Tag Archives: Joss Whedon

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) Film Review

Recently attending an excellent performance of Much Ado About Nothing at the Pop-Up Globe in Melbourne reminded me of my teenage obsession with the Kenneth Branagh adaptation, but on the recent ridiculously hot day which forced much of Melbourne to literally Netflix and chill, I decided finally to watch the Joss Whedon interpretation. Filmed over a couple of weeks in his house, it’s pretty low-key. Black and white, hand-held and set in contemporary times, so little in the way of costumes and finery. And really fun.

It was interesting to see how differently lines can be interpreted, lines which were played for laughs on the stage and played with earnestness in the Branagh version were, in this, more serious, or more ‘natural’, or more cutting. The performances were fast talking – like an Aaron Sorkin script – but conveyed the meaning of the dialogue and the overall theme. The cast was great, though for me the real standouts were Benedick (Alexis Denisof) Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Dogberry (Nathan Fillion), though they are all the most fun and funny roles in the play, so it may also be somewhat my own bias.

 

 

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Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008) Internet Series

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What do you do when there is a writer’s strike on and no television is being made in Hollywood, but you are Joss Whedon and you want to be creative? Make a three-part musical to put online. Get some typically Whedon awesome scripting, set it to fab music, get a tight as crew and get a group of awesome actors including Neal Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion to put it all together in no time.

The plot? Dr Horrible (Neal Patrick Harris) is a super villain who is desperate to join the Evil League of Evil and is making all kinds of evil plans to get in. Meantime, he has a crush on Penny (Felicia Day), a girl he sees regularly at the laundrette. But all of his plans are laid to waste when his nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) not only thwarts his evil plans, but starts dating Penny. Dr Horrible needs to pull out all the stops to make sure that he wins.

So fabulous. Just wonderful story telling that takes you places that you don’t expect and leaves you… nope, can’t even think about the end. Go watch it.

 

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – TV Review

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So, it turns out that Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) didn’t die at the end of The Avengers. Thank goodness, because I really like him. He is charged by Nick Fury to start a new crew to do S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff. There’s long-time agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), tough guy Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), lovable geeks Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and they are joined by naughty rebel computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).

You know what I love about this series? It’s kind a like Buffy and Angel all over again. It’s got the Joss Whedon touch, with him involved in some of the writing, and the directing of an episode. It’s clever and fun, though the inclusion of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a film with a cinema release timed to match in with the series was a bit annoying. I managed to cope with the series without the film, but after I saw the film I went back and there were quite a few things in the series that made a lot more sense.

I’ll watch more. For sure. I just hope they don’t try to do that movie thing again, it’s really annoying.

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Serenity (2005) Film Review

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Firefly was the television series that Joss Wheedon made around the time of the success of Buffy and Angel. It was cancelled after a season, much to the despair of the cult following it gained. However, in 2005, this film, Serenity, was made, and it is one hell of a way to bring some closure for the fans (yet with still a hint that a sequel film and/or series could be created).

It’s a science fiction; because Earth could not sustain the large numbers of humans, many ships were sent to a far part of the universe where many planets were terraformed to become habitable, and then settled. There has also been an inter-galactic war. Mal(Nathan Fillion), the captain of Serenity, was a fighter on the losing side of the war. He, with his small crew, travel from planet to planet as guns for hire, performing robberies and the like for money. However, they have taken on a couple of guests, Simon Tam (Sean Maher) who is a doctor who patches the various injuries along the way, and his sister, River (Summer Glau) who is a teenage psychic he has removed from experimentation and is an unknown quantity. Suddenly, everyone is against them and things get most exciting.

It took me a couple of goes to get into the television show, and that was several years ago. However, I recall loving it; loving all of the Joss Wheedon humour and characters. The cast is awesome fun, and includes one of my favourite ‘that guy’ actors who keeps popping up – Adam Baldwin (playing Jayne, with a most amusing tough-guy voice). I couldn’t believe it when I realised that I, being so obsessed with watching everything in a series or a group, had missed Serenity. I knew it existed I just, kind of, didn’t watch it. Now it’s been so long, I can’t really compare Serenity to Firefly, but I can say it works as a stand alone film. What’s more, it’s got a whole bunch of fighting, exciting chase scenes, and that wonderful humour. Yup, I loved it.

