(This review originally ran during SXSW, in March. As Much Ado About Nothing hits theaters today, we present it once more.)

In the world of drama, nothing is quite as distinct or lovely as the prose of William Shakespeare. His vocabulary, his rhythm, rhymes and descriptions, all established a standard against which others are still measured. Modern day dramatist Joss Whedon also has a distinct style, characterized by wit, humor, and cultural authority. Surely it’s not in the same league as the Bard’s. But with the writer/director’s modern adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon has found an enjoyable and surprising balance between the two.

The film will be released June 7, but had its U.S. Premiere this week at South by Southwest. Read more below. Read More »

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Joss Whedon‘s last directorial effort, The Avengers, was a massive affair all around. The culmination of Marvel Studios’ ambitious years-long Cinematic Universe effort, the summer blockbuster boasted an all-star cast, a $220 million, and, eventually, a $1.5 billion box office take. So as a palate cleanser, he went super-duper-small for his next film.

Shot over just twelve days at Whedon’s own home during a break in The Avenger‘s post-production period, Much Ado About Nothing reimagines William Shakespeare‘s classic play as “noir comedy” set in present-day Santa Monica. Whedon alums Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Sean Maher, and Fran Kranz all star. Watch the first trailer and check out a poster after the jump.

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It’s a big deal when the new movie arrives from the director of one of the biggest movies ever to set box office receipts blazing. But this time it’s a little bit weird, too. Because the director is Joss Whedon, whose film The Avengers became a massive success early this past summer. His next film, however, is something very different: a black and white adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Whedon shot the film with friends on off days from The Avengers; it’s a true indie.

Now Roadside Attractions and LiosnGate have decided to release Much Ado About Nothing in a few markets on June 7, 2013, with a wide release to follow on June 21. It could be an interesting experiment, to open the film essentially opposite DC and Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel. Read More »

Early Buzz: Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Joss Whedon‘s already two for two this year, earning critical raves for The Cabin in the Woods (which he co-wrote with Drew Goddard) and then knocking it out of the park on every level with The Avengers. But he’s not finished: His third film of the year, the black-and-white William Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, just premiered at TIFF. And based on the reviews so far it sounds like the perfect capper to Whedon’s already stunning year.

Shot in just 12 days while Whedon was finishing up The Avengers, this version retains the Bard’s dialogue but moves the action to contemporary LA. (Specifically, Whedon’s own house.) Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof star as Beatrice and Benedick, acquaintances whose prickly banter signals an obvious compatibility. Other Whedon favorites fill out the rest of the cast: Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, and Clark Gregg. Read more of the early buzz after the jump.

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Could Batman appear in the new Arrow TV show? Want to see the new Dredd 3D poster? Would J.K. Simmons reprises his role in The Amazing Spider-Man trilogy? What would it look like if Ryan Gosling, Ace Ventura and Ben Affleck auditioned for The Dark Knight Rises? Why is Marvel being sued over their Avengers Blu-ray box set? Where can you see a brand new, live-action superhero TV show? How can you download the full script to The Dark Knight Rises? Read about all this and more in today’s Superhero Bits.  Read More »

Trust Joss Whedon to go from the $220 million extravaganza that is The Avengers to a micro-budget indie adaptation of William Shakespeare. The filmmaker announced last fall that he’d secretly shot Much Ado About Nothing in just two weeks while taking a brief break from his work on his superhero flick, and it’s now due to debut at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

Starring old Whedon favorites like Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Riki Lindholme, and Clark Gregg, Much Ado puts a modern-day spin on the classic romance while keeping the Bard’s original dialogue. The first photos revealed from the project were in color, but this newer batch of stills should do a better job representing the film’s black and white look. Check them out after the jump.

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Yet another web series is coming from a famous filmmaker. This time the project is H+, produced by Bryan Singer and featuring a future-set storyline “where the human race is hardwired to the Internet,” at least before some manner of technological apocalypse hits, making the world look like it is in the middle of cosplaying the climax of Stephen King’s The Stand.

The first trailer for H+ has been released, and it looks at first a lot like an infomercial for the new information technology, but then it turns into a more narrative-oriented trailer that suggests a future that is both promising and very frightening. This is no small-budget, minor-scale web series. It looks like it has big ambitions, and while some of the story beats are relatively familiar, there is promise here, too. Read More »

Yesterday, news broke of Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing, an indie Shakespeare adaptation he’d filmed in secret while taking a short vacation from The Avengers, just ’cause. Little was known about the project when it was first announced, but in a recent interview the writer/director and stars Sean Maher and Amy Acker opened up a bit more, offering insight into the hows, whys, and whats — as well as the first stills from the film. More after the jump.

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