Last week I saw the new movie of Much Ado About Nothing directed by Joss Whedon and filmed in and around his house in 12 days, in B&W. It's less of a cinematic romp than the Branagh version (which I do love), being closer to a straightforward rendition of the play in modern dress. All Shakespeare's scenes are present and in the right order, I believe, though internally streamlined for a 109-minute running time.

The play's emphasis on virginity at certain points sits oddly with the modern setting, especially as we get fleeting indications of a Beatrice-Benedick affair in the past that went wrong, and none of the unpleasant things Claudio says are minimized -- rather the contrary. But Fran Kranz's convincing portrayal (I would never have expected this of him, after the stoner dude in The Cabin in the Woods) did a great deal to paint a portrait of a specific young man with some very real problems, which he may in time overcome. Of the others, I enjoyed Reed Diamond in a different sort of part from the police he usually plays, thought Amy Acker rose beautifully to the challenge of Beatrice, and want to give a special round of applause to Nathan Fillion. His Dogberry was sheer delight, and I only wished the role were longer -- he definitely benefited from having all his scenes retained (which doesn't always happen, even onstage). Recommended.