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.

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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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dark Secrets aka Cold Earth (2008)

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This is one of those ones that I figured would be painful, but I knew I had to do it because it featured DTVC Hall of Famer Gary Daniels. Plus, it was on Watch Instantly, which made it very accessible. We'll see what happens, and if the movie's a stinker, we'll see if I can do my job as a reviewer and make this post entertaining.

Dark Secrets takes place in England, where Gary Daniels and his wife live, him a race car driver, her an actress. Their daughter is kidnapped, and the detective assigned to the case thinks it's the same guy who killed a little girl before-- a case that still haunts the detective, literally, as in the form of a ghost. Now the question is, can she make herself useful and help the detective solve the case.

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Okay, so obviously this isn't your classic Gary Daniels DTV actioner. With that said, I'm going to try and critique on what it was, which was essentially a Lifetime movie with more obscene language. It even had the beats of a Lifetime movie, with fade-outs at moments that would've been commercial breaks on TV. I guess as far as that goes, it's a matter of whether or not the psychic/supernatural aspect is too much for you. I gotta say, it kind of was for me. As a movie, it had it's issues, including some awkward transitions, and a hero that wasn't always easy to root for-- beating a handcuffed prisoner for information isn't very heroic. Overall, while this isn't really a DTVC kind of movie, I think you could see a lot worse if this pops up on the Lifetime Movie Network.

Gary Daniels does not have a large part in this, and does pretty much no martial arts, having only one scene where he fights, and in that, you can see that he wants to get after it, but can't because it's not in his character. I also liked that he really went for the London Cockney accent, including tons of foul language. We seldom see Daniels like that, so it was refreshing. Kind of a novelty, like Kiss of the Vampire was, but nothing more.

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I chose this image here because I wanted to make a statement. I'm sure a lot of my readers are like a lot of my friends: settled down, maybe even with children. Those friends look at me and sometimes are like "why are you still single?" and other times are like "man, you got a good thing going there, I'm jealous." You wanna know why I'm still single, that's it, right there. Picking out lamps. I can't think of anything more soul crushing. I helped three friends and their families move over the past month. U-Haul load after U-Haul load of years of accumulated trips to Home Depot and Target and IKEA to get one thing, or three things, or four. One friend, who I helped move four full U-Haul trips, had the audacity to buy a new recliner with his wife a week later, after he was complaining to me about how much crap they had. It's like once you settle down and get married and have kids, that's it, all you do after that is buy crap like lamps. Casual relationships do not involve buying furniture, that's why I'm still single.

How do you know a movie is low-budget? When they use Comic Sans font for the end credits. I think when LeBron left Cleveland, and because of the way he did it, everyone was on Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's side... until he decided to post his rebuttal rant in Comic Sans, then we were like, dude, get over it. Comic Sans is the Fanny Pack of fonts.

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Gotta throw in the pic of the kid rocking the Arsenal jersey. I know, the Gunners don't look good early this year, and they're in danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the late 90s, but they're still my team, and I gotta rep 'em when I see someone in their gear in a movie I'm reviewing. If you're curious, this is the red currant jersey they wore for only one season, '05-06, to commemorate their last season in their then stadium, Highbury, before moving to their current digs at the Emirates; the rest of the time their colors are red and white with blue trim. I still have my JVC one from the late 90s.

The fact that I used the last three paragraphs to talk about couples buying lots of furniture, Comic Sans font, and the Arsenal football club, must tell you something about this. Nothing more than a Lifetime flick with loads of foul language and no Meredith Baxter-Birney or Joanna Kerns. For Daniels completists only.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0915454/

15 comments:

  1. Excellent review! Haha, so true about the lamp shopping.

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  2. Oh man, the moment I saw that in the movie I cringed. Believe me, I was struggling for material for this review, so I figured I'd just go with it.

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  3. So true about judging the quality of a movie by its font set. Comic Sans reeks of "I'm too lazy to find a font, I'll use one of the defaults that ships with Windows". Lazy font selection, lazy production overall.

