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September 09 2012

(SPOILER) Collider reviews 'Much Ado About Nothing'. "With no money and another authorís work, Whedon finds his filmís strength in the superb cast, clever staging, and an expert understanding of dialogue." More reviews can be found at HitFix, IndieWire, Variety, NPR, HeyUGuys and The A.V. Club.

A nice, honest review. Everyone in the cast knows their Shakespeare, which is a bit confusing as I had read not everyone did, particularly Nathan. That can only mean Joss infused them with enough confidence and coaching to appear as though they did.
I don't agree that "a budget" is one of Whedon's greatest assets. Case in point, Dr. Horrible. I understand that the reviewer was complimenting what he achieved without a budget, but it's certainly not his first time doing that.
Funny because another review assumed none of the actors had done Shakespeare before. I also disagree that a budget is Joss' other great asset besides dialogue. Before avengers I think all his shows had modest by tv standards budgets. Still obviously higher budget than this but also - Dr. Horrible not exactly high budget.
Whatsastevedor - LOL - great minds think alike.
Definitely not the greatest asset, and while I see the appeal of it being a bigger budget movie, I think maybe it wouldn't be the same. The 'their own little world' feel of the movie actually helped it I think. At least helped make it what it was. I'm a fan of it ain't broke don't fix it. It's definitely not broke.
Did the reviewers mean that none of the actors had done Shakespeare professionally? Weekend readings at the Whedon-Cole house probably don't count. If the actors don't have that credit to their name, technically the reviewers are accurate. If that's what they meant, that is.
Silly me thinking I'd have to come here and make mention of the gross inaccuracy that was the budget comment. Go team go!
Four review threads in a row is excessive so they've been merged into this one. Here's the comments from the deleted threads.

Variety review.

Really needs a spoiler tag because it reveals many of the visual gags.
Effulgent | September 10, 00:29 CET

Spoiler for the REVIEW:

So of the five or six reviews I've read today, this is the one that disses Nathan and Tom. I knew there was gonna be SOMEone who was far too precious to appreciate what they were doing. Pfffft.

Don't believe that part of this, folks...their part of the movie is as hilarious as all the OTHER reviews have said.
rockgoddes | September 10, 00:43 CET

...enhanced by Whedon's lightly applied score, which includes two songs drawn from the play, "Sigh No More" and "Heavily."

I think I may sigh a little more 'til I can purchase all of the above.
Pointy | September 10, 01:59 CET


It sounds so bizarre to have his films of this year summed up. We have Cabin in the Woods, a subversion on the horror film genre, The Avengers, a superhero summer blockbuster, and Much Ado About Nothing, in a B&W modern film done on a low budget and over 12 days. All of them are met with incredible reviews and audience response.

WHO HAS A YEAR LIKE THAT? Joss is just incredible.
WhatsAStevedore | September 10, 04:04 CET

Meta: can all these threads be merged?
Bunnies | September 10, 04:09 CET

Here's another review
Not a particularly great one.. but the review also thought Firefly was 'over-reaching'
witch_kat | September 10, 05:39 CET

aaand another annoying one. Reviewer feels that there is no way fans of the Avengers would be a fan of Much Ado. Which is actually kind of hilarious since other reviews think there is no way anybody BESIDES fans of his other works would enjoy it...
witch_kat | September 10, 05:45 CET


I'm not sure that the "Whedon hardcore" was the primary audience at the Toronto Film Festival. I know a great deal of us Joss fans love film festivals and the type of movie that usually screens there but it seems irresponsible to label an audience the "Whedon hardcore" when there is nothing to suggest that. While I do think most of the people there were Joss fans, I don't think it's fair to use that as a criticism of the film. Okay, you didn't like it. But you don't have to criticize the audience for having a differing opinion.
the ninja report | September 10, 00:41 CET

Okay since I loved the movie I kind of disagree with this whole review, however I have two lines I really disagree with:

"The actors, many of whom repeatedly surface in Whedon's oeuvre, leer and smirk at each other while delivering their lines as though the entire production constituted an inside joke."

I really didn't see that. Is there established chemistry? Sure. Is there fun? Sure. But the acting is excellent, not just because they know each other.

"Nevertheless, by the time the movie arrives at its climactic party scene, "Much Ado About Nothing" has unapologetically made clear that nobody involved wants more from the material than to play around with it."

Are we kidding? What was 'played around with' were specific choices, often poking a little fun at Shakespeare's questionable character motives. And again, while this film wasn't pretentious Shakespeare, it was still taken seriously.

Apologies for the rant, I'm just getting that this reviewer thinks quality film comes only out unfamiliarity and zero fun.
InappropriateStarches | September 10, 00:45 CET

Positive Screen Daily review here:
Let Down | September 10, 00:45 CET

Oh, there was a pretty Whedon hardcore element there yesterday. You sort of got an inkling when Joss got a standing ovation by walking onto the stage before the film.

