Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #40: The Wrong Child (dir by David DeCoteau)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Well, I guess she did since this is the 40th review!!!  YAY!)

The Wrong Child

Finally, we have reached the end.  Two and a half weeks ago, I started the process of reviewing all forty of the films that I recorded between the start of March and the end of June.  It hasn’t always been easy, within the two and a half week time frame that I set for myself, to watch and review all of these films but I’ve managed to do it.  As soon as I publish the review that you’re reading right now, I will be able to say that I have officially cleaned out my DVR.

So, what was the final film waiting to be watched on my DVR?  It was The Wrong Child, which originally aired on June 26th on the Lifetime channel.

In The Wrong Child, Vivica A. Fox plays Renee.  Like many Lifetime heroines, Renee would appear to have it all.  She has money, glamour, a teenage daughter, and a tragic backstory.  (Her first husband was killed several years ago in a traffic accident.)  She also has a wonderful house, which regular Lifetime viewers might recognize as being the same house from The Wrong Roommate.  She has recently remarried.  Her new husband is Charles (Gary Daniels), an architect who may or may not have a few secrets of his own lurking in the past.

One day, Andrew (Robbie Davidson) shows up at the house.  Andrew is a handsome and apparently normal teenager.  He explains that his mother has recently died of stomach cancer but, before she passed, she informed him that Charles is his father.  Charles is skeptical but Renee and her daughter welcome Andrew into the family.

Of course, it turns out that Charles was correct to be suspicious.  Andrew is a sociopath, the type of guy who takes pictures of strangers while they’re out jogging and who also is totally willing to murder anyone who might have any evidence that his name is not actually Andrew.  Andrew may be crazy but he has a very specific reason for tracking down Charles and his new family.

The Wrong Child is a pretty standard Lifetime B-movie but director David DeCoteau always brings a certain flair to even the most predictable of thrillers.  You know that Andrew is crazy as soon as you see him but Robbie Davidson still gives a really good and rather chilling performance.

Add to that, there’s the house!  I loved the house when it appeared in The Wrong Roommate and I loved it even more in The Wrong Child.  Here’s hoping that the house appears in another wrong film soon!

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Well, that’s it!  Two and a half week and 40 movies later, I have now officially cleaned out my DVR!  Now, I can get to work on filling it up again!

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #39: Full Out (dir by Sean Cisterna)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

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The 39th film on my DVR was Full Out, which aired on Lifetime immediately after Center Stage: On Pointe.  

I enjoyed Full Out when it first aired and I enjoyed it even more when I watched it a second time.  It’s a truly enjoyable and inspiring dance film and it’s one of the best films to have appeared on Lifetime this year.  Not only is it wonderful to watch but it’s a Canadian film, which is always a good thing.  It features not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Degrassi actors!

Full Out tells a true story and what a story it is!  Ariana Berlin (Anna Golja) is a talented gymnast who is bound for Olympic glory when she and her mother (Ramona Milano) are involved in a devastating traffic accident.  While Ariana survives the accident, she spends five days in a coma.  When she awakens, she discovers that she has two broken legs, two collapsed lungs, a broken wrist, a broken collarbone, and several cracks ribs.  A metal rod has been placed in her leg and her doctors tell her that she’ll never compete again.

At first, Ariana is bitter.  Not only does she miss the Olympics but she also has to watch as her best friend (played by Sarah Fisher) goes in her place and wins a silver medal.  Ariana lashes out at her friends and her family.  Everyone is prepared to give up on her, except for her physical therapist, Michelle (Asha Bromfield).  Michelle teaches Ariana hip hop dance and introduces Ariana to her dance troupe.  Through dance, Ariana starts to gain back her confidence.  Michelle eventually asks Araina to coach the dancers for an upcoming audition to join a famous dance team.

In fact, Ariana has become so confident that she feels ready to return to gymnastics.  She is accepted at UCLA, where her coach is the demanding Valorie Kondos Field (Jennifer Beals).  However, Ariana struggles to balance both gymnastics and dance.  Can she have both or will she be forced to make a difficult choice?

Full Out is an incredibly positive and likable film, one that made me feel good both times that I watched it.  The acting is wonderful, the story is inspiring, and the dancing is pure joy.  Watch this when you’re in a bad mood or when you’re feeling hopeless and it will immediately cheer you up, I promise!

