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.
  • Charlie Sheen's 'Anger Management' Series Confirmed
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 18, 2011
    Popular speculation about Charlie Sheen's enigmatic clues has turned out to be truth: an Anger Management series is in the works. Derivative of the 2003 film, Charlie Sheen will play an amended version of the character originated by Jack Nicholson, an unbalanced psychotherapist assigned to a mild-mannered man whose bad luck (and incurable passiveness) has landed him in legal trouble. Producer Joe Roth, who has worked with Sheen in the past, is very optimistic about the project. No word on who will recreate Adam Sandler's role for the series; on the one hand, whoever plays the role can stake confidence in decent ratings for at least the early run of the series (there are plenty of those still eager to watch Sheen, some with hopes of witnessing another debacle). On the other hand, the actor's inconsistency and behavior will surely be a deterrent for some actors. As for what this series will prove to be... well, the subject matter: emotional instability. The mood of the film: outlandish and crazy. The star to play the lead character: All that and more. So, let's just say, there are some nerve-wracking expectations. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • UPDATE: More Patriotic 'Captain America' Propaganda Posters
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 18, 2011
    UPDATE: More Captain America propaganda art is here, in the form of a "Support Our Troops" poster that highlights Captain America as the ultimate soldier. On the other side of the fight is a poster that insists obedience to the rising order of Hydra. EARLIER:For those of you pumped for Captain America: The First Avenger, but still aware of the degree of propaganda inherently attached to a Nazi-fighting superhero named Captain America, Olly Moss has created two fun and stunning (funning, if you will) in-universe posters, in color and black-and-white. Swell with pride in a pre-Cold War America, and maybe grow even more excited for the upcoming Marvel movie. See giant versions over at Olly's site (found via Marvel's Agent M). Source: Olly Moss
  • New Image of Karl Urban's Chiseled Chin in 'Dredd'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 18, 2011
    In the last few years, instilling a legitimacy into comic book movies and adhering closer to the source material has become a more welcome practice in Hollywood. But do we really need to see a better, more faithful Judge Dredd movie? I'm going to go out on a limb: Yes. DREDD has released its first image of Karl Urban in full costume (which, apparently, he never takes off throughout the film) as the title character. Will it surpass the quality of 1995's Judge Dredd? Almost definitely. Will it surpass the quality of anything else? Who knows. Source: Collider
  • Christina Hendricks and 'Glee's' Chris Colfer Team Up
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 18, 2011
    Among the herd of television stars stampeding into the cast of Struck By Lightning is Christina Hendricks, officially confirmed to be involved. Hendricks’ notoriety comes from here empowered Joan Harris character on Mad Men, but her prevalence on the big screen is increasing by the minute—she already has Drive and I Don’t Know How She Does It in the can. Harris’ character in Struck By Lightning is thus far uncomfirmed. Struck By Lightning stars and was written by Glee’s Chris Colfer. Directing the film will be Brian Dannelly, who, like most of the cast (which, aside from Colfer and Hendricks, includes Angela Martin, Allie Grant and Sarah Hyland), comes from television: his directing credits include Weeds, The United States of Tara and Pushing Daisies. Movies comprised of people primarily schooled in television tend to be especially creative and ambitious—the cast and team behind this film seem to be more than capable of developing an interesting, poignant and funny coming-of-age film. Source: Indiewire
  • Tom Cruise Confirmed as Hulking Hero in 'One Shot'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 18, 2011
    As previously lamented, Tom Cruise will officially take on the role of Jack Reacher in the adaptation of Lee Child’s novel, One Shot. Going against odds, Cruise will play a 6-foot-5 renegade soldier so averse to consistency that he compulsively disposes of articles of clothing after a single use. Writing the script and directing the project is Christopher McQuarrie, most notable for Valkyrie, in which he and Cruise took on Nazi-hunting in a particularly inauthentic manner. Luckily, One Shot won’t call for Cruise to take on a German accent—or to completely dismiss the need for one. Source: Deadline
  • 'Breaking Bad' Recap: Box Cutter
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 17, 2011
    S04E01: As most season premieres tend to be, tonight's Breaking Bad was in the tradition of the aftermath episode. The third season ended with more intensity than the climax of Collateral Damage (which was playing on AMC in the preceding time slot), and tonight's episode, throughout, is a relatively calm collection of the pieces... with a couple of scenes playing exception to that. The episode opens with a brief prologue that introduced us to a Gale of the past who apparently sealed his own fate by provoking Gus to hire Walt after observing the quality of his product. The scene is a nice way to send off a really enjoyable character (and human juxtaposition to the mood of the show) after his murder at Jesse's hands. Once the chronology sets in, Victor takes Jesse to the lab, where he and Walt await -- under Victor and Mike's supervision -- Gus' arrival to determine their penalties. Jesse is frozen and wordless throughout, attempting to digest what he has just done. Even though he doesn't speak a line until the last ten minutes, Jesse's struggle is palpable for the entirety of the episode; hats off to Aaron Paul for a terrific performance (his unbelievably subtle reaction to Gus entering the room while he is still entranced was Emmy-worthy alone). But what this episode is really about begins with Walt demanding that he be allowed to cook. Walt takes jabs at Victor