Nathan Fillion

cc much ado about nothing

Joss Whedon and his friends started doing readings of William Shakespeare’s plays at his house (Whedon’s, not Shakespeare’s) as long as 10 years ago, and while the idea of making a movie was bandied about it only became a reality during the busiest and most high profile time in his life. And yet he was able to adapt Much Ado About Nothing without seemingly anyone outside of the movie knowing about it. Even more surprising? It just may be the best damn thing Whedon’s ever directed. The film (and the original play) is a mix of romantic comedy and drama, and Whedon and his cast infuse it with more of both. Smart visual cues and charismatic performances fill the screen alongside the Bard’s original words, and the result is a film that should leave you smiling for days. Now, thanks to Whedon’s commentary track, we’ve learned a lot more about Much Ado About Nothing.

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review percy jackson 2

Of all the young adult (YA) franchise starter wannabes that have graced the big screen only to disappear into obscurity, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is probably not the one you’d expect or want to get a sequel. (That honor goes to this year’s Beautiful Creatures, a conclusion I’m sure all twelve people who paid to see it in theaters would agree with.) But box office is a global game now, so when Percy and his friends grossed $226M on a $95M budget the sequel got the green light envied by so many others. But where the first film had a massive, Harry Potter-sized marketing campaign, a Potter director in Chris Columbus and a non-Potter shirtless Pierce Brosnan, the follow-up would have to make do with somewhat less. Namely a smaller budget, a director named Thor, and a bespectacled Anthony Head. After realizing his identity as the son of Poseidon in the first film, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is now firmly ensconced in the world of the half-bloods and remains something of a legend at the fat camp where all of the twenty-something kids hang out and train for the Hunger Games. When a giant mechanical bull breaks through the magical wall surrounding camp it sets Percy on a quest for the only thing that can save them all, the legendary Golden Fleece. Together with Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) the satyr, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) the eye model, and Tyson (Douglas Smith) the surprise step-brother who can only see the world […]

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review much ado

Editor’s note: Our review of Joss Whedon’s latest originally ran during this year’s SXSW film festival, but we’re re-running it as the film opens in limited theatrical release. William Shakespeare has had more film adaptations of his work than any other writer by a wide margin, and that trend shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The reasons for this are varied and exhaustive, but few would argue it’s not a great thing to see. While most filmmakers maintain the Bard’s language and historical settings, some move the action and wordplay into the present with varying degrees of success. The latest director to do so, and one of the few to do so brilliantly, is Joss Whedon. Yes, that Joss Whedon. His Much Ado About Nothing is updated to modern Los Angeles with limousines, semiautomatic pistols and men in suits, but he keeps Shakespeare’s language intact. The tale takes place almost entirely at the compound of a government official named Leonato (Clark Gregg) who’s visited by fellow dignitary Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) and his two immediate officers, Benedick (Alexis Desinof) and Claudio (Fran Kranz). The latter falls in love with Leonato’s daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese), while the former has a friction-filled and antagonistic past with the man’s niece Beatrice (Amy Acker). It’s not all foreplay and country matters, though, as Don Pedro’s manipulative brother, Don John (Sean Maher), is intent on disrupting political relations by destroying relationships.

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percyjackson

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief had all the pieces in place to become the successor to the wildly successful Harry Potter franchise. It had a wide-eyed young protagonist (Logan Lerman), a bunch of mythical creatures, and even the same director (Chris Columbus) who successfully launched the Harry Potter franchise. While it didn’t quite become the cultural phenomenon that Harry Potter did, Percy Jackson did manage to make a good chunk of money—especially overseas—so now they’re going to try their hand at a sequel. A sequel that, from the looks of how much its scope has expanded, the studio is continuing to pin financial hopes on. This time around Columbus has handed the directing baton over to Diary of a Wimpy Kid helmer Thor Freudenthal, and if this trailer for the new film is any indication, his Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is going to be relying on a snappier title, beloved-by-nerds actors from Joss Whedon shows, and especially huge summer spectacle in order to build on the foundation laid by The Lightning Thief and bring in even more box office dollars.

