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.
  • Review: 'Cheap Thrills' Is Almost Very Interesting, Definitely Very Gross
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 28, 2014
    Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection There are a lot of ideas floating around in Cheap Thrills. They're interesting, they're dense, and they're fruitful endeavors for the world of psychological horror. But they are relegated to floating, never quite anchoring into any real conclusions or statements about their desperate, depraved subjects. We meet Craig (Pat Healy), a happily married father of one, on a particularly bad day: he loses his job, is slapped with an eviction notice, and — to top it all off — bumps into a pesky old chum (Ethan Embry) from his younger days. A fellow who Craig, a loser in his own right, judges for never having gone anywhere. As the high school buddies catch up, they are roped into the increasingly violent and grotesque high jinks of a pair of thrill-seeking strangers (David Koechner, giving an impressively haunting performance, and a nearly wordless Sara Paxton) with the promise of bright financial futures dangled in front of them. The men, each of thinning pride, gradually give way to monetary temptation as they play along in these treacherous mind games, the biggest mystery being if a limit to their desperation exists. Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection Although it's an intriguing venture, the sociological study stops at its thesis question. In truth, the movie's philosophical makeup can be summed up with the Klondike Bar slogan. Still, there is meat to be found: the bubbling lava underneath the crust of Craig and Vince's (Embry) long dormant friendship comes with a few humanistic ditties about breaking free from your past, and the pangs inherent in facing off with someone who knows the you that you've been trying to escape. But these ideas, too, aren't milked to their full potential. The only element of the film that does hit its promised summit: the grossness. Cheap Thrills does deliver, and then some, on the ick factor. It's not an abundance of gore or violence that does it, but the visceral, intimate nature with which the gore is handled. Everything is up close and personal, all pains really felt. If this is your bag, then Cheap Thrills will come through here. But psychologically, it does little more than present would-be interesting ideas. Fun in the set-up, occasionally thrilling in the delivery, but never particularly fulfilling in the conclusion.  2.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: 'Hide Your Smiling Faces' Is a Tremendously Touching Story About Life, Death, and Dealing with Either
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 28, 2014
    Tribeca Film via Everett Collection It seems like the general mission statement of your usual coming-of-age drama is to take the lighter fare of growing up, all those moments that we took for granted until our wistful recollections years later, and pull back the curtain on just how important they always were. The first kisses, the first fights, the first sips of beer — these are the elements that have lined the genre since before American Graffiti and Breaking Away. But in earnest, there is no cookie cutter mold for the coming-of-age experience. Romance and high jinks could well take a backseat — or fall out of the picture altogether — when your childhood is shaped by something like the subject matter of Hide Your Smiling Faces, an altogether inviting and merciless picture about the sudden death of a young boy, and the aftermath as experienced by two of his close friends. Ostensibly, this is a movie about death — about what it means to lose a friend, a child, a neighbor. About what it means to understand, for the very first time, the idea of mortality, of impermanence, of loss. And through the often silent (though never to a fault) journeys of two brothers, young Tommy (Ryan Jones) and preteen Eric (Nathan Varnson), we see a version of "death" not often granted to the screen. Director Daniel Patrick Carbone doesn't seem too strained to avoid the theatrical, a weighty humanity sewn effortlessly into the every move, breath, and rare word ventured by the suffering boys. We're not treated to Rabbit Hole-esque diatribes or Oscar bait explosions in a movie whose subject matter might beckon the like. We're carted through an impressively effective journey inside the boys as they battle not only with their pain, but with the inscrutable parameters set for their expression of it. Tribeca Film via Everett Collection But the struggles of Tommy and Eric aren't limited to the time frame of human grief. Just as coming-of-age movies that present kisses and fights as representative glimpses into an endless stretch of the human condition, the brothers' experience with death is truly a bold rock with which their road to maturity is paved. The tragedy brings to the forefront issues that won't fade over time: the stinging confusion inherent in figuring out how to feel, what to think, and what to show about everything. Scenes involving Tommy's own gateway into the kissing world, and Eric's sudden rift with a friend he thought he understood (and about whom, in losing that understanding, he no longer knows how to feel) highlight just how expansive these themes are. They, in fact, might be the only permanent thing there is.  