mystery

The Scent of Rain and Lightning (2017)

THE SCENT OF RAIN LIGHTNING_Poster usa-icon

A young woman searches for answers but finds herself under constant threats in this adaptation of a Nancy Pickard novel.

Jody Linder has suffered for many years since the death of her parents. However, she has learned that the man who was imprisoned for the murders, Billy Croyle, has been paroled. Upset at the revelation, Jody confronts Billy’s son Collin, who was responsible for the parole when he revealed the truth that he was with his father the night of the apparent murders. Jody decides to find out what really happened to her parents the night of the murders.

As Jody begins her investigation, she finds herself going to places and meeting people who were involved in her family. She slowly begins to discover that Billy, who has gone crazy since being imprisoned and has a motive of revenge against the Linder family. When Jody finally finds herself convinced that Billy wasn’t responsible for the murders, she searches to find the truth and may find that the real murders may be closer than she ever expected.

Director Blake Robbins, along with screenwriters Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison, took Nancy Pickard’s novel and crafted an interesting tale that meshes a modern day investigation and flashbacks that slowly unveil what happened the night our lead character Jody’s parents were murdered. The film opens alone with the release of the accused murderer, Billy Croyle, played in a ultimately maniacal performance by Brad Carter.

Maika Monroe does well as the embittered Jody, who seems to have suffered quite a lot since the death of her parents. She finds herself a very angry woman, still holding onto that grudge when she confronts Collin, the son of Billy, played by Logan Miller. However, upon slowly learning that Billy may not be responsible, she decides to take up with her “rival” to find out the truth about what happened. One would expect a romance between Jody and Collin, but this is truly not the case. Instead, it is a simple case of two people learning to find out what happened.

In the flashback sequences, Justin Chatwin and Maggie Grace (who also served as a producer) play Jody’s parents, who seem to go from having a loving marriage to a tumultuous one plagued by Chatwin’s character always working on the family farm or traveling to help make money and Grace’s possible rumors of infidelity with people close to the couple. The biggest twist and shock of the film comes in the ultimately revelation of what really happened that night, which ends the film after a shocking confrontation.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning will keep viewers engaged once the story comes in full swing. A juxtaposition of flashbacks and present day, driven by the cast, really moves the story along. Add the shocking finale and you have a movie worth checking out.

WFG RATING: B+

SP Releasing present a No Coast Production present in association with Gerber Pictures and KP’s Remain. Director: Blake Robbins. Producers: Michael Davis, Blake Robbins, Jeff Robison, Casey Twenter, Kevin Waller, Jeff Johnson, Dan Koetting, and Maggie Grace. Writers: Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison; based on the novel by Nancy Pickard. Cinematography: Lyn Moncrief. Editing: Lauren Clark Carroll.

Cast: Maika Monroe, Logan Miller, Brad Carter, Will Patton, Bonnie Bedelia, Mark Webber, Aaron Poole, Maggie Grace, Justin Chatwin, Meg Crosbie, Jackson A. Dunn.

Advertisements

Cutting Class (1989)

cuttingclass usa-icon

A series of murders coincides with the return of a young high school student in this pretty underrated slasher film with comic overtones.

District attorney William Carson III is going on a hunting trip and gives his daughter Paula three simple rules: to do her homework, no boys at the house, and most important, no cutting class. Paula is a pretty popular and intelligent student who is dating basketball star Dwight Ingalls. This is also the first day that Brian Woods, a young man who killed his father five years ago, has been released from an institution and all he wants is to show everyone that he has changed.

During his hunting trip, William is shot with an arrow and is supposedly dead. Meanwhile, a series of murders begin to occur within the high school. An art teacher is killed when he’s thrown in a kiln. A high school couple suffer a deadly encounter under the bleachers during a basketball game. As the murders continue, there are many suspects who could be responsible. Could it be basketball star Dwight, who tends to get violent prone? Could it be Brian, the returning kid who has had history with murder? Could it be the janitor, who seems to have a likening to bloodshed? Could it even be principal Mr. Dante, who is somewhat perverted when it comes to Paula? Who is the killer?

In what would be his only film as a writer before becoming the creator of the great kids’ series Salute Your Shorts, Steve Slavkin’s screenplay does something quite interesting and meshes the slasher film subgenre of horror film with comic overtones as well as engage the audience themselves in a “whodunit” game of who is responsible for a series of murders. While from the beginning, one would bring a sense of predictability, the film ultimately adds some intricate twists and turns and also brings to mind a series of inventive deaths on a few occasions.

