The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Rose Hotel (1998)


I saw this recently after some friends bought it. None of them had heard of it, which was surprising due to the star talent. They decided to save it to see what I thought before they watched it. I hadn't heard of it either, and was intrigued. The director of Bad Lieutenant and King of New York doing a film with Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, and Asia Argento: just seems like a can't miss.

New Rose Hotel is a futuristic post-cyberpunk suspense yarn with Walken and Dafoe as corporate defectors. They convince valued employees to switch employers. In their sights is Hiroshi, a genius biologist and geneticist working for MAAS. Competitors Hosaka want him to lead their laboratories, and Walken sees a huge opportunity. He employs high priced escort Asia Argento to seduce Hiroshi, and the plan seems to be working. But is anything ever what it seems in these kinds of movies? Can you really trust anyone? As a guest on Jerry Springer once said so eloquently: "When you lie down with snakes, you get fleas." Yep.


On our first viewing, my friends and I weren't paying as good attention as we should've, and we found ourselves befuddled. For them, the being befuddled left them unhappy. For me, it left me intrigued, and I wanted to watch it again to see if I could figure it out. Turns out the movie's not too difficult to pick up, you just have to watch it and listen. Once it all made sense, it wasn't as cool. Walken's kind of sweet, but he's not in it as much as he should be, and he has a limp, which is sillier than it is endearing. Also, the focus switches from Walken to Dafoe, which is disconcerting. Walken was the only character worth investing in, and even that may have been more the actor than the writing. Pretty disappointing from Abel Ferrara, considering what else he's done.

Like I said, Walken's awesome. He has some great one-liners, which makes for very entertaining viewing. My favorite went something like this: "I wrote a haiku. A dog walks into a bar, orders a scotch and toilet water. See, that's a haiku." Maybe the best scene came when he threw a party for Dafoe with four Asian prostitutes. He's supposed to be celebrating Dafoe's birthday, but the crown and robe he's wearing makes him look like the Central European Father Christmas. I guess the Walken rule is still there: he's always awesome.


Dafoe. Cool guy. Weird seeing him naked a lot. Weird seeing him have sex with Asia Argento. Just weird. Again, cool guy, just don't need to see him naked. No offense. I'm sure he wouldn't want to see me naked either, and I'm cool with that. If I'm Abel Ferrara, next time I do more Walken saying funny things, and less naked Dafoe. The ending was a collection of Dafoe flashbacks to his nude scenes. Really? I needed that? If I'm in desperate need of an ipecac, I'll hit the drug store. At least then I have a choice of when I want to take it.

I liked Asia Argento in this. I liked her more in XXX, but she was still cool here. I can see why Ferrara cast her. She exudes this femininity that makes her irresistible. I know a lot of women who say things like "I wish I was a guy. Guys have it so easy. You don't have to do this or that. Just throw on some jeans and a polo, and maybe shave, and you're set. We have to do all this blah blah blah." I totally appreciate what these women are saying, and I don't blame them for giving up and sporting a buzzcut and wearing jeans. But Asia Argento just seems to love being a woman, and everything that means. For a role like this, you need that for her to be believable as the seducer. I just didn't need to see her making out with Dafoe so much.


I had this problem in watching the film where I mixed Dafoe and Walken's names up incessantly. My friends thought it was funny, which was okay, but I've also caught myself doing it throughout this post, and that's really annoying. I'm not sure when I first merged the two in my head-- probably at some point far back in my youth, when I must've thought they looked similar. I don't think they look alike now, so it's interesting how some misconception made early in childhood has had such an impact on my development that I'm still mistaking the two when I talk about one or the other over twenty-five years later. I guess I shouldn't have audited Psyche 101.

I don't know if I'd recommend this. Watch Bad Lieutenant and King of New York first, just so you know how good Ferrara is. My friends have a notion that anything watched with me there for commentary is more enjoyable than with me absent. This goes for more than movies: reality shows, concerts, people watching. That being said, this movie was still a dud, even with my jokes to prop it up. That should tell you something.

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1 comment:

  1. Still gonna watch it, out of curiosity. Thanks for the heads up on this one.

    The other Ferrara movie I saw (besides Bad Lieautenant and King of New York) was his version of Body Snatchers. Not his best movie either. It was watchable, but nothing special.