Even in its sincerity, Hide Your Smiling Faces doesn't fall shy of cinematic — shot in the beautiful New Jersey woodlands, we explore defunct bridges, silent dirt roads, and rotting old houses that feel impossibly lived in, courtesy of just how closely we are welcomed to the boys themselves. A story about life and death alike, Hide Your Smiling Faces handles both in a fashion you won't often see in film. In its tackling of the former — of growth and discovery — it is haunting, harsh, and sad. In the latter, it isn't afraid to access joy, hypocrisy, and beauty. On each side of its impossibly vast fence, Hide Your Smiling Faces gives us something touching, tremendous, and new. Mending the two, we wind up with something altogether beautiful. 4.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: 'Noah' Is Bonkers and Bizarre in All the Right Ways
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 28, 2014
    Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection Here's a feat: taking what is likely the oldest, most well-known story in the world, and making a retelling feel inventive. Over the course of its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Darren Aronofsky's Noah takes many forms — Tolkien-esque fantasy, trippy psychological thriller, merciless dissection of the dark points of abject faith — never feeling too rigidly confined to the parameters of the familiar tale that we've all experienced in the form of bedtime stories, religious education lessons, and vegetable-laden cartoons. As many forms as the parable has taken over the past few thousand years, Aronofsky manages to find a few new takes. The director's thumbprint is branded boldly on Russell Crowe's Noah, a man who begins his journey as a simple pawn of God and evolves into a dimensional human as tortured as Natalie Portman's ballerina or Jared Leto's smack head. Noah's obsession and crisis: his faith. The peak of the righteous descendant of Seth (that's Adam and Eve's third son — the one who didn't die or bash his brother's head in with a rock), Noah is determined to carry out the heavenly mission imparted upon him via ambiguous, psychedelic visions. God wants him to do something — spoilers: build an ark — and he will do it. No matter what. No matter what it means to his family, to his lineage, to his fellow man, to the world. He's going to do it. No matter what. The depths to which Aronofsky explores this simple concept — the nature of unmitigated devotion — makes what we all knew as a simplistic A-to-B children's story so gripping. While the throughline is not a far cry from the themes explored in his previous works, the application of his Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan ideas in this movie does not feel like a rehashing. Experiencing such modern, humane ideas in biblical epic is, in fact, a thrill-ride. Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection Although Aronofsky accesses some highly guttural stuff inside of his title character, he lets whimsy and imagination take hold of the world outside of him. Jumping headfirst into the fantastical, the director lines his magical realm with rock monsters — "Watcher" angels encased in Earth-anchored prisons as punishment for their betrayal of God — and a variety of fauna that range in innovation from your traditional white dove to some kind of horned, scaled dog bastardization. But the most winning elements of Noah, and easily the most surprising, come when Aronofsky goes cosmic. He jumps beyond the literal to send us coursing through eons to watch the creation of God's universe, matter exploding from oblivion, a line of creatures evolving (in earnest) into one another as the planet progresses to the point at which we meet our tortured seafarer. Aronofsky's imagination, his aptitude as a cinematic magician, peak (not just in terms of the film, but in terms of his career) in these scenes. The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips. With all this propped against the stark humanity of his story — not just in terms of Crowe's existential spiral, but in character beats like grandfather Methuselah's relationship with the youngsters, in little Ham's playful teasing of his new rock monster pet — Aronofsky manages something we never could have anticipated from Noah. It's scientific, cathartic, humane. Impressively, this age-old tale, here, is new. And beyond that feat, it's a pretty winning spin. 4/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: Robin and Barney Get Married
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 25, 2014
    CBS On this week's episode of How I Met Your Mother, the second-to-last episode in the entire series, Robin Scherbatsky — Canadian-born newsanchor and former teen pop sensation, advocate of firearms, hockey, and dogs, and lifelong sufferer of chronic daddy issues — and Barney Stinson — Staten Island-raised corporate stooge (and secret government mole), lover of Scotch, magic, and laser tag, plausible sex addict and compulsive liar... and lifelong sufferer of chronic daddy issues — got married. Some of us thought it wouldn't happen (guilty). Some of us thought Robin might be better off on her own, pursuing a slew of career-oriented adventures like the lone wolf she is, perhaps finding love someplace else down the line... but with her parents (Ray Wise and Tracy Ullman) present, Patrice inscrutably by her side at the altar, and her sister presumably hidden among the