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[Review] The Quiet Family, Fat Choi Spirit, and Chinese Oddyssey 2002

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[Review] The Quiet Family, Fat Choi Spirit, and Chinese Oddyssey 2002

Old 06-11-02, 08:15 AM
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[Review] The Quiet Family, Fat Choi Spirit, and Chinese Oddyssey 2002

The Quiet Family

This is a Korean film about a family who takes over an Inn out in the middle of nowhere. One by one their guests die mysteriously and the family decides to cover it up by burying the bodies in the woods. It's very much a dark comedy. The family consists of two sisters and an older brother played by the guy who played the N. Korean guard in JSA, their uncle played by the guy from Failan, and their mother and father. All the characters play so well off each other. The story unfolds really nicely and has all the makings of a classic cult film. Every aspect of the film is very professional and well conceived. From the cinematography to the acting. It's well paced and funny and just fun to watch. By the end I was wishing it could go on. If you liked Shallow Grave, get your sights on this one.

The DVD by Modern is close to pitiful. Bad transfer and mismastered sound. Reading the subtitles is like playing Mad Libs because every 5th sentence or so they drop off the last word for no apparent reason so you have to fill in the blank. It's irritating, but nowhere near as bad as some of the latest Mei Ah DVDs. Modern is inconsistent to say the least. This movie deserves much better treatment. Hopefully this will see an R3 release by Spectrum or something. For now it will do as it is at least watchable.

I give this film an 8/10 and a I highly recommend this film for fans of dark comedy. I liked it best of the three reviewed here.

Fat Choi Spirit

Andy Lau plays a Mahjong player who can't lose in this little cutesy gambling film. Lau Ching-Wan is hilarious as Andy's nemesis. Gigi leung plays Andy's on again off again girlfriend. Louis Koo plays Andy's brother who is the good son of the family and who gets taken for a ride by Cherrie In's character. Big ensemble cast that all manage to do their jobs well. Andy is likeable in this one - I often dislike his characters, but this one was good. He's still pretty wooden in this, but it's still pretty fun to watch. The film is about mahjong. That's it. If you know nothing about mahjong, you may learn a bit here.

As I said, the acting is competent and well done. The comedy in this film comes fast. I cracked up several times watching this. There's a little romance here and there and even a bit of drama, but this film is primarily just a cutesy gambling comedy. This film might be a good one to watch to introduce you into gambling movies since it's heavy on the gambling. Others would argue in favor of other classic films starring Chow Yun Fat or something, but this one can stand up to those films I think. Hong Kong's fascination with luck and gambling is something to behold. There are just so many movies about the subject. This one is a solid offering.

The Mei Ah DVD is once again great. The subtitles weren't flawed like many of their other new releases. The sound was great and the video was pristine. I hope Mei Ah keeps it up. Overall, I give this film a 7/10 and a . I recommend it to anyone unless you don't like mahjong or gambling movies.

Chinese Oddyssey 2002

This film was very pleasant. I think it's closest comparison can be made to Wu Yen. I thought Wu Yen was a bit better, but this film was good too. It's a period comedy about a brother and sister who are loathed in their village getting mixed up in romance with another brother and sister pair - the emperor and the princess. There is alot of confusion though in this love quadrangle due to a good amount of gender bending. Not as much of it as was in Wu Yen of course, but the women are mistaken for men once again. A very common theme in HK cinema. Especially and primarily in the period films. There is also a nod to the story that Stephen Chow's Chinese Oddyssey is based on in this film.

Tony Leung and Vicki Zhao are wonderful in this. Mad props to Tony Leung who pulls of a really likeable character in this as opposed to some of his modern romance films in which he plays some sort of angry businessman playboy egomaniac. There's plenty of time-period related gags that offer up some good chuckles. The pacing of this film isn't all that fast, but it's not slow either. The jokes aren't fired out very rapidly, but they are consistent and do well to keep a smile on your face. There are a few musical numbers that come out of nowhere. They are pleasant though and there aren't enough to qualify this as a musical.

The DVD by Mei Ah is great. The subtitles were good and the sound was good and the video was good. I'm happy with that.

