The Five (Review)


The Five

aka 더 파이브 aka Deo Paibeu aka The Fives aka Deo pa-i-beu
The Five
2013
Based on The 5ive Hearts by Jeong Yeon-shik
Written and directed by Jeong Yeon-shik

The Five
The Five is a good example of Korean film’s ease of switching emotional tracks like Grand Central Feelings Station. It’s also a good crime film featuring normal people tracking a crazy killer, a good film to watch for fans of shows like Hannibal that regularly depict killers with complicated psychoses and the flawed and broken people who track them down.

The Five began life as a webtoon feature called The 5ive Hearts by Jeong Yeon-shik, who went on to write and direct this adaptation. It’s a tale of desperate people banding together to do a dark task that is much easier said than done.
The Five
A happy and idealic family is shattered by a brutal psychopathic killer. Film production team member (and fancy domino effects designer) Ko Eun-a (Kim Sun-a, She is on Duty) has a normal happy life in Korea, but we’d have no movie if bad things didn’t happen. Eun-a’s daughter recognizes the murderer from seeing him with his latest victim, a former classmate of hers, though she thinks he is the girl’s uncle and doesn’t know she’s been killed. Despite their ignorance, the family is now marked for death by killer Oh Jae-wook (On Joo-wan), who tracks them home and begins the slaughter.

By a sort of miracle, Ko Eun-a survives, though a desperate doctor, Cheol-min (Jung In-gi), is willing to declare her brain dead in order to use her organs on his sick daughter. She awakens just in time, but two years later she’s wheelchair bound, and most of her waking hours are spent trying to track down the person who destroyed her family by the only clue she has, her husband’s lighter that the killer stole. After buying boxes full of the specific lighter, there is finally a clue, and an IP address to track down
The Five
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

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Return of Mr. Superman (Review)


Return of Mr. Superman

Return of Mr. Superman
1960
Written and directed by Manmohan Sabir
Return of Mr. Superman
In 1960, India would release not just one, but two movies featuring the American super hero Superman. Neither film was authorized by DC Comics, and both films starred famed actor P. Jairaj as Superman. Yet weirdly enough, the two films were produced by competing production companies. Both films were originally going to be called Superman, but producers from Mukul Pictures wrote a letter to Manmohan Films (ran by writer/director Manmohan Sabir), which resulted in Manmohan changing the name of their production to Return of Mr. Superman. At least, that’s how the story goes, though the oft-repeated story doesn’t seem to have an actual origin beyond people repeating it. The 1960 Superman film is not available to watch, though some songs from the soundtrack still exist. The only listings I have seen of out of print VCDs or VHS tapes all seem to be about Return of Mr. Superman, so the chances of actually locating the missing Indian Superman film might be a lot closer to zero than I want. If the past few years of lost films arising from the ashes has taught me one thing, it’s to never give up hope. Superman may still be out there, but until he returns to Earth, let’s make do with Return of Mr. Superman!

India would return to Superman a few more times. There is a well-known Hindi version of Superman that has become a common grey-market trading item. There is also a Telugu-language Superman film starring NTR called Superman, which we’ve covered before. Superman’s costume has appeared in musical numbers as well. Let us not forget about the documentary Supermen of Malegaon, which covered the making of a micro-budget Superman bootleg film. Nor is India alone in their bootleg Supermen, he’s popped up in films from Turkey, Bangladesh, and Italy, with suspiciously similar characters appearing in dozens of films from many origins. Superman just has that universal appeal that everyone strives for.
Return of Mr. Superman
Superman here isn’t the classic Superman costume we all know and love (nor is it the awful red and blue costumes from that forgetable story arc) Superman (or Mr. Superman if you’re nasty) looks like Commando Cody, complete with a crazy space goggles, mask, and cap over his head. He’s got a jumpsuit and a big cape, but still manages to not look like any other incarnation of the hero. My favorite aspect isn’t the goggles, but is his face mask that still has a hole cut for the mouth so he can smugly grin at his opponents as they land punch after useless punch against his chest, before he defeats them by lightly tossing them aside.

