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.
  • 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
  • Eva Longoria Makes Out With a Girl in New Redband Trailer for 'Without Men'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    After guerilla warfare robs an entire Latin American town of all of its men, the subjugated female population steps up to bring the society back to (and beyond) its former level of prosperity. As hinted at in the trailer, which borders heavily on being NSFW, this leads to shifting gender identities and new relationships between the women. Eva Longoria leads the cast with Christian Slater in tow as a man desperate to locate this all-female society. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Will Tom Hardy Play David Yates' Al Capone?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    After completing four of the most monumental films in cinema history, you might think that director David Yates -- whose latest film Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is slashing box office records as we speak -- would just want to roll around on a mattress filled with money and fan letters. But instead, the filmmaker is already working on a big new project: Cicero. It's a biopic about a particularly recognizable and intriguing figure: Al Capone. The choice to play the lead in Cicero as it stands is Tom Hardy, one of several members of the Inception cast to appear in the upcoming (though not quickly enough) trilogy-maker, The Dark Knight Rises. Reportedly, the schedule for Christopher Nolan's next Batman installment, in which Hardy plays the iconic villain Bane, may conflict with Cicero, so nothing is definite for the Capone role. Right off his success from the almost universally acclaimed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Yates is receiving offers for two more projects. Interestingly, and appropriately, both are adaptations. The first is from the Stephen King novel, The Stand. The second is from the comic series, Fables. After he managed to both stay faithful to the book and still breathe cinematic life into the Harry Potter films, it's no surprise that Yates is getting a surge in notoriety. Source: Slashfilm
  • More Images From 'The Amazing Spider-Man': Take a Look at Peter Parker
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    New screenshots for The Amazing Spider-Man showcase the early life of Peter Parker. From a few of these images, we can infer a few things: he's just coming to understand his powers, he's struggling with this complex new identity, and he's found a whole new way to wear sunglasses obnoxiously. Still, this movie looks to be a more introspective look at the superhero than the last Spider-Man series, so let's hope it pays off. Source: EW
  • Chris Colfer Found Out He's Leaving 'Glee' from Ryan Murphy's Twitter
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    Apparently, news around the Glee set doesn't travel as quickly as gossip about Santana's sexuality did through McKinley High (I am not proud of that joke). As we reported on Wednesday, Chris Colfer, who plays Glee's breakout character Kurt Hummel, will be one of several castmembers who won't be returning to the show after the end of Season 3. Finding stuff like this out through the internet is natural for fans, but one would think that the actors involved might be privy to this kind of information beforehand. However, such is apparently not the case. Chris Colfer actually found out that he would be leaving Glee from reading Twitter. The show's creator Ryan Murphy recently tweeted that Kurt, Rachel, Finn and others would be graduating at the end of the third season, thus ending their roles on Glee. New castmembers are being brought in to play freshmen in the beginning of Season 3 and they'll be eased into the starring roles. Colfer is very understanding about this transition. He has said that he recognizes that these characters needed, logically, to graduate eventually. Although he will be sad to leave the program that launched him to fame, he understands that this is the right artistic choice, stating in an interview with Extra, "This is home for me. But I understand that there's [a] time for a conclusion." However, Colfer won't be hard-pressed for work. He is working on coming-of-age film called Struck By Lightning, from his own script and directed by Brian Dannelly. Colfer will star in the film, with an impressive supporting cast. Source: People
  • The First Trailer for Scorsese's 'Hugo' Released
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    When you think Martin Scorsese, you generally think of gratuitous bludgeonings and trigger-happy Joe Pesci, but the director's upcoming film, Hugo, is something else entirely. Fate brings a young orphan (Asa Butterfield) to the friendship of a girl played by Chloe Moretz (the girl who was hauntingly terrific in Kick-Ass), so that the two may complete a creation that would allow his father to send a message to them from beyond the grave. As with all movies about childhood whimsy, there's a straight-laced, mustachioed officer after them (in the form of Sacha Baron Cohen). It's a clear departure from Scorsese's bread and butter, but I'm intrigued so far.
  • Bristol Palin Over-shares: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    Bristol Palin joined Jay Leno on The Tonight Show last night. She discussed her book, her mother's potential attempt at the presidency, and her family's thoughts on Levi Johnston. The interview was made slightly more engrossing by jabs sneaked in throughout by guest Don Rickles. David Letterman welcomed Captain America: The First Avenger's Chris Evans to deliver a superhero-themed Top Ten List on The Late Show. There were some good things on the list, although Evans' superpower clearly isn't comic delivery. Finally, the undeniably lovable Zooey Deschanel visited Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, discussing her desperate desire for a dog.
