What Lisa Watched Last Night #157: My Husband Is Missing (dir by Brenton Spencer)


Last night, I watched more than just The Crooked Man!  I also watched the latest Lifetime premiere, My Husband Is Missing.

mhis

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime, of course!  Now, I do have to admit that it was something of a disjointed viewing experience.  I watched the first hour of My Husband Is Missing, just long enough to discover that the main character’s husband was indeed missing.  I then switched over to SyFy and I watched The Crooked Man.

After the Crooked Man ended, I started to watch the final hour of My Husband Is Missing off of the DVR but then I noticed that I also had an episode of Cheaters on the DVR as well.  Well, naturally, I couldn’t understand why I would have ever recorded an episode of Cheaters.  So, I decided to watch it.  I was thinking maybe it would be the episode where Joey Greco got stabbed.

Nope, no stabbing.  It was just a normal episode of Cheaters.  Since the show was filmed in Dallas, I saw a lot of familiar locations but I still have no idea why I recorded it.

Life is weird, y’know?

Anyway, after all that, I watched the final hour of My Husband is Missing.

What Was It About?

Dale Bradshaw (Robert Underwood) is a father and a husband.  AND HE’S MISSING!  He was kidnapped out of his SUV and now, his kidnappers are posting videos of him all tied up and gagged.  Are his kidnappers forcing him to act in an Eli Roth movie?  Agck!

Since the police are totally useless — except for Det. Matthews (Aaron Pearl), I guess — it’s up to his daughter (Nicole Munoz) and his wife (Daphne Zuniga) to figure out what has happened to Dale!

As for Detective Matthews, he wants to help but he’s struggling because of government bureaucracy.  Fortunately, to help him out, he has a hacker who looks like he stepped straight out of 1998.

What Worked?

Uhmm…

Actually, I will give the film credit for two things.  I loved the title.  According to the imdb, this film was originally known as Abducted Love but My Husband Is Missing is a hundred times better.  My Husband Is Missing just screams Lifetime.

Secondly, this is yet another Lifetime film that was obviously filmed in Canada.  That’s not a problem because I love Canada.  Still, I appreciated the fact that every scene seemed to have an American flag in the background.  It’s as if the filmmakers were saying, “The film is too taking place in the U.S., regardless of how Canadian most of the supporting cast may sound!”  I appreciated the effort.

That said, I’d like to see a Canadian film on Lifetime that proudly embraced the fact that it was Canadian.  Enough of this “let’s pretend we’re in upstate New York” stuff.  I want to see a Lifetime film that proudly shouts, “THIS MOVIE IS SET IN TORONTO!  YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT!?”

What Did Not Work?

I usually have unconditional love for Lifetime films but this one just didn’t hold my interest.  Part of the problem is that I figured out the mystery after about 20 minutes.  There was no big or shocking twist.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

There is a redhead in the film but she works for the government and that’s something you’ll never find me doing.

Lessons Learned

Canada shouldn’t have to pretend to be upstate New York.

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!)

CSOP

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.)

Adventures In Cleaning Out The DVR: Stolen Daughter (dir by Jason Bourque)


After I finished watching Lost Boy earlier today, I realized that it was time to rewatch and review Stolen Daughter.  Stolen Daughter originally had its Lifetime premiere on July 26th.  I watched it and, if I remember correctly, I had a lot of fun live-tweeting it.  So, why hadn’t I reviewed Stolen Daughter up until this point?  The final week of July was not an easy one for me.  The world seemed angry (this was the same week that Cecil the Lion was killed in Zimbawe), I was dreading the idea of getting older, and — briefly — I was too overwhelmed by all the angst to write.  It happens.

But anyway, enough about me and my obsessive personality!  Let’s talk about Stolen Daughter!

As Stolen Daughter opens, Martha Dixel (Rachel Hayward) is on the verge of being released from prison.  After shooting the drunk driver who killed both her husband and her daughter, Martha was convicted of manslaughter.  She’s been both a model inmate and psychiatric patient and, now that she’s been paroled, she has no intention of ever returning to prison.  However, the world is not quite ready to accept Martha’s freedom.  As she leaves prison, she is greeted by people protesting her release.  Then, after dealing with all that, Martha is struck by a van.

As a result of getting hit by that van, a dazed Martha now believes that both her husband and her daughter are still alive.  After the driver gets out to check on her, Martha steals his van.  After driving around for a while, Martha thinks that she sees her daughter at a local playground.  Drawing a gun, Martha kidnaps her “daughter” and, after tossing her into the van, drives off to meet up with her “husband.”

Of course, the teenage girl who Martha had kidnapped is not her daughter.  Instead, her name is Sarah Wilkins (Sarah Dugdale) and she is the daughter of Stacy Wilkins (Andrea Roth).  Stacy happens to be a police detective and, as soon as she learns that her daughter has been kidnapped, Stacy demands to be put on the case.

However, Stacy has demons of her own.  She had been on psychiatric leave after being involved in a hostage situation that led to the hostage being killed in front of her and has only recently returned to active duty.  As a result, the condescending detective who has been put in charge of the case — a real prick named Barker (Josh Byer, who has appeared in several other films directed by Stolen Daughter‘s director, Jason Bourque) — refuses to let Stacy anywhere near the investigation.

And so, working on her own, Stacy tries to track down her daughter.  Meanwhile, Sarah has to figure out how to keep the increasingly unstable Martha from snapping even further.

There are literally hundreds of Lifetime films that center around kidnapped daughters but what sets Stolen Daughter apart is that Martha is a much more complex character than we traditionally expect to find in these movies.  When we first meet Martha, it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for her.  Even after she gets hit by that van and kidnaps Sarah, the film makes it clear that Martha is not in control of what she’s doing.  As the film progresses, Martha becomes more and more unstable and we start to realize just how dangerous she actually is.  Even though she’s frightening by the end of Stolen Daughter, you still can’t help but feel for her.