The film will be forever known for being an early film for one of Hollywood’s top actors today, Brad Pitt. Here, he plays Dwight, a star basketball player who dates our heroine Paula, played by Jill Schoelen. Paula is the innocent high school girl who abides by her father’s rules, with few exceptions. All Pitt’s Dwight wants to do is get time alone with her, a typical slasher motif. Donovan Leitch plays the returning Brian, who only wants acceptance and in a way, forgiveness for what had happened five years ago after he was institutionalized for the death of his father.

The main comic overtone involves Martin Mull’s character of William, Paula’s father. One would assume that after getting shot with an arrow by the film’s killer that he would be dead. However, as the audience sees the continuation of the murder spree within the high school, they get to see William actually still alive and struggling through the rest of the film trying to get home. There are some pumps of comic lines within the rest of the film.

Cutting Class may be perhaps known for its early performance by Brad Pitt, but the film is actually underrated with its use of comic overtones and twists and turns making this a true whodunit 80’s slasher gem?

WFG RATING: B

Gower Street Pictures present an April Films production. Director: Rospo Pallenberg. Producers: Donald R. Beck and Rudy Cohen. Writer: Steve Slavkin. Cinematography: Avi Karpick. Editing: Natan Zavahi and Bill Butler.

Cast: Donovan Leitch, Jill Schoelen, Brad Pitt, Brenda Lynn Klemme, Roddy McDowell, Martin Mull, Mark Barnet, Robert Glaudini, Eric Boles, Dirk Blocker, Nancy Fish.

TRAILER: House on Rodeo Gulch

William Scherer unleashes a Hitchcockian tale with the trailer of his latest film, House on Rodeo Gulch.

Uprooted from her childhood home in Texas by her father’s new job, seventeen-year-old Shani Peterson moves to California with her new step-mom, Denise. Their new home, located deep in the redwoods of Central California is a dream come true… until it’s not. With an over friendly Reverend and his alcoholic assistant as their only neighbors, Shani and Denise must unearth the haunting mysteries of the house and its history, before they lose their home, or lives.

Megan Jay Simrell, Chanel Ryan, and Barry Ratcliffe star in the film, written and directed by Scherer.

houseofrodeogulch

The Confessions (2016)

theconfessions italy-iconfrance-icon

Politics, religion, and death all mesh in this international film from director Roberto Andò.

At a resort along the German coast, a G8 summit is gearing up between delegates from around the world. Representatives from the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France have arrived along with a priest, Father Roberto Solus. Solus was invited by the director of the Intenational Monetary Fund, Daniel Roché. On the first night of the summit, Roché invites Fr. Solus to his room to give a confession.

The next day, Roché is found dead of an apparent suicide, bringing shock to everyone. Questions begin to be raised when Fr. Solus is the last one to see Roché alive. In addition, it is revealed that the plastic bag Roché used to kill himself was the same bag that Fr. Solus would keep his recorder in. Soon enough, everyone expects answers because for some, it will be bad for business if nothing will be done in the matter. Finding himself a prime suspect, Fr. Solus keeps his vow of silence with his only ally being a visiting children’s novelist, Claire, who is at the summit to get inspired to write her first thriller. Will the priest finally reveal all, or will the summit end up on a standstill?

This is quite an intriguing Italian-French co-production from director Roberto Andò, who co-wrote the screenplay with Angelo Pasquini. The film is a meshing of the politics involving international economics and business and a mystery surround the apparent suicide of the International Monetary Fund director. While the idea of meshing the two may seem like a good idea on paper, there are quite a few flaws that could have made this one somewhat more watchable in terms of its overall structure.

One of the major flaws in the film is that there are two characters who are inexplicably there who are not even ministers of economics and the reasons behind their being at the summit is perhaps even more strange. One is a novelist of children’s books, played by Danish actress Connie Nielsen, who does reveals she is there to get inspiration to write her first thriller while a rock star named Michael Wintzl, played by Belgian actor Johan Heldenbergh, is there with no explanation as well. While Claire seems to play a pivotal part in the film as the priest’s only ally besides Roché’s trusty servant, Wintzl just seems more like a throwaway character.

In addition to this flaw, the film can’t tell whether to focus on the mystery of Roché’s death or the politics surrounding international economics. A final flaw in the film comes in the form of a mysterious woman, perhaps Roché’s would-be successor or confidant, who appears via video chat who never reveals herself as she feels it is not important but goes on a tirade in the third act when everything is revealed.