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What can one truly say about Shakespeare? He’s a writer whose work has survived centuries of history, and his stories are still being adapted, both directly and indirectly. While his dramatic work is what’s most delved into by filmmakers, his comedies are what’s most fascinating. The plot of Much Ado About Nothing centers on Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) serving as matchmaker to a few lovers in waiting. Pedro’s job involves matching not only the compliant, Hero (Jillian Morgese) and Claudio (Fran Kranz), but also the not so compliant, Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof). He sees what many do not and with the use of a few simple tricks to help push each couple in the right direction, he’s able to create a scenario in which love finds its way. Not focused on depth, Joss Whedon‘s take offers comedy gag after gag, and there’s barely any time when a joke doesn’t land perfectly. It helps to have the likes of Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Denisof and Kranz in your cast. The actor spotlight begins early in the film, where a character calls for music, they turn to the iPod and Gregg starts swaying – creating an inextricably funny moment solely from his expression intertwined with his movement. So many comedies are unable to have more than a handful of memorable moments like this, but Much Ado About Nothing has dozens.

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Now that The Avengers is a Hulk-sized hit on North American shores as well as overseas, the big question is what will Joss Whedon do next. As seen in this interview with Collider, the man appears to be pretty damn tired from this monster film that officially wrapped only a couple weeks ago. But Hollywood moves fast, and Marvel Studios moves even faster. Acolytes of Whedon are sounding the charge as if a revolution has occurred that makes the later seasons of his shows pale in comparison. The question is will Whedon be courted by the inevitable Avengers 2? Will he resurrect his TV series onto the big screen? Will Neil Patrick Harris be involved in any way? Here are the main options Whedon has before him.

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While director Thor Freudenthal gets to keep most of the young cast from the first Percy Jackson movie for his sequel The Sea of Monsters, it seems like he’s recasting all of the adult roles. And, more than that, it seems like he’s raiding Joss Whedon’s stable of actors to get the job done. First came the news that Firefly actor Nathan Fillion would be taking over the role of the messenger god Hermes, and now Heat Vision has a report that Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Anthony Head  has signed on the be the new Chiron. For the uninitiated, Chiron is a centaur who oversees Camp Half-Blood, where young demigods are trained in the use of their godly powers. So, you know, other than that whole having the body of a horse thing, this sounds like a role that Head should be more than experienced enough to play. If he can oversee the training of a precocious, blonde vampire slayer, then how hard could teaching a bunch of Hercules types be? The first Percy Jackson didn’t turn many heads among the Internet film buff community, but could this influx of Whedon vets be what it takes to get everyone to go out and give The Sea of Monsters a chance? Certainly, the idea of watching Giles trotting around on horse hooves has got to be funny enough to sell at least a couple tickets. If their next casting announcement gives Alexis Denisof or Summer Glau something to do, then […]

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Nathan Fillion

His friends know him as Captain Mal Reynolds, your grandparents probably know him as Castle, and your mother most definitely knows him as Captain Hammer, but whatever name he’s going by, actor Nathan Fillion is one righteous dude. So righteous that it comes as no surprise he’s set to play a God in his next feature film role. THR reports that Fillion will be playing Hermes in the upcoming Percy Jackson sequel, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters. Not only is Hermes that God who can run really fast while wearing sandals, but in the Percy Jackson mythos he’s also the father of the Luke character, who is the bad guy played by Jake Abel. Luke is an angry young man, and he and his father don’t always see eye to eye, so this role should allow Fillion ample opportunity to utilize his concerned dad brow furrow.

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Somehow, in the age of the Internet and information overload, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has managed to complete production on a film that nobody ever knew was even in development. Apparently writing and directing Marvel’s upcoming, massive superhero team-up movie The Avengers hasn’t been keeping the creative visionary busy enough, because in his downtime he has penned an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, cast it, and put it in front of cameras. Wow, that shouldn’t help to make the Cult of Whedon any less fervent. Much Ado About Nothing is one of those Shakespeare comedies that takes several romantic couples and mixes up the pairings in order to produce momentary drama. I’m not sure if that’s really a legitimate way to categorize a work, but there are at least a few of them, I remember that much from college. The cast includes Whedon veterans Amy Acker and Alexis Denisoff playing the male and female leads Beatrice and Benedick, Franz Kranz and Jillian Morgese playing the secondary couple Claudio and Hero, and supporting roles by people like The Avengers’ Clark Gregg and additional Whedon vets like Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher. Maher himself confirmed on his Twitter account that this project isn’t a hoax by saying, “I promise you it’s the real deal and we’re VERY excited about it!” With those sorts of names put together in one cast, I’m sort of excited about it, too.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: A small town becomes ground zero to an alien invasion, which reaches Earth in the form of alien slugs on a chunk of space rock. After the meteor lands in the woods, a local big shot Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) becomes infected with the alien parasite, which controls his body and memories. It’s a story we’ve seen many times before, and understandably so. Director James Gunn creates a loving homage to movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Blob and Night of the Creeps, in which the small-town sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) must battle an onslaught of infected, zombified humans while trying to stop the spread of the parasite to the rest of the world. Helping the sheriff is his long-time crush and girl next door Starla (Elizabeth Banks), who also happens to be married to patient zero.

