The Man Standing Next (2020) Movie Review

The Man Standing Next – Nice Political Thriller


Director: Min-ho Woo

Writer: Ji-min Lee, Min-ho Woo (Screenplay)

Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Sung-min Lee, Do-won Kwak, Lee Hee-joon, So-jin Kim, Eric Bernard, Jerry Rector

Plot: In the 1970s Korea is under the absolute control of the president Park who controls the KCIA the organization with the edge over any branch of government.

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Man Standing Next starts as we learn about President Park (Lee) reign in power over Korea with the KCIA organization keeping him in power, but the former director Park Yong-Gak (Kwak) is looking to expose the meaning behind his power, while current director Kim Kyu-Pyeong (Byung-hun) is torn between the truth and an old friend, needing to let the evidence prove which side he should be fighting for.

Thoughts on The Man Standing Next

ThoughtsThe Man Standing Next follows the political coup that took place in Korea during the 1970s, which will see how the President found himself being exposed for the covering up he has been through over his reign of terror, showing just how much he was covering up to make sure he remained in power. The story is told with one man finding himself in the middle of truth, knowing what would happen if he exposed the truth, but knowing he needs to know what needs to change. This will keep you guessing to what will happen next, with the strong performances throughout elevating the film to the next level. This is a nice example of what has come out through the world of history and is one that could be used to show how the world can start to spiral out of control unless the right people step up.

Blue Finch Film Releasing presents The Man Standing Next in Virtual Cinemas including Curzon Home Cinema 25 June and on Digital Download 5 July

Final Thoughts The Man Standing Next is a good history lesson on Korean politics and the people that tried to do the right thing.

Father Figures (2017) Movie Review

Director: Lawrence Sher

Writer: Justin Malen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ed Helms, Owen Wilson, J.K. Simmons, Katt Williams, Terry Bdrashaw, Ving Rhames, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close

Plot: Upon learning that their mother has been lying to them for years about their allegedly deceased father, two fraternal twin brothers hit the road in order to find him.

Tagline – Are you our daddy?

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Comedy

Story: Father Figures starts as twins Kyle (Wilson) and Peter (Helms) are returning home for their mother’s wedding Helen (Close), only on this day, Peter learns that the man he thinks is his father, isn’t the man they thought he was, now the two go in search for their real father, which sees them heading off to meet American Football legend Terry Bradshaw.

Only Terry isn’t their father and the men continue their search to see who their father is, which takes them on a trip around America putting the clues together to who was the man that got their mother pregnant.

Thoughts on Father Figures

Characters – Peter has always lived his life by the book, he is a doctor, been through a divorce going into a closed life spending his free time watch Law and Order until he learns that his father isn’t who he thought he was and he wants answers, he isn’t like his twin brother, he isn’t as free thinking or laidback, he needs everything in order. Kyle got lucky with his money, he has always been a free thinking, lucky in the eyes of Peter, he has always taken life a lot less serious than Peter and joins his brother on learn who their father is. Helen is their mother who has just got married and reveals the truth about their father. Sadly, we don’t spend enough time with all the different potential father’s, each one has their own quirks, though we don’t meet them enough.

PerformancesEd Helms and Owen Wilson don’t seem to have the chemistry that you would imagine their could, they often are better at playing the same role, rather than pushing one into playing a role that doesn’t work to their strengths. We might have a few bigger names in the potential father roles and Glenn Close do well without getting enough screen time to shine.

StoryThe story here follows twin brothers that go in search of their real father after learning the story their mother told wasn’t the truth, which sees them bonding and travelling around the country in search for answers. This does have a serious side, it does put the spotlight on who to consider parents, the person that made you or raised you, it shows brothers can stay together even over the worst of times, only it gets covered up with way too many forced jokes which don’t fit the situation the two are going through.

ComedyThe comedy here does feel more forced than anything, it does the basics right, only too many moments seem like they are being forced for an extra moment in the situation.

SettingsThe film does take us around America, mostly though different homes which could contain their father.

Scene of the Movie – The Ferrari.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It did seem to be on repeat with each situation or potential father.

