Review: Muito Barulho por Nada (Much Ado About Nothing) DVD from H2OFilmes.

This is my tentatively brief review of the locally released DVD for Joss Whedon’s modern adaptation from William Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing” – “Muito Barulho por Nada” from distributor H2O Filmes.

If you were living under a rock, this is the movie that Joss Whedon shot at his home in 12 days in October of 2011, during his mandatory break between the end of principal photography for The Avengers and the start of the editing process.  The movie gathers friends and cast members that can be recognized from his previous projects, and its origins go back to the Shakespeare readings with cast & crew at his house when Buffy and Angel were still in production, which can also be credited for helping “Once More, With Feeling” and the creation of Illyria happen . The movie produced by Bellweather a small production company founded by Joss and his wife Kai Cole (who also designed the house),  was originally shown at TIFF 2012, when the US distribution rights  were sold to Lionsgate (that also saved The Cabin in the Woods from the 2009 MGM limbo) and the handling of international distribution went to Kaleidoscope. The movie was finally released more widely to the public this year. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie has already grossed $4,328,849 domestically and $938,796 worldwide from 5 markets that had “wide” releases of the it: the UK, Australia, New Zeland, Mexico and Brasil. I assume grosses from the movie festival circuit do not count.

Our friends from the UK were the first country to receive the home video (DVD and Bluray) release of this title back in October 7th, plagued by reports that even the BD version lacked the full set of extras that were announced for the US release, which would happen only a day later on the 8th. From a email contact to the UK distributor by Whedonesque member feelinglistless, the reasoning behind the lack of extras in the British release was revealed:

Just spoken to the UK distributor via email.

The Joss commentary on the UK discs was commissioned by the UK distributor and they licensed it out to other distributors and Lionsgate took it.

But Lionsgate wouldn’t license out their US extras to the UK, which seems a bit stingy to say the least which is why we don’t have them.

feelinglistless | October 08, 14:33 CET

Ever since a lot was wondered about what would happen to other local releases.

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So here’s my copy of the local Brazilian DVD release for the movie from the distributor that also handled the theatrical release, it just arrived this afternoon. Seems like extra content are really licensed by the distributor, it doesn’t matter that Lionsgate has packed the US release with a lot of interesting features – my copy of US DVD still on its way,  There’s only the DVD release, the distributor opted not to do a BluRay release for the title. The DVD itself is Region Free, but there’s no Extras at all, as you can see on the back cover above.

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DVD Title screen containing only Star the Movie, Language Selection and Scene Selection option. No Extras.

 

 

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Audio and Subtitle selection:

  • Very standard options: Dolby Digital 2.0 or Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: Portuguese Subtitles or No Subtitles.
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Scene Selection, with entire movie separated in 8 segments.

  • All Menu are static, while the wonderful voice of Maurissa Tancheroen is in background with “Sigh no More”.

Considering how bare of extra content the title is, it was too expensive (I think I paid about the same for the US DVD, and that’s including the international shipping charges and the currency exchange rates), and seems like it’s not widely available everywhere. I could only track it down to be bought at 2001 Videos, which is a more specialty store that targets more artsy customers, but you cannot track it at larger chains at all, even bookstores like Livraria Cultura that usually sell independent titles. If you are a fan and was not able to find it theatrically, hopefully it’s not that hard to find it, especially if you must have the Portuguese subs.

I did try to contact H2O Filmes by email last week, but they never got back to me. As one of my major concerns was about the extra content, I think they just decided to ignore me and be done with it. My other question was about the release date, which clearly happened shortly after the US release.

As much as I am bummed out by the lack of extra content from this local DVD release, I am at least content that it happened. Moreover, I am really happy that H2O Filmes was able to make the theatrical release happen despite multiple delays (it was originally slated for July, then moved to early august, then to late august).  It was brief, it probably lasted only 3 weeks in very few cinemas (only 2 weeks in my city), but at least it happened from this small distributor. UIP which handled the local distribution for both Serenity and also The Cabin in the Woods, were  not even able to show them theatrically. I was only able to watch Serenity on the big screen thanks for the movie festival, still annoyed that I never had the big screen experience for The Cabin in the Woods. Suffice to say, I’d like to say a very public thank you to H2O Filmes for the theatrical distribution of the movie here, despite the DVD release still lacking a lot.

To finish-up the post here are some pictures from the Theatrical release period back in August, I did share some of them on Flickr and Instagram back then. Also, a picture of the original line-up of cinemas that had the movie on the first week of release in Brasil (taken from their Facebook page):

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Cinema Line-Up from 1st week of release in Brasil (taken from the movie’s Facebook page).

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Movie Banner on release weekend @ Cinepolis JK Iguatemi

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Also from opening week, at screening room entrance @ Espaço Itaú Frei Caneca Sala 9 – The following week it was moved to Sala 6, same size, but better screening quality and sound.

Joss Whedon on Dollhouse and New Trailer.

November barely began and it has been a pretty busy week so far. ANd the fact that is November, is ironic for Dollhouse. You’ll get the inside joke further in the post.

