maandag 30 juni 2014

"People say I'm a Marshmallow" - Veronica Mars Movie Update

As mentioned before I'm cathing up on my blogs. So here's yet another update on the Veronica Mars Movie Project. The project has already ended and I've received my dvd. But... we were one of the lucky countries that also had an official screening in a movie theatre of Veronica Mars. Therefore I thought it would still be nice to give you a final update on how amazing it was for me to see the movie on the big screen. After seven years of waiting for closure it was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. While the movie was shown on 14 March 2014 around the world (both in theatres as well as on stream and download), our viewing took place a little later, on the 20th. But first let me give you a little more background information about the show, the marshmallows and what this movie truly means to us.

Becomnig a Marshmallow
During my study I came upon a show called Veronica Mars. A show about a teenage detective who investigated the most divers cases while still in high school. It was because of the amazing guest appearances (Alysson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter and even Joss Whedon!) that the series came to my attention. But for a show that aired around midnight while I had to get up every morning at 6AM for college in Utrecht, I didn't sit in front of the tv every night. That being said, I finally decided to just do it right: Binge watch the entire series. So during the summer holiday I downloaded the entire series, watched it within a month (yes, it's really that good) and ordered the dvd-box (including the season four pilot) right away. It may have taken me a little longer than some fans, but it only took about four or five eps and I became a Marshmallow.


CampaigningWith an open ending at the end of the third season, the season finale no less, like the one Veronica Mars had, I couldn't help my self but dig a little deeper into this. Was this truly the ending of the show? Where there speculations? How about interview where the cast and crew answered all the questions that fans were left with? It lead to a research paper about fan culture and what fans would do to keep their show on the air: From sending Mars bars in large quantities to the home office, up to buying dvd-boxes and donating these to libraries and such. You name it, they thought of it. The Marshmallows even held campaings with flyers so people knew when to watch, in the hope that season two and later season three wouldn't be the last ones. They even hired one of those planes with a banner to fly by the office of the UPN/WB! But it just wasn't enough... The show got cancelled and not only the fans, but also the cast and crew kept hoping that one day they still got a chance to wrap it up nicely.


Without letting it get to the press, creator/writer Rob Thomas and actrice Kristen Bell kept trying to think of a way to give the Marshmallows closure behind closed doors. And that's how last year all of a sudden a video went viral. As a big fan of the show and of Bell herself, I follow her on Twitter and I couldn't believe it when I saw it. If Thomas could show Warner Bros. that there was enough interest in the movie, they were willing to take the leap. With the introduction of Kickstarter, which is mostly meant for little art/love projects, fans could 'back' the project - supporting the movie with their own money while getting something in return like stickers and/or autographs up to a guest appearance in the move. Their goal? Two million dollars... With that amount Thomas and Bell would have enough for a lowbudget movie. Within one hour they reached the one million dollar line and within a day they reached their goal of two million. The project, and with it the possibility to support it, would last one month. So even after reaching their goal, the fans still had enough time to show their dedication. Thomas and Bell were sending update after update and fans around the world were so excited they wanted to back as well. During the month it became clear that backing outside of the US was a possibility as well. And a week before closing, we in the Netherlands got that same opportunity. Because I was following every single news item that came across, I jumped in and was able to contribute as well to the greatest Kickstarterproject up till then. The Veronica Mars Kickstarter Project (TVMMP) ended up breaking the record by reaching five mill. Safe to say: This movie was gonna happen.

UpdatesAs 'Backer' we always got the latest updates first. We were also granted acces to a special site where not only these updates, but pictures from the set were posted, vids and actors were announced. Familiar faces would return and we got sneak peaks of the script and filming location. You became part of the filming proces. From meetings, necessary changes and music choices to announcing the date of the premiere as well as the latest news about release abroad: They kept us in the loop. We were rewarded with the most amazing pictures and behind the scenes footage. But that wasn't all. As a backer of a specific amount we also got 'rewards'. In my case these were stickers, a T-shirt (which was misdeliverd, so I ended up with both shirts!), a digital version of the script and a download/stream of the movie as well as a dvd itself. This way, even more than a year later I was still enjoying my benefits. Of course it's also a very smart move, as all of these updates and goodies enhanced all the anticipation. One of these was the two minute preview, which was mostly an introduction for new viewers, but OMG... it's so good!

(Be sure to check out the official Veronica Mars Movie channel on YouTube as well)

The final week(s)

It soon became clear that the entire crew behind the movie was doing everything they could to get the fans involved in the premier of the movie. From special showings, where Marsmallows could even win tickets for the grand premier in the US, up to making the download/stream available at the moment of the premiere. I can't deny it... The final week I was bouncing of the walls. Not only were we to receive the stream on the day of the premiere, but they were as amazing to take timezones into account. While my Friday the 14th was packed, at exaclty one minute past midnight I received my script and only five minutes later the link to the movie. I COULDN'T WAIT!! Seeing how I know a few Marshmallows, I wanted to share this with them and organised a little viewing party to see the movie ASAP. With a beamer and themed snack foods like Mars bars and marshmallows, AFTER SEVEN YEARS, that Saturday we returned with Veronica Mars back to Neptune (the fictive town/city where Veronica grew up). After watching the movie I started reading the script and there's even more fun stuff in there that unfortunatly didn't make the movie. It's such a pleasure to read!!