Overall, I'd give this a 7/10 and a for a feelgood type of film. If you like this you should like Wu Yen... they aren't the same, but they are in the same genre. I recommend this one too.
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Old 06-11-02, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for the reviews Trigger.
Hmm, since I seem to be the only one who didn't like Chinese Odyssey 2002 during my first viewing, I'm wondering if I should maybe give it another chance...
I think my review of Quiet Family pretty much parrallels yours, though I think I neglected to mention the crappy transfer and subs... thanks for pointing that out.
Gabe
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Old 06-13-02, 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by gabegarwick
Thanks for the reviews Trigger.
Hmm, since I seem to be the only one who didn't like Chinese Odyssey 2002 during my first viewing, I'm wondering if I should maybe give it another chance...
I think my review of Quiet Family pretty much parrallels yours, though I think I neglected to mention the crappy transfer and subs... thanks for pointing that out.
Gabe
What did you think of Wu Yen? Or have you even seen it? I think Wu Yen was funnier than CO2002, but it was also a bit more far fetched. Also - where's the link to your review of Quiet Family?

I started watching Partners last night, but fell asleep. So far it's an average bank robber film that has alot of blood and violence in it. It's not going to get low marks, but it's not going to get high marks either. I may post a review of it after I finish it in my review request thread.
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Old 06-13-02, 04:31 PM
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Nope, haven't seen Wu Yen...
Watching Partners? That's kind of funny, I should've known you already had it. (I just ordered it a couple days ago.)

Here's my short review of review of Quiet Family and a couple other

Say... What do you think of the reversible slipcover? I like it
I'm not sure what to think of the trading cards though... they just bang around in the case...

Cheers,
Gabe
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Old 06-13-02, 05:47 PM
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I really enjoyed Fat Choi Spirit (everyone said it was called Mah Johnng). But I checked the title screen and this is what it was. I typically don't care for Lau (yeah yeah, all the girls around me are about to kick my ass). But, I found it humorous and well paced. I really enjoyed this "gambling" movie. I usually don't like this type of movie and I give it a solid 7.5/10
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Old 06-13-02, 08:39 PM
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the quiet family is a very enjoyable film. a very good suprise for me. yes, the quality of the dvd is less than desirable and if they ever re-release it, i will get it!

i do like the translucent case and artwork though. but i got tired of the little cards banging around the case so i took them out and slipped them into the outside.

btw, i've seen a couple andy lau films, don't remember the titles, but they were so laughably poor, that i can't even think about seeing another one...

Last edited by young; 06-13-02 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-13-02, 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by young
btw, i've seen a couple andy lau films, don't remember the titles, but they were so laughably poor, that i can't even think about seeing another one...
Andy Lau is always such a gamble. His movies are either terrible or good. He's done over 100 films and I'd say about 10% of them are worth seeing. Here's a list of films he's been involved in that are worth seeing I think. * indicates a really safe bet.

*God of Gamblers (1989)
God of Gamblers II (1990)
*Drunken Master II (1994)
Conman, The (1998)
*Running Out of Time (1999)
Conmen in Vegas, The (1999)
Duel, The (2000)
*Needing You ... (2000)
*Love On a Diet (2001)
Fulltime Killer (2001)
Fat Choi Spirit (2002)
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Old 06-13-02, 10:29 PM
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trigger, do me a favor. can you cull down that list further if possible?

for example, i have drunken master 2, but that is a jackie chan vehicle w/ lau in a cameo appearance (not significant). isn't god of gamblers a CYFat movie? anyway, can you just list movies that are good and has Lau play a major role?

thanks
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Old 06-14-02, 12:22 AM
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1. Needing You
2. Running Out Of Time
3. Love on a Diet
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Old 06-14-02, 12:31 AM
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Originally posted by young

btw, i've seen a couple andy lau films, don't remember the titles, but they were so laughably poor, that i can't even think about seeing another one...
The more recent Fulltime Killer is one I enjoyed rather well, as well as Running out of Time.

If you like the touchy-feely stuff then Trigger's nomination for Needing You and Love on a Diet should fit the bill.
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Old 06-14-02, 09:56 AM
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Dance Of A Dream was good fluff too...


J.T.
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Old 06-15-02, 01:17 PM
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I think those movies qualify as romantic comedies rather than touchy feely except for Running Out of Time which is an action/comedy/drama. I haven't seen Dance of a Dream.
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