The Too Old to Die Young Teaser


Here’s one for the cinemaphile’s glossary.totdy.jpg

In cinema circles, an Auteur is described as “a filmmaker whose personal influence and artistic control over a movie are so great that the filmmaker is regarded as the author of the movie” (Wikipedia). I’ve looked at films as a three-way set of responsibilities. You have the writer, because without the story, there’s nothing. You’ve the Director, who takes that Writer’s vision and presents it on film, and then there’s the cinematographer, who makes sure that the Director’s work is well-lit and shot. I feel all three roles can tip the ownership of a film in anyone’s favor. A great story can be damaged by a bad director, and a good director can try to the make the best out of a bad story. On top of that, you could also have bad movies that look really good.

There are a number of directors out there who fit this designation. Brian DePalma, Guillermo del Toro, David Fincher, Terrence Malick (who shows up every half a decade with a film) David Cronenberg, Richard Linklater,  Jean-Luc Godard (who I’m learning a lot about lately), the list is a large and heavily argued one. Each person has their own picks and favorites.

For me, Nicolas Winding Refn fits that role. With films like Valhalla Rising, Drive , Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon, it’s hard not to recognize the color contrasts and flow of his stories. In writing this, I also found out that Refn is colorblind, which makes what he’s done so far more amazing for me.

Refn’s latest project for Amazon Studios is a series called Too Old to Die Young. The most anyone really knows is that is supposedly “explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles by following characters’ existential journeys from being killers to becoming samurai in the City of Angels.”

Here’s a teaser starring Miles Teller, Callie Hernandez, Jena Malone, John Hawkes and William Baldwin. It appears to still carry that wild color scheme and may possibly be just as dark and brutal as his previous work. I’m curious as to whether they’ll stick with a standard approach or follow True Detective’s style of a single writer/director pair for all of the episodes. Either way, we’ll find out when it releases next year.

Horror Film Review: Flatliners (dir by Joel Schumacher)


“Our sins have come back in a physical form … and they’re pissed!”

That one line pretty much sums up the original 1990 version of Flatliners.  It’s a good line in that it’s one that you remember and it’s a line that you can use in almost any situation.

Have you gotten a phone call from an unknown caller?  “Our sins have come back in physical form … and they’re pissed!”

Have you and your boyfriend recently been driving across Texas and suddenly noticed that a car has been following you all the way from Lake Dallas to the border of Oklahoma.  “Our sins have come back in physical form … and they’re pissed!”

Have you ever had a stranger fail to hold a door open for you?  There’s only one possible reason for that rudeness.  “Our sins have come back in physical form .. and they’re pissed!”

And don’t even get me started on people who leave negative comments under my reviews.  We all know what’s going on with that!  “Our sins have come back in physical form … and they’re pissed!”

It’s a line that is both oddly memorable and also deeply stupid.  The same description can be applied to Flatliners.  It’s a film about a group of medical students (played by Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon) who help Kiefer Sutherland investigate whether or not there’s actually an afterlife.  Sutherland believes that there is but he needs an atheist to be a part of the group, that’s where Kevin Bacon comes in.  And he needs a potential love interest and a Baldwin brother to be a member of the group as well, that’s why Julia Roberts and William Baldwin are there.  And, of course, someone has to provide comedic relief whenever things start to get too dark.  Say hello to Oliver Platt!  Anyway, Sutherland’s plan is to die for a minute or two and then have his fellow medical students bring him back to life.  It sounds like kind of a dumb idea but everyone agrees to it.

Anyway, it turns out that the afterlife looks a lot like an overproduced student film, full of weird camera angles, tinted lighting and disembodied voices.  When Sutherland dies, he sees a boy that he used to bully.  Julia Roberts sees her father, who committed suicide when she was younger.  Kevin Bacon sees a little girl that he used to bully.  (There are a lot of bullies in this movie.)  William Baldwin, a sex addict who is chronically unfaithful to his fiancée, sees hundreds of women, all saying, “But you said you loved me.”  Oliver Platt never actually gets to die and therefore, he sees nothing.  He does make a joke about how his vision would probably involve an angry babysitter.  I laughed.

What happens next?  “Our sins have come back in physical form … and they’re pissed!”

Flatliners has an intriguing premise but oh my God, is it ever a silly film.  It’s not really a spoiler to tell you that all of these returned sins want the characters to either atone for their mistakes or make peace with their past.  For Kevin Bacon, this means tracking down the girl that he used to bully and allowing her to bully him.  For Julia Roberts, it means getting an apology from her Dad and understanding that he was addicted to heroin.  For William Baldwin, it means making peace with never being as well-known as either Alec or Steven.  As for Kiefer … well, things are a bit more complicated for Kiefer Sutherland.

