Her Stolen Past (2018 Lifetime Movie Network)

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Her Stolen Past

Stars: Shanice Banton, Darlene Cooke, Barbara Eve Harris

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When Sonya Daniels finds the birth certificate of a kidnapped baby, hidden in her late mother’s home, she’s shocked. What was her parents’ connection to the missing little girl and could her mother’s murder somehow be connected? Sonya hires attractive detective Brandon Hayes to help her investigate. But someone will stop at nothing to prevent them from uncovering the truth. Determined to unravel the mystery, Sonya doesn’t realize how deadly the answers she’s looking for will be.

Thoughts

The movie begins with an elderly woman putting a mysterious envelope in a drawer and then later walking alone in a parking garage. She hears someone following her and start running to her car looking back. No, this isn’t an episode of Golden Girls, It’s LMN so the elderly lady is promptly shot and killed. (She does manage to get a sold left hook in though). At her funeral we discover that the elderly lady was Sonya Daniels mother. We also learn that Sonya has an Auntie who loves her, a white friend, and that she is being watched by a mouth breather.

Sonya is back in her mother’s home, reliving memories and sorting through her things. (Again with her white friend, while the mouth breather watched from a parked car outside the house.) Sonya is studying to be a doctor at John Hopkins and will be selling the home. The police don’t have any information on who killed her mom, but there have been a few break ins in the neighborhood.

Sonya finds a box with her name on it in her mom’s closet. Inside the box is a designer bag with a birth certificate for Heather Bradley. (Whose parents are Dawn & Olivia Bradley, one of the richest woman in town.) After a quick Illuminate (Fake Google) search, Sonya and her white friend (who we learn is a nurse!) discover that Heather Bradley was kidnapped from Church. The white friend (Seriously, why has no one said her name yet?) has a friend from tennis class who is a former police officer and is now a private detective. Sonya goes to meet Brandon Hayes (A handsome, casually dressed detective.) He tells her to go to the police because it is evidence in a missing persons care, but than quickly changes his mind and decides to help her??? (But he will need her birth certificate….)

After a break in, Brandon comes to check on Sonya and offers to take her to her white friend (Missy, she’s got a name now.) for the night. Missy tells Sonya that Brandon is single and recently divorced for some reason. Brandon comes over the next morning with news, there is no record of Sonya’s mother ever giving birth and he thinks that Sonya’s birth certificate is probably a fake. Sonya insists on going to see the Bradleys. She WILL get to the bottom of this, with or without Brandon. (Who she is paying to do this job, but she is very involved.)

At the Bradley’s house (Which is very big and has a statue.) Mr. Bradley recognizes his wife’s bag and introduces them to his son, Grayson. Grayson thinks Sonya is just another gold digger and is very rude to her. Then Olivia comes home from the gym and she looks a lot like, Sonya. (Just saying!) Olivia is very controlled by her husband, who also manages the business she inherited from her father. He force feeds her antidepressants and tells her she is acting crazy.

Sonya continues to do even more detective work. (Without Brandon, who is busy sitting at his desk?) She discovers via her Auntie that she is adopted and it was a closed adoption (So no records to check.) and she gets security footage from her Auntie’s new security camera to see who broke into the house. She also goes to the church and learns that her mother was in the church choir until the kidnapping happened. (But she still doesn’t think her mom is responsible.)

Brandon shows up again, after hours, and Sonya starts making out with him. Then cock blocker Auntie comes over and interrupts to tell them that Sonya’s mom was getting upsetting phone calls. Then she leaves!?? You came over just for that, Auntie?

While sleuthing some more, Brandon and Sonya find a dead body! (Rebecca Gold, the babysitter who lost Heather at the church.) Brandon vows to work with the police now that things are getting real. The police station a office outside of Sonya’s house to make sure she is safe. (That always works!) Brandon also stays over with Sonya and they eat Chinese and have a heart to heart. The next morning the police are back and they have the DNA results. Sonya is Heather Bradley. (We all knew that from the beginning though, right?)

On their way to tell Mr. Bradley, Sonya and Brandon are shot at in the parking lot. Brandon gets shot, but it isn’t a big deal. They tell Mr. Bradley who isn’t wanting to tell his wife, because she is too fragile. (Or he is behind keeping it all covered up….)

Then ANOTHER body shows up, it is the personal trainer of Grayson Bradley… Lifetime is working hard to misdirect. Brandon then learns that Olive has a history of violence and mental instability. Could she be the murder? I hope not because she is at Sonya’s house!!!

Turns out it wasn’t Ms. Bradley it was MR. BRADLEY! But why? He arranged to have Sonya/Heather stolen because she is not his daughter. Olivia had an affair, so he had the man killed and paid the babysitter to get rid of Sonya/Heather. It is a lot of backstory to get out in the last 5 mins. I honestly don’t think I fully understand the motives of Mr. Bradley. He tried to kill them but then Olivia shoots her husband to save Sonya/Heather.

With the horror behind her, Sonya/Heather moves into her mother’s house and transfers to a local doctor school to be close to her new family, and Brandon.

Side Note

Based on Lynette Eason‘s Harlequin Love Inspired – Suspense novel Her Stolen Past.

