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.
  • Empire Magazine Releases Two New 'The Hobbit' Photos
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 29, 2011
    Since the end of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I haven't had any grand mythologies to mentally infuse into the minutia of my life. But now that The Hobbit is on its way, things are starting to seem more and more... epic. From this point forward, I request all messages to me to be handwritten, in scroll form. Source: Comingsoon
  • Is 'American Idol' Choosing Replacements For Jennifer Lopez?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 29, 2011
    Jennifer Lopez is very vocal about her ruminations over potentially not returning to American Idol next season, though speculation arose regarding whether or not her “on the fence” comments were a stunt to win a pay increase. For Lopez’s sake, let’s hope not, because it seems that the network isn’t biting; rumor has it executives behind the show are already considering possible replacements. When Lopez signed on as part of the new cast of American Idol judges, common speculation was that the show would go from being Simon Cowell's to hers and naturally so. She is relatively contemporary and generally adored, but something unexpected happened in the form of Steven Tyler. As Cowell was the show’s anchor in seasons past, pulling audiences in (is that what anchors do? I’ve never actually been on a boat), Tyler now occupies that role. Thus, the loss of Lopez may not give American Idol the ratings hit that many may have been expected. Nothing is confirmed, but among the names being tossed around in the replacement venue are Shakira and Shania Twain. If any of this materializes, it could mean that JLo could be tossed off the fence entirely. Source: AOLTV
  • Will Smith Seeks Denzel Washington For 'The American Can'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 29, 2011
    What happens when you combine two unstoppable forces in a project that's already boundless in intrinsic emotional power? History, that’s what. Will Smith has been trying for a while to materialize The American Can: a drama based on effects of Hurricane Katrina, specifically the destruction of an apartment complex after which the project is named. Until recently, Smith had planned to star in the film—but he has decided to approach Denzel Washington with the opportunity. The role in question is based on John Keller, an ex-marine who confined himself to the American Can apartment complex when the floods hit. He helped elderly and medically impaired residents to survive and eventually evacuate. Smith decided to find another actor for the role because he's also helping to develop the M. Knight Shyamalan project, One Thousand A.E., which would delay The American Can further. Smith will remain heavily involved with The American Can behind the scenes. Washington is in the process of filming Safe House, a spy thriller. He and Smith are maintaining communication in order to determine whether the two will in fact collaborate on The American Can. The film will be written and directed by John Lee Hancock, the man behind The Blind Side. Source: Vulture
  • Bryan Cranston May Join 'Argo'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 29, 2011
    All right, Affleck. I think we're beginning to mend our differences. I thought the subject matter of the director’s upcoming Argo might be beyond his artistic capacity. Then I criticized him for casting himself in yet another hero position. But if a major role does indeed fall into Bryan Cranston's hands, I will swallow my pride and go on the record as being officially and completely on board with this movie. Cranston—the legendary star of Breaking Bad, the only television show that actually gives me heart palpitations—is reportedly a very likely candidate for CIA Agent Jack O’Donnell, playing opposite Affleck’s Agent Tony Mendez. The film is a real-life adaptation of a 1970s CIA hostage-rescue operation, and it's attracted the formidable acting talents of Alan Arkin and John Goodman. They alone could make this a should-see movie, but with Cranston, whose brilliance gets far too little attention, America could be in for one of the biggest and most surprising thrills in cinema. Cranston—probably better associated with his patriarchal Malcolm in the Middle role, will also appear in the Tom Hanks movie Larry Crowne opening this Friday, playing the dean of the college that Hanks’ character attends. Having proven that he is more than capable at comedy and dangerously outstanding at dramatic acting, I would stake my hopes in any project that signs him. So, let’s hope Argo nabs him. Source: Comingsoon
  • 'The Three Musketeers' Releases New Trailer
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 29, 2011
    When your subject matter is a story as rich as The Three Musketeers, you’ve got a lot to work with. The new trailer for the millionth screen adaptation of the story lays out the conflicts pretty clearly, but does little to paint an actual picture of D'Artagnan or the Musketeers. Let’s hope the film really gives the characters what they deserve. But flying boats a la Super Mario Bros. 3 is a nice touch.
