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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Filmmaking > Australia > Horror > Erotica > Science Fiction > Not Quite Hollywood (2008/Documentary/Australian Filmmaking/Magnolia/MagNet DVD)

Not Quite Hollywood (2008/