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.
The late great actor Michael Parks (“Argo“, “Planet Terror”) gave us one of his final performances. Parks stole the scene as Chet Fuller, a singer who has lost his voice and is now a junky.
Then again it all starts with the writing, so the groundwork was already done thanks to a well crafted script. The Queen of Hollywood Blvd. is the feature debut for Orson Oblowitz as a writer/Director, and it is a glowing debut at that.
Orson Oblowitz does have some high caliber cinematography credits, which explains the strong visual style maintained throughout the movie.
This movie was shot by Luke Hanlein, who also lensed Corbin Nash which Orson Oblowitz produced.
Rosemary Hochschild is commanding in her role as the queen. If we look deeper it becomes clear why, she plays a character who in many ways reflects her own background.
She too arrived in LA with big dreams of becoming an actress. Hochschild was able to get parts in a few movies since the early 80’s but her most recognizable credit did not come until 2018, when she earned a role in the TV series Supergirl.
Hochschild was previous married to Michael Oblowitz and later to Ron Vawter. In true Hollywood fashion, Vawter was her Co-star in the 1983 film King Blank and Michael Oblowitz was the Director of that picture. That must have made for an interesting wrap party.
All hail to the queen. In closing, The Queen of Hollywood Blvd. is an indie crime thrill ride which does not let off the gas. The overall gritty portrayal of crime in this movie reminds me of Good Time, or classics like Buffalo ‘66, Straight Time or Michael Mann’s Thief.
The yellow closing credits over black slate is a clear nod that Quentin Tarantino was also an influence. For those of you looking for diversity and a lack of age prejudice in leading roles, here it is….. all you have to do is pay to watch The Queen of Hollywood Blvd, tell your friends to see it.
The Queen of Hollywood Blvd. will get a limited theatrical run and Digital release starting October 12th from Dark Star.
Curt Wiser is the Writer/Director of the suspense movie Cam-Girl. He may not call Hollywood home yet, but he is happy to watch other people’s work and share them with the rest of the world.
12th October 2018
THE QUICK SELL
On her 60th birthday, the proud owner of a Los Angeles strip club, finds herself in hot water over a twenty-five year old debt to the mob