crowd (I guess they couldn't get Lucy Hale away from the Pretty Little Liars set for two episodes this season), Robin tied the knot to the seedy, cartoonishly evil, secretly big hearted (at least that's what we're supposed to believe now) Barney. To say that we have mixed feelings would be an understatement. It's tough to "accept" the flaws we see in Barney as his screwed up presentation of affection when some of his vile behaviors do in fact seem incredibly deep seated. It seems like HIMYM boasts the relationship as a more colorful alternative to the Marshall/Lily perfection, but only one of the budding marriage's parties is wholly on board with its prickly, occasionally criminal nature. As much earnestness as we might see in Barney's devotion to his friends, we do think there's something missing in his devotion to his marriage. And we do, honestly, think Robin deserves better. But, hey, here's what we're getting. Robin and Barney got married, and likely will be forever. Ted said his final goodbye to his love for Robin this week, rejecting her  revelation that maybe the two of them should be together, affirming (in a fashion apparently charged more by guilt and fraternal responsibility than candid belief) that she and Barney love each other and belong together. But it wasn't Ted who set her on course, it was the still peskily unnamed Mother, who recommended that a panicked Robin take three deep breaths to calm herself and hear out Barney's refreshed set of vows — that he would always be honest with her. Not too shabby for a guy who just episodes ago proclaimed that he would never give up his passion for deceit. So now that their love story is wrapped, Marshall and Lily are back on track, we only have one thing left to see... and one week left until we see it. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • A Look Back at 'Girls' Season 3
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 24, 2014
    HBO Girls' third season has had many detractors, a few supporters, a moreover healthy slew of watchers, a large percentage therein of HBO Go password stealers, a ton of recappers, at least one psychoanalyzer, and some ambiguous number of folks interracting with the show in a wide variety of creative, progressive, and destructive ways. Personally, I loved it throughout — the light, the dark, the cynical, the humanistic, the sad, and the funny all worked for me, though not without some qualitative hiccups. Here's a quick look back at Lena Dunham's third year on HBO, and a quick assessment of where we've seen her take her characters over the past 12 weeks. WHEN THE SEASON STARTED OUT... We saw Hannah in an ostensibly happy, loving, and emotionally balanced relationship with Adam, who had moved in with her to resume their romance following last season's downward spiral for the pair (each had endured an explosive relapse — Hannah with OCD, Adam with alcoholism). Creatively, Hannah's eBook deal was coming together gratis of editor David Pressler-Goings, while Adam was struggling with rediscovering his own passions. Marnie was shattered over her recent breakup with Charlie, which was somehow sparked by the decision to collaborate on a homemade pizza. We found Jessa stuck in a drug rehab center upstate, making enemies galore as she accosted her fellow addicts for their "pedestrian" turmoils. Neither Shoshanna nor Ray were dealing with their breakup too well, the former burning the candle at both ends with a compulsive "life to the fullest" marathon and a drive to ace all her classes, and the latter sulking acerbically. AS THE SEASON PROGRESSED... After Pressler-Goings died suddenly, Hannah lost her book deal and was forced to take a day job writing advertorial at GQ (a place she immediately considers herself "too good for," but sticks with anyhow). Meanwhile, Adam opted to pursue his latent love for acting in a more serious way, throwing his old reservations out the window and actually going on auditions. We also got to meet Adam's sister Caroline, a flighty and manipulative lunatic who moved in with Hannah and Adam briefly (much to Adam's chagrin), aiming to drive them apart before Hannah kicked her out (also to Adam's chagrin). Marnie got a cat. She was still sad. Back in town, Jessa kicked drugs and got a painfully dull job at a baby clothing store. After running into Ray at Hannah's birthday, Shoshanna began to entertain renewed feelings for him. Her sexual and academic drives progressed. HBO AND THEN... Adam landed a role in a Broadway production of Major Barbara. As a result, Hannah began to worry (thanks to the cynical wisdom of Patti LuPone) that he would soon "outgrow" her. Marnie began a sexual relationship with Ray. She was still sad. Somehow, Jessa's sole rehab buddy Jasper tracked her down in New York City, courting her through a drug relapse and drumming up a ton of destructive patterns in the young woman. All of this added to Shoshanna's love- and school-related stress. Also, Elijah returned, in traditional form, and Adam made a theater pal named Desi who caught Marnie's eye. AND FINALLY... In this week's season finale, Hannah got accepted into a prestigious creative writing grad school program in Iowa, reigniting her own sense of self-worth after a multi-episode bout of diminished confidence. We saw Adam's Broadway debut! Although the audience seemed impressed by his performance, Adam considered the night a failure after he lost focus following