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.
  • Chris Hemsworth Makes a Scaredy Face in First 'Cabin in the Woods' Photo
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    The most unappreciated genre in cinema is erupting with the upcoming, thought-to-have-been-doomed Cabin in the Woods. In the new photo from the film, we can see your standard horror cast of traditional young adults (including Chris Hemsworth, Kirsten Connolly, Anna Hutchinson and Jesse Williams) slung into the standard horror scene, doing their standard slow-walk-toward-the-subtly-threatening-noise. Or eerie light. Either way -- something terrifying this way comes. Source: Slashfilm
  • Paramount Follows 'Rango' with Entire Animation Division
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    I could never not be on board with more cartoons. Paramount Studios, following the glory of Rango, is launching its own animation division. Rango was the debut feature from special effect staple Industrial Light & Magic, while Paramount’s previous animated films were all developed by Dreamworks. But the companies’ partnership seems to be coming to an end with the studio intending to launch a new in-house animation division and its first film in 2014. The project is called New Kid, and is an adaptation of Jerry Holkins’ and Mike Krahulik’s online comic on Penny Arcade. The script is being written by The Book of Eli’s Gary Whitta. What with the unstoppable giant Pixar, the animated film industry of recent years has swelled with ambition and competition. As Warner Bros. and Fox have contributed animated hits to the game over the past few years, the big name of Paramount, after the trail run of Rango, is finally taking an independent swing with this new division. Producing New Kid are Mary Parent and Cale Boyter through Disruption Entertainment. Source: The Wrap, Hollywood Reporter
  • Charlie Sheen Takes on 'Anger Management' Sitcom?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    This news is only based on cryptic hints dropped by Charlie Sheen, so don’t be too surprised if things turn out differently. That being said, Sheen implied that his newest television project may be an adaptation of the comedy, Anger Management, starring Adam Sandler as a mild-mannered man with pent-up anger, and Jack Nicholson, as his boisterous, off-the-wall and plausibly insane psychologist who makes it his life mission to turn his patient’s life upside down. The Nicholson role sounds like just the type of character Sheen would want to play on television…while he’s taking a break from playing it in real life. More precisely, Sheen’s statement is reportedly that he’ll be working on a new sitcom based on a film with the initials “A.M.,” that Joe Roth produced a few years ago. Sheen's friend Roth has done nothing of the sort, but he was at one time attached to Revolution Studios, which did produce Anger Management in 2003. For Sheen logic, that’s not bad. Source: Vulture
  • Why Every 'Wizard of Oz' Movie Is in Jeopardy
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    Five years ago, Warner Bros. sued AVELA for the distribution of merchandise bearing the likenesses of characters from the 1939 films The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, as well as the cartoon short series Tom and Jerry. Warner Bros. won the case on the grounds of copyright infringement, symbolizing the definitive controlling stake the studio has in these cinematic icons. While this particular episode might not hit very close to home with the public, the fact is that Warner Bros. degree of control could inevitably effect, or even destroy, currently in-production incarnations of these films, specifically The Wizard of Oz, which has nine derivative projects in the works. Two of these projects are being developed by Warner Bros. itself (or subsidiaries), Oz—about which little is known—and Oz: Return to Emerald City, which places Dorothy’s lawyer granddaughter into the magical world to defeat a new witch. Other companies’ projects which might face more legal peril include: Dorothy of Oz: Summertime Entertainment’s indie animation film featuring the voices of Glee’s Lea Michele as Dorothy and Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer and James Belushi as the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion respectively. Oz, the Great and Powerful: Disney’s 3D prequel to the 1939 film starring James Franco (of course) and directed by Sam Raimi. Wicked: Speculation has it that Universal might back the film-adaptation of the Broadway sensation, with possible stars including Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel. The Witches of Oz: Already in post-filming stages, Leigh Scott adapts to film one of the original sequels, starring Paulie Rojas as an adult Dorothy recovering memories of the magical land (sounds familiar to another classic story destroyed in cinematic reimagination). Also starring are Sean Astin, Christopher Lloyd and Lance Henrikson. Dark Oz: An adaptation of the Caliber Comics steampunk series wherein Dorothy’s return to Oz finds that her former trio of comrades have become tyrannical dictators. To be directed by Perry Teo and to star The Fugees’ Pras Michael. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: John Boorman, director of 1974’s Oz-inspired Zardoz, oversees a CGI adaptation of the original novel. Surrender Dorothy: A film originally slated to star Drew Barrymore, but currently on production hiatus. So how many of these will escape legal damnation? Let’s pull, at the very least, for Wicked…and maybe Dorothy of Oz. Also, Oz, the Great and Powerful sounds pretty cool… Warner Bros., please be generous. Source: Hollywood Reporter, FilmBuffOnline
  • New Photo from 'Tintin' Turns Reading into an Adventure
