Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #2: The Other Wife (dir by Nick Lyon)

Tonight, after I watched the 18th season premiere of Big Brother (that’s right, I love reality TV almost as much as I love Italian horror films, almost being the word to remember), I continued to clean out the DVR by watching The Other Wife.

The Other Wife, which premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network on March 13th, is another thriller from our friends at The Asylum.  The film opens on a fairly suspenseful note, with Kate Jennings (Kimberly Hewes) preparing to take a shower when she heard someone walking around her house.  At first, she assumes that it’s her husband, Billy (George Stumpf).  However, she then gets a text from Billy informing her that he’s on his way.

And seriously, that is such a HOLY SHIT moment that it carries the first hour of the entire film.  Seriously, there is nothing scarier than suddenly realizing that you are not only not alone but that you have no idea who the other person is.  That’s the type of nightmare fuel that gives birth to grisly urban legends!

Kate looks around the house and suddenly spots a hulking, bald man (Nick Principe) searching Billy’s office.  Though Kate doesn’t know it, that bald man is named Ed Warwick and he’s very dangerous.  He chases her through the house until she can call the police and he leaves her so terrified that she doesn’t even notice that he somehow knows her first name.

When the police arrive, they accidentally arrest Billy and Ed escapes.  After getting things sorted out with the cops, Billy assures Kate that Ed was just a random burglar and that everything will be okay.  But, if that’s true, why does Kate come home the next day to discover that Billy has hung himself?

With her husband dead, Kate’s seemingly perfect life falls apart.  She discovers that Billy was in debt when he died and her credit has been destroyed.  Even worse, she discovers that Billy was apparently seeing a woman named Deb (Tonya Key).

In many ways, Deb is Kate’s exact opposite.  Kate is polite and refined.  Deb is the type who will stand outside and scream at a delivery driver.  Kate has been unable to get pregnant.  Deb is pregnant.  In fact, it would seem that the only thing that Deb and Kate have in common is that they were both married to Billy.

That’s right — Billy was a bigamist!  He was also a bigamist who owed a lot of money to the mob.  The mob has hired Ed to get their money.  Ed delivers an ultimatum to both Billy’s wives.  If he doesn’t get the money that Billy owed, Ed will murder Deb and frame Kate.  From totally different world and linked only by their husband’s treachery, Deb and Kate will have to work together to get out of this mess.

There’s a great moment in The Other Wife where a police detective is talking to Deb and Kate.  “Mrs. Jennings,” the detective said.  Both Deb and Kate looked up at the same time and say, “yes?”  In many ways, that scene epitomizes The Other Wife.  Despite the announcement, during the opening credits, that what we’re watching is based on a true story, The Other Wife is not a movie that is meant to be taken all that seriously.  The Other Wife is silly entertainment in the style of most Asylum films, featuring a likable cast and an enjoyably melodramatic storyline.  Tonya Key especially seems to be having fun in the role of the outspoken Deb.  That said, the real star of the film is Nick Principe, who is thoroughly menacing as the psycho hit man.

The Other Wife was directed by Nick Lyon, who also did the enjoyably pulpy They Found Hell.  He does a good job here of keeping the action moving and encouraging the audience not to worry too much about any holes in the plot.

All in all, it’s another enjoyable melodrama from The Asylum!

The Other Wife

Tom Cruise Returns As Jack Reacher In Jack Reacher: Never Go Back!

So, I just watched the trailer for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and I was about to make my standard Tom-Cruise-Is-Creepy joke but then I remembered that I liked the last Mission Impossible film.  And, before that, he was great in Edge of Tomorrow.

If you can look past his affiliation with Scientology (which, admittedly, is not an easy thing to do), Tom Cruise really does well in these action roles.  It’s hard to explain why but he pulls it off.  Maybe it’s because he doesn’t look like your typical action star and yet, he’s still totally believable doing action star stuff.  Maybe it’s because he actually seems to be having fun in these roles, as opposed to certain other grim-faced actors.

Who knows?

Anyway, here’s Tom Cruise in the trailer for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

Is April Alive? Find out In This Teaser for Sharknado 4!

