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.
  • Emmys 2011: Paltrow, Timberlake & Others Win Creative Arts Emmy Awards
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 12, 2011
    The Creative Arts Emmy Awards aren't exactly the talk of the town. But it's a ceremony that deserves more attention than it gets, simply because its winners are often the people you were actually rooting for. This year's Creative Arts Emmys took place on Saturday night, September 10, in Los Angeles—marking some well-earned wins for some notable stars. Two of the biggest names to win this Saturday were both in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series category. Gwyneth Paltrow won the Outstanding Guest Actress award for her role as free-spirited substitute teacher Holly Holliday on Glee. Justin Timberlake won the Guest Actor award for his most recent hosting gig on Saturday Night Live this past May. Others to win included The Walking Dead for prosthetic work (you know, what with the zombies and all), Loretta Devine on Grey's Anatomy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama, Community's "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" episode for achievements in animation, Futurama for Animated Series. On a somber but sweet note, Deadliest Catch received a Creative Arts Emmy for the final episode to feature the late Captain Phil Harris. Boardwalk Empire won several awards, including ones recognizing strength in casting and cinematography. The 2011 Primetime Emmys, hosted by Jane Lynch, will debut on Sunday, September 18 at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT on Fox. Source: EW
  • 'Breaking Bad' Recap: Bug
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 11, 2011
    S04E09: Eventful. That’s the best way to describe last night’s episode of Breaking Bad. All four corners of “Bug” had notable plot advancement—Hank’s case against Gus and the Super Lab, Gus/the cartel, Skyler’s business dealings, and (best of all) Walt & Jesse. Hank on the trail has been a consistently fun aspect of recent Breaking Bad. The “suspension of disbelief” we’re supposed to accept regarding his leap in logic to figure out that Gus is involved fades from conscious as the story gets more and more exciting. Even when a scene is simply Hank and Walt scoping out a scene, or doing computer work, intrigue builds due to the tension. Walt is finally consciously without a clue—he fumbles with thin reasons why Hank should give up this search, but nothing sticks. The beginning of the episode has Walt retrieve the bug he and Hank placed on Gus’ car last week. What Hank doesn’t know is that Gus was aware of the bug, and acted accordingly by removing it from his vehicle when he was driving to the Super Lab (or anywhere else incriminating), so it seems that Gus never goes anywhere but Los Pollos Hermanos and his home. This makes Hank more suspicious than ever, so he does some research and decides to investigate the Pollos Hermanos warehouse nearby town. Walt manages to stall him long enough to inform Mike & co, so that they may remove all incriminating evidence before Hank has a chance to get there. This is where the Hank story leaves off…but it’s hinted at that he has other leads to follow. "Ice Road Truckers. What happens on that one?" - Walt "Guys drive on ice." - Jesse Early in the episode, Walt speaks with Jesse outside the Super Lab. A subtle indicator that Walt is slipping from power and Jesse is slipping from Walt is that Jesse has already begun working by the time Walt arrives. Walt probes Jesse on his after-work activities (they specifically discuss Ice Road Truckers—awesome), trying to manipulate him into killing Gus, which has been discussed for many episodes. Jesse insists that he has still not seen Gus (a lie) and that he will take care of the ordeal once he does. The scene is also notable to show that Walt does not know how to smoke a cigarette…(subtly) much to his own embarrassment. Last week was the first episode to delve into the character of Gus. We saw the beginnings of his enmity with the cartel, and saw the nervous, out-of-control man he used to be. But this week, we’re back to business as usual. Gus is first seen at the desert HQ of the drug trade. In the scene, Jesse, Mike and other low level workers we needn’t care much about are attacked by gunfire via the cartel. One of the workers is killed, Jesse is saved by Mike, and Gus exposes himself to the line of fire, sending the message of his invaluableness to the cartel. However, he also understands more greatly the gravity of the cartel’s desire for the blue meth recipe. So, he agrees to teach them. He invites Jesse over to his home in order to ask him about his ability to cook the blue meth (and, concordantly, to teach the cartel how to cook it). Jesse insists that he cannot produce Walt’s meth, but Gus is insistent that he is acting out of loyalty to Walt and not being sincere. Unbeknownst to Jesse, Walt bugged his car, so that he knows for sure now that he has been with Gus. Jesse demands a meeting with Walt, anxious over his responsibility to teach the cartel to cook the blue meth. He explains his apprehension that the cartel will kill him, Gus, Walt, etc. if he cannot teach them adequately. "After everything you've done for me? You've killed me! You've signed my death warrant!" - Walt Walt prefers to discuss Jesse’s disloyalty in the form of lying about visiting Gus and not having killed him. The fight escalates when Walt begins belittling Jesse harshly, and soon becomes physical. The fight becomes brutal and bloody, although both men are able to walk away afterwards. Jesse tells Walt never to come back—solidifying rapidly the fissure between them that has been suggested all season. The important thing to take away from this is that Walt is losing all humanity. His only sincere human relationship was with Jesse, whom he has tormented and pushed ever since he had him kill Gale. Although he saved his life last season, indicating some degree of affection for him, it seems ever clearer now that Walt was primarily acting out of indirect self-preservation. But that might be too cynical, even for this series. In any event, Walt has a new enemy in Jesse. And might soon have a new enemy in Hank. Meanwhile, Ted Beneke visits Skyler, informing her that the Beneke company is being audited for tax fraud—a subplot of seasons past that heavily involved Skyler. Knowing that she, too, will be investigated, Skyler puts on a “dumb secretary” act at the audit meeting to convince the lawyers that all errors were merely acts of ignorance rather than of crime. However, there is presumably still a palpable threat of legal issue. The episode really threw a lot at us—but did not spread itself too thin whatsoever. Every movement with Hank is one of excitement. The revived subplot of Skyler’s business dealings at Beneke is one worth revisiting. The reintroduction of the cartel into the direct lives of Walt and Jesse is thrilling. And Walt and Jesse coming to blows…let’s just see what happens there.