Superman gets involved in a complicated smuggling plot, dealing with criminals who continue to operate despite some super-powered guy running around foiling all their plans. It’s not a real mystery as to why that is, the cops in the film are so incompetent at catching these criminals that they often don’t catch them despite Superman phoning them with specific instructions. The only one with any competence is the guy who keeps answering Superman’s calls, and the cops only get effective when he’s leading them in the final battle.

Despite the print being in relatively good condition for a 1960 Indian film, there are obviously some missing segments. At one point two women are captured and Superman goes to attack the villains, but there is no actual rescue of the women. In addition, the main villain who sports a beret suddenly has a black eye for reasons unknown, possibly due to said missing rescue. Another thin is the sudden appearance of a Random Hero Dog, who may not be so random if he is from another part of the film, but as that part does not seem to have made it to the VCD releases, who knows. Finally, Helen is featured in the credits, but does not appear in the film as far as I could determine. She is also listed in the credits for the other 1960 Superman film, so maybe something shady was going on, or maybe her big number has been lost to the sands of time.
Return of Mr. Superman
As interesting as this movie sounds, it’s actually pretty close to terrible serials in quality. The chunks missing probably help the pacing a bit, though it looks like a few of those sequences were action parts, so maybe not. Definitely something to seek out for fans of obscure stuff, but Return of Mr. Superman isn’t going to make anyone’s bootleg super hero movie must-see list. It’s interesting for the obvious serial influences, but if you aren’t a fan of serials, you will get really annoyed really quickly.

As this film is obscure as heck, please enjoy the overly long film synopsis review. And there are no subtitles for Return of Mr. Superman, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

P. Jairaj was a Bollywood actor who dated back to the silent era, his first film being 1929′s Jagmugti Jawani. Born Paidypathy Jairula Naidu, Jairaj was the son of an accountant in a well-to-do family in Hyderabad which set up a life for him to follow, but Jairaj dropped out of college to find his own fortune in Bombay. A friend who worked for Mahavir Photoplays figured he would make a good screen actor, and gave him a supporting role. This was quickly followed by the lead in 1930′s Raseeli Rani, and a string of films followed. When sound was introduced to Indian film, Jairaj had an advantage of speaking Hindi and Urdu (Jairaj also spoke Telugu, but I don’t believe he starred in any Telugu language pictures), but had the disadvantage of not being able to sing. Luckily, the playback system saved his bacon, and he continued being an in-demand lead actor through the 1950s. By the 1960s, his star had faded a bit, and he was relegated to character roles, though managing appearances in classic cinema like Sholay, Toofan, and Don. Through the 1980s and 90s he made less and less frequent appearances. He died in relative obscurity in 2000. Jairaj had some directorial credits, was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award in 1980, and is even in the Guinness World Records for having the longest-spanning career of an actor at 70 years.
Return of Mr. Superman
Sheila Ramani was a swinging leading lady in the 1950s, her best known role might be in 1954′s Taxi Driver. She was the niece of Pakistani producer Sheikh Latif (Lachchu), who not only got her some roles in Indian cinema, but some Pakistani films as well (such as Anokhi (1956)). By the end of the 50s, her star was on decline and she appeared in B pictures such as this one and 1959′s Tarzan-inspired Jungle King. She retired from film after getting married.

Filling the supporting/comic relief role here is Majnu. He was born Harold Lewis, a Punjabi actor who debuted in 1935′s Majnu, an action comedy that satirized the story of Layla and Majnun (and provided him with the nickname he’s use for the rest of his career!) Though he started in lead roles, he did a lot of supporting/comedic roles through his long career.
Return of Mr. Superman
So here’s the full scale Roll Call:

