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.
  • Even More Downey Jr. and Jude Law 'Sherlock 2' Images
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 12, 2011
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows carries the expectation of fun. Luckily, it seems that we will not be disappointed. A slew of new images highlight several members of the film's cast; we see Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) on the case in their usual idiosyncratic manner, and getting into and out of tight situations. We also get our first look at Mad Men's Jared Harris as the nefarious Moriarty and Noomi Rapace as the gypsy Sim. All in all: looks to be another worthwhile watch. Grab your pipe and funny hat: the mystery's afoot: Source: Collider
  • Will Forte Will Bring Fun to 'Rock of Ages'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 12, 2011
    Rock of Ages is gathering some pretty awesome moss. And by moss, I mean cast members. I guess that doesn’t make any sense—and I know the saying is “rolling stone,” which sort of muddles the metaphor as it’s also a completely separate music reference…forget all that. Will Forte is joining Rock of Ages. The movie is based on musical, which is derived from a song, which was named for a 13th Century Jewish liturgical poem—or a Wyoming mountain range. In any event, it has an awesome cast: Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston to name a few of its heaviest hitters. Saturday Night Live's Forte will play a role at which I predict excellence: a TV news anchor, presumably reporting on the music scene that is the center of the film’s events. Traditionally in film, anchormen are thick-headed buffoons—there’s one movie in particular that stars an anchorman like that, but I can’t recall the name. In any event, Forte’s biggest comic strength is playing the vacant, blissfully ignorant type. Excitement is brewing. The story will follow Julianne Hough’s small-town girl through a tumultuous ride in 1980s Hollywood. A love triangle will present itself between Hough, the established star played by Tom Cruise, and a rookie music artist, played by rookie actor Diego Gonzalez Boneta. The cast also includes Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman and Russell Brand. In other words, this Rock will be one stone that you can throw through a glass house…I really don’t understand metaphors. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • John Cusack Joins 'The Paperboy'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 12, 2011
    After Sofia Vergara dropped out of The Paperboy, Tobey Maguire didn’t wait long to follow suit. One can assume that director Lee Daniels (Precious) wasn’t lush with optimism around this time. But then, some pretty good things started to happen. First, Nicole Kidman signed on to replace Vergara. And now, taking the role of the death row inmate formerly occupied by Maguire, will be none other than John Cusack. John Cusack is more than just a man. John Cusack is an embodiment of love and hate. After Chuck Klosterman so ingeniously revealed the significance of Cusack over the modern American human psyche in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, it became clear that the Say Anything actor was a force beyond mortal. And now he’ll be playing a man facing a deafeningly imminent mortality. Could this be any more apropos? Perhaps slightly more apropos was his role in Hot Tub Time Machine, in which he played the sort of shell-of-a-man whose life was tarnished by the culmination of the John Cusack era, to which he gets to return. But this role in the upcoming The Paperboy is almost as apropos. Leading the film as the heroes bent on saving Cusack, whom they speculate to be innocent thanks to some action by Kidman’s character, will be Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron who, despite their twenty-one year age difference, will be playing brothers. You are not exempt from the passage of time, McCounaughey. Accept it. Cusack will also play Edgar Allen Poe in the upcoming The Raven, which, unlike most movies advertized as thrillers, will actually be thrilling. Source: Comingsoon
  • Johnny Depp Gets Even Creepier with 'The Night Stalker'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 12, 2011
    Johnny Depp is working in the developmental stages of a handful of projects right now…and as you may have guessed, they’re all pretty weird. Yesterday, we revealed his interest in adapting In the Hand of Dante with Julian Schnabel. And, of course, there’s the inevitable fifth Pirates film. But aside from those projects, he’s got three more brewing. Depp is in the works to remake the TV movie (and series adaptation) The Night Stalker, which follows journalist Carl Kolchak on an investigation of murders committed by vampires. Presumably, Depp will play Kolchak. But being a vampire hunter isn’t quite good enough—in Dark Shadows, Depp is playing Barnabis Collins: A VAMPIRE. He’s got two vampire movies currently in development. Isn’t that a little much? And you can bet he’ll be a particularly flamboyant, aristocratic and darkly offbeat vampire, because Dark Shadows will be directed by Depp’s partner-in-crime (I mean that pretty literally), Tim Burton. Swaying away from the fantasy genre, Depp is also working on a Paul Revere film, presumably about the pioneer’s famous Midnight Ride. Working on the script is the writing team that brought us Batman Forever, Lee and Janet Batchler. Theoretically, this one won't have vampires. Theoretically. So what will be the next Johnny Depp we see? The generally-welcomed Jack Sparrow? A super-post-modern Dante Alighieri? A vampire-hunting man? A vampire, hunting man? Or a colonial-era horseman? He’s got a lot of ambitious…let’s hope he revisits his Fear and Loathing glory in The Rum Diary so I can amp up my excitement for some of these projects. Source: Indiewire