while the latter attempts to create a batch of meth on his own. Once Gus arrives, Walt rationalizes with Gus, claiming that his and Jesse's presence in the lab is an undeniable necessity to Gus' business. The episode is in direct contrast to last season's finale, where Walt proved himself the King of ABQ. When tonight's episode opened, Walt (and many of us) assumed that the title was guaranteed and irrevocable. He tries to lead the room by patronizing the man in charge and talking down to the hired hands, thinking all the while that he is the controlling force of the situation at hand. But Gus removes this idea in Walt's head and ours when he takes Victor's life (the first time the notoriously, hauntingly zen Gus has spilled any blood on his own). Walt: "You kill me, you have nothing. You kill Jesse, you don't have me." All in all, it was a great and intriguing way to start the season. Gus' evolution from the man-behind-the-action to an actual murderer—and one willing to kill strictly for practicality, without so much as a flinch—gave me some mixed feelings. On one hand, his presence last season as a sophisticate who refuses to dirty his own hands was terribly chilling. But this new Gus is indicative of higher stakes, and what's more, an inevitability of the unexpected. As Walt loses control, so does the reality surrounding him. Gus cannot be bothered with bounds any longer now that chaos has insisted itself into the Breaking Bad universe. Bearing this in mind, it's pretty thrilling to understand that anyone is becoming capable of anything, while Walt struggles to maintain some degree of stability in and around himself. The real emotional pull of the episode is Jesse. Every facet of Aaron Paul's performance was phenomenal, from his hasty exodus of the crime scene (wherein a book of lab notes is revealed), to his silent staring-contest with the floor, to his crumbling at the sight of Victor's murder to the point where he seems to have accepted this new lot. I look forward, more than anything, to seeing how Jesse progresses this season. The episode left us with a few things to consider: will this loss of control reunite Walt with his humanity? Will Jesse manage to come back from the "dead inside" state that his murder of Gale has provoked? Does Skylar seem to be warming back up to Walt now that all the secrets are dropped? And why did Saul, after speaking with Skylar, ask his associate if he has a passport?
  • 'Bridesmaids'' Mumolo and 'SNL's' Smigel Nab Roles in 'Knocked Up' Sequel
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    After decades of being unappreciated, shafted into the background, cast away as meaningless crewmembers, writers are finally getting their moments in the spotlight. All-around good-news-guy Judd Apatow, who's working on his perpetually untitled Knocked Up sequel, just cast Annie Mumolo and Robert Smigel, two of his writer friends and past collaborators, in acting roles for the flick. You may not recognize their names or faces, but you're definitely familiar with their work. Mumolo co-wrote Bridesmaids with star Kristen Wiig. Mumolo actually played a small role as an airplane passenger who dreamed that the plane would crash -- which was one of the high points the series of comic events on that plane. Smigel co-wrote Adam Sandler movies You Don't Mess with the Zohan (with Apatow and Sandler) and the upcoming flick Jack and Jill (enjoy the trailer). He also wrote for Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and is the creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and The Ambiguously Gay Duo. Not too shabby, Smigel. In this new Apatow film, Mumolo and Smigel will play a married couple who are best friends with the lead characters (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprising their Knocked Up roles). Though it's not huge news, this is the sort of thing that I hope will become a habit for Hollywood. Some terrific comic actors were writers too: Aykroyd, Murphy, Allen, Fey. Mastering both the creation and performance of comedy is something for which all of these people should be applauded; I look forward to this titleless Apatow film even more now. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Teaser for 'Dexter' Season Six Answers to a Higher Power
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    Yes, I'm one of those who was far from impressed by Dexter's fifth season. For one thing, I think Dexter (Michael C. Hall) spent too little time in his own head, as compared to earlier seasons. But this promo for Season Six seems to bring our hero right back to where he belongs, with a whole new, it's-about-time-they're-touching-on-this theme: God. What's more internal than spirituality? The notion provokes questions in any man. Imagine handing it to an arguably ingenious compulsive analyzer of every piece of minutia and all thoughts surrounding them. Dexter is capable of some brilliant television, and it looks like Season Six will revisit the glory in which the show once reveled. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Watch Barenaked Ladies Perform 'The Big Bang Theory' Theme With The Cast
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    Whether you love The Big Bang Theory or not is up to you, but no one can get away with saying anything negative about Barenaked Ladies. The awesome Canadian band was the only musical group dorky enough to create an apt theme song for The Big Bang Theory. The below music video features BnL performing the extremely catchy opening theme while goofing around onset and having fun with the entire main cast, including Emmy nominees Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons. Be warned: it's guaranteed to stay in your head for the rest of the day. Source: AOLTV
  • Heroic New 'Captain America' Poster Debuts
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    No one can say that Captain America: The First Avenger is being stingy with its artwork. Another new poster highlighting the film's cast just hit the web, and this may be the best one yet. Back-dropped by the two most American things imaginable -- the flag and explosions, in ascending order -- this character-heavy poster promises a film with few dull moments. Source: Hitfix