As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, this has been a good year for Degrassi actors appearing in Lifetime films.  Full Out sets some sort of record by featuring four Degrassi actors!  Sarah Fletcher (who played conflicted Christian Becky Baker on Degrassi and also starred in The Stepchild) plays Ariana’s best friend and occasional rival.  Jake Epstein, who played bipolar musician/photographer Craig Manning on Degrassi, appears as one of Ariana’s coaches.  Ramona Milano, who played Drew and Adam’s mom on Degrassi, plays Ariana’s mom.  (Interestingly enough, on Degrassi, Sarah Fletcher’s Becky was a potential girlfriend to both Drew and Adam.)  And finally, Anna Golja, who plays bitchy Zoe on Degrassi, gives a great and empathetic performance as Ariana Berlin.

In fact, everyone is great in Full Out.  WAY TO GO, CANADA!

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #38: Center Stage: On Pointe (dir by Director X)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

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The 38th film on my DVR was Center Stage: On Pointe, which premiered on Lifetime on June 25th.

Center Stage: On Pointe is the third film in the Center Stage series.  The first film, which was released in 2000, is one of those films that, at the time, you pretty much had to see if you were into ballet.  The second film, Center Stage: Turn It Up, aired on the Oxygen Network in 2008 and laid much of the groundwork for what happens in On Pointe.

At the start of On Pointe, Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher), the head of the American Ballet Academy, has a problem.  The Academy is still doing great work but it’s not bringing in much money.  Unfortunately, the ABA has developed a reputation for being stodgy.  It needs to be shaken up.  It needs new dancers who are going to challenge the teachers even as the teachers challenge them.  Over the objections of just about everyone else at the ABA, Reeves decides that it’s time to bring modern dancers into the Academy.

Reeves and his choreographers (including Kenny Wormald’s Tommy Anderson, the male lead from Turn It Up) set out to recruit dancers to compete at a camp where the winners will be invited to join the Academy.  Among those dancers: Bella Parker (Nicole Munoz).  Bella is the younger sister of Kate Parker (Rachele Brooke Smith), whose story was previously told in Turn It Up.  Seeking to escape from her famous sister’s shadow, Bella auditions under a false name.  However, everyone immediately knows who she is.  It’s not easy being Kate Parker’s sister.

The camp turns out to be absolutely beautiful (even if it did remind me a bit of Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th) but the dance world is a competitive and often unforgiving one.  Not only is there tension between the ballet students and the modern dancers (and that tension is one of the most realistic aspects of the film) but one of the instructors appears to be obsessed with trying to destroy Bella.  Will Bella and her fellow dancers survive the grueling camp?  Will Bella ever escape her sister’s shadow?  And will the ABA manage to change with the times?

You already know the answers.  There’s not a surprising moment to be found in Center Stage: On Pointe but the film is well-shot, the music is great, and the dancing is amazing.  Yes, some of the performances could be better but when you’ve got dancers who can move as well as the ones in this cast, it really doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the greatest actors in the world.  This is a dance movie, after all.  The dance scenes are amazing and that’s what is important.

(By the way, fans of Dance Moms may be interested to know that Chloe Lukasiak has a small role in Center Stage: On Pointe.  And, though she may no longer be a member of ALDC, she’s still a great dancer.)

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #37: All This And Heaven Too (dir by Anatole Litvak)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

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The 37th film on my DVR was the 1940 film, All This, And Heaven Too.  It originally aired on June 21st on TCM.

All This, and Heaven Too is one of the many melodramatic historical romances in which Bette Davis appeared in the late 30s and early 40s.  These films usually featured Bette as a strong-willed woman who was often condemned for not conforming to the rules of society.  Typically, she would end up falling in love with a man who society said she could not have.  Bette almost always seemed to end up alone, which I guess was the way women who thought for themselves were punished back then.

In this one, Bette plays Henriette Deluzy, a French woman who ends up in America in the 1850s.  When she shows up to start teaching at a private, all-girls school, her students immediately start gossiping about her.  It seems that Henriette was at the center of some sort of European scandal and everyone is speculating about what happened.  Finally, at the start of class, Henriette tells her students that she’s going to tell them the true story of what happened back in France.

It turns out that Henriette was a governess.  She took care of the four children of the Duc de Praslin (Charles Boyer) and his wife, the Duchesse (Barbara O’Neil).  The Duchesse was mentally unstable and soon came to suspect that her husband had fallen in love with Henriette.  Though she may have been insane, it turned out that the Duchesse was correct.  When the Duchesse fired Henriette and then lied to her husband about it, the Duc flew into a rage and murdered his wife.

