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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review: 'Deadly Inn'

Talk about a real Motel Hell! The bed and breakfast in "Deadly Inn" (which premiered last week on Lifetime" is not the place to go for relaxation. Guests expecting some R&R at this place find M&M (murder and mayhem)!

Blame it all on a guest named Beth (played expertly by Aria Pullman). Her name is actually Iris, and she once resided in the gorgeous mansion that is the titular inn. She's off her rocker and was institutionalized after accidentally killing her daughter. After that tragedy, interior designer Robin (Angie Patterson) and her adopted daughter Ava (Kate Mina Lin) purchase the place and transform it into a rural getaway. Helping out is hunky handyman Drew (Chad Michael Collins).

Beth (aka Iris) arrives to the hotel fresh from the local mental ward. She is still grieving for her daughter and fixates her maternal obsessions on Ava. One problem ... Robin! So, Beth proceeds to whip up all kinds of plans to screw things up for Robin and her plans to make the mansion a successful B&B. Her plans become jeopardized when a mystery author arrives to the manor and may blow her cover.

Well, Beth is a super psycho. She obliterates anyone who gets in the way of a possible mom-daughter connection with unsuspecting Ava. She's armed with spiders and paperclips ... and won't hesitate to file a false sexual harassment claim. Meanwhile, poor Robin is clueless that the dead guests and other mishaps are caused by Beth (Iris).

This movie is awesome from the get-go. Solid performances from the cast, particularly dueling leads Pullman and Patterson. It's a bit predictable, but director John Murlowski knows how to handle tele-thrillers like this one. He's the guy who delivered previous Lifetime classics like "Fatal Defense" and "Bad Twin."

Of course, there are some loose ends that the audience is asked to overlook ... including how a designer, handyman and little girl transform a dusty mansion into a spectacular bed and breakfast! This is the kind of project that would require teams of home renovation professionals!

Regardless, make plans to check in to "Deadly Inn" the next time it airs on Lifetime or LMN. It's a top notch made-for-TV pic with a memorable hotel of horrors.

"Deadly Inn": Directed by John Murlowski; Starring Aria Pullman as Beth/Iris, Angie Patterson as Robin, Chad Michael Collins as Drew, Kate Mina Lin as Ava

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review: ' Cocaine Godmother'

There was a lot of hype leading up to last week's Lifetime premiere of "Cocaine Godmother." The biopic of notorious coke queen Griselda Blanco had been anticipated by many. For some, Oscar winner Catherine Zeta Jones was the selling point. Others may have been fans of 2006 documentary "Cocaine Cowboys," which focused much attention on Blanco's violent exploits.

The buzz continued on Twitter, and it was a bit mixed. Some Tweeters complained that the movie was all over the place. Others were in awe of Jones' portrayal of Blanco.

Well, Jones was pretty good as the erratic, drug addled crime lord, but the movie did seem a bit disjointed at times. It starts off (literally) with a bang as an adolescent Blanco is used as a prostitute by her abusive mother in Colombia. When a john doesn't pay up, a young Blanco shoots him dead. That's the audience's introduction to the titular character, who makes her way to the U.S. as an entrepreneurial drug smuggler. She woos gangsters and earns favor from drug lord Pablo Escobar. She also picks up a girlfriend Carolina (Jenny Pellicer).

Blanco proves she is not a woman to be trifled with. She has her son's girlfriend's father murdered and shows no mercy towards anyone who crosses her path. Her drug empire grows and her sons (Matteo Stefan, Jose Julian, Spencer Borgeson) become her principal henchmen alongside wise hitman Rudy (Alejandro Edda). With power, however, comes recklessness and an addiction to cocaine. She obviously didn't watch "Scarface" (which came out around the same time as the real Blanco's bloody reign). 

Hot on Blanco's trail though are DEA agents who are equally tenacious and determined to end her reign of terror.

Jones is cool in this movie (think a less salcious Angie Dickinson in "Big Bad Mama") with wild eyes, random tantrums and an indecipherable accents. Pellicer is understated as the girlfriend in the wings, who watches her lover spin out of control.

Blanco's story would have been better served in a mini-series, but this movie is a nice detour from traditional Lifetime fare.