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    The much anticipated The Adventures of Tintin, a 3D, visually stimulating super-adventure that exceeds all bounds of humanity's capability of prediction, has released a new image of the fearless hero with an unquenchable thirst for danger... READING. The nerd in me is excited the films intention to propagate the glamorization of doing research...but the other kind of nerd in me wants to see more pirate ships. Embrace your inner nerd(s) and check out the brainy photo: Source: Comingsoon
  • J.B. Smoove Signs On to "The Dictator"
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    I know J.B. Smoove as the man who breathed a necessary freshness into Curb Your Enthusiasm. Now, after working primarily in television, Smoove (a moniker organically derived from his given name, Jerry Brooks) is taking a part in the upcoming The Dictator. Smoove, whose role has been described only as “Usher,” will join Sasha Baron Cohen’s supporting cast, which currently includes Megan Fox, Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Jason Mantzoukas (Pawnee, Indiana’s cologne mogul Dennis Feinstein), and—if you can believe it—Ben Kingsley. Directing The Dictator will be Larry Charles, who worked with Cohen on Borat and Smoove on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Production is currently underway in New York. Smoove’s additional upcoming projects include Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter and a Cameron Crowe film titled We Bought a Zoo, wherein Matt Damon and his family do just that. Smoove is also launching a comedy website called TheRuckus.com. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Set Photos from 'Man of Steel' are Building Anticipation
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    Okay, so small-town architecture might not be the most exciting facet of the upcoming Man of Steel, but it's still pretty interesting to get an early glimpse at what is presumably Clark Kent's adoptive hometown. Either these sets are unfinished, or Smallville is in for some serious supervillain-related-damage in this movie... Source: Comingsoon.net
  • The Frat Pack 2.0: Bateman, Sudeikis & Day
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 06, 2011
    Horrible Bosses is, so far, this summer’s most promising comedy. In part due to a darkly hilarious, and bitterly relatable plot, but mostly due to the brilliant amalgamation of the distinct comic styles of the three stars, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day. With this the trio at the center of Horrible Bosses, it's hard to avoid comparing them to the "Frat Pack," and more specifically the trio at the center of Old School: Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Old School, like Horrible Bosses, has a hysterically outlandish plot, but the real humor in the film lies in the differences among the main castmembers: each of the three men offer a different comedic angle that, when combined, produced a formula that, eight years later still makes Old School one of the funniest movies out there. Though by no means unique to the raunchy comedy, this three-man formula is what launched this group to stardom. The film uses this dynamic to highlight the unique comic strengths of Wilson, Vaughn and Ferrell--each playing to his strengths as the Straight Man, the Wiseass and the Basket Case, respectively. Horrible Bosses seems to have recognized this, as a strikingly similar opportunity is availed in this film to Bateman, Sudeikis and Day. All most famous for their television roles (Bateman was the star of Arrested Development, Sudeikis is still one of the funniest featured players on Saturday Night Live, and Charlie Day is the reason to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), their distinct stylings offer just as much to the big screen as they do to the small  screen.Following in the footsteps of Wilson, Vaughn and Ferrell (who, of course, were following in the footsteps of other famous threes in comedy: Stooges, Amigos, Men and a Baby), Bateman, Sudeikis and Day are the natural embodiments of a comic routine that is sure to incite laughter. With this in its arsenal, Horrible Bosses could turn out to be the Old School for Bateman, Sudeikis and Day—perhaps the first in a long line of hilarious film collaborations.  The Straight Man As is the case in so many comedies, at the center of a group of madmen, idiots and philanderers is someone who is passable as a functional human being. Whether his strength be intelligence, morality, or just simply the propensity to listen to reason once in a blue moon, this character often plays as the leader of his mentally inferior comrades. In Old School, the role was occupied by Wilson—a sad-sack who just didn’t have it in him to be as big a jerk or a fool as his buddies. Wilson garnered our sympathy as he played, scarily naturally, the kind of guy that bad things just happen to. The sort of Job figure who accepts his bad fortune, but sees very clearly the error of it all. But Bateman is no Job (joke excessively intended). He's acerbic, aggravated, and at constant odds with all of the forces against him. Bateman amplifies the levelheaded character into so much more than just a vehicle for a perspective on the insanity around him. The actor turns the very idea of the sole grounded character into hilarity. Bateman can play frustrated, dumbfounded and put-upon so well that you ache with sympathy for him—even when he’s lashing back at his moron friends or family members with unrelenting pompousness and (in the actor’s own words) “natural dickishness.” Bateman’s sharp tongue, self-righteous attitude and excusably condescending delivery allows for him to turn the traditionally boring role of “the straight man” into comedic masterwork time and time again. The Wiseass To release the tension in high-stakes situations like planning frat parties…and murder…there needs to be a wiseass in every group. Someone who doesn’t really seem to be taking any of the consequences all that seriously. A perpetually