Under the laws of the time, the Duc could only be judged by his fellow noblemen.  He was told that if he simply confessed and said that Henriette was the one who drove him to commit the murder, he would be set free.  (As opposed to the characters that Bette Davis played in The Letter and The Little Foxes, Henriette was totally innocent.)  Would the Duc confess and allow Henriette to be blamed or would he deny his love for her and sacrifice his life as a result?

All This, And Heaven Too is a rather slow movie and it’s hard not to be disappointed that Henriette is such a boring character.  She’s so innocent and victimized that the role almost seems like a waste of Bette Davis’s talents.  A big production that featured lavish (though black-and-white) recreations of 19th Century France, All This, And Heaven Too was probably a big deal for contemporary audiences and, if you’re a Bette Davis or Charles Boyer completist, you might enjoy it.  But otherwise, it’s really nothing special.

All This, And Heaven Too was among the 10 films nominated for Best Picture of 1940.  However, it lost to Rebecca.

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #36: Killer Assistant (dir by Danny J. Boyle)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

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The 36th film on my DVR was Killer Assistant (also known as simply The Assistant.)

Killer Assistant originally aired on Lifetime on June 20th and it won major points from me just because of the title.  Though often underappreciated, administrative assistants are the glue that hold most offices together.  If there were no administrative assistants, the entire world would literally stop spinning so I’m always happy whenever I see a movie in which the assistants finally get their revenge.

The assistant of the title is … well, he claims his name is David (Brando Eaton).  That’s not his real name, of course.  And he’s really not from a small town in upstate New York despite what he tells everyone.  He may be a shady character who stole someone else’s identity but that doesn’t mean that he’s not a good assistant!  He especially proves to be invaluable to Suzanne Austin (Arianne Zucker), an editor at a fashion magazine.  As Suzanne struggles to put together the magazine’s 50th anniversary edition (all the while being watched by her boss, who bare a probably not coincidental resemblance to Anna Wintour), David proves to be a great source of ideas.  When Suzanne thinks that she’s seen her husband (George Stults) cheating on her, David proves to be a great source of comfort.

Which is another way of saying that they end up having a one night stand.  How passionate do things get?  So passionate that the sex scene is actually shown in slow motion.  (You know that Lifetime is getting serious when they start using the slow mo.)  However, the next morning, Suzanne announces that the previous night was a “mistake” and tells David that he is fired.

David, however, has other ideas.  After all, he already went through the trouble of attacking one of Suzanne’s other assistants just to make sure that he’d be able to keep his job.  David tells Suzanne that he’s not going anywhere.  He’s going to continue to answer the phones for her and schedule meetings for her.  And if she has a problem with that, he’ll just show everyone the little film that he made of the two of them during the previous night.

So, Suzanne is stuck with David.  And David is now flirting with her rebellious teenage daughter, Calista (Natalie Lander).

Anyway, Killer Assistant is rather ludicrous but I enjoyed it because 1) it was about a crazy administrative assistant and 2) it took place at a fashion magazine and was, therefore, full of bitchy dialogue.  Plus, Brando Eaton did a really good job in the role of David.  He was just so clean-cut, helpful, and cheerful, no matter what terrible things he was plotting.  As I watched the film, I found myself imagining a possible spin-off in which Suzanne is a guest judge on Project Runway and David blackmails her into praising the ugliest dress.  It was fun!

(For those keeping track of my efforts to clean out my DVR, that’s 36 films down and 4 to go!)

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #35: A Father’s Secret (dir by R. D. Braunstein)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

Father's Secret

(MINOR & MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!)

The 35th film on my DVR (only 5 more films to go!) was A Father’s Secret.  A Father’s Secret originally aired on the Lifetime Movie Network on June 19th.  It’s about a father who has a secret!

Actually, it’s about more than just that.  It’s also about an attorney named Carrie Evans (Willa Ford).  Carrie would appear to have everything.  She has great hair, a great job, a great apartment, and a great boyfriend.  What she does not have is any knowledge of who her mother was.  She’s close to her father, however.  Or, at the very least, she’s close to the man who she thinks is his father.  He’s not actually her father but that’s all a part of the secret.

Carrie is also close to Cagswell Foxx (Daniel Hugh Kelly), the senior partner at the law firm.  Cagswell is rich, old, white, and politically ambitious so we already know that he’s going to turn out to be a bad guy.  Cagswell has assigned Carrie to defend an oil company in a wrongful death lawsuit.  (Boooo!  Oil company!  Hissssssss!)

One night, Carrie is shocked when she receives an envelope that is full of pictures of her undressing.  At first, Carrie assumes that it must have been sent by environmental activist, Greg (Aidan Bristow).  However, Greg tells her that the picture were sent by Cagswell.  Why?  Because Cagswell wants to have something on her, just in case he needs to use it in the future…

Wow, that Cagswell is really evil!

