Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #23: A Wife’s Suspicion (dir by Jesse James Miller)

(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June.  She’s trying to get it all done by July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)


The 23rd film on my DVR was A Wife’s Suspicion.

I recorded this on May 23rd and, just like with Broken Promise, you can probably guess by the title alone that I recorded this off of Lifetime.  In fact, when I first saw that I had recorded this movie, I went back and checked to make sure that I hadn’t already reviewed a Lifetime film called A Wife’s Suspicion.  Seriously, you have to wonder how it could possibly taken until 2016 for Lifetime to use this title.

(In all fairness, before Lifetime picked it up, the movie’s title was Evidence of Truth.  I’m actually glad that they changed the title, just because Evidence of Truth makes it sound like one of those tedious climate change documentaries that you sometimes come across on Netflix.)

Anyway, A Wife’s Suspicion is a mix of CSI procedural and Lifetime melodrama.  Renee Murphy (Andrea Roth) is the type of forensic examiner who talks to corpses while she examines them.  She’s stubborn but she gets results, dammit!  She once dated Detective Kyle Ferguson (Sebastian Spence) but, after they broke up, she ended up married to Jack Murphy (Woody Jeffreys).  Jack seems like he’s a great guy and he’s got impressive hair but women are being murdered and Renee has reason to suspect that Jack might be the murderer.

It doesn’t help, of course, that Jack has been keeping secrets from her.  When she decides to follow him, Renee spots Jack talking to a younger woman.  Could Jack be having an affair or is he telling the truth when he says that he’s simply the woman’s sponsor?  It turns out that Jack has had issues with addiction in the past.  That’s one of those things that he didn’t tell his wife because he wanted “a second chance” at life.

Does Renee give Jack that second chance or does she work with her ex-boyfriend to put him in prison?  Decisions, decision….

When I mentioned that I was watching A Wife’s Suspicion, my Lifetime-watching friend Trevor asked me if the movie had bored me to tears yet.  Well, the movie never quite brought tears to my eyes but I still quickly discovered what he was talking about.  A Wife’s Suspicion moves slowly, largely because there’s barely enough plot for an hour-long cop show, much less a 90 minute movie.  You’ll be able to guess whether Jack is guilty or not fairly early and the fact that you figured it out but Renee didn’t only serves to make Renee an annoying character.

Sadly, A Wife’s Suspicion is a film that I would recommend skipping.

Cleaning Out the DVR, Again #22: Broken Promise (dir by Nadeem Soumah)

(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June.  She’s trying to get it all done by July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)


The 22nd film on the DVR was Broken Promise, which I recorded off of Lifetime on May 22nd.

Before I get into the film itself, let me just say this about the title: Broken Promise is the perfect generic Lifetime title.  I mean, it tells you absolutely nothing and yet it somehow tells you everything as well. If I hadn’t told you that I recorded this movie off of Lifetime, you would have guessed it just from the title, wouldn’t you?  There’s an art to coming up with perfectly generic titles and Lifetime has mastered it.

Anyway, Broken Promise opens in 1992!  Two high school seniors — Mina (Angeline Appel) and her boyfriend, Reese (Mickey River) — are driving around in Reese’s canary yellow car.  If you watch that movie, pay attention to the car because you’ll be seeing it again.  It’s like the canary yellow harbinger of death and doom.  Anyway, Mina and Reese are young and in love so, naturally, they decide to break into a house for a romantic evening.  However, the romance is interrupted when the owner of the house shows up with a shotgun.   There’s a struggle.  The homeowner is killed.  Reese tells Mina that she needs to leave and that he’ll take the blame when the cops show up.  Mina promises to wait for him to get out of prison.

However, promises were made to be broken…

Jump forward 25 years!  Reese Sinclair (now played by Louis Mandylor) is finally being released from prison.  However, no one is waiting to greet him on the outside.  While he manages to get back his yellow car, his girlfriend is nowhere to be seen.

That’s right — Mina broke her promise!  No only did she not wait for him but she also got married and now has a sullen teenage daughter, Hali (Lauren York).  Making matters even worse, Mina not only got married but she married a cop!  Ben Gardner (Nick Baillie) may be a nice guy and a good cop but that doesn’t stop Reese from fantasizing about murdering him.

Well, you can probably guess what happens.  Reese tracks down Mina and her family.  Reese tries to ingratiate himself with the family.  Rebellious Hali starts to get too close to her mom’s ex-boyfriend.  It’s really pretty much a typical Lifetime film, with all that implies.  It’s well-made and well-acted and it won’t surprise you one bit.

In fact, to me, the most interesting thing about the film was looking at the cast and remembering all the other Lifetime films that they’ve appeared in.  Ashley Scott was in 16 and Missing.   Nick Baillie was in Full Out, which I will be reviewing soon.  Lauren York was not only in The Perfect Daughter but also co-starred in Babysitter’s Black Book with Angelina Appel, who plays the younger version of her mom in this movie!  According the imdb, York will also be appearing in the sequel to Lavalantula.  They all do a pretty good job in this movie and so does Louis Madylor.

Let’s put it like this: if you like Lifetime movies, you’ll like this.  If you don’t, you won’t.