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There are certain expectations that come with any filmmaker’s work based off the movies that have come before. Their styles, attitudes, and overall creative skill-set are usually visible to some degree throughout their career. James Gunn is no different. His last feature, Slither, was an incredibly fun and gross monster movie that maintained a good balance between the laughs and the horror. That combined with his previous efforts should leave you unsurprised that his latest would include copious amounts of bodily fluids, a complete disregard for good taste, and a face made of fecal matter floating in a bowl. What you don’t expect to see are scenes of real beauty, wit, and sincerity floating in a sadly disjointed mess of a film.

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The Avengers Movie Logo

Three days ago, Marvel Studios assembled its team of Avengers. And right there on the stage in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, they lit fires in the hearts of 6,500 fans present and countless others as word began to ripple across the internet. I’m sure that it was a sight to see. And from a distance, even I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of anticipation for the superhero team-up — one that will put Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) on screen together. The 2012 film will be a cinematic event unlike anything ever attempted before. There’s no doubt about that. Never has a studio embarked on a comic adaptation quite so ambitious. Then again, there’s never been a studio making comic adaptations quite the way young Marvel has done. It all seems as if planets are aligning, deities are smiling and harmony between the world of comics and the world of movies has finally come to pass. But when we wipe away all of the manufactured bliss created on stage by Marvel Studios on Saturday, we realize quickly that there are still plenty of questions on the road ahead. In fact, there are more than questions — for Marvel, there are giant speed-bumps in the form of two films yet to be finished and released, and an entire team-up film to be planned and executed. It’s no small task. And even though the […]

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The real-life superhero movie is becoming a genre unto itself. With Special, Defendor, Kick-Ass and now James Gunn’s Super – the premise of regular men and women putting on costumes and fighting crime seems to be steadily growing. There hasn’t been a lot of information about the film, and without that information, it’s seemed a little generic. However, with the footage shown at Comic-Con this morning, James Gunn took a monkey wrench to that idea’s forehead and then shoved its grandmother out of her wheelchair. After all, if you’re going to make a film, why not make an “F’d up, low rent Watchmen“?

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Writer/Director James Gunn has done many things. Most recently, he’s become a beloved Twitter celebrity and delivered the uber-popular web series PG Porn. But beyond that, he makes movies.

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When the Christmas Cash rolls in, Robert Fure gets a little crazy with what he’s willing to buy. But if you didn’t make it, he can’t buy it, suckers.

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monaghan-header

Michelle Monaghan talks to us about starring as the tough, hardened Diane in James Mottern’s indie drama, in what she calls the “role of a lifetime.”

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green-lantern-header

There has been all kinds of talk about Green Lantern lately as the film production itself rolls out of the station and toward reality. And with it, just as with any major comic book franchise, comes quite a bit of fan expectation — expectations that sometime manifest in odd and exciting ways.

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Captain America

Media website Newsarama has asked their readership who they’d like to see play Captain America in the Joe Johnston film set for release in 2011. And while their choice is interesting, we’d like to see who you would pick…

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James Gunn

Serenity star and fanboy favorite Nathan Fillion has teamed up with screenwriter James Gunn and porn star Aria Giovanni for a hilarious short called ‘Nailing Your Wife.’

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Wonder Woman Animated DVD

From the same team that got us all excited then left us profoundly disappointed with Batman: Gotham Knight comes Wonder Woman. Though thankfully, when I say “team” I am referring to the producers and up.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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