Joss Whedon, shown at left and evidently a big Shakespeare fan, was able to round up actors he knew and prized and let them go to town on one of the Bard's better comedies, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. The result is fine American Shakespeare in which dialog is spoken easily, fluently and naturally and will probably surprise some of you who feel that these words are somehow beyond your understanding. You won't maybe get them all, but you'll come, as they say, close enough for jazz. Mr. Whedon has also managed to set the play in our very modern times and make it work without a hitch. The mansion and estate in and on which his version takes place proves a perfect manifestation of our current "court" life amongst the "entitled."
Nathan Fillion (below, right) -- a performer I much admire -- plays him way down and so is much less annoying the was Michael Keaton in Kenneth Branagh's film of 20 years ago, there is still little else to do but sit there and wait for this tiresome, one-note character and his entourage to exit.
Amy Acker (below, right, and three photos above) and Alexis Denisof (below, left) are both exactly that; they make the dialog fun and new all over again. Jillian Morgese (at left in photo at bottom) makes a lovely and virginal Hero, with Fran Kranz's Claudio (center, two photos below) her dim and easily-suggestible beau.
Clark Gregg (below, right, is a terrific Leonato), Reed Diamond (a studly Don Pedro) and Sean Maher (a fine and despicable Don John) round out the major ensemble. The lush and graceful black-and-white cinematography by Jay Hunter is everything you could want, as is the movie's just-right, 107-minute running time.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions -- opened yesterday, June 7, in Manhattan (Landmark's Sunshine and the FSLC's Walter Reade Theater and the EBMFC), Los Angeles (The Landmark, and the Arclight Hollywood) and San Francisco (the Cinemark Century Centre 9), with other cities chiming in soon, as the rollout continues.