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.
  • Mark Ruffalo Says 'The Avengers' Won't Be In 3-D
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 17, 2011
    Three years ago, the end of Iron Man made us all optimistic for a The Avengers, which is set to arrive in May 2012. Iron Man itself was the best Marvel movie since the original Spider-Man, and its sequel was far from disappointing. Thus, hopes are high for The Avengers. Now our new Bruce Banner, a.k.a The Hulk, (Mark Ruffalo) is delivering an update that's widely being passed off as bad news: the movie is not being shot in 3-D. The lack of 3-D is becoming increasingly rare. And yes, 3-D is often awesome. Avatar would not have been Avatar without 3-D. But Toy Story 3 still would have been Toy Story 3. And Iron Man, without 3-D, was still Iron Man. Is anyone following me? While I’m sure a lot of people enjoy the bonus of watching a 3-D action movie, The Avengers will not suffer from being filmed in the traditional format -- as long as it lives up to the insurmountable expectations I’ve formed for for the film. But it might not even have to! Through some strange phenomenon of technology that baffles me, also known as 3-D conversion, movies not shot in 3-D may still be shown in 3-D. How does it work? I don’t know. But either way, nothing suffers. Everything about this movie so far is terrific news. Are you going to tell me that a lack of 3-D is really going to rob anything from Ruffalo’s take on the Hulk as the friendless kid in high school who made hand-written-poetry-scarves and used an umbrella ironically? No. You’re not. Because that would be ridiculous. Source: Slashfilm
  • 'Glee' Hires New Writers, Adds Freshman Characters For Season 3
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 17, 2011
    Hats off to you, Glee. You finally realize that music alone does not make a show. Sure, there are programs like American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars, which have had...a following. But you know that it’s just a phase. You’re not falling for it. You’re taking the high road: STORY. The creators behind this oddly popular Fox series have hired an additional six writers to join their staff of, virtually, three: the creators and executive producers, Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk. Glee’s new staff will include Allison Adler (who will also serve as an executive producer), Marti Noxon (writer for Mad Men and Grey’s Anatomy), Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer for Big Love and Marvel comics), Matt Hodgson (Eat Pray Love), Michael Hitchcock (a writer/actor you know, but you have no idea from where…think Arrested Development or anything by Christopher Guest), and Ross Maxwell (Running in Traffic). The most fundamental change to the show will be the addition to a new freshman characters interacting with Glee club, allowing for various stories and relationships to develop between them. The producers have made past claims about beginning to "phase out" some of the older characters, as well, so perhaps this is a signal for a future shift? In addition, showrunner Murphy expressed his desire to revert back to the style of Glee’s first season. In Season One, a major story arc involving Dianna Agron's character, Quinn, as a pregnant teen was the driving force. Plots branched off from this central storyline, involving the identity of the father and who might become the caretaker of Quinn’s child. It was a teenage soap opera riddled with improbabilities and character behavior that would in reality brand anyone criminally insane. But at least there was a story. The second season lacked this baseline, relying more on the singing of the cast as primary entertainment. There were smaller story arcs, a slew of “Be Yourself” messages, and a repeat of the whole “If we don’t win Nationals, then there’s no reason to live” motif, but nothing as founding as the first season’s pregnancy. So, I reprise: way to go, Glee. You’re finally going to start valuing substance over style. Story over song. Pride over popularity. Respect over ratings… good luck. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Darren Aronofsky Takes on WWII Series For HBO
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 17, 2011
    Almost everyone agrees that Inglourious Basterds was awesome -- almost perfect. But think about this: how much more awesome would it have been if it involved MAGIC? That dream is about to come true. After dominating the controversial topics of drug abuse, spirituality and ballet, Darren Aronofsky is taking on Nazi Germany in the upcoming HBO period-drama, Hobgoblin. The series follows a group of illusionist con-men who employ their trade in an effort to take down Hitler and the German army. Michael Chabon, also responsible for the upcoming science fiction film John Carter, is writing the program with his wife, Ayalet Waldman, author of the novel on which the 2009 film The Other Woman was based. This project will be Aronofsky’s first gig directing for television. Since it’s HBO, he’ll be able to infuse the program with his regular doses of haunting sex scenes and a general thread of impending doom. Hopefully, this medium will allow Aronofsky the appreciation he deserves -- perhaps in the form of an award. He literally turned Natalie Portman into a swan. Don’t tell me it was a metaphor. You all saw what happened to her neck. If you ask me, that’s a bold choice. Just the right amount of bold that can make us look forward to the annihilation of the Third Reich via slight-of-hand magic. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • New 'John Carter' Teaser One Sheet
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 16, 2011
    As mysterious as the film itself is this new poster for John Carter: the tale of a former military captain who somehow ends up on Mars and faces off with Willem Defoe. Here we see Taylor Kitsch, Carter himself, as the backdrop for Martian scripture which, if looked at long enough, actually turns out to be the letters J, C and M. So, there's one mystery solved. But more to come on Barsoom (that’s what they call Mars in this movie). Source: Disney
  • Bethenny Frankel Gets A Talk Show
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 16, 2011
