(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 »

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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When Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho opened in 1960 it was carried into theaters on a wave of advertising that commanded audiences to keep mum about the story’s surprising elements. Thanks in part to that ad campaign, Psycho became a hit that changed horror films even as it legitimized them. The mainstream horror genre quickly developed around a codified set of tropes, character archetypes and specific rules that, fifty years later, are tiresome in their predictability.

Marketing for The Cabin in the Woods, from director Drew Goddard and his co-writer Joss Whedon, exploits some of that same “don’t tell friends how it ends!” PR mode. But that’s just a smokescreen. Goddard and Whedon aim to demolish the archetypes born in the wake of that early popularization of horror, and in doing so bring a sense of spontaneous fun back to the genre.

The pair succeeds spectacularly. The Cabin in the Woods is a blast. It’s a film for anyone who feels the spark has gone out of horror. This movie is clever and quite self-aware, and it has very specific ideas about what caused horror to fall into rote patterns. As they get around to explaining just how horror turned into what it is today, Goddard and Whedon give the audience a chum bucket full of the thrills it wants, but also argues that playing by the rules is the wrong way to go. Read More »

For most filmmakers, writing and directing a high-profile, big-budget would-be blockbuster with a slew of beloved celebs playing iconic characters would provide more than enough stress and excitement to keep them occupied for quite some time. But apparently, Avengers helmer Joss Whedon somehow still had energy left to burn — so much so that he’s managed to squeeze in a whole other secret indie project even as he’s still working on his other, bigger movie.

Sunday night saw the reveal of a website announcing the end of principal photography for Much Ado About Nothing, a mysterious new film starring Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher among others. More details after the jump.

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Cabin in the Woods Casting Announcements

cabin in the woods casting

Kristen Connolly (Revolutionary Road), Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek), Anna Hutchison (Underbelly), Fran Kranz (Dollhouse) and Jesse Williams (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2) have been cast in the Joss Whedon-scripted, Drew Goddard directed horror thriller Cabin in the Woods. They will join the previously announced cast of Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Bradley Whitford (Bottle Shock).

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New Dollhouse Clip

Entertainment Weekly has a new video clip from the February 13th premiere of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. In the clip, we see “the first time we see Echo (Eliza Dushku) wake up after having her memories wiped in the special memory-flushing chair” which “leads into a discussion between lab tech Topher (Fran Kranz) and Echo’s handler Boyd (Harry Lennix) about her last “date,” delving into just what being a doll/active means.” I’m still not excited for this show, as much as I would like to be. What do you guys think?

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