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While her sister is in China on a business trip, beautiful blonde
Jessica Morris (as Laurie Valentine) house-sits her luxurious estate.
The college professor must also keep an eye on her sister's attractive
17-year-old niece. Also staying on the estate is muscular show-off
Jason-Shane Scott (as Alan). The hunk is an artist who lives in the
attic. Conflict arises when Ms. Morris' ex-fiancé keeps visiting,
unannounced. He wants Morris back in bed. She has her eye on Mr. Scott,
which isn't hard to fathom. Scott's physique is eye-catching. When the
two meet, Morris wears a red bikini and denim shorts that flatter the
female form very nicely. Later, she appears in black underwear. You get
the feeling these bodies will hook up...
Prolific actor Eric Roberts appears. It seems, from the opening minutes, like Mr. Roberts is the star; yet, his is a supporting role. Roberts ties for second male supporting actor. The college professors speak more like seventh graders than professional teachers. Roberts discovers a plot twist that strains credulity. Lobster art is a hot commodity, apparently. Also receiving top billing is Vivica A. Fox. She appears late in the running, looking incredulous. Later, she looks incredulous again. Others in the cast are occasionally less singular in their performances. Roberts and the extras make the most of their roles. The leading players certainly look good. Unfortunately, "The Wrong Roommate" is a very dumb TV movie.
** The Wrong Roommate (2016-01-03) David DeCoteau ~ Jessica Morris, Jason-Shane Scott, Eric Roberts, Brianna Chomer
When she was nine-years-old, something awful happened to Audrina. This
character is referred to as "the first Audrina." The tragedy has caused
everyone to go crazy. The parents have another Audrina and try to
protect her from the same awfulness by secluding her in the family
mansion. This "second Audrina" is home-schooled. Also, she is forbidden
to associate with the surrounding community. However, when a sexy piano
teacher offers lessons, brooding papa James Tupper (as Damian Adare)
lets the alluring young India Eisley (as Audrina) share the handsome
man's piano seat. Strange. Modestly costumed, but in sultry make-up,
Ms. Eisley's only friend is sisterly sexpot Tess Atkins (as Vera).
Finally, although he supposedly only knows her as the village freak,
muscular blond William Moseley (as Arden Lowe) has fallen madly in love
The above set-up really doesn't make much sense. However, the situations do become clear, by the end of the story. It's not a bad story, but what this TV movie does is show us the highlights in long family mystery. Unfortunately, events just happen. There is little attempt to build a mystery or piece them together. We are shown, not guided or told. The emphasis is clearly on sex fantasies. Apparently, this is the main thrust (sorry) of the assignment given director Mike Rohl and his crew. The performances are all highly sexualized. You don't see much sex, by the way, since this movie is geared toward foreplay and fantasy. The problem is... the story really wasn't about sex. The violent incident triggering the drama, and its repercussions, are lost in the mix. The best you can say that is everyone looks sexy and the photography, by James Liston, is outstanding.
**** My Sweet Audrina (2016-01-09) Mike Rohl ~ India Eisley, William Moseley, James Tupper, Tess Atkins
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Over the credits, a well-built man gets out of bed and does push-ups in
his black trunks. He showers and dons a sharp, purple suit. Suddenly,
he shoots himself. Clearly, this man wants to look his best for Death.
As the opening credits end, a woman wakes up as if the preceding scene
was a nightmare. We don't get to see her shower or get dressed, but she
will make up for this in later scenes. This woman is beautiful and
wealthy psychiatrist Victoria Pratt (as Victoria "Vicky" Wrightmar).
She is the story's heroine, psychoanalyst, hypnotherapist and self-help
author. Super-friendly, Ms. Pratt addresses her male patients in a
sultry voice. This may be why Pratt has trouble relating professionally
to attractive patient Patrick Muldoon (as Derek Barris), a slightly Rob
Lowe lookalike. Pratt's tone with female patient Barbie Castro (as
Blaire Bennett) is only a bit more professional. In fact, she seems
overly warm and loving with everyone...
The ambiguous title "Patient Killer" may refer to the backstory of this slow-burning thriller. Some years ago, we're told, Pratt's attractive patient David Chokachi (as Dylan McNalt) committed suicide. We see a bit of him in flashback. Presently, Pratt is seeing handsome Casper Van Dien (as Jason Turner), who also directed the movie. He directs himself to surprise Pratt, while sunning herself, with a rough strangle-kiss. This seems like a cheat, but you can decide for yourself. The ending surprised this viewer only in that a character turned out to be the sibling, rather than the spouse, of another character. One more gripe is the fact that Pratt seems ill-suited for her profession. People do not see their psychiatrists in candlelight or cocktails. Still, the actor-director and photographer Bernard Salzmann do give it a lush, dream-like quality. And, since most all and everyone are strangely inappropriate, they add up to a style.