    Someone actually decided that we didn’t have enough Bethenny Frankel. The former member of the Real Housewives of New York City and even formerer Apprentice of Martha Stewart is getting another show, in addition to the Ever After... series (in production for a third season) in which she stars on Bravo. This latest deal, reportedly a talk show, is being developed in cooperation with Ellen DeGeneres and Telepictures. The company, which produced Ellen as well, offered DeGeneres control over new projects for Warner Brothers TV and Horizon. Frankel’s program will warrant a variety of segments. Although filming is underway, a location isn't yet finalized (although producers are looking at New York as a top choice), and they've yet to develop material. Frankel says she looks forward to communicating with fans and showcasing her eccentricities in this new format. Source: Hollywood Reporter
  • Hugh Jackman to Play Lead in 'Les Mis' Movie?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 16, 2011
    You have no idea how many incredibly, emasculatingly specific references to Les Misérables I am forcing myself to resist making right now. I spent a year of college surrounded by diehard New England hockey fans—really violently obsessive people. And their devotion does not come close to that of your average Broadway aficionado. Such is why, in the transition to film, followers of the original manifestation are often disappointed. To the point of maniacal outrage. But no one can take issue with Hugh Jackman playing Les Misérables hero Jean Valjean. Tom Hooper—who cranked out that little indy project you vaguely recall hearing about, The King’s Speech—is directing the musical adaptation, and offered the lead role to Jackman. The actor might me most commonly associated with his X-Men work, but his versatility is unequivocal. Jackman played the lead in a TV movie version of another famous musical, Oklahoma! In 1999. And did you see him on The Tonys? If you’re reading this article, then yes. You did. And it was piquant (still doing it). So, combining an actor so talented that a sitcom dedicated a multi-season running joke to how envious they were of him with one of the most successful and popular Broadway musicals of all time? Top it off with a director whose film swept this year’s Oscars? My life has granted the dream I dreamed. Source: NY Mag
  • 'Con Air' Director Takes on 'Expendables' Sequel
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 16, 2011
    Remember when you really liked The Expendables, but didn’t feel comfortable admitting that to any of your ‘intellectual’ friends? Well, get ready for a rehashing of that swallowed shame and inexplicable secret bliss. Not only are we promised a return of the upper tier of the first film’s cast, this time around, Simon West will direct The Expendables 2. You probably aren’t sure who West is simply by name—he hasn’t exactly branded himself with any major franchises. But he was responsible for the 1997 action-thriller Con Air. Con Air was the first time I ever understood what it is to be alive. West served up the first real surge of adrenaline I'd experience in my nine years of life. And now, he’s taking the two guys who ended the Cold War, the British super-con, the Wrestler and JET LI (no moniker necessary when your name is Jet), and delivering to America via Millenium Films and Lionsgate a movie that promises to be so impossibly exciting that geographical consistencies will be no more. So, this time around, cast away your sheath of humility. Buy the shirt. Shout the tagline. Embrace your base desire to watch things that are fast, loud, and flammable. The Expendables 2. It can't be stopped. Source: Deadline
  • Charlie Sheen Denied Trial Against Warner Bros.
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    Even staunch libertarians are not too big on constitutional rights when it comes to Charlie Sheen. So when he was denied a trial in his case against Warner Bros., very few considered the matter an injustice. Sheen’s complaint, in the form of a one hundred million dollar lawsuit, was over what he considered to be wrongful termination of his contract with Two and a Half Men, by creator Chuck Lorre and the studio. The recipients of the lawsuit blamed Sheen’s offensive and outlandish behavior and statements, as opposed to a breach of contract on the actor’s part. Sure. I see what he’s going for. He didn’t do anything that was specifically prohibited by the contract, and they let him go anyway. So he thinks he’s entitled to some money. But, Mr. Sheen, you actually are a danger to yourself and others — and I’m not just talking about the people surrounding you — I’m talking about the entire American public, which is forever marred from witnessing your typhoon of a personality disorder. I’m talking about impressionable children, who made the connection between volcanoes of cocaine — volcocainoes? — and unbridled popularity and wealth. I’m talking about the tsunami of banter that otherwise talented talk show hosts (and Leno) were forced to babble on about for weeks upon weeks. And in case you haven’t noticed the pattern in my rhetoric, Mr. Sheen, what I’m trying to say is, you are a very unnatural disaster. Source: Inside TV
  • Sean Penn to Direct DeNiro in 'The Comedian'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Jun 15, 2011
    I don’t know how comfortable I’d be taking creative orders from a man who once burned himself with a cigarette in order to prepare for a role that demanded little more than jokes about marijuana. But that very man, Sean Penn, is set to direct Robert DeNiro the upcoming film, The Comedian. Penn is more than adequate onscreen—due, I’m speculating, to his complete lunacy, which allows him total dedication to any role. The art and audiences benefit. But what happens when Penn’s job is telling other actors how to act? Does this degree of control over other human beings inspire fear in anyone else? Maybe I’m being too harsh. After all, Penn’s last directorial project was Into the Wild, and star Emile Hirsch was not deterred from working with Penn again, because he played opposite Penn in Milk. This time around, Penn’s working with someone far less fragile—or so I’d assume—than the kid from The Girl Next Door. This time, he’s got Bobby DeNiro. DeNiro is expected to star in The Comedian as a comedian late in his career and if anyone can handle a madman’s orders, it’s him. And perhaps it is a madman like Penn who can mold the DeNiro of today back into the one that we’re all trying to pretend is still in there, somewhere. Perhaps this script, penned by Fight Club producer Art Linson and comedian Jeffrey Ross, this sour story of a once-great, aging performer, is exactly what the actor needs. Perhaps it’s what the director needs, too, to prove that there is in fact a method to his madness. Perhaps it’s what we all need. To be able to believe, once more, in Hollywood. Source: The New York Post
  • '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