Kenneth Branagh Talks JACK RYAN, Changes Due to Budgetary Reasons, Whether He Will Make Another Shakespeare Movie, CINDERELLA, and More

by     Posted 190 days ago

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Opening this weekend in theaters and IMAX is director Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  Based on the Tom Clancy character, the original story follows Jack Ryan (played by Chris Pine) as he uncovers a financial terrorist plot.  Starring alongside Pine is Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley with Branagh as the film’s antagonist. 

A few days ago I landed an exclusive phone interview with Branagh.  Since I recently did a video interview with him, I tried to ask all new questions.  We talked about acting while being the director, whether there was anything cut for budgetary reasons, why he always works with composer Patrick Doyle, if he has seen Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing since he also directed a feature based on the material, whether he’s thinking about doing another Shakespeare movie, which Shakespeare work he would recommend someone to start with, his next film, Cinderella, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

National Board of Review Names HER Best Film of the Year; GRAVITY, PRISONERS, and WOLF OF WALL STREET Land in Top 10

by     Posted 234 days ago

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The critics awards are off and running after the New York Film Critics Circle announced its picks for the best of the year yesterday, and today the National Board of Review has named Her the best picture of 2013.  Spike Jonze was also named Best Director for the film, while the acting honors went to Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station).  Always an eclectic list, the NBR’s Top 10 includes The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Lone Survivor, and Prisoners.  Wholly absent from the Top 10 is the NYFCC’s pick for Best Film, American Hustle.

The NBR winner for Best Picture has failed to match up with Oscar since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, as last year’s award went to Zero Dark Thirty, but for the past 13 years every NBR winner has landed a Best Picture nomination, so this bodes well for Her‘s Oscar prospects.  Read the full list of NBR winners after the jump.

Amy Acker Talks MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Blu-ray/DVD, Working with Joss Whedon Since ANGEL, and PERSON OF INTEREST

by     Posted 277 days ago

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When filmmaker Joss Whedon decided to take on Shakespeare for Much Ado About Nothing, now out on Blu-ray/DVD, the result was a contemporary and charming spin that was shot in just 12 days, in and around his house.  The story of sparring lovers Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) is a series of comic and tragic events that offer a dark, sexy and, at times, absurd view of the game of love.  The film also stars Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Reed Diamond, Tom Lenk and Jillian Morgese.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, to promote the film’s release on Blu-ray, DVD and digital, actress Amy Acker talked about how surprised and excited she was about the reaction to the film, how nervous she was about her first meeting with Joss Whedon, back when she auditioned for Angel, that he still has the same approach to storytelling that he’s always had, and what it’s like to be a part of the Joss Whedon family.  She also talked about her work on the CBS drama series Person of Interest (in which she plays the unpredictable Root), how show creator Jonathan Nolan runs a similar creative environment to Joss Whedon, and the possibilities of what’s to come for her character.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

New to Blu-ray: AFTER EARTH, CHUCKY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, THE HANGOVER PART III, and More

by     Posted 290 days ago

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Here’s a look at this week’s new Blu-ray releases:

Pre-Order Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Save $5 … and Unicorns

by     Posted 323 days ago

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Want to check out Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing, save $5 on your purchase and save the Unicorns?  Well then today’s your day, champ!  Whedon himself tweeted out a promo link that will give you a $5 discount on a pre-order of his modern retelling of a Shakespearean classic.  The micro-budget film, completed in just twelve days at his house, stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Clark Gregg, Tom Lenk, Ashley Johnson, Reed Diamond, Riki Lindhome, Sean Maher and Nathan Fillion.  Here is Matt’s review and all our previous coverage which includes clips, posters, and images.

Much Ado about Nothing will be released on October 8th, although you must complete your purchase by September 10th to lock in the Unicorn-saving discount.  Hit the jump for more.

Comic-Con: Joss Whedon’s DARK HORSE Panel Addresses Past, Present, and Future; Favorite Death Scene, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Beyond THE AVENGERS 2

by     Posted 1 year, 6 days ago

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The Dark Horse Joss Whedon panel definitely drew a huge crowd of Whedonites Friday night. Tthe panel basically turned into an hour of great back and forth questions and answers between Whedon and the fans. Whedon has claimed his rightful place as one of the demigods of Comic-Con, having earlier that day taken par tin the panel for his new ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite the crowd’s warm reaction to the pilot episode, Whedon still has to fight against the fatigue of his own bustling and insane career at the moment.