****** Patient Killer (2015/01/13) Casper Van Dien ~ Victoria Pratt. Barbie Castro, Patrick Muldoon, Casper Van Dien
Older but attractive cardiologist Eric Roberts (as Albert Beck) is
stood up while waiting on a date with a much younger woman. Leaving the
restaurant, Mr. Roberts becomes unhinged and drives his car over 100
mph, apparently headed for a crash
The story abruptly switched to a
soccer game. Pretty high school senior Brianna Chomer (as Sophie Green)
watches her athletically cute boyfriend Carson Boatman (as Ryan) on the
field. Later, they celebrate her college acceptance. Due to Mr.
Boatman's texting while driving, they get into a car crash. He has a
leg injury, but will live. Worse off, Ms. Green has a broken rib which
could rupture her heart. She will die without a quick, successful
operation. The title "Stalked by My Doctor" indicates what is in store
for Green, should her operation prove successful...
It's difficult to believe Roberts' character is one of the top cardiologists in the world, yet demonstrates behavior that would insult middle-schoolers by suggesting a comparison. You just have to accept his cognitive development is arrested in selected areas. He does have a bed with restraints, which comes in handy when his potential sex partners get the creeps. As usual, Roberts is fun to watch, even if the material is underwhelming. He obviously enjoys acting. Writer-director Doug Campbell wisely keep the cast out of the way and lets Roberts ride the wave. He throws priceless tantrums, ending an early one by telling his date, "I'm unfriending you!" When he learns Roberts may be interested in abducting his teenage daughter, unconcerned father Jon Briddell says, "Guys will be guys." L.O.L...
***** Stalked by My Doctor (2015/12/26) Doug Campbell ~ Eric Roberts, Brianna Joy Chomer, Carson Boatman, Deborah Zoe
In the opening minutes, attractive brunette Jacqueline MacInnes Wood
(as Cathy) leaves her car and enters a house. Very quickly, we learn
there is a dead woman inside. Also quickly, the police lead Ms. Wood
out of the house. "I did it," she confesses, "I killed her." The
opening credits end
Two weeks earlier, in a small Vermont town, we
meet a much happier Wood. A newlywed, she is moving into a nice new
home, with young teenage son Jacob Horsley (as Billy). He is from a
previous, unhappy marriage. Wood's uber-sexy groom Shawn Roberts (as
Riley Coulter) is out of town on a business trip. A sales
representative, according to his business card, Mr. Roberts is not
Wood befriends blonde neighbor Zoie Palmer (as Tora Weeks), who brings her a house-warming pie. Yum. They go shopping. Roberts surprises Wood by appearing, unannounced, in a local jewelry shop. He claims to be buying Wood a surprise gift. Wood continues to find life with Roberts suspiciously strange. While her husband provides logical explanations, we're pretty sure something isn't quite right. We already know there is going to be an arrest. For another thing, the movie is titled "Her Husband's Betrayal". He also looks more like a professional model than whatever he's supposed to be doing for as a "sales representative." Roberts doesn't seem so at first, but he turns out to be perfectly cast...
The original plot for this TV movie, by Russ Chasney, is quite good. Everything hearkens back to a past event, cleverly, and there are some nice touches. However, the story falls apart around one of Wood's stronger scenes, with a helpful truck driver (Gene Mack). Otherwise, she dons a baseball cap, wears stunning make-up, and runs around the country like she's "Batgirl". Wood seems too young and beautiful for her role. Sympathetic officer Mark Bendavid (as Dan Gresham) should have been made stronger, perhaps appearing prominently in the opening (a cheat). We don't know where "Billy" is for much of the time and it's surprising to see Wood risk his life by befriending a homeless stranger.
**** Her Husband's Betrayal (2013-08-02) Ron Oliver ~ Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Shawn Roberts, Marc Bendavid, Zoie Palmer
Popular pastor JR Bourne (as Evan Tanning) is on the verge of becoming
a house-hold name. His new book "The Godly Parent's Bible" is taking
off and his radio talk-show "Family in the Forefront" is about to go
national. However, there are a couple of family problems which could
tarnish Mr. Bourne's holy image. He and wife Tara Spencer-Nairn (as
Lauren) have taken in an orphaned niece who likes to party.