Flatliners starts out as a horror film but then it turns into a squishy movie about letting go of bitterness and learning how to forgive oneself.  It’s kind of annoying that the film couldn’t just stick to being scary because the first half of the film does have some effectively tense moments.  However, it all gets lost as the film’s plot sinks into sentimental, New Age-y quicksand.

Flatliners was directed by Joel Schumacher, who generally does well with shallow films that 1) don’t really mean anything and 2) don’t involve super heroes.  And really, the only film that I can think of that’s more shallow than the original Flatliners is the remake.  (But we’ll talk about that later…)  Schumacher’s direction here is not particularly bad — everyone looks good and the film is never boring.  It’s a very, very pretty film and one that doesn’t add up to much.

I would suggest watching it with your sins, especially after they take physical form.  Maybe they’ll be a little less pissed off afterward.

Val’s Movie Roundup #27: Hallmark Edition


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Lead With Your Heart (2015) – At this point, I have seen 98 Hallmark movies. I think this is the best one I have ever seen. Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot to say either. The movie is about a couple played by Billy Baldwin and Kari Matchett. Their children are leaving for college and she gets a temporary job out of town. As a result, the two spend more time apart then they probably have in close to 20 years or more. What follows is just a nice little story about how they adapt to their situation. It doesn’t go the easy way and have one of them cheat, or almost cheat, then reconcile. That’s what you would expect. That’s not to say that some people don’t show interest in them, but instead of being a true temptation, it acts as a signal to them about how they need to change to keep their relationship together into this new territory. I especially liked the ending because it involved real compromise and not some fairy tale giving up success for something humble.

You have no idea how refreshing this was to see. Especially considering Hallmark then aired a movie called Just The Way You Are, which I will talk about, that is basically the same, except terrible.

For a Hallmark movie, I can’t recommend it enough.

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Family Plan (2005) – This is more of the standard middle of the road Hallmark movie based off of a plot device that would have made for a screwball comedy in the 1940’s. In this case, Tori Spelling’s company is taken over and for no other purpose then to give this movie a reason to exist, she is advised to pretend she is married. Seriously, this other lady gives her a ring, she puts it on, then she can’t get it off. So, she has to pretend to her boss that she’s married. She hires an actor to play her husband. She also picks up a daughter from her friend. You know how the rest goes.

This kind of movie sinks or swims on the charm of the actors involved. They are no Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, or Katharine Hepburn, but they work well enough. Spelling has never been a great actress, but she does a certain kind of part well and this is one of them. The other actors are in the same boat.

It does get a little boring because it’s so by the book, but that just means it’s a little below average. Like I’ve said before, it won’t kill ya.

One funny goof. In the credits, they forgot to capitalize this guy’s last name.

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Just The Way You Are (2015) – This movie on the other hand can kill you. It will make you beg for another Aurora Teagarden mystery movie where you can just watch Candace Cameron Bure run around like she’s high on cocaine. Also, you won’t be able to listen to Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are for awhile. At least there’s still She’s Got A Way!

It’s basically the same thing as Lead With Your Heart. It even used a licensed song like Lead With Your Heart did. In this case, it’s the original. In Lead With Your Heart, it was a cover of Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong. A couple a ways into their marriage are getting stale in their relationship. Unfortunately, Candace Cameron Bure’s character works for a matchmaking company that uses stupid rules for making relationships work. Yep, it’s one of those movies.

Bure’s idea is for her and her husband to start blind dating while following the rules. It’s all a bunch of boring and stupid nonsense. I remember when that book The Rules came out in the 90’s. Why are we still doing this stuff 20 years later? It’s always the same thing. Yes, statistically certain things show up as significant, but of course following them blindly won’t work. Human beings are far more complex than any set of rules you can attempt to derive through study of them. This isn’t news, and we don’t need yet another movie to remind us of this fact.

Don’t watch this one.

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Perfect On Paper (2014) – I usually save the computer screen goofs for the end of the review, but I think this time they belong at the beginning.

Near the start of the movie, they do a decent job of faking a site called SomebodyDateMe.com.

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But later in the movie, they show a horribly faked website for a fictional school called The Horrock’s School.

