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The story of "Ozploitation" movies - a time when Australian cinema showed an explosion of sex, violence, horror and action. Includes anecdotes, lessons in maverick filmmaking and a genuine love of Australian movies. It moves through Aussie genre cinema of the 70s and early 80s - claiming it's an unjustly forgotten cinematic era of boobs, pubes, tubes... and even a little kung fu. Written by
One of the best documentaries I have seen in many years!
It is about time a documentary was made about Australia's 70's and 80's exploitation films, which range from sex comedies, car chase films, hardcore horror and kung fu flicks. Mark Hartley has created a fitting tribute which moves at an almost non-stop pace and is full of hilarious interviews, great clips and interesting tales of on-set accidents and rowdy actors. Unfortunately, I never got to experience this period of unknown Aussie film making which now (thanks to this documentary) may be uncovered again!
Not Quite Hollywood starts off with some background of the Aussie film industry back in the late 60's/early 70's and the strict censorship policies we had. This then moves into the first type of exploitation we had; sex-fueled, gross-out comedies. Some notable ones are: Stork (1971), Alvin Purple (1973), The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975) and Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974). Most of these features copious amounts of nudity (both male and female) and sex (of which the doco shows quite a bit of). These made a fair bit of money, but most of the critics despised the crassness and abrupt sexuality. Interviews with the lady stars (who are not afraid to talk about their mostly naked roles) and Barry Humphries are often funny. This first half an hour or so is a great introduction to the next section...
"Comatose Killers and Outback Chillers." In this section, Hartley shows us Australia's disturbed side with absurd, sadistic horror films which have a confessed fan, Quentin Tarantino. He excitedly reels off his favourites and how they have inspired some of his films (especially "ill Bill: Vol. 1." A few stand-out movies are: Patrick (1978), Razorback (1984), Snapshot (1979), Harlequin (1980) and Long Weekend (1978). Interviews with directors (Brian Trenchard-Smith and the late Richard Franklin) and the many actors are again incredibly intriguing and quite amusing. These films were popular in America, being released in the exploitation cinemas and garnering cult followings.
The last section of the documentary is about "High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters." Tarantino really contributes to this part, showing a vast knowledge and passion for our car chase scenes and the "fetishistic" way they are filmed. Cult classics such as: Mad Max (1979), The Man from Hong Kong (1975), Roadgames (1981) and Turkey Shoot (1982) are all mentioned and discussed. This part becomes interesting, as directors talk about troubles with stunts (involving tragic deaths of cameramen and stuntmen), injuries and actor problems. Tarantino lavishes praise on pretty much all these films and he is a pleasure to listen to. Also, new Aussie horror directors Greg McLean ("Wolf Creek") and James Wan and Leigh Whannell ("Saw") are interviewed and discuss the old and new Ozploitation cinema.
Hartley knows how to make a documentary to the point, funny and always captivating. The interviews are hysterical (especially Bob Ellis, a critic who constantly bashes the genre in a comical uptight manner) and the clips are appropriate and show all the right parts. This will please all ages, from the older people who lived through this time and the younger generation (my friends and I) who will discover a new genre of Australian movies to enjoy. This doco is almost one of the best things to come out of the cinemas this year, and opens up a part of Australian culture that up until now was left hidden. Is this recommended? YES! Hopefully (and it DOES look hopeful), Australia can start to release some great Ozploitation style films. With films like Rogue, Wolf Creek, Storm Warning, Black Water and Saw there is still a chance.
A solid 5/5
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