Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Chris3123, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Or like an Off-Off-Broadway show that you don't have to trek to Manhattan to see . . . .
     
  2. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Frankly, Joss Whedon could film a movie with his smart phone, and I'd probably go see it.
     
  3. chardman

    chardman Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    You may think it looks like crap, but word from the Toronto and Glasgow and SXSW film festivals is that both critics and film-goers alike (keep in mind that many of the attendees at these festivals are filmmakers themselves) are raving about the look of the film.

    As to cinematographer Jay Hunter working on "reality" shows: Like most everyone actually in the industry, Whedon's cinematographer goes where the work is. Not all the projects he's worked on are going to give him a chance to shine.

    That the man has worked on a number of reality television shows explains nothing at at all, save that he's good enough to regularly find work in an industry where most people don't find steady employment.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  4. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  5. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  6. Captain Craig

    Captain Craig Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm likely to go see this as well for the cast alone.

    It would normally fall into my renter category but this moves into my "exception to the rule" camp.
     
  7. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks I like the Beats and the Shouting Premium Member

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    I too hope to see it in a theather. However I suspect that it will be a BluRay/On Denand experience. I put a reminder in my Fandango app. So well see, June 24th feels so far away.
     
  8. Prophet1701

    Prophet1701 Ensign Red Shirt

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    Was lucky enough to see it a couple of weeks ago at the Madison Film Festival. Loved it! Will definitely see it again when it is widely released.

    Loved the Simon and Garfunkel reference!
     
  9. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How do I find out where it's playing or where I can buy a legit copy?
     
  10. PsychoPere

    PsychoPere Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's not currently available for purchase.

    The U.S. theatrical release date is June 7; U.K. and Canada on June 14; and Australian distribution rights have been purchased but release has not yet been scheduled.

    As we get closer to the release date, the official website may have more information on specific theater locations.
     
  11. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  12. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    It's up on Spotify right now.
     
  13. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can't wait!
     
  14. Chris3123

    Chris3123 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Keep in mind this date was actually just for the initial limited release. The nationwide release date is June 21.
     
  15. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Yeah, I found that out to my consternation when I started trying to find it in a theater last Friday. :angryrazz:
     
  16. FarStrider

    FarStrider Commander Red Shirt

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    Who knew that in a season of bigger, badder cgi slug-fests that the best movie of the summer so far would be Joss Whedon's house party film. . . I want to know how to swing an invite to the next shindig he throws. . .



    ~FS
     
  17. Venardhi

    Venardhi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It just opened at the little indie theater down the block from me. I shall be heading down there on tuesday when the heat hits 115 degrees as an alternative to peeling off my skin to stay cool.
     
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, the time and place Shakespeare intended for them was 16th century England. If you put "Julius Caesar", "Antony and Cleopatra" or "Troilus and Cressida" in the title, that would not be funny... It would really be new and original to stage those plays in the time and place Shakespeare "intended", i.e. the way his company played them: with Julius Caesar, Brutus, Antony, Cleopatra, Achilles etc. wearing the costumes of 16th/17th century English people. Which is exactly what's usually done in traditional productions with Hamlet or King Lear - despite the obvious anachronism. Why not his Roman or Ancient Greek/Trojan plays as well? Why are they wearing togas in Julius Caesar?

    And then there are those comedies and romances of his like A Midsummer Night's Dream or Winter's Tale that are staged without any regard towards geography or history.

    Staging Shakespeare's plays in a modern setting is, in fact, far more faithful to Shakespeare, since that's exactly what Shakespeare himself was doing.

    Err... I don't think so. That description reads more like an account of watching Olivier's version of Henry V (or to a smaller extent Branagh's) than reading the actual play. Both of these films removed all subversive elements from the play - and there certainly are in the text, to the point that some critics have read the play as a smart, subversive satirical play under the guise of a patriotic hero story. Shakespeare was a smart fellow.

    I almost wonder at moments how he got away with some stuff, such as a prose conversation between two minor characters who compare Henry V to Alexander the Great - which is a good thing, right? Or maybe not... When their point of comparison is that Alexander killed his best friend (they are commenting on Henry's treatment of Falstaff, and IIRC it comes shortly after Henry orders the execution of prisoners), and the Welsh comic character keeps calling him "Alexander the Pig"... which I'm sure was seen as just a big of lowbrow comedy for the masses (you see, the Welsh comic character mistakes "big" for "great" and mispronounces his "gs" as "ps")... That's all it was... or maybe not, since it's a bit too convenient - especially when you keep in mind the less than flattering way Shakespeare portrayed Julius Caesar and the Greek conquering heroes in Troilus and Cressida.

    Actually, it translated wonderfully. And for 99.999% the audiences today, as well as a hundred years and two hundred years ago, Richard III isn't about the Tudors or their predecessors. Most people don't care about the Tudors or the Yorks or about the historical Richard (who, BTW, doesn't really seem to have been any nicer in real life, based on the available evidence; he's certainly likely to have ordered the death of his nephews). I would argue that it was never what the play was about; it was just why it was written. The play is about ambition and ruthlessness - about his incredibly ambitious guy's obsessed with power because of his other deficiencies, and will stop at nothing to become the ruler. That's a timeless story.