Despite the flaws, the film does have a few positives. One is the international cast and when “international” is said, it is meant. The cast itself could be its own “summit” if you will, with Italian actor Toni Servillo making the most of his role as the very mysterious Father Solus, who gives up a vow of silence on behalf of the fallen Roché, played by French acting legend Daniel Auteuil. French-Canadian actress Marie-Josée Croze, Japanese actor Togo Igawa, German actor Richard Sammel, Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino, Russian actor Aleksei Guskov, French actor Stéphane Freiss, and British actor Andy de la Tour make the most of their roles as the ministers of economics, who at one point or another, interact with the priest, giving their own set of “confessions”.

The other positive is the stylish cinematography of Maurizio Calvesi, which rightfully earned some accolades. The film bring an interesting style that meshes both realism and a sense of perhaps something even grander. In a very interesting scene, the Italian minister is swimming at the resort pool to be confronted by two of Roché’s colleagues and a combination of Calvisi’s stylish shots mixed with Clelio Benevento’s editing techniques bring perhaps a modern day version of the classic Italian neo-realism that is historic in its own right.

The Confessions is ultimately a mixed bag attempt to mesh politics, religion, and death. While the diverse cast and stylish cinematography hold quite well, some major flaws involving the story as a whole causes quite a bit of confusion, even by the time everything seems apparently revealed.

WFG RATING: C-

Bibi Film TV and Rai Cinema present in association with Barbary Films, Canal+,and Ciné+. Director: Roberto Andò. Producer: Angelo Barbagallo. Writers: Roberto Andò and Angelo Pasquini. Cinematography: Maurizio Calvesi. Editing: Clelio Benevento.

Cast: Toni Servillo, Connie Nielsen, Daniel Auteuil, Pierfrancesco Favino, Moritz Bleibtreu, Marie-Josée Croze, Lambert Wilson, Richard Sammel, Johan Heidenbergh, Togo Igawa, Aleksei Guskov, Stéphane Freiss, Julien Ovenden, Andy de la Tour

TRAILER: The King’s Case Note

Korean historical action-comedy The King’s Case Note will be coming to the United States with the trailer arriving from CJ Entertainment.

The film is set during the Joseon Dynasty, where power was persistently threatened by political and social tug-of-wars, often leading to crimes and cover-ups. King Yejong (Lee Sun-kyun), takes it upon himself to gather evidence related to these criminal activities and solve the cases, bringing those responsible to justice. Helping King Yejong is his brilliant assistant, Seo (Ahn Jae-hong). In Hanyang, there were rumors of an event that would take place in an attempt to dethrone the king. Sensing opposition brewing, Yejong recruits Seo to help him discover the truth behind the unusual and potentially treasonous incident.

The film is directed by Moon Hyung-sung.

The film will make its U.S. premiere on April 28 in Los Angeles and Buena Park, California. A week later on May 5, the film will hit nationwide in select theaters.

REVIEW: Shanghai (2010)

shanghai usa-iconchina-icon

2010, Living Films/Phoenix Pictures/TWC Asian Film Fund/The Weinstein Company

Director:
Mikael Håfström
Producers:
Donna Gigliotti
Mike Medavoy
Barry Mendel
Jake Myers
Writer:
Hossein Amini
Cinematography:
Benoît Delhomme
Editing:
Peter Boyle
Kevin Tent

Cast:
John Cusack (Paul Soames)
Gong Li (Anna Lan-Ting)
Chow Yun-Fat (Anthony Lan-Ting)
David Morse (Richard Astor)
Ken Watanabe (Captain Tanaka)
Rinko Kikuchi (Sumiko)
Franka Potente (Leni Müller)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Conner)
Hugh Bonneville (Ben Sanger)
Andy On (Yuan)
Tang Hon-Ping (Chen)
Benedict Wong (Juso Kita)
Christopher Buchholz (Karl Müller)

A murder mystery in the titular city at the heart of World War II is the basis for this average and somewhat predictable whose only asset is the ensemble cast.

In 1941 Shanghai, Conner is an agent who has been murdered. To find out what has happened, the Embassy sends in Paul Soames, a Naval Intelligence Commission agent to find out what has happened. It is somewhat personal as Conner was Paul’s best friend. Disguising himself as a reporter for the local Herald, he manipulates his way to an invitation only event at the German Embassy thanks to the help of Leni Müller, a friend from Berlin who has joined him and her husband to the Chinese city.

