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This movie underscores a potential pitfall of dating a police officer. Sonia (Charisma Carpenter) accepts a new position in her company that requires her to move from New York to Boston. Her boyfriend, Tom (Dylan Neal), a police officer, does not want her to move, but Sonia moves anyway.
While in Boston, Sonia meets a handsome art gallery owner (I think his name is Sebastian, played by Nicholas Lea), and she sees him as a possible romantic interest. But Tom is not having any of this, and what Tom wants, Tom gets. I'll leave it at that.
None of my review reveals any crucial plot elements, as all of this is evident to the viewer from the start of the movie. Charisma Carpenter dutifully plays the heroine/victim, and Dylan Neal easily fits the mold of the jealous, controlling, crazy boyfriend. The scenes with Charisma Carpenter and Gemma Martini (the actress who plays her therapist in the film) are very good and are mostly believable. Worth watching if you like these types of movies. This premiered on LMN last night. If you like a movie with this type of theme, you might also want to check out Tall, Dark And Deadly (1995).
Perfect Plan (2010)
well written thriller
Perfect Plan is a well written thriller about a real estate agent, Lauren Baker (played by Emily Rose), who scores a superb listing from a wealthy brother and sister (Lucas Bryant, Cristina Rosato) in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. Lauren expects to earn a huge commission, and the transaction goes off without a hitch. The next morning, she reads the newspaper and is jolted by what she learns. I'll leave it at that because I do not want to give anything away.
This is a slick mystery/thriller that occasionally has a subtle neo-noir feel. All of the actors play it nicely and it was worth my time. Perfect Plan premiered on Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) last night.
Touched with Fire is a more current version of a 1950s Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode titled, "Shopping for death", though I do believe Ray Bradbury is the original author. Touched with Fire is about two former insurance salesmen who now take notice of people they feel are likely to be murdered, and they try to get the "murderee" to realize s/he may be a target. This is not revealing any crucial plot points, as this is evident from the beginning of the episode.
Mrs. Shrike (beautiful performance from Eileen Brennan) is noticed by the two former salesmen Mr. Foxe and Mr. Shaw (played by Barry Morse and Joseph Shaw, respectively) amidst a big city summer heat wave that threatens to reach 102 degrees. These variables create a nice blend of suspense and humor in this episode.
The dialog between Morse and Shaw is top notch and the performances and interactions from every actor in this episode is spot on. Also, the overall atmosphere was shaped so that it captures the essence of big city life in the latter part of the 20th century. Highly recommended episode.
one of the best episodes of the series
The Lonely One is one of my favorite episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theater. The episode is about a murderer dubbed "The Lonely One" who is responsible for a string of killings in a small town. No one knows the actual identity of the murderer, and so some of the residents are suspicious of the other residents. One woman, Lavinia (played to perfection by actress Joanna Cassidy), is determined not to let the atmosphere of fear interrupt her daily life. A free spirit, she convinces two of her friends (Maggie Harper and Sheila McCarthy) to go to the movies with her one night, even as another murder just occurred...I'll leave it at that.
Some of the camera-work and overall "feel" to this episode reminds me of the movie, Halloween, a little bit. Many of the episodes from this series (including this one) capture the essence of small town charm and simple living. There is plenty of suspense here, and it is really just a lot of fun to watch.
The Governor's Wife (2008)
Marilu Henner gives an over-the-top performance in The Governor's Wife, which I caught on LMN last night. The movie is very predictable to the extent that the viewer can clearly differentiate the "good guys and the bad guys" within the first few minutes. But, that is not important. This thriller is more fun than anything and it is basically just an easy way to pass the time when you want to veg out.
Henner is the "the Governor's wife" and she makes the most out of the character. In summary, when the Governor is murdered, Henner summons her son (played by Matt Keeslar) and his fiancé (Emily Bergl) from LA to Santa Barbara. Henner and Bergl instantly clash. Meanwhile, a series of murders take place, all somehow connected to the deceased Governor.
