Lifetime Film Review: My Wife’s Secret Life (dir by Jason Bourque)

So, let’s say that your husband has cheated on you.

Now, obviously, the easiest thing to say is that you should just dump his ass but reality is always a bit more complicated.  The fact of the matter is that you’ve got two kids with him.  You two share a big suburban home.  He’s got a successful career as an attorney.  You’ve got a successful career of your own.  And he says that he’s sorry.  He says that he’ll never stray again.  Even if you’re not sure that you’ll ever be able to trust him again, you do love him.  So, you say that you forgive him.  You say that you’re giving him a second chance.  But the doubt and the pain still lingers.

What do you do?

How about having a one night stand with a near-stranger?

That’s what Laurel Briggs (Kate Villanova) does at the beginning of My Wife’s Secret Life.  She’s at a business conference.  Oddly, the hotel somehow screwed up her reservation and, as a result, she’s been separated from her colleagues.  She meets a handsome and charming man (Matthew McCaull).  One thing leads to another and Laurel ends up spending the night with this man.  (If you’re wondering why I’m not telling you the man’s name, that’s because he uses several over the course of the film).  That morning, when she leaves his hotel room, she makes it clear that she doesn’t want to see him again.  Laurel just wants to return home to her husband, James (Jason Cermak), and move on with her life.

Of course, this is a Lifetime movie so it’s not going to be that simple.  At first, Laurel’s one night stand doesn’t seem like he’s capable of taking the hint.  He’s the type of guy who shows up at your office unannounced and tries to guilt you into spending the day with him.  Then, eventually, he become the type of stalker who breaks into houses and leaves behind roses and poems by Lord Byron.  Soon, he’s not only stalking Laurel but he’s also pursuing a relationship with Laurel’s sister (Marnie Mahannah).

It turns out that our Lord Byron-obsessed stalker is more than just the typical type of obsessive who regularly shows up in Lifetime movies.  He’s got his own reasons for specifically targeting Laurel and her husband and it turns out that he’ll stop at nothing to accomplish his sinister goals….

Sounds pretty melodramatic, right?  Well, I supposed it is but that’s kind of the point.  I mean, that’s why we watch Lifetime films.  We watch them for the infidelity and the dangerous men who have secrets and the women who make one mistake and then have to spend the entire movie dealing with the consequences.  Enjoying a Lifetime film is all about embracing the melodrama and this is a film that cries out for a hug.  This is a film that celebrates everything that we love about Lifetime.  Director Jason Bourque keeps the action moving at an enjoyably quick pace and he’s aided by a cast who keeps the action grounded in reality.  Villanova and Cermak have exactly the right chemistry to be believable as a couple struggling to keep their marriage alive and Matthew McCaull is a wonderfully magnetic force of chaos and destruction.  It’s an enjoyable film and, since it’s a Lifetime film, it will probably be aired multiple times between now and 2021.  So, keep an eye out for it!

Lifetime Film Review: V.C. Andrews’ Fallen Hearts (dir by Jason Priestley)

About 12 minutes into Fallen Hearts, the perpetually aggrieved Heaven (Annalise Basso) goes to the local circus so she can taunt her stepfather, Luke (Chris William Martin), over the fact that 1) Heaven looks exactly like her mother, Angel and 2) Angel’s dead.

Upon arriving at the circus, Heaven runs into her stepbrother, Tom (Matthew Nelson-Mahood), but it takes her a while to recognize him because he’s wearing a big red clown nose.  It’s not until he takes the nose off that she recognizes Tom and then asks him why he’s dressed up like a clown.  It turns out that Tom is a clown now!  I guess he got a promotion.  Tom then asks why Heaven has made herself up to look exactly like Angel….

Unfortunately, Luke has already spotted Heaven and, apparently not understanding how death works, becomes convinced that Angel has returned to life and is standing in the middle of a low-rent circus in West Virginia.  Unfortunately, Luke is apparently now a lion tamer and he’s so shocked to see his dead wife that he loses track of his lion.

And, of course, the lion promptly kills Tom.  Would the lion have spared Tom if he hadn’t removed his red clown nose?  We may never know.

Now, of course, everyone in the film treats this as being a great tragedy.  Strangely enough, no one blames Heaven, even though none of this would have happened if not for the Heaven’s apparent obsession with mentally tormenting everyone from her past.  But I have to admit that I laughed out loud as soon as I saw that lion in the background because I knew there was no way the scene was going to end without Tom getting pounced on….

And really, that’s the type of film that Fallen Hearts is.  It’s the third film in Lifetime’s adaptation of V.C. Andrews’s Casteel Saga (the previous two were Heaven and Dark Angel) and, from the minute that lion pounces at Tom, everyone should know better than to take anything that happens too seriously.  Fallen Hearts somehow manages to be even more melodramatic than the first two films and, as directed by Jason Priestley, Fallen Hearts appears to be fully in on the joke.

