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.
  • 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
  • HBO to Chronicle Derek Jeter's Journey to 3000 Hits
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    I’ll be honest—the extent of my baseball knowledge comes from Rookie of the Year. But Derek Jeter 3K, the in-the-works TV-movie the Yankee shortstop’s mission towards his three thousandth career hit (I know that’s impressive thanks to Bernie Mac) is something that breathes intrigue. The project is backed by HBO Sports and MLB Productions, and is expected to air on HBO within weeks of the accomplishment. In addition to covering Jeter’s experiences, the film will include interviews with many of Jeter’s colleagues, associates and friends, including Hal Steinbrenner, Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera, Joe Girardi, Curtis Granderson, Dave Winfield, Minka Kelly and Billy Crystal—I know those last two. The special will be available on HBO during a prime time slot, as well as on HBO On Demand and HBO Go. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • New 'Dexter' Image with Mos Def Gives Us High Hopes
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    I'll spare you my opinions about Dexter's most recent season and focus on my optimism for Season 6 -- most of which is derived from the first four years of the show. A new image for Season 6 showcases Dexter collaborating with... no, studying... growing suspicious of?... plotting to kill—yeah, that's probably it—guest star Mos Def, whose acting resume is actually way cooler than I realized (The Italian Job, Be Kind Rewind, The Boondocks). We've got high hopes, people. Let's not forget what this show is capable of. Source: Collider
  • Danny Boyle Wants Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson For 'Trance'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    It looks as though Michael Fassbender is out of Trance, director Danny Boyle's upcoming heist drama. To those looking forward to the project, this news is truly the worst. Really, who could replace Fassbender? What actor today has the talent, versatility, star power, charisma—oh, what? They’re going for Colin Firth? Actually, that’ll be good. What’s more, Boyle is shooting for Scarlett Johansson as the female lead in the film. Johansson tops a list of desired actresses that includes Zoe Saldana and Melanie Thierry. Also signed on to the film is James McAvoy. Boyle wants Firth to play the leader of a group of thieves who are putting together a heist on an art auction house. The plot revolves around the memory loss (yep. Amnesia movie. Get pumped.) of an auction house employee -- the only person who knows the location of the painting to be heisted. Well, he used to know it. Before the amnesia. Pumped yet? Whoever wins the leading lady’s role will portray a hypnotist hired to recover the memory of the auction house employee so that the thievery can commence undisturbed. If you're not pumped yet, you're made of stone. Source: Slashfilm
  • Charlie Sheen Will Undergo Comedy Central Roast
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    Didn’t we already do this? I mean collectively, as a country. All anyone talked about for the early weeks of 2011 was Charlie Sheen—jokes about his behavior and mental instability bombarded the public lexicon. So, a Comedy Central Roast of the madman seems like overkill. Naturally, Sheen couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming television event, which will air on September 19. Even less surprisingly, this is the same date of the season premiere of Two and a Half Men on CBS, starring Sheen's replacement, Ashton Kutcher. If the time slots sync up, that’d be the ultimate execution of spite. Although, the actor-stage-performer-incubus might be overselling his lasting appeal. How much more Sheen-teasing can America really take? He had his moment in the sun. The only possibility of significance here is for a repeat of the Chevy Chase roast situation, where the jokes come across more severe and hard-hitting to the point where the subject (in this case, a much more deserving subject—I’ll always be in your corner, Chevy) actually takes the hint. Either way, this event is sure to happen, right on this very specific schedule. After all, it’s not like Charlie Sheen is the unreliable type. Source: Vulture
  • Intriguing Photos From 'World War Z' Set Hit the Web
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jul 05, 2011
    World War Z has had its ups and downs in development. It lost two great cast members, but the project moves forward with Marc Forster directing and Brad Pitt as the lead. Just to prove that Pitt is still tacked on as Gerry Lane, here are a few photos from the set of World War Z, being filmed in Israel. One can infer from these pictures that the film will have a hefty budget, will be strikingly artistic, and that mullets will be used to deter zombies… Source: Slashfilm