There, Paul meets Anthony Lan-Ting, a respected and influential crime boss as well as Japanese officer Tanaka. Anthony has been able to use his power and money to influence the Japanese to leave him alone. There, Paul also meets Anna, Anthony’s wife. When Paul saves Anthony from an attack from a Chinese resistance member, the two strike up a friendship. However, Paul slowly begins to fall for Anna and also finds himself learning slowly the key as to who may be responsible for Conner’s murder and must find that key in a young woman named Sumiko as she may know who is responsible for the murder as she witnessed it that fateful night.

This film is meant to be a political thriller/murder mystery that in all honesty, should have been executed better. Hossein Amini’s screenplay has the film set just a few months before the infamous Pearl Harbor when the Japanese took over the titular city. As much as the ensemble cast would be the reason to see this film, it ultimately falls flat. The ensemble does make the most of what they have to work with, but there are a few problems at hand.

John Cusack plays the agent who finds himself enthralled in a murder mystery and finds his life even more complicated. Instead of a straightforward character, the character of Paul is quite a complex character whom even towards the end of the film, doesn’t seem to care anymore about who killed his friend and is more worried about his potential love interest in Anna, played by Gong Li. As for Gong, thankfully, her romantic chemistry with Cusack works somewhat while Cusack’s first affair, with Franka Potente, just seems not exactly there and it’s clear he is only using her.

With the casting of Chow Yun-Fat and Ken Watanabe, this should be quite a worthy film. However, with Chow playing a benevolent (of sorts) crime boss and the Japanese officer Chow’s character pays off, they may play pivotal roles but they do not make quite an impact in the film. It is true that these veterans can have hits and misses, but here it is just a clear miss. Andy On even finds himself wasted to an effect as a member of the Chinese resistance, who attempt to over throw the Japanese as well as Rinko Kikuchi finding herself making the most of her role as the woman who witnessed the murder that sets the stage for this very film.

As much as Shanghai had potential due to its ensemble, it is not that good sadly. From Cusack’s portrayal of a very complex character to a wasted effort from the likes of Chow Yun-Fat and Ken Watanabe despite their roles being pivotal, it just needed a better style of execution. Thankfully, the chemistry of Gong Li and John Cusack is a positive effect of the film. The rest? Not as good.

WFG RATING: D

DVD

REVIEW: Black Butler (2014)

blackbutler japan-icon

2014, Warner Bros Pictures Japan/C&I Entertainment/Rockworks

Directors:
Kentaro Ohtani
Keiichi Sato
Producer:
Shinzo Matsuhashi
Writers:
Yana Toboso (original manga)
Tsutomu Kuroiwa (screenplay)
Cinematography:
Terukuni Ajisaka
Editing:
Tsuyoshi Imai

Cast:
Hiro Mizushima (Sebastian Michaelis)
Ayane Goriki (Earl Kiyoharu Genpo/Lady Shiori Genpo)
Yuka (Hanae Wakatsuki)
Mizuki Yamamoto (Rin)
Tomomi Maruyama (Akashi)
Masato Ibu (Shinpei Kuzo)
Takuro Ono (Takaki Matsumiya)
Goro Kishitani (Saneatsu Nekoma)
Ken Kaito (Arihito Genpo)
Chiaki Horan (Erika Genpo)

In this pretty good adaptation of the manga that changes a few things from its source, an aristocrat and his faithful butler, who is actually a demon, team up to solve a murder mystery and get more than what they expected.

As a child, Lady Shiori Genpo witnessed the death of her parents by a mysterious assailant. As her family are known as The Queen’s Watchdog, responsible for solving crimes for the Queen, Shiori seeks revenge. However, knowing she will not be able to do it alone, she decides to sell her soul to the devil, literally. Enter the demon Sebastian Michaelis, who takes on a human form and becomes Shiroi’s butler. To throw people off, Shiori disguises herself as a boy and names herself Kiyoharu. As for Sebastian, to ensure he will get her soul after her revenge, he promises to protect her at all costs.

Their latest assignment involves the mummified corpse of an ambassador. Witnesses say that the man had just bled out of nowhere and then dried up, hence the mummification. With the assistance of Hanae, Kiyoharu’s aunt, they discover that a local pharmaceutical company may be responsible. As Kiyoharu and another servant, Rin, infiltrate the CEO’s party, Sebastian investigates the laboratory and soon discovers something horrific and for Kiyoharu, something even more shocking awaits her.