Final Thoughts This is a simple comedy that doesn’t seem to get enough out of the heart in the film, while not capturing enough of the chemistry required for the two brothers.

Overall: Simple Comedy

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – T – Thumper (2017) Movie Review

Director: Jordan Ross

Writer: Jordan Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Eliza Taylor, Pablo Schreiber, Daniel Webber, Ben Feldman, Lena Headey, Grant Harvey, Jazzy De Lisser

Plot: Teens in a low income neighborhood are lured into working for a violent and dangerous drug dealer. When a new girl harboring a dark secret arrives in town, their relationship jeopardizes everything.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Crime Film

Story: Thumper starts as we meet high school student Beaver (Webber) who moves into the drug dealing to make some extra cash, he starts to become close to one of the girls Kat (Taylor) in his class, as we get to see just how many people in the school will be selling and using the drugs.

Kat has her own secret though, she is undercover, trying to crack the drug ring in the area, with her walking into the dealers with ease, she wants to take down the supplier Wyatt (Schreiber) who has his own way to solve problems in his business.

Thoughts on Thumper

Characters – Kat is an undercover narc officer in a high school, she gets close to the dealers, while trying to get higher up the ladder in search for the people behind the supply, she is also trying to balance a personal life which sees her being a separate mother, finding herself losing that part of her life. Wyatt is the supplier, a former military man who has turned to the life of crime, he controls the students to do his work, always out to eliminate any of the problems in his life. Beaver is the student Kat gets close to, he has his reasons for being part of the gang, he fits in within the group being one of the few places he feels comfortable in, though it always feels like somebody is taking advantage of him.

PerformancesEliza Taylor in the leading role is fine, she does show the pain of the separation, but struggles with the high school behaviour. Pablo Schreiber as the aggressive dominating drug dealer is the strongest part of the film, with Daniel Webber giving us a solid sympatric performance.

StoryThe story here follows a determined cop who is undercover with a high school drug ring trying to take down the problem which has been growing in the area, only she sees her own life start to fall apart. This story does follow every crime story of an undercover officer getting too close to one person just before the bust which will see the friendships shattered. The story will give us nothing new, we know how everything will unfold and by the end you will be left thinking we could find other films doing the same thing, only better.

CrimeThe crime world we are thrown into shows us just how drugs will consume people with power.

SettingsThe film shows us how the people who are involved in the drug world are more often than not from the poorer neighbourhoods and it is their only escape.

Scene of the Movie – The struggles Kat has away from the crime world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is nothing original.

Final Thoughts This is a bland crime film that we have seen before and offers us nothing new to the genre.

Overall: Been here Seen it.

The Shed (2019) Movie Review

Director: Frank Sabatella

Writer: Jason Rice, Frank Sabatella (Screenplay)

Starring: Jay Jay Warrne, Cody Kostro, Sofia Happonen, Frnak Whaley, Timothy Bottoms, Siobhan Fallon Hogan

Plot: A hunter gets bitten by a vampire and runs into a shed to avoid sunlight. Stan, a 17 y.o. on probation, and his supervisor grandpa live next to it. Stan’s bullied high school buddy can use a monster.

Tagline – Rage cannot be contained.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Shed starts as Stan (Warren) being left in probation with his grandfather Ellis (Bottoms) after the death of his parents, finds a strange monster in his farm shed, a creature that can’t handle sunlight and a lust for blood.

Stan’s best friend Dommer (Kostro) always gets bullied by Marble (Petrovski) and wants to use the creature to get back at the tormentors, while Stan is trying to hold everything together.

Thoughts on The Shed

Characters – Stan has seen his parents die in what sees his family life shattered forced to live with his grandfather under strict rules because of his new rebellious behaviour. He finds a creature in the shed on the farm where he doesn’t know what to do with it after he captures it, but his reputation doesn’t help keep the secret. Dommer is the best friend of Stan’s that is always being bullied at school, with Stan doing what he can to protect him, but he gets tired of Stan wanting his own life, wanting to use the creature for his own good. Roxy is the former friend that has moved to the popular crew at school, she is still the love interest of Stan, while willing to challenge her social status to make sure he is ok still. We get the traditional overly tough acting bully, the strict grandfather, the mysterious creature hiding in the shed.