  • Stone's 'Savages' Adds Mia Maestro
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 28, 2011
    Oliver Stone, man who has brought us enough amazing films to allow us to overlook his terrible ones, has just added a new cast member to his upcoming Savages: Mia Maestro—notable for her inclusion in the Twilight Saga. Maestro will be playing a former gang member donning the guise of a “soccer mom.” Savages is an elaborate story about the ransom of a joint-girlfriend (whatever that could mean) to a pair of the world’s finest pot growers and distributors. The antagonists are represented by a Mexican drug cartel who demand a ransom for the hostage girlfriend, played by Blake Lively. Sounds very Oliver Stoney. The two aforementioned heroes will be played by Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass and Taylor Kitsch. Maestro’s husband in the film will be portrayed by the unstoppable Benicio del Toro. Maestro will be reuniting with Frida costar Salma Hayek. Other notable players include John Travolta and Uma Thurman (let’s hope there’s dancing), as well as Emil Hirsch. The film is set to reach theaters September 28 of 2012…just in time for Stone to slap together an apocalypse film in his usual uncomfortably timely fashion. Source: Comingsoon ="">
  • 'Beastly' Available On DVD June 28
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 28, 2011
    Beastly, a fantasy teen-drama take on the "Beauty and the Beast" story comes to DVD tomorrow, June 28. Alex Pettyfer is the shallow looker who needs a lesson in humility. Mary-Kate Olson is the witch who casts the spell of modest appearance. And Vanessa Hudgens is the reason for it all.
  • Lionsgate Picks Up Kevin Smith's Horror Film 'Red State'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 28, 2011
    Lionsgate has purchased the rights to release Kevin Smith’s Red State in multiple digital platforms. Among those to star in Red State are John Goodman—no stranger to independent cinema—and Melissa Leo, notable for both her performance in The Fighter and her corresponding award-acceptance speech. The film will be a great departure for the director, in that it is a horror movie, not a comedy. Lionsgate’s deal with Smith’s own SModcast Picture label allowed the former to retain distribution rights to all packaged media, while Smith’s company would control theatrical distribution. Lionsgate has worked with Kevin Smith in the past—in 1999, the company was attached to Smith’s religion-themed comedy Dogma. Smith had only positive things to say about Lionsgate’s collaboration with him and on their treatment and distribution of his films. Red State will be available on multiple platforms this September, and will be released in packaged media at the end of the year. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Paramount Reaches For Aronofsky's 'Noah'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 28, 2011
    One of the most talked-about epic films in the making is Darren Aronofsky's Noah. After the director’s indie hit, Black Swan, packed theaters months after its debut (most people just wanted to prove that they’d be the first to “get it”), production companies are swarming to get in on this new project. Paramount is the projected winner of the rights race, intending to fund half of the budget, which is reported at between $130 and $150 million. Funding the other half will be New Regency, which is long attached to Noah. As for the story, Aronofsky suggests that he wants to downplay the religious aspects of the Noah’s Ark story. It is in large part about God, so if this weren’t the man that has blown my mind and given me nightmares many times over, I’d predict the project's failure. But Aronosky…he’s got something going on, up there. Also, word is going around that Christian Bale might take on the titular role. I don’t think there are too many people that are going to have a problem with that. Aronofsky has been dedicated to this project for over five years. When he was in his teens, he actually wrote a poem about the Biblical story that won him a local contest in Brooklyn. Clearly, if you’re going to let some turn one of the most well-known tales in Western culture into an awesome movie, he’s not too far from your ideal candidate. We’ll probably be seeing a dense Noah -- a troubled, cerebral, debatably schizophrenic Noah. And all that’s fine by me. In the hands of a pretty terrific actor and a director impressive enough to still have me questioning things about his latest film, Noah seems to have a pretty bright future. Source: Slashfilm
  • Nicole Kidman May Replace Sofia Vergara In 'The Paperboy'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 28, 2011
    After losing the budding star Sofia Vergara, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy is looking to enlist an actress with a more established film career: Nicole Kidman. After being mercilessly outstanding in last year’s Rabbit Hole (I’d have been furious that she didn’t take Best Actress if I wasn’t in love with the winner), Kidman is adopting the role of a somewhat twisted heroine who writes letters to men on death row. Vergara’s talents on Modern Family are always amusing, but I’d trust a role this dark and substancial in the hands of the capably haunting Kidman. Vergara seems to have started a trend, however. Tobey Maguire, formerly signed on as the lead role, also dropped out of the project. Maguire was to play a reporter investigating a death row case in order to prove one man's innocence. The role remains unfilled for now. The Paperboy’s additional cast members include Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron. Source: Vulture