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Movie Review: “Whitney”- I will NOT Always Love your Lifetime Biopic

If you thought that Lifetime’s new Whitney Houston biopic, directed by Angela Bassett, would be filled with excitement and thrilling drama; you thought wrong.  Whitney is just another unnecessary biopic that reveals no real insight into the singer’s life.  This story strictly focuses on Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston’s tumultuous relationship.

The film might as well air on Valentine’s Day as it feels much more like a romance.  Up until the last 15 minutes (when the real drama begins), we are forced to endure a painfully cheesy love story about how Bobby Brown was never good enough for “The Whitney Houston.”  Oh, but don’t worry, Whitney doesn’t care what her family or anyone else thinks!  She loves Bobby.  The audience will be constantly reminded of that love through the numerous amounts of times that it is said in the film, and by watching their ridiculous, soap opera styled sex scenes.

From what I have gathered from this biopic, Whitney was already into drugs before she met Bobby.  The two were, apparently, a very happy and cute couple.  It wasn’t until Bobby Brown realized Whitney Houston was more famous than him (Duh) that it all went downhill.

For all the Whitney Houston fans out there, the film is not entirely miserable.  Though Houston is played by Yaya DaCosta (America’s Next Top Model), her vocals are actually beautifully sung by Deborah Cox.  She sings all the favorite hits, “The Greatest Love of All,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Whitney Houston on the left. Yaya DaCosta on the right.

Since America’s Next Top Model, DaCosta is slowly making a name for herself in the Acting Biz by making small appearances in notable films.  Whitney is a solid breakout performance for the rising actress.  Despite a few overly dramatic moments, DaCosta nails this role.  She embodies Whitney “from head to toe,” as Tyra Banks would say.  And even though it’s not her vocals in the movie, her movement and expressions would have you believing otherwise.  Not to mention the many times DaCosta strikes an uncanny resemblance to the singing sensation.

Even after all my ranting, I still recommend fans to give Whitney a one-time watch.  I think you will be pleased with the casting.  And if anything, you can turn your viewing into a fun sing-along.

“Whitney” premieres on Lifetime Saturday January 17.

TV Movie Review: “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” Features a Spine-Chilling Performance by Christina Ricci

“Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”

We’ve all heard the infamous skipping rhyme many times that was based on the true story of the girl who allegedly killed both her parents gruesomely with an ax. Well now, Lifetime has taken the bleak tale and turned it into one of their highly anticipated TV movies.

Starring Christina Ricci in one of her most disturbing roles yet.  She gives an unforgettable performance in an otherwise tedious film.  For those of you who don’t know the story of Lizzie Borden, she was an American woman who was tried and acquitted in 1892 for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts.  There were other theories that surfaced trying to explain who might have killed Lizzie’s parents.  But with no one else being as strong or as likely of a suspect, the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden still remain a mystery.  Heavy speculations about the crimes still continue today.  However, it is clear that director Nick Gomez has made up his mind about who the murderer is.

The story itself is an interesting one.  But when told through a made for television movie, it can be pretty boring.  Lifetime tends to do a good job with respecting the known facts of any true story they turn into film.  This is great for accuracy, but not always engaging enough for audiences.  Luckily, “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” is less than half an hour long.  But even the short running time doesn’t make this film any more exciting.

The film starts off well.  We get thrown into to the murders fairly quickly, but not before we get a good amount of character development from the Borden family.  It is once the murders have happened that this film starts to go down hill.  Trying to hook the audience back in with as many random bloody axing shots, the film still has trouble trying to stay entertaining.  By this point, the audience knows all the facts and the end results.  It just becomes a matter of how the movie will handle the ending.  The last 35 minutes is a repetitive mess.  The film throws in various shots of unexplained scenes with never before scene characters.  In an effort to explain other possible scenarios, this sequence becomes confusing and a bit of tease.  Some of those shots would have been fun to watch had they fully played out, even if they were just theoretical.

What I can not complain about is the haunting performance Ricci gives as an unhinged, Lizzie Borden.  Ricci, no surprise, shines in this film.  From her creepy head tilts, to her untrusting wide eyes, she nailed this potentially dreadful role.  As long as she is on the screen, you will be kept amused until the unexpected and satisfying ending.  With all the information the filmmakers knew, they handled the end scene in the best way I could imagine; tasteful, realistic, and eerie.  No matter how you feel getting through “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” you will be content with the acting and conclusion.

“Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” premieres on Lifetime January 25th at 8PM ET/PT.

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TV Movie Review: ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Is A Cringeworthy Remake You Can’t Stop Watching

If you’re like me, the previews for the upcoming Lifetime filmFlowers in the Attic, was the first time you that have heard about the controversial story that shocked millions in 1979.  After some extensive research, I was prepared for the uncomfortable and disturbing tale of incest.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how entertained I would be by such an extreme premise.

Known as “the book you were forbidden to read,” V.C. Andrews’s hot-button novel is being made into film once again, this time on the little screen.  Previously adapted in 1987 on the big-screen, the film received backlash from critics and fans that were unhappy with the many changes from the novel.  The most obvious change was the removal of the inappropriate romance between the brother and sister characters, Christopher and Cathy.  But don’t worry, Lifetime’s version made sure to not make that same mistake twice.

When and if you watch the television premiere of Flowers in the Attic on January 18th, you will get plenty of sibling romantic tension that will make it impossible for you to avert your eyes.  The movie focuses on Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) and Christopher (Mason Dye) Dollanganger, a brother and sister who along with their younger twin siblings are locked away in the attic for over two years by their self-centered mother (Heather Graham) and psychotic religious grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) after their father’s unexpected death…And no, I don’t know why Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn agreed to playing this role. Yes, she did an amazing job nonetheless.

Besides Burstyn’s terrifying portrayal of such a cold-hearted grandmother, the other performances were pretty mediocre.  Graham was like a character straight out of The Stepford Wives, showing no true emotion throughout the entire film.  She really was an “ornament” like her character said, just there to look pretty.  And Shipka and Dye spark interest in the second half of the film, due to their blossoming romance that you shamefully root for.

Flowers in the Attic is like that car accident that you want to drive pass quickly to avoid traffic, but your curiosity of the gruesome details makes you want to observe every second of it.  Whatever way you look at it, Lifetime’s take on the dysfunctional Dollanganger family will draw plenty of attention to audiences, good and bad.

Premieres on Lifetime Saturday, January 18.

Flowers in the Attic Official Lifetime Trailer

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