Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Mother of All Lies (dir by Monika Mitchell)


mother of all lies

I watched one final film today as a part of my effort to clean out my DVR.  Mother Of All Lies premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network on September 12th and I’m not really sure why I decided just to record it, as opposed to actually watching it.  Perhaps I actually had a life on the night of the 12th.  Who knows?

Anyway, much as in Girl Missing, Francesca Eastwood plays a young woman who discovers the identity of her birth mother and decides that she wants to see her.  In this case, Eastwood is playing Sara Caskie, an intelligent but rebellious teenager (a common character type when it comes to Lifetime movies).  Though Sara has a comfortable life with her adopted parents, she wonders about her biological mother, Abby (Jennifer Copping).  It turns out that Abby is in prison, convicted of a robbery gone wrong.  Over the warnings of her adopted parents, Sara writes a letter to the parole board and is so persuasive that her mother is released from prison!

After being told that she shouldn’t contact her biological mother, Sara does exactly what I would have done.  She find out where her mother is living, sneaks out of the house, and then drives off to find her.  It turns out that Abby is living in an isolated cousin with her scuzzy boyfriend.  At first, Abby is shocked when Sara shows up but Abby eventually allows Sara to stay at the cabin.  And that’s a good thing because, once Abby ends up killing her boyfriend, it’s good to have Sara around to help cover the crime up.

The boyfriend’s criminal associates are trying to track him down and soon, they are hanging out around the cabin and generally making things even more trashy.  Meanwhile, Sara is starting to doubt whether she really wants to get to know anything else about her mother and Sara’s adoptive parents are frantically searching for her and calling the police.

Mother Of All Lies is one of the less impressive of the many films to premiere on Lifetime and LMN this year.  Other then one brilliantly executed nightmare sequence, it’s just not a very memorable film.  However, the film is partially redeemed by the heartfelt performances of Francesca Eastwood and Jennifer Copping.  Francesca Eastwood — and yes, she is Clint’s daughter — has actually had a pretty good Lifetime run this year.  Not only did she star in this film and Girl Missing but she also had a key supporting role in Wuthering High School.  Francesca Eastwood is great at playing good-hearted but troubled characters.  Meanwhile, Jennifer Copping actually makes her character both poignant and frightening.  Whatever other flaws that Mother Of All Lies may have, it is worth watching for their performances.

 

Hallmark Review: Best Christmas Party Ever (2014, dir. John Bradshaw)


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I never saw the boom mic drop, nor does this movie have anyone turn invisible. That’s refreshing. However, the title is a little off putting. Not because it’s super generic, but because I already watched a movie called Best Night Ever (2013) earlier this year. My god was that movie bad. So let’s talk about Best Christmas Party Ever.

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This is our main character named Jennie Stanton (Torrey DeVitto). She’s a party planner. That kind of seems to be a recurring thing in these Hallmark movies. At least no one gets murdered leading her to try and solve a mystery such as Wedding Planner Mystery (2014) did. That would be another movie this is better than.

So Jennie works for a woman named Petra (Linda Thorson). She is throwing a party to step down as head of this event planning company. I know, you want to throw in a joke here that Diana Rigg is going to take over the company, but no such luck. In fact, she never actually says who is taking over. It’s kind of sorta implied that it’s going to be her out work actor son named Nick Forbes (Steve Lund).

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Unless I missed some line where she explicitly says it, she just says she’s stepping down and wants him to work with Jennie to plan the upcoming annual Tyrell Toys party. Whether she makes it explicit or not, Jennie jumps to that conclusion. Now Jennie is kinda like Danica McKellar’s character from Perfect Match (2015). Oddly enough, another Ron Oliver movie this is better than. They both were in this business because they actually had a passion for it. In Jennie’s case, she attended these Tyrell Toys parties as a kid. Also, when her father was out of work, she wished her father would get a job, and Tyrell Toys hired him. In other words, she has personal reasons why she does what she does, and why she especially wants this party to be done right.

Now you’d think he’s going to be a problem and sparring partner throughout for her to wind up with, but not really. He starts off that way, but quickly changes. In fact, I think Jennie sums up his role in the movie quite well.

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Although, referring to him as Dr. Feelgood of course made me think of the Mötley Crüe song.

In which case, she probably shouldn’t eat that hot dog. Who knows what could be in there.