Carrie decides to take a closer look at the details of that wrongful death case.  As she illegally goes though the files in Cagswell’s office, she comes across a picture of a youngish Cagswell with a woman who seems oddly familiar to her.  Carrie decides to discover the woman’s identity and soon learns that the woman has been missing for decades.  And the last person she was seen with?  Cagswell Foxx!

Of course, Cagswell isn’t just interested in covering up crimes and helping out the oil companies.  Cagswell is also running for the U.S. Senate!  Do you think all of this could possibly lead to Carrie challenging Cagswell right in the middle of a political rally?

Of course, it could!

A Father’s Secret is predictable but well-done.  Daniel Hugh Kelly is properly sleazy as Cagswell, while Willa Ford is surprisingly credible as a lawyer.  Director R. D. Braunstein brings a surprising amount of visual flair to this Lifetime film, with the film’s opening montage being especially well-done.  A Father’s Secret is full of melodrama and silly plot twists and, in the end, it’s a lot of fun!

What more can you ask for, really?

 

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #34: Revenge Porn (dir by Monika Mitchell)


(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 the end of July 11th!  Will she make it!?  Keep visiting the site to find out!)

Revenge Porn

The 34th film on the DVR was Revenge Porn, which I recorded off of Lifetime on June 18th.

Here’s two important things to know about Revenge Porn:

First of all, when it originally aired, I live tweeted it on twitter, along with several other friends.  Needless to say, we used the hashtag #RevengePorn.  Also needless to say, using #RevengePorn as a hashtag ended up getting me a lot of attention from people who weren’t necessarily watching the film.  I picked up a lot of new followers that night.

(Of course, most of them left once I started to tweet about Big Brother.)

Secondly, when it came time to write this review, I wanted to make sure that I had at least one image to go along with it.  So, innocently, I did a google image search on “Revenge Porn.”  That turned out to be a big mistake.  If you want to find pictures from this film, I suggest that you do a search for “Elisabeth Rohm Lifetime movie.”  It’ll be a lot less traumatic.

As for the film itself, it starts out like a more respectable version of Break-Up Nightmare.  The innocent and college-bound Peyton Harris (Tiera Skovbye) is up in her bedroom, taking topless pictures, while her overprotective parents (Elisabeth Rohm and David Lewis) are downstairs.  In fact, the only real difference between the opening of Break-Up Nightmare and Revenge Porn is that Peyton isn’t taking the pictures for a boyfriend.  Instead, she’s considering whether or not to get a boob job.

Otherwise, the first hour of the film plays out pretty much the same as Break-Up Nightmare.  Peyton’s best friend (Jodelle Ferland) is jealous over Peyton’s great future and, in a moment of spite, sends naked pictures of Peyton to everyone at school.  However, things get even worse when Carl Cook (a thoroughly creepy performance fro Levi Meaden) comes across Peyton’s pictures and posts them on his revenge porn website, ExMyEx.  Cook claims that what he’s doing is perfectly legal and that it’s the fault of his victims for taking naked pictures in the first place.  Peyton’s mom decides to try to bring the website down and Carl seeks revenge…

However, after about an hour of this, the film goes totally crazy.  Angered over their attempts to shut him down, Carl starts to harass the Harrises in every over-the-top way imaginable. Since Carl Cook is a hacker (which, in the world of Lifetime films, is the equivalent of being an MCU-style super villain), there is literally nothing that he can’t do.

Send threatening texts to every member of the family?  Carl can do it!

Send and re-send naked pictures of Peyton to everyone on the planet?  Carl can do it!

Cancel everyone’s credit cards and destroy the family’s finances?  Carl can do it!

Cancel Peyton’s college scholarships?  Carl can do it!

Issue a warrant for Peyton’s father arrest?  Carl can do it!

Eventually, the Harrises even find themselves being chased by a drone, which Carl is apparently controlling from his super villain lair!

When it comes to movies about creepy hackers and naked pictures, Break-Up Nightmare is definitely the one to go with.  But Revenge Porn has its own strengths.  Both Rohm and Skovbye give good performances and, seriously, as played by Levin Meaden, Carl Cook is one of the most loathsome villains to ever appear in a Lifetime movie.

If you’re a fan of the Lifetime way of telling cinematic morality tales, Revenge Porn is one to keep an eye out for.  Hopefully, Lifetime will be do a Revenge Porn/Break-Up Nightmare double feature at some point in the future.