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #21: I Am Watching You (dir by Maureen Bharoocha)

(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June.  She’s trying to get it all done by July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)


I was originally planning on reviewing the 21st film on my DVR yesterday evening but that was before my hometown of Dallas, Texas turned into a war zone after a sniper opened fire on a Black Lives Matter protest that was being held downtown.  From 9 pm to 5 in the morning, I was watching the news and following the story on twitter.  10 police officers and 1 protester were shot by a gunman who later blown up in the parking garage of El Centro College.    Sadly, as of this writing, five of the wounded officers have lost their lives.  It was tragic and terrifying to watch this situation unfold, especially with the knowledge that it was all happening just a few miles away from me.  Needless to say, at that moment, reviewing a Lifetime film was the last thing on my mind.  I was just happy knowing that my family, friends, and loved ones were all safe.

As I sit here writing this, the city is still in shock and large portions of Dallas are currently shut down.  (Fortunately, I was already off work for this week.)  And, oddly enough, I’m suddenly finding myself very happy that I still have 19 films left to review.  When the world gets too crazy and scary, movies can provide a needed escape and right now, I need that escape.

So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at I Am Watching You!

There’s a scene in Joe Swanberg’s 2014 holiday film, Happy Christmas, in which Anna Kendrick encourages novelist Melanie Lynesky to abandon her pretentious and stalled literary project and instead just try to make a quick buck by writing a “mom sex” book.  “Mom sex” books (like 50 Shades of Grey, to cite the most obvious example) might not qualify as great literature but they’re full of sex and middle-aged women like to read them on the beach.  I Am Watching You tells the story of Nora Nichols (Madline Zima), a writer who specializes in writing “mom sex” books.

Nora, however, is suffering from writer’s block!  Could it be because, like all Lifetime heroines, she has recently broken up with her boyfriend and is no longer having sex?  Of course, it is!  Fortunately, Nora’s office window provides her with a perfect view of her neighbor, photographer Lucas Wheeler (Brian Ames).  Nora spends her time watching Lucas dress and undress but what Nora doesn’t suspect is that Lucas might be watching her as well.

Anyway, eventually, Nora and Lucas actually run into each other in real life and soon, they’re exploring their own 50 Shades of Grey-style melodrama.  It helps with Nora’s writing, too.  For instance, when she has to write a bondage scene, she has Lucas tie her up.

And, at first, it looks like everything is perfect!  He’s hot, he’s into bondage, he likes to watch — what could go wrong?  Well, he’s also obsessed with her and Nora soon discovers that she’s being stalked by him.  Will all of this help Nora to write a best seller?  How couldn’t it!?

Anyway, I Am Watching You is pretty much your typical Lifetime sex film.  All of the scenes are gauzy and Lucas looks good without a shirt on but otherwise, it’s pretty tame.  Even the very brief bondage scene felt more like a Chanel commercial than anything else.

But I guess my main problem with I Am Watching You is that, from what we heard in the film, Nora didn’t appear to be a very good writer.  If anything, her writing sounded like second-rate 50 Shades of Grey fanfic (which is pretty bad when you consider that 50 Shades itself is second-rate fanfic).  Considering all that she goes through to get her book written, it would be nice if the book at least sounded like it was worth reading.

I Am Watching You originally aired on Lifetime on May 15th and I’m sure it’ll probably air again many times over the upcoming year.  They usually do.

Music Video of the Day: Renegades of Funk by Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force (1983, dir. ???)

I have no idea what year this video was released. Obviously it was early on in the 1980s, but this was an era when MTV was still scared to have blacks on the network. I know the song was released in 1983.

I would imagine a lot of people were introduced to this song via the Rage Against the Machine cover version. I also imagine that a fair amount of people were made aware of Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force because of the inclusion of their song Looking for the Perfect Beat on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. I was in both cases. I do like the Rage Against the Machine version. They stripped it down to the bare bones political portion of the song, which in doing so, made it their own. It’s something to keep in mind watching this video since you’ll see pre-Public Enemy all over it. Unfortunately, there is something else that you can’t possibly avoid having in your head while watching this music video. I mention that at the end.

Rap started at least in what we would call a fully-formed version in the 1970s with artists like DJ Hollywood, but it was never recorded until Rapper’s Delight came along. Then for a short period of a few years in the early 1980s there was a rather experimental period in rap before groups like Salt-N-Pepa, Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, and N.W.A. among others would standardize it to a certain extent. One of the groups that existed during that period was Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force. There’s a lot more to this story too. I know I am oversimplifying here. The group dates back to the 1970s themselves. I’m pretty sure that’s him at the very start before we see him in costume.

This video has just about everything in it. You’ve got the Public Enemy type political lyrics. Afrika Bambaataa himself looks like he is the funky rap child of George Clinton. It starts with kids off the street being drawn towards a 2001-like monolith to be pulled into another world. It is full of life, color, history, and a damn good time. However, I love how it never pretends reality doesn’t exist with it’s beginning and end. It’s in the middle that it takes you to another place that can be lost if you let your mind fill with nothing but what you see with your eyes. This music video takes your mind on an audio-visual tour before dropping you back into your life.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s wonderful song The Message tosses you into cold-hard reality. Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force picks you up into the air, mesmerizes you with color and sound, delivers its message, and then asks you dance sucka, before letting you return back to reality.

Sadly, from what I’ve read just now on the night before this was scheduled to post, reality, or at least allegations, is exactly what has been coming out all over the place about Afrika Bambaataa. I actually wrote this post back on Tuesday of this week, and only came across it the night before it was scheduled to be posted. Oh, well. Just like anything else, you can’t avoid controversy and reality when talking about anything in the art and entertainment business. *Sigh*