I like movies like this--they are fun, easy on the eyes and don't take much energy to stay engaged. There are some beautiful exterior shots of LA and Southern California. All the acting is pretty much credible except for some outlandish moments but they are more fun than annoying. Henner looks great. Worth a look if you have nothing else to do.
This is probably one of the best LMN movies I have seen--it was much better than I expected--an atmospheric, Gothic mystery. Sara Rue stars as Courtney, a writer who accepts a teaching position at a prestigious boarding school where she herself attended 17 years ago. Upon arrival, strange occurrences happen, particularly when Courtney sees Laurel (outstanding performance from Jacqueline MacInnes Wood of The Bold and the Beautiful), a student who is identical to Courtney's best friend who died years ago.
Just about everything about Nightmare at the End of the Hall works, and works well. Rue and McInnes Wood were great casting choices, with Kavan Smith, Sebastian Gacki, and Amber Borycki turning in capable and credible performances. The lighting, locations, and sets lend to the overall mood of the film. This premiered on LMN tonight.
The Watch (2008)
The Watch premiered on LMN tonight, and it is one of the creepiest movies I have ever seen on this channel. It is also excellent. Clea DuVall is Cassie, a graduate student who accepts a position as a fire lookout in a watch tower for one month by her lonesome. During this month of essentially total seclusion surrounded by miles and miles of vast forest, she will finish her thesis. At least that is the plan...
This TV movie is truly chilling. DuVall is an exquisite casting choice--her acting chops are top notch and it shows. Hunky James A. Woods is also quite good here, and Elizabeth Whitmere is realistic in the best friend role to DuVall. Scenic locations, a sharp score, and solid pacing elevate this flick above some other made-for-TV movies of late. Check it out if you happen upon it.
Atypical TV mystery movie
A Near Death Experience does not come off in the typical vein like a majority of TV movies, which is what makes its viewing somewhat refreshing.
Amy Acker is the top talent in this LMN flick, with Johanna Nutter and James A. Woods (among others) ably embodying the supporting characters. Acker is Ellie, a woman who has the "near death experience" from the get-go. After awakening in the hospital, she soon realizes she brought something back with her from her brush with death...something that frightens her and simultaneously lends her power to get people heard...dead people, that is.
I do not normally give much credence to these type of scenarios, but I must concede the movie got me thinking and wondering what I would do and how I would feel in this situation. A gratifying effort from LMN. 7/10
Devil's Diary (2007)
Alexz Johnson, Magda Apanowicz, and Deanna Casaluce head off a competent cast in Devil's Diary, which premiered on Lifetime Movie Network tonight. When two high school girls (Johnson and Apanowicz) inadvertently stumble upon an evil diary (in a cemetery no less!), one of them becomes increasingly obsessed with getting revenge on their nasty classmates once she learns the diary can make things happen...very bad things.
I enjoyed this movie--it held my attention by and large, though I did grow tired of hearing, "the book" repeated over and over. Plus, there is one totally gross scene. Otherwise, it is pretty fun. Somewhat typical high school scenario with the "popular" kids putting down any one else they desire. All of the actors do a great job and the atmosphere and scenery dovetail with the story. Check it out. 7/10
First Born (2007)
I caught First Born on LMN last night. Elisabeth Shue is Laura, a dancer living in New York with her husband, Steven (Steven Mackintosh), a wealthy businessman. When Laura learns she is pregnant, Steven pushes for them to move out of the city to an isolated, gargantuan mansion in the distant suburbs. Once they move in, Steven continues to work in the city, and Laura is left alone in the new home during the day. Not long after settling in, Laura begins experiencing strange occurrences, and she becomes increasingly frightened. Things take a turn for the worse once she gives birth.
This gripping mystery premiered on LMN yesterday, and I enjoyed it very much. Most of the movie keeps the viewer guessing, and the locations only add to the creepy, dark atmosphere. Shue looks great, and plays her part convincingly. Worth a look if you happen upon it.