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This guy is her problem. He works at Tyrell Toys. They are romantically involved, but not much of anything is made of that. He just basically gets that look on his face more and more as he realizes her vision for the party is totally different from his. You see, the guy who used to own Tyrell Toys sold the company and now the party is supposed to be a more private company party rather than being a more charitable public outgoing type of thing.

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The rest of the film can be summed up like this. As Jennie continues to try and maintain her vision for the party, the business guy keeps pushing it off the rails while Nick keeps popping in to try and keep her on track. Ultimately, she follows her heart even after Tyrell Toys fires her. She goes to the former owner and decides to throw the party anyways with his support. However, Petra gets wind of it, which leads to…

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product placement. They have a nice long shot of her taking off her glasses and setting them next to that case to make sure you see the name Visionworks. At least it didn’t come at the emotional climax like it did in Always And Forever (2009) where he opens the ring box to make sure we get a nice clear shot of the name Kay Jewelers when he proposes to her. Petra of course backs her decision to throw this party the way Jennie wants to. She wanted to be let in on it, rather than having to find out from somebody else.

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There are a couple little subplots, and a few other characters, but they don’t really matter. The party goes off well. The business guy’s superior catches wind of it and attends. You can see above that he thinks this was a pretty neat tradition that shouldn’t have been tossed aside. Then Jennie and Nick kiss while a ballerina waitress stands behind them.

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This one wasn’t perfect, but definitely one of the better Hallmark Christmas movies I’ve watched so far.

Of course, since it is a Hallmark movie, there is something a little humorous to look for.

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Notice the game on the screen behind her. It’s not that it just looks really cheaply slapped together, but that they still make games that look like they were drawn in MS Paint in reality.

Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: The Perfect Girlfriend (dir by Curtis Crawford)


After I watched and reviewed Stolen From The Suburbs, it was time to continue to clean out my DVR by watching The Perfect Girlfriend.  The Perfect Girlfriend originally aired on the Lifetime movie network on September 27th.  During that night, I was busy packing for my vacation and getting ready for sister Melissa’s birthday.  And so, I set the DVR to record.

The Perfect Girlfriend is one of the many Canadian thrillers to eventually find a home on the Lifetime network.  Lifetime movies are always designed to exploit our shared fears and fantasies.  Stolen From The Suburbs, for instance, exploited the fear that moms have about not being able to protect their daughters.  Online Abduction exploited a feeling that every daughter has had, that feeling of frustration that comes when your mom refuses to listen to you even though you’re the only person who knows what she’s talking about.  And, of course, a countless number of Lifetime films have dealt with the fear that your boyfriend will suddenly turn out to be a complete psychopath.

The Perfect Girlfriend exploits the other great fear that we all have about boyfriends.  Secretly, we fear that, while our boyfriend might be a genuinely sweet and nice guy, he might also be a lot dumber than we realize.  We fear that, the minute he’s out of sight, he’ll end up getting targeted by the first woman who sees him.  And, because he’s not that smart, he will be easily seduced and we’ll end up having to break up with him.  (That, incidentally, is why most long distance relationships don’t work.  Guys aren’t smart enough to be trusted when we’re not around.)  And then his new girlfriend will turn out to be a totally controlling psycho bitch and really, we should be happy about that because he kind of broke our heart but we don’t want to see him get hurt because it’s really not his fault!  He’s just not that smart…

The Perfect Girlfriend is all about that fear.  Brandon (Jon Cor) gets a job in Portland and he leaves behind his devoted girlfriend, Jensyn (Ashley Leggat).  Brandon tells Jensyn that he loves her and he promises that he’ll be faithful but we know better!  As soon as he lands in Portland, his new boss, Simone (Adrienne Frantz), starts hitting on him.  When his hotel reservations are mysteriously canceled, Brandon takes Simone up on her offer to just stay at her place for a few weekends.

(And, at this point, we all shout, “Brandon, noooo!”  And then Jensyn says it’s okay and we all say, “Girl, I know you know better!”)

Brandon agrees to keep an eye on Simone’s dog but the dog doesn’t even seem to recognize her, almost as if Simone just picked the dog up from a shelter so she would have an excuse to keep Brandon at the house.  Simone does tell Brandon that she has a boyfriend but Brandon never meets him.  One night, Simone tells Brandon that she and her boyfriend broke up.  Shortly afterward, Brandon gets a text from Jensyn, breaking up with him.  Meanwhile, Jensyn gets a mysterious email from Brandon, also breaking up with her.