PerformancesThe performances in the film work well, we get the rebel without a cause like performance in the leading role Jay jar Warren. Nobody does end up getting too much stand out screen time compared to him though.

StoryThe story here follows a rebellious teenager that finds a vampire creature hiding in a farm shed and is left conflicted on how to react to what to do with it, while dealing with the high school politics. When we look at the high school politics, it is everything we have seen before, friendships changing, bullies, love interest, etc, nothing comes off fresh here. What does come off more interesting, is the idea of a vampire trapped in the shed, luring victims in during the day, while Stan must keep it trapped at night, it gives this side of everything the Lost Boys feel it seems to be targeting.

HorrorThe horror comes from the splatter filled attacks by the vampire, most are off camera, while we don’t tend to see the brutality of the attack.

SettingsThe film uses a mix of the small town setting to show how Stan is left in a place where he might not escape, with the farm’s shed for the horror elements of the film, showing it standing in a crop field, with no escape in daytime for the vampire.

Scene of the Movie – The showdown on the farm with the bully.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The high school politics are generic.

Final Thoughts The Shed brings out The Lost Boys spirit of fighting a vampire, while getting bogged down with the standard high school politics.

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – S – Shot Caller (2017) Movie Review

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Writer: Ric Roman Waugh (Screenplay)

Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Emory Cohen, Jeffrey Donovan, Evan Jones

Plot: A newly released prisoner is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Crime 101

Story: Shot Caller starts when known gangster Money (Coster-Waldau) gets released from prison, returning to his gang with Frank (Bernthal) filling in the blanks of his time locked up, with Howie (Cohen) showing him around. Meanwhile Jacob a successful businessman gets involved in an accident which sees his best friend killed and him needing to take a plea to get a shorten prison sentence.

With Jacob being in prison, he builds up the reputation of a criminal, using his skills with money to gain the nickname becoming the big shot that everyone turns too, even though his parole officer Kutcher (Hardwick) is watching his every move once he is on the outside.

Thoughts on Shot Caller

Characters – Jacob was once a brilliant stockbroker until an accident leaves his best friend dead and him facing jail, he isn’t prepared for what he will be facing, until his skills become useful, he rising up the ranks of a gang becoming a man known as Money, who has respect and power, without the evil intentions behind the greed of the other gang members. Kutcher is the parole officer that has been dealing with the criminals, he knows how to get through the people, which unlike most sees him needing to take a stronger stand to get the best out of people. Kate is the wife that Jacob loses with his own mistake, she wants him to consider his options, knowing he is a good man inside, but doesn’t understand the man he has become. Frank is the man that takes Jacob into the criminal lifestyle, showing him the wrong path, which will only lead him to a world of darkness.

PerformancesNikolaj Coster-Waldau does give a strong performance in the leading role of the film, without being anything that we haven’t already seen in the crime world. Omari Hardwick does play an interesting character only we don’t get enough of his character. Lake Bell is the same, she doesn’t do anything wrong, only we could have seen more of her, this could well be the problem for most of the performance, not enough screen time for them.

StoryThe story here follows a stockbroker who is involved in a fatefully accident which sees him put in jail, where he slowly starts to rise up the ranks of a gang, finding herself as part of the big war for power. This story is told in a strange order, which just doesn’t make it easy to enjoy, it follows every single typical idea of how somebody would rise up the ranks of a gang, even if they come from a life where they wouldn’t be anyway near beforehand. We don’t seem to get anything new to the ideas and by the end we know what to expect.

CrimeThe crime side of this film focuses on how the world of crime and how somebody can climb the ranks by knowing how to play the system.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the prisons, showing how Jacob uses his imprisonment to get what he wants.

Scene of the Movie – Cage fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t seem to get the motivation that Jacob has.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime drama that focus on one man’s rise into the gang world after an accident puts his own life into ruins, it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before though.

Overall: By the Book.