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.
  • 'African Cats' Available on October 4 on Blu-ray
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    For anyone who appreciates fascinating movies, exotic animals, or the power of family, comes African Cats: a captivating, educational film that chronicles a pair of lion prides and a family of cheetah as they cherish and challenge one another, all the while enjoying the wonders and enduring the dangers of the African savanna, one of the most mesmerizing pieces of nature in the world. Coming October 4 as a Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Movie Download and On-Demand, this new release allows you to follow lions Mara and Fang and cheetah mother Sita through wild experiences you’d never imagine, and offers a slew of special features: On the DVD, Blu-ray and Movie Download: Disney & Nature - The Walt Disney Company showcases its worldwide nature conservation efforts in this feature. Save The Savanna - Named after Disney's program for the conservation of the region, this special showcases the program in detail. Also on the Blu-ray: Filmmaker Annotations - An in-movie viewing mode that offers behind-the-scenes footage of the filmmakers' experience putting together the project in Africa, and some more of the savanna's wonders. Jordan Sparks "The World I Knew" Video Also on the Movie Download: Three segments from the Blu-Ray's Filmmaker Annotation special, including Introduction to Masai Mara, Filming the Cats, and Sophie's Elephants. Source: Disney
  • James Cameron Developing 'Myth' With 'Avatar's' Sam Worthington
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    “Alexander wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” Though originally penned to describe the imperialist of ancient days, this solemn Hans Gruber (not Plutarch) quotation will someday be applicable in describing a modern rising titan. One who continues to take on marathon projects. One who distributes films to America that have greater impact than natural disasters. One who, as it seems, won’t be satisfied until he makes the world’s first trillion dollar movie. I am talking, of course, about James Cameron: who seems to be the most powerful man in the world. In addition to a Twentieth Century Fox deal for two Avatar sequels—which are meant to finish off the remainder of America who was not overcome by the outburst of depression over not being able to actually live on Pandora—Cameron is working on another doubtlessly epic film, titled Myth. Cameron’s details are as vague as the title, but considering those involved, including Avatar star Sam Worthington and Transformers series producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura as producers, there is no reason to doubt that this film will inspire the next major world religion. Also attached to the project is videogame writer Will Staples, responsible for Lair and Pursuit Force. So what do we know about this project? Very little, including whether or not Sam Worthington is part of the cast. But what can we be sure about? Total world domination. I'm onto you, Cameron. Source: MTV ="">
  • Jennifer Lopez May Not Return to 'American Idol'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    Jennifer Lopez was brought in to give American Idol a boost in its tenth season—and she did just that. But now that the show has done the same for her, she might be done with it. Despite speaking favorably of her experience working with the contestants, Lopez seems to be seeking bigger and better things, including taking advantage of a resurgence of stardom thanks to her hit single, “On the Floor.” But how much will Lopez really be missed? She doesn’t have the bite of Idol’s trademark retiree Simon Cowell, the likable sincerity of Randy Jackson, the he-might-flip-at-any-second excitement factor of Steven Tyler, or whatever it is that makes everyone—everyone—love Ellen DeGeneres. Lopez spent her run on the show lobbing niceties at the singers, offering nothing of substance to the them or the viewers. So where could Lopez’s career go from here? Back to the block? Up off the floor? Fresh out the oven? All right, that's enough. Source: AOL TV
  • Two Men Arrested for Murder Plot Against Joss Stone
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    On Monday night, two unidentified men were arrested in Devon, England, for a robbery and murder plot directed at singer Joss Stone. The initial apprehension of the men resulted from a the report of a Cullompton resident, describing a suspicious vehicle, and led to the police’s discovery of weaponry including swords, and items such as forensic coverall suits, plans of the singer’s house, and a body bag. Since the arrests, police have maintained patrol of the surrounding area, and have taken to questioning of Stone’s neighbors. The cooperation of the local residents, according to the police, was a big factor in the 24-year-old singer’s safety. It has not yet been made aware if Stone was home at the time of the two men’s arrest. She is being made aware of all of the details of the situation. Stone plans to release LP1, her newest album, in July, and will be performing multiple concerts across Europe. Source: MTV ="">
