Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Quentin Tarantino, Brian Trenchard-Smith, George Lazenby, Dennis Hopper, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stacey Keach, Jamie Blanks, and Greg Mclean
Written by: Mark Hartley
Directed by: Mark Hartley
MPAA Rating: R for graphic nudity, sexuality, violence and gore, some language and drug use
Running Time: 103
Date: 14/08/2009
IMDB

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Aussie Possibles

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The new documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! has as its core argument that Australian genre cinema of the 1970s and 1980s is not as bad as everyone thinks. This isn't exactly a thesis that's going to win any awards, especially up against the latest documentary about the Holocaust or the war in Iraq. But as far as entertainment goes, it's about the most fun I've had all summer.

The film is light on argument, and doesn't really delve into the social conditions that made this movement possible, but it's loaded with great clips, most of which are a treat to see on the big screen. Director Mark Hartley divides up his film into sections having to do with sex, horror and then just general action and violence. It celebrates the sense of daring and recklessness in showing some of these things on film. Naked women and crazy stuntmen are applauded, as well as American actors who dared to show up and take jobs from Aussies. (Jamie Lee Curtis is on hand to discuss her role in Road Games, and Dennis Hopper acknowledges his abominable behavior on the set of Mad Dog Morgan.)

The film also celebrates the work of journeymen directors who made their shots and got the job done, but who never earned any kind of critical credibility. The film even makes a case for Russell Mulcahy, whose Razorback (1984) looks great judging from the clips shown here, but who also went on to make the universally loathed Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). The documentary champions unsung classics like Long Weekend (1978) or Turkey Shoot (1982) but also laughs heartily about such duds as Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr (1981) and Howling III: The Marsupials (1987).

Best of all, the film interviews a few cranky critics who sneer their distaste at the entire cycle, and Quentin Tarantino is here, bursting with his own brand of enthusiasm. This film made me want to rent a whole armload of Aussie movies, but sadly, a great many of them are not yet available on DVD in the United States.

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