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House of Flying Daggers

Blu-Ray Review: Zhang Yimou’s Odd ‘A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop’

A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop

CHICAGO – I could never quite get my finger on why the super-talented Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of the Flying Daggers”) chose to make “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop,” a loose remake of the film that introduced Joel and Ethan Coen to the world, “Blood Simple.” It is a case of a talented Chinese director attempting to make a very American genre: noir. To what end? Would it be interesting to watch the Coens remake “Hero”? Sure, but mostly as curiosity and I expect more than curiosities from someone as notable as Yimou.

Interview: Producer Bill Kong on Latest Film ‘Blood: The Last Vampire’

Blood: The Last Vampire

CHICAGO – Bill Kong can rightly be considered the producer King of the Modern Samarai Film. After cutting his teeth on the seminal “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” his latest release is a new spin on the genre with “Blood, The Last Vampire.”

Interview: Director Roger Spottiswoode Captures Spirit of China’s Past in ‘The Children of Huang Shi’

Guang Li, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, The Children of Huang Shi (1)

CHICAGO – The second Chinese/Japanese war, which was a 1937 prelude to the great conflict of World War II, is notable today mostly because modern China rose from its ashes. Largely forgotten except for the survivors, it is a backdrop for “The Children of Huang Shi,” which is a new film from veteran director Roger Spottiswoode.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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