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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Review: 'Stalked By My Mother'

Another "Stalked By My..." movie enters the Lifetime canon. This one has an overprotective mom as the stalker, which is a switch from the usual pervs or obsessives who follow young, unsuspecting co-eds.

In this movie, the mom is Claire (Jennifer Taylor), who has a recurring dream about a time when her daughter was allegedly almost kidnapped from a library. Her long suffering daughter Maddy (Mia Topalian) is having hard time being a teen. Mom Claire constantly wants to know her whereabouts. When Maddy is invited to a college party, mom follows and embarrasses the heck out of her. Mom didn't seem to realize that Maddy has a new college BFF Gina (Danielle Chuchran). Maddy also has a crush on frat daddy Tucker (Spencer Neville), who might actually be a nice guy.

Well, Tucker winds up dead (no surprise), and Maddy is named the suspect after people witness her jealously berating him at another party. Mom didn't approve of the relationship, so can you guess who killed the poor kid? Was it good ol' dad (Brian McGovern), who is on the road constantly and pretty much clueless about what happens at home? Or, perhaps buddy Gina? Hardboiled P.I. Nick (Kevin Scott Allen) is on the case, but will he be too late to save the day?? Well, Lifetime doesn't leave the audiences guessing for long, and I won't ruin it for you.

This is a great addition to an already classic collection of "Stalked By My..." movies. It's action-packed with a few twists and turns ... not to mention some fisticuffs, a shootout, explosions and more.

Taylor is awesome as the mom who is a bit too clingy, and Topalian nails it as the kid just trying to grow up and experience life. Chuchran is the real star of this one as Gina who goes from mousy to gorgeous ... and may hold the key to Maddy's freedom. She will go down as one of the great Lifetime characters after this one! Also, I love McGovern as the dad who could care less that his daughter is in jail. "Somebody's gotta work," he says as he packs his bags for a business trip.

Director Doug Campbell is no stranger to this fare. He helmed the two "Stalked By My Doctor" movies and "Stalked By My Neighbor," as well as several other great movies.

"Stalked By My Mother" airs again 5 p.m. (CST) , Jan. 6 (MY BIRTHDAY) on Lifetime Movie Network, so set the DVR or settle in for a pretty cool rollercoaster of a movie.

"Stalked By My Mother": Directed by Doug Campbell; Starring Danielle Chuchran (Gina), Jennifer Taylor (Claire), Mia Topalian (Maddy), Brian McGovern (Sean) Kevin Scott Allen (Nick), Ted Jonas (David), Leith M. Burke (Detective Kelly)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Review: 'Bad Twin'

Sometimes, it doesn't pay to be a kind, sympathetic sibling. Radio shrink Dr. Jen (played by the always awesome Haylie Duff) finds this out the hard way in "Bad Twin."

Last night, this shocker premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network, and it did not disappoint.

Dr. Jen is a helpful voice for listeners, but an annoyance to her psycho sister Cassie (Jacy King). So much so, Cassie camps outside the station and viciously attacks her. She's dragged to the psych ward and leaves her very weird twin daughters Olivia and Quinn (both played by Grace Van Dien) with no guardian.

It's up to Dr. Jen to take them into her lavish mansion and be a kindly aunt. That's her first mistake because the twins are in cahoots with their scheming mom. Once they learn that radio psychology is a legit and profitable career path, they want a piece of the action. So, the twins begin thwarting the good doctor and making her life a living hell -- placing acid in her moisturizer, attempting to poison her boyfriend, burying her stuff in the backyard. And God help anyone who gets in their way! Jen's assistant Gail (Charlotte Graham) is definitely at risk after they overhear her recommendation NOT to adopt them. Remember the mischievous twins from "The Parent Trap?" Well, these girls are more like the ghostly girls from "The Shining!" They are super creepy!

Credit Van Dien (daughter of the great Casper Van Dien) for creating these haunting sisters. She is very good in both roles and scary in all the right moments. King also is effective as their crazy mom. Duff, meanwhile, is believable as the sister trying to do good ... but paying a heavy price.

Director John Murlowski keeps things moving briskly, and keeps the audience on its toes. Likewise, he's able to make Van Dien convincing as twins. The effects are pretty good in this one as both Olivia and Quinn appear side by side without any visible movie fakery.

The conclusion of the film is quite ... buzzworthy (pun intended).  Also, look for a cameo by Barry Livington -- aka Ernie Douglas from "My Three Sons." It's sure to air again soon, so keep an eye on LMN's schedule for listings.

"Bad Twin:" Directed by John Murlowski; Starring Haylie Duff as Jen, Grace Van Dien as Olivia/Quinn; Jacy King as Cassie, Scott Bailey as Kevin, Barry Livingston as Dr. Frank; Amber Friendly as Robin; Charlotte Graham as Gail.

'Turbulence' Takes Off Tonight on LMN!!

Tonight, two of Lifetime's superwomen, Dina Meyer and Victoria Pratt, clash in "Turbulence!" The Lifetime Movie Network premieres this action thriller at 7 p.m.  CST. This promises to be an awesome evening of action. Check out the quickie fan video below, and check this blog tomorrow for a review.

Update: Had the wrong date on the original video post...now fixed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: 'Evil Nanny'

"Evil Nanny" sounds like it might be a horror story for parents, but it actually will induce more nightmares in property managers or landlords. Yep, Lifetime knows how to get back into reality after four weeks of Christmas bliss. Last night's Lifetime Movie Network premiere of "Evil Nanny" was definitely a sucker punch to anyone still high on the holidays.

Things heat up (literally) from the get go as foster kid from hell Alexa (Lindsay Elston) sets fire to her former home for wayward girls. She hits the road and manages to use a false identity to secure a nanny gig with super couple Fay (Nicole Sterling) and Tim (Michael Pohlkamp) and their adorable kids. Things get off to a promising start until Fay and Tim host a party that leaves Alexa (now going by Jen) too hungover to care for the children. Instead of calling the cops or filing child endangerment charges at Alexa/Jen, the couple throws her out.

Bad move. You see, Alexa seems to know the law and manipulates it into her favor. It seems that she has legally become a resident at Fay and Tim's dream home, so they have to file an eviction notice. I've been a renter, but I never knew how much of a hassle this actually is until watching this movie. Alexa basically sets up shop, invites drug dealing buddies over, parties and gets on everyone's nerves. Tim and Fay are basically powerless. She foils every legal move they make, and plays the victim every time it looks like they have the goods on her. 

Helping her is thug boyfriend Wade (Stephen Barrington) with his "Wussup" attitude and bandana and nerd-in-lust neighbor Kyle (Kevin Grady). Holding the key to Tim and Fay's salvation is a former foster kid Wren (Tegan Sirset in a fine supporting role), who is fearful of Alexa's wrath.

Thinking about renting a property or letting a friend crash on your couch?? Watch this movie, and you might think twice. 

I was a bit dubious about this until I posed the question on Twitter about the validity of this movie. Several responses indicated that stuff like this actually happens, and one Tweeter shared this bizarre story about a nanny who dug in and won't leave a family's house!

Of course, this isn't just an exercise in tenants' rights. Alexa is indeed evil, and the film comes to a bloody conclusion. Elston knows how to push buttons as a villain, and Sterling is convincing as the desperate yet hopeless heroine mom. It's a nicely packaged thriller that will leave many audiences furious until the end...but even the film's conclusion may leave viewers mad (no spoilers). 

"Evil Nanny" is another awesome offering from the fine filmmakers at The Aslylum, who brought us the Sharknado series and a host of Lifetime classics including "Foreclosed" and "Break-up Nightmare". Missed it last night? It airs next on Lifetime at 5 p.m. (CST), Jan. 7 on Lifetime.

"Evil Nanny": Directed by Jared Cohn; Starring Nicole Sterling as Fay, Mathew Pohlkamp as Tim; Lindsay Elston as Alexa/Jen; Kevin Grady as Kyle; Stephen Barrington as Wade; Tegan Sirset as Wren

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Not on Lifetime: 'Save Me'

What better way to return to blogging about Lifetime movies than with a movie that is NOT on Lifetime!

The few followers of this blog may recall that I also review movies on other networks that can easily fit into the Lifetime or Lifetime Movie Network schedule. This week's movie has Lifetime written all over it, but is so laden with sex and nudity that an edited version might only last 30 minutes or so.

