A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=199485&d=1296069934
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

90






Studio and Year: Sony Pictures Classics - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 90 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): Chinese (Mandarin) DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Sun Honglei, Xiao Shenyang, Yan Ni, Ni Dahong, Cheng Ye, Mao Mao
Directed by: Zhang Yimou
Music by: Zhao Lin
Written by: Xu Zhengchao and Shi Jianquan
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 1, 2011







"A simple noodle story"



Film Synopsis:

It looks like a perfect plan: the affair will come to a cruel but satisfying end when a Chinese noodle shop owner plots to execute his unfaithful wife and her lover. But the lover has a lethal plan of his own in this violent tale of adultery and revenge based on the Coen Brother's debut classic Blood Simple.



My Take:

Wang is a gloomy and cunning noodle shop owner in a desert town in China. Feeling neglected, misunderstood and sometimes abused, Wang's wife has an affair with Li, one of Wang's employees. When a man peddling weapons of various comes to the noodle shop, Wang's wife buys a gun from him which Li suspects is for the purpose of killing her husband. Li is the timid sort and wants nothing to do with violence. He fears Wang and worries about him finding out about the affair. Every move they make, however, does not escape Wang's notice. He decides to bribe patrol officer Zhang to kill the illicit couple. The plan appears perfect or so he thinks

A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop is a remake of the 1985 directorial debut of Joel and Ethan Coen, Blood Simple. If I had to define its relationship to Blood Simple I guess I would call it hyperbole. This is a frenetically paced film that I found strangely comedic, visually engaging, and peculiarly provocative. It is told in two distinctive acts that couldn't be more thematically different with act two closely resembling the feel of Blood Simple. The preponderance of slapstick in the first act nearly led me to dismiss this as blindly absurd. It moves quickly though and it wasn't long before I warmed up to its unusually placed humor and likeable characters. Similar to Blood Simple, its hidden agendas, misunderstandings, and propensity for irony play out over the entire course of the film. When it was over I couldn't help but feel mildly perplexed but satisfied with A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop. Firstly it made me want to watch Blood Simple again (haven't seen it in quite a while) and secondly it is an oddly faithful and entertaining adaptation that is supported by stunning visuals that help make the experience a little better. I can't say with absolute certainty that prior experience with Blood Simple is necessary to gleaning the most from this adaptation but I think that those who have seen it may have a deeper appreciation for A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 92


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

This is a reference quality Blu-ray offering from Sony that looks superb in high definition. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually stimulating. Detail rendering is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are rich and delineated with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pop nicely. The extensive palette of secondary hues that represent the period colors featured in the story, appear vivid and warm. Flesh tones are natural with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting and dark backgrounds. The CGI based and green screen photography softened some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity remained unaffected.

The lossless soundtrack doesn't consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialogue has definitive presence with refined vocal character and excellent room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. A large portion of the film has little need for this as dialogue, atmospheric ambience and musical enhancement is conveyed with little fanfare. However there are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable. This soundtrack isn't demonstration worthy but for a comedy it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn't leave me disappointed.

** CIH screen users should note that the subtitles appear within the picture area.**



Bonus Features:


  • Creating A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop - 19 segments totaling approxmiately120 minutes (with play all option):

    1. Styling the actors
    2. Workaholic director Zhang Yimou
    3. Casting the film
    4. Director Zhang Yimou discusses the look of the film
    5. Director Zhang Yimou discusses the script
    6. Actors who like to sing
    7. The filming starts
    8. Actors falling
    9. Actors joking around
    10. Behind the scenes antics
    11. In the make-up trailer
    12. Actors discussing their roles
    13. The actors discuss director Zhang Yimou
    14. Zhang Yimou directs the cast
    15. Actors features
    16. First day of shooting
    17. Time to dance
    18. Actors trying new things
    19. Actors in their roles

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • BD-Live enabled
attachment.php?attachmentid=199486&d=1296069934

Final Thoughts:

A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop is a Chinese remake of the 1985 Joel and Ethan Coen film, Blood Simple. The plotline is similar as its hidden agendas, misunderstandings, and propensity for irony play out over the entire course of the movie. This is a frenetically paced film that I found strangely comedic, visually engaging, and oddly provocative. When it was over I couldn't help but feel mildly perplexed but satisfied with the adaptation. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring stunning high definition video quality and crystal clear lossless sound. The bonus supplements like the film are a bit peculiar but seem to convey the spirit of the film/filmmakers as captured from lots of behind the scenes footage and interviews. I can't say with absolute certainty that prior experience with the Coen Brother's Blood Simple is necessary to gleaning the most from this adaptation but I think that those who have seen it may have a deeper appreciation for A woman, a gun, and a noodle shop. Either way I recommend that you toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 01:09 PM
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Will definitely be checking this out based on this review and score. Looks interesting.

Cheers
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 01:36 PM
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Look like the Asia films makers are turning the tables on us, and remaking American films, hope this is a trend that takes off in the right direction.

I'll check this one out as well.

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 04:40 PM
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Hey Ralph thanks for the timely review. Just saw the trailer of this on Lebanon, a pretty good recommend and review by Lee Weber. Was on the fence but I'll definitely give it a rent along with Blood Simple.

Knowing is not enough you must apply. Willing is not enough you must do. -Bruce Lee

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post #5 of 8 Old 03-04-2011, 07:29 PM
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Color is gorgeous, true to Zhang's trait. Li's costume is a killer - he dressed like a woman.

I still prefer Frances McDormand better Sun. The whole thing is done tongue-in-cheek. Worth a rental.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-16-2011, 07:17 AM
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Ralph, thanks for the review, it made me seek this movie out. I watched the rental last night and thought the cinematography was excellent. As for the movie itself I thought the comedic part of the film somewhat forced but it probably plays better to Asian audiences. How many times can different characters slip/fall on stoops and stairs? The answer - many times. The movie did adhere to the Blood Simple theme where "blood simple" is a term to describe the addled, fearful mindset of people after a prolonged immersion in violent situations. What I thought was interesting is that the extras on the disc are longer than the film itself. Your rating of 3 out of 5 stars seems about right.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Movies

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post #7 of 8 Old 07-15-2012, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for reviewing this for us, Ralph!

I watched it last night and the PQ was simply awesome. The audio wasn't far behind, either, and while it wasn't as aggressive as many current audio tracks, it seemed very appropriate for this particular movie. In addition to the above, I actually enjoyed the story more than was anticipated once it began to develop. I do wish the purchase price had been lower, but I'm glad to have movie in my library.

Thanks again! cool.gif

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post #8 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozar View Post

Thanks for reviewing this for us, Ralph!
I watched it last night and the PQ was simply awesome. The audio wasn't far behind, either, and while it wasn't as aggressive as many current audio tracks, it seemed very appropriate for this particular movie. In addition to the above, I actually enjoyed the story more than was anticipated once it began to develop. I do wish the purchase price had been lower, but I'm glad to have movie in my library.
Thanks again! cool.gif

Greetings,

I am so glad that you enjoyed this one oz. Thanks for sharing your thoughts..smile.gif


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