  • The Best Movies for Young Children
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 15, 2011
    What with the arrival of the new Winnie the Pooh movie, I've begun thinking back to my childhood. Some of my earliest memories, dating back as far as my second and third years of life, are movies...and I'm not just saying that because my assignment was to come up with the best movies for young children. I do mean it, movies shaped my life. Right around when I should have been developing social skills, I was actually setting the foundation for lifelong obsession with movies. Naturally, my tastes back then diverge slightly from those of present day (although my pre-Kindergarten self did have a strange penchant for Oliver Stone). As I do now, I had my small group of films that I’d watch over and over without ever becoming bored with them. Some, I now recognize, were crap. They offered nothing to my growing mind, did a shoddy job of highlighting the ideas of character, story or a moral in a constructive way, or were just really inappropriate. But some, let me tell you, were gold: really wholesome, plausibly educational, and genuinely good, worthwhile entertainment for young children. Hollywood.com has compiled a list of these types of movies for every one of our readers who has access to a child through which to earn an excuse to watch them: PETER PAN Let’s kick this off with a classic Disney film, since I’ve been programmed from birth to associate the corporation with happiness. A movie that I would consider one of the greatest achievements of Disney animation, specifically for young children, is Peter Pan. Starting with the surface value aspects: it’s a comical, colorful journey in a magical imaginary land with flying fairies and children dressed in rabbit-eared coveralls. The whole story is about what it means to be a kid, which, as a kid, you’d never really consider or appreciate; but you’d enjoy watching a movie about it the same. The thing that really sells this for me over other Disney cartoons is its lack of severity. Captain Hook thinks of himself as a tyrant and a menace to justice, but he’s actually a pretty big goof, constantly being chased around by an alligator (who had a clock in his stomach for a reason I don’t remember). For older kids, the more threatening villains of Scar and Jafar of Disney films that came out in my lifetime might present a more legitimate story—but for toddlerhood, I think a comical, non-scary villain will do just fine. CHARLOTTE’S WEB There’s too much to say about Charlotte’s Web to do it justice in a short summation. It is rife with depth. It’s at once about friendship, identity, mortality, responsibility, growth, time and the circle of life (but it's not all in your face about it like some movies I know). The complexity of the themes and the plot, which is more or less episodic teamed with a sort of archaic, rural vernacular used by the majority of the characters (or maybe that's just the Long Island snob in me talking) did keep me from a complete understanding of what was going on throughout the movie. But as a kid, I wasn't so hung up on following every detail. The likability of each of the characters, especially Paul Lynde's snide derelict,Templeton the rat, and the triumphantly catchy songs were enough to convince me to watch this movie on a weekly basis. BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN This is one of those kids’ movies that was like a freaking acid trip. A couple of children get teleported to a mountain after chasing a couple of bears, or gremlins, or something—there were fairies and creatures and insane colors and people singing…it was a pretty wild adventure. But I remember it being ample entertainment. The film culminates with an allegory about a rabbit transforming into a “goon” as punishment for unkind behavior, which provokes the following wordplay delivered by a Boston Brahmin owl: “Hare today, goon tomorrow!” Now, as a kid, I had no idea why the entire cast broke out laughing when he said. But as a young adult, I finally understand. Comic genius. THE CARE BEARS MOVIE It’s really hard to take a definitively positive stance on Care Bears. The films were not particularly well-written or fertile with any sort of artistic merit. Personally, they didn’t leave as lasting an impression on me as did the other movies I’ve listed here. But, when it comes right down to it, they’re nice. They’re simply about the value of love. Happiness. Kindness. Caring. And I guess, in principle, I don’t particularly oppose any of those things. It’s good to instill morality in children—even you are beating them over the head with it like this movie is. But truly, The Care Bears Movie and each of its sequels are a decent watch for children. They’re certainly better than the other extreme, anyway. FOLLOW THAT BIRD I recently tried to impart Sesame Street onto my nine month-old nephew (which might make up for having read him the first chapter of Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail). He took to the show pretty well—I think the focus was on the letter 'G'. Did you know they’re still doing letters? And you know what else? Maria is still on the show! What a trooper. But I digress. Follow That Bird is the tops. Familiar, beloved characters stepping out of their ordinary setting to take on a more exciting