Hannah's revelation that she might be moving to Iowa (which she told him just before showtime). The two had a tremendous fight, leaving their relationship in flux, but not robbing Hannah of her glee over being accepted into the aforesaid MFA program. Also, Caroline is back, and pregnant with Laird's (Hannah's oddball junkie neighbor) baby. Marnie fessed up to Shoshanna about her relationship with Ray, and finally kissed Desi... even after admitting that she has only been validating herself as a sexual object. Old habits die hard. Desi's girlfriend didn't have a ton of kind words for Marnie. Pretty much out of nowhere, Jessa helped her new employer, an elderly photographer, attempt suicide, only to call 911 at the last minute when the woman changed her mind. Not a good week for Shosh. In addition to the above news, she found out that she would not be graduating on time due to having failed one of her classes (thanks in large part to her adventurous escapades). She also hit Ray with the information that she wants him back, only to be calmly rejected. SO WHAT NOW? We predict we'll see Hannah relocate to Iowa and Adam sink into the world of theater (a for-the-cameras kiss from one of his castmates seemed like it could be hinting at the show's interest in pairing him with a new ladyfriend next season). We're not so sure about Marnie, though we'd like to see her access some new insight and focus herself on her own passions instead of her goal to satisfy and entrance men. Jessa? We have no idea, but that gal deserves a win. Thrown into a handful of whirlwinds this week alone, the graduation-obsessed Shosh might showcase her most explosive arc yet, having lost everything she wanted and believed in (at least that's how she'll have seen it). What are your predictions and hopes for next season? Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: 'Muppets Most Wanted' Is Confused About What Makes a Good Muppet Movie
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 21, 2014
    Disney I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything. On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker. Disney Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair. On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film. The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips. Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets. 2.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • Review: Chicago's 'Divergent' Is a Lot Like Its Pizza: Overstuffed, Flavorless, and Bad for You
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 19, 2014
    Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection Beneath the many tiers of convoluted sci-fi world building that make up the skin of Divergent, there is what might pass for a simple and humane heart: the message that a person should be more than "just one thing." That the truly worthwhile among us won't fit so snugly into the rigid compartments instituted by society — both ours and that of Future Chicago — because "not fitting in," as it turns out, is actually a better gig. That in Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), we — the silent majority of outcasts — have a new idol to vocalize the values in being different. But it's really difficult to attach yourself to a character like Tris with writing this terrible. Although the parameters of her role would logically allow for enough personality, imagination, and good old fashioned chutzpah to make Tris a relatable human being, there is almost no personality to be found in the script's version of the hero. The entire Divergent world is lacking in this area, in fact. From the onset of her introductory voice-over (almost forgivable, because there might actually be no other way to introduce a society so cluelessly complicated), we can feel something lacking in the construction of the film's hero. Tris explains the nature of the five societal factions that exist in Future Chicago — Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), and two others that don't really come into play, mentioning with a foreboding tone that those who don't belong to any faction are shunned by the world and cast to desolation (that's her, if you don't already know). But in these crucial opening minutes, Tris' exposition is as lifeless as it is brainless. Starting with Erudite, Tris fawns like an empty-headed child, "They know everything." A regrettably imbecilic line, but probably the peak of the character's nuance. From there, we get very little out of Tris, or any other of Divergent's citizens, that isn't cold, bloodless exposition and the action necessary to courier it to a sating box office end game. Summit Entertainment via Everett Collection No one in this story about "being yourself" feels at all like he or she has a self to be. Run through the gears of a world too insistently mechanical to evoke anything real (despite the generosity of its central "fitting in" conceit), the people end up flat, thin, and dry, never once uttering a line of dialogue that is in any way personal... or in any small way not tailored to the larger game of misguided set-up at play. Against this backdrop, a pronounced Tris Prior might have been doubly effective. But it's not some grand schematic on the part of director Neil Burger and screenwriters Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor to paint a gray world behind a glimmering hero. It's just an ostensible inability