Priestley not only directs but he also appears in the film, once again playing Tony Tatterton.  Tony is not only Heaven’s unacknowledged father but he’s also her stepgrandfather as well.  When Heaven finally ends up marrying Logan Stonewall (James Rittinger), Tony invites them to come up to Massachusetts for their honeymoon.  Heaven says no but Logan, being a simple boy from the West Virginia hills, is all about family.  While up in Massachusetts, Heaven discover that her first husband, Troy (Jason Cermak), isn’t dead after all.  He’s just been in hiding for the past five years, mostly because, after the wedding, he discovered that he was also Heaven’s uncle and that type of relationship just isn’t right.  Of course, that doesn’t stop Troy and Heaven from having sex after they run into each other while wandering around a hedge maze.  Troy vanishes the morning afterward but soon, Heaven discovers she’s pregnant.  Is the baby Troy’s or Logan’s?

Actually, speaking of babies, Heaven’s trashy and bitter sister, Fanny (Jessica Clement, stealing the entire damn movie) is also pregnant!  And it turns out that Fanny’s been having an affair with Logan so he might be the father.  Then again, there’s also scene where the town’s preacher looks at Fanny and shouts, “WHORE!,” so who knows for sure.  The one thing we do know for sure is that all of this is going to lead to two pregnant sisters facing off in a court room.  These things always do.

Anyway, Fallen Hearts is not a film that’s really meant to be taken seriously and, as I said before, the film itself is obviously in one the joke.  The melodrama is turned up to 11 and the actors tear through the overripe dialogue like a moonshiner trying to outrun the cops.  Annalise Basso again manages to keep things somewhat grounded as Heaven but the film is totally dominated by Jessica Clement, who brings the wonderfully trashy Fanny to vivid life.  The townsfolk and the hillfolk might not think much of Fanny but she keeps Fallen Hearts beating.

The fourth part of the Casteel Saga, Gates of Paradise, will air on Lifetime next Saturday.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #188: Killer Twin (dir by David Langlois)

Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original film, Killer Twin!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, it was on Lifetime, of course.

Plus, I love movies about evil twins!

What Was It About?

As babies, twin sisters Amber and Kendra were both abandoned at the same orphanage.  The head of the orphanage, Eunice (Bronwen Smith), took an instant dislike to Amber but always liked Kendra.  When it looked like the sisters had a chance to be adopted, Eunice arranged for Kendra to go off with new parents while Amber remained at the orphanage.

30 years later and Kendra doesn’t even remember that she had a sister.  However, Amber remembers.  Kendra has a great life, with a good job and a nice husband (Jason Cermak) and a big house.  Amber has … well, Amber has a lot of bitterness.  When Amber manages to track down Kendra, she sets out to make her sister’s life a living Hell.  That means breaking into her house, ruining her credit, lusting after her husband, and … even murder!

(They couldn’t call it Killer Twin if one of the twins wasn’t a killer!)

What Worked?

Occasionally, a supporting character will pop up in one of these movies and, despite having limited screen time, they’ll become something of a cause célèbre  for those of us watching.  In Killer Twin, that character was Marvin (Nelson Wong).  Marvin was a totally nice, friendly, and professional guy who worked at a bank.  When he suspected that Amber might be imitating her sister, Amber reacted by hitting him in the head with a safe deposit box and then running out of the bank.

Now, here’s the thing.  Amber hit Marvin pretty hard.  A lot of us were convinced that Marvin was dead.  BUT NO!  Marvin not only lived but he went back to his desk and called the police!  YAY MARVIN!  After that happened, I think we all definitely wanted Justice for Marvin.

As for the rest of this film, it was a good and entertaining Lifetime movie.  It was totally over-the-top, melodramatic, and fun.  Lindsay Hartley was obviously having a ball getting to play two totally opposite characters and director David Langlois and cinematography Jan Klompje brought some visual flair to the story.  There was one shot in particular, in which Amber seemed to literally emerge from the Seattle fog, that was especially impressive.  Visually, Lifetime films have come a long way.

What Didn’t Work?

It all worked!  If you can’t enjoy a good killer twin movie, I worry about you.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

You know, at the start of the movie, I was pretty much Team Amber.  I mean, I went through a whole period of time when I only wore black and I refused to smile and I’m actually kind of amazed that people put up with me while all that was going on.  I knew that Amber was serious about her scheme when she removed her nose ring because seriously, nose rings are almost as painful to take out as they are to put in!  I speak from personal experience.

But then, of course, Amber hit Marvin and I lost sympathy for her.  Leave Marvin alone!

Lessons Learned

Marvin is indestructible and evil twin movies are always fun!

Cleaning Out The DVR: Psycho Wedding Crasher (dir by David Langlois)

(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 183 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Psycho Wedding Crasher off of Lifetime on September 3rd, 2017!)