Yesterday Fox made the new trailer for Dollhouse, only a few days after releasing the first details of their January Programming which includes the bold return of 24, after a over year long gap, that ended up because of the Writer’s Strike (which was no fault of the writers, but the greedy hands of the AMPTP).

This time we get somewhat different trailer from the previous one, at least in tone and also most of the scenes are different from the previous more action based trailer.

If you haven’t watched already, you can check it out down here.

The changes also reflect the fact that the original version of the Pilot was mostly scraped for a new one, that offers some changes from the original plan, onto those changes Joss Whedon posted throughfully about them last week on Whedonesque, in which he update us about a lot of information.

What happened when the lights went out.

Sadly, this is not a naughty post. It’s just Joss nattering on again.

I thought it was time to check in with you once again, gentle viewers. Or readers. Or pictures-looker-ats (that might be viewers). Also listeners, sniffers, haberdashers, Olympic hopefuls, the elderly, the youngerdly, and the mighty state of Oregon (go Oregon-based sports franchise!) Welcome all. Welcome… to me.

What’s me up to? I’m glad me asked. Me’ve (I’m not doing that any more) been working on a little show called Dollhouse. Yes, perhaps you’ve read about how it’s blazing an untrammeled path to surefire success, with nary a hitch or a hiccup, just pure blazing blazery, comet-like and meteoresque. What’s that, you say? You’ve read other things? Dark, Yog-Sothothy rumors about shutdowns and delays? Poppycock! They’re true. But I never pass up a chance to say “poppycock”. (“Balderdash” is so ’07. Let it go.) I know there’s been a lot of concern, various fabulous hues of panic alert readiness. So here’s the skinny. Some of the names have been changed.

The show was ruined by Flim Flinear. Okay, that’s another lie, and you’re probably close to giving up on this blog, so here we go. Yes, we’ve had to make adjustments. Yes, it’s been hard and I’ve been depressing to be around for awhile. Basically, the Network and I had different ideas about what the tone of the show would be. They bought something somewhat different than what I was selling them, which is not that uncommon in this business. Their desires were not surprising: up the stakes, make the episodes more stand-alone, stop talking about relationships and cut to the chase. Oh, and add a chase. That you can cut to. Nothing I hadn’t heard before on my other shows (apparently my learning curve has no bendy part) but frustrating as hell given our circumstances – a pilot shot, scripts written, everybody marching together/gainfully employed… and then a shutdown. Glad I was for the breathing room, but it’s hardly auspicious. So back into the writer cave I went, wondering why I put up with this when I can make literally dozens of dollars making internet movies. Why I do put up with this is divided into three parts.

One: They’re not wrong. Oh, we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but wanting the first episodes to be exciting and accessible is not exactly Satanic. Being Satan is, but that’s in their free time and hey, there’s no judging in the Dollhouse. This kind of back and forth has happened on every show I’ve done, so if you liked those, chances are that was a part of why. And the need to focus on the essentials of what makes this universe tick – and which wire to cut to make it stop – really does bring up our game. So we as a staff have gone from blinking like unhoused moles to delving in with the same relish we had when we started. The show is really coming together now, in a way that I believe excites us and satisfies the Network. Of course, I have no idea if anybody else will like it, but I have the same faith in the staff, the crew and the remarkable cast that I always did. More, in fact. And what’s more crucial:

Two: Nothing essential has changed about the universe. The ideas and relationships that intrigued me from the start are all there (though some have shifted, more on that), and the progression of the first thirteen eps has me massively excited. The episode we’re shooting now I wrote as fast as anything I have before, not because I had to (although, funny side-note: I had to) but because I couldn’t stop the words from coming. Because I can feel the show talking to me; delighting, scaring and occasionally even offending me. It’s alive. Alive! Which is a far cry from how I felt a month ago. It’s been hilarious trying to keep up with what’s in, what’s out, who’s met whom and when – we’ve shot all of the first seven episodes out of airing order – but it’s come together in a pretty thrilling way. My huge gratitude to our cast for their precision and patience. Which also includes…

Three: Eliza. Watching her on the monitors at two o’clock this morning I was reminded forcibly how much I wished I were in bed – but also how strong, radiant and unmistakable her presence is. She’s someone who could coast on talent and never ever does. I love to watch her work. In fact, I think I got myself into this mess for that very reason, and though I have this fall occasionally sworn never to eat lunch with an actor I like again, I’m pretty pleased and crazy proud.

So here’s me, slogging away on a show like days of old and not hating life. Again, you guys will be the judge, jury and execu… lawyer, but we do have something to show you. Something, I’m chuffed to say, still pretty damn strange.