What could be happening…

Actually, you probably already guessed what’s happening. That’s right — Jensyn made the mistake of letting Brandon out of her sight and, as soon as that happened, Simone decided to pounce.  And Brandon’s too stupid to realize what’s happening.  So now, he’s living and sleeping with Simone while Jensyn struggles to get on with her life.

But, of course, Brandon still loves Jensyn.  And when he starts to make an effort to get back in touch with her, Simone has a breakdown…

Anyway, The Perfect Girlfriend is pretty predictable but it’s kind of fun in a silly Lifetime sort of way.  Nothing that happens will surprise you but if you love Lifetime movies (like I do), The Perfect Girlfriend is an enjoyable enough addition to the “My Boyfriend Is An Idiot” genre.  If nothing else, it’s a film that will remind you why it’s important to never let your man out of your sight.

 

Something Funny Going On: IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (United Artists 1963)


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If I was forced to make a list of Top Ten favorite movies, IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD would definitely make the cut. Featuring a veritable Who’s Who of comedy, this film (like The Dirty Dozen) has been often imitated, but never duplicated. TCM ran it in prime time last night, and after watching the horrors unfolding in Paris on the news channels, I figured I could use a good laugh. IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD never fails to disappoint in that department!

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The plot is simple: a car goes flying off the road and crashes. Four parties get out of their vehicles to inspect the scene. The dying driver, Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) tells them about $350,000 in cash buried in Santa Rosita Park “under the Big W”, then kicks the bucket (literally). The four parties decide to find the dough and split it, but greed…

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I’m not one to make these kinds of posts, but considering what happened, here’s a smattering of classic French films. No judgement on them, just a collection.


I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to leave films in the comments if you wish.

Le Corbeau (1943, dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot)

Devil In The Flesh (1947, dir. Claude Autant-Lara)

Douce (1943, dir. Claude Autant-Lara)

La Chiene (1931, dir by Jean Renoir)

Out 1: Spectre (1974, dir. Jacques Rivete)

The Marquise of O (1976, dir by Eric Rohmer)

The Fire Within (1963, dir. Louis Malle)

Chronicle Of A Summer (1961, dir. Edgar Morin & Jean Rouch)

The Butcher (1970, dir. Claude Chabrol)

Zouzou (1934, dir by Marc Allegret)

Love On The Run (1979, dir. François Truffaut)

Bed And Board (1970, dir. François Truffaut)

Stolen Kisses (1968, dir. François Truffaut)

Antoine And Colette (1962, dir. François Truffaut)

The 400 Blows (1959, dir. François Truffaut)

A Sunday In The Country (1984, dir. Bertrand Tavernier)

Un Coeur En Hiver (1992, dir. Claude Sautet)

La Collectionneuse (1967, dir. Eric Rohmer)

La Bête Humaine (1938, dir. Jean Renoir)

Le Trou (1960, dir. Jaques Becker)

La Belle Noiseuse (1991, dir. Jaques Rivette)

The Green Ray (1986, dir. Eric Rohmer)

The Woman Next Door (1981, dir. François Truffaut)

Mon Oncle (1958, dir. Jacques Tati)

Celine And Julie Go Boating (1974, dir. Jacques Rivette)

Shoot The Piano Player (1960, dir. François Truffaut)

A Woman Is A Woman (1961, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Last Year At Marienbad (1962, dir by Alain Resnais)

The Little Match Girl (1928, dir. Jean Renoir)

Nana (1926, dir. Jean Renoir)

Whirlpool Of Fate (1925, dir. Jean Renoir)

The Story Of A Cheat (1936, dir. Sacha Guitry)

The Lovers On The Bridge (1991, dir. Leos Carax)

Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932, dir. Jean Renoir)

Under The Roofs Of Paris (1930, dir. René Clair)

Van Gogh (1991, dir. Maurice Pialat)

Army Of Shadows (1969, dir. Jean Pierre Melville)

Passion (1982, dir by Jean-Luc Godard)

Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne (1945, dir. Robert Bresson)

Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne (1945, dir. Robert Bresson)

The Blood Of A Poet (1930 dir. Jean Cocteau)

The Blood Of A Poet (1930 dir. Jean Cocteau)

The Wild Child (1970, dir. François Truffaut)

The Wild Child (1970, dir. François Truffaut)

Claire's Knee (1970, dir. Eric Rohmer)

Claire’s Knee (1970, dir. Eric Rohmer)