There is a confession. I have not seen the anime version nor read the manga of Black Butler. However, this live action adaptation does take its core story and central character of Sebastian Michaelis and puts him in a Sherlock Holmes- like mystery with boss, in this case, Kiyoharu Genpo, replacing the 13-year old character from the original story, Ciel Phantomhive. Tsutomu Kuroiwa’s script doesn’t hold back in an attempt to lighten the tone of its source, but instead keeps it dark, which should please fans quite well.

Hiro Mizushima definitely carries the film as the titular Black Butler, Sebastian Michaelis. He brings in a vibe that not brings this character to life, but also has a look reminiscent of the likes of perhaps hyde from L’Arc-en-ciel or even Gackt to some effect. While he may seem like an ordinary butler, he is also a demon and quite a fighter who gets to show some pretty good action skills with of all things, a simple butter knife as a weapon. Even his foremanner in the film shows that butler-esque quality. As for Ayane Goriki, she does quite well as the cross-dressing Lady Shiori who becomes Kiyoharu. She is nearly on par with her performance in another live action adaptation, Gatchaman, but seems to up the ante more in this film.

Where some promising live action adaptations tend to dial it down on action and focus more on its dramatic effect (again, in the sense of Gatchaman), this film delivers in the action department and it is done sporadically in a good way. Even the introduction of Sebastian leads to a pretty awesome action scene that just shows him dispatching a gang who has held Kiyoharu, disguised as a girl, although already a girl disguised as a boy. Okay that seemed confusing, but back to the action. In a nod to the bullet ballets of Hong Kong action cinema, Rin shows she is not an ordinary butler herself finding herself blasting away goon after goons in something you would expect in perhaps a John Woo film or even Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium. There is a final fight scene that pits Sebastian against the one responsible for the chaos (in a very shocking and very descriptive plot twist) and it looks quite good here.

If you haven’t read the manga or seen the anime version of Black Butler, it is not truly necessary. However, after seeing this film, you may just want to start checking out the source material and its anime version. Because this was one pretty good live action adaptation thanks to the performance of lead actor Hiro Mizushima in the titular role.

WFG RATING: B

DVD/BLU-RAY

REVIEW: K-20 – The Fiend with Twenty Faces (2008)

k-20 japan-icon

2008, Toho Company/Nippon Television Network/Robot Communications

Director:
Shimako Sato
Producers:
Chikahiro Ando
Takuya Kurata
Kazuyoshi Ishida
Writers:
Shimako Sato (screenplay)
Soh Kitamura (original novel, “The Story of Nijyumenso”)
Cinematography:
Kozo Shibasaki
Editing:
Ryuji Miwajima

Cast:
Takeshi Kaneshiro (Heikichi Endo)
Takako Matsu (Duchess Yoko Hashiba)
Toru Nakamura (Detective Kogoro Akechi)
Kanata Hongo (Junior Detective Yoshio Kobayashi)
Jun Kunimura (Genji)
Yuki Imai (Shinsuke)
Takeshi Kaga (Gentleman with Scar)
Toru Masuoka (Inspector Namikoshi)

Three of Japan’s top actors team up for this alternate history action piece that makes some interesting use of parkour-like action set pieces with a science fiction edge to it.

In an alternate 1949, World War II never happened. The United States and the United Kingdom forces have agreed to a peace treaty. Japan still lives under rules by class. Changing occupations is deemed illegal and the willingness to marry whoever you please has been deemed forbidden. Taito, the Imperial Capital, has been under attack by a mysterious masked man known as “K-20”. When K-20 has plans to steal a device created by Niklas Tesla, Detective Akechi is assigned to the case.

Heikichi Endo is a well-known circus performer whose mastery of illusion and acrobatics have wowed audiences. After a show one night, he is approached by a mysterious man who offers him a photography job for a tabloid. He is asked to take photos of Akechi and his chosen fiancee, Duchess Yoko Hashiba, whose father was a good friend of Tesla’s. When Heikichi learns he has been set up by K-20, he escapes and must hone his skills to learn to confront the real K-20. When he saves Yoko from the clutches of the mysterious masked man, she tries to convince her fiancee that Heikichi is innocent. Now, the race is on to find the real K-20 and put an end to his master plan.

Upon seeing this adaptation of a Soh Kitamura novel, one feels a vibe that combines V for Vendetta and even, The Mask of Zorro. Like the former, the film is set in an alternate Japan, where World War II never existed and still lives under hierarchy as well as a mysterious masked person who is causing trouble and is intent on destroying the capital city. The latter comes in terms of its set action pieces, which have a swashbuckling feel to it, but replace swords with parkour.

