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Movie Review: “Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs” Might be the Most Disturbing Lifetime Film Yet

Parents I seriously advise you to make sure the kiddos are in bed before watching this one.

Get ready to see Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) like you’ve never seen him before.  Goldwyn stars as Warren Jeffs, the infamous Polygamist cult leader who spent more than a year on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted List” for his unlawful flight on charges related to his arrangement of illegal marriages involving underage girls.

After his father (Martin Landau) passes away leaving behind 56 wives, Warren (Goldwyn) takes on his leadership role as the prophet for Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Basically, the community follows “God’s Law” and believes that women must be obedient wives.  The prophet is the only one who can speak to God and relays the message to the citizens.   A man can have numerous wives and the women have no say in the matter, because apparently God chooses who they are given away to.  If this doesn’t sound gross enough, Jeffs was arranging marriages to girls as young as 12 years-old!

The film itself is grotesque and continuously uncomfortable. Lifetime allows the audience to see some in-depth sex scenes that I wish I hadn’t.  The words spoken to these young girls by Jeffs while having intercourse will haunt me for years to come.  However, the story of Warren Jeffs was conveyed so well that it is worth the watch.

Besides a few small characters, all the leads did a fantastic job in the film.  Goldwyn morphs into his sickening character and Joey King (Fargo) continues her streak as a star on the rise.  This girl is incredible in any role she plays.

I can handle most Lifetime dramas, but Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs was tough to sit through.

Rating: 3/5

Premiering Saturday, June 28, at 8pm ET/PT.  Immediately following the movie’s world premiere, Lifetime will air the hour-long documentary Beyond the Headlines: Warren Jeffs, at 10pm ET/PT.

Movie Review: “Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom” Becomes Uncomfortable very Quickly

Oh Lifetime, you never cease to amaze me.  Just when I think I’ve got your repetitive stories figured out, you go and throw in an unexpected domination and submission twist that I didn’t see coming.

That’s right people; Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom is a more tamed, mature, TV approved version of 50 Shades of Grey (minus the bondage).

After Delaine (Ashley Jones) discovers her jerk of a husband, Robert (Scott Gibson), has been cheating on her she immediately blames herself, as does her husband.  After all, if she tried harder and got implants this would have never happened!  Feeling as though she owes it to her two children to make the marriage work, she stays with Robert.  But then she meets Graham (Jeff Roop), an attractive acupuncturist that she can’t help but feel physically drawn too.  As they begin their own affair, Delaine gets the strength to finally divorce Robert.  Unfortunately after ending things with her husband, things with Graham quickly fall apart as well.  Hello online dating!  Among her many emails from the site, she stumbles upon a striking message from “The Duke” (Alex Carter).  He promises to turn Delaine into an alpha female that will never to be walked all over by a man again. His strategy: He, A MAN, will dominate her and tell her exactly what to do on dates and in her personal life; while she, A FEMALE, must be his submissive and obey his every word…um; okay…I guess that works for some girls.  Delaine is just delighted by this idea and agrees to his terms.

Given that this is a Lifetime film, we are usually introduced to some unbearable acting.  However, given the dialogue the two leads must deliver, I was quite pleased with their conviction.  We’re talking some pretty embarrassing and idiotic lines here.

It takes a while for this film to pick up.  Until we meet “The Duke,” you might be wondering where the story is headed.  Well, I’ll tell you it’s not headed where you’d expect.  Once she speaks with “The Duke” for the first time on the phone, the ball starts rolling.  The content of what we’re watching at this point isn’t necessarily good, it’s just so awkward and intriguing.  You can’t help but be curious to know how far Delaine will go to please her master.

Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom is a decent flick to DVR and watch in your spare time, but don’t expect the intense drama we’re accustomed to in the usual Lifetime movies.

Rating: 2.5/5

Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom premieres Saturday, May 31, at 8pm ET/PT.

Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom Official Trailer

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Movie Review: “Petals on the Wind” is Sexier and more Deceitful than the First Installment

Petals on the Wind Official TrailerIf you thought the Dollanger clan was messed up in Flowers in the Attic, just wait till you see them freed from their “prison” and fully blossomed in the real world. It’s so wrong! Yet these characters make it seem so right! Christopher and Cathy’s relationship continues to internally conflict audiences with their brother/sister romance.