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The Avengers (2012) Film Review

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So much of what I want in a good action film can be found right here – lots of superheroes, fights, ego clashes, and a city being destroyed by aliens. Marvelous. (of course it’s Marvelous. It’s from Marvel)

Loki and the ice gods from the film Thor have come to Earth to take over (If you haven’t seen Thor, there is some background to The Avengers in it which is good, but not totally necessary). Secret government agency Shield is stepping in to deal with it, and assemble their crack team; Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Dr Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Captain America (Chris Evans). All those egos, all those different approaches, and of course, it almost brings the team apart. But, they learn to work together, and that’s what’s important in life.

It’s possibly not important to have seen the various films leading up to this one before, although I’m still not sure who Hawkeye is and how he fits into the whole Shield picture. Natasha Romanov had a part in Iron Man 2, and seeing that again after seeing The Avengers gives her character some background, but not too much.

The thing I loved the most about this flick was the quick-witted dialogue, and it was not surprised to see Joss Whedon credited as director and co-writer in the closing credits. That and seeing Robert Downey Jnr and Mark Ruffalo onscreen bantering, which was pretty awesome.

As with all of these Marvel films, watch to the end of the credits – there’s a teaser for a future adventure. Hopefully, The Avengers 2 – let’s get these guys back together. Oooh, just checked IMDB… The Avengers 2 – 2015!

The Avengers was nominated for an Oscar for Visual Effects and a BAFTA for Special Visual Effects.

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Thor (2011) Film Review

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There is a realm, Asgard, where the Norse gods live and rule. They have beaten the Frost Giants from another realm and live safe from them. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the natural successor as leader from his father, Odin  (Anthony Hopkins), but he proves to be too headstrong and cocky to take over. After taking his friends to the other realm to destroy the Frost Giants, Thor is banished to Earth and has his powers removed. There he encounters Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her father Erik Selvig (Stellen Skarsgard) and sidekick Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) who are studying natural phenomenon, including the storm that accompanied Thor’s arrival on Earth. When Thor’s hammer is discovered, the secret government organisation, Shield, step in. Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Thor’s father is in a coma and his half-brother Loki has taken over. A big battle must occur before Thor can regain his powers and return home.

There was way too much other-world stuff for me to appreciate in this film. I was somewhat confused about who was doing what, despite skipping back to watch some sections again two or even three times. Hemsworth was fabulous as Thor, with all of the old-timey talk and generally being strong and handsome, but I found it odd to have Natalie Portman cast as the geeky and idealistic scientist.

The fights were great, even if I was not totally across why they were happening, and it definitely cleared up a bit about what was to come in The Avengers. I think it has potentially set-up a future film to explore the love interest between Thor and Jane, but I won’t be hanging out for that one.

Watch to the end of the credits – there’s a teaser for a future Marvell adventure.

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The Cabin in the Woods (2011) – Film Review

When The Cabin in the Woods was released, there was so much ‘shush’ about what could be said about it. All I knew was that it was co-written by Joss Wheedon and that it was a horror film. I’m not great with horror films. It didn’t help that I was watching this whilst housesitting alone in a relatively isolated house in the Dandenongs. Not quite a cabin in the woods, but I was still alone in a relatively unfamiliar place.  In fact, I started watching this twice; I was scared off the first time, but my marvellous Facebook friends convinced me to try again. So glad I did.

One thing I loved about the experience was not knowing anything, so I’m not going to give you any plot. It did mean that I was scared a lot more than I needed to be – even the slightest hint in the soundtrack that things were getting scary and I was clutching a pillow. But as it goes on, it is really more funny (and gory) than scary.

So good. And now I’m thinking about it, and I want to write about this ace bit, or that hilarious scene. Definitely see it – but if you are a little squeamish, perhaps watch it with someone else.

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