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Look at that thing! First, no school would have a webpage that looks like that in 2014. Second, notice the URL is a local file. Third, notice the specific HTML document they are looking at is called “donovan2.html”. Finally, notice that the URL clearly shows they did, or tried, to setup an XAMPP LAMP stack, then either couldn’t figure it out, or just didn’t run it for some reason.

The whole movie is kind of like that. It feels slapped together. It’s about a book editor who is offered a glamorous position in Los Angeles. The whole thing is about her friends trying to reshape her into an LA power girl stereotype to keep their major client played by Morgan Fairchild. Of course, it’s Hallmark, so there’s also a guy.

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See that little bit of grey peeking out from behind that bush? That’s the guy. She throws the coffee over her shoulder and hits him. If you don’t pay close attention, then you won’t see what looks like shears drop from his hand and it’s not mentioned. In other words, you’ll likely think this guy was just behind that bush for no reason except to have coffee land on him and meet her.

He’s the opposite of the “Perfect On Paper” guy that her friends want her to be with for her job. Of course, she was never the glamorous type to begin with. Here, I have to give them some credit because they went with a girl who honestly isn’t glamorous. She’s not especially attractive. That was really nice to see and it fit her character.

You know how it all works out. The only thing to mention is that since they want you to clearly see the difference between the main character and the other girls, questionable trendy clothes show up. I hope they burned this thing after they shot the movie.

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This one is definitely below average. Like I said, it feels slapped together, people kind of stumble through it, and you just want it over with.

Lead With Your Heart is the one to go with here.

Val’s Movie Roundup #26: Hallmark Edition


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A Stranger’s Heart (2007) – This is a movie A, movie B, type film. Movie A is about being in a hospital morbidly awaiting someone to die, but have a heart left over for you to receive via a transplant. Movie B is about how all those things we ascribe to our heart in metaphor are literally transferred by what the film calls “cell memory”. Movie A works. Movie B is honestly a little creepy.

The movie begins by introducing our leading lady as a child. This part is kind of unintentionally funny. I know why we need to kill off her mom, but did it need to happen by her stupidly wandering onto a street while singing Oh, Susannah? Then we learn that the little girl had heart problems and then suddenly we’re in the present with her grown up in the hospital. Like I said before, this part works. She is in there with several people including the guy she ends up with. The movie does a good job of getting across trying to find humor in that kind of a situation while waiting for something horrible to happen to somebody else in order to save your life.

Then movie B kicks in. She gets a heart, her female friend gets a heart, and her future boyfriend gets a heart. The female friend starts craving something she hadn’t drank since she was little. Then a little later in the film she goes and meets the family whose daughter’s heart she now has. She comes back complaining that the family basically didn’t see her as their daughter reincarnated. That’s where this film switches from your biological structure changing to a literal transference of high level thoughts and feelings via the heart.

It turns out our boy and girl both received their hearts from a couple who died in a car crash leaving behind their daughter. Then the two of them basically start stalking the little girl who is now without her parents. It’s kind of well meaning, but it is creepy because the movie does want you to believe they have somehow received the love her parents had for her through a heart transplant complete with dreams about the little girl. And yes, it carries this idea all the way through to having the little girl with them as essentially new parents carrying their old parents within them as if the heart is like a symbiotic creature we carry within us.

This movie is a mixed bag, but since it is a Larry Levinson Production, that does mean computer screen screw ups.

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If you can, read that fake webpage. It’s like reading someone’s template rather than an actual post. Also, look at the bottom left hand corner. They took a screenshot of a Windows XP machine and have her looking at it on a Mac.

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The Confession (2007) – This movie is a standard you’ve seen it a million times before soap opera type plot. You have a rich lady who gave up her daughter for adoption a long time ago and is fading health wise. You have her husband who is a gambling addict that wants to inherit her money, but has just been cut out of the will because of his addiction. He runs into an aspiring actress and hires her to play the long lost daughter so he can get the estate through her. The actual daughter turns up a little late and gets taken in as a servant. You know how the rest plays out.

The only difference here is the girl is Amish. That’s it. This is the second in what is either going to be a trilogy with the upcoming film The Reckoning or an ongoing saga. There is enough open ended stuff attached to this movie to warrant another film.

There are two actors you’ll recognize here. Sherry Stringfield from ER is the rich lady and Adrian Paul from Highlander is the husband. I thought they did a good job. The only real problem I had was with the Amish girl who is played by Katie Leclerc. She tries to do a Pennsylvania Dutch accent and it doesn’t work. She’s Texan born and raised in Colorado. Also, it doesn’t help that the actress in the movie fakes a Pennsylvania Dutch accent, thus making us notice Leclerc’s fake accent even more. That is, when she’s actually doing it. When Leclerc gets hired as a servant she magically switches to an American accent. I get why she needs to do it, but people don’t naturally have that ability. I haven’t seen the first film called The Shunning (2011) where the same character was played by Danielle Panabaker, so I can’t speak to whether she was any better at pulling off the accent.

