Review: Much Ado About Nothing

(This was movie #4 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

How do I become friends with Joss Whedon?  If this is how he spends his vacations, filming Shakespeare adaptations at his absolutely stunning house with a troupe of enormously talented actors and friends, then sign me up.  Much Ado About Nothing is damn near perfect, the melding of two brilliant minds across 400 years.  It’s clear that both Joss and his cast have a deep understanding both of the subject matter and the Shakespearean dialogue, and I hope we get to see a lot more of this sort of thing from him, once The Avengers 2 is done filming.

Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of two romances that take place as a prince comes to stay with a local governor.   Continue reading

Review: Monsters University

(This was movie #3 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

It seems like it would be easy to criticize Pixar for making so many sequels these days.  Between Toy Story 3, the new Monsters University and the upcoming Finding Dory, it seems almost like they’ve forgotten how to make new, original films.  Yet, where other companies would use a sequel as a way to cash in on previous success, Pixar instead gives us creative new stories that use a well known base to tell new, original stories, and never gives us just more of the same.  (Even the generally poor Cars 2 dared to do something different.)  The result with Toy Story 3 was a sorrowful and heartfelt look at aging and the passage of time which was nominated for Best Picture.  And now, with Monsters University they’ve done it again, taking the characters we love and going back to tell a prequel, and giving us a funny new story that fits in with what we know yet stands completely on its own.

Monsters University, as the title suggests, is a college movie, equally Pixar’s version of Revenge of the Nerds as it is a Monsters, Inc. spinoff.   Continue reading

Review: World War Z

(This was movie #2 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

World War Z is something of an anomaly.  For starters, it’s a zombie movie rated PG-13, which means no blood, gore or foul language.  Secondly, it stars Brad Pitt, from the top of the A-list.  Then, it’s directed by Mark Forster, known for dramas like Monster’s Ball, the heartbreaking Finding Neverland, the offbeat comedy Stranger Than Fiction, and the worst James Bond movie of recent memory (Quantum of Solace).  It’s extremely loosely based on the otherwise unfilmable book by Max Brooks (son of film-comedy genius Mel Brooks), and had more behind-the-scenes troubles than I could even relate here, involving reshoots, rewrites, and an ever-inflating budget.

All of that is superficial, however, because where World War Z really stands out is its scope.   Continue reading