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Review: The Queen of Hollywood Blvd

The Queen of Hollywood Blvd owes a great deal to L.A. set noir films. The film isn't shy about wearing its influences on its sleeve. What sets this apart from something tired and worn is Rosemary Hochschild as Queen Mary. She herself is tired and worn in appearance but her performance is something not seen in films often and it is fascinating.

Now I do think it is worth mentioning that Hochschild is the real-life mother of director Orson Oblowitz. This fact adds another layer to the viewing experience you will have if you seek The Queen of Hollywood Blvd out. You will consistently ask yourself how they were able to work together to produce such a well-defined and emotionally rich character.

The plot surrounds Mary on her 60th birthday. Mary runs a local strip club and she runs it well. It is her entire world so when Duke (Roger Guenveur Smith), a local boss, comes and asks for the club back, she resists. Thus kicks off a hell of a day for Mary as she fights for her club. When they take her son (Oblowitz), she gets enraged and starts a violent series of confrontations with Duke's men. 

One standout scene comes from Michael Parks in his final performance in a film. Parks plays a junkie arms dealer whom Mary goes to see about a gun. Another strong element is the film's visual style. Luke Hanlein composes some striking shots including the film's opening and closing shots. While these elements solidify that this is a film worth your time, there are some missteps. The supporting cast ranges from passable to so over the top that they feel like they are in another film. This hurts some scenes more than others. No one can give Hochschild a run for her money except for Smith as Duke who is also very good. The plot also has some very familiar moments to it that feel pulled from any violent exploitation film. 

Overall though, The Queen of Hollywood Blvd makes a mark. Few people who watch it will forget Hochschild's performance as Mary. She is the diamond in an otherwise somewhat generic film. Hail to the Queen and here's hoping this launches a late career for her. 



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