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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.