Veronica Mars in Holland
Even though there were more and more updates that special 'Backer' viewings were being held in countries outside of the US, it soon became clear that we wouldn't have such luck. However, to the joy of many fans, Warner Bros. did organize a one time showing of the movie. So on March 20th 2014, less than a week after the official release, there was a showing in Pathé Tuschinski for which you could only get tickets by winning them. And I was so happy that I could attend as well as many of my friends. Dressed in my official backers T-shirt I watched the movie for a second time on an even bigger screen (the first time was with a beamer) and we all shared the once in a lifetime experience. Because let's be honest: Nothing is as wonderful as watching a movie in a room filled with fans. The cherry on the cake was that I got to have a keep sake, which is unique as it turns out. As a proud Marshmallow I am now the proud owner of one of the very few Dutch movie posters :D.

I already wrote a Dutch movie review, you can read it here. I'm currently rewatching the entire series with a group after which I'll watch the movie on dvd for the very first time. I'll be sure to post a DVD review shortly after. If you're interested in the first period of the Kickstarter campaign, be sure to read my earlier blogs about how it happend.

If you're reading my blog but for some reason aren't familiar with Veronica Mars yet, this vid will give a very good impression  ;-) (even though the quality isn't all that grand).

“Well, you know what they say. Veronica Mars, she’s a marshmallow.”
– Veronica Mars, 1×01 [Pilot]

zaterdag 28 juni 2014

Much Ado About Nothing - DVD Review

Joss Whedon: the man behind my fave show ever, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 2012 he made a movie for love. And it got picked up by the media, went to many film festivals so I finally got to see it during Amsterdam Film Week in 2013. Let me tell you: It was well worth the wait. As I was going to meet several actors during HalloWhedon 5 I really wanted a dvd as well, so I could get it signed. However, as this drama/comedy of 109 minutes, wouldn't reach me before the convenion, my dear friend, Captain Rhys, who lives in England, ordered it for me and gave it to me during the con. And what better way is there to show how much I love this dvd of Much Ado About Nothing, than to write a review?

My review
Joss Whedon, creator of shows like
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and recently Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, is probably most famous for the action feature The Avengers with Robert Downey Jr and many others. When he had some time off after filming the previously named movie, he was supposed to go to Italy with his wife Kai. However... Joss can't sit still. Because in those two weeks off, he decided to film his dream project: Much Ado About Nothing.

Much Ado About Nothing is modern version of Shakespeare’s play with the same title. The story remains mostly unadapted, except for the opening which includes a 'one-night-stand’ with Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof). Some time later they meet again in her uncle's house, Leonato (Clark Gregg); Now Benedick is fiercly against marriage and Beatrice against men. But Leonato has more guests. His own daughter, Hero (Jillian Morgese), falls in love with Claudio (Fran Kranz), friend of Benedick and Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) – to whom Hero is engaged/betrothed. The most dangerous guest, however, is Don John (Sean Maher), brother of Don Pedro, who wants nothing more than destroy the happiness of others. 
The Bard
You don't mess with classics. That's a message Whedon clearly understood. Even though the ‘one night stand’ is a small adaptation, the dialogue remains mainly unchanged. While Shakespearean English may be hard to understand, especially for those who didn't get English literature in high school, the story is understandable. The fact that ‘Old English’ is the spoken language in this movie, it doesn't have to be something to hold you back. de gesproken taal is, hoeft absoluut geen drempel te zijn. The quick dialogue is so energetic that you're simply taken by the actors emotions and actions. Other than that the story in itself is a classic filled with comedy, drama and exciting.
An extraordinary filmlocation
For the entirety of the movie they only used one location. You kinda have to when you shoot the entire thing in just twelve days. Joss used his own house for this, which can been seen as a character itself in teh story. It's a beautiful mansion, full of stairs, a large kitchen, and many rooms big enough to host a party. Not to mention the beautiful view from the garden. More than a (castle of a) house isn't necessary for the story. The many plotlines all have a the space to develop, from the many secret get togethers and conconting plans in back rooms, up to the staircases and windows from where the characters can eavesdrop. It creates a dynamic play between the many actors and storylines. A big bonus to the Whedonians themselves (fans of the works of Joss) is that they get to see the house where the 'genius' himself lives and where many of his works came into existence. 
The Whedon family
For Whedonians such as myself, this movie is one big party. Whedon has drum op his actors and crew from most of the tv shows and movies where he worked on. Which means: Lots of familiar faces, with whom he - while his tv shows were still on air - used to have Shakespeare readings at his home. And then to think that most of them only had little to no experience in Shakespearean theatre. That they know how to convey the story to the audience - even when Shakespearian can't have been an easy language to speak - is admirable. Everyone knows just what their characters needs: From the puppy dog eyes between Fran Kranz and Jillian Morgese, to the cold stare from Sean Maher, the funny dynamic between Tom Lenk and Nathan Fillion to the sneaky planning of Clark Gregg and Reed Diamond. There's no moment where their performance falters. The most enchanting performance however is from Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof. They can open their box of skills and completely let themselves go: From slapstick comedy to drama. These two know how to bring this love story in an entirely new way and let you enjoy the whims which go hand in hand with being smitten.  
(FYI: A couple of other known faces are Romy Rosemont, Riki Lindhome, Ashley Johnson)