"Cocaine Godmother": Directed by Guillermo Navarro; Starring Catherine Zeta Jones as Griselda Blanco, Raul Mendez as Dario Sepulveda, Juan Pablo Espinosa as Alberto Bravo, Jenny Pellicer as Carolina

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Review: 'Deadly Delusion'

Haylie Duff is one of this blogger's favorite Lifetime regulars, and she doesn't disappoint in "Deadly Delusion" (originally titled "The Lease"). This thriller premiered last Friday and airs again today at 3 p.m. (CST) on Lifetime.

Duff stars as Julia, a woman in therapy. She's being treated by the Spock-like Dr. Leary (related to Timothy?) played by the always awesome Teri Polo. She's also involved with the sensitive and hunky Shane (Mike Faiola), who has led their relocation to the west coast. He works in the movie industry as an executive and film director boss Robert (Louis Mandylor) helped find an incredible deal on a home and provides Julia with an awesome car. "Perks of the job, babe," Shane reassures her.

The house is incredible, but Julia, a professional photographer, constantly sees shadowy figures lurking in the background ... and finds a snake in the bathroom sink! The constant ticking of the house clock doesn't help her mental state. Shane wants to make sure she's on her meds as every time she cries for help, there's nothing to see. Julia will see someone in the house, scream her head off, and Shane will come dashing to the rescue. Then "poof"... no intruder! It looks like she's off her rocker, but she is convinced someone is stalking her. Her paranoia reaches an all time high when she comes home to find sexy BFF Annie (Melissa Mars) walking out of her shower!

So, what's really going on? Is Julia out of her mind? Is Shane going to tear a quad running to a false alarm? Is Annie doing more than showering at Julia's pad? What exactly is Dr. Leary prescribing??And why is Robert so generous? Oh...and there's the Arthur, the semi-creepy real estate guy ... and all kinds of wires running through the house (part of the electrical system...or something else??).

This movie starts a bit slow, then builds to a pretty cool (and creative) climax. Duff is the main reason to keep watching. She is very convincing as a troubled woman ... who loses credibility with every cry for help. The audience wants to root for her, but most of the time, she comes across as (the title states) delusional. Director Nadeem Soumah is no stranger to building small screen suspense. This guy has helmed classics like "Turbulence" and "Broken Promise" (both make the rounds on the Lifetime Movie Network), so he can deliver the goods when it comes to made-for-TV magic.

"Deadly Delusion" is a tightly-wound thriller the benefits from Duff's portrayal of a woman unraveling and fine supporting performances (particularly Mandylor's small but effective role).

"Deadly Delusion": Directed by Nadeem Soumah; Starring Haylie Duff as Julia, Mike Faiola as Shane, Melissa Mars as Annie, Louis Mandylor as Robert, Teri Polo as Dr. Leary, and Michael Rene Walton as Arthur

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Review: 'Blood, Sweat, and Lies'

It's January, and people will be hitting their respective gyms to shed holiday poundage or prep for dating season! No better time than now to watch a movie about a deranged physical trainer on the Lifetime Movie Network. "Blood, Sweat, and Lies" debuted last night and was a perfect premiere for the first Friday of 2018!

At the film's onset we meet a knife-wielding Melissa (Hannah Barefoot). She's not the killer...but probably felt like using a blade on her douche boyfriend Carter (Drew Roy), who dumps her. Let's try to forget that Melissa is a beautiful art gallery owner. She's still bummed out! Her BFF Leslie (Briana Lane) suggests she get back in the game and tighten it up at the gym. Again...let's try to overlook the fact that Melissa already is fairly athletic looking. She hits up the nearby fitness center, which looks like it's in a garage or loading dock. Pumped up trainer Trey (Adam Huber) takes an immediate interest in her and sells her on his services.

Guess what happens. Trey becomes infatuated with her and is committed to her workout goals. He also rigs her fitness watch, so he can track her every move -- even monitoring her heart rate while she sleeps!! Bad news for Trey the trainer. Melissa meets hot art patron Adam (Matt Cedeno), and sparks fly.

Trey begins screw things up for the budding couple and pushes his client to her physical boundaries. He also is a bit too touchy feely!! This dude loves to stroke Melissa's shoulders and get too close for comfort.

