Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon) is an eminently appealing modern-dress adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy of romantic errors, knocked out in 12 days during downtime on Whedon's 2012 monster Marvel's The Avengers. It doesn't quite solve the problems inherent in translating a very static play to the screen, but it's populated by such charming actors - especially Angel stars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as squabbling should-be lovers Beatrice and Benedick and Avengers stalwart Clark Gregg as Leonato - that you probably won't mind. As Don Pedro and Claudio, Dollhouse veterans Reed Diamond and Fran Kranz turn out to have the best handle on the dialogue, and Riki Lindholme offers the best reading of "Here, man, I am at thy elbow" I've ever heard. Whedon's Much Ado won't set the box office on fire, but of course that's not why it exists. It's a labour of love, and the affection with which it's been produced is contagious. 108 min.
Rating: NNN (NW)
Opens Jun 14 at Varsity. See here for times.
Dirty Wars (Rick Rowley) follows journalist Jeremy Scahill as he makes a lot of infuriating points on America's continuing war on terror, exposing how drone strikes, night raids and collateral damage are par for the course in the nation's mission to weed out jihadists. Unfortunately, the doc is doused by a lot of artifice. It's less about the subject being investigated than about the investigation itself. When Scahill interviews innocent victims, warlords hired by the U.S. and military insiders, the focus is more on the journalist's bland expressions than on the information he receives. In its attempt to shape his "heroic" efforts into a detective thriller, the film has so many stagey shots of Scahill poring over clues in front of his Macbook that you can't help but assume he fancies himself a real-life Lisbeth Salander. He's not that compelling. 86 min.
Rating: NN (RS)
Opens Jun 14 at Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
Man of Steel (Zack Snyder) starts as a clever reworking of Richard Donner's 1978 Superman, right down to the first sight of our hero in his super-suit about an hour into the picture. Then the bad guys show up, and the whole thing collapses into ugly, violent spectacle. There are some things that Superman simply does not do - "leave innocents in peril" being a pretty big one - and that conflicts with director Snyder's love of carnage. Certain further actions demonstrate a shocking disregard for 75 years of the character's history - though they're entirely in line with the might-makes-right ethic that seethes beneath much of Snyder's work. For all that, Henry Cavill does a fine job, projecting a quiet confidence and awareness that echoes Christopher Reeve's performance without being as beholden to it as Brandon Routh was in Superman Returns. It's a measure of Cavill's intelligence that you can feel him resisting Goyer and Snyder's most egregious errors of judgment as Man Of Steel shakes itself apart. 143 min.
Rating: NN (NW)
Opens Jun 14 at 401 & Morningside, Beach Cinemas, Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Courtney Park 16, Docks Lakeview Drive-In, Eglinton Town Centre, Grande - Steeles, Humber Cinemas, Queensway, Rainbow Market Square, Rainbow Promenade, Rainbow Woodbine, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Fairview, SilverCity Yonge, SilverCity Yorkdale, Varsity. See here for times.
The Great Chameleon (Goran Kalezic) stars co-writer Victor Altomare as Murky, the master of disguise, who's sprung from prison so he can lead the cops, including Monique Zordan, to bad guy Chiang (Ted Han). Murky's motivated because he thinks Chiang may have had something to do with the kidnapping of his niece. Chasing Murky is a parole officer (Robert Davi) whom Murky ripped off years before. Aided by a makeup expert - Stacy Keach, who plays the role as a confused homosexual in a performance that's just plain weird - Murky makes himself Jamaican, Chinese and Latin American. The stereotypes are gasp-inducing, the fart jokes juvenile - no, infantile - and the sexual gags staggeringly stupid. Early on, Murky pretends to be a mentally challenged man in order to break into the line at a burger joint. He then proceeds to take a shit on the floor. If that's your thing, go for it. 97 min.
Rating: N (SGC)
Opens Jun 14 at Royal. See here for times.
National Theatre Live: The Audience is a live high-def broadcast of Peter Morgan's play chronicling Queen Elizabeth II's (Helen Mirren) private meetings with Britain's prime ministers over six decades. 180 min.
Opens Jun 13 at Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Grande - Yonge, Queensway, Scotiabank Theatre, SilverCity Yonge, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
No One Lives (Ryûhei Kitamura) is a horror film about a kidnapping attempt that turns very bloody. 86 min.
Opens Jun 19 at Coliseum Mississauga, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, SilverCity Fairview, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.
WWE Payback - 2013 is a live high def match featuring WWE stars. 180 min.
Opens Jun 16 at Coliseum Mississauga, Coliseum Scarborough, Colossus, Eglinton Town Centre, Queensway, Yonge & Dundas 24. See here for times.