Friday, June 21, 2013
Much Ado About Nothing
Sometimes you don't get the movie you want, but the movie you need. Other times the movie you want is the movie you need. This is one of those times. After last week's disappointment (which I will no longer mention by name), I needed an antidote. I needed a great time at the cinema and Joss Whedon rode to the rescue, this time bringing the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. It's the original "will they or won't they", and I loved every second of it.
The film was shot at Joss Whedon's house over the course of a week, and features familiar faces like Alexis Denisof as Benedick, Amy Acker as Beatrice, Nathan Fillion as Dogberry, Clark Gregg as Leonato, Sean Maher as Don John, Tom Lenk as Verges and a lot of other talented actors who haven't appeared in the Buffyverse, Firefly, or Avengers. The entire cast did phenomenally well in what was, essentially, a home movie a director made with his friends. Denisof and Acker, especially, were great... and I say this as a guy who loved "Angel" but was never enamored with the character of Fred. Clark Gregg was, as always, incredibly fun to watch. Nathan Fillion took Dogberry, a character who never worked for me before, and made me believe. And Maher's Don John was a great, comedic precursor to Iago who takes a cupcake from a buffet table in the most bastardly manner possible.
The cinematography was gorgeous, and I need to give a shout out to the Director of Photography, Jay Hunter. Every shot was gorgeous, made possible by the natural light of the sun, mirrors, glass, windows... and the black and white was a terrific stylistic choice. It was easily the most beautifully shot movie I've seen this year... proving that you don't need a quarter-billion dollars to look good.
It was funny, hilarious even. It was witty and there was a lot of physical comedy, and not once did I feel like it was pandering to the lowest common denominator, like most so-called comedies these days do. The modern movie going audience and I seem to have a very different sense of humor. You can keep your Sandlers and Perrys, I'll take my Shakespeare. Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to shoot my own adaptation of Shakespeare inside my house... but I doubt anything I do will ever be as good as this.
It was a big, home movie and yet it was more polished than many blockbusters. As far as I'm concerned, this is the movie of the summer and it pains me that the other movie is going to make more money in one hour than this will in its entire run. It was the movie I wanted, and it was the movie I needed; I loved it. It's sensual, it's funny, and shame on anyone who has no interest in it. A quirky movie for adults.