There were three “psycho” movies on Lifetime this year.  I’ve already watched and reviewed Psycho In-Law and Psycho Brother-in-Lawtwo films that I liked quite a bit.  But as insane as the psychos were in those films, neither of them can hold a candle to Jenna (Heather Morris), the title character in Psycho Wedding Crasher.

“Oh my God!  She did not just do that!”  That’s something that I shouted so many times, while watching Psycho Wedding Crasher, that I eventually lost track of the number of times Jenna’s behavior shocked me.

The first time I shouted it was when Jenna, while attending a party, searched her host’s bedroom and not only stole a pair of panties but actually put them on before leaving.  I shouted it again when Jenna started physically beating herself up in her car so that she could accuse Scott (Robert Salvador) of assaulting her.  This was followed by Jenna making use of a stranger’s bed, hiding in a closet so she could watch Glenn (Jason Cermak) take a shower, strangling someone with measuring tape, having an imaginary wedding, and of course engaging in a lot of knife action.  By the time the movie was over, I was nearly hoarse from yelling at the TV.

The title is correct.  Jenna is both psycho and a wedding crasher.  That said, she has her reasons.  For one thing, her parents are dead and she’s been raised by an abusive aunt (Joan Van Ark) who constantly tells Jenna that she’s neither smart nor pretty enough to ever find a man.  Jenna spends day after day sewing wedding dresses but when will she find love?  She spends all of her time haunting wedding receptions, hoping to meet the man of her dreams.  One gets the feeling that she’s had many dreams.

Jenna knows that Glenn is the man for her but there’s only one problem.  Glenn is married to Marci (Fiona Vroom).  Whatever can Jenna do to take care of this situation?  How about becoming Marci’s friend and then conspiring to try to break up her marriage?  Sure, why not?

Jenna is totally crazy but it’s impossible not to feel sorry for her.  Her aunt is just so cruel to her and no one else in the film seems to realize just how lucky they are to be happy and in love.  It helps that Heather Morris gives such a lively performance in the lead role.  While everyone else in the film tends to be a bit bland, Morris turns Jenna into a force of nature.  Eventually, of course, you do lose sympathy for her.  She just kills or tries to kill too many people.  That said, she is always entertaining to watch, even though I certainly wouldn’t want her at my wedding.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #154: Where’s My Baby? (dir by David Winning)

On Sunday night, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched Where’s My Baby?

Lochlyn Munro, the patron saint of Canadian-produced Lifetime melodrama and co-star of Where's My Baby?

Lochlyn Munro, the patron saint of Canadian-produced Lifetime melodrama and co-star of Where’s My Baby?

Why Was I Watching It?

Oh, why not?

Sorry, I’m trying to come a funny and/or interesting reason why I decided to watch Where’s My Baby? but the main answer is that it was on the Lifetime Movie Network and there was nothing else on.  Game of Thrones is on break.  Veep is on break.  There’s no killer zombies on AMC and I can’t watch Preacher because I resent its inaccurate portrayal of my home state.

So, with all that in mind, I figured why not see what was premiering on LMN!

What Was It About?

Marissa Davis (Nicole de Boer) wakes up after having spent the past five years in a coma.  She has no memory of how she came to be in that coma but she’s still happy to be awake.  She’s especially happy to discover that her best friend, Heather (Gina Holden), is married to Congressman Cal Ward (Lochlyn Munro).  Cal seems like a nice guy but he’s running for the Senate and talking about how much he believes in traditional values and we all know that, in a Lifetime movie, anyone who talks about values is eventually going to turn out to be a huge hypocrite.

Marissa is disturbed to discover that 1) she was the victim of a mysterious hit and run and that 2) she has a C-section scar.  Her mother (Iris Quinn) finally tells her that she was pregnant when she was hit by the car.  Her mother also assures her that the baby was delivered stillborn.

Meanwhile, Heather and Cal have a 5 year-old daughter!  What a coincidence!  And the baby appears to have the same hereditary kidney disorder that runs in Marissa’s family.  What could that possibly mean?  And, for that matter, why is a mysterious doctor suddenly so obsessed with removing Marissa’s kidney?

What Worked?

Oh my God, I so love these insane Lifetime movies.  Where’s My Baby is shameless fun, the type of movie that you simply cannot stop watching once it has begun.  The movie starts out crazy and it just keeps going from there!

Add to that, there’s a general rule when it comes to Lifetime films.  If Lochlyn Munro is in it, the film cannot be bad.  Lochlyn Munro has appeared in so many Lifetime films that, to some of us, he’s become the patron saint of the network.

What Did Not Work?

It all worked.  When a film is that insanely over the top, there’s no way that it can’t work.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

To be honest, there really weren’t any “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moments.  I’ve never suffered from amnesia.  As anyone who has ever gotten on my bad side can tell you, I never forget.


Lessons Learned

If you wake up with amnesia, don’t take anyone’s word for what happened while you were asleep.  Investigate for yourself.  Seriously, that’s a lesson to live by.