Cleaning Out The DVR: Black Hearted Killer (dir by Roxy Shih)

Earlier tonight, I continued my quest to clean out my DVR by watching the Lifetime film, Black Hearted Killer.  This originally aired on April 5th and I missed it because …. well, to be honest, I don’t remember why I missed it.  I mean, April 5th — that was like a month ago which, in 2020 time, is the equivalent of several years.  Well, whatever my reason for missing it was, I’m sure it was an acceptable one.  Fortunately, I set my DVR to record the film.

Black Hearted Killer tells the story of three people and one heart.  When their daughter is tragically killed in an auto accident, Juley (Julie McNiven) and Dennis (Jon Abrahams) agree to donate her organs.  They don’t want to know who is going to get their daughter’s organs but they do agree to allow the hospital to tell the recipients where the organs came from.  Months later, Juley and Dennis are approached by Vera (Kelley Jackle).  Vera tells them that she has their daughter’s heart beating away inside of her and that she owes her life to them.  Dennis is like, “That’s nice.  Go away now.”  Juley, however, invites Vera to become a part of their life.

Juley is still struggling to recover from her daughter’s death.  She’s still haunted by nightmares.  Having Vera around allows Juley to feel as if she’s close to her daughter.  Dennis, however, is more suspicious of Vera and the effect that she’s having on Juley.  Dennis suspects that Vera’s motives may not be pure.  Not surprisingly (because this is a Lifetime film after all), it turns out that Dennis is right.

Black Hearted Killer is an entertaining Lifetime film.  By this point, we all kind of know what the general plot of these films is going to be.  From the minute that Vera shows up, we know that she can’t be trusted just because she’s a stranger in a Lifetime films and strangers always turn out to be trouble in these films.  The fact that the plot is kind of predictable is really one of the main appeals of a film like this.  We don’t watch to be surprised.  Instead, we watch so we can shake our heads at characters who apparently haven’t seen as many Lifetime films as we have.  In this film, it didn’t really take Vera long to show her true nature and she was an entertaining psycho.  Kelley Jackle did a good job playing her and Julie McNiven and Jon Abrahams were both well-cast as the couple who she victimizes.  I also liked Juley and Dennis’s house which, as veteran Lifetime observes know, is a very important part of any successful Lifetime movie.  The nicer the house, the better the movie.

As I watched the film, I found myself thinking about organ donation.  I guess, if I died and my organs were donated to someone else, it wouldn’t bother me because I would be dead and I probably wouldn’t know what was happening.  A part of me does worry about getting stranded in Purgatory without my liver but I guess I’d make do.  Still, I would have to wonder who would end up with my mismatched eyes or my heart or my …. well, you get the idea.  I would hope it wouldn’t be anyone mean.  If you get one of my organs, treat it nicely.


Isle of Dogs (2010, directed by Tammi Sutton)

No, this is not the slow-moving Wes Anderson film from a few years back.

Instead, this is a film about a London crime boss named — don’t laugh — Darius (Andrew Howard).  Darius has an anger problem and it is not helped by all of the cocaine that he snorts at his club.  He also has a Russian wife named Nadia (Barbara Nedeljakova), a former prostitute who Darius says that he rescued.  Darius is insanely jealous.  When he suspects Nadia is having an affair, he takes the man who he suspects was her lover out to the countryside and, after a lot of yelling, eventually gets around to executing him.  The only problem is that Darius got the wrong guy!

Instead, Nadia’s lover is a low-level hood named Riley (Edward Hogg).  Nadia is waiting for Riley to show up at Darius’s country estate and take her away from her life as the trophy wife of an abusive psycho.  When a masked intruder shows up with a knife, things start to get more complicated.

Unfortunately, just because things get more complicated, that doesn’t mean that they get any more interesting.  For a film featuring frequent violence, graphic gore, and more than a little sex, Isle of Dogs is a remarkably dull affair.  A huge part of the problem is that the characters are never that interesting so you really don’t care when they lose a limb or are forced to commit a murder.  Darius, Nadia, and Riley are all stereotypes who will be easily recognized from other, better British gangster films.  At first, it seems like Andrew Howard’s energetic cursing might make bring some life to Darius but after a while, even Darius’s temper gets old.  I was hoping that the film would at least make good use of London but instead, the majority of the film takes place at Darius’s country estate, which looks like every other country estate.

There are some twists to the plot.  The film makes liberal use of flashbacks and flashforwards, though they don’t add up too much.  For some reason, there’s a scene of a naked Darius practicing his golf swing.  Someone loses an arm and barely flinches.  The film probably would have been better if Wes Anderson had directed it.  At least he would have brought along Bill Murray.

One More From Perfectly Acceptable Press : Pablo Delcielo And Shihab Alen’s “Anarchy In The Kingdom Of Heaven”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

While Chilean cartoonist Pablo Delcielo and his writing partner Shihab Alen (a nom de plume, apparently, for one Raimundo Gunen) open their 2017 Perfectly Acceptable-published illustrated poetic essay Anarchy In The Kingdom Of Heaven with a reference to Philip K. Dick, in both tone and content their visionary (in the strictest sense of the term) project actually evokes the writings of spiritual anarchist authors ranging from Henry David Thoreau to Peter Lamborn Wilson/Hakim Bey, albeit with a distinctly, and entirely understandable, anti-imperialist streak ever-present in its suggestions and implications. It is, however, no less radical (again, in the strictest sense of that word) for that fact.