The Hitchhiker: New Blood (1991)
one of the best episodes of The Hitchhiker
New Blood is one of the best episodes of The Hitchhiker (ironically, it was the very last episode of the show's entire eight-year run). Rae Dawn Chong stars as Leesa, a histrionic, out of work actress with delusions of grandeur. When she auditions for a part in "Songs of Despair", a performance to be given by a nearby acting troupe, she is shunned by the players. But Leesa is hell-bent on becoming part of the group. Dider Sauvegrain, Joanna Pavlis, and Jean-Philippe Chatrier co-star.
This episode has attractive players and a subtle glamour throughout. In addition, it contains the right mix of suspense and intrigue--it held my interest from beginning to end.
Previews do not do it justice
This movie could not have come at a better time, with summer just around the corner and all. I have to say, the previews do not do it justice.
Shia LaBeouf is Kale, a teenager living a normal life in the 'burbs until something happens that pretty much changes everything for him. Eventually placed under house arrest, Kale's only real way to pass the time is watching his neighbors through his bedroom windows. But two neighbors peek his interest more than any other: a beautiful girl (terrific performance from Sarah Roemer) who has just moved in next door, and another neighbor...a man (David Morse) who Kale thinks may be a killer. Aaron Yoo also stars as Kale's friend, Ronnie, and his acting is memorable.
Disturbia superbly captures the essence of teenage life during summertime: boredom, teenage hormones, curiosity, adventure, making new friends, and of course, the obligatory summer romance that is expected. It is like two different movies rolled into one. I like the first half better, but it is still awesome on the whole. There are few contrivances, and they are easy to shrug off. LaBeouf is clearly the star here, and he shines. Director DJ Caruso (The Salton Sea) got it right. This is the best "teen summer movie" I have seen in a long time.
See the movie.
Abducted: Fugitive for Love (2007)
Entertaining TV movie
Sarah Wynter and Andrew Walker share terrific chemistry in Abducted, which premiered on Lifetime tonight.
Wynter stars as Melanie, a former swimming instructor and current repressed wife to a prison warden (Eric Breker). She is unhappy in the shadow of her husband's career aspirations. When Melanie is kidnapped by a prisoner, Jack (Walker), from her hubby's jail, she eventually falls in love with her captor. Of course, he is wanted for kidnapping, amid a host of other charges of which he is not guilty. Melanie and Jack work together to prove his innocence.
Director Richard Roy, who also directed Forbidden Secrets and Flirting with Danger, brings us another entertaining TV movie. Wynter is beautiful here, and Walker is definitely easy on the eyes (stud!). Abducted has the right blend of suspense and romance to keep you interested. Worth watching if you happen upon it.
Good Mystery Movie
This good mystery flick aired tonight on LMN, and it is part of a series that is broadcast on LMN's website. Danica McKeller is Maddie Monroe, a sweet and beautiful wife and mother living in a nice suburban neighborhood. She also happens to be a part-time detective! Kidnapped in 10 Easy Steps has Maddie and her handsome husband, Craig (Drew Waters), taking ballroom dancing lessons. But when several women taking lessons at the studio begin disappearing, Maddie decides to investigate.
I liked the first Inspector Mom movie that aired on LMN last fall, so I was thrilled when I learned Kidnapped in 10 Easy Steps would air. McKeller is very camera-friendly, and Waters turns in an excellent performance in the role of her husband. Also worth mentioning is Carolyn McCormick, Susana Gibb, Ryan Brown, Dan Horton and Lar Park Lincoln, all of whom perform well and look great. This is a solid mystery, and it is has a lighter feel to it by and large. It is competently directed by Brad Keller, who also directed A Killer Within.
Veiled Truth (2006)
What Comes Around is a stylish, suspenseful thriller about Carolyn (Emmanuelle Vaugier), a former prostitute who's pimp, Jake (Bruce Ramsay), gets out of jail looking for her after spending a number of years locked up. Carolyn has an upper-middle class loving politician-husband and family, and none of them have any inkling of her past life. When Jake finds Carolyn and begins blackmailing her, she is forced to fight for her safety and that of her family's.