Seventeen-year-old Allie Gonino (as Jamie Barringer) also has two-toned
green hair and a healthy sexual appetite. High school hunk Glenn Cashin
(as Quinton Paul) arouses both Ms. Gonino and her blonde nemesis
Stephanie La Rochelle (as Tinsley Traggert). Getting him to bed could
Gonino's underage adventures are only half the trouble...
Pastor Bourne is also made aware of a secret from his past, shared by needy young Demi Oliver (as Gabe Roswell). "The Preacher's Sin" is rather minor, if it's even considered a sin. There is possibly a parallel to his 17-year-old niece, who is sexually active and partakes of illegal substances. Your view of whether or not their behavior constitutes sin may be based on your religious belief system. Other characters are more sinful, like devilishly fun preacher's boss Bill Lake (as Bill Traggert). Their stories constitute a good soap opera storyline. There is nothing revelatory here, but you've got to give credit to writer-director Michelle L. Mower and her cast for making the characters engaging.
***** The Preacher's Sin (2015--11-14) Michelle L. Mower ~ JR Bourne, Allie Gonino, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Stephanie La Rochelle
During the opening credits, it looks like a flood is causing serious
damage for some people. This turns out to be a boating trip hit by a
storm. Two days earlier, the story begins
After his new book "On
Dating Brainy Women" receives a cool reception, Seattle-area author
Jason Priestley (as Robert "Bob" Childs) decides to take his family out
on a boating trip to Bear Island. While he is away, the book catches
fire... but we'll have to wait and see if the family makes it back, to
learn the good news. Bear Island turns out to be a great name for the
island, because a snarling, blood-thirsty bear hangs around there. But
first, we see how Mr. Priestley and his family got there. The impromptu
trip began calmly. Then
the weather started getting rough, the tiny
ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the
"Christine" would be lost...
It's always nice when a disaster movie adds characterization. In this case, the story is about fractured family values. Priestley was a widower who wed beautiful and brainy Andrea Roth (as Teresa Martin). She's beautiful, blonde, a bit younger and incredibly bright. Bratty teenage daughter Genevieve Buechner (as Christy) asks her step-mom, "Is there anything you don't know?" When the men in the cast are incapacitated, Ms. Roth easily takes command. She shows great strength; but, when manly men are around, Roth trips and falls like a helpless lady. The whole point of the disastrous experience appears to be a divine plan to make them somehow form a family. Too bad there wasn't an easier way. Supporting mother Gabrielle Rose (as Hannah) is good, a second family seems poorly edited in, and the bear might scare small children.
**** Courage (2011-06-18) George Erschbamer ~ Andrea Roth, Jason Priestley, Genevieve Buechner, Gabrielle Rose
The girl "Clara" of this movie's title climbs up to a tree-house and
is, apparently, pushed to her death. One look at this dangerous
tree-house and you're going to wonder how any parent let it stand.
Twenty years later, incredibly, the tree-house is still standing. The
adults who lived on the property, and their neighbors, are not too
smart when it comes to recognizing an obvious hazard. After this
tragedy, we are introduced what looks like a female vigilante in the
form of small but steely-armed Emmanuelle Vaugier (as Helen). She
appears to rescue a different little girl from some unknown peril. The
scene abruptly ends, and we presume it ended horribly because Ms.
Vaugier turns out to be having a nightmarish flashback. Presently,
she's an ex-police detective looking to end a stressful life. That's
not going to be easy...
Vaugier and her family move from Boston, Massachusetts to their beautiful new home in small-town Hallowell. Yes, it's the house with the dangerous tree-house. And, no, they don't plan to take it down. Vaugier's husband is muscular architect Richard Ruccolo (as Mike Clayton). Fifteen-year-old Eva Link (as Emma) and nine-year-old Ella Ballentine (as Kate) are their children. The daughters perform adequately and strengthen the movie by looking and acting like real sisters. Although it seems like a manageable drive to Hallowell, the female residents exclaim the house, "looks so much bigger in real life!" Odd that an architect's family would not have visited, before moving into the new home. Strange things happen almost immediately, and creepy neighbor Jonathan Potts (as Arnold "Arnie" Gray) arrives with a house-warming gift...
