Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2010)

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle ShopThis is a Chinese film (English subtitles) based on the 1984 Coen brothers' production of Blood Simple. I think both films are excellent and would be hard pressed to rank one above the other.

The basic story: Cheaters are discovered. Cuckolded husband is most unhappy and makes plans. Plans veer off course. People get . . . injured.

The eighties version was set in present-day Texas. The 2010 production is set in a small noodle shop surrounded by a desolate lunar-like desert region. The shots involving this landscape are somewhat surreal and often spectacular. The time may be the 1700's or 1800's; it's when guns were still a novelty in remote parts of China, and people rode their mustangs instead of driving their Mustangs. Time and place are significant factors in the Chinese movie; they are virtually irrelevant in the Coen brothers' film.

Director Zhang Yimou's version definitely has more comedy than the original. There's scarcely a giggle in the dark eighties tale. Related to this, a fundamental difference between the films is the portrayal of the wife's boyfriend. Actor John Getz's Ray is far more believable than Xiao Shenyang's Li. Li emerges as a strangely innocent buffoon. He provides a big part of the comic relief that is lacking in the original. There are also two helpers in the noodle shop who generate grins.

Yan Ni, portraying the Chinese cheating wife, brings a lot more passion to the film than Frances McDormand brought to the original. Sun Honglei is great as the ruthless and greedy police officer, Zhang. M. Emmet Walsh was also great as the slimy, slovenly detective, Loren Visser, who, like Zhang, equates infidelity with opportunity.

You don't have to see the original film to enjoy the recent production. But I did find it most entertaining to compare the two.

The Hollywood buzz about this movie was mostly negative with lots of comments about it being overly acted and overly directed. Frankly, I found the movie excellent with many flashes of the cast and director's great talent. The location of the Noodle shop on the edge of a great painted desert-like wilderness reminded the audience of an early 2,000 year-old version of the Howard Johnson chain motels and cafes. These inns were placed along roads so that travelers wouldn't starve or run out of water. The only thing that was missing was a series of stone signs reading "Last Water Stop For Two Day's Walk."

The movie was kind of slap-stick Chinese Theater, but it worked fine. Much has been made out of the director's adaptation, actually homage, of the Cohen Brother's movie "Blood Simple," but frankly most people won't even recognize that. This story works just as well in Chinese cinema as it did in America. The humor is funny, the characters are large and obvious, but oh so human. As is the usual case with this legendary director, the cinematography is wonderful. Some of the landscapes are stunning. Over-all the film also has a Clint Eastwood, Italian Western feeling about it. It's kind of a successful chop suey-spaghetti western. It's a very entertaining escape from the boring daily routine.

Buy A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2010) Now

The number of films I've seen more than 9 times within 3 months is limited to one: " A women, A gun and a Noodle shop". This is a remake of the film, "Blood Simple". That fact will not get in the way of the greatness of this film. I've never seen silence used in such a craftful matter. there are times when the quiet takes on the lead story telling point. You owe it to yourself to give this film a watch. I believe this is a true "sleeper".

Read Best Reviews of A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2010) Here

Another film that was showing in selected theaters only not where I live!!!!! Couldn't wait to get this one after seeing a brief trailer. This movie was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the whole shabang. Easy to watch, great goofy characters, comedy, fantastic landscape, wonderful cartoon costumes, sillyness, and wonders abound. Fast paced beginning a total improbable romp that is eye poping. Very hollywood, but with a Chinese sensibility.

Recommended for the "noodle dish" acrobatics as well. Made me want to chow down on those darned noodles!

Wonderful cinemaphotography whats new Zhang Yimou is an absolute master of cinemaphotography.

Go for it!

Want A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2010) Discount?

In the opening of Yimou Zhang's "A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop," a young wife of a tyrannical noodle shop owner buys a gun with three bullets from a traveling Persian merchant. Of course, she has a good reason. And perhaps she shouldn't have. A seemingly small decision she has made results in misunderstanding and strife among the characters. Some get greedy. Others make plans. All get involved in the chain of events that gets increasingly messy.

As you know, this is the acclaimed Chinese director's version of "Blood Simple." Not many directors would attempt to remake the Coen Brothers film, but Yimou Zhang thought differently. His effort "A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop," it is certain, is a quite unique film. Its visuals are unforgettable, and so are the characters (at least, how they look). But sadly they are stuck in the slow-moving story. After the promising start (noodle-making scene is amazing), the film descends into sheer dullness. Things get repetitious (the methodical habits of a police officer are at first amusing, but soon become tedious).

The most impressive thing about the film is its stunning landscapes of the blue sky and the red desert. They are almost surreal. Another notable thing is that "A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop" sometimes looks like a stage production with colorful costumes of the characters. Actions take place in and around the noodle shop located in the middle of nowhere. The film's time is not specified. Perhaps that is not very important.

But frankly I don't know what "A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop" is all about. I don't know either what really made the director re-imagine the original in the first place. Like most Coen Brothers movies, this is a sort of "one-and-only" kind film, but whether you will enjoy the curious world of "A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop" depends on you.

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