to draw anything human. There are a couple of reasons why we hesitate to call Tris a truly terrible character. The first is Woodley. With so little to work with, she is, admittedly, good. Her action carries weight, her tears beget ours, and we do actually root for her to come out okay. All of the charm we're accrediting to Tris is Woodley's doing, and we know from past turns that with a better script in her hands this rising star could do wonders. The second is that, in outline form, Tris might be the best YA heroine we've gotten lately. Her decisions stem from a drive for independence and personal fulfillment. True, her primarily relationship is with a brooding jock, the unfortunately named Four (Theo James), to whom she plays the eager therapist more than anything else. But she also has a somewhat empowering bond with her mother (Ashley Judd) and an admittedly under cooked but at the very least occasionally present rapport with faction-mate Christina (Zoe Kravitz). So... something. The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips. Without a real character in which to root these small victories, though, they amount to very little. Just additional slices of the soulless, joyless, mindless deep dish pie that is this movies. But Chicago's dystopian fiction fails the same way that its pizza does: over stuffed with empty calories and lacking any recognizable flavor. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 10 Things That Are Horrible About the New Trailer for 'The Giver'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 19, 2014
    The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips. What GIVES? However long ago, you were in seventh grade, you were assigned, begrudgingly began to read, and then almost instantly fell in love with the great Lois Lowry tome The Giver. A work of allegorical fiction that built a dystopian future around humankind's desire to preserve "sameness." Identical individuals in identical family units leading identical lifestyles... until one kid who was just special enough (the Katniss, the Harry, the Tris, the Ender, the Mortal Instrumentalist) learned the truth and lay waste to the customs of his corrosive society. It was a great book. One we all knew, eventually, would be granted cinematic form. And one we all knew wouldn't get the justice it deserves. The Weinstein Company/YouTube Silver lining: at least we can probably say we were right. The new trailer for Jeff Bridges' Giver adaptation doesn't look too promising. We're inclined to hold out judgment until the film actually hits theaters, but we can't help but foster pessimism considering the abundance of issues we've taken with the first promo: 1. It's in color. A major conceit of The Giver was that nobody, except Jonas (eventually) could see color. It was part of the government's suppression of creativity and imagination and hope and the free-wheelin' crayon industry. This would have been a super easy thing to convey onscreen — easier than in the book, even.2. Jonas' age. Lowry's main character was 12. In this thing, he's played by a genteel looking fellow named Brenton Thwaites, who is pushing 25.3. Jonas' eyes. All Receivers (Jonas is a Receiver — that's like being a Divergent, or a Girl on Fire, or a Boy Who Lived, or a Mortal Instrumentalist) are supposed to have uniquely light eyes. I'm not quite sure how this compromised with the general lack of color, but I don't remember having too much of a problem with it.4. The Giver. What's he doing out of his secluded mountain house? Why does he appear to be interacting with Meryl Streep? Go back inside, Giver. You only talk to Jonas.5. The injections - "morning injections." This one's a two-parter. Voice-over here suggests the existence of "morning injections," suggesting them to be a regular part of the routine for all living citizens. But injections in the book were lethal, and as such not regularly scheduled.6. The injections - the "release." What is that young lady doing getting a release injection? Those are for babies and old people only! Only the Giver's daughter (Taylor Swift) got a mid-life release. Oh, and that brings us to the next issue...7. Taylor Swift. Hm.8. So much action! Please don't let this turn into an action movie, Phillip Noyce. It's a cerebral, temperate, emotional drama. A C.T.E.D! Relevant...9. The post-escape chase. In the book, one Jonas gets out of his society and into the territory of "Elsewhere" with baby Gabriel in tow, he's all set. Smooth sailing until the ambiguous ending signifying plausible death. But here, he's hotly pursued!10. The spaceship. There's a spaceship in this trailer. I don't feel good. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Wraps Up Stories for Ranjit, Blitz, Sandy Rivers, Scooter, and More
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 18, 2014
