Let’s class up the queue this week with a double dose of the Bard. One of the very best films of 2013, Much Ado About Nothing, drops today.
Writer/director Joss Whedon(The Avengers, Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods) again shows his storytelling instincts are dead on, regardless of the genre. Shakespeare’s classic comedy about love and deception is given a present-day makeover, employing a game cast of Whedon favorites to create a playful, satisfying romp.
The wordplay is frenetic, some of the most clever Shakespeare produced, but there are also very funny stretches that rely heavily on physical comedy. The cast delivers with a gleeful enthusiasm, and Whedon adds amusing touches such as having one pivotal scene set amid snorkeling, giving it a new, Wes Anderson-esque hilarity.
Artfully filming in black and white, Whedon doesn’t shrink from the play’s dark corners, while giving the wonderfully comedic aspects a new, updated energy.
Pair that with the 2011 tribute/mystery/historical fiction Anonymous. The film takes the eons-old theory that Bill Shakespeare did not pen all those plays and turns it into a political thriller that entertains at every turn. The fact that this layered, historically savvy costume drama was directed by bombast master Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 2012, White House Down) may have you believing in another anonymous helmsman.