Sarah Dugdale’s had a pretty busy year on both the Lifetime and SyFy networks.  Not only has she had to deal with a Sorority Murder but she also found herself trapped in The Hollow and was one of the Sugarbabies.  She did a good job in those movies and she does a good job here as well.  Finally, Andrea Roth totally kicks ass in the role of Stacy.  Check out the scene where she beats up a guy while searching for daughter.  I am so totally going to learn how to do that!

Stolen Daughter was directed by Jason Bourque, who has been responsible for some of the more entertaining movies to show up on both Lifetime and the SyFy network over the past two years.  Along with writing my favorite SyFy film, End of the World, he also directed a film, called Black Fly, that I think everyone should see.

One good thing about Lifetime is that they reshow all of their movies like a hundred times.  So, keep an eye out for Stolen Daughter.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #135: Sorority Murder (dir by Jesse James Miller)


Last night, I watched the Lifetime original film, Sorority Murder!

SMWhy Was I Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is that I was watching because it was on Lifetime.  However, beyond that, I had high hopes for this film because Lifetime has a pretty good track record when it comes to over-the-top melodrama about sororities.  Remember The Haunting Of Sorority Row?

What Was It About?

Jen (Scarlett Byrne) has a lot to deal with.  She has just started her first semester at college and she already has a huge design project due.  Her alcoholic mother (Sarah-Jane Redmond) keeps getting arrested and needs her daughter to bail her out.  And, on top of all that, Jen is being harassed by the apparently crazy president of her sorority.

When the president turns up dead, everyone assumes that Jen must have killed her!  However, Jen was alone in her bedroom, working on that design project, when the crime was committed!  Can Jen track down the real murderer before the semester ends?  Will Jen’s mother ever get her drinking under control?  And will Jen ever manage to finish that project!?

You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

What Worked?

The film’s title promised both a sorority and a murder and it totally delivered both of those things.  You have to appreciate a film that actually keeps its promises.  The murder mystery was enjoyable, if a little predictable.  I especially enjoyed the way the film portrayed the sorority as almost being a Scientology-style cult.  I was half-expecting someone to start talking about evil Lord Xenu.

Also, I liked the relationship between Jen and her mother.  It was sweet and touching, in the best Lifetime tradition.

What Did Not Work?

Sadly, the film never quite reached the heights of the greatest of all Lifetime sorority films, The Haunting of Sorority Row.  But, when taken on its own terms, the entire film worked.  It was a good Lifetime movie.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I have never been a member of a formal sorority (though I am a member of the unofficial sisterhood of red-headed film bloggers) and I have never killed anyone, though I have been tempted.  So, unfortunately, this was the rare Lifetime film to which I could not directly relate.

Then again, when the film is about murder, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

(Actually, I did relate to Jen’s desperate attempts to get her design project completed while dealing with all the death, lies, and cover-ups.  What’s sad is that the project itself — which showed that Jen was heavily influenced by the Bauhaus School of Design — did not look like it was that impressive.  I would have given her a C at the most.)

Lessons Learned

Stay away from sororities!  They’re murder.

2013 In Review: The Best of SyFy


It’s been quite a year for the SyFy network, even if the network’s most widely-seen original film, Sharknado, was actually one of their weaker offerings.  As a proud member of the Snarkalecs and a Snarkies voter, I’ve certainly enjoyed watching, reviewing, and live tweeting all of the films that SyFy and the Asylum have had to offer us this year.

Below, you’ll find my personal nominees for the best SyFy films and performances of 2013.  (Winners are listed in bold.)

End of the World

Best Film

Battledogs

Blast Vegas

*End of the World

Flying Monkeys

Ghost Shark

Zombie Night

Best Actor

Neil Grayston in End of the World

*Greg Grunberg in End of the World

Anthony Michael Hall in Zombie Night

Frankie Muniz in Blast Vegas

Corin Nemec in Robocroc

Tom Everett Scott in Independence Daysaster

Best Actress

Maggie Castle in Blast Vegas

Lacey Chabert in Scarecrow

Kaitlyn Leeb in Grave Halloween

*Maika Monroe in Flying Monkeys

Ariana Richards in Battledogs

Mackenzie Rosman in Ghost Shark

Best Supporting Actor

Barry Bostwick in Blast Vegas

William B. Davis in Stonados

Brad Dourif in End of the World

Dennis Haysbert in Battledogs

John Heard in Sharknado

*Richard Moll in Ghost Shark

Best Supporting Actress

*Shirley Jones in Zombie Night

Nicole Munoz in Scarecrow

Jill Teed in Independence Daysaster

Jackie Tuttle in Flying Monkeys

Dee Wallace in Robocroc

Kate Vernon in Battledogs

Best Director

Griff Furst for Ghost Shark

Robert Grasmere for Flying Monkeys

John Gulager for Zombie Night

W.D. Hogan for Independence Daysaster

*Steven R. Monroe for End of the World

Jack Perez for Blast Vegas

Best Screenplay

Shane Van Dyke for Battledogs

Joe D’Ambrosia for Blast Vegas

*Jason C. Bourque and David Ray for End of The World

Silvero Gouris for Flying Monkeys

Paul A. Birkett for Ghost Shark

Rick Suvalle for Scarecrow

Flying Monkeys

Best Monster

*Skippy from Flying Monkeys

The Shark from Ghost Shark

Robocroc from Robocroc

The Scarecrow from Scarecrow

The Tasmanian Devils from Tasmanian Devils

The Zombies from Zombie Night

Battledogs

Tomorrow, I will continue my look back at 2013 with my picks for the 16 worst films of 2013!