Cleaning Out The DVR: Open Marriage (dir by Sam Irvin)

(Lisa is not just watching horror movies!  She is also trying to clean out her DVR!  She has got over 200 movies that she needs to watch before January 1st!  Will she make it?  Keep checking here to find out!  She recorded Open Marriage off of Lifetime on February 4th!)

Sometimes, cleaning out the DVR really does make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a time machine.

Take Open Marriage, for instance.  I recorded this film on February 4th and, as soon as I watched it, I was transported back to those romantic days leading up to Valentine’s Day.  Suddenly, I once again found myself in a time when every other commercial was either for Fifty Shades Darker or Adore Me lingerie.  I was reminded of how, from the beginning of January to the end of March, not a single day went by that I didn’t say to my boyfriend, “You like it too.  Right, babe?”

(If you’ve seen the commercial, you know what I’m talking about.  If not, don’t worry about it.)

Anyway, it’s appropriate that Open Marriage aired in between all of those commercials for Fifty Shades Darker.  Much like the Fifty Shades movies, Open Marriage is one of those films that pretends to be all decadent but which is actually kind of silly.  Ron (Tilky Jones) and Becca (Nikki Leigh) are young, pretty, and married but they’ve got some problems.  Ron recently hurt his back and he’s been out of work for a year.  They’ve got a huge house but they’re struggling financially.  Despite Ron’s big sexy tattoo, there’s no more spark to their marriage.

However, things change when they visit their friends, Mindy (Kelly Dowdle) and Max (Jason Tobias).  Mindy and Max are young, pretty, and married but they don’t spend all of their time fighting.  How is this possible!?  Could it be because they’re rich and have an even bigger house than Ron and Becca?  Or could it be the fact that they have an open marriage?  Ron and Becca may say that they’re skeptical about the whole open marriage thing but they get so turned on by the idea that they have very passionate Lifetime-approved sex right before the first commercial break.

Naturally, all of this leads to the two couples experimenting with each other.  This means going to a secret club and getting a private room in back.  One of the rules is that the two couples always have to be together but, instead, Becca and Max go off on their own.  Ron gets upset and demands an end to all the swinging.  Becca agrees but soon finds herself tempted to return to the club.  The club, by the way, is named Caligula.  I assume that Nero was already taken.

Anyway, I liked Open Marriage because it offered up three of my favorite things: trashy sex, trashy lingerie, and trashy melodrama.  On the one hand, the movie is totally ludicrous and kind of silly.  On the other hand, it’s so totally over the top that it’s impossible not to be amused and entertained by it all.  If nothing else, Open Marriage was better than Fifty Shades Darker so let’s give credit where credit is due.

Film Review: Dead 7 (dir by Danny Roew)

Dead 7 is a strange one.

The latest film from the geniuses at the Asylum (and I mean that as a compliment because there is definitely a strain of genius at the heart of The Asylum’s madness), Dead 7 premiered on SyFy last night.  I watched it.  My friends, the Snarkalecs, watched it.  And about a million boy band fans watched it.  As usual, the Snarkalecs and I attempted to live tweet the film.  Unfortunately, for every genuinely witty tweet from me and my friends, there were a few thousand tweets from people begging Nick Carter to retweet them.  A lot of wonderful snark got lost in the deluge of fangirl exhortations.

But I can’t really blame the fangirls.  If I hadn’t discovered the joys of snark and if not for the fact that I have too much self-worth to beg anyone (no matter how hot or famous) for a retweet, I might have been there with them.  Dead 7 is many things but it will probably best be remembered as the movie that featured a lot of former boy band members fighting and being eaten by zombies.  (As more than one tweeter put it, Dead 7 was like watching all of your childhood cruses die a terrible and bloody death.)  Not only was the film’s story conceived by Backstreet Boy Nick Carter but he also starred in it and convinced a lot of other boy banders to join the cast.  Of course, neither Justin Timberlake nor Lance Bass are anywhere to be found in the film.  (For that matter, I was surprised that Aaron Carter didn’t show up.)  But the film does feature three Backstreet Boys, two from *NSYNC, Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees, and O-Town.

Yes, O-Town.

(Fortunately, super creepy, super sleazy, and super imprisoned Lou Pearlman did not have a cameo.  I imagine that he was one of the first people to be eaten during the zombie apocalypse.)

As for the film itself … well, it’s not exactly easy to describe.  The plot was not always easy to follow and there was a surprisingly large amount of backstory for an Asylum zombie film.  The apocalypse has come and gone and now, the world has been transformed into the old west.  What remains of humanity lives in tiny and isolated communities.  Gunslingers wander through the desert.  High atop a mountain, a mad woman named Apocalypta (super scary Debra Wilson) breeds zombies and holds the town below hostage.  Sheriff Cooper (Jon Secada) recruits a group of warriors to take out Apocalypta and her hordes.

(Incidentally, Apocalypta’s main henchman is named Johnny Vermillion.  Johnny wears clown makeup and giggles uncontrollably.  He also gouges out a man’s eye.  Johnny is played by A.J. McClean of the Backstreet Boys and he makes for a surprisingly effective villain.)

Despite the fact that Cooper and his impressive sideburns are later eaten by a zombie horde, the warriors still go after Apocalypta.  They are the Dead 7, not quite magnificent and almost all dead by the end of the film.

O-Town’s Erik Michael Estrada is Komodo.  He’s a samurai.  He kills a lot of zombies with a sword.  Watching the movie last night, we all really loved Komodo but I think we mostly just liked the sword.

Carrie Keagan is Daisy Jane, who I liked because she was a woman who kicked ass.  (Plus, Carrie Keagan was a good sport and replied to a few of my snarky tweets.)  Daisy’s boyfriend is Billy, who is played by 98 Degrees’s Jeff Timmons.  Personally, I think Dead 7 needs a prequel that will focus exclusively on Daisy Jane or Billy.

Joey Fatone is Whiskey Joe.  Whiskey Joe is boisterous and always seems to be having a good time.  He’s also always drinking whiskey but when he explained that he can blow himself up if he ever finds himself overwhelmed by zombies, I cringed a little because it was such obvious foreshadowing.  If nothing else, Dead 7 forces you to consider whether a world without Joey Fatone is a world worth living in.

Whiskey Joe’s partner is the Vaquero (played by Howie Dorough).  The Vaquero is good with a rifle and, at one point, calls Whiskey Joe “estupido.”

Sirene (Lauren Kitt-Carter, who is married to Nick in real life) is a mysterious woman who shows up nearly halfway through the film.  She doesn’t say much but she’s good at killing zombies.

And finally, Nick himself played Jack.  Jack is a man of few words, a stoic gunslinger who always does the right thing.  Nick Carter does a surprisingly effective Clint Eastwood impersonation.

By the end of the film, only one member of the Dead 7 will still be alive.  Can you guess who?

Beyond the cast (and former boy banders play even the smallest roles), the most interesting thing about Dead 7 is how seriously it takes itself.  This is not another Sharknado 3.  There’s very little intentional camp to be found in Dead 7.  Instead, it’s a gory and violent film, one in which characters die terrible deaths while howling in pain.  The juxtaposition of boy banders and blood makes for an odd viewing experience.

Fortunately, I like odd things.  Dead 7 may not be perfect (the editing occasionally feels rushed and haphazard and, as a result, the story isn’t always easy to follow) but when it concentrates on zombie mayhem, it works well enough.

Keep an eye out for Dead 7!

(Just make sure that AJ McLean does snatch it out of your head…)