  • Katherine Heigl Changes it Up in 'One for the Money' Poster
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    Katherine Heigl seems to be heading back to her roots, slowly but surely. Her film career began in the '90s, when the actress was not yet pinpointed as a very specific type of leading lady. Before becoming one of the go-to choices for romcom star, Heigl was featured in horror-comedies, like Bug Buster and Bride of Chucky. Her role on Grey's Anatomy helped launch her further into the public eye. She accepted leading roles in romantic comedies like Knocked Up, 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth. In 2010, she took a slight departure by adding the subject of "action" to one of her romcom starrers: Killers. In this film, Heigl unwittingly married a CIA agent with a license to kill, and then got swept up in his dangerous lifestyle. And now, in a similar vein, Heigl is starring in One for the Money, wherein she'll play a bounty hunter with multiple love interests. This slightly edgier type of comedy film, with the elements of crime, action and danger, might be broadening Heigl's horizons once more. Perhaps we'll see her in a full-fledged thriller soon? Maybe a hard scifi? A Tarantino pic? We'll see... One for the Money comes out January 27, and also stars Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata and Debbie Reynolds.   Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • 'Party Down's' Martin Starr Teaches a Class in New 'Community' Pics
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    Season Three of Community (one of the most promising aspects of a pretty optimistic Fall season) is not starved for terrific guest stars. As you probably heard, John Goodman will enjoy a multi-episode arc as the "supervillain" Vice Dean Laybourne this coming season. We will also be graced with the glory of The Wire's Michael K. Williams, who earned endless praise for his portrayal as Omar Little on the HBO series (fans of Boardwalk Empire will also recognize Williams as Nucky Thompson's back-alley associate, Chalky). But perhaps the greatest news is the casting of the masterful comic actor Martin Starr as a Greendale professor. Starr was iconic as the nerdy, somewhat antisocial movie-lover Bill Haverchuck on the short-lived (but amazing) Freaks and Geeks. Ten years later, Starr joined the equally brief (and equally amazing) comedy series Party Down, where he played a contentious aspiring screenwriter working as a caterer. As far as movies go, you might recognize Starr from his major roles in Cheats, Knocked Up and Adventureland. Starr's prowess as a character actor is perfectly suited for the boundlessly creative Community. We see Starr below as a professor who seems to be stirring up trouble for Annie (Alison Brie) and Jeff (Joel McHale). We hear that a storyline involving an academic rival for Annie, called (in the spirit of Community's unceasing reverence for political correctness) "Asian Annie" will materialize this year. We've seen Annie get pretty desperate, but we've never seen her have to compete with someone in her sacred world: the classroom. Can we expect some extreme reactions? Most probably. Community's third season will premire on Thursday, September 22, at 8 p.m. on NBC.  Source: AOLTV
  • What's The Gang Up To On Season 7 of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    The cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia recently met with AOLTV to discuss the upcoming seventh season of the FX comedy series. As the world already knows, creator and star Rob McElhenney gained fifty pounds for the new season, simply because he thought "playing Mac fat would be funnier." As Charlie Day (who, along with McElhenney and co-star Glenn Howerton, acts as a writer and producer on the show) explained on Conan last night, McElhenney also had a theory about the "increasing attractiveness" of sitcom stars over the course of their series, which he wanted to combat. But McElhenney, Day, Howerton and costars Kaitlin Olson (Sweet Dee) and Danny DeVito (Frank Reynolds) had more than just Mac's weight-gain to talk about regarding Season 7. According to DeVito, this will be "the craziest season" yet. Some of the storylines to come will involve the show's take on The Jersey Shore and Toddlers & Tiaras; Frank's desire to marry and refine a local prostitute; and some drug use by Dee (well, some more drug use by Dee). Possibly the most exciting piece of the upcoming season will be a two-part high school reunion episode -- possibly involving some sort of musical number -- that will bring back a good deal of characters from past episodes and introduce new ones that we have only heard about.  It's Always Sunny has introduced a handful of memorable characters from the gang's youths over the course of its six seasons. Perhaps we'll be getting another chance to see childhood friends (and enemies) like Shmitty (Jason Sudeikis), Li'l Kevin (Kyle Davis), Bill and Maureen Ponderosa (Lance Barber and Catherine Reitman), Fatty Magoo (Judy Greer), the always-a-pleasure Rickety Cricket (David Hornsby), and, of course, the Waitress (Mary Elizabeth Ellis). Plus, I'm sure there'll be a McPoyle or two lurking around. Day and Howerton also alluded to the fact that some new information about The Gang might be revealed through some of the events at the reunion. The new season of It's Always Sunny premieres next Thursday, Sept. 15, at 10 p.m. on FX. Source: AOLTV