This film contains exciting plot twists and is of a higher quality than other made-for-TV dramas I have seen recently. Vaugier is absolutely stunning--no one could have played the part better than she. Ramsay is a very talented actor and he is believable as the sleazy pimp. Nick Mancuso also stars as the crime boss, and he turns in a nice performance as well. Also noteworthy is Jovanna Huguet, who plays a younger Carolyn aka Angie, and she really captures the essence of the desperation, hopelessness and fear of a teenage prostitute.
Seventeen and Missing (2007)
I have to say, Seventeen & Missing is much better than I expected. The perception I took from the previews was that it would be just humdrum but I was pleasantly surprised with this impressive mystery.
Dedee Pfeiffer is Emilie, a mom who insists her daughter, Lori (Tegan Moss), not attend a so-called graduation party one weeknight, but Lori ignores her mother's wishes and takes off for the party anyway. When Lori does not come home, Emilie knows something is wrong and she begins to have visions of her daughter and the events that led to her disappearance.
Seventeen & Missing is better than so many other TV movies of this type, as it is not so predictable. Pfeiffer is the reason to see this movie, and most of it comes off as believable. This LMN Original Movie premiered last night. 10/10
Angels Fall (2007)
Heather Locklear gives a benevolent performance in Angels Fall, which premiered on Lifetime tonight.
The story goes like this: After her car breaks down in a Wyoming town, Reese (Locklear) takes a job in a diner to make ends meet. Meanwhile, many of the locals pry into her past and learn she previously witnessed a shooting in Boston. When Reese sees what she believes is a murder, her credibility is called into question on account of her past.
Locklear shines here, and she is absolutely beautiful (has she ever had a bad hair day?!). Hunky Johnathon Schaech does a nice job. Competent actors, beautiful locations, professional cinematography, effective score and a solid story, make for an above-average thriller in Norah Robert's Angels Fall. Recommended. 9/10
The Valley of Light (2007)
Powerful, touching drama
Chris Klein, Gretchen Mol, and Zach Mills steal the show in The Valley of Light, which premiered on CBS's Hallmark Hall of Fame tonight.
Klein stars as Noah, a soldier returning home from World War II, who is passing through a Southern town. He is a talented fisherman, and learns of a gigantic bass in a nearby lake, which he aspires to catch. Noah meets Eleanor, a young woman with a kind heart, and Matthew, a young boy who sees him as a father-figure. When tragedy befalls the town, Noah is faced with a tough decision.
I loved this movie. I cried through some of it, and really it is a powerful, touching drama chock full of talented actors. Klein is number one here, and I really felt the emotions he intended to convey. Quite impressive was the young actor Mills, who's character was completely believable and really resonated. Definitely worth viewing if you happen about it, but keep a box of tissues handy.
dark road movie
A man, Eldon (Boyd Kestner), and his son, Cole (Tanner Richie), while on a road trip in the Southwest, pick up Jean (Rene Humphrey), a drifter with a checkered past. As the trip progresses, tensions build between Jean and Eldon, and they learn more than they ever wanted to know about each other.
I like this independent-type movie, but a major drawback is its plodding pace. The pacing notwithstanding, it is otherwise intriguing. I watched with great eagerness to see what happened next, and it is Kestner that keeps the film lively. He is a talented actor and it is evident here. The interactions among all three principals are mostly credible.
Family is a plodding, dark road movie that premiered on LMN tonight.
The Hitcher (2007)
better than I expected
I have to admit, I was not expecting this remake to even remotely match the brilliance of the 1986 original. And it does not, but it is a great movie anyway.
Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush) and Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton) are driving through New Mexico headed for their Spring Break destination. Unfortunately, they meet and pick up John Ryder (Sean Bean), a hitchhiker, and all hell breaks loose.
Most of the music in this film is great, and while it lacks a good deal of the mystic contained in the 1986 version, it does have some genuine shocks and does not stray too far from the original work. Some of the chase scenes are to die for, pardon the pun.