Heavily informed by the Latin American experience with colonialism both military and economic, this is a short-form thorough re-thinking of possible futures in the face and aftermath of Western exploitation, and as such is unafraid to call out the American empire as fascist…

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Cleaning Out The DVR: A Killer In My Home (dir by Farhad Mann)

When the lockdown was first announced down here in Texas, my initial reaction was, “Well, at least I can clean out my DVR now….”

Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out like that.  First off, I got caught up trying to work my way through my collection of DVDs and Blu-rays.  Then, I ended up getting distracted by my efforts to binge my way through The Sopranos, Oz, and Deadwood.  And suddenly, here we are!  It’s nearly June.  The lockdown is in the process of ending.  And I’ve barely made a dent on working my way through the 230 programs that I have on my DVR.

Earlier today, I decided to finally get to work by watching the Lifetime film, A Killer In My Home.  A Killer In My Home originally aired on the Lifetime Movie Network back in February.  I was on vacation at the time so my wonderful sister was nice enough to record it for me.  Watching it was an interesting experience, just because there weren’t any COVID-19-themed commercials.  Instead, there were a ton of commercials for Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg.  I mean, seriously — whenever you think about how bad 2020 may be right now, just remember that, even before everything shut down, we had to spend a month and a half dealing with the Tom and Mike charm offensive.

As for the film itself, it tells the story of Allison Wright (Bree Williamson) and her daughter, Hollie (Hannah Vandenbygaart).  Allison and Hollie appear to have the perfect life.  Not only do they live in a huge house but Hollie appears to have the perfect future ahead of her.  Soon, she’ll graduate high school, get a nice car, and go to a good college.  But then, Allison’s husband and Hollie’s father suffers a heart attack!  While he’s dying in the hospital, he’s visited by Jenna Fallon (Krista Bridges) and her withdrawn son, Joshua (Percy Hynes White).  When Allison demands to know why Jenna is visiting her dying husband, Jenna explains that she had an affair with Allison’s husband and Joshua was the result.  Apparently, Allison’s husband spent years visiting and financially supporting Jenna and Joshua.  Now that he’s dead, Jenna and Joshua have no one left to provide for them.

Now, if you were Allison, what would you do in this situation?

Would you say, “Tough shit, you whore.  Get out of here and take that bastard with you!”


Would you say, “Why don’t you come live in our guest house?”

Now, to the film’s credit, Allison’s initial reaction is to tell Jenna and Joshua to go away.  However, a few weeks later, Allison has a change of heart and she allows Jenna and Joshua to move into the guest house.  Jenna and her son are supposed to stay away from the main house and out of Allison and Hollie’s lives.  Needless to say, things don’t work out like that.

Soon, strange things start to happen.  There’s a break-in at the house.  Despite her efforts to ignore him, Joshua still tries to talk his half-sister.  Jenna starts to throw biker-populated parties at the guest house.  Despite the fact that she claims to have no money, Jenna is able to buy her son an expensive jeep.  Allison comes to realize what we realized from the beginning: Jenna has sinister motives of her own!  The only question is whether or not Joshua shares those motives or if he’s just a pawn trapped in a game he didn’t intend to play.

A Killer In My Home is okay.  If I’m not as enthusiastic about it as I am about other Lifetime films, it’s because I never believed that Allison would 1) allow Jenna to stay in the guest house and 2) allow her to continue to stay in the guest house even after it became obvious that some seriously strange stuff was going on.  Allison lost my sympathy by doing that.  However, I did really like Krista Bridges’s performance as the unstable Jenna and I though Hannah Vandenbygaart gave a good and sympathetic performance as the daughter who is basically just sick of dealing with the adults in her life.  I could definitely relate.

Finally, the house was nice.  Lifetime movies always feature the nicest houses and A Killer In My Home featured one of the best!

Music Video of the Day: I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll, covered by Britney Spears (2001, dir by Chris Applebaum)

It’s Britney!

This video was filmed at the Inn, which is a bar in Long Island.  The video features Britney performing with her then-backing band.  It also features a speaker that appears to be on the verge of exploding and a motorcycle.  To be honest, if I was performing this song, I would probably want a motorcycle on stage with me too.  This is a song that just makes you want to ride a motorcycle.

(Seriously, I’ve always had like a major weakness for motorcycles.  It’s not so much that I like to ride them as much as I just like to lean up against them.)

I can remember that, when this cover was first released, a lot of people complained that it wasn’t as good as the previous versions and Britney also got a lot of criticism for saying that she had been inspired by Pat Benatar’s cover when the cover was actually performed by Joan Jett.  Myself, I like Britney’s cover.  It’s fun to dance too and Britney always seemed like she was happy when she was performing it.  So, the haters can just shut up as far as I’m concerned.

Free Britney!