  • 'The Big C' Recap: Sexual Healing
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 12, 2011
    S02E03: Every show does it sooner or later, especially serio-comedies of The Big C's breed: the sex episode. The episode that explores the sexuality of every individual character and each established pair. Last night's episode jumps right into the theme in the opening scene: Cathy's cancer robbed her of sexual hunger, while her husband Paul is starving. Cathy, ever unwilling to be the victim, offers Paul utility sex midway through the episode, but Paul refuses to put her through it. Naturally, he finds another outlet for his frustration... "So, your parents were assigned to some sort of missionary position—missionary work!" -Paul Sean and Rebecca have their own odd sexual theme going on throughout this episode, involving, primarily, Rebecca's insecurity about her sexuality as a result of Sean's new "alertness." First of all, Sean, sometime between the events of last week's episode and this one, began taking medication for bipolar disorder. The result: he's super-happy all the time now, and gains Monk-like powers of observation. The latter quality inspires him to point out "flaws" in his girlfriend's appearance, which, unsurprisingly, makes this woman, already hanging by a thread in terms of emotional security, go a little nuts. Setting aside the ludicrousness of the whole idea of "the new Sean," the timing of this storyline should have been reworked. When it was suggested last week that Sean would begin taking bipolar medication, that gave hope for a whole bunch of interesting, veritable storylines -- side effects, or frustration and confusion with his new feelings -- but they took the cheap route, and just made him more annoying to Rebecca. This problem is solved as soon as he reveals to her, "I love you anyway." Despite his age, Adam is not exempt from sexual storylines. In fact, last night exhibited a repeat of his former unfaithfulness to his girlfriend (to whom he apparently hasn't revealed the truth, since she's still happily with him). After unsuccessfully attempting to woo her into sex, it is serendipitously thrown in his lap by some girl in the hallway who seems to be getting her kicks off of fooling around with the new "it guy," as she puts it. The thing that bothers me most about this is that in both cases of his infidelity, Adam was not the pursuer. The forces of the universe seem to be throwing him into situations where sexual acts with strange girls are available. This sort of makes him just a lazy, hedonistic jerk, whereas his pursuit of multiple sexual partners might actually build up some interesting character development that could have something to do with his emotional turbulence regarding his mother. And that's my real qualm with this episode, and with the progression of the series: Adam, Sean and Rebecca don't seem to be reacting in any way to Cathy. While building full and complex supporting characters is very important, the show is still about The Big C, and this theme should play a constant role in each of their lives. Instead, it's just something thrown around and joked about by Cathy and Paul, while Adam has gratuitous sex with oddly willing girls and Sean takes magic happy pills and enjoys a sitcom relationship with Rebecca. A break from cancer as the sole focus of an episode is fine once in a while, but let's hope the show doesn't forget what it is about.
  • Elizabeth Banks Joins 'What to Expect When You're Expecting'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 11, 2011
    Joining the influx of actors singing onto the ensemble comedy What to Expect When You’re Expecting is Elizabeth Banks. The primarily comic actress who, more often than not, plays a character with one or more screws loose (recall her sex-maniac in The 40 Year Old Virgin, her compulsively competitive Avery Jessup in 30 Rock, and Laura Bush in W.) will reprise her penchant for the off-kilter and play a woman who is reportedly “baby crazy.” Furthermore, her character will have unwavering philosophies about childrearing that translate to the books she has penned on breastfeeding. Banks began her ascension to big screen stardom with Wet Hot American Summer, when she seems to have developed a rapport with several cast members (she has worked with Paul Rudd and the Stella trio many times since). Waking Ned Devine’s Kirk Jones is directing What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The existing cast includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock and Ed Helms. Source: Comingsoon
  • B.J. Novak Joins Awesome Cast of 'The Dictator'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 11, 2011
    The Dictator is shaping up to be the next epic comedy film—possibly not to the degree of promise of some other developing projects, but something with a lot of awesome packed into it just the same. The newest addition to that awesome package is writer/actor B.J. Novak, who is reported to be playing a small role in the film. This will be Sacha Baron Cohen’s first starring role in a feature not derivative of his Da Ali G Show series. However, that’s not to say this role looks like a huge departure from the type of character he usually plays: foreign, ignorant, and highly misunderstood—by others and himself. Novak is known as The Office’s straight-man/insensitive boyfriend/evil boss/“rehabilitating” criminal/hipster caricature Ryan Howard. He also had a large role in Inglourious Basterds as one of the titular Nazi-hunting Jewish-American soldiers who accompanied Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine in carrying out the film’s ultimate mission. The slew of stars in supporting roles in The Dictator includes mandatory-castmember-if-you’re-making-a-comedy-nowadays John C. Reilly, actor-so-sophisticated-I’d-be-terrified-to-meet-him-in-person Ben Kingsley, the-face-of-the-Scary Movie-series Anna Faris and Larry David’s 7th-season-righthand-man-on-Curb J.B. Smoove, and, of course, Megan Fox. Source: Collider