As for what’s been changed, well, some things I obviously can’t tell you. Some I can, for the record: The original pilot was in fact thrown out. Again, at my behest. Once it became clear what paradigm the Network was shooting for, it just didn’t fit at all, even after I’d reshot more than half of it (see above re: despair). To get a sense of how completely turned around I was during this process, you should know there was a scene with Eliza and the astonishing Ashley Johnson that I wrote and shot completely differently three different times, with different characters in different places (actually I wrote it closer to eight times), and none of it will ever see air. Which is as it should be (though I’m determined to get Ms. Johnson back in the future). The scene just didn’t belong anymore. Similarly, the character of November has fallen out of the mix, because the show simply moves too fast now for me to do what I wanted with her. Season three, anyone…? Happily, Miracle Laurie is still with us in a new role, playing against (and pining for) Tahmoh’s character, Paul Ballard. Their chemistry is deeply nifty. The only other major cast shift is that the Dollhouse head of security, Laurence Dominic (played by Reed Diamond), who was written just for the now-defunct first ep, has stuck like fly-paper, and Reed is very much in the family for the present. (Most of my problems seem to involve my actors making themselves indispensable. This is the good problem kind.)

Apart from that, it’s all hush-hush: some things I’d intended to hold back are laid out much sooner, and some are rolling out more slowly. We’re still heading toward Tim’s intense two-part mind-blower – right before a thirteenth ep that may actually just be insane.

And finally, young Steve DeKnight, after writing and shooting an ep so cool it helped not only define the show but save its ass, is ending his consulting duties, the f#%&er. I will be crying on the shoulder of Jane Espenson come Monday, so congratudolences are in order. Excited for the Jane Flava.

And there you have it. I’ll be writing more bulletins about “Cabin” and a certain DVD in the very near future, but I wanted to get you all some actual information for a change. I can count on you guys not to tell anyone, right? What’s a blog?

Faithfully, -joss.

PS. In case you didn’t get the inside joke, please re-read Joss info about the demise of a certain character.

Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are recognized in “Almanaque”.

They’re not only the first Brazilian comic book creators to receive Eisner Awards this year, but also awarded independently in separate categories. Normally, you”ll find these twin brothers working together in their own projects, but you’ll also find them working along other acclaimed artists.

They were even named by EW, back in December 2007, as the Wonder Twins to be watched in the publishing world.

In the following link (from their blog) they included the interview done by the magazine show “Almanaque” broadcasted last weekend. In this brief but very informative interview, the twins talk about their career, their work philosophy, local and international acclaim, the comic book market in Brazil and in the world, their inspirations and how being twins is definitely something really important to their dynamic. The interview is in Portuguese, but if you know basic latin based language, you might be able to understand somethings, despite some coloquialism on the latter portion of the interview.

Check it out, here.

Teaser trailer for “Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog”

Weary times, tend to make people creative. Well, when Joss Whedon is not creative? The man who says himself, that vacation time for him, is just more time to do different things. It all began as a side project from Joss and some of his family and friends, started during the WGA Strike late last year, and it turns out as it will be some innovative experiment of how mainstream entertainment will be able to earn revenue playing with new media, not in the sense of a extension of traditional media, but creating new content.

Teaser from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

From SciFi Wire.

Whedon created Dr. Horrible during the recent writers’ strike. “We got this amazing crew,” he added. “Everybody just sort of said, ‘We’ll just jump on,’ and in six days we shot this 36-minute, three-part oddity, which I think is the most fun I’ve had in about seven years.”

The next step, Whedon said, will be to find a venue to air Dr. Horrible so that it can earn its money back and he can pay the crew. “We’re literally just finishing it,” he said. “And then we’re going to show it to my people at CAA and a bunch of other people and discuss ‘How do we go about this? Where is the venue for this?'” Whedon anticipates that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will appear first on the Internet, followed by releases on iTunes and DVD.

Whedon admits that one of the cast members from Dr. Horrible should take some credit into inspiring him into this endeavor, The Guild, a award winning web series created, written and starred by Felicia Day, showed him the potential of what web distribution and production can bring.

How well Dr. Horrible performs, not only by the amount of clicks and buzz it will generate, but also through the numbers it will be able to sell through DVDs (which will contain extra non-online content) and iTunes, will be something to watch, not only at the entertainment standpoint, but also the future for the business.

If you’ve just happened to stumble on this blog post, without any previsou knowledge about the production, check out the following links, which will give you a broader idea of this production.

Whedonesque

Dr. Horrible generates Internet Buzz

So this is US TV for next fall season

Won’t do lengthy a coverage like I attempted to do last year, so please check out the extensive and very resourceful coverage from The Futon Critic, as it’s as detailed as you need.

Some useful specific links as follows.

Full 2008-2009 Fall Line Up (as always, subject to change as we approach the fall)

PIlot Reviews (some through pilots, some through presentation, and some through only the script)

Some notes:

– JOSS WHEDON IS BACK ON TV!!
Check this brief promotional piece for “DOLLHOUSE”, featuring Joss and Eliza:

– Still think that JJ Abrams is overated, but will check out “Fringe”
– The lack of new compelling shows (unless you’re called Fox, under new management), amazes me, at the same time, it’s so nice that so many debuts from 2007-2008 season, got renewed.
– Still don’t get the fuss about “Mooonlight” (previously known as Twilight), just get over it, or get your creator to create official continuation for it in another medium.