  • David O. Russell to Direct 'Sleeping Beauty' Adaptation?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    Everything about The Fighter just screams Disney. Last year’s Best Picture nominee—starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in his most awesome performance that involves no rappelling—was gritty, biting, and focused on crack. So, the film's director David O. Russell, might seem like an unusual choice for a live-action retelling of Sleeping Beauty in the upcoming Disney film Maleficent. Those familiar with Russell’s past work—particularly the upbeat acid-trip compiled exclusively of loose ends, I Heart Huckabees, might recognize the director’s versatility. One consistency Russell does display is casting Wahlberg, who appeared in both The Fighter and Huckabees, as well as Russell’s Three Kings, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Dirk Diggler himself ends up playing Prince Charming. Those involved thus far include Angelina Jolie as the Witch, from whose perspective the film’s story is told, and screenwriter Linda Woolverton, a Disney legend responsible for The Lion King, Mulan, and (we’ll forgive her for this one) Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Burton himself was attached to direct originally, but his departure potentially leaves the project in Russell's hands. So, at least we won’t have to worry about another piece of our childhood turned into a paint-spattered Depp-a-thon. Source: Hollywood Reporter ="">
  • Jamie Foxx to Play Lead in 'Django Unchained'?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 14, 2011
    Tarantino. You hooked yet? If you haven’t heard, the man who founded Big Kahuna Burger, put a twisted spin on the otherwise pleasant Harry Nilsson song “Coconut,” and killed Hitler, is developing a project on the backdrop of American slavery in the upcoming Django Unchained. The title character is a freed slave who becomes a bounty hunter in an effort to rescue his wife from a plantation owner. We've heard mentions of several choices for the title character and the latest, most promising option is Jamie Foxx -- who knows his way around both humor and intensity in a fashion perfectly suitable for a Tarantino epic. Many fans were hopeful about the casting of Will Smith as Django. However, Smith reportedly has no involvement in the film. Other considerations included Idis Ebra, familiar to The Office fans as the insufferable Charles Miner, and Chris Tucker, familiar to everyone as the insufferable Chris Tucker. Leonardo DiCaprio is rumored to be "signed" already, and he's playing against type. Consistently the hero, DiCaprio would be playing Tarantino’s villain, a slave-owner named Calvin Candie. If this deal is legitimate, DiCaprio will share scenes with Tarantino veteran Samuel L. Jackson, who's playing a slave named Stephen and the number-two man to Candie. We do know that another Tarantino collaborator will return: Christoph Waltz. Made famous in America with his scene-stealing performance as Nazi detective Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, Waltz is slated to play a German-immigrant, former dentist, and Django’s associate in bounty hunting. The casting of DiCaprio, Waltz and Jackson leaves most of us optimistic. The uncertainty circling the lead role might combat this, especially with a few of the mentioned choices. But if Foxx does indeed sign on, we're in for a sensation. It warrants little explanation why anyone considers Jamie Foxx to be awesome, but here goes anyway: Jarhead. Ray. In Living Color. Django? Let's hope. Source: Slashfilm
  • Sean Bean Stabbed in London Bar
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 14, 2011
    He has played an invader of Gondor, the slayer of Sir Arthur, and the mightiest of the Greek gods. Sean Bean has proven that, onscreen, he can exemplify badass. But surely, no man among us can live up to this mammoth stature of pure grandeur. No man indeed. Sean Bean has proven, once and for all, to be beyond human. On Sunday night, Bean was enjoying drinks at a bar in North West London with topless model April Summers. At one point, the two were standing outside smoking cigarettes, when an unidentified man began insulting Summers. Bean reacted angrily, but there were no reports of violence at this time. Later in the evening, Bean returned outside for another cigarette and was attacked and stabbed, reportedly with a broken glass, by the man. In addition to this attack on Bean’s arm, he also suffered injuries to the face. But that’s not where the insanity comes in. After notifying the police, Bean refused to visit a hospital, or to endure any medical treatment beyond utilization of the bar’s first aid kit. Furthermore, he decided to remain in the bar, and ordered another drink. This unbelievable story trumps any adventure through Middle Earth. The great tragedy of the ordeal is that nothing Bean does onscreen will ever impress me again, as I'll always be thinking how much more he's really capable of. Source: Daily Mail