  • Johnny Depp Goes Serious with 'In the Hand of Dante'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 11, 2011
    Johnny Depp’s attachment to a project so palpably meta as In the Hand of Dante is quite overdue for the actor whose lifeblood is the offbeat. Depp, while working with director Julian Schnabel on Before Night Falls, brought the project to his interest. In the Hand of Dante is a novel by Nick Tosches about Nick Tosches undergoing the humors and tragedies of a 21st Century New York City in a parallel plotline examining an age-old story by Dante Alighieri about Dante Alighieri undergoing the humors and tragedies of a 14th Century Sicily—also, Hell. Depp and Schnabel are both interested in developing a film adaptation together (Depp holds the rights to the novel), but Schnabel insists the film won’t be underway for a couple of years. In more immediate news, Schnabel’s 2010 Miral will become available on Blu-Ray tomorrow, July 12. Source: The Playlist
  • Spike Lee Revives 'Do the Right Thing' Character for a Sequel?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 11, 2011
    I already have no idea how I feel about Spike Lee—it’s actually a dilemma that keeps me up a few nights a month. And now he’s going and doing something like reviving his character from Do the Right Thing, the Spike Lee-est of all Spike Lee Joints, in a sort-of-a sequel, Red Hook Summer. The ambiguity is deepened. Lee shot and starred in Do the Right Thing twenty-two years ago, and hasn’t acted whatsoever in just over a decade. So this choice to play Mookie, his ‘89 film’s protagonist, in a new movie wherein an Atlanta-based character visits Brooklyn for a summer is surprising. Adding to the mystery of the film is the out-of-nowhere start date for production: today. This morning, Lee (via his Twitter), sent out the message, "Wake Up. I been up since 430am. On the way to the set of THE NEW SPIKE LEE JOINT.Today is 1st Day of Shooting.Awwwwwwwwwwww Sheeeeeeeeeeeeet." Vague, but definitive. The director is describing the project as a “small indie” film, due possibly to the trouble he is reportedly having with finances. Lee is also involved with the Mike Tyson-based series Da Brick on HBO, and a remake of Oldboy. Source: Collider
  • What People Think About 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 11, 2011
    Sequels and adaptations are generally types of films that are most susceptible to harsh criticism. Fans of the original movies or source materials often take issue with liberties taken by the filmmakers, unjust representations of characters or events, or a failure to capture the essence of the story. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has defied all odds and become one of the most well-reviewed movies I’ve ever encountered. No one seems to have a bad thing to say about the film. We’ve compiled a small list of a few of our colleagues’ thoughts on Deathly Hallows Part 2, all singing its unabashed praises. Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter "It ends well. After eight films in 10 years and a cumulative global box-office take of more than $6.3 billion, the most successful franchise in the history of movies comes to an obligatory -- and quite satisfying -- conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.…This is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now." The Young Folks "The best word to describe the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is epic. But even that is an understatement. I was blown away by the movie, and it was only the test screening! The final Potter film is a tour de force, with enough momentum that I think it will ride in victoriously during awards season. (Finally!)" Slashfilm "Non-fans might find it strange at times, but who cares? They shouldn’t have come to a seventh sequel in the first place. This movie is the close-enough-to-perfect cherry on top of a franchise that will be remembered for years to come. It’s ripe, beautiful, and you’ll be sad – but satisfied – when you’re done with it." Peter Bradshaw, Guardian "Sensational, satisfying, surreal ... an explosive final chapter puts the magic back into the Harry Potter franchise." Justin Chang, Variety "With its accelerated rhythm, relentless flow of incident and wizard-war endgame, Part 2 will strike many viewers as a much more exciting, involving picture than the slower, more atmospheric Part 1." Helen O'Hara, Empire Magazine "A worthy farewell that packs in as much action as its seven predecessors combined and manages not to stint on the emotional beats. Harry Potter leaves us as a quiet, bespectacled, corduroy-wearing hero for the ages." Sean Munro, What Culture "Bear with the slow start and what you get in this bookending installment's latter two acts is more pathos, exhilaration, and sheer entertainment value than anything else in the entire eight-film, ten-year saga. Potter has certainly saved the best for last." Birmingham Mail "All too soon, in the words of the tagline, 'It All Ends'. Spectacularly. Emotionally. And Wonderfully." Sam Reynolds, Digital Spy "It's Harry Potter as a full-tilt action picture, yet unlike the mind-numbing action of Transformers, here you feel totally invested in the protagonists' plight." Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.com "Defined by darker mood and greater gravity than previous chapters, this film concludes the series on a high note that should please viewers and get serious attention as Oscar contender."