Anyone remember "Save Me," a steamy, sleazy '90s thriller? I am pretty sure I saw it a few years ago but ran across it again on Impact Action on Demand. I'd say that this movie is 90 percent sex and 10 percent plot.

The always excellent Harry Hamlin plays Jim, a lonely, divorced accountant. He's having a tough time adjusting to his life as a single stud. Not helping matters is the fact that his boss Robbins (Steve Railsback) absolutely hates him. One day after work, Jim spies Ellie (the super sexy Lysette Anthony) entering a lingerie shop at the mall. He's instantly attracted to her and follows her in ... even peering at her as she tries on underwear in the store (not in the dressing room). They make eye contact and she departs with the gruff, domineering Oliver (Michael Ironside). She manages to leave him a sticky note with her number and a message, "Save me."

He's intrigued, so he calls Ellie and discovers that she is pretty much Oliver's prisoner. Even worse, her old, decrepit mother is at risk from this allegedly abusive lout too. All of this is communicated fairly briefly because Ellie immediately seduces Jim. The next part of the movie is pretty much non-stop sex...in the lingerie shop, in a car, Jim's house, a cabin, etc. In between the heavy breathing, she manages to divulge more details of her sordid relationship with Oliver and seeks refuge in Jim's house. Meanwhile, Robbins places Jim on double-secret work probation. Oh ... and someone is trying to kill Jim. He dodges speeding cars and vehicles, and becomes as obsessive as Oliver is about his blonde beauty. At one point, he even becomes as bad as his apparent nemesis.

After watching tons of holiday movies this month, "Save Me" was a perfect post-holiday treat. Credit the super cool cast, which also included the recently departed Bill Nunn and Kato Kaelin(!). Hamlin and Anthony are picture perfect as lusty lovers. Railsback and Ironside really steal the show though! Director Alan Roberts (who also passed away in 2016)  keeps things rolling along at a nice pace. He's the mastermind behind the '80s late-night fare such as the "Young Lady Chatterly" movies and the action epic "Karate Cop," so you know you're in capable hands. Still, there are numerous questions that will arise at the movie's conclusion, but I won't pose them here. I'll let the ending be a surprise, but it's safe to say, most Lifetimers will figure it out by the third sex scene.

There's a nice balance of action and suspense in this one. And did I mention that there's a LOT of love making in this one. So much so, I'd be surprised if either Hamlin or Anthony didn't need stunt doubles for some scenes.

If you have Comcast/Xfinity, look for Impact under "Networks." This nifty on-demand channel is chock full of gems like this one. I also located it here on YouTube.

"Save Me": Directed by Alan Roberts; Starring Harry Hamlin as Jim, Lysette Anthony as Ellie, Steve Railsback as Robbins, Michael Ironside as Oliver, Joseph Campanella as Barton, Bill Nunn as Detective Vincent, Sigal Diamant as lingerie sales clerk; Olivia Hussey as Gail.

Back in Action!

Hello Lifetimers! I took a bit of a hiatus from the blog to adjust to a new job ... and because there seemed to be a slower output of Lifetime movies in the fall. Some of the newer fare just didn't appeal to me (Sorry, Lifetime) ... particularly the ripped-from-the-headlines stories about kidnap victims or recaps on the JonBenet Ramsey mystery.

In any event, I am ready to re-devote my energies to recapping and reviewing the awesome films of Lifetime and the Lifetime Movie Network ... even though I missed the slew of holiday movies that permeated the airwaves during the last two months.

Looking forward to a great 2017! Stay tuned for new reviews.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

REVIEW: 'Killer Coach'

Well, the Olympics are over, and the biggest headlines came from U.S. splashman Ryan Lochte's misbehavior. Well, his antics -- as bad as they were -- are nothing compared to the title character in "Killer Coach."

This stalker sports flick premiered a few weeks back and is part of a great Sunday line-up on the Lifetime Movie Network (airing at 9 p.m. CST). It focuses on high school super swimmer Samantha (the gorgeous Javicia Leslie), who is feeling the pressures of balancing athletic and academic excellence. It doesn't help that her mom (Keesha Sharp) is her coach and she has a very needy boyfriend (Cameron Jebo). Enter assistant coach Bryce (Tom Maden) who knows a thing or two about the breast stroke ... and he's a decent swimmer too.

Samantha is pretty much at a breaking point but connects with swim stud Bryce. He helps her pool performance, then proceeds to seduce her. Samantha instantly regrets their fling and tries to cool things off. It doesn't take a psychic to predict where this is going. Bryce is yet another Lifetime clinger. He texts, calls and stalks the heck out of poor Samantha. And in true Lifetime fashion, Bryce spends a lot of time wrecking her life with a secret video of their tryst and additional dirt.

"Killer Coach" is pretty much "Swimfan"-lite. The coach is more conniving than an actual killer, and it takes a while before he even attempts to murder anyone. Still, Jebo is an excellent villain. As Bryce, he exudes charm yet desperation. Leslie and Sharp might be the most beautiful mom-daughter duo I've seen in a Lifetime flick! They have great chemistry on screen, and Leslie in particular is excellent as the confused victim of Bryce's charms.

Admittedly, it's pretty typical of Lifetime stalker movies, but is still entertaining. Good performances and a well-paced story make this a solid entry into Lifetime's collection of movies about one-night stands gone wrong.

"Killer Coach": Directed by Lee Friedlander; Starring Javicia Leslie as Samantha; Keesha Sharp as Gina; Tom Maden as Bryce; Cameron Jebo as Lucas; Madison Iseman as Emily; Taylor Keene as Tracie 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Celebrating Eric Roberts!

Today is Labor Day, and perhaps no actor works harder than the legendary Eric Roberts. Turn on any channel right now, and you're sure to find him in a great movie. Of course, he's a Lifetime staple, and tonight, the network premieres his latest masterpiece "Stalked By My Doctor: The Return."

It's not often that Lifetime movies actually get a sequel, but the original "Stalked By My Doctor" rocked, so it's well deserving of a second chapter.

Today, LM Mental celebrates the legendary Mr. Roberts, the man with the best hair on Lifetime. Here's a rundown of some of his best movies:

1) "Stalked By My Doctor" - Gotta start with this one. Roberts is extra creepy as the perv physician with a God complex. He's also a Stage 5 clinger! He already is a bit needy, but when he saves a beautiful teenager's life, he hears wedding bells. Never mind that her mom is even younger than him, this doc is in love ... and insane.

2) "Fatal Desire" - Robert is a good guy in this one, and he's great. This is one of those movies warning against online relationships. Roberts plays nice guy Joe who falls for Tanya (Anne Heche). They fall in love ... and lust. This affair has some repercussions though. According to Tanya, her husband is an abusive thug, which leads Joe to make a tough decision regarding his future with her.

3) "The Wrong Roommate" - Roberts has a small but good role in this one. Again, he plays a good guy. He's Floyd, the concerned professor friend of fellow educator Laurie (Jessica Morris). Laurie has just gone though a bad break up with cheating hubby Mark (William McNamara). So, she and her niece have some room to spare in their awesome mansion. She starts renting out a room to hunky artist Alan (Jason Shane-Scott). Guess what! That's is a major mistake as he's a dangerous thug! Floyd tries to play detective, but winds up as a victim of Alan's wrath.

4) "A Fatal Obsession" - We only get a few minutes of Roberts in this thriller, but he's awesome. He plays an alcoholic author whose career is on the skids. He's married to a photographer (Tracy Nelson) and a dad to a nice teen. Still, he can't get his act together. He's an abusive lout, so they flee his wrath. He follows, but with a new face and identity.

"Stalked My Doctor: The Return" promises to be a great Labor Day movie, so tune in this evening at 7 p.m. (CST).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

REVIEW: "Unwanted Guest"

I never took college friends home with me. Our house was small, my dad was grumpy and I am pretty sure my mom would be bent out of shape regarding cleaning the house and having enough food.

So, the psycho in "Unwanted Guest" would have been screwed had she tried to latch on to me like a crazy leech. That doesn't mean that this movie did not resonate with me...in fact, I LOVED it. It's one of the coolest Lifetime thrillers I've seen in a while. 

