Orson Oblowitz’s feature debut, "The Queen Of Hollywood Blvd", is a arthouse crime thriller mash-up of exploitation, gonzo, cult film and neo-western expressionism. The film stars Rosemary Hochschild, Ana Mulvoy Ten, Roger Guenveur Smith and the late Michael Parks. In the fashion of Russ Meyer and David Lynch, Oblowitz creates a symposium of neon noir in true indie style.
On her 60th birthday, Mary (Rosemary Hochschild) finds her past coming back to haunt her, as a 25-year-old debt means the mob is ready to collect with interest, their sights set on the strip club she has run all her life. There’s only one thing she can do: Mount her defenses and stand her ground in a spiral of violence and revenge that will leave no one in her life untouched.
The story is typical mid-century crime thriller, on a slow train to madness and mayhem- kind of day. Either 20th or 21st, you decide. The visual and written drama could fit easily in both centuries. With its extravagant way of taking the daily affairs of a downtown life which explodes in sinful, cigarette stained fanfare. Although it isn't completely original, Orson's film is unique and entertaining. There are moments when the sensations of the mundane motion of moving through the day seems to drag on just a little too much.
The acting, especially by Rosemary Hochschild, is memorable. Recognizable characters displayed in almost "half-life" nuances pepper the scene in true boulevard fabulousness. The dialog and drama ebb and flow a bit choppy in some scenes while other times the story pulls you in to near Tarantino-esque coolness. The inconsistencies, although noticeable, never really dampen the overall quality of "The Queen Of Hollywood Blvd.
As far as the violence and crime segments are concerned, the movie never really gets you to true, and ultimate exploitation or grindhouse levels. There are only a few moments of cruelty and blood splatter, done well, but with a story and characters such as Oblowitz offers up, the excessive and gratuitous violence was justifiably warranted. Still the cinematography and atmosphere helped ease the loss of brutality some. Especially the scenes washed over in delicious neon light.
Overall "The Queen Of Hollywood Blvd" is a nice noir , arthouse drama. The story is entertaining, the characters are familiar, and the overstylized indie concept is kitch. Those seeking Tarantino level of violence and bloodshed won't find it here, but this a good one worth watching for indie avant garde fans. (4/5)