With tears in your eyes
Comedies are always tricky. Especially when you use an old language that few people will understand/be able to follow. Whedon understood that Shakespeare's work never fades. The jokes are just as funny, but even more important is how you bring them. And this is where Whedon's Much Ado excells. You'll have tears in your eyes from laughing because this Much Ado About Nothing is funnier than you've ever seen before. If you've seen the Kenneth Brannagh version, you'll probably compare the two. But these movies are beyond comparison. Whedon and his actors bring humor to a new level by using the location and the talents of the actors to the max. Whether it's Denisof' singing or Acker's and Denisof's clumpsiness in the garden and kitchen. Nothing is funnier then when these two are trying to eavesdrop on conversations about each other while sneaking through the house.
Back to black (and white)
It may seem as a contradiction to film this movie in black and white when you want to tell a classic story in a modern way. It's a risky choice of style, but in this case it absolutely works. Because it high lights the timelessness ofthe story and accentuates both the location as the acting. The white fades in between the scenes falls in line with this style perfectly as it makes for a sublte transition, without abruptly jumping from scene to scene. It all fits perfectly together which is a joy to see. 

Alright, I admit it: I'm partially biased. Joss Whedon is a genius and hero in my book and can't really make mistakes. But aside from that Much Ado About Nothing is one of the best movies I've seen in the past years. It has all the right ingredients: A great cast, a fantastic script that can make you laugh, cry, scared, but mostly takes you up in it's story. That Whedon chose this style, and the location as well as using the original Shakespearean dialogue, enhances all the aspects that made the play a succes. The modern twist (contemporary clothing, home, cell phones and setting) provides a fresh look on the story and shows that love stories like these remain timeless. It doens't really happen that right after watching a movie I want to see it again, but after seeing Much Ado I knew right away that I could watch this movie at least ten times more. Much Ado About Nothing is without question the must-see of the year!

What is a dvd without extra's? There aren't too many extra's on this dvd, but it does include a commentary by Joss Whedon himself.
In his eyes his Much Ado About Nothing is simply the latest version and not THE version. There have been many versions before and he knows there will be after. Without giving too much away, there are several subjects that he talks about. You get to learn about a lot of fun facts of the movie, such as it being a home party for Joss Whedon and like the fact that the children's room was actually pink. Therefore a black and white filter wasn't really all that strange. Whedonians will also love some of the comments, like how Fillion plays a little Captain Hammer in his role. He also explains his choices in the movie itself. For instance about how he didn't understand everything Shakespeare wrote and to make sense of it, it sometimes contains changes to the script.
Other than that my edition also contained some Limited Edition Art Cards which are a nice little something extra. As for the dvd details: the menu is very dynamic with moving pictures and the dvd contains the commentary as well as a trailer of the movie. You could also choose to use the audio description, which pretty much tells everything that's happening on screen. And if you'd like to just watch a particlar scene, you can do so easily with the scene selection.

If you're still not sure if you'd like to watch this movie, than I end my review the trailer, to have you decide for yourself ;-)

woensdag 4 juni 2014


I can't believe I haven't blogged in over two months! If you're Dutch (or understand it) you might have seen/read my blogs at or, but I'm sad to say that I've been neglecting this one. As most of my tv shows have ended for the season I will have more time to blog again (I hope). And I'm happy to say I can pick it up again, as I've been very busy and have lots to write about. Like the Imagine Film Festival, for which I attended many masterclasses and even got to interview Stephanie Leonidas :) But I've also been reading a lot, like the comic/graphic novel Storm Season and the book Deadly Heat, both by the fictious writer Richard Castle. I've also finally seen the Veronica Mars Movie and read the follow up book. So in short: Lots and lots I could blog about!

That will hopefully all follow shortly. But first, I thought I'd update my list as another season has ended and some lovely shows have been cancelled, but some new ones have also made their way to the screen. So here's in short what I'm currently watching and the shows I watched but have ended this year:

Currently watching
Rizzoli & Isles
2 Broke Girls
The Big Bang Theory
Lost Girl
Once Upon a Time
New Girl
The Vampire Diaries
Grey's Anatomy
House of Lies

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Game of Thrones

Witches of East End

The Newsroom

Cancelled/Ended shows

How I Met Your Mother
The Crazy Ones (cancelled)

Warehouse 13 (cancelled)
Freaks and Geeks (I know I'm late to the party on that one)

You can check out my fully updated list here.1