Sunday, September 14, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

Dir: Kenneth Branagh, 1993 (9.1*)

This is my favorite Shakespearean play transcribed to film, Kenneth Branagh did a terrific job on this one. Basically a romance, the story involves some soldiers who return home from a war, in a thrilling opening sequence where all the women on the estate are running for the baths, trying to beat the soldiers arriving on horseback; when they all come together, the romance begins. There are several courting couples, led by Branah and offscreen wife Emma Thompson, as two embittered and battling “never to be” lovers, who trade insults and barbs like sword thrusts (elements of Taming of the Shrew here). Another couple, played by Kate Beckinsale and Robert Sean Leonard, is engaged to be wed, while some schemers plot to break up that marriage with deceit and subterfuge, hence the play’s title. There’s a lot of good-natured comedy and romantic play here, with sparkling dialogue, played by a large ensemble cast led by Denzel Washington, an eclectic group (that includes Keanu Reeves and Micheal Keaton!) that somehow works well together. This is about as enjoyable as the bard gets, now if they'd only film The Merry Wives of Windsor, who stayed merry by swapping husbands.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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