  • 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Takes Blu-ray/DVD Form on September 30
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    Big action movies tend to peter out after the summer months end...but that just means that Blu-ray and DVD releases begin to skyrocket. The newest blockbuster being released for home viewership/cult worship: Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The movie will be released on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy on September 30. Michael Bay's third Transformers film follows a race to the moon between the Autobots and the Decepticons to retrieve and discover the secrets of a hidden spacecraft. The third movie marked the return of Shia LaBeouf (as primary non-robot hero Sam), Josh Duhamel (as Major Lennox), Tyrese Gibson (as Air Force Sergeant Epps), and John Torturro (as Simmons). Newcomers included model Rosie Huntington-Whitely (replacing Megan Fox as Shia's love interest), Patrick Dempsey (as LaBeouf's romantic rival Dylan), John Malkovich (as Bruce Brazos), and the mighty Ken Jeong (as Jerry Wang). Unfortunately, the September 30 release of the Transformers: Dark of the Moon Blu-ray/DVD will not contain any special features. But isn't the film itself the specialest feature you can ask for? Source: Comingsoon
  • Tom Cruise's Glare Haunts the New 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' Poster
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    So, movie posters of glaring leading men covered by a light film of mysterious digits seems to be a trend these days. Mission: Impossible jumps back into the warfront. This time, there are ghosts (or at least the title would have you believe). In actuality, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will see Ethan Hunt's (Tom Cruise) IMF organization pinned with a bombing ploy that it probably didn't have all that much to do with. Thus, Hunt and a ragtag roundup of rogue renegades set out to flare up some justice. Here's the thing that hasn't been entirely explained: Cruise's new hood-fixation. Inclement weather aside, hoods as a fashion statement should be exclusively worn by individuals less than half Cruise's age. But perhaps this is just a ruse... to fool the ghosts? Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol will be director Brad Bird's first non-animated feature film (he's responsible for Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille... so, this guy's pretty terrific at the whole 'making movies' thing), and will reach theaters this December. Source: Yahoo
  • George Clooney Hates His Daughter's Boyfriend in 'The Descendants' Clip
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    The upcoming film The Descendants is a family drama (not at all devoid of humor) about a man (George Clooney) who, in the aftermath of his wife's boating accident, attempts to reconnect with his daughters and confront the man with whom his wife has been having an affair. In case none of this appeals to you, bear in mind that the film is directed by Alexander Payne, the earnest and sophisticated writer/director who created Sideways, About Schmidt, and, best of all, Election. The below clip features Matt King (Clooney) meeting, without much enthusiasm, the new boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) of his older daughter (Shailene Woodley). Clearly, things are just beginning to "not go as planned" for Clooney's character in the clip. This small snippet of footage should give you an idea why the movie's already getting tons of buzz out of the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. The Descendants reaches theaters November 23. Source: Indiewire
  • Ashton Kutcher & 'Two and a Half Men' Costars Deliver Letterman's 'Top Ten'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    It's arguably the most anticipated event in this year's Fall TV lineup, and as Two and a Half Men's new season premiere nears, more and more reasons to watch the show accumulate. Seeing how Ashton Kutcher matches up to Charlie Sheen is a big one. Finding out just how they're killing off Sheen's character is another. But in case those reasons weren't enough for you, we've got ten more. Last night on The Late Show, David Letterman's iconic Top Ten was delivered by Two and a Half Men stars Ashton Kutcher, Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones: "The Top Ten Reasons to Watch the New Season of Two and a Half Men". Whether you're a fan of the show or not, you'll probably get a few laughs from the actors poking fun at themselves (and some "regrettable" work they've done) and other shows on CBS. The new season of Two and a Half Men premieres Monday, September 19 at 9/8c on CBS.
  • Get in the Christmas Spirit with New 'Harold & Kumar Christmas' Posters
    By: Michael Arbeiter Sep 09, 2011
    Ah, Christmas. A time for warmth. For family. For love. For pervasive sexual innuendo. Okay, at least that's nice. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas reunites the well-traveled pair after several years of growing apart. The fates will reteam Harold (John Cho), complete with a new life including a wife and an intimidating father-in-law, and Kumar (Kal Penn) at Christmastime to experience, once again, a series of chaotic events. And of course, they will once more cross paths with Neil Patrick Harris. The posters below suggest some amplified hijinx...more violence, more debauchery, more babies.  Source: Yahoo