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Vagabond (1985, dir. Agnès Varda)

Muriel (1963, dir. Alain Resnais)

Muriel (1963, dir. Alain Resnais)

Les Vampires (1915, dir. Louis Feuillade)

Les Vampires (1915, dir. Louis Feuillade)

Mon Oncle D'Amerique (1980, dir. Alain Resnais)

Mon Oncle D’Amerique (1980, dir. Alain Resnais)

Masculin Feminin (1966, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Masculin Feminin (1966, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Eyes Without A Face (1960, dir. Georges Franju)

Eyes Without A Face (1960, dir. Georges Franju)

Lola Montes (1955, dir. Max Ophüls)

Lola Montes (1955, dir. Max Ophüls)

Day For Night (1973, dir. François Truffaut)

Day For Night (1973, dir. François Truffaut)

Mouchette (1967, dir. Robert Bresson)

Mouchette (1967, dir. Robert Bresson)

India Song (1975, dir. Marguerite Duras)

India Song (1975, dir. Marguerite Duras)

Le Million (1931, dir. René Clair)

Le Million (1931, dir. René Clair)

L'Argent (1983, dir. Robert Bresson)

L’Argent (1983, dir. Robert Bresson)

Shoah (1985, dir. Claude Lanzmann)

Shoah (1985, dir. Claude Lanzmann)

Un Chant D'Amour (1950, dir. Jean Genet)

Un Chant D’Amour (1950, dir. Jean Genet)

Providence (1977, dir. Alain Resnais)

Providence (1977, dir. Alain Resnais)

Les Enfants Terribles (1950, dir. Jean-Pierre Melville)

Les Enfants Terribles (1950, dir. Jean-Pierre Melville)

Every Man For Himself (1980, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Every Man For Himself (1980, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Fantomas (1910s, dir. Louis Feuillade)

Fantomas (1910s, dir. Louis Feuillade)

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Judex (1916, dir. Louis Feuillade)

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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966, dir. Robert Bresson)

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Night At The Crossroads (1932, dir. Jean Renoir)

The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (1964, dir. Jacques Demy)

The Mystery Of Picasso (1956, dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot)

Charleston Parade (1927, dir. Jean Renoir)

My Night At Maud’s (1969, dir. Eric Rohmer)

Casque d’Or (1952, dir. Jacques Becker)

Out 1 (1971, dir. Jacques Rivette)

Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Stolen From The Suburbs (dir by Alex Wright)


Stolen From The Suburbs

After I watched 16 and Missing, it was time to continue cleaning out my DVR by watching Stolen From The Suburbs.  Stolen From The Suburbs is a Lifetime film that originally aired on August 30th and I’m not sure why I missed watching it the first time that it aired.

If I had to describe Stolen From The Suburbs in one word, it would be intense.  From the opening scene, in which two homeless teenagers are forcibly abducted by a man who pretended to be from a charitable organization to the film’s final violent stand-off, this is one intense film.  While it has all the usual Lifetime tropes — rebellious daughter, overwhelmed single daughter, untrustworthy men, and hints of real-world significance — Stolen From The Suburbs is a hundred times more intense than your average Lifetime film.  Indeed, this is one of the rare Lifetime films that ends without the hint that everything is going to be okay.  While there are hugs at the end, there is no reassuring coda.  The emotional and physical damage inflicted in Stolen From The Suburbs feels real and has real consequences.

Widowed Katherine (Cynthia Watros) and her teenager daughter, Emma (Sydney Sweeney), has just moved to the suburbs.  Katherine is a loving mother and Emma is a good daughter, the type who even turns down a beer on the beach because she told her mother that she wouldn’t drink.  However, when Emma meets the cute (and asthmatic) Adam (Nick Roux), she starts to resent her mother’s overprotectiveness.  When Katherine finally says that she doesn’t want Emma hanging out with Adam, Emma responds by sneaking out of the house and never returning.

Desperately searching for her daughter, Katherine goes down to the mall and finds Emma’s cell phone tossed away in a dumpster.  When she calls the police, Katherine tells them that Emma has been kidnapped.  The unsympathetic detectives ask her if Emma has a history of running away and basically prove themselves to be useless.  (The cops are always useless in a Lifetime film.)  Katherine teams up with Anna Fray (Brooke Nevins), a missing persons activist, to find Emma.