If you don’t let the accent part bother you, then this is fine little soap opera. I am curious how they are going to reconcile her suddenly being in the money with her Amish past since they don’t do it here.

Oh, and no, it doesn’t end with Leclerc chopping off the fake Amish girl’s head because there can be only one. Adrian Paul also keeps his head.

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Be My Valentine (2013) – Since Hallmark just aired a new movie called Lead With Your Heart (2015) with Billy Baldwin, they played this one that also has Billy in it. The movie begins with Kate Burlingham (Natalie Brown) who is about to watch Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated (2009), when Billy climbs in through her window and rescues her. Just kidding. Her flower store is in a fire and Dan Farrell, played by Billy Baldwin, is the head firefighter. Of course the two are going to come together during the upcoming Valentine’s Day.

Just like Second Chances (2013), while the adults are supposed to be the feature presentation, it’s the child actors that are the most enjoyable part. In this case, it’s Baldwin’s kid and a girl named Rebecca. I don’t know why the adult romance had to be here at all. The story of the two kids is far more interesting and I think Baldwin does a good job as the dad trying to guide his son through young love. It’s also where one of this films funniest parts comes from. When he first meets Rebecca, she is reading a book. He asks her if she plays the games too because apparently, the books don’t make sense if you don’t play the games as well. She says she plays the game on her phone, notebook, and computer. But then he says a version just came out on “the cloud”. He says it’s “majorly interactive” to which she responds “I’m so going to hook into that.” What I want to know is if I can play Teddy Boy on “the cloud”.

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Or, since this is a Hallmark movie, will my Bible games play on “the cloud”?

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It’s stupid questions like this that come to mind when the characters say stupid things because the writers wanted to sound hip. Or maybe that’s just how Canadian kids actually talk. Oddly, while that part of trying to make the kids sound like kids, they get something else almost right on button. Baldwin suggests that instead of brining Rebecca flowers or chocolate, he get more creative and make a mixed tape. After a little confusion for the kid, he figures out that he can make a DVD composed of videos (I think music ones) for her. That’s kind of a reasonable update of the classic mixed tape. Kudos on that one.

This is one of those films that is shot in Canada, but Baldwin walks around with an American flag on his uniform so it’s totally the United States.

It’s fine and enjoyable. It’s a little out of the blue when an old boyfriend shows up to sort of disrupt things a little, but he goes as quickly as he came.

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Chance At Romance (2013) – This one is a real skipper. It doesn’t get much more generic and forced for a Hallmark romance movie, then this one.

It’s about a girl named Samantha Hart (Erin Krakow) who wanders into a photo gallery showing. Heath Madsen (Ryan McPartlin) is the photographer. She likes his work so she goes to his website to look at some of his photos. In this movie he’s a pioneer of HDR photography. She decides to shoot him an email to tell him she likes his work. However, the email ends up in his son’s hand who proceeds to have a back and forth with her pretending to be his dad. He wants her to meet his dad. Her invites her over, something happens weather wise, and that’s how the two are forced to spend time with each other till they fall in love. This movie goes so far as to have him literally show up on a white horse at the end to take her away.

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It’s really boring. There are much better Hallmark romance films out there. Go with Be My Valentine out of the four movies I mentioned here.

However, it does have one thing that is of note for someone like myself who has seen too many Hallmark movies. In three other Hallmark movies they either mention or outright have one of the actors play the Wii. In this one they have moved from pushing that Nintendo console to pushing the Wii U.

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Insomnia File No. 7: Fair Game (dir by Andrew Sipes)


What’s an Insomnia File? You know how some times you just can’t get any sleep and, at about three in the morning, you’ll find yourself watching whatever you can find on cable? This feature is all about those insomnia-inspired discoveries!

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On Tuesday night, if you were suffering from insomnia at midnight, you could have turned over to HBO Signature (commonly listed as HBOSIG) and watched Fair Game, a remarkably mindless action film from 1995.

