Rosemary Hochschild (“Supergirl (TV)”, “King Blank”) is Queen Mary. The opening frame is of her scowling face, in an instant we know this is a face of a woman on the edge, like she has lived a long turbulent life and then some.
Mary raises a hand, a gun shot rings. Mary’s expression does not change, not even a blink. It was at that point the movie confirmed to me that I was in for a ride, this movie will be something different.
This fresh, unflinching take on the city of angels is coming just in time I thought, now that A Star is Born has been remade for a third time.
The Queen of Hollywood Blvd. is all about Mary, a tough yet fair owner of a strip club in the heart of Los Angeles. It is Mary’s 60’s birthday, but her only gift comes in the form of Roger Guenveur Smith (“Dope“, “Chi-Raq“) as Duke, a crime boss who lent Mary a large sum of money 20 years ago who is now back to collect, with interest.
He feels Mary’s club is his for the taking since the money he provided made it happen. Mary of course has other feelings about this, she has earned the life she has now and she will fight to keep it to the death.
This is not your typical LA story, and Queen Mary is a far cry from the conventional hero we see today. Hochschild shines as this middle aged female assassin, and we love her for it.
Mary not only has her strip club family, but she is Mother to Otto, played by writer/director Orson Oblowitz (who is also Rosemary’s son in real life). He is a self proclaimed rap star and such a unique character that Oblowitz plays to the hill. While he is only in a few scenes, he is impossible to forget. Otto is reminiscent of the character of Alien that James Franco made his own in the movie Spring Breakers.
Once Duke uses Otto as a way to get to Mary, that is when the action and violence gets kicked into high gear. All of the acting is top shelf here.
Rosemary Hochschild embodies Mary in such a way that we never lose empathy for her, even though she is killing people left and right while also running her business with a ruthless demeanor.
Ana Mulvoy Ten (“American Crime (TV)”, “Vanity (TV)”) is brilliant at playing Grace, the perfect example of a young fresh faced girl who comes to Hollywood with a suitcase full of dreams and gets devoured by the system.