See The Hitcher (1986) first, and then see this and decide for yourself which one is the best. This one is worth viewing, but it is certainly not for those easily upset by violence, as it is everywhere here.
So many remakes lately have been awful, but I am happily impressed with this one--director Dave Meyers pulled this off competently.
Home by Christmas (2006)
Home by Christmas has the feel of a real life story. Linda Hamilton stars as a woman, Julie, who's husband leaves her for a younger woman. Devastated, Julie ends up moving out of her house and into an apartment in a rough neighborhood. This is only the beginning for her.
Hamilton is a jewel here--this is one of the best performances from her I have seen. Brenda Crichlow was incredible in the role of Julie's friend, Selma, and Rob Stewart also turned in a good performance. This is one of my favorite Christmas movies on the Lifetime channel. Home by Christmas is a tale of survival and hope in the face of terrible, terrible hardships.
A Perfect Day (2006)
priorities and values with a dark twist
Robert Harlan (Rob Lowe) is a loving husband and father who is down and out looking for work. His wife Allyson (Paget Brewster) is confident he will get back on his feet, and she encourages him to resume writing a book he has been working on sporadically for quite some time. Robert decides to give it a try and he suddenly finds himself in the throes of success, fame and fortune, with assistance from a literary agent, Camille (Frances Conroy). Ultimately, Robert allows his newfound success to alter his priorities and compromise his values.
This morality tale is darker than some of the others on TV this time of year, but that is part of its appeal. I really like this movie. Lowe is competent, Brewster's character is completely realistic, and Christopher Lloyd is effective. Worth watching if you happen upon it.
Griffin & Phoenix (2006)
Dermot Mulroney delivers a spectacular performance in Griffin and Phoenix, which premiered on Lifetime this evening. Mulroney is Griffin, a New Yorker who learns he has cancer and has but a year or two at the most to live. Griffin meets Phoenix (Amanda Peet, at her best) while taking a class at a university, and he pursues her, not telling her he has cancer. As the two grow closer, he learns something about her he did not expect.
Exquisite and bittersweet are two adjectives that come to mind when I think of this movie. This is a love story, a beautiful story that reminded me how important and short life is. The water tower and lake scenes were amazing. Grab a box of tissues, you will need them. Easily the best I have seen from Lifetime this year.
The House Next Door (2006)
ultra-modern sinister house
An ultra-modern house in an affluent neighborhood appears to be the cause of each of its inhabitants bizarre (and deadly) behavior. Or at least that is what Lara Flynn Boyle's character, Col Kennedy, argues. After a series of deadly occurrences in a gargantuan house next door, Col knows something has got to give. Mark-Paul Gosselaar also stars as the mysterious architect.
My opinion: The House Next Door works because of Lara Flynn Boyle and the locations (beautiful house) and stylish sets. Boyle is a talented and dynamic actress, not to mention absolutely stunning. She brings credibility to her character and makes the film intriguing. Without her, it would have failed. "It's so alive" declares a prospective buyer in reference to the house. Yes, it is alive. But the story itself is not so much.
Barring Boyle's presence, not much is happening here, as an enormous amount of the movie is spent watching or waiting to see how the house will affect its current owners. The results are predictable. But I liked it anyway. The cinematography lends the film a polished look. 8/10 on account of Boyle, the premise of an evil ultra-modern house, the locations and cinematography, and set decoration and wardrobe.
The Secret of Hidden Lake (2006)
A Chicago woman, Maggie (Rena Sofer), returns home to rural Colorado after she learns her father (Winston Rekert) was severely injured in a hunting accident. When she arrives, she comes to suspect it was not at all an accident. Facing the apathetic and suspicious townspeople, Maggie finds limited assistance in uncovering what really caused her father's injury, having to fight for information from everyone (even those close to her). Twists and turns ensue up to the climax.
Sofer carries this engrossing film, with Linda Darlow and Adam Harrington in competent supporting roles. The Secret of Hidden Lake is mostly realistic. Beautiful locations add to the film--I caught this on Lifetime tonight. Not bad.