Josie Ho

Josie Ho

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Open Grave Trailer


After awaking in a deep pit alone, but surrounded by dead bodies, John (Sharlto Copley) begins to call out for help, whereupon a woman throws down a rope to help him out. John has no memory of what has happened, or who he is. The woman leads him to a house containing a group of other people, all of whom have no idea who they are, either. As the isolated survivors of some horrifying plague begin to investigate their surroundings, they soon discover that, while they don't know what has caused this new world they find themselves in, they are certainly not alone. 

Continue: Open Grave Trailer

Contagion Trailer


When Beth Emhoff returns home after visiting an opening ceremony for a new factory, she complains of jet lag and her husband, Thomas Emhoff, thinks nothing of it. He becomes concerned when she falls ill, even more so when she has a seizure in front of him and has to be rushed to hospital. It comes as a shock to Thomas when she dies; her cause of death: a highly contagious and rapidly mutating bird flu virus that spreads via human contact. The virus is spreading so fast there is no vaccine or cure for it.

Continue: Contagion Trailer

Dream Home Review


OK
Supposedly based on a true story, this film feels more like an extended joke, complete with a punch line that comes after 90 minutes of outrageous grisliness. At least it's blackly funny. And eerily relevant.Since she was a child, Sheung (Ho) has been incensed by the injustice of the Hong Kong property market, which has only become worse over the years. After a tall block is built in front of her harbour view, she vows to buy a flat in the new building. But even working two full-time jobs isn't enough. With her father in need of expensive medical treatment, she decides to take matters into her own hands, even if it means murder.This story is told out of sequence and crosscut with Sheung's grisly rampage of murder as she moves through a series of apartments killing people in hideous ways. We're not sure why she's doing this until the the final piece of the story falls into place. And the problem with this structure is that we can't sympathise without knowing her motivation, so the film becomes merely a display of exceptionally effective horror make-up effects.Since we haven't a clue what's happening or why, we never feel like we know Sheung, which leaves Ho's performance feeling rather empty. Still, her physicality is impressive as she gets out of dangerous situations by focussing her inner rage on whoever's in front of her. As the body count climbs, we hope someone stops her. And even the scenes from previous years don't really help, confusing the narrative since they feel so random.Along the way there are constant discussions about housing and finance.

Everyone's talking about the high cost of property, government collusion with developers and, underlying it all, the unfaithfulness of men. All of these things have an impact on the story, but the real point of the film is to show a lot of horrible ways to die with as much blood and gore as possible. And while director Pang shoots it with a lot of visual panache, just a bit more pathos would have made all the difference.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Review


Unbearable
Sorry, folks -- the star of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is not the mouth-drippingly voluptuous lead actress Kristin Kreuk. It's actually supporting actor Chris Klein, who may very well be our next Keanu Reeves. Klein must have flash-kicked himself in the brain, because his acting is so outrageously horrid and emotionally vapid he inspires unsolicited laughter. In fact, if Klein had more airtime in the movie, I might have sat through the whole thing.

That's right: I walked out (after an hour). And this is the only movie I've walked out of my entire life.

Continue reading: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Review

Exiled Review


Good
For a moment near the beginning of Johnny To's Exiled, a piece of furniture floats in open air between two assassins, each shooting the piece in a maelstrom of a gunfight. The camera, sturdy and entranced in patented Hong Kong slow-motion, picks up every particle from every gun-blast and every molecule of dust and dirt that is kicked up in the small apartment. There are only four actual gunmen but between the sprays of flying shrapnel, you'd believe there were entire battalions having it out in the dinky apartment.

A stylized battle of this nature should come expected in the pantheon of Johnny To films. The fact that minutes later all four assassins are helping to rebuild and refurnish the apartment may not be expected. As it turns out, the four hitmen, and the target in question, are all old friends. Two of the hitmen have been called to take out the target while two have taken it upon themselves to protect the target. Blaze (Anthony Wong), the alpha-male of the group, lays down his guns but promises the target, his friend Wo (Nick Cheung), that he will have to kill him eventually.

Continue reading: Exiled Review

Dead Or Alive: Final Review


OK
Takashi Miike, at last, completes the Dead or Alive series with this ultra-bizarre installment of man vs. man violence. Now set in the midrange future, it's the typical slow-mo violence we've come to expect from Miike (and some of the gun battles are extremely impressive and archly funny), but Miike's obsession with perverted sex and urination may turn off more viewers than he normally does. The ending, which features a robot/alien/monster with a giant penis for a head, will certainly get you talking. Maybe not in a good way, though...
Josie Ho

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