From noisy pipes to a nosy neighbor, events are very routine. This may be the intention. Writer-director Andrew C. Erin completes the TV movie thriller skillfully, but without much excitement. There are some puzzling choices, in addition to the dangerous tree-house (someone should have at least mentioned it should be removed). Like, have the older daughter sit in the car's front seat with mom while the younger daughter talks to her "imaginary friend." She's their mother, not their chauffeur; the "imaginary friend" should be spookier. Much of the regular stuff is handled well enough, with Mr. Erin and the crew doing exceptionally well in scenes with ethnically-cast best friend Rachelle Casseus (as Anna). We don't know why she turned up in the small town, but Ms. Casseus is perfect and her last scene may be the story's highlight.
**** Clara's Deadly Secret (2013-10-25) Andrew C. Erin ~ Emmanuelle Vaugier, Richard Ruccolo, Jonathan Potts, Eva Link
Lovelorn press agent Fred MacMurray (as William "Bill" Dunnigan)
accompanies the body of Hollywood movie star Alida Valli (as Olga
Trocki) to her hometown of Coaltown, Pennsylvania. The exotically
beautiful Polish stage actress filmed only the spectacular "Joan of
Arc" before expiring from tuberculosis. Valli had specific requests for
her funeral, but Mr. MacMurray finds it difficult to make the
arrangements. While he is trying, MacMurray has a series of flashbacks
which detail the actress' short career. Oddly, Valli is no stand-out
when we meet her in a chorus line. She wears heavy black pants while
the other dancing girls look sexy kicking up their heels in
short-shorts. Valli, we're told, as two left feet...
A temperamental star gives producer Lee J. Cobb (as Marcus Harris) a hard time, which gives stand-in Valli her big break. Everyone is stunned by the unknown's perfect performance as "Joan of Arc". MacMurray is in love, but tragedy waits in the wings...
In the present, MacMurray gets sympathy and religions counsel from singing priest Frank Sinatra (as Father Paul). After an initial creepiness, Father Sinatra becomes tolerable. Still, his line delivery is ripe with aimless lethargy. You wouldn't want your children left alone with him. Valli is Garbo-like, but doesn't reach the tortured eroticism of the great tragediennes. Granted, approaching both Garbo's "Camille" and Falconetti's "Joan" is an acting feat that may never be achieved. MacMurray is undistinguished, but director Irving Pichel gets him to shine in a couple of instances; the introductory train station scene is nicely staged, and MacMurray emotes very well after Valli dies. The production looks nice in black-and-white.
***** The Miracle of the Bells (1948-03-16) Irving Pichel ~ Fred MacMurray, Alida Valli, Frank Sinatra, Lee J. Cobb
Pretty World War II widow Janet Leigh (as Connie) works as a
"comparison shopper" in New York City. This means she buys merchandise
from rival department stores, brings the goods to her employer for
comparison (of price and quality, presumably), and finally returns the
items as something she really didn't want. She's not a very good
"comparison shopper," but she is very pretty and usually wears tight
clothing. Leigh buys a train from down-on-his-luck department store
clerk Robert Mitchum (as Steve Mason). He recognizes Leigh's scam, but
doesn't report her to the manager. Being pretty has its advantages.
While this costs Mr. Mitchum his job, it does gets him a lunch date
with Leigh in Central Park. They are mutually attracted, but there are
Leigh has a 6½ years old son, Gordon Gebert (as Timothy "Timmy" Ennis). While washing up for dinner, young Gebert peaks in the newest box his mom has bought home as a "comparison shopper." It's an expensive train set, which Gebert assumes to be a Christmas gift for him...
When visiting Leigh, Mitchum makes a fatherly connection with Gebert and decides to buy him a train set, although Mitchum can't afford one, either. Mitchum, as you may recall, lost his job for not reporting Leigh to his store manager. Buying the train set renders Mitchum homeless. No doubt many boys seeing "Holiday Affair" asked their parents for train sets they couldn't afford, in 1949. A bigger problem for Leigh and Mitchum is that she's engaged to marry nice lawyer Wendell Corey (as Carl Davis). After a couple years of dating, Leigh has finally agreed to wed Mr. Corey, on New Year's Day. We're supposed to wonder who she will pick, in the end...
But wait, maybe Mitchum has a dark side...
After the first 30 minutes, watch for an interesting part of the story. Mitchum is allowed to visit Gebert alone, in the boy's bedroom. After he emerges, Mitchum grabs Leigh and forcibly attacks and kisses her, then leaves abruptly. Times have certainly changed. Other than that, this is not a bad film at all. The four main players perform well and the story, while dated, engages.
****** Holiday Affair (1949-11-23) Don Hartman ~ Janet Leigh, Robert Mitchum, Gordon Gebert, Wendell Corey
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