So, the plot focuses on the super nice Christine (Valentina Novakovic), who invites nerdy Amy (the incredibly awesome Kate Mansi) to her home for the holidays. Apparently, Amy doesn't have a place to go ... and needs a place to hide because she killed someone on campus.

While cops investigate the university murder, Amy makes herself right at home in Christine's mansion. Her mom (my "Daily Show" crush Beth Littleford) is a real estate queen and dad (Ted King) is a super lawyer, so these folks are loaded! It doesn't take long before Amy trades her huge glasses for a nightie and sets her eyes on dear old -- incredibly horny -- dad.

So, Christine falls ill thanks to some poison from pre-med student Amy, and mom is later made a victim. Also at risk is Mr. Chips, Christine's pet hamster!!! Dad, however, is slowly seduced by Amy, so he's safe for a while.

The sexual tension and violence builds to a boiling point, and this movie begins to rack up a body count -- and plenty of tight T-shirt and lingerie shots thanks to Amy. It's pretty typical of Lifetime flicks, but this movie is definitely a classic! Mansi is particularly effective as the sociopathic seductress, flashing that gorgeous smile while unleashing her wrath. King also shines as the the model for a mid-life crisis. Props also go to Littleford and Novakovic who watch on helplessly while Amy destroys their family.

Of course, this slice of excellence is brought to us by legendary producer/director Fred Olen Ray!

It's on Lifetime again at 10 p.m. and is sure to be a network staple. It's definitely one of my recent favorites, so keep an eye out for it alongside other gems about nutty roommates and home wreckers.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Not on Lifetime: "The Boy Next Door"

What better way to kick off the first day of school than with a review of "The Boy Next Door," a tale of a teacher/student relationship gone wrong?

Of course, illicit teacher-student relationships are all over the news. NONE of the convicted educators I've seen on TV, however, look anything like this movie's star, Jennifer Lopez!!

In "The Boy Next Door," J-Lo plays a teacher seduced by a student! Now that's a switch from what we see on the news! Of course, the kid who puts the moves on her also happens to be a raging psychopath!

So, the plot focuses on recently divorced school teacher Claire Peterson (J-Lo). Of course, we're expected to believe that guys aren't beating her door down to get a date! Still, she is unlucky in love, but does have a cool BFF in fellow teacher Ms. Lansing (Kristin Chenowith) and a nice (yet nerdy) son Kevin (Ian Nelson). And the cheating ex (John Corbett) is still hanging around trying to make nice with the woman he betrayed.

Enter new kid in town Noah (Ryan Guzman), who moves in with his uncle -- next door to Claire. He becomes buds with Kevin, who is bullied at school, and pulls the Eddie Haskell routine with all unsuspecting adults. When he's not playing nice, he's appealing to Claire in the classroom with his passion for Homer. Oh, he also watches her undress though her window. 

When Claire has the house to herself, he drops by for dinner, wine and some sex. Yes, Claire is so lonely -- even though she's the most beautiful woman in town and possibly the country -- that she is attracted to a high school student. Don't worry! He's legal (19), so this isn't a completely demented movie. Well, any man 19 or 91 would be obsessed with someone that looks like Claire. And any woman with half a brain would realize that sleeping with a student is very bad news. So, she breaks it to him that this was a one-time fling and it's over. Guess what? Noah's not having it! So, he goes on a rampage stalking her, making sure he gets assigned to her class, then seducing her son's crush.

Claire is worried about keeping her job and sanity throughout this ordeal. Of course, any Lifetime movie aficionado can see where this is going, so I won't deliver the spoilers. I will encourage viewers to stick with this movie through its excellent - and graphic - climax! 

I'd be surprised if this doesn't make it on Lifetime or LMN soon. In the meantime, catch it in full unedited glory on HBO. It's violent, steamy and all around awesome! It airs next at 6:25 p.m., Aug. 31 on HBO Signaure and again at 10:40 p.m., Sept. 4 on HBO 2.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

REVIEW: 'Sorority Nightmare'

Greek life can be a nightmare. Swallowing goldfish ... drink-a-thons ... weird initiations ... and the list goes on when it comes to the horrors of joining frats or sororities. Well, leave it to Lifetime to exploit the crazy lives of sorority sisters. Last night, "Sorority Nightmare" premiered on Lifetime (and it airs again tonight at 6 p.m. CST) and may have scared numerous co-eds out of pledging Greek organizations.

"Sorority Nightmare" (also titled "Twisted Sisters") follows college freshman Sarah (Sierra McCormick). As if college wasn't hard enough, Sarah also is a bit traumatized after losing her sister in a car wreck. Still, she's off to a great start! She has a cool, cute roommate Jodi (Sara Kapner) and is a possible shoe-in for popular sorority Psi Kappa. After all, her mom (Bridget White) was a member, so she's a legacy pledge.

Super student Daisy (Cassidy Gifford) rules this sorority with an iron fist ... often holding a glass of champagne. She forces her sorority sisters to do wild stuff like eat cigarettes and loves to humiliate non-Greeks. So, she's not exactly a barrel of laughs ... but Sarah is drawn to her anyways! Sarah eventually makes it into Psi Kappa, and finds love with track stud Liam (Anthony Del Negro).

Still, something isn't quite right with the Psi Kappas. Daisy is out of control, and weird stuff starts happening ... sorority rivals are duck taped to trees, people are beaten, professors are forced out of the college. It's a mess, but Sarah is clueless ... for a while.

So, there's not much more to say without giving away the movie! So, check it out today and judge for yourself. Gifford pretty much rules the film as the sadistic sorority tyrant! And McCormick is effective as the confused co-ed, who can't free herself from Daisy's grasp. Good performances from Del Negro as the overly nice boyfriend and Kapner as the quirky roommate.

"Sorority Nightmare" is a fun Lifetime movie ... not too dark, and with enough kitsch to keep audiences interested although it takes a while for things to heat up. It's brought to us by the fine folks at Synthetic Cinema, who brought us "The Murder Pact."

"Sorority Nightmare": Directed by Devon Downs and Kenny Gage; Starring Cassidy Giffords as Daisy, Sierra McCormick as Sarah, Anthony Del Negro as Liam, Sara Kapner as Jodi, Anthony Del Negro as Liam, Bridget White as Alice and Katie Sarfie as Maria.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Not on Lifetime: "Intimate Agony"

Before the Lifetime network scared kids out of sex with movies like "She's Too Young," network television was keeping grown-ups out of bed with gems like 1983's "Intimate Agony." Both movies deal with the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, but "Intimate Agony" is definitely a more memorable film considering its all-star cast.

This movie originally aired on ABC (when networks aired plenty of cool made-for-TV flicks) and featured Anthony Geary (a big star at the time thanks to "General Hospital) as Dr. Kyle Richards. He arrives to a community in the Hamptons and makes a shocking discovery ... nearly everyone has herpes!! His playboy buddy Tommy (Mark Harmon in an awesome role) has no doubt been spreading them to his tennis pupils. Married businessman Nick (Brian Kerwin) also has them ... and he's married to a very pregnant wife. Real estate mogul Dave Fairmont (Robert Vaughn perhaps creating a blueprint for Donald Trump) discovers his teen daughter is infected. And Dr. Richards' possible love interest Marsha (the always amazing Judith Light) finds out that her last lover has given her this STD.

Richards wants to create an awareness campaign, but money hungry Fairmont thinks that a herpes scare will impact his real estate deals! The kindly doctor also wants to counsel those who have been infected, but that's easier said than done. Once diagnosed with the disease, everyone feels like the walking dead. Still, Dr. Richards knows that education is the key to preventing and coping with the disease.

Honestly, I never saw myself spending an afternoon watching a movie about herpes, but "Intimate Agony" is pretty good! Yes, it's a bit on the soap opera-side considering its sudsy leads (Geary, Light, Harmon), but it's well made with compelling stories that are linked together. And it's never too preachy ... letting Geary's good guy doctor lead the discussion on the consequences of venereal diseases.

I remembered when this movie popped up on TV back in the early 80s ... with a stern "Parental discretion is advised" warning. This was just before AIDS/HIV was in the headlines, so the thought of a herpes story may seem outdated. Still, the material is handled with a mix of sensitivity and melodrama. As the headlines suggests, this is not on Lifetime (but could be). It's actually on YouTube! See below for a link to the full feature. The quality isn't exactly HD, but check it out anyways. It definitely holds up thanks to solid acting from the star players.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

REVIEW: 'Indiscretion'

Sex and politics don't mix. It's pretty certain that anyone connected with public office needs to keep it in their pants. Last night's Lifetime premiere of "Indiscretion" is proof of that!