Last year, at the end of Sharknado 3, viewers were given the opportunity to decide the fate of one of its stars.  When we last saw Tara Reid’s April, a huge chunk of the space shuttle appeared to be crashing down on top of her and viewers were being asked to vote whether April would live or die.

Personally, I voted to kill her.  I thought that killing off April would make Sharknado 4 a far more edgier film.  I imagined that her ghost could frequently appear to taunt Ian Ziering, chanting: “You let me die….you let me die….”

Did the rest of the viewing public agree with me?

The answer can be found in the latest teaser for Sharknado 4!

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #1: The Stepchild (dir by Roma Roth)

Two weeks ago, I finally finished my Fabulous Forties series of reviews!  Yay!

I was so excited and I could not wait until I could move onto the Nifty Fifties box set from Mill Creek.  However, before doing that, I decided to check the status of my DVR and guess what?

I discovered that I only had 10 hours of space left!

Basically, stating in March, I recorded so many movies that I am now nearly out of space.  So, before I do anything else, it’s time for me to, once again, clean out the DVR!  I have 36 films to watch and review before I can truly declare that my DVR has been cleaned out.  Fortunately, I’ve recorded a good variety of films — everything from Lifetime movies to horror films to Oscar nominees.  Watching and reviews all of them should be fun!

So, let’s get started!  Because you know what?  If I don’t hurry up and get this done, my DVR’s going to start automatically deleting my older recordings.  And that means that I’m running the risk of losing not only Jesus Christ Superstar, Bend It Like Beckham, and American Anthem but the final six episodes of Saved By The Bell: The College Years as well!

The first film that I watched was The Stepchild, which premiered on Lifetime on March 12th!

The Stepchild

As you probably tell from the picture above, The Stepchild is a movie about secrets, lies, murder, tears, and possible insanity.  In short, it has everything that we have come to expect from a Lifetime movie!  Even better, it has a Degrassi connection.  (Degrassi, as our regular readers should be aware at this point, is my favorite Canadian TV show.)  The Stepchild stars Sarah Fisher, who played a somewhat unbalanced Christian named Becky Baker on Degrassi.  Becky was perhaps one of the most annoying characters in the history of Degrassi but Sarah Fisher always did a good job playing her and she does a pretty good job in The Stepchild as well.

The Stepchild opens with Ashley (played by Fisher) in a mental hospital.  She spends her time talking to her therapist and occasionally having brightly-lit flashbacks to the night that she found her father’s dead body and dropped — in a slow motion, naturally enough — a snow globe on the floor.  Not only is Ashley shaken over the demise of her father, but she also fears that she may have inherited her dead mother’s schizophrenia.  And again, it bears repeating that Sarah Fisher does a really good job in the role of Ashley, making her a character whose outward fragility disguises more inner strength than even she realizes that she possesses.

When Ashley is finally released from the hospital, she goes to live with her stepmother, Beth (Lauren Holly).  Ashley is upset because it’s obvious that, in just the short time after her father’s death, Beth has rather quickly moved on to a new man, John (Paul Johansson).  John was Ashley’s father’s business partner and, like Ashley, we are immediately suspicious of him.  This is largely because he’s played by Paul Johansson and anyone who has ever seen One Tree Hill knows better than to trust any character played by Paul Johansson.

Ashley is convinced that John or someone else murdered her father.  But did he?  Or could it be that Ashley is having another nervous breakdown?  (It’s a testament to Sarah Fisher’s performance that, even though the answer is obvious, the viewer still is never totally sure.)  With the help of her boyfriend, Michael (Keenan Tracy), Ashley attempts to solve the mystery.

There’s nothing really original about The Stepchild.  If you’ve ever seen a Lifetime film before, you’ll be able to guess what’s going to happen.  That said, their inherent predictability is part of the appeal of Lifetime films in general and The Stepchild is an entertaining-enough diversion.  Lauren Holly and Sarah Fisher both do good with their ambiguous characterizations and Paul Johansson always does a good job when he’s playing a jerk.  The film has a few nicely shot dream sequences and, as we all know, dream sequences are always fun!

The Stepchild may not be a classic but it’s a perfectly enjoyable way to waste two hours.

(For those keeping track of my progress in cleaning out the DVR, that’s one down and thirty-five to go!)