space-time continuum it so cheerfully manipulates. The Emmy-winning Downton Abbey falls somewhere closer to the former type of series. The show is in its second season in the UK, and creator Julian Fellowes is hoping for a third season. America only received the first season of Downton Abbey so far—its six Emmy wins and five nominations suggest that we'll eagerly welcome as many seasons as possible. Downton Abbey follows the aristocratic Crawley family in the years proceeding and pervading World War I. The second season, already airing in the UK and coming to the United States in 2012, will explore several WWI battles and the expansion of women's societal roles on the homefront during the time period. Fellowes told Vulture that he envisions (and always has) the third season exploring the 1920s. Fellowes' explanation of his design for the series seems to indicate that Downton Abbey would not continue past a third season: "The original concept in my optimistic head was for the first series to start towards the end of the Edwardian era, the second to be set during World War One and the third in the 1920s." Downton Abbey will return to American television with its second season on Jan. 8, 2012. Source: Vulture
  • 'The Lone Ranger' Rides Again: Johnny Depp's Film is Back in Development
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    Remember all the news about Johnny Depp's dream project, a The Lone Ranger film adaptation, being tossed out by Disney over budget constraints? Scratch that. That's null and void: the Lone Ranger is back in the saddle. But Disney has taken some of his silver away. The world really should have known better than deny Depp his dreams. Granted, the film's budget is reduced, but it's not like we'll be seeing anything in the stylings of the Hess family. There are still sure to be high-powered shoot-outs, visually stunning horse chases, and great train robberies. Plus, the biggest sell of them all: the Depp. It probably helps Disney execs rest easy that the team behind this film was responsible for the colossal hitters that were the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. Alongside Depp for the Lone Ranger movie are Pirates director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. And certainly it doesn't hurt to have the fast-rising young actor Armie Hammer onboard as the titular hero, with Depp's Tonto at his side. Hammer, who got his start with a recurring role on Gossip Girl, really came into his own with a stellar performance as Cameron Winklevoss in The Social Network -- if you ask me, he kind of phoned in Tyler Winklevoss. So one might wonder, with all of these factors on deck, why Disney might have been apprehensive about the film in the first place. Was it the meager performance of the Western adventure Cowboys & Aliens? Perhaps Disney predicts the end of the adaptation trend? Whatever the reason, it was nothing a few budget cuts couldn't fix. And now, we'll get the Lone Ranger film that we always wanted. Or at least the one Depp always wanted. But really, what's the difference? Source: Deadline
  • 'Modern Family''s Julie Bowen Gets Picked Up by Fabio: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 12, 2011
    Last night, Jay Leno had Modern Family's Julie Bowen on The Tonight Show to shame her with some embarrassing, lesser-known work from her past, and to surprise her with a particularly noteworthy male model from this part of her life. Let's just say, he's not content with shaking hands. Will Arnett visited Conan to basically spend seven-and-a-half minutes insulting Conan O'Brien. He got him on his ego, his hair color, his talents as a talk show host, and it all culminates with the interesting commercial Arnett and Arrested Development costar Jason Bateman made for Conan. Samuel L. Jackson stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to join the world of Twitter. After a few technical speedbumps, Jackson and Jimmy collaborated on Jackson's first tweet, which is as Samuel L. Jackson-ish as it could possibly get. Finally, Matthew Broderick joined David Letterman on Late Night to discuss his back surgery (man, it's been a long time since Ferris Bueller) and the questionable credentials of his doctor, and to test out an airport security wand on his newly metal spine.