Directed by John Stewart Miller, "Indiscretion" is a steamier than usual Lifetime flick about an affair gone wrong ... and deadly! Is there really any other way for these things to turn out on Lifetime?

Mira Sorvino is Veronica Simon, the gorgeous wife of rising political star Jake (the ageless Cary Elwes). Together, they're parents to super teen Lizzy (Katherine McNamara). So, the Simons are one big happy family, right? Well, Jake's run for the senate is leaving Veronica feeling somewhat neglected and Lizzy is definitely in need of of some parental guidance.

Enter Victor (Christopher Backus), a charismatic artist who meets Veronica at a party then promptly seduces her. Victor and Veronica enjoy a two-day fling, and she finally comes to her senses and realizes she belongs with her family. Well, Victor is in love! Really! After two days of awesome sex, he believes that they belong together ... forever!

So, it's not long before the long-haired artist begins popping up at the least convenient times. He also shows her a whacked out sculpture he made in her likeness. Oh ... he's also a former soldier who knows how to handle a gun. Things get even more tense when he befriends would-be senator Victor.

This movie is like a cross between "Fatal Attraction" and "Unfaithful." And it's sexier than the average Lifetime movie. It probably helps that the sexy leads (Sorvino and Backus) are married! And the surprise ending is definitely a departure from the usual Lifetime fare.

Good acting all the way around in this movie. Sorvino is awesome the wife caught between a rock and hard body, and Backus is perfect as the psycho, oversexed artist. Elwes does a solid job as the unassuming politico. McNamara and Sorvino are a credible mother-daughter combo with the former shining as the rebel kid.

"Indiscretion" is on again today at 6 p.m. (CST) ... and likely later this week. It's definitely a smart and sexy thriller with a solid cast. Check it out...but not with the kids in the room.

"Indiscretion": Directed by John Stewart Miller; Starring Mira Sorvino as Veronica; Cary Elwes as Jake; Christopher Backus as Victor; Katherine McNamara as Lizzy

Sunday, July 17, 2016

REVIEW: "Honeymoon from Hell"

Admittedly, I am sold on this movie for the title alone! The original title "The Legend of Alice Flagg" probably wouldn't fly with most Lifetimers, so "Honeymoon from Hell" does the trick perfectly!

And this was a great movie to spend a Saturday night with! It's one of Lifetime's horror thrillers (which I love) and is set at a beautiful estate in South Carolina. It begins with a tour guide explaining the story of Alice Flagg, a woman who died brokenhearted. Her ghost is the stuff of legend and factors heavily into the plot. Julia (Lexi Govagnoli) and Rivers (Adam Hagenbuch) are newlyweds are celebrating their nuptials at a gorgeous bed and breakfast run by the kindly Hazel (Catherine Hicks in a great performance). Also on site are bikini clad lush Janelle (Cameron Richardson), simple-minded hired hand Bear (Christian Brunetti), abusive supervisor Walter (Douglas Scott Streater) ... oh, and a possible supernatural entity, Alice Flag (Ciara Flynn).

Julia (who just learned that she's pregnant) is haunted by dreams of Alice ... and even a few near brushes with death ... possibly caused by this ghost. Everyone thinks she's stressed. Hazel tries to calm her down with chamomile tea, and husband Rivers is trying to soothe her anxieties ... while not looking at Janelle's hot bod. Complicating matters is the fact that a hurricane is aimed for this bed and breakfast.

So, is Julia losing her mind? Is Alice Flagg really a malevolent force? Or ... is something else happening here? This is one of those movie that's hard to review without offering spoilers. Let's just say that there are several twists and turns. Check out the encore presentation today at 4 p.m. (CST).

Director Jake Helgrin (who also co-wrote the screenplay) does a fine job of keeping viewers guessing and setting a creepy vibe at the rural B&B. Credit the cast, however, with making this a fun ride. Hicks is great as Hazel, the kindly host with a few secrets of her own. And Richardson is spot on as the obnoxious babe with a constant flow of cocktails. Rounding things out is the Giovagnoli as the confused, conflicted Julia. She definitely personifies a bride on a "honeymoon from hell" as she is unsure when to reveal her pregnancy to her groom ... and is tormented by the possible presence of Alice Flagg.

Is it a coincidence that "Honeymoon from Hell" debuted the same weekend as the new "Ghostbusters" movie? Probably...BUT I'll admit, I dozed off during the second half of "Ghostbusters" but stayed awake through this movie. Don't let that dissuade you from seeing the fomer, but definitely give this movie a chance this afternoon or on subsequent viewings on LMN.

"Honeymoon from Hell": Directed by Jake Helgren; Starring Lexi Giovagnoli as Julila; Catherime Hicks as Hazel; Adam Hagenbugh as Rivers; Christian Brunetti as Bear; Douglas Scott Streater as Walter; Tony Zazella as Deputy Dunn

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lifetime Classics on LMN Today!

Today's the day to revisit the golden age of Lifetime movies! Before plots centered around ill-fated online romances or seductive teens, many Lifetime movies focused on biopics of abused spouses or crimes of passion.

A few highlights of today's classic marathon include:

7 a.m. (CST) "A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story" - The title says it all! Back in the 1990s, Broderick's husband left her for a younger woman. Let's say that she didn't take it well! Meredith Baxter drops her "Family Ties' supermom image and transforms into Broderick, a crazed, vengeful wife.

11 a.m. (CST): "Mother, May I Sleep With Danger": This is the movie that set the pace for contemporary Lifetime movies! It has it all -- an obsessed stalker, a gorgeous co-ed, a lake house hideaway! Ivan Sergei is Billy (or Kevin), a handsome psycho. Tori Spelling is Laurel, the goody two-shoes college student who falls for him. When he becomes a little clingy, she cools things off ... but that just burns up the nutty Billy. Can't watch it this morning? Record it! It's a classic.

3 p.m. (CST): "Deadly Vows"- I don't know about you, but I'd be satisfied if I was married to Peggy Lipton (who plays Nancy Weston in this excellent movie). That's not enough for Gerald McRaney's character Tom. He's attracted to the equally pretty but younger Bobbi (Josie Bissett). She's fairly naive and falls for him too. Tom can't juggle two women, so he decides to get rid of one ... or both of them. McRaney is great as the small town Lothario with murder on his mind.

These are just three of the classics on LMN today. Check out the full schedule online. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Review: Hidden Truth

Last night, Lifetime premiered "Hidden Truth," a typical Lifetime thriller. It's not exactly a whodunnit, but is kind of a flashback to old school "Columbo" episodes with the killer revealed and a an ensuing cat and mouse detective game.

Zoe (Diana Hopper) has it tough. The 16-year old's mother was murdered and her father (Brendan McCarthy) was the prime suspect. She is a pretty self-sufficient teen, but she still has a guardian, aunt Jamie (Sarah Lind). Zoe has a few secrets though ... including an affair with married stud and restauranteur Michael (Shawn Christian). When she tries to break it off, Michael reacts badly ... killing her and dumping her body in a lake.

Not the best way to respond to a break-up, but Michael doesn't seem to care. Jamie is on the case though, and so is Sheriff Underwood (Parker Stevenson). Jamie's definitely a better detective than the local cops, so Michael's goose is cooked, right? Well, Michael's no fool. He is one step ahead of everyone, throwing the cops off his scent. Jamie, however, braves death threats and murder attempts to find out the truth.

So, there's not a lot of mystery in this thriller since we know who the culprit is. It's just a matter of finding out whether he'll get away with it. Lind is effective as the amateur detective aunt, who is undaunted in her investigation. Christian is the scene stealer  though as the remorseless Michael. Throw in ex-Hardy Boy Stevenson as the befuddled cop, and you have an above average Lifetime movie mystery.

I did find it hard to believe that in a small town no one would have known about Michael and Zoe's fling. Likewise, how the heck did Stevenson's character become sheriff? He's as effective as Barney Fife.

Look for a few Lifetime cliches including a chase through the woods and a remote lake setting. Still, the setting (Mammoth Lake, California) is absolutely gorgeous!

