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]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

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.

--Matt

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Of Unknown Origin (1983)

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An old roommate and friend who was also a huge Weller fan first came across this. He said it was pretty hilarious, and I needed to see it. So I checked out his copy from his DVD library. He and I had an extensive DVD collection, and it was kind of too bad when we parted ways that half of those films went with him. Ah, c'est la vie.

Of Unknown Origin has Weller as an early 80s businessman quickly making his way up the corporate ladder. He has a hot wife and a nice kid, and he's just bought and renovated a house in New York City. When his family goes away, he finds himself alone in the house with an uninvited guest: a nasty rat. What follows is a study on obsession and Man's struggle with the animal world. He slowly sinks into insanity as he tries everything to remove the vermin from his dwelling.

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This was an interesting film. In my mind, there wasn't enough material for a full 90 minute movie: it was probably better as a 22 minute Tales from the Crypt episode. That being said, there were some funny parts with Weller. In one scene, he tries to kill the rat, and ends up in his pantry with a sack of flour or whatever falling on his head. Little moments like that made things bearable, but only so much. The ADD kicks in around the 45 minute mark, and it's all down hill from there.

Weller is great in this, but is that saying much? He's great in everything, so it's no surprise. The film is almost a one-man Weller show, which is cute, but I'd rather have some variety. Say twenty minutes of Weller dealing with the rat, then twenty minutes of Weller as a hobo with badly sprayed on five o'clock shadow, then maybe him in jail, then remaking Animal Crackers with some other members of the DTVC Hall of Fame. Now that's a movie.

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This is Shannon Tweed's first film, or at least the first one where she receives a starring role. She's had a pretty decent direct to video career, and it's interesting that this is only the second film of hers that I've reviewed, the other being Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death. In this one, she's not in it much, mostly either calling Weller from her parents' house where she's vacationing or having sex with him. I guess it's not a bad start, but I'm wondering if she saw her career moving towards Night Eyes Three or Body Chemistry 4: Full Exposure. Does anyone plan for a career like that? And if not, does one ever except that fate and decide to enjoy it? Dolph Lundgren, maybe.

While we're on the subject of rats, I must mention the film Ratatouille. I know the en vogue thing is for adults to like these Pixar animated features, and tell people like me how much I should enjoy them and how many of the jokes are meant for adults, and I think that's great. Finding Nemo was funny when I was baked (back when I did that kind of thing), and not so much when I was sober. Cars, which I've seen in parts myriad times through all my friends' children, made me uneasy, because the cars had eyes that were like all whites with small irises and whatnot, and that just looked gross. Anyway, the one I refused to see was Ratatouille, because the idea of a rat cooking is just disgusting. My friend tried to explain that the whole point was that you can be what you want in life, even if the odds are stacked against you. Fine, but I don't want rats in any kitchen that's serving me food. Blah!

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Corporate America in the 1980s seemed like the coolest place ever. I know Black Monday and the recession of the late 80s early 90s kind of ended that lifestyle, but I find myself nostalgic for it. I don't know, the music, the cars, the suits, the coke: it's all very alluring. This film is supposed to be the deconstruction of that man into his basest parts, and I guess that's cool; but I felt like something was slipping through my fingers as the movie devolved from the fast world of '83 high stakes business into one man's struggle against The Wild and his own sanity. I could've done with 90 minutes of Weller partying and engineering hostile takeovers while his wife was out of town much more than his war with the rat.

This is a No Go for me. Just not enough material to keep anyone interested long enough. If you and your friends try this for a bad movie night, make sure you have a back-up, because you might be bored. There are some great Weller scenes, so if you're an aficionado you might appreciate it. Otherwise, avoid it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086036/

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