Originally, my plan was to start this review of Fair Game by telling you, in quite a bit of detail, just how sick I am of the Russian Mafia.  Seriously, Russian mobsters have become the default villain for lazy crime films everywhere.  And, quite frankly, I’m getting bored with them.  I’m bored with how the head Russian mobster is always described as being “former KGB” and is always found sitting in the back room of restaurant, wearing an overcoat and smoking filterless cigarettes.  I am bored with how his main henchman is always some big guy with a crew cut and that guy always has a thin sidekick who wears his hair in a pony tail and has a bad mustache.  I’m sick of the overexaggerated accents of American and British accents trying to sound Russian and the way they’re always listening to EDM while driving.  It’s all so predictable and tedious.

But then I considered that Fair Game was made 20 years ago.  Even if the villains are Russian mobsters and even if they are some of the least interesting Russian mobsters in cinema history, it’s totally possible that, when Fair Game, was made, there was still some sort of novelty about the Russian Mafia.

However, even if we give Fair Game a pass on using the cliché of the Russian mob, the villains still weren’t particularly interesting.  Kazak (Steven Berkoff) is … well, the film isn’t really that clear on what Kazak’s big plan is but he has a lot of henchmen and they certainly do end up killing a lot of people.  Kazak runs his operations off of a yacht that belongs to a Cuban criminal named Emilio (Miguel Sandoval).  Emilio is in the process of getting divorced and attorney Kate McQuean (model Cindy Crawford, who made her film debut here and has never played a leading role since) is determined to repossess his boat.  So, Kazak decides that the perfect solution would be to murder Kate…

Which makes absolutely no sense.  Kazak doesn’t want anyone to discover his operation so he decides to blow up a good portion of Miami, all in pursuit of one person.  Wouldn’t it make more sense for Kazak to just blow up the boat and buy a new one?

Anyway, as the film opens, Kate is out jogging when suddenly someone driving by in a car opens fire on her.  She ends up getting grazed in the arm, not that it seems to bother her.  She wears a bandage for a few scenes but it soon vanishes.  Kate is all business so, even after getting shot, she still goes into the office and starts to make plans to repossess that yacht.  Personally, if anyone ever shot at me, I would probably be so freaked out that I would never leave the house again.

Now, you may be thinking that Kate was shot because of Kazak but actually, it turns out that the shooting was just a random thing that happened.  Apparently, the shooter was trying to shoot someone else and Kate just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So, we never find out who actually shot Kate and that really bothered me, as that seems to be kind of a huge plot point to bring up and then refuse to resolve.

Anyway, Kate meets a detective named Max Kirkpatrick (William Baldwin) and, soon, they’re on the run from Kazak’s assassins.  The majority of the film is made up of Max and Kate running from one location to another.  One thing that really bothered me was that literally everyone that Max and Kate talked to ended up getting killed just a few minutes later.  At one point, Kate flirts with a computer service expert to get him to help them out.  The scene is played for laughs but then, five minutes later, that same innocent technician guy is being brutally tortured by a bunch of Russians and, though we don’t see it happen, it’s safe to assume that he was eventually murdered by them.  And no point do Max or Kate appear to feel any guilt or concern about the number of innocent people who are killed just for associating with them.

Anyway, Fair Game is a completely mindless film that has a rather nasty streak of sadism to it.  (I imagine, when this film was released, it probably set a record for close-ups of people getting shot and stabbed in the crotch.)  William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford both have perfect bodies and give totally wooden performances, which leads to them having a dimly-lit sex scene that is both physically hot and emotionally cold at the same time.

(I have no idea what entropy at absolute zero means but it sounds like a pretty good description of the chemistry between Cindy Crawford and William Baldwin in Fair Game.)

One good note: Salma Hayek has a small role as Max’s ex-girlfriend.  Whenever she shows up in the movie, she starts screaming at everyone.  I don’t blame her.

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Previous Insomnia Files:

  1. Story of Mankind
  2. Stag
  3. Love Is A Gun
  4. Nina Takes A Lover
  5. Black Ice
  6. Frogs For Snakes

 

Horror Quickie Review: Virus (dir. by John Bruno)


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Not every comic book film is about superheroes. There’s been quite a bit of comic books adapted to film that has no superheroes, capes and superpowers at all. One such film came out in 1999. It was a film adapted from Chuck Pfarrer’s Dark Horse Comics mini-series titled Virus. This was a comic book that had a unique art-style to it that lent itself well to its scifi and body horror tale.

The film itself skews close enough to the comic book with some minor changes. Instead of a Chinese research vessel where most of the story takes place we find the film set on a derelict Soviet research ship. Even with the changes from comic book to film they both shared one common denominator and that would be the alien lifeform that has decided to systematically kill all humans aboard the ship.

