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D of I recognizes long-time members -5/2/2014, 8:39 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Whedon's indie film shines

Published on -11/19/2013, 10:05 AM

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I started writing reviews for The Hays Daily in February 2012. Since then, I've always written a review of a new movie that opened the previous weekend. For the first time in my tenure, that wasn't an option. With no new movies opening in Hays last weekend, I decided to return to the indie market and review a film that opened in a limited run over the summer.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is a modern adaptation of the Shakespeare play by the same name. The story of this film's production is nearly as interesting as the film itself. This film is the brainchild of Joss Whedon -- the creative force behind of such pop-culture phenomenons as "Firefly," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "The Avengers."

What's more, this entire project was filmed in only 12 days during a small post-production break during the making of "The Avengers." Whedon was knee-deep in making of the biggest movies of the past decade and, when given a small respite, decided to use it to make an entire other movie, which was filmed at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.

Shot in black-and-white, "Much Ado About Nothing" takes after "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet," in that it uses the original dialogue from the play set against a modern backdrop. The result is an intellectually stimulating romp through a Shakespearean comedy that manages to both keep true to the original material and, at the same time, make jokes unique to the contemporary adaptation.

Led by a cast of Whedon regulars, "Much Ado About Nothing" is a love letter to the craft of filmmaking and a testament to the idea that size truly doesn't matter.

"Much Ado About Nothing" is available for rent or purchase on iTunes and also is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. I would highly recommend "Much Ado About Nothing" for a quiet movie night at home or a family get-together over the holidays.

5 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. james.gerstner@gmail.com

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