Takeshi Kaneshiro does quite well as Heikichi Endo, a top notch circus performer who finds himself framed as K-20 and sets out to clear his name the only way possible: match the real K-20 skill for skill. Some of his training sequences have the required comic relief of the film including returning to his mentor with chicken scratches all over his face in one scene. While there isn’t a love interest for our hero, Takako Matsu comes close enough as Duchess Yoko Hashiba, who while being a woman of influence, has aspirations to live a normal life and fly. She and Kaneshiro show great chemistry whether they argue on their differences of opinions to showing a level of respect for each other.

Toru Nakamura is pretty good to watch as Detective Akechi, the investigator who is in charge of the operation to stop K-20 and ultimately helps out the trio. Nakamura starts out as a cold stone cop but shows a more lighthearted side towards the climax. While the identity of K-20 is quite the mystery that needs to be solved, Kaneshiro sees Iron Chef‘s chairman himself, Takeshi Kaga, as the mysterious K-20 and sets out to go after him in a number of action pieces that relies more on acrobatics and parkour with a little dose of fighting, but not as much as one would expect. However, the mysteriousness of the title character makes this quite a watch.

K-20: The Fiend with Twenty Faces is a watchable adventure that boasts a great cast, but in all could have been cut down about twenty minutes. However, it is the mystery of K-20 that may make one want to watch this film.

WFG RATING: B

DVD

REVIEW: The Advocate – A Missing Body (2015)

theadvocate

southkorea-icon

2015, CJ Entertainment

Director:
Huh Jong-Ho
Producers:
Park Ji-Sung
Lim Sang-Jin
Kim Hyun-Jeong
Writers:
Choi Kwong-Yeon
Lee Gong-Joo
Cinematography:
Kim Ji-Yong
Editing:
Shin Min-Kyung

Cast:
Lee Sun-Kyun (Byun Ho-Sung)
Kim Go-Eun (Jin Sun-Mi)
Lim Won-Hee (Park)
Jang Hyun-Sung (Chairman Moon Ji-Hoon)
Kim Yoon-Hye (Han Min-Jung)
Hong Sung-Duk (Kim Man-Seok)

This legal crime dark comedy is driven by the performance of lead actor Lee Sun-Kyun, who brings both the funny and the serious in this film.

Byun Ho-Sung is a defense lawyer who has just won a case involving the drug Lomix, in which the plaintiff sued, saying the drug caused her to have cancer. Upon returning to his office, he learns that he has been given a new case. A woman by the name of Han Min-Jung has been murdered and the suspect who has been caught is Kim-Man Seok. The case was personally hired by Chairman Moon Ji-Hoon, the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company. There poses one little problem. There is no body.

Byun’s past comes up to him when an old colleague, Jin Sun-Mi, has been hired as lead prosecutor in this case. While the two have a major difference in their ways of gathering evidence for the case, when Kim outbursts in court that he did kill Han, Byun thinks something is up. When Jin attempts and unsuccessfully follows Kim’s tip on where the body is apparently found, they eventually realize they must team up and in the midst of things, uncover something more potentially dangerous.

Director Huh Jong-Ho, who made his debut with 2011’s Countdown, returns with this legal crime comedy that is actually quite funny at times. And it is all in part of lead actor Lee Sun-Kyun, who plays defense lawyer Byun as a cocky and unorthodox person. The literal title of the film is “Angry Lawyer” and it somewhat fits with Byun as he goes from cocky and arrogant to angry when it comes to the case of the mysterious murder of Han Min-Jung, played well in theoretical flashbacks by Kim Yoon-Hye.

Kim Go-Eun is quite fun to watch as lead prosecutor Jin when it comes to her interactions with Byun. As Byun tries to act smooth with her, she rebuffs him in such a way that he sometimes wonders why. It is like they tend to act like a bickering couple who are complete opposites. Lim Won-Hee also provides some laughs as Byun’s office manager Park, who is an ex-military officer and has to prove it at times to help Byun with the case.

Along with the performances from the cast, the screenplay takes a very critical turn midway through and shows the transition of Byun as he discovers something vital to the case as it involves the first case he finds himself involved with in the film. From there, the film takes some constant twists and turns that prove to be vital to the film and thus, by the film’s end, it may seem predictable but nonetheless a perfect ending.

The Advocate: A Missing Body is a wonderfully paced legal dark comedy driven by the performances of its lead actors along with a well-constructed storyline with many twists and turns that all round out exactly perfect in the end.

WFG RATING: A

The film will be released in North American theaters on October 23 from CJ Entertainment. The film reviewed was from a screener.