 Huber is excellent as the scheming creeper. His menacing gaze speaks volumes about Trey's obsession. Barefoot is equally awesome as Melissa, who is committed to pumping up in the gym and getting her love life back on track. Their chemistry as predator and unwitting prey is classic Lifetime fare. Cedeno is picture perfect as Melissa's prince in waiting, and Lane is solid as Melissa's suspicious buddy.

Amanda Bermudez' story rolls along nicely under director Lane Shefter Bishop's guidance. No dull moments (although a few predictable ones) in this movie. So, if you plan to hit the gym this new year and cut down on TV, watch this movie first! It may inspire you to put down the weights and hold that remote control a little tighter.

"Blood, Sweat, and Lies": Directed by Lane Shefter Bishop; Starring Hannah Barefoot as Melissa, Adam Huber as Trey, Matt Cedeno as Adam, and Briana Lane as Leslie

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: 'Bad Sister'

I can't think of a better way to spend Sunday morning than watching a naughty nun wreak havoc on the Lifetime Movie Network. This Sunday, "Bad Sister" takes over the television pulpit at 8 a.m. (CST), and God help any non-believers.

This nugget premiered a few years ago, but I am just NOW getting to it on my DVR. It's definitely a doozy filled with the usual Lifetime plot elements -- sex, psychotic vixens, troubled teens, etc.

Jason Brady (Devon Wekheiser) is a kid with some problems. For one, he's enrolled at Parochial school, which may fuel his rebellious nature. He also is at odds with his parents and has a slightly troubled past. On the bright side, he's an internet sensation! The kid can play sentimental acoustical ballads like no other and has amassed quite an online following through his videos. One fan happens to be the incredibly crazy -- and equally sexy -- Laura (Alyshia Ocshe in a a great performance).

He's set to return to his uniformed high school life at Saint Adeline's Catholic School alongside his kid sister Zoe (Ryan Newman). Waiting for him is Laura ... or her alter ego, Sister Sophia.

Zoe is wise to the fact that Sister Sophia is a bit out of the ordinary for a nun. The red lipstick might be a dead giveaway. Still, Laura ... er, Sister Sophia manages to earn Jason's trust, as well as his eye.

Slowly but surely, she eliminates the competition, including teen queen Sara (Sloane Avery) by planting a joint on her, and seduces the confused lad. Parading around in red underwear (perhaps the only pair she owns) certainly helps her cause.

Jason is definitely freaked out at the thought of sleeping with a nun! And Sister Sophia doesn't help matters by stalking him and threatening to go public of a sex tape she made of their first encounter. Zoe is hot on Laura/Sister Sophia's trail though, and Sister Rebecca (Helen Eigenberg) is suspicious too.

The rest of the film is typical Lifetime stuff. The pyscho pseudo sister continues to make Jason's life awkward, and this poor kid is at his wit's end. Will Jason recover emotionally to record more music and make amends with his parents (Robert Leeshock, Lise Simms)? Or, will he be the slave of a fiendish fake nun?

It's easy to predict what will happen throughout this movie, and that's not a bad thing! Osche is absolutely perfect as the oversexed psycho. Her portrayal of a desperate, cruel and needy stalker is excellent. Her alluring eyes and flawless smile belie her character's sinister intentions. Good work from Werkheiser, who convincingly plays the teen rebel whose tough exterior is melted by Sister Sophia. And kudos to Newman, who makes an excellent teen sleuth, digging up the dirt on this imposter with a bad habit.

This thriller is brought to one of the high priest of Lifetime excellence, director Doug Campbell, who has helmed a host of Lifetime epics including "Stalked By My Mother," "Stalked By My Doctor," "Stalked By My Neighbor," and "Backstabbed" to name a few. So, we're treated to a fast-paced mix of thrills and chills.

"Bad Sister" is definitely a great Lifetime movie. Don't take my word for it. Check it out this Sunday before heading off to mass ... or stumbling in from a night of fun.

"Bad Sister": Directed by Doug Campbell; Starring Alyshia Ochse as Laura/Sister Sophia, Devon Werkheiser as Jason, Ryan Newman as Zoe, Robert Leeshock as Gavin Brady, Lise Simms as Cheryl Brady, Helen Eigenberg as Sister Rebecca.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: 'My Baby is Gone'

Of course, Labor Day was the perfect time to watch a marathon of baby-themed thrillers ("Cradle Swapping," etc.). And "My Baby is Gone" was the perfect movie to wind down a three day weekend.