    There's this thing called Suspension of Disbelief. By your logic, most people today believe in vampires, zombies and superheroes, or how else is the fiction about them so popular?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  19. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Either you are assuming the conclusion, or you didn't even understand the question. Which is, to what extent did Elizabethan/Jacobean audiences regard themselves as "modern," distinct from ancient or mediaeval? Mediaeval religious art also had a tendency to dress its figures in contemporary dress, but it would be foolhardy to assume those artists were modernizing for their audience. Shakespeare was much closer to mediaeval times than to us. At the outset of his career, drama was a branch of poetry. No, it is by no means assured that our version of modernization was "exactly" what Shakespeare was doing.

    A female ruler such as Queen Elizabeth threatens her throne and her life by permitting military adventures of the state. The consequences of defeats are all too obvious, but for the queen personally a victorious general is a personal threat. Your certainty that those "elements" in Henry V are "subversive" rests largely on a naïve and uncritical assumption.

    Or perhaps not so naïve. You can write "Welsh comic character" easily enough. But it doesn't take a hugely sophisticated writer to put unpalatable opinions in the mouths of despised, "comic" characters as a way to blunt the edge. You don't know how London audiences felt about the Welsh. The Tudors were despots, like their successors the Stuarts. We know that there was much resentment of the tyrants boiling beneath the surface. A propaganda piece that pretends to present all sides is far more effective. But Henry V still gets the St. Crispin's Day speech.

    If bullshit is timeless, then it's a timeless story. None of that Fascist décor meant a damn thing in the McKellen staging. Shakespeare's Richard achieves power in a way completely irrelevant to modern politics, fascist or democratic. Anyone who thinks that this is a probe of human nature is a fool. While he or she looks for the scheming villain, the machinery of power grinds away, undisturbed, unnoticed, undangered.
    I suppose poverty is the modern equivalent of a hunchback, though. In that sense Richard III is a relevant cautionary fable about the threats posed by the manifestly inferior trying vainly to cure their discontents. This is not a kind word for Shakespeare.

    There might be a language problem here. The term "resonances" has nothing to do with suspension of disbelief. It is a fairly common way of referring to the associational images and references and allusions of a scene. Scene:resonance::word:connotation is a pretty good analogy. The march of kings in Macbeth is a straightforward exercise in dynastic glorification. I do hope it doesn't inspire patriotic feelings in its audience today. The statue coming to life reference mediaeval religion (Catholicism) with bleeding and weeping and floating statues. Again, I do hope religious awe is not a part of an audience's response to such a scene.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I had to drive clear across town to see this, since only one local theater is carrying it. But though sitting too close to the HD video screen in the small theater seems to have given me a headache, the trip was worth it. I'm not familiar enough with the play to assess the merits of the adaptation, but it was a solid movie and the performances, production, and direction mostly worked very well. If anything, it was the source material I found most wanting, since it seems kind of uneven in tone and focus and its crises are resolved too easily. But then, maybe that's what Elizabethan audiences wanted in a comedy, and maybe I shouldn't expect too much from a play called Much Ado About Nothing. There was some good dialogue, though, and Whedon and his cast mostly brought out the best in it, and did a terrific job finding the emotion and drama as well as the humor.

    The real standouts here for me were Fran Kranz -- just as brilliant, heartfelt, and poignant an actor as he was in Dollhouse -- and Amy Acker, who was as superb as ever. Reed Diamond also really impressed me -- making Shakespeare's dialogue sound natural and non-stagey is a very hard thing to do, and I think Diamond did it better than anyone else, though Acker was a very close second in that department. Nathan Fillion was quite memorable as Dogberry, but he wasn't really doing much beyond being Nathan Fillion. I liked Tom Lenk's '70s-bad-cop take on Verges.

    But I found Alexis Denisof underwhelming as Benedick. His delivery was too declamatory, more reciting the lines than delivering them naturally. Maybe that's because he was going for a bombastic characterization, but it didn't work for me. And while Clark Gregg was good, he didn't stand out as much as I'd expected. Sean Maher was an underwhelming villain as Don John, and Spencer Treat Clark as his henchman Borachio was rather bland.

    The production was good. Hearing that this was a project Whedon and friends put together in 12 days in his house, I wasn't expecting the house itself (and its grounds) to be such a central and captivating character. No wonder he wanted to make a movie there -- it's a gorgeous place. Although I wonder how much he dressed up the "sets" to make them more visually interesting. The music was fairly good too, and it was nice to see Maurissa Tancharoen get an onscreen cameo as the singer at the party (unfortunately she was the only nonwhite person whose voice is heard in the film, though there are several black extras). And those acrobats on the trapeze were amazing.

    It was a bit weird seeing this contemporary setting for a story so rooted in centuries-old customs and attitudes -- dukes and princes, arranged marriages, the fixation with feminine purity before marriage, etc. That always throws me in these modernized productions. Plus it was weird hearing the Rule-63'd Conrade consistently referred to as a "fellow" and a man, although Dogberry did call her "she" at one point.


    Well, there is the fact that at the time, "modern" tended to be used to mean "ordinary, commonplace," as in Sonnet 83's lament that "a modern quill doth come too short" in writing of the worth of its addressee, or As You Like It's use of "modern instances" to mean trite examples and "modern censure" to mean common sense. But on the other hand, there is All's Well that Ends Well, Act II sc. iii:
    So they did have a sense of their own time being newer and distinct from the past -- just as everyone probably has throughout history.


    No analogy is ever exact, but there's no question that Shakespeare was modernizing for his audience. "The clock hath stricken three" in Julius Caesar is a classic example -- they didn't have striking clocks in Ancient Rome, so that's as great an anachronism as the cell-phone video in Whedon's Much Ado. (Oops, I already mentioned that one way back in post #24!)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013