adventure—I think that’s what makes an epic childhood movie. For those unfamiliar, Big Bird is relocated to a family of birds somewhere out in the boondocks by an antagonistic but generally well-intentioned social worker who deems Sesame Street an unfit home for BB, due to his lack of bird companions. I do remember struggling with the idea that Big Bird doesn’t have a literal family of his own—which is pretty heavily what the plot was about—which conjured up some solemn wonderings on what might have happened to them. But this passes pretty early on, as there’s a ton of funny stuff going on with all of the Sesame Street residents, who take to the road in a It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World style to bring Big Bird home. There’s also a tangential plot wherein a couple of sleazy carnival-runners kidnap Big Bird to use him in an act—but the bad guys here are way too goofy to be threatening in any way. The best part about this movie, which I found out while doing research for this article: one of the two "bad guys" was played by Uncle Trevor from Arrested Development, which I guess makes this movie…for Birdish eyes onlyyy! I am SO sorry for that. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Roger Ebert has called this one of his all-time favorite movies. I don’t know if that validates anything, but it can’t hurt. Maybe it can... forget I brought it up. My Neighbor Totoro is a Japanese film about two young sisters' friendships with woodland sprites. It has been genuinely revered by pretty much every movie critic out there since its release in 1993; all of whom seem to praise especially the authenticity of the two girls, aged approximately ten and four. My Neighbor Totoro creates a world of beauty and whimsy instead of peril and dangers to be overcome, as do many children's cartoons, inscrutably. The film is more about conveying the wonder of and promoting an appreciation for life than it is a means to tell a linear story; the provocation of a child's senses of fascination and imagination is something that can never be overdone. MILO AND OTIS This might very well be the greatest children’s movie ever made. I found it in the discount bin at Wal-Mart in my sophomore year of college—that was a big Wal-Mart year for me—bought it and watched it with one of my housemates: absolute GOLD. Milo is a cat, Otis is a pug, Dudley Moore is the comic genius who voices them, and pure, unadulterated glory is what they deliver. It has everything a kid needs: is a story, narration, dialogue, the works. But for kids who may get confused by plotlines or have trouble focusing on stories (I was one… I remember having no idea what the hell was going on in Aladdin), this movie is still enjoyable, thanks to the adorable animals exploring fascinating forests, teamed with funny exchanges in goofy voiceover. Mostly, it’s about friendship: one of the best values you can instill in a child. Through all their adventures, Milo and Otis never give up on each other. Despite an innate tendency toward enemyship between cats and dogs which has been propagandized via every cartoon ever made, Milo and Otis stick together, get each others' backs, compliment one another's characters, and prove to all audiences that there is some good in the world. And THAT is the kind of thing we all want our kids to believe. Probably. I wouldn't know, I'm just an uncle. I know that everyone who reads this article will lament my overlooking of his or her childhood favorite. I've even left a few of my own preferences out: Toy Story, Homeward Bound, 101 Dalmations, The Muppets Movie, Brave Little Toaster, Platoon...we were all touched by different masterworks of cinema at early ages, so to each of us, there will be different Classic Childhood Movies. But we can all agree on one thing: Fantasia was freaky as hell.
  • 'Unknown' Director Signs on to 'Akira'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 14, 2011
    At long last, there is some progressive news for a seemingly cursed project. Akira, Warner Bros' adaptation of the graphic novel by Katsuhiro Otomo, has been placed in the hands of director Jaume Collet-Serra. Collet-Serra is most recognizable for the 2009 thriller Orphan and this year's Unknown, starring Liam Neeson in a very Liam Neesony role. Prior to Collet-Serra's attachment, the project was under the direction of Ruairi Robinson and Albert Hughes. The latter decided to opt out of the production due to a much less volatile example of "creative differences" than Hollywood is accustomed to. Robinson remains attached to collaborate with Collet-Serra on Akira. The most recent incarnation of the script was developed by Harry Potter writer Steve Kloves, after several attempts by other writers and writing teams. Obviously, this is not a project Warner Bros is taking lightly, so let's hope that it gets off the ground soon. Source: Variety
  • New 'Spy Kids 4' Website Launched!
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 14, 2011
    Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D has just launched a new, interactive website. The site offers video content, awesome images, information about the film, and pretty much all the fuel someone would need to charge up their anticipation of this film (if Joel McHale and Jessica Alba weren't enough). Check it all out at SPYKIDSMOVIE.NET!