Virus stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland in two roles they probably wish they took a pass on or asked more money to do. While the film has some imaginative set pieces involving the melding of robotics and scavenged human body parts to create something bigger and homicidal the majority of the film involves pretty much every cast member in one stage or another of hysteria, incredulity and denial. Really, the only person in the whole film who seemed to go through the story with a clear and level head was Cliff Curtis’ seaman Hiko. All this means was that he would be one not to survive to the end of the film.

While the comic book itself was a nice piece of scifi horror storytelling then film stumbles right out of the gate not just because of the terrible acting, but just a dull and boring adaptation of the story. While, as stated earlier, some of the robotic designs were quite good and the use of practical effects made the killer robots something terrible behold, director John Bruno didn’t seem to have any ideas on how to put together an exciting sequence to take advantage of these inventive pieces at his disposal.

Virus was one film that comic book fans who read the mini-series were quite excited to see when it was first announced as a film in production. Stills of gruesome effects work would be admired and just add to the high expectations. What we got instead was a huge pile of a mess that was neither horrific, terrifying or remotely entertaining. Virus is one such film that I wouldn’t even bother catching on TV being shown for free.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: The Craigslist Killer (dir. by Stephen Kay)


Last night, as I was searching through the list of movies saved onto my DVR, I discovered that I had apparently recorded 2011’s The Craigslist Killer off of the Lifetime Movie Network.  So, of course, I immediately curled up on the couch and started to watch it.  After a few minutes, I paused the movie so I could wake up my sister and track down our cat and force them to watch it with me.  Which they did because they love me.  Awwwwwwwww!

Why Was I Watching It?

Okay, I think The Craigslist Killer has been on TV like a gazillion times since 2011 and I’ve watched it almost every time.  It’s become a tradition.  Just like some people have to watch Avatar every time it pops up on Cinemax, I have to watch The Craigslist Killer every time it shows up on Lifetime.  And if I have to use my feminine wiles to force other people to watch with me — well, I’m willing to do that.

What’s It About?

 Philip Markoff (Jake McDorman) is this handsome, charming medical student who tells everyone that he’s rich and is just loved by everyone.  But even though he’s a total hottie, he’s got the confidence of nottie.  (Sorry, I came up with that line as a joke a few months ago and I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it ever since.)  So, he deals with his issues by looking at porn online and then eventually murdering a masseuse who he met through an ad that she placed on Craig’s List.  Anyway, he’s not really that good at being a killer so it’s kinda obvious that he’s the one who did it but nobody can believe it because he’s such a charming guy.

One person who definitely doesn’t think that he’s a killer is his fiancée, Megan (Agnes Bruckner).  Megan is busy planning their wedding while, unknown to her, Philip is attacking and killing other women.  Eventually, Megan is confronted by a suspicious homicide investigator (William Baldwin) but she still stubbornly defends Philip.

And, of course, it’s all based on a true story.

What Worked?

Seriously, this is the epitome of a Lifetime movie and it’s also a historically important one.  I can remember being on twitter the night that this movie premiered and literally everyone was planning on watching The Craigslist Killer, even people who normally would never watch Lifetime.  So, for many people, The Craigslist Killer is what they think of when they think of a Lifetime movie: it’s based on a true story, it’s about a beautiful woman who falls in love with a handsome man with a great future, and it’s about how that woman learns that men can’t be trusted.  There’s even a subtle hint, I think, of the possibility of future romance between Megan and the detective played by William Baldwin.  And good for her!  Seriously, after everything she  goes through in this film, she deserves it.

Agnes Bruckner and Jake McDorman both give pretty good performances.  McDorman is totally believable as both a charming med school student and a vicious killer and I liked the way that his performance subtly showed us that there wasn’t much going on behind the character’s perfect smile.

The final few minutes of the movie made me cry.

What Didn’t Work?

I’ve read quite a few comments online from people complaining about William Baldwin’s attempt to do a Boston accent.  Some say it was one of the worst Boston accents in television history.  I’m not sure if that’s true or not but I certainly know what it’s like to listen to a Yankee butcher your region’s accent.

Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, this was a Lifetime movie and it all worked.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

What girl hasn’t liked the perfect boy who, once he becomes her boyfriend, reveals himself to actually be far less than perfect?  Laugh if you will but the best Lifetime movie tap into universal truths that many people don’t like to admit exist.

Lessons Learned

Even the perfect wedding can be ruined when it turns out the groom is a serial killer.