It's pretty predictable, but serves its purpose as a sturdy weekend thriller. Judge for yourself and let me know what you think.

"Hidden Truth": Directed by Steven R. Monroe; Starring Sarah Lind as Jamie, Shawn Christian as Michael; Parker Stevenson as Sheriff Underwood; Brendan McCarthy as Pace; Dianah Hopper as Zoe; Heidi Fielek as Layla; Brittany Underwood as Natalie

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Not on Lifetime: 'The Maddening'

I never thought I'd see Burt Reynolds in a horror movie. Well, I recently saw "The Maddening" on Showtime Beyond. And what a horror it is!

This movie has all of the trappings of a non-traditional Lifetime thriller ("Kept Woman," for example). But it also has an all-star cast of sorts: Reynolds, Angie Dickinson, Mia Sara, Josh Mostel. So, it's definitely worth watching, right?

Well, if you like star-studded sleazefests, this movie is definitely for you! And if you're a Reynolds fan, he is pretty awesome in this movie!

The movie begins with an idyllic family - The Osbornes - faced with some conflict. Cassie (Sara) wants David (Brian Wimmer) to spend less time on the road with his job and more time at home. Daughter Samantha (Kayla Buglewicz) agrees! When David is faced with another extended stint away from home, Cassie packs up and heads to her sister's house with Samantha in tow. She learns the first lesson in traveling through rural areas ... always fill up with gas before you hit the road! She stops in at a backwoods garage owned by the charming, macho Roy Scudder (Reynolds). Not long after departing, she experiences car trouble. Well, she's driving a classic 1950s Thunderbird, so it's obvious that this old thing would have problems, right? Well, Roy's handiwork may have had something to do with her troubles, so it's fortunate that he drives up to tow the car to his house and fix it. Second lesson of driving through the middle of nowhere: Don't let anyone tow your car to their home garage! Once at Roy's creepy swamp estate, Cassie and Samantha meet Scudder's wife Georgina (Dickinson), a total space case and their kid (?) Jill (Candace Huston). That's pretty much where the horror begins for poor Cassie and Samantha. They may have been better off visiting "The House of 1,000 Corpses" if not the Chainsaw family's home. Roy takes them prisoner, locking up Cassie (whom Georgina thinks is her sister) and letting Jill have Samantha as playmate (i.e. punching bag). It's up to David to help her, but he's about as useless as any Lifetime husband! Throw in a comic relief detective (Mostel) and you have a masterpiece of creepy sleaze!

Now, I am somewhat biased toward anything with Reynolds. As a kid, this guy was among my idols with his signature laugh and tough guy image. There's no laughing in this movie though. Screaming, yes! Definitely no laughing...not even a giggle. Reynolds is actually pretty convincing as the psychotic, perverted Roy. He's a one-man terror in this movie, keeping Sara's character imprisoned and kicking around anyone who gets in his way. I can't say for sure that he liked making this movie because it's a huge departure from his typical good guy roles. And he is definitely bad in this movie ... the worst any character can be.

Sara also might be wondering how she wound up in this nightmare. She's thrown around, molested ... and bathed (by Dickinson)! It's definitely a far cry from the freewheeling "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," but she holds her own as the desperate Cassie who has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Dickinson is effective as the delusional Georgina, and Mostel is actually pretty funny as he stumbles through crime scenes in search of the missing Osbornes. Of course, there is an Ozzy joke in regard to the family...even though his name is spelled Osbourne. 

Check out this movie if you have the stomach for it. It's a bit on the wild side and in line with some of Lifetime's wilder fare. Don't judge...but I liked this! It's not Hitchcock, but it's a demented roller coaster rise with the always dependable Reynolds at the helm.

Monday, June 27, 2016

REVIEW: 'The Wrong Child'

A kid shows up at your doorstep claiming to be a long, lost son. If you're smart, tell him he's at the wrong address ... then MOVE. Anyone who watches Lifetime movies regularly should know that forgotten family members who turn up out of the blue are usually psychos or crooks.

In "The Wrong Child" (which premiered last night on Lifetime), Vivica A. Fox finds herself torn between her husband (Gary Daniels) and an overly charming young man who pops up out of nowhere.

Fox plays Renee, a happily married shop owner with perfect family life. Husband Charles is a millionaire architect and beautiful daughter Amy (Stevena) is a great kid. Enter Andrew (Robbie Davidson), a well-mannered .. but creepy ... kid who says Charles is his dad. Charles is apprehensive, but Renee and Amy love this guy. In spite of dad's reservations, mom and sis are ready to set a place at the table for Andrew. A few other people share Charles' concerns including Renee's buddy Joyce (the always awesome Tracy Nelson) and Amy's BFF Darci (Alissa Latow).

It's not long before Andrew starts taking an interest in his new family. So much so, he installs surveillance cameras around the house. Then, a few people wind up dead and dad's office is vandalized. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out something is seriously wrong with Andrew, but Renee loves and trusts this kid, even telling her husband that she wishes she would have given birth to him!!

So, is Andrew just a misunderstood illegitimate kid or a dangerous psychopath? Well, this movie will likely be back on Lifetime or the Lifetime Movie Network soon, so LM Mental won't offer too many spoilers.

Davidson really steals the show as the sweet, psychotic Andrew. He's basically Norman Bates in a hoodie. Fox is effective as the clueless Renee, a loving wife who is blind to Andrew's intentions. Stevena and Latow are picture perfect as perky teens. The real surprise here is the return of Johnny Whitaker!!! I can't remember the last time I've seen him in a movie or TV show. He has a small but pivotal role towards the film's conclusion. Veteran director David DeCouteau keeps things rolling along nicely, leaving viewers wondering what Andrew is up to and adding a slasher/horror element to the film.

There are many scenes that will induce groans and eye rolls in "The Wrong Child," but it's definitely worth a watch. The cast alone rocks - Fox, Nelson and TV legend Whitaker - and as mentioned, Davidson might be the heir apparent to Anthony Perkins. It's a solid slasher effort with a few Lifetime twists and turns, so check it out and let me know what you think. Chances are it will be paired with Lifetime standards like "The Wrong Roommate" and "The Wrong Woman" during weekend marathons.

"The Wrong Child": Directed by David DeCouteau; Starring Vivica A. Fox as Renee; Robbie Davidson as Andrew; Stevena as Amy; Gary Daniels as Charles; Tracy Nelson as Joyce; Alissa Latow as Darci; Johnny Whitaker as Mr. Haight

Monday, June 20, 2016

#MyMovieMonday: The Doctor is In ... SANE

Tonight, Lifetime Movie Network airs the winner of its #MyMovieMonday vote - "Stalked By My Doctor" (7 p.m. CST). And ... this movie is indeed a winner.

Of course, any movie with Eric Roberts is a winner, and he really shines as an obsessed doctor with the hots for a teenage patient. The premise is creepy enough, but wait until you see Dr. Roberts' bedside manner!

The story focuses on teen queen Sophie (Brianna Joy Chomer) who is in a major car wreck when her cheeseball boyfriend is texting while driving. She is in really bad shape, so it's up to Dr. Beck to save her life. He's a brilliant surgeon, as well as a very lonely ... and NEEDY guy. The audience learns this when he scares off a few women earlier in the film. And he does so in epic fashion!!

So, he feels like God after saving Sophie's life ... and decides that perhaps she should be indebted to him. Never mind that she's probably 40 years younger than him! Dr. Beck is hearing wedding bells even though he's older than her parents!

Sophie's mom (Deborah Zoe) is concerned, especially after he's unwrapping bandages and applying ointments when a female nurse should be (but isn't) in the room. Sophie becomes suspicious too when the good doctor begins surprising her at the mall and asking her out. And dad (Jon Briddell)?? He's clueless like any other Lifetime patriarch!

Unfortunately for everyone, Dr. Beck is as smart as he is demented. He uses his access to medical records and personal information to wreak havoc on Sophie. And when he's called out on his weird behavior, he uses the ol' "Who me?" routine. Outside of Sophie and mom, no one seems to believe that he is capable of any wrongdoing. Well, things go from bad to worse ... but I won't spoil it for #MyMovieMonday viewers.

Roberts -- for better or worse -- is awesome when he plays psychos! After all, he earned an Oscar nod for playing a creep in "Star 80" and regularly rocks Lifetime in movies like this and "Fatal Obsession." Definitely check this out if you're a Roberts fan (like I am).