Every transition shot in this movie is an aerial shot of a random small town. EVERY SCENE TRANSITION!

Overall rating

🔪 🔪 (2 Knives)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime, LLC

Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps

Stars: Holly Robinson Peete & Rick Fox

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Billie Blessings has gone from beloved chef, restaurant owner, and morning show segment host to #1 suspect in a murder case when one of the executives at the network dies from poisoning. When the head chef at Billie’s restaurant is arrested and held as a suspect, Billie takes matters into her own hands by digging deeper into a mystery that could incriminate people close to her while risking her own life in the process

Thoughts

I’m not familiar with this genre of TV movie, I’m not sure how Hallmark will pull of a G-rated murder mystery. I’m basically only watching this because HRP is their first black actor in a leading role… ever? So, here we go!  

As the opening credits role we see a mystery person in a gas mask baking a rat poison cake. Then cut to Billie Blessings (HRP) who is a TV chef who is filling in for Wake Up, West Coast TV morning show anchor. (Laney, who recently died from a hazelnut allergy.)  There is so much exposition it is hard to keep up. Lance is the male co-host, Rudy is a producer who wanted Billie to be the co-anchor and is fighting with his ex/boss (Gretchen), there is a assistant, and a camera guy. Everyone wants to eat the cake (Which is poison, but no one know it.)

Then we also meet, Aunt Kassandra, who wants Billie to start focusing on dating and make her restaurant a priority. Maurice, the head chef of Billie’s restaurant.

Producer Rudy is at his apartment, when he receives a cake from Blessings (Billie’s restaurant) that says “congratulations.” When he goes to his wine cellar to get some afternoon wine, he sees “RIP” scrawled in red on his wine fridge. Rudy arrives at the big TV network dinner disoriented and ill looking. As he makes the big announcement of who the new co-host will be he dies! The restaurant is immediately closed because the paramedics on scene determines it is cyanide poisoning. Cue the police on scene to investigate the murder. Lucky for Billie it is her old high school boyfriend, Ian, AND they are both newly single.

The next morning at the TV show, the new co-host is there. It’s Tiffany Moon, a girl with no experience and crippling stage fright. (Perfect choice, Rudy.) Billie talks to her and gives her advice like:

“If your asked a question you don’t know the answer to, repeat the question to buy yourself more time.”

Even mediocre advice can’t keep Billie on set, Gretchen (who is now the new producer) fires her. Back at the restaurant Maurice is taken into custody because he sent the cake to Rudy. Later, at the precinct Maurice admits to finding cyanide in the restaurant and hiding it in his car. (He didn’t want Billie to get in trouble.)

Billie, Aunt Cassandra, Assistant girl (Kiki), camera guy (Phil), and waiter man (Juan, of course.) all get together over coffee and pie (This is Hallmark, after all.) to figure out who done it. They create a list and star system for people with motives. Billie is on the case and goes to the investigate. She bumps into Ian and they compare notes, I was hoping in a flirty way but it turns out to be pretty tense and confrontational

While retrieving Maurice’s dog from his building, Billie takes cyanide from under his sink and hides it in her purse. When she gets home she finds “Stay out of this” written on a mirror with red lipstick (?) Billie doesn’t heed the warning and meets with Tiffany Mood to see if her and Rudy were dating. They weren’t but Tiffany is convinced that she is next to be murdered.

In between murder investigation and saving her restaurant, Billie and Ian share a romantic dinner. They catch up on what they’ve missed in each others lives and what could have been. Only to be interrupted by Maurice, who is now out of jail! Maurice learns that Billie is now the number one suspect.

Billie turns the tables on the situation and goes on air to confront Tiffany. She gets her to admit that she is being harrassed and then she tells everyone that Laney might not have had an allergic reaction, she was poisoned too. The police double down on Billie as suspect numero uno.

Things get crazy at this point. The Camera Guy (Evan) gets hit over the head and almost exploded in his house, thankfully Billie saves him. (Don’t worry, she is still a suspect.) Tiffany leaves a note that she is leaving town. Because, live TV is too stressful… not all the MURDERING?!?! Billie and assistant Kiki, track Tiffany down and take her to Rudy’s apartment to get the evidence to convict her for murder. Before they can, Billie and Tiffany are locked in the wine cellar and Kiki is “attacked.” Ian (Maybe the worst cop ever?) comes to save them but Billie ask for two more hours to solve the case.

Billie is convinced a recording has the evidence to prove who murdered Rudy and Laney. At the TV station, Billie is trying to log into Rudy’s computer when (Spoiler) the assistant pulls a gun on her. She had access to all of Billies passwords and keys, and she has the motive of wanting to be a co-house of West Coast TV. Kiki is apprehended by Ian and all is good. Billie and Ian summarize all this in a romantic chat on the terrace. Setting up successful (but predictable) new franchise for Hallmark.

Side Note

I didn’t hate this movie! HRP and Rick Fox has great chemistry. I also LOVED LOVED Aunt Cassandra. (Karen Robinson)

This is the first starring role for HRP in a Hallmark movie. She was previously the token black friend in “Angel of Christmas” in 2015 and “Christmas in Evergreen” in 2017.