Jaikumar R. Dayal (P. Jairaj) – A mild-mannered reporter at the newspaper Azad Desh, Jaikumar uses his super powers to listen for crimes, then beats up the criminals, calls the cops, and writes stories about the crimes.
Mr. Superman (P. Jairaj) – Mr. Superman aka Superman who cosplays as Commando Cody fights villains and stands and grins at his opponents as they inflict zero damage on him. The only way to beat Mr. Superman is to damage his reputation, which he then fights by punching even harder.
Usha (Sheila Ramani) – Usha types up a lot at Azad Desh, and is possibly also a reporter, as she seems to go out and investigate stuff. Maybe she gets two paychecks this way! Or, more likely, it’s just assumed that women do all the typing in 1960.
Johnny Braganza (Majnu) - Jaikumar’s best buddy guy, sort of like Jimmy Olson. He’s dating Stella but always hitting on typist Shammi.
Stella (Naazi) – Johnny’s girlfriend, which occasionally gets her in trouble when Johnny and Jaikumar make enemies and she gets kidnapped. Naazi generally appeared in supporting roles in B-level pictures, including the Dara Singh Hercules (1964). Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much more about her online (unless she is also the actress Naaz?), and Google keeps thinking I mean “Nazi”, which means I’m now on a bunch of lists.
Typist (Shammi) – Shammi has a small role as a typist at the Azad Desh office, where she usually has to put up with Johnny Braganza hitting on her all day. This is especially alarming, because nowadays she’d win a million dollar lawsuit and own the Azad Desh. All hail Boss Shammi! Shammi started work in film in 1949 while she was still working at a pharmaceutical company. Taking a large variety of roles, from comedic to supporting to vamp to mythological, it’s said her willingness to take any part cost her big budget starring roles, but Shammi wanted to work more than anything else.
Inspector Dilip Desai (Ram Mohan) – The cop who does nothing but investigate tips sent in by Superman all day. Which works out pretty well, until the fake Superman starts robbing people. Then he teams up with the real Superman to finally bust the bad guys he keeps missing by a few minutes.
Boss (David) – The boss at the Azad Desh newspaper. Somehow puts up with Jaikumar and Johnny. David Abraham Cheulkar was a popular character actor from the 40s through the 70s. He died of a heart attack in 1981.
The Villain (Jagdish Kanwal) – The beret-wearing villain is played by Jagdish Kanwal. He’s the leader of the smuggling gang, and mastermind of all the evil things going on. Which means he spends the entire film getting foiled again and again before he’s finally defeated. Try not to be a loser next time, villain guy!
Shashi (Heera Sawant) – The bad girl who is part of the evil gang, and tries to kill Superman in between her seductive dancing for the members of the gang (which drives the members mad with fits!) Heera Sawant had a career as a featured dancer in many Indian B pictures.
Fake Superman (???) – It is a mystery who this could be! (Not really!)
Ram Dayal (???) – A local nice guy farmer who finds the alien baby child and raises him as his own son, Jaikumar. Raises his son almost too honest.
Random Hero Dog (???) – In the greatest sequence ever filmed, the exciting conclusion of Return of Mr. Superman features a random brave heroic dog who fights the villains. Where does he come from? Who is he? Questions you will ask forever, because the film doesn’t bother to tell us! Just enjoy the Random Hero Dog, and try to live your life as good as him/her.

Return of Mr. Superman
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 10, 2014 at 7:30 am

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Lifetime gives us the (sigh) Grumpy Cat Christmas Movie trailer


Although I’ve been sick as a deformed internet cat these past few weeks, the world keeps turning, and Lifetime’s tidal wave of junk keeps churning, and out popped the trailer for Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, a movie that demanded to be made. By someone. Someone bad. Bad bad bad!

Thrill as a cat is exploited by its owners! Chill as Aubrey Plaza collects a paycheck. Dill pickles are good to eat, and better than this movie will be. Kill Bill will probably be on another channel if you need to surf. Still, it beats those Fred movies!

As Grumpy Cat is the only cat that looks like her, that means no cats being used as doubles. It also means a bunch of closeup shots of the cat “responding” to things happening and characters carrying around the largely immobile cat. So it will looks sort of weird. The trailer shows it to be sort of self-aware, but all of that is just the voiceover by Aubrey Plaza, so how much is ad-libbed and how much was there originally is a mystery I don’t care enough to solve.

As usual, we’ll hope for the best but expect the worst. Speaking of worst, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever airs Saturday, November 29th on Lifetime.