Outside of Roberts, "Stalked By My Doctor" is excellent Lifetime fare, blending thrills and seedy chills. It definitely is a perfect prescription for anyone's case of the Mondays.

"Stalked By My Doctor": Directed by Doug Campbell; Starring Eric Roberts as Dr. Beck; Briana Joy Chomer as Sophie, Deborah Zoe as Adrienne Green; Jon Briddell as Jim Green; Carson Boatman as Ryan

REVIEW "Mother May I Sleep With Danger"

It's been 20 years since the original film with the title "Mother May I Sleep With Danger" rocked Lifetime viewers and began the network's progression from syrupy chick flicks toward darker thrillers.

Now, James Franco brings a new vision for this title to the small screen. Actually, "new vision" doesn't even describe what premiered this weekend on Lifetime. Directed by Melanie Aitkenhead with a story by Franco, "Mother" is an entirely different beast from the first film, which focused on an obsessed stalker boyfriend (brilliantly played by Ivan Sergei) who terrorizes his true love (Tori Spelling at her best). The new version isn't really a reboot or sequel (although Sergei and Spelling are back ... as different characters). The only thing that's the same is the college setting.

In 2016's "Mother My I Sleep With Danger," Franco serves up a lesbian vampire fantasy set during a college production of "Macbeth!" So far, critics have been less than kind. I may be in the minority here, but this movie rocks!

Pearl (Emily Meade) is a vampire cursed to roam the earth for eternity with a gang of gothy girl vamps. How these ladies pay their college tuition is anyone's guess, but their base of operations is at a university ... and they all happen to be part of the theatre program. Enter Leah (Leila George), a gorgeous actor who defies the odds by auditioning for and getting the title role in the school's production of "Macbeth." Well, Pearl and Leila fall head over heels in love, much to the dismay of everyone: Leila's mom (Spellling), Leila's admirer Bob (Nick Eversman) and the gang of vamps.

While Pearl and Leah are making goo goo eyes at each other and/or making out, the vamp gang turns vigilante at frat parties, killing would-be date rapists. Meanwhile, a professor (Sergei) just happens to teach a class on vampires and sexuality.

Franco ups the pace quite a bit. Many Lifetime movies tend to move slowly and build to a rattling climax. In this movie, the action begins from Scene 1 and is pretty consistent. The sex and graphic violence is pumped up a bit too. In fact, it may be the goriest Lifetime movie I've ever seen.

Throw in a haunting soundtrack by former Smashing Pumpkins ax-man James Iha, and "Mother" Mark II is a pretty cool diversion from the standard Lifetime formula.

Meade and George are picture perfect in their roles, and Spelling is spot on as the snooty, intolerant mother. Also, Eversman personifies the emasculated nerd turned dangerous stalker.

Now, this movie could have easily have succeeded with a different title. My choices ... "Dead Week" or "A Cursed Affair." Regardless of the title, this undead romance is alive and well thanks to Franco and Lifetime.

Missed it this weekend? Check it out online courtesy of Lifetime!

"Mother, May I Sleep With Danger": Directed by Melanie Aitkenhead; Starring Leila George as Leah, Emily Meade as Pearl, Tori Spelling as Julie, Nick Eversman as Bob, James Franco as the director, Ivan Sergei as the professor

Friday, June 17, 2016

REVIEW: "The Night Stalker"

In the 1980s, serial killer Richard Ramirez rampaged through Los Angeles. When he was finally caught, he was charged with 13 murders and 14 sexual assaults. His heavy metal image and sinister appearance made him a media sensation and earned "fans" ... and this was before social media! He met his maker in 2003 while still awaiting his fate on death row, but the memory of his terror looms large in popular culture.

That's why we have this creepy movie, "The Night Stalker" (NOT to be confused with the awesome "Kolchak: The Night Stalker Series"). This film takes a look at the fascination with Ramirez, which I really don't get, and takes viewers on a psychological ride to hell and back.

Lou Diamond Phillips plays the killer while he was still alive. Sitting on death row, he's visited by lawyer Kit (the gorgeous Bellamy Young). She's been sent to get some information from him as a client in Texas in on death row for murder but may be innocent. If she can determine that Ramirez was indeed the actual killer (as he was in the same area at the same time), then she'll help an innocent man. Not as easy as it sounds.

You see, Kit has some issues of her own. The audience figures that out when she casually undresses with the curtains open in her hotel while some leering dude watches on. Ramirez is on to her. During their prison interviews, he calls her out and tries to get her to reveal herself to him.

Prison interview scenes with Ramirez and Kit are interspersed with flashbacks to their childhoods. Ramirez was exposed to drugs, violence (EXTREME violence), crime and sex at a very young age. Kit grew up in a very broken home. She was a teenager when Ramirez began his killing spree and was obsessed with every article and TV story on him.

Many people are comparing this movie to "Silence of the Lambs," but it watches more like "Dear Mr. Gacy" (a much darker film), a true story about a guy who meets and interviews real serial killer John Wayne Gacy. While the content is definitely disturbing (given that's semi-based on real events), there are some camp moments in "The Night Stalker." As a heavy metal fan, I was pleased to see that the teenage Kit (Chelle Sherrill) roams 1980s L.A. in a Pentagram T-shirt ... although the band was fairly obscure at the time. The teenage Ramirez (Andrew Ruiz) wears a fictional band shirt, "Death Kiss."

Phillips is pretty convincing as Ramirez though and even resembles him with his long hair and gaunt features. Young also delivers the goods as a conflicted lawyer trying to avoid revealing too much of herself to the killer ... while definitely harboring some pain from her youth. And although I poke fun at the depiction of 1980s metal garb, the flashback scenes were effective and featured talented young actors in Sherill, Ruiz and others.

It's not the typical Lifetime movie, but if you like horror flicks or thrillers, you'll enjoy "The Night Stalker," which returns to the airwaves at 7 p.m., June 24 on the Lifetime Movie Network.

"The Night Stalker": Directed by Megan Griffiths; Starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Richard Ramirez, Bellamy Young as Kit, Alice Rietveld as Inez, Louis Hertham as Jed, Chelle Sherill as young Kit, Andrew Ruiz as young Richard Ramirez, Kimberly Jurgen as Doreen, and Benjamin Barrett as Ramirez/The Night Stalker

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

REVIEW: 'The Boy She Met Online'

This is a "Throwback Thursday" review posted on a Tuesday. 2010's "The Boy She Met Online" makes the rounds on Lifetime and LMN, and I recently caught it on Xfinity On Demand. It's one of several social media/online thrillers dominating weekend marathons ... including "The Girl He Met Online," "The Bride He Bought Online" and "The Husband She Met Online."

As you can guess, this is another tale that will make parents second guess who their kids are talking to online. The story focuses on Cami (Tracy Spiradakos), a pretty, talented high school student. For some reason, this young lady feels the need to find love through the Internet and falls for dashing "college" student Jake (Jon Corr). As it turns out, Jake's place of higher learning is actually the school of hard knocks ... or as some people call it, prison.

Cami is being raised by her protective, single mom Tori (Alexandra Paul), who becomes suspicious of Cami's online activities. In the meantime, Jake gets out of prison and sets his sights and heart on Cami. He already has his shared of heartbreak. His mother and sister want nothing to do with him, so he's pretty much on his own ... except for a few shady contacts on the outside.

Cami and Jake meet and sparks fly. In the meantime mom Tori is at the end of her rope trying to figure out what's happening with her kid. Family friend Kendra (Thea Gill) is on the case though and begins to observe Cami's suspicious behavior. Once mom figures out what's going on, she's desperate to stop this relationship. That won't be so easy because Cami is hooked on her freed former jailbird.

So, what are Jake's intentions? Does he mean bad news for Cami? Is she being sucked into the criminal underworld? Or, could he actually be the prince she believes him to be?

Although this is an oldie but a goodie, I won't offer any spoilers. I will recommend it though. Great cast including the always excellent Paul as the exasperated mom. There are a few hard to believe moments though. Like, do prisons not monitor social media or online communications? Would Jake really be able to hook up with a teen using the prison Internet? And would Jake really emerge from a prison stay looking unscathed? And would Cami really need to find a boyfriend online?? As mentioned, she is a gorgeous young lady. I am sure tons of competent suitors are at her high school.