What Anna tells Katherine is terrifying.  Anna explains that teenage girls have been vanishing all over town.  The police assume that they are runaways and make no effort to find them.  In reality, though, the girls are being sold as sex slaves.

And that’s exactly what happened to Emma. Emma and several other teenage girls have been abducted and are now locked in a cage.  In just a few days, they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Overseeing the entire operation is Milena (Oliva d’Abo).

As played by d’Abo, Milena is one of the great Lifetime villains.  As she explains it, she was kidnapped herself and sold as a sex slave.  However, she has now managed to take over the operation and takes obvious pleasure in putting others through the same torture that she suffered.  Playing the role with an ever present smirk and a haughty cruelty, Olivia d’Abo is absolutely chilling as Milena.

Also giving a great performance is Cynthia Watros.  (You may remember her as Libby on Lost.)  Watros makes Katherine’s pain and desperation feel incredibly real and when she finally confronts Milena, it’s absolutely riveting.

Stolen From The Suburbs is an excellent Lifetime film.  Keep an eye out for it!

Adventures in Cleaning Out the DVR: 16 and Missing (dir by Michael Feifer)


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Continuing my efforts to clean out the DVR, I followed up A Teacher’s Obsession by watching 16 and Missing.  16 and Missing originally aired on the Lifetime network on October 24th.  On that particularly Saturday, I was haunting a Halloween party (booooo!), so I set the DVR to record it.

In many ways, 16 and Missing is a quintessential Lifetime film.  It’s about a rebellious teenage girl who has a loving (and underappreciated) mother and a stepfather who is trying way too hard to serve as a replacement patriarchal figure.  It also features an initially charming man who later turns out to be a complete psycho.  There’s a lot of driving, an important life lesson, and a lot of gunplay.  At the end of the movie, the mother is proven right and everyone hugs and strangely enough, nobody seems to be all that traumatized by all of the truly terrible things that have just happened to them.  None of that, by the way, is meant to be a criticism.  Lifetime movies are a genre all their own and part of the fun comes from their familiarity.

16 and Missing also deals with a common Lifetime movie theme — i.e., that the internet is an evil place that exists only to lead teenage girls astray.  In this case, spoiled rotten Abbey (Lizze Broadway) has been using her social media accounts to carry on a two-year, online affair Gavin (Mark Hupka), who claims to be a 23 year-old cop.  After Abbey has a fight with her mother, former FBI agent Julia (Ashley Scott), Abbey decides to run away from home.  She sneaks out of the house, gets in her car, and drives off to Arizona…

And what immediately bothered me was the fact that Abbey didn’t pack anything before she ran way.  Admittedly, this probably says more about me than the movie.  I’m just saying that if I had ever run away from home and headed for a different state, I would have brought along a change of clothes.

But anyway, Abbey meets up with Gavin and is shocked to discover that Gavin is a little bit older than 23.  And he might not be a cop.  And his name might actually be Wesley.  And, as soon as she shows up, Gavin/Wesley immediately starts pressuring her to have sex…

Okay, so it’s pretty obvious that Gavin/Wesley wasn’t everything that he said he was and, to the film’s credit, Abbey quickly figures this out.  As opposed to a lot of similar Lifetime films (in which the teenage girl is always presented as being far too naive to be believable), 16 and Missing makes it clear that Abbey is a girl who made an impulsive mistake, who understands that she made an impulsive mistake, but who has now found herself trapped by that impulsive mistake.

However, Abbey and Wes-Gavin do have one thing in common.  They both lost their fathers in the most violent and disturbing ways possible.  Gavin’s father was a cop and Gavin claims that he was shot in the head by his partner.  Abbey’s father was abducted and murdered while a 6 year-old Abbey helplessly watched.  Could the two events be connected?  It wouldn’t be a Lifetime film if they weren’t.

But don’t worry!  After breaking into her daughter’s social media accounts, Julia is on the road to Arizona and she’s got a gun…

Anyway, 16 and Missing was an entertaining Lifetime film.  If you’re into Lifetime films, especially ones that present the internet as being the root of all evil, you should enjoy this one.  And if you’re not into Lifetime movies, you probably wouldn’t be watching in the first place.

Adventures in Cleaning Out the DVR: A Teacher’s Obsession (dir by Blair Hayes)


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Continuing my adventures in cleaning out my DVR, I followed up Girl Missing by watching A Teacher’s Obsession, a batshit crazy little film about … well, about a teacher’s obsession.

