Posts Tagged ‘A Simple Noodle Story’

Berlin 2010 Preview: Competition, Part 2

February 4, 2010

This year’s Berlinale features established filmmakers wandering into unfamiliar territory. Martin Scorsese gives a Dennis Lehane tale all the gaudy trappings of a Hammer horror film. Zhang Yimou puts down his ornate sword-play films for a farcical take on the Coen Brothers. 24 hour party person Michael Winterbottom even takes Texas by the tail in a full-blown film noir. Matters of faith also loom large in films from Germany, India and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Berlin is a broad church.

Read the first part of our Berlin Film Festival Competition preview.

The Killer Inside Me

Lou Ford is one of author Jim Thompson’s greatest antiheroes. Ford’s a psychotic charmer who keeps the peace in a town populated by mattress-happy dames and lowdown double-crossers. Guerilla filmmaker Michael Winterbottom (The Road to Guantanamo) isn’t everyone’s first choice to helm a Lone Star noir, but Casey Affleck seems just the right feller to fill Ford’s bloodstained boots.

Mammuth (Mammoth)

It’s easy to take Gerard Depardieu for granted, yet the shaggy icon delivers. Here he plays a worker who can’t retire until he finds his last six employers. That sends him on a journey around France astraddle his Mammoth motorcycle. Among the figures from his past is Isabelle Adjani, asleep for the last four decades. Written and directed by Benoît Delépine and Gustave de Kervern (Louise-Michel).

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Trailerama: San qiang pai an jing qui (A Simple Noodle Story)

November 23, 2009

Once Zhang Yimou was the enfant terrible of Chinese cinema. Partnered with muse Gong Li, he also put the country back on the cinematic map with chromatic morality plays like Red Sorghum and Raise the Red Lantern. Then he turned his skills at mise en scene and choreography to the wushu genre and made his way back into official favor with Hero and The House of Flying Daggers. It culminated in his most lavish production—the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics.

So good on him for taking yet another left turn and remaking the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple. The Dan Hedaya character is now a noodle shop owner eking out a living at the desert fringes in Gansu. Oh, and we’re in medieval Gansu rather than contemporary Texas. Sick of being made a cuckold, Ni Dahong hires a cop to kill his adulterous wife Yan Ni (“The Queen of Charm”). Things do not pan out as planned. Will it work? Let’s just say that we don’t remember a cannon in the original.