quipping, deep-voiced “man’s man” whose only significant fixations are carnal. One of Vince Vaughn’s earliest of many wisecracking performances was displayed in Old School, and in Horrible Bosses, the role is fulfilled by Jason Sudeikis. The deliveries of these two comedians are heavily divergent: Vaughn is notorious for an unparalleled rapid-fire delivery, shooting off a few dozen marked critiques at all those who surround him in under a minute. Sudeikis is more of the laid back type: he'll cough out a joke at anyone's expense with that incurable grin on his face. As his most notable work is sketch-work on SNL, Sudeikis probably conjures a more versatile list of types than his two costars. He also terrifically played Floyd, the “only decent boyfriend” Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) ever  had in a recurring role on 30 Rock. But his talents really shine as the laid-back joker, invoking aggravation in his uptight gang leader due to his refusal to accept any semblance of sincerity or genuine maturity. The key to Sudeikis’ greatness is that you truly believe that if the actor himself were in any of these situations, he’d react the same way. Real-life Sudeikis doesn’t seem like he’d be all that bothered by his involvement in a murder plot. Art imitates life. Thus, we are granted the perfect “wiseass.” Hilarity ensues. The Basket Case Bateman is the King of the group. Sudeikis: the Joker. And now, of course, we come to The Wild Card. Winning the audiences of every comedy worth its salt is someone who traverses into territories that are beyond human. A character stricken with a level of stupidity, mental instability, amorality, substance abuse, self-destructive habits or just general lack of regard for anything that could be remotely recognizable as normal. Charlie Day, as Charlie Kelly in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is the epitome of EACH ONE of these qualities. In Old School, Will Ferrell stole the show as the brain-dead Frank “The Tank” Rickard, and it’ll be no surprise if Day delivers a performance of this caliber in Horrible Bosses. Ferrell has carried his 'hysterical buffoon' for nearly a decade. Most recently, he brought touches (or minefields) of the persona to his character on The Office, DeAngelo Vickars. The actor is famous for a perpetual blank-faced confusion, high-volume outbursts, and a complete misunderstanding of human coordination. Charlie Day, though...he's where this routine stops evoking a sense of childlike innocence, and begins to resemble a very dark, hilariously horrifying emotional disturbance. Even at his calmest, Day always seems to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He stammers uneasily through casual social interaction. He faces backbreaking challenge with ideas that a first grader would fine tediously simplistic. And when his fuse is lit—it always happens sooner or later—he explodes into a hurricane of incoherent shrieks, destruction of property, and the undercurrent that he might drop dead at any second. And I don’t think I’m being too optimistic to think that Day has plenty of other tricks at his disposal that we’ve yet to see. The exemplification of a human being that has had all but life itself beaten out of him: that’s what you want in your “basket case.” And that’s what Day does best. I know I’ll be angering a lot of people by saying that Horrible Bosses could be this group’s Old School. Sure, Old School was a modern classic. But don’t be so sure that Horrible Bosses won’t be the same. With a team like Bateman, Sudeikis and Day, all doing what they do best, I have nothing but high hopes for the movie and for the future of these guys’ film careers. Let’s just hope none of them get involved with another Blades of Glory.
  • Update: Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Andy Samberg Lend Voices to 'Hotel Transylvania'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    UPDATE: Sandler will be joined in Hotel Transylvania by frequent collaborator Kevin James, and Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg, whose "Digital Shorts" are my reason for living. No news on the characters that James and Samberg will be voicing, but I think we can rule out the dashing hero on both counts. EARLIER: Apparently, Adam Sandler fans are a dying breed…as everyone in my office just groaned at the news that he’s be voicing Count Dracula in the upcoming 3D family cartoon Hotel Transylvania. Am I the only one who remembers the 1990s with a reverent nostalgia? The only one who understands loyalty? Or maybe just the only one who still has the sense of humor of a twelve year-old. Probably that. Sandler may be channeling his earliest days as a comedian -- when he was recording comedy albums -- to produce humor through voice alone. The last time he lent his voice to a film was for the Chanukah movie, Eight Crazy Nights, which was—okay, now I’m starting to understand the groans. But there’s some universally good news: Genndy Tartakovsky will be directing. Not familiar with the name, maybe—but you’ve definitely seen at least one of his awesome contributions to the animated medium: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (awesome), Samurai Jack (more awesome) and Dexter’s Laboratory (shaped my world-view). So, I’ll be staying true to my childhood self and maintaining faith in this production. It could be genuine optimism, it could be a veiled refusal to accept my mortality…I’m comfortable with either. Source: Variety, THR
  • Blazing New Image from Super-Thriller 'Haywire' Released
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    American Gladiators'' Gina Carano explodes into a film career in Haywire, a high-stakes higher-intensity action-packed espionage spy double-crossing revenge explosion flamethrower volcano Channing Tatum thriller. Just try not to sweat/scream/convulse while looking at this photo of Carano... igniting justice. Source: Relativity