Oh, and as a Shakespeare fan as well, this reviewer is, well, mostly wrong.
redeem147 | September 10, 00:47 CET

I believe that the term "cult director" means that you should refer to his "home" as his Santa Monica compound.
slayerinthedark | September 10, 01:06 CET

Didn't see the same movie I did, that's for sure.
rockgoddes | September 10, 01:07 CET

You can always tell when you're reading a review written by someone who decided they will not like the subject of the review before actually experiencing it. Unfortunate. Particularly for the reviewer.
slayerinthedark | September 10, 01:11 CET

low aims. Well, after reading these comments and then starting the review that's where I stopped. It seems Joss' fans are either considered reductive by always calling us hardcore (and are really the only audience interested in seeing Joss' work) or, as a by-product of being called hardcore, implies that "the general populace of the world doesn't know him and thus, is not interested in what he does" when nothing could be farther from the truth. The world is constantly discovering him by word of mouth from friends/co-workers/you name it (and Nathan made that astoundingly clear when he teared up at the NerdMachine appearance during Comic-Con): "Say, have I got a TV series/movie for you! Ever seen Firefly, Serenity, Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, The Avengers? Did you know he loves Shakespeare and Dickens? No? Well, take a look, borrow my DVD set, read this article, watch this YouTube video about Equality Now, whatevah!" Yes, he's got hardcore fans, he also wins new ones every day by dint of his sweat and years of fortitude, following his vision.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2012-09-10 02:10 ]
Tonya J | September 10, 01:15 CET

I don't care what this guy says, I met Joss this morning and got his autograph in my Buffy book. You can't bring me down, negative reviewer guy!!
redeem147 | September 10, 01:23 CET

I believe that the term "cult director" means that you should refer to his "home" as his Santa Monica compound.

I like this sooo much, slayerinthedark!
Pointy | September 10, 01:53 CET

Most of the reviews have been really good, so I don't think we should be discouraged by a bad one. Of course I have to say that most people I know who love Shakespeare don't feel that it has to be handled with kid gloves (banning slap stick and other attempts to increase the comedy). And personally I think that doing modern dress (or at least more modern than the standard Elizabeth costumes) allows the audience to find Shakespeare more relatable, I really think that Ian McKellen's Richard the III (set in Nazi Germany) was the best version I had ever seen.
embers | September 10, 02:03 CET

I like to read negative reviews to keep my hopes from getting too high when I'm excited about a movie. And I accept that not everyone's going to love the same thing, as long as their comments are valid and well thought out. But this guy's condescending attitude is rather ugly and unprofessional. The whole review is just dripping with arrogant disdain. I hate to be crude but I've got to ask, what crawled up his ass?

[ edited by luciddreams on 2012-09-10 03:17 ]
luciddreams | September 10, 02:46 CET

You can always tell when you're reading a review written by someone who decided they will not like the subject of the review before actually experiencing it. Unfortunate. Particularly for the reviewer.

Well said, bien dit, hao shuode; between this and "compound," you win the thread.
LeafOnTheWind | September 10, 03:07 CET

The fact that the reviewer refers to Joss Whedon's "massive production of "The Avengers"", then contradicts himself in the same sentence by labeling him a (mere) "cult director" shows me that he's reaching for any excuse to disparage Joss and his work.
Amrita | September 10, 03:55 CET

Weird. I went thru his list of reviews and overall we've more or less agreed on the ones I've seen. Maybe he was just in a really bad mood? Can't wait to see it and find out if we still agree.
cabri | September 10, 04:21 CET

Did anyone go see it earlier today (or based on the time it is now, technically earlier yesterday)?

I heard that Joss came out with the complete cast (minus Nathan) and had around a 25 to 30 minute Q&A afterwards.

One last screening next Friday at 11 am looks like to have finally sold out. However, you might be able to get in once again via the rush line. My experience at TIFF is that there are more rush line tickets available towards the end of TIFF as people going to a large number of screenings start to get worn out.
I added links to an NPR and an A.V. Club review.
That NPR review is a thing of delight all on its own. I am so pleased that the general consensus on this film is just so happy about it.
I love this bit from the A.V. Club.

The best part of Joss Whedonís adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing is probably when Fred and Wesley finally get to be happy together, despite the villainous machinations of Simon Tam. Or wait, maybe the best part is when Topher, Dominic and Agent Carlson conspire to play matchmaker. Or when Andrew and Captain Mal show up as bumbling cops. The point is this: Thereís a very strong possibility that a viewerís enjoyment of Whedonís take on William Shakespeare will be affected by how much of a Whedon fan he or she already is. Itís not a requirement, mind.

Joss asked Dichen to be in this, but she couldn't as she was due in Toronto to continue shooting a TV show. Booy. I'm putting her down for the Fillion/Lenk spin off show.
Tony Head was originally down to play the character that Clark Gregg ended up playing.
Agent "Carlson" aside, I also love that write-up, Simon. I'm excited beyond reason for this film.
For those keeping score, there's another IndieWIre review.
I hope we hear an announcement soon of this film finding a distributor! Or maybe another film festival.
Re that IndieWire review... who's Franz Kline? Hmm, wikipedia tells me he was an abstract expressionist painter who died in 1962. An unlikely candidate for playing Claudio, then.

Heh. Nitpicks aside, that's another good review.

[ edited by skittledog on 2012-09-10 19:12 ]
Here's another review with a bit of an interview with Joss in the LA Times

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