V.C. Andrews’ popular book series continues to come alive through Lifetime’s original films. (For a refresher of the first film’s premise, refer to my previous review of Flowers in the Attic)

Petals on the Wind follows Christopher, Cathy and Carrie after their escape from Foxworth Hall as children. Just a heads up, if you grew fond of the actors who played these characters in the first film, expect to see a new and an older cast as they correlate with the 10 year time jump of this sequel. The siblings were actually quite lucky when they rode the bus to Florida. They were taken in and cared for by Paul Sheffield, a wealthy doctor who leaves his estate and inheritance to the kids after his passing. As the family attempts to put their shameful past behind them, they realize certain secrets can’t stay hidden for long. When Cathy tries to get over the forbidden feelings her and Christopher developed during their captivity as young teens, she forces herself in an abusive relationship with a fellow dancer. This leaves Christopher no choice but to move on with his life, while Carrie deals with her own struggles of getting through high school. But when tragedy strikes the Dollanger’s once again, Cathy returns to Foxworth Hall to confront her grandmother and seek revenge on her mother.

What can I say? This is one twisted story. It’s unbelievable, it’s sick, and shockingly enough, it’s entertaining as hell. Fans of the novel should be pleased to see how well they incorporated most of the book’s story-lines to fit this hour and half TV movie. The film is jam packed with so much drama it will have your head spinning going from one subplot to the next.

The romance isn’t bottled up in one little attic this time around. Cathy, who is now played by a sensual Rose McIver (The Lovely Bones), may be in love with her brother, but she’s able to heat up the television screen with ANY man she’s making love to. Sadly, that temperature is only one-sided when she is embraced with Christopher. Wyatt Nash (Pretty Little Liars) plays the stoic brother who gives a lifeless and disappointing performance. Luckily, if you keep your eyes on Cathy you might not be able to notice, and either way you still root for this disturbing relationship. An emotionally scarred Carrie is impressively performed by Bailey Buntain (Bunheads) and both Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham reprise their roles as the children’s wicked grandmother and devious mom.

From the way things pan out in this movie, you can expect another film adaptation of the next novel, and most likely the entire book series. If you enjoyed Flowers in the Attic there is no doubt that you will once again relish in the guilty pleasure that is Petals on the Wind.

Rating: 3/5

Petals on the Wind premieres on Lifetime Monday May 26 at 9p ET/PT

“Petals on the Wind” Official Trailer

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TV Movie Review: David Arquette Gives a Deadly Smile in Lifetime’s Original Film ‘Happy Face Killer’

We should already be weary of accepting rides from strangers.  But when that stranger is an unhinged, truck driving, murderer, we should probably avoid hitch-hiking all together.

David Arquette (Scream) stars in the latest Lifetime drama, “Happy Face Killer.”  The film is based on the true story of Keith Jesperson, a Canadian serial killer who drew smiley faces on his victims.  Jesperson had a troubled childhood. He was abused mentally and physically by his father, and tormented by other children.  At a very young age he began torturing and killing animals.  He married at age 20, and fathered three kids.  It was after his divorce 14 years later that Jesperson began to unravel.  Once he was denied his dream job as a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman, he snapped and began to release his frustration on the helpless women he would pick up.

Lifetime once again takes a twisted and sick true story, and turns it into an amusing guilty pleasure.  This enjoyment is due greatly to Arquette’s unsettling portrayal as the deranged Keith Jesperson.  After some knowledge of his background and a quick set up for the film, the story moves rapidly into his multiple killings.  The audience is shown how Jesperson rapes, beats, and strangles the women to death.  We also see how the authorities dealt with the psychotic killer that taunted them by sending letters signed with a happy face.

The head detective on the case, Melinda Gand, was played adequately by Gloria Reuben (Lincoln ).  Lifetime films in general tend to have a weak supporting cast; made up for by strong leads.  However, in this case, Reuben’s performance lacked emotion and energy, providing only one facial expression throughout the entire film.  Luckily, Arquette’s switch from loving dad to enraged truck driver was delivered well enough to distract audiences from noticing any lack of talent from the other actors.

In comparison to other Lifetime true stories, “Happy Face Killer” does not drag.  This movie will keep you intrigued and dying to know what will set the killer off next.  Set your DVR’s and make sure the kiddos are in bed before watching this exciting and disturbing thriller.

“Happy Face Killer” premieres Saturday, March 1 on Lifetime, 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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