A Teacher’s Obsession originally aired on September 6th on the Lifetime network.  Now, usually, whenever you see a Lifetime movie called A Teacher’s Obsession, you assume that the film is going to be about a teacher having sex with (or trying to have sex with, depending on the film) a student.  But, in A Teacher’s Obsession, the teacher wants to be a student’s new BFF.

The student in question is Bridgette (Mia Rose Frampton), who is your typical spoiled upper middle class brat.  Her mother, Candace (Molly Hagan), is a local politician.  Bridgette makes it a point to always call her mother by her first name and always does so in the snarkiest tone imaginable.  Bridgette attends a prestigious academy, where she’s the captain of the school lacrosse team.  (What’s the deal with rich people and lacrosse?)  However, Bridgette is failing her English class.  As the film starts, Bridgette has just been put on academic probation.  That means no lacrosse!  And, even worse, Candace has forbidden Bridgette from seeing her boyfriend, Bobby (Dillon James).

Fortunately, there’s a new English teacher at the Academy.  Her name is Jane (Boti Bliss) and — oh my God, Jane sure is crazy!  In fact, Jane is so totally and completely crazy that you can’t help but root for her.  That may sound strange but seriously, all the other teachers at the school are so boring and Bridgette is such a spoiled brat that you can’t help but think, Yay!  Jane’s here to fuck things up!

The painfully boring (and bearded) calculus teacher, Mr. Jeter (Eric Curtis Johnson), has a crush on Jane and, when she has to, Jane has no trouble leading Mr. Jeter on.  But the thing is, Jeter starts to get a little bit too needy and it all leads to this great scene where Jane totally goes off on Mr. Jeter in the teacher’s lounge.  While the rest of the teachers sit around and listen like mummified relics of a past era, Jane tells Jeter that he’s overweight, that he has bad breath, that his beard is disgusting, and “your penis is miniscule.”  Jeter sits there and listens, unaware that he has soup in his beard.

Jane may occasionally spend time with Mr. Jeter but she is far more interested in being Bridgette’s best friend.  She encourages Bridgette to continue to see Bobby and even gives her birth control pills.  She tutors Bridgette in English class.  She conspires to help Bridgette cheat her way through Mr. Jeter’s class.  Jane excitedly makes plans to get a tattoo with Bridgette.  (“Do you think I’m too old for a tattoo?” Jane asks with a giggle.)  When Bridgette gets a tattoo without inviting Jane to come with her, Jane goes crazy and accuses Bobby of trying to rape her.

And through it all, Candace has secrets of her own to hide.  It turns out that Candace and Jane knew each other in the past.  Jane used to be obsessed with Candace.  Now, she’s obsessed with Bridgette…

A Teacher’s Obsession is one of those batshit crazy Lifetime movies that’s so unapologetically over-the-top that I couldn’t help but love it!  Seriously, it was a lot of fun to watch Jane make spoiled Bridgette’s life difficult and Boti Bliss attacked the role of Jane with a ferocity that was truly admirable!  Meanwhile, the underrated actress Molly Hagan brought unexpected depth to her role and the end result was an unexpectedly entertaining Lifetime melodrama.

Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Girl Missing (dir by Joel Soisson)


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So, I recently turned on the TV, checked the guide to see if there was anything on worth recording, and discovered, to my horror, that I only had about 5 hours of recording space left on my DVR!  Making matters ever worse was that the DVR  was threatening to erase the two oldest recordings in order to make more space.  Terrified at the thought of losing both Bend it Like Beckham and Jesus Christ Superstar, I realized that it was time to borrow a page from the Gary Loggins playbook and starting cleaning out my DVR!

I started things off by watching Girl Missing, a film which I recorded off of Lifetime on October 25th.   (What was I doing on the 25th that required me to record the movie?  I was at a Halloween party, dancing in my underwear and then getting soaked while running through the rain on the way back to the car.  Or, at least, that’s what I think I was doing.  My memory of that weekend is hazy, at best.)

ANYWAY — according to the IMDb, Girl Missing was originally entitled Forgotten but I imagine Lifetime changed the title to remind viewers of Gone Girl.  The film opens with two hunters wandering across a frozen wilderness in the snow.  I point this out because the film’s opening few minutes really are impressive and visually striking.  The image of those two hunters wandering across that desolate landscape have an otherworldly feel to them.  Eventually, the hunters come across something unexpected — a ten year-old girl has been abandoned in a ditch.