    CBS Broadcasting We've been looking forward to the wrap-up to How I Met Your Mother's story for quite some time. But a late sequence in this week's episode, "Gary Blauman," gave us some narrative conclusions that we hadn't been anticipating. After Marshall makes a somber remark about losing touch with old friends, Future Ted enlightens the audience unto the fates down the line for some of the pals he hadn't kept in his life: -Carl, the MacLaren's bartender, had a son and turned the pub into a family business-Jeanette was arrested for stalking some fellow named Val Kilmer, and got married to Robin's old boyfriend Kevin-Ranjit made some wise investments and ended up buying his limo company-Patrice started her own drive-time radio show-Billy Zabka won the American Humanities Medal for Literature-Zoe continued her life of activism-Scooter married Lily's stripper doppelganger-Blitz suffered from a gambling addiction, but kicked it-Blah Blah got a name (Carol)-Sandy Rivers moved to Russia, continuing his news career overseas-James got back together with his husband Tom All this, combined with the fates we've come to learn about a handful of other characters — Victoria moved back to Germany and continued her career as a baker, Stella lives in California with Tony (presumably riding comfortably on The Wedding Bride money), the Captain began a relationship with Boats Boats Boats — actually leaves us a bit wistful. If there is one thing How I Met Your Mother can be credited with, it is building what feels like a vivid, full, far-reaching universe. A reality populated with living characters — some everpresent and some who only occasionally show their faces, but all feeling like active features of this spinning world. As such, we look forward with even more vigor now to the ultimate conclusion of the stories at the center of the show: Marshall and Lily (it seems like they spend the next year of their lives in Italy, although there are still a few questions left unanswered), Barney and Robin (the entirety of Season 9 has hinted at "second thoughts" from both parties, but flash forwards do indicate that they stay together... at least in some capacity), and Ted. Three days after the wedding, he has his first date with The Mother. A date during which she insists that she's not ready for a relationship. A date during which Ted resists his old ways to make some gallant gesture and thrust himself upon her as an act of true devotion. A date during which she proves herself too a kinetic force of romance and insists that the two stay in one another's lives, despite her apprehensions. We still don't know how they meet, or what eventually happens to her down the line (there are some depressing theories...). But we're quite excited to find out. After a few lackluster years with the MacLaren's gang, this show has certainly reclaimed its old magic. And we're really going to miss it. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • The Most Important Takeaway from Last Night's 'Girls'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Mar 17, 2014
    HBO We don't want to be reductive here — we think the Hannah/Adam rise and fall is interesting, the Jessa relapse is emotional, and the desperation exhibited by both parties in the Marnie/Ray relationship is exemplary. But the greatest takeaway from this week's episode of Girls, and perhaps the season overall? Adam's British accent. True, this was not the first time this year that we heard Adam try his hand at a Londian affect in preparation for his role in a Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's play Major Barbara. But it was the first time we were treated to Adam's go at an energetic h-dropping salutation: "'ello!" he exclaimed midway through the episode, upon hearing a rapping at the chamber door of his mate Ray's flat. Or something. Up until now, we thought we had Adam's vocal range pegged: vaguely Midwestern and '60s-era outer space cowboy musician. But his Shaw storyline has thrown us for a loop. Now all we want from Adam Driver (as opposed to Adam Sackler) is a series of British roles. A Shakespeare AdaptationPreferably a comedy, since Driver's knack for the accent is wholly hilarious. A Guy Ritchie Crime ThrillerBefore he was tarnishing Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie was making passable action-filled, comedic crime movies, like Snatch. Driver as a British street tough would be enchanting. A Ricky Gervais SitcomAlthough Driver's accent is a bit more heightened and hyperbolic than Gervais' naturalistic style, the earnest twentysomething could play well against the oft smarmy Gervais. A Mary Poppins RemakeSaving Mr. Banks proves that Disney is, to this day, infinitely proud of its bastardization of P.L. Travers' children's book. So why not give it another go, this time with Driver taking on Dick Van Dyke's all-smiles bastardization of the Cockney speak? A Wallace & Gromit ShortThere's the winner. But of course we shouldn't distract from Hannah, Jessa, Marnie, or Ray — each worked with particularly interesting material this week. Hannah quit her job in a, once again, Patti LuPone-inspired huff. Jessa got a job as the assistant to photography maven Mary Hartman2, one that could have been Marnie's were she not too vain and self-doubting to dare present herself in the confrontational light that the gifted artist wanted in her second-in-command. Marnie continued to exhibit her insecurities when she vied for the romantic affections of Desi, continuing to understand herself to be of value only when boys want to sleep with her. So she slept with Ray, who, like her, is just fragile and desperate enough to fall into the arms of the sort of person he considers "beneath" him. It's a wonderful relationship these two have brewing... especially now that Hannah knows about it (yes, she walked in on them, without regard, in the final moments of the episode). All that is well and good. But Adam's accent is weller and better. Pip pip. Follow @Michael Arbeiter // | Follow @Hollywood_com //