Regardless of plot holes or inconceivable aspects of the script, the cast's chemistry keeps things in check. And it competently transitions from forbidden romance into a thriller ... complete with a requisite Lifetime ending.

Look for this nugget on Xfinity on Demand (under Free Movies) or on Lifetime Movie Club.

"The Boy She Met Online": Directed by Curtis Crawford; Starring Alexandra Paul as Tori Winter, Tracy Spiradakos as Cami, Jon Corr as Jake, Thea Gill as Kendra, Eddie Guillaume as Dewayne, Tim Finnigan as Edgar

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Good Bye Cookie!

I haven't blogged in about week or so. As much as I enjoy writing about the dramatics on Lifetime and LMN, I had a bit of drama in my own life. No, I wasn't stalked by a woman I met on line ... or nearly murdered by a stepchild ... or kidnapped by an obsessed fan of this blog. Instead, me and Mrs. Lifetime Mike bid a sad farewell to our longtime movie watching buddy, Cookie.

Cookie was our very unique dog who may have been part Bassett, part Bull Terrier or even part Pit Bull. I was never quite sure during our 11 years with her, but I knew that she was a very special companion.

Cookie was a shelter dog. I located her in a Texas dog pound, scarred, with kind of a mange (actually fungal infection) on her nose. She looked like she has been in fights, but I learned otherwise when I met her through those cage bars. Cookie was kind of scary looking, but her personality was pure comedy. She was a very friendly girl who loved everyone and everything ... cats and squirrels included. She especially loved kids! And they loved her too. At the dog park, children would gravitate her and she'd let them pet her. When they'd stop, she'd follow them!

We adopted Cookie as a companion for our older (and also departed) companion Babs. They looked alike and were inseparable.

We lost Babs in 2012, and Cookie joined her in Doggy Heaven last week. She was (and still is) an important part of my life. We traveled together, went to parks, took long walks, rode in the car and of course, watched many movies on the couch! Of course, she would doze off and snore (LOUDLY) through each film.

In recent months, Cookie suffered a stroke and her beautiful personality began to fade. She showed signs of doggy dementia ... air biting, walking into walls. With meds, she showed signs of her former self. Of course, age caught up with her. At 13, she bid us farewell.

If you love your dog and cat companions, you understand how difficult these moments are. And I have no Lifetime Mike Jr., so Cookie and other companions are particularly special for myself and my wonderful wife. Still, I have many awesome memories of Cookie. Regardless of her absence, I'll always have Cookie crumbs to make me smile each day. These may be memories of her friendliness or even her flatulence!

It could have been easy to walk by that cage 11 years ago. Many people did. One couple pointed at her an laughed as she wagged her tail in her cage -- with only a pink bath mat to sleep on. She was in that animal shelter for a month before I met her. She may have looked rough around the edges but proved everyone (including myself) wrong.

So, this blog's for Cookie. Through her, I learned not to judge a book by its cover ... and that second chances are invaluable.

So long, Cook! I know we'll meet again.

Monday, May 23, 2016

REVIEW: 'Broken Promise'

High school sweethearts are never how you remember them. When you stumble upon your sophomore year ex, he/she isn't quite the same person you knew as a teenager. Imagine emerging from prison still in love with your teen angel. And imagine the pain when she doesn't return those feelings.

Lifetime Movie Network's premiere of "Broken Promise" (aka "Statute of Limitations," "Nightmare from the Past") explores this premise, but throws some gas on the emotional fires. When teens Mina and Reese sneak into an estate and share a tender moment, the property's owner shows up. After a confrontation, the old guy is killed and the cops arrive. Reese tells Mina to scram, and he'll take the blame for everything. He winds up in prison -- still in love with Mina. Years pass and Mina (Ashley Scott) has moved on. She's married to super sheriff Ben (Nick Baillie) and has a gorgeous daughter Hali (Lorynn York). When Reese (Louis Mandylor) emerges from the joint, he's expecting to pick up the pieces with Mina. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.

Reese then proceeds to stalk Mina and play mind games with her family. He antagonizes Ben and endears himself to Hali. And he drives around in the coolest yellow El Camino I've ever seen! He's kind of like Max Cady in "Cape Fear" using his charm to fool the right people ... except for Mina's BFF and wine drinking pal Amber (Kinga Phillips). All the while, Mina wrestles with the fact that she's responsible for the murder that sent Reese to jail.

Tensions simmer and ultimately boil into an crazy climax. No spoilers here though! "Broken Promise" will no doubt air again soon, so check it out. Mandylor is convincing as the Reese, a once sweet guy who has been transformed into a deranged, delusional thug. Scott also earns high marks as a woman trying to bury her past and protect her future. Good work from the rest of the cast too. York is perfect as the confused teen, who is willing to give Reese the benefit of the doubt. Baillie also delivers a solid performance as the protective patriarch who is taunted by his wife's former flame. Phillips rounds things out nicely as the Mina's sympathetic buddy.

Definitely watch this before your next class reunion ... although I doubt (hope) you're not in Mina's predicament. 

"Broken Promise": Directed by Nadeem Soumah; Starring Ashley Scott as Mina, Louis Mandylor as Reese, Nick Baillie as Ben, Lorynn York as Hali; Kinga Phillips as Amber 

Monday, May 16, 2016

REVIEW: 'I Am Watching You'

It's never a good idea to (ahem) date a neighbor ... but that's exactly what happens in "I Am Watching You," the latest erotic thriller to air on the Lifetime Movie Network. The movie premiered last night and is sure to find a permanent place in the network's rotation of sexy scary movies.

The story follows romance writer Nora (Madeline Zima, who has certainly grown up since "The Nanny"). She types away at her laptop, blogging sexy stories and aspiring to be become a famous author. When Nora has the opportunity to score a book deal (brokered by a publisher played by the still sexy Leslie Anne Downs), she is creatively blocked. Enter neighbor Lucas (Brian Ames), a mysterious photographer who spends a lot of time in his window. Nora and Lucas begin a flirtation through the blinds, and it's inevitable that they seal the deal. 

She's up front with him. This is a no strings attached relationship. He's cool with that, but deep down he's a Stage 5 clinger. He calls constantly and is frustrated each time Nora has work or social obligations. Tension builds as Lucas goes from a friend with benefits to a stalker without limits. Not even awesome sex can save this relationship, and the audience can predict what happens next. A spurned Lucas becomes unhinged and obsessive.

Director Maureen Bharoocha is no stranger to balancing suspense with a sexy vibe. She previously helmed another solid Lifetime thriller, "Fatal Flip," and knows how to engage audiences with slow, steamy build-ups and explosive resolutions. Of course, she is helped by her two enticing leads, who have plenty of chemistry. Ames is particularly effective as a guy who goes from cool to clingy. Kudos to supporting players Lilan Bowden and Marshall Porter. They anchor the story as Nora's supportive friends, who also find themselves as targets of Lucas' wrath.

Check out "I Am Watching You" again next weekend. It airs 9 p.m. (CST), May 21 and at 1 a.m., May 22. 

"I Am Watching You": Directed by Maureen Bharoocha, Starring Madeline Zima as Nora, Brian Ames as Lucas, Leslie Ann Downs as Margaret, Lilan Bowdwn as Karen, Marshall Porter as Scotty

Sunday, May 15, 2016

REVIEW: 'Social Nightmare'

Social media is a great way of connecting with friends, sharing snippets of your life, building a professional profile, etc. It also can wreck your reputation if you're not careful. Case in point ... "Social Nightmare," a cautionary tale on the dangers of social media gone wild. This gem airs at 7 a.m. (CST) on LMN, tomorrow, May 16.

The story follows super student Cat (Kirsten Prout). She has it all - a cool boyfriend, pending scholarships, acceptance into Brown University, and she was elected class president. And she is a devoted best friend to Emily (Chloe Bridges). Still, she has a few enemies including some bullies who are tormenting her boyfriend Daniel's (Brandon Smith) special needs sister.

Out of nowhere, social media posts pop up -- allegedly from Cat -- dissing Emily for not getting into Brown. That's bad enough, but then a website (possibly created by Cat) emerges that advertises her friends and foes as barely legal babes. From here, it's a tidal wave of bad news for the star student, who finds herself victimized online too when some risque pics find their way on the web. Thank goodness for doting mom (Daryl Hannah)! She is there to protect Cat and get her some therapy and antidepressants! Her teacher Mrs. Langran (Rachel True) knows something's not right here too. After all of this negative social media activity, Cat's life is a royal mess. She's hated, impeached from student government and is not en route to Brown!

I eventually predicted the movie's conclusion, but it does play well as a Lifetime "whodunnit." Could the hacker be best friend Emily who may be jealous of Cat's life, her arch rivals at school or even her boyfriend? Find out tomorrow morning ... or set the DVR to watch later.

Cat's predicament makes for a compelling story and a pretty good LMN movie. Good performances from Prout and Hannah, and good pacing from director Mark Quod. The movie rolls along nicely keeping the audience guessing who the culprit is. And this movie has the requisite "big reveal" and climactic brawl. Brought to you by the fine folks at The Asylum -- producers of other Lifetime epics including "Born Bad" and "Layover." You may want to tighten up your security on your social media channels after watching this one ... or offer your kids advice on what not to do on a cell phone video. 

"Social Nightmare": Directed by Mark Quod; Starring Kirsten Prout as Cat; Chloe Bridges as Emily, Darry Hannah as Susan; Brandon Smith at Daniel; Rachel True as Mrs. Langran

Friday, May 13, 2016

Not on Lifetime: 'The Roommate'

"The Roommate" has been making the rounds on non-Lifetime TV. It's been featured on Logo and tonight, the movie airs on VH-1 at 8:40 p.m. (CST). This is another classic that isn't on Lifetime or LMN ... but could be.

"The Roommate" tells a familiar story -- Girl goes to college. Girl moves into to a dorm with a nutcase roommate.

Stuff like this happens all the time on college campuses, but in this movie both coeds are incredibly gorgeous ... and so is everyone else in the movie. The plot follows college freshman Sara (Minka Kelly) who arrives bright-eyed and optimistic to a university campus. She instantly makes friends with fellow dorm residents. She also strikes up a romance with frat guy, indie rock drummer Stephen (Cam Gigandet) and charms her way into a design class taught by the charismatic Professor Roberts (Billy Zane at his best). Of course, she also is lucky enough to have a sweet, friendly roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester). Well, Rebecca is sweet at first ... but it's apparent (to everyone but Sara) that she has a few loose screws.

Rebecca showers Sara with affection, and the two are inseparable. She also happens to torment Sara's friends and pets and tries to throw a wrench into her relationship with Stephen. Sara is still trying to give Rebecca the benefit of the doubt. So, she accompanies Rebecca to the Thanksgiving dinner from Hell at her parents' house. During a very awkward visit, Sara discovers that even Rebecca's parents are scared of her. Even worse, she finds out that Rebecca has been off her meds.

You can guess that thngs get really bad when she decides to move out of her dorm. From here, the movie slides into slasher/stalker territory. That's not a bad things considering director Christian E. Christiansen (perhaps the coolest name in Hollywood) amps up the suspense and delivers a solid climax complete with catfights and literal cliffhangers.

I've seen variations of this story many times, but this movie still rocks! Kelly is excellent as the naive coed and Meester is creepy and credible as a co-dependent killer. Throw in Zane as a pompous professor, whose self-serving lectures leave students swooning, and "The Roommate" is awesome weekend viewing. The movie also features Cuddles, the cat ... adopted by Kelly's character.

I didn't like sharing a room in college, but I loved spending an evening with "The Roommate." Of course, there are many moments where the audience must suspend its disbelief ... including how any of these students get any studying or homework done. Still, this is a fun and creepy thriller that should scare anyone out of wanting to live in the dorm.

"The Roommate": Directed by Christian E. Christiansen; Starring Minka Kelly as Sara, Leighton Meester as Rebecca, Cam Gigandet as Stephen, and Billy Zane as Professor Roberts

Sunday, May 8, 2016

REVIEW: "A Mother's Revenge"

Happy Mother's Day! I hope all moms are being treated like queens this weekend. If you're not taking your mother out to lunch this weekend, you can at least share a pizza with her and tune in to Lifetime Movie Network's Don't Messy With Mommy Weekend (hosted by Wendy Williams).

Last night, LMN premiered "A Mother's Revenge." Admittedly, I didn't see the trailer leading up to last night's debut. But ... I knew Jamie Luner was in this movie, and she's a sure bet in any Lifetime movie. And both she and the movie did not disappoint.

Luner stars as Jennifer, a devoted mother ... but not without a few issues. Among these is a strained relationship with husband Jason-Shane Scott. They both travel (separately)  to their daughter's (Audrey Whitby) graduation. Jennifer learns the hard way not to check her luggage at the airport. She picks up the wrong bag. And it's not just any wrong bag. It belongs to deadly killer Conner (Steven Brand), who has something very important in his bag. He stalks Jennifer and when he doesn't find his suitcase, he steals something important from her ... daughter Katey.

This begins a battle of wits as Conner taunts Jennifer over the phone and sends her on a wild goose chase to return his suitcase. Hot on the trail are cops detectives Ford (Gerald Webb) and Jacobs (Richard Louenello).

This is a solid action thriller that moves along fairly briskly. Credit the solid cast and veteran director Fred Olen Ray (a legend!) for keeping things interesting. Luner and Brand are particularly effective as adversaries.

Luner is no stranger to playing the concerned mother, but takes things up a notch in this movie. Here, she's pushed to her physical limits. Have you ever tried running through an airport with a suitcase?? Well, Luner sprints through baseball fields, subway stations, aquariums and busy streets with luggage in tow.

Brand is creepy as heck, mentally torturing the film's heroines yet maintaining a cool presence. He plays Conner as a calculated, calm and cruel killer.

The supporting cast is equally solid - Webb and Louenllo as the confused cops; Scott as the not-so-helpful spouse and Whitby as the helpless daughter. Complementing everything are the beautiful settings of Buffalo, New York and Niagara Falls.

This movie was originally titled "Accidental Switch," which makes more sense than "A Mother's Revenge." With the latter title, I was expecting something a bit different ... like a mom going gonzo on the boyfriend from hell or something like that. Still, this is an effective thriller with enough twists and turns to keep longtime Lifetime fans entertained.

"A Mother's Revenge" airs next at 5 p.m. (CST), May 21 on LMN.

"A Mother's Revenge" - Directed by Fred Olen Ray; Starring Jamie Luner as Jennifer, Steven Brand as Conner, Audrey Whitby as Katey, Jason Shane-Scott as Richard, Gerald Webb as Detective Ford, Richard Louenello as Detective Jacobs

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Avengers of Lifetime!

It's Mother's Day weekend! Moms are likely being pampered by their kids and spouses ... OR they told their families to get lost, so they can have some primo mom-time by watching the Lifetime Movie Network's Don't Mess with Mommy Weekend.

Some moms may be swayed into heading to the theater to see super heroes throw tantrums and slap each other around in "Captain America: Civil War." But why venture out to see the Avengers on the big screen when Lifetime has its very own super team??

Just imagine these Lifetime regulars as Marvel's mightiest heroes:

Jamie Luner as The Black Widow: Who better to play the mysterious super spy than Luner? She's athletic, tough and sexy. Plus, she has awesome hair! We've seen Luner is a slew of Lifetime classics including this weekend's "A Mother's Revenge." If she can fend of stalkers and psychos, Luner can certainly go toe to toe with Ultron!

Eric Roberts as Iron Man: This guy can easily play bad boy inventor Tony Stark. Of course, we've seen him as scary villains in Lifetime epics like "Stalked By My Doctor." Still, Roberts is one suave dude and would be a perfect fit in the red and gold armor.

Lochlyn Munro as Captain America: Okay, I know what you're saying. He's a CANADIAN! How can this guy rep the U.S.? Well, he may hail from the Great White North, but he's a perfect fit for Cap. He's graced the big screen many times, but Lifetimers will remember him from "The Perfect Child" (as a Steve Jobs-ish character) and tomorrow's premiere of "Where's My Baby?" (aka "Cradle of Lies").

William Moses as Hawkeye: Moses often plays the unassuming guy that attracts psychos ("The Perfect Roommate," "While The Children Sleep"). This weekend, audiences can see his creepier side when he plays a murderous professor in "Like Mother, Like Daughter." He's pretty much the king of Lifetime movies and would make for an on-target super archer.