This is the latest movie about a psycho who wants someone else's kid. In this movie, the psycho is pregnancy pretender Kelly (Anna Van Hooft). The baby she wants belongs to the very pregnant Emily (Elisabeth Harnois). Kelly moves in next door with a beach ball-sized baby bump and declares that she and Susan are "belly buddies."

Susan's had a difficult pregnancy. She's still having some issues following a previous stillborn delivery and is on some serious meds. She certainly needs a friend because she's suspicious of BFF Susan (Nicole LaPlaca) having a fling with hubby Peter (Ryan S. Williams). She may definitely finds the wrong friend in Kelly.

Why is Kelly not a good candidate for Buddy of the Year? Well, she's keeping an old woman captive in her basement and swings a mean fireplace poker. Perhaps her most malevolent deed is recommending a change in Emily's baby shower theme!! Still, something more sinister lurks on Kelly's agenda.

Susan knows something's up, but Emily isn't buying it. Peter, on the other hand, joins a legion of clueless husbands that occupy Lifetime movies.

In terms of baby snatching thrillers, this one's definitely awesome. The two leads are particularly good. Harnois is solid in her performance as a woman still grieving over her previous baby and not really coming to terms with her current pregnancy. Van Hooft provides a natural villain, with her steely stare and split personality -- cold at one moment, sunny the next. Her  diabolical performance is reason enough to check it out. Plus, it's directed by Lifetime veteran actor Steve Bacic ("Deadly Sorority," "Get Out Alive"), who knows a thing or two about these kinds of thrillers.

I'm not sure when the exact delivery date for "My Baby is Gone" is, but it will be part of LMN's "Mama Drama" marathon on Oct. 6 -- a perfect time to welcome this latest addition to the Lifetime family of movies.

"My Baby is Gone": Directed by Steve Bacic; Starring Eliabeth Harnois as Emily; Anna Van Hooft as Kelly, Nicole LaPlaca as Susan, Ryan S. Williams as Peter. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Review: 'Psycho Wedding Crasher'

I took a slight hiatus from this blog for work and other reasons, including a little storm named Harvey. Well, I managed to get back into it this weekend -- "Happily Never After Weekend" -- and caught the premiere of "Psycho Wedding Crasher."

It was one of those Lifetime movies that rocked from the first minute, but that's to be expected from any movie with "Psycho" in the title. In this movie, we meet the newest Lifetime crazy, Jenna (Heather Morris). She's a bit of a wallflower and socially awkward. Blame it on nutty Aunt Daisy (Joan Van Ark), who constantly berates her about being single and worthless. Daisy is a dressmaker and works up a magical gown for Marci (Fiona Vroom), who is set to wed Glenn (Jason Cermak). Well, Jenna winds up making friends with Marci and Glenn and attends their wedding. Unfortunately, Glenn becomes Jenna's Prince Charming, and she becomes obsessed with him.

So, Jenna begins to systematically screw up Marci and Glenn's marriage by planting fake affair evidence in their house. She also fakes a sexual assault -- blaming on Glenn's bro Scott (Robert Salvador) -- and ultimately goes into murder mode.

Morris is nothing short of awesome as psycho Jenna. Her outbursts, crazed giggles and glassy eyed stares are pretty convincing. Van Ark, however, is this movie's biggest psycho as she destroys her niece's confidence with a steely gaze and stern insults. The rest of the cast is effective, particularly Vroom as the insecure new bride and Cermak as the clueless husband.

This is a familiar plot, but director David Langlois does a great job building the suspense to a boiling point. Morris steals the show as the crazed Jenna. She expertly blends a sweet, naivety with psychotic tendencies. Again, many props to veteran Van Ark as the lady who drives her over the edge.

This is a very good thriller and will likely be a staple on Lifetime or LMN. Definitely say "I do," the next time it makes the rounds on Lifetime's schedule.

"Psycho Wedding Crasher": Directed by David Langlois; Starring Heather Morris as Jenna, Joan Van Ark as Aunt Daisy, Fiona Vroom as Marci, Jason Cermak as Glenn, Robert Salvador as Scott and Paula Giroday as Chelsea.