Grumpy Cat (voiced by Aubrey Plaza) is a lonely cat living in a mall pet shop. Because she never gets chosen by customers, she develops a sour outlook on life…until one day during the holidays, a very special 12-year-old girl named Chyrstal enters the pet store and falls in love with her after realizing she is the only person who can hear this unique cat talk. As the two develop a close friendship during the holiday rush, Grumpy reluctantly thwarts the kidnapping of an exotic dog she dislikes and, on Christmas Eve, rescues Chyrstal after the mall closes. Through her adventures, will Grumpy learn the true meaning of Christmas? Or will it be, in her words, the “Worst. Christmas. Ever?”

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 6, 2014 at 11:44 pm

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Dead on Campus pranks death and destruction on Lifetime!

Dead on Campus Lifetime

A-ha! Drugs! And not even the cool drugs, these are lame drugs! You’re out of the sorority, sister!


Despite popping up on their schedule and being in a press release, Lifetime hasn’t been overdoing the marketing for Dead on Campus, their new original movie airing Saturday, November 8. It’s almost as if it is getting lost in the shuffle of grumpy cats, Christmas cheer, and miniseries announcements. But TarsTarkas.NET cares, and despite a killer cold, we’ve been paying attention to the upcoming slate of films and can now break out the Dead on Campus information that deserves to be free to the world!

College should have been the best time of Natalie’s life, especially when she pledged Phi Delta Pi, one of the most prestigious sororities in the country. What initially feels like a welcoming sisterhood turns into a strange hazing when Natalie learns she’s required to seduce an awkward college student named Sumner to continue her pledge. When Natalie reluctantly complies by bringing Sumner to her dorm, her “sisters” play a prank that results in the drugging of Sumner and his accidental death. Natalie is accepted into the lavish world of Phi Delta Pi, but only if she keeps her mouth shut. As Sumner’s older sister starts questioning the circumstances of his accident, the pressure builds for Natalie, who is feeling increasingly manipulated by Alexis and her cohorts. She realizes Alexis has no intention of telling the truth and will cut anyone down who attempts to threaten her reputation, even if it means framing Natalie.

Dead on Campus stars Katelyn Tarver (Big Time Rush) as Natalie Kellison, Nicki Aycox (Dark Blue) as Danielle Williams, and Tamara Duarte (Degrassi: The Next Generation) as Alexa Cooper. It’s directed by Curtis Crawford (Killing Daddy, four different “The ________ Met Online” Lifetime films), which means he is very good at delivering crazy Lifetime drama. Dead on Campus is written by John Serge (A Sister’s Revenge)

Hazing is bad, but watching crazy movies is good, so do that instead!

via Lifetime

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm

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The Christmas Secret will be revealed on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries!

The Christmas Secret Hallmark Movies Mysteries

Can you guess my secret? It’s that I’m not wearing any pants!


Despite Hallmark Channel dropping 12 new Christmas movies, they haven’t forgotten about their newly renamed spinoff channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (formerly Hallmark Movie Channel), and have gifted them two additional premieres. The second is The Christmas Secret, based on the book by Donna Vanliere. The mystery is the secret, because secrets are mysterious. Though it doesn’t look like this is a murder mystery, just a drama mystery.

With Christmas approaching in the charming, small town of Wilsonville, struggling waitress Christine Eisley’s (Lenz) life is coming undone. She’s been fired from her job, evicted from her home and her ex-husband is taking her to court for custody of their children (Miller and Ainscough). To make matters worse, she’s misplaced a very special family heirloom, a star-shaped locket handed down from her father, who disappeared from her life when she was a young girl. But things seem to be looking a little brighter for Christine when she lands a new job working with a gregarious bakery owner (Cavendish) and a holiday romance begins to blossom, with Jason (Reardon), the handsome grandson of a sweet couple (Hogan and Hogan) who own a popular local store. As she uncovers a long-standing family secret, Christine’s luck might be starting to turn, bringing her good fortune and true love just in time for Christmas.