Rick Fox is a fox.

Al Roker made a cameo. He apparently co-wrote the novel this movie is based on.

Random Note: I’m not too familiar with any of the mystery series on Hallmark, but apparently Lacey Chabert is set to star in “The Crossword Mystery,” about a brilliant crossword puzzle editor who helps a police detective (Brennan Elliott) solve crimes? By using crossword puzzles? Please explain this to me.

 

Overall rating

🔎 🔎 🔎  (3 Magnifying Glasses)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

 

Deadly Delusion (2018 Lifetime Movie Network)

LT_DeadlyDelusions_30_saturday_SocialMedia_16x9_HD_1104x622-16x9.jpgDeadly Delusion

Stars: Haylie Duff & Teri Polo

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Hoping for a fresh start, Julia, a troubled New York woman, moves to Los Angeles with her new boyfriend. After settling into a fancy new home though, mysterious things begin to happen. It’s not long before Julia becomes convinced that her demons have moved with her.

Thoughts

Haylie Duff (The kween of Lifetime Movie Network) is back at it again playing a woman in peril! This time with MORE lip fillers. The opening scene is literally her running from a man and the cops won’t help her. Turns out to be a dream, of course, and she has a melt down on a plane talking to her therapist on a laptop in the bathroom….. On an airplane?

Shane and Julia are moving to an LA for a fresh start! They have a beautiful new house (with terrible glass furniture and a broken banister.) and a blue car all courtesy of Arthur (The Canadian realtor, who is friendly but also creepy.) We find out Julia has been on suicide watch for the past few month., The first thing she asks is if her pictures arrived and then goes to look at them. (Her parents passed away or were MURDERED, maybe causing this paranoia?)

 

Next, we get an actual sex scene! (I’ve been only watching Hallmark, so I was kind of like… what is happening?) During their trist, Julia thinks she sees a man in the window and has a meltdown. After the all clear from Shane, Julia goes into the living room and watches old videos of her parents while drinking wine. (Which really made me want wine, I see what you’re doing LMN.)

Later in a bubble bath, while drinking wine (LMN stop!), Julia thinks she hears someone in the house and grabs a scissors and sneaks around her house in a towel. The TV is on and a snake is in the sink! When the building manager arrives, he says there is no snake… could it be a deadly delusion???

Julia goes to lunch with her friend Annie. Julia is distracted and a terrible lunch date, so Annie suggests they “destress.” I was expecting a shopping montage, but they instead go to the shooting range and then look at guns on a rooftop. Annie encourages Julia to get  a gun because LA can kill you.

After another meltdown, Julia and Shane get out the laptop and talk to the therapist. (Who is ALWAYS in her office?) The therapist makes her say “The shadow men are not real” a couple times and she is better???

On the mend, Julia goes to get a freelance job and is disappointed when it is for an orange juice ad. She is even more disappointed when she arrives back home to finds Annie in a towel. (Her buildings water is “out”) while Shane is making dinner and margaritas. Are they having an affair or is it a deadly delusion…

While taking pictures for the orange juice ads, a glass pane falls on Julia’s head and she gets concussed. In the hospital she accuses Annie or hooking up with Shane.

“Do you want to come over for dinner, drinks, and sex in our shower?”

Julia is at a paranoia high! She is convinced that Arthur is behind all of this. (I mean he IS creepy/Canadian!) When she confronts him at his real estate office, she gets even more proof that he is behind everything. The office has NO PRINTER, price tags on the furniture, and an employee was working with his monitor off. Shane talks her down and admits that they didn’t switch the medication she is on, Julia in on her old medication and everyone tricked her into thinking she was on new one. (This would make me extremely paranoid, but she mellows out.)

The paranoia doesn’t stay away for long. Julia break back into the real estate office and finds a surveillance room where there is video of her house! The next day she apologizes to Annie, who forgives her and tells her she left her a gun in the bathroom. Then Julia makes Shane go with her confront Arthur again. This time the screens only show the parking lot of the office, not the house.

Back at home Julia is literally tearing at the walls looking for cables to the camera in the AC vents. She does find them, but Shane AGAIN talks her out of it.  

Turns out Julia’s delusions weren’t delusions at all, but you know they were still deadly. She shoots the man who has been following her and realizes that Shane is in on the whole thing. Apparently it is some sort of live stream for rich men who like to watch her losing it and you know having sex? Shane was working with his boss and Arthur to run this exploitation of Julia.

Julia has to kill Shane before he kills her. Annie calls the cops on the boss and Arthur and they are taken away.  

We then get the classic LMN twist where all is revealed and the horror is not over. We see the therapist pimping out another mental patient who is being tricked into a exploitative relationship for men to watch on screens around the world.

Side Note

Why would the therapist agree to do this, and why does she get so much pleasure out of doing this?

Also known as The Lease

Overall rating

x1f52a.png.pagespeed.ic.HMLmHeH3BN.png x1f52a.png.pagespeed.ic.HMLmHeH3BN.png (2 Knives)
🍷🍷🍷(3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2017 Lifetime