Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., Jan. 20
Much Ado About Nothing
Director Joss Whedon invites a bunch of friends into his home for a weekend of Shakespearean partying, and films the proceedings in intriguingly muted black-and-white. The friends are actors, the house is designed by his wife Kai, and the goings-on involve a lot of drinking and deception (lighthearted and otherwise) on the way to the altar. Everyone acquits themselves well, though Amy Acker's willowy-gangly Beatrice and Nathan Fillion's bulky-blustery Dogberry stand out as the star turn and the show stealer, respectively. Almost more importantly, everyone seems to be having a grand time with the endeavor - hey kids, Shakespeare can be fun! (Plus, you know, brilliant.) Whedon is indulging himself, but he's not being simply self-indulgent; he aims to please us, too. It's the sort of successful microbudget experiment that makes you wish other directors would test it for repeatability. 2012.
- "Interview with Much Ado About Nothing director Joss Whedon" • June 20, 2013