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  4. Yeah, and Comic Sans seems like the worst, doesn't it? It's like faux wacky/off-beat or something. It's like a guy in Crocs.

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  5. Lamp shopping may not be all that interesting, but at least it's better then clothes shopping, now that is the true definition of boredom, I remember being dragged by my mom and sister to look at shoes and whatnot as a kid, and i'm not looking forward to doing that all over again, that said, it's still not enough to make me want to remain single.

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  6. Gah... Sounds terrible. I utterly detest the Lifetime Movie feel. It's just SO bad. Also, I like how he is a race-car driver and she is an actress. They really shot for the stars there.

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  7. Ah man, the 00s weren't very kind to Daniels. Might still catch this as I don't think I've seen a Daniels film set in England yet.

    Thanks for the warning though Matt.

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  8. The Lifetime movie can be fun, especially in a group, but this one was a bit too somber for that.

    I think you may enjoy the novelty aspect a little more then Jack, because even though it is substandard, and Daniels isn't in it much, he seems to really be embracing the fact that he's doing a movie in England. His character is supposed to be this rags to riches kind of deal, so he pours the accent on a little more, to emphasize his meager beginnings.

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  9. Sending mountains of white light and love to your friend.

    Have a SUPER weekend !

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  10. I'm not sure what that means, but thank you, and you have a good weekend too.

    I should point out that I have nothing but love for all of my friends, I just wanted to have a little fun with this post and the lamp shopping was a great opportunity for some fun observations. If any of my friends do read this (and I know some of them do, though not the one I referred to with the chair), it was all in jest.

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  11. Lol @ Comic Sans...yeah, it's usually a DEAD giveaway!

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  12. So how were the production values here? With the exception of the font (couldn't agree more there), did it sound and look like a...well, like a real (DTV-)movie or like some soap? I mean, Lazarus Papers obviously had some money behind it, but it was horrible. This seems to have an actual plot, but did it seem like a student film? On your other point, having experienced both "lifestyles" a few times (once for over two years), I currently wouldn't trade being single for anything. Or, actually, nothing wrong with a relationship, but I never, NEVER again want to be stuck in a situation where I don't have my very own apartment (not even if the ones sharing it were Charlie Sheen's goddesses...). I don't even have anything against buying lamps and furniture. It's just that, in a relationship, you don't really shop lamps and furniture as a couple. No, you go to the store, she picks up the ones she likes and you hate, you protest, she doesn't care, you pay. So you have a good thing going there!

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  13. It really is. Comic Sans was a bad choice.

    I didn't think, you being in Finland after all, about the fact that my Lifetime Movie description wouldn't mean the same to people who don't know what Lifetime movies are. I'm not sure what your TV movies are like in Finland, but think maybe UK TV movie from the mid-early 2000s as far as film quality.

    And I see you've had both ends of the spectrum. I think there are some people that need to be married with kids and secretly relish the trips to Home Depot and IKEA, and I have no problem with that, different strokes for different folks-- but I think those people secretly envy us people our freedom, every once in a while.

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  14. Well, I don't have Lifetime-network, obviously, but have seen some of those films. Usually thrillers with no blood/nudity/language and an older woman hero (like Alexandra Paul). There seem to have been some exceptions, but when we're talking about films that "feel like they belong on Lifetime", we're still talking about films adapted from Nora Roberts-novels and stuff like that, right? Or like my friend says, Lifetime is the place where babes like Heather Locklear and Daphne Zuniga go once they're no longer babes... But the main thing for me is that Dark Secrets doesn't have that irritating "shot-on-video"-look.

    I think you'd like quite a few UK TV-productions. The Messiah-series, for example, is good stuff. On the other hand, if you'd see some of the late 90s stuff Daniel Craig did, like The Ice House, you'd NEVER accept him as even a poor man's Harry Palmer, let alone someone even remotely associated with James Bond!

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  15. No shot on video looks, but more that made for TV look, in a UK as opposed to US kind of way. That's what you're looking at here.

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