Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Film Review: NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD (2009, Mark Hartley)

Stars: 3.9 of 5.
Running Time: 103 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Interviews or archive footage with everyone from Richard Franklin (ROADGAMES), Jamie Lee Curtis, Stacy Keach, Dennis Hopper, George Miller (MAD MAX), Russell Mulcahy (HIGHLANDER), Ted Kotcheff (RAMBO, WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S), George Lazenby (ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE), Steve Railsback, Jeremy Thomas, Quentin Tarantino, Rod Taylor, Bruce Beresford (BREAKER MORANT), Alan Arkin, Henry Silva, Broderick Crawford, David Hemmings, Christopher Lee, Olivia Hussey, James Mason, George Peppard, Donald Pleasence, and Lesley Ann Warren.
Tag-line: "Finally an Aussie film packed full of boobs, pubes, tubes ... and a bit of kung fu."

Grab a "thick, crunchy hamburger," sit back, relax, and enjoy a measured overview of that oft-forgotten, oft-maligned genre: 'Ozploitation.' Now, there's not much depth to this film, the reality-TV style (different, generic, upbeat music cues every 25 seconds; the inability to hold a shot for more than 2 seconds) is frequently obnoxious, and a lot of your enjoyment will hinge on your ability to tolerate Quentin Tarantino, but the absurd clips, psychotic personalities, and colorful anecdotes go a long way.

If you can't even stomach this photograph, you'd do best to stay away.

See the one-armed censor; endless vomit; a Mondo-style film called AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK; Henry Silva dangling 70 feet above the ground without a safety net; clips from Russell Mulcahy's early 'giant warthog' flick RAZORBACK; and endless, marauding biker gangs, scouring the Outback for people to fuck with! You hear about a washed-up David Hemmings' drunken directorial style, Richard Franklin’s big break with the coma-horror flick PATRICK (immediately ripped-off by Italians, and later by KILL BILL), the xenophobia faced by Jamie Lee Curtis and Stacy Keach while starring in Franklin's ROADGAMES, Steve Railsback delivering semi-coherent rants, and Dennis Hopper pronounced dead while filming MAD DOG MORGAN.

Hopper, in fact, survived.

Witness the miracle of marsupial werewolf birth in HOWLING 3:

live ammo fired at Railsback in TURKEY SHOOT (a.k.a. ESCAPE 2000 on DVD):

Railsback shot at FOR REAL.

George Lazenby on fire for real in THE MAN FROM HONG KONG; a possessed game of Chinese Checkers in HARLEQUIN (a.k.a. DARK FORCES on DVD); and majestic, SHINING-style, bone-chilling cinematography in NEXT OF KIN. You’re forced to respect these filmmakers’ ingenuity, their commitment to trash cinema, and their nonchalance about risking life and limb for movies about giant alligators, killer bikers, or naked ladies who take lots of showers. It’s almost like if a dozen quasi-Herzogs were unleashed upon the heyday of American International. So if you can stomach the periodically inane presentation, NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD is well worth a watch.

-Sean Gill

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