Wilsonville? Is this set in some dystopian version of a world where someone who was going to kill himself was shown this vision where he didn’t exist and some guy named Wilson now owns this town? Well, dystopian people need Christmas miracles too, and they come in the form of waitresses getting jobs at a bakery. Take that, George Bailey!

The Christmas Secret stars Bethany Joy Lenz, John Reardon, Susan Hogan, Michael Hogan, Venus Terzo, Nicola Cavendish, Karin Konoval, Jaeda Lily Miller, William Ainscough, and Greyston Holt. It’s directed by Norma Bailey (An Officer and a Murderer) The Christmas Secret is written by Judd Parkin (Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life) and Wesley Bishop (The Road to Christmas), based on the novel by Donna Vanliere.

The Christmas Secret premieres December 7th on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries!

via Hallmark
Photo via Hallmark Press/Bettina Strauss

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 29, 2014 at 9:18 am

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It’s a Santa conspiracy on Hallmark Channel’s Christmas Under Wraps!

Christmas Under Wraps Hallmark

Ha-HA! I have crushed my true love beneath this tree, in celebration of the true meaning of Christmas!


Christmas is the time for conspiracies, because you never know which eccentric old man is actually Santa Claus! Especially when you are trapped in a gender-reversed Northern Exposure Christmas romance Hallmark Channel movie! Actually, it’s sort of obvious which eccentric old man is secretly Santa Claus in this film, because the synopsis spells it out for you. But is he really Santa? Also, will Candace Cameron-Bure decide Alaska is the bee’s knees? And how come with the huge gender gap in Alaska is she only getting one guy hitting on her? Christmas Under Wraps will answer all these questions, specially my questions about why there is a dog featured in many of the publicity photos yet not mentioned at all in the plot synopsis. Is the dog really Santa, and Brian Doyle-Murray is just pretending? Probably not, but you never know. Not until you watch Christmas Under Wraps on Hallmark Channel!

Christmas Under Wraps is part of Hallmark’s The 12 New Movies of Christmas in their Countdown to Christmas celebration.

Dr. Lauren Brunell (Bure) has her whole life planned out. As a third year surgery resident, she is counting on being accepted into a prestigious hospital fellowship to follow in the footsteps of her supportive father, Henry (Pine). But when those plans quickly fall apart, and Lauren is put on the wait list, she must take the only other opening available: a head doctor position in the small, remote town of Garland, Alaska. Convincing herself it is only temporary, Lauren moves to Garland where she is immediately charmed by Andy (O’Donnell), a handsome local who soon starts to show her the importance of living in the moment and enjoying her unexpected adventure. As Lauren excels as Garland’s trusted doctor, she warms up to the friendly town, and even starts falling for Andy. But Andy’s father, Frank (Doyle-Murray), is hiding something from her in his top-secret shipping warehouse. From his busy holiday workload, to his reindeer barn, to his weakness for cookies, it seems Frank’s family business has a lot in common with the North Pole. Just as Lauren decides to get to the bottom of her suspicions, she receives news that will force her to make a choice between the life she’s always planned and the love she never expected to find, while knowing for certain that the Christmas season will never be the same.

Christmas Under Wraps stars Candace Cameron-Bure (Full House) as Lauren Brunell, David O’Donnell (12 Wishes of Christmas) as Andy Holliday, Kendra Mylnechuk (Winter in the Blood) as Billie, Brian Doyle-Murray (Caddyshack) as Frank Holliday, Robert Pine (CHiPS) as Henry, Joyce Cohen (Pirates of the Great Salt Lake) as Maggie, and Page Petrucka (A Christmas Wish) as Hattie. It’s directed by Peter Sullivan (High School Possession, Christmas Twister) and written by Jennifer Notas (Stolen from the Womb, Perfect on Paper)

Seems like it could be okay, but I’d be more interested in Santa conspiracies than the love story. Still, your mileage may very. Catch Christmas Under Wraps as it premieres on November 29th on Hallmark Channel!

Photos via Hallmark Press/Fred Hayes

Christmas Under Wraps Hallmark

If would be cool if there suddenly there is a 20 minute sequence of a dog wandering around in the movie, for no reason at all!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

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