  • UPDATE: New 'Harry Potter 7' Posters Feature Voldemort and Death Eaters
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 14, 2011
    Update: Here's Voldemort (you're allowed to say it if it's for promotional reasons) leading a charge of Death Eaters in the latest poster for the final chapter of the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Earlier: I was never a big fan of Harry Potter, but even I’m excited for Deathly Hallows Part 2. To some degree, everyone has to be. And here’s why: Harry Potter aficionado or not, anyone who doesn’t think riding a dragon is awesome has been going about his life in a distinctly perverse manner. That is beyond a promotional item. It’s a metaphor. Good versus evil. Whose magic electricity will win?... I think my lack of Hogwartian knowledge is becoming more evident. Like I said, I’ve never been a fan. But I know a hero when I see one. And there he is. The hero himself. Perhaps an allegorical symbol of the modern youth. Intrinsically pure, but marred by a world of devastation. Daring. Idealistic. MAGIC. Source: MTV
  • Ben Affleck's 'Argo' Cast to Live Like Hostages for Two Weeks
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 14, 2011
    I suppose it’s no surprise that Ben Affleck is a fan of method acting, as he frequently plays a thick-headed Bostonian lowlife. But the degree to which he is insisting the stars of his upcoming project Argo prepare for their roles might stimulate some shock in those not already jaded by the actor/writer-turned-director’s past disparagements to cinema. The film depicts the events of a 1979 hostage situation and rescue of American diplomats in Tehran. Six escapees of the collapsed American embassy at the time found shelter in the Canadian embassy for just under three months, posing (under the direction of CIA operative Tony Mendez) as a film crew in Tehran to work on a project called “Argo.” As such, Affleck commands the six actors playing the hostages to spend two weeks living together in a safe house as a means of better understanding and emulating their characters’ struggles. Affleck, of course, has afforded himself the luxury of a role that does not call for such preparation: the aforementioned Tony Mendez, who, incidentally, is also the hero responsible for the diplomats’ safe return home. After casting himself as the sole sympathetic male among criminals and cops alike in last year’s The Town, this is yet another of Affleck’s antics that I find to be no surprise. Source: Vulture
  • Sean Astin Will Voice New 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Cartoon
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 14, 2011
    If you really want to get to a person’s core, there’s only one question to ask. It’s not about their hobbies, their spiritual beliefs, or what they’d do in a life-or-death situation. It’s a simple, five-word method for finding out everything you need to know about anyone worth knowing: “Who’s your favorite Ninja Turtle?” Your subjects' answers will tell you so much more about them than just their tastes in reptilian superheroes. It will tell you what kind of person they are. It will tell you about their philosophies, and how they lead their lives. As diplomats? Warriors? Intellectuals? Free spirits? Well, those are the only options. So, it's somewhat surprising to hear who Sean Astin—most recognizable to the TMNT generation as the impish Mikey from The Goonies and as Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings to the rest of us—chose as his favorite. In an upcoming Nickelodeon animated series, Astin is set to voice Raphael, the shortest in temper, strongest in will, and biggest in badassery of the turtles, whom Astin also claims has always been his favorite. The series will also star American Pie star Jason Biggs as Leonardo, the leader of the turtles. Behind the remaining Donatello and Michelangelo are veteran voice actors Greg Cipes and Rob Paulsen, respectively. The latter will be familiar to Turtles fans as the voice of Raphael from the 1980s TV series, as well as countless voices on WB and Nickelodeon cartoons of the 1990s and 2000s. Astin stressed a decreased use of the “surfer vernacular” in the upcoming series. Turtles' executive producers are Ciro Nieli, who directed The Avengers and Transformers animated series, and Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, who produced That 70s Show together. Though no recent adaptations have lived up to the original cartoon and film trilogy, there has yet to be an incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I won’t watch. Let’s hope the nerd from Encino Man and the kid who made love to a pie hold this dynasty in as much reverence as the rest of us do. Source: EW