After a slight introduction from Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, Whedon got underway, Starbucks coffee in hand, talking about everything including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, The Avengers and The Avengers 2, and Much Ado About Nothing. Hit the jump for the highlights.

Clark Gregg Talks MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., THE TO DO LIST, TRUST ME, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 31 days ago

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Joss Whedon’s contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is now playing in theaters.  The micro-budget film was completed in just twelve days at his house, and stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Clark Gregg, Tom Lenk, Ashley Johnson, Reed Diamond, Riki Lindhome, Sean Maher, and Nathan FillionFor more on the film, here is Matt’s review and all our previous coverage which includes clips, posters, and images.

During the recent L.A. press day, I landed an extended video interview with Gregg.  He talked about making the film, the complicated dialogue, if he agrees to whatever Joss Whedon asks of him, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The To Do List, premiering his film Trust Me at the Tribeca Film Festival, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Nathan Fillion Talks MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, the STAR WARS Sequels, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, PERCY JACKSON, Comic-Con, Twitter, and Much More

by     Posted 1 year, 43 days ago

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Joss Whedon’s contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is now playing in theaters.  The micro-budget film was completed in just twelve days at his house, and stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Clark Gregg, Tom Lenk, Ashley Johnson, Reed Diamond, Riki Lindhome, Sean Maher, and Nathan FillionFor more on the film, here is Matt’s review and all our previous coverage which includes clips, posters, and images.

During the recent L.A. press day, I landed an extended video interview with Fillion.  He talked about making Much Ado, the complicated dialogue, if he agrees to whatever Joss Whedon asks of him, Twitter, what he geeks out over, his thoughts on the Star Wars sequels, the idea of appearing as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in another movie as a cameo, and more.  In addition, he talks about his voice role for Monsters University and his Pixar fandom, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and his appreciation for star Logan Lerman, Justice Leage: The Flashpoint Paradox, and reveals he’ll be at Comic-Con next month for Nerd Machine.  Hit the jump to watch.

Joss Whedon, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, and Clark Gregg Talk MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Shakespearean Dialogue, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 45 days ago

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When Shakespeare meets Joss Whedon for Much Ado About Nothing, the result is a contemporary spin that was shot in just 12 days in his house.  The story of sparring lovers Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) is a series of comic and tragic events that offer a dark, sexy and, at times, absurd view of the game of love.  The film also stars Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Reed Diamond, Tom Lenk and Jillian Morgese.

During this press conference at the film’s press day, co-stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg joined Joss Whedon to talk about why Much Ado About Nothing out of all of Shakespeare’s plays, the advantages of doing this in black and white, delivering Shakespeare dialogue versus Whedon dialogue, why Shakespeare is relevant to today’s audiences, the rehearsal process, deciding how much of the original text to trim, and what they took away from the experience.  Whedon also talked about going from doing a movie as big as The Avengers before switching gears to do a film as small as Much Ado, getting his dream cast, telling a story where no one dies, and the pressures of doing pop culture TV versus the classics of literature.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Review

by     Posted 1 year, 49 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  Much Ado about Nothing opens today in limited release.]

With a few exceptions, William Shakespeare‘s trips to the big screen have been sumptuous affairs. The plays favor an expansive vision by the director, so we get films like Julie Taymor‘s Titus and Kenneth Branagh‘s Hamlet. But one of the many beautiful things about Shakespeare is how flexible it is in terms of setting. You can set it on a modern battlefield (Ralph FiennesCoriolanus), in a high school (Tim Blake Nelson‘s Othello adaptation, O), or in the case of Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado about Nothing, in an upper-class home. Whedon’s Much Ado is a bold challenge for the director not because his adaptation lacks fancy costumes or production design, but because he removes two of his greatest assets: his dialogue and a budget. Of course, nothing Whedon (or anyone else) could write would surpass the Bard, but it’s an entertaining exercise seeing the director speak only in a visual language, and then having his budget limit what visuals he has available. With no money and another author’s work, Whedon finds his film’s strength in the superb cast, clever staging, and an expert understanding of dialogue.

New Clip from Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Featuring Nathan Fillion

by     Posted 1 year, 58 days ago

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If you didn’t get enough of Nathan Fillion in the new trailer for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, a new clip has been released featuring the actor in Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado about Nothing.  In the modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, Fillion plays Dogberry, a comically incompetent constable who is tasked with uncovering the sinister plot of Don John (Sean Maher).  In this clip, Conrade (Riki Lindhome), one of Don John’s followers, calls Dogberry an ass, and the constable responds in a flustered manner.  Even though some audiences may have trouble following Shakespeare’s language, there’s no mistaking the hilarity of Fillion’s body language and exaggerated expressions.

Hit the jump to check out the clip, and click here to read my review from TIFF.  The film also stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Clark Gregg, Tom Lenk, Ashley Johnson, and Reed DiamondMuch Ado about Nothing opens in limited release on June 7th.

10 Indie Films to Check Out This Summer

by     Posted 1 year, 84 days ago

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Blockbusters dominate the summer movie season, and some will definitely be worth your time.  You’ll pre-order your ticket, get together with friends for the earliest possible screening, and probably have a grand time.  But there are some smaller films this summer that shouldn’t escape your attention.  I’ve compiled a list of ten worthwhile indie films I saw at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and SXSW 2013.  The list includes coming of age comedies, moving romances, brutal dramas, and more.  There are other smaller films this summer that might be worth a look such as The Bling Ring and Blue Jasmine, but I haven’t seen them yet.  I can vouch for these ten.  Hit the jump for the list.

New UK Trailer for Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

by     Posted 1 year, 93 days ago

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While The Avengers 2 is still very much in the pre-production stage and we haven’t heard much movement recently on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, everyone will have their Joss Whedon fix very soon.  The UK trailer for his new movie, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, was just released, showing a bit more of the film than the first trailer.  Much Ado tells the story of two stubborn individuals, Beatrice and Benedick, and their haphazard journey to finding love with each other that involves a ridiculous amount of deception and wit.  This one gives glimpses into the interwoven drama with jabs of comedy Whedon is more known for, and I for one am very excited to see him take on an updated but understated version of this classic.  I like that he’s kept the original text, but is playing with the tone and creating a new feel for it.

The cast includes many of Whedon’s mainstays, such as Amy Adams, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg, Sean Maher, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Tom Lenk, Reed Diamond, and Ashley Johnson.  I love seeing Whedon bring back his beloved roster of actors, and I have no doubt that the combination of the cast he’s chosen and his distinctive style of filmmaking and directing will provide something fun and entertaining.  The film is set for a June 7th release.  Hit the jump for the trailer.

New Posters for THE BLING RING, VIOLET & DAISY, and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

by     Posted 1 year, 106 days ago

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We’ve got a few new posters for your viewing pleasure.  Briefly:

  • The Bling RingSofia Coppola‘s film is based on the true story of a group of teenagers who robbed the homes of the rich and famous.  I really like this poster, and I think they should make keep the PerezHilton.com watermark part of the official poster due to the shared obsession with celebrities.  The film opens on June 14th and stars Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julien, and Leslie Mann.
  • Violet & Daisy – The directorial debut of Precious screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher also has a great poster.  The film stars Alexis Bledel and Saorise Ronan as a pair of perky teenage assassins who have second thoughts about their latest job.  Click here for my review from TIFF 2011.  The film also stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Danny Trejo, and James Gandolfini.
  • Much Ado about Nothing – A bland poster, but there’s not much you can do with a film that cost nothing to make and the spark is in performances rather than individual images.  The one featured here is one of the few memorable shots.  Click here for my review from TIFF 2012.  The film opens on June 7th and stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, and other actors who have previously worked with director Joss Whedon.

Hit the jump to check out the posters.

WonderCon: Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Panel Recap Featuring Behind-the-Scenes Commentary from the Director, Cast and Crew

by     Posted 1 year, 116 days ago

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Joss Whedon brought his version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado about Nothing to WonderCon in a special presentation.  Much of the cast of the impromptu production joined Whedon on stage in order to screen the recently-released trailer and two exclusive clips from the film.  The panel also shared behind-the-scenes anecdotes about how Whedon recruited them for the film, the experience of contemporizing Shakespeare and just how many of them were drunk during filming (off-screen…of course).

Much Ado about Nothing stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Clark Gregg, Tom Lenk, Ashley Johnson, Reed Diamond, Riki Lindhome, Sean Maher and Nathan Fillion and opens in limited release on June 7th.  Hit the jump for our panel recap.

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