Flash forward ten years and that girl has grown up to be Jane (Francesca Eastwood).  Jane has no memory of her life before she was found in that ditch.  However, that starts to change when she’s contacted by Sylvia, a wealthy New York widow who claims to be her mother.  Sylvia is played by Kiersten Warren, who once played Alex in Saved By The Bell: The College Years, a series that my friend Derek and I are currently reviewing over on PrimeTime Preppie.

After traveling to Sylvia’s mansion, Jane is at first excited to finally be reunited with her mother.  However, it quickly becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems.  Sylvia is nervous and evasive, especially when talking about her husband’s suicide.  Her boyfriend, Carlo (the wonderful Federico Dordei), gives off a vibe of pure sleaze and Jane is not happy to discover that Carlo and Sylvia’s affair started while Sylvia was still married.  Soon, Jane is having sepia-toned nightmares of past violence and she starts to see a mysterious little girl wandering through the gray hallways of the mansion…

As I watched Girl Missing, with its chilly visuals and twisted storyline, I thought to myself, “This movie must be Canadian.”  (And, just so there’s no misunderstandings, I totally meant that as a compliment!)  However, I then checked with the imdb and discovered that no, this was not a Canadian film.  Instead, it was filmed in Minnesota, which might be close to Canada but is still definitely a part of the United States.

But no matter.  Whether the film’s snow was Canadian snow or Minnesota snow, director Joel Soisson still made good visual use of the frozen and desolate landscape.  He also made good use of Sylvia’s shadow-filled mansion and the entire film had an enjoyably gothic feel to it.  In the end, Girl Missing felt like a fun little Young Adult mystery.  It was the epitome of an enjoyable Lifetime film.

 

#LateNightMovie review: The Alien Factor


Being that this is my first #LateNightMovie review on TSL, just want to let you all know how this mess got started. Several years ago I was tweeting bad sci-fi movies late at night. Somehow Holly (@hwilson2009) and Janeen (@Janeen_FluffyJ ) found out that I was doing that. Holly was the first one to ask what I was doing, soon after Jinni joined in shortly after Tammy (@TRDowden) joined in. We quickly learned that twitter wouldn’t be able to keep up with us. Holly had this great chat room (@syfydesigns) for us all to talk in and #LateNightMovie was born. Thru there we have found a great group of friends to hang out with every Friday and Saturday nights!

This past week we watched “The Alien Factor” I found this movie while perusing the depths of Hulu during one of my movie watches a few months ago. Kinda tossed it in the back of my mind and then stumbled across it again.

affiche-the-alien-factor-1978-1

Director and writer: Don Dohler

Stars:

Don Leifert as Ben Zachary

Tom Griffith as Sheriff Cinder

Plot:
A spaceship with an extraterritorial zoo crashes on Earth near a redneck town, how could this go wrong!

Review:

This was Don Dohlers first credited movie. He did revise it later in the 1982 movie “NightBeast” and later in 1982’s “Aliens Factor 2” Both of which failed horribly. The thing is, Don Dohlers is not credited enough. As a low-budget film maker, Dohler did some really great work. His work has that capture you anyway feeling about them. Infectious and raw at the same time. So I am going to take this time, as a horror and sci-fi junkie, just to appreciate this movie for what it is; A great, low-budget film, that we all can have fun with!

And speaking of fun, The #LateNightMovie gang had a great amount of fun! The quips were awesome!

Quips:

garnerhaines:
This was before they invented tailgate parties.

WarrenPeas64:
Three Dog Night lost their Mystery Machine van

Janeen_FluffyJ:
aaaaahhh, poking with secreations… she was attacked by a turkey baster?

Philo1000:
Alien or jerk boyfriend? choose

Phil had a choice to make! lol

Philo1000:
#BEER RUN BRB

Janeen_FluffyJ:
That was the last dance for Mary Jane folks.

garnerhaines:
So, are there two alien factions trying to annihilate the town? One glowy and the other with slimy armor?

WarrenPeas64:
The bears injected the guy with poison to frame the chipmunks. It’s SO obvious

ElwayC:
atari rules

kurtzellner:
i want the partridge family to sing again they rocked

LeMyrn:
married sex is alien sex

Philo1000:
seriously?

Yeah, Phil, seriously I made that joke!

Thank you Garner, Kurt, Phil, Ambie, Becs, Jes, Cindy, Jinni, Myrna, Warren, Holly for watching #LateNightMovie with me this week!