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.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to Rob a Bank (2007)


I can't remember how I first got wind of this. I was intrigued by the idea of Gavin Rossdale from Bush in a movie. How can you not be? In all his videos and appearances with Gwen Stefani, he seemed to just be there. I wanted to know if as an actor, he'd just be there too.

How to Rob a Bank has Nick Stahl, from the third Terminator as a dude mixed up in a bank robbery gone bad. He has Erika Christensen, the robbery crew's techie, hostage in the bank vault, and the crew's leader, Rossdale, has everyone else hostage on the other side of the vault door. It's a Mexican stand-off, and Stahl is the unwitting point man. Will he have the street smarts to out think all the players?


This was good. First off, at a runtime of 81 minutes, they didn't have much room for boring parts. You'd think with 81 minutes, most movies wouldn't have much room for boring parts, but you'd be surprised. This film definitely delivered, though. What was great was, it had all the elements of your bank job suspense film, but with the condensed runtime, there was none of the superfluous crap or constant twists and double-crosses you usually get with those films. The truth is, a lot of those films could take a few tips from this movie.

It's not like the plot was overly simplistic, but it knew when to edit and when to add, and that's always a great thing. There just aren't many good movies like this out there. Everyone wants to do too much, tell us too many things, make too many profound statements. Older people always tell me "they don't make movies like they used to.", and I always thought it was a grass is greener thing, but to some degree they're right. Too many directors want to do too much, but what I've seen with this film, is there's a happy medium between too much and a mindless action flick (which we know can be an awesome thing too). We need more happy mediums like this one.


Gavin Rossdale was actually really good. The accent helped. Have you ever seen a bad actor with an English accent, regardless of the region? He actually had a personality though. It was hard at points to reconcile this with the guy who sang "Swallowed." I wonder if in the 90s, he just wanted to jump out of his skin and do Naked Eyes covers instead of being a Nirvana derivative.

The only issue was Nick Stahl's character, because he went from uncomfortable with things to uncannily at ease too easily. He would've been better to just be uncannily at ease from the start. Also, he has Erika Christensen's character tied up and gagged with duct tape, and we never find out how he was able to subdue her initially. She seems to be tougher than he is, and he didn't have a firearm. Unlike Stahl's character, hers was believable, and it kind of surprises me she doesn't get more work. Maybe she was typecast as a nutty pretty girl after she did Swimfan. A lesson to any actor or actress out there who is offered a role like Swimfan-- it can only hurt.


The central theme surrounding this movie is the idea of surcharges and ATM fees. We're at a stage now that a lot of banks don't charge a fee for using their own ATM, though I kind of think in 2007 we were at that point too. I, unfortunately, use a small credit union, so there aren't many surcharge free ATMs at my disposal. Still, in this movie, the main character needed to go inside his bank branch because its ATM wouldn't let him take out $20 without having $21.50, so he had to go inside and talk to a live teller, when I imagine any bank in 2007 would let you use their ATM, if you had an account, for free.

This is a good movie. 81 minutes of entertainment. It's not amazing or a classic, it's just a good movie. We could use more just plain old good movies like this. It's available right now via Netflix Watch Instantly, so that's a good deal.

For more info:


  1. I'm in on this one. I was actually wondering about Rossdale not too long ago. He was in Constantine a few years back playing a demon and I thought he was awesome, and then hadn't seen him in anything since.

  2. This is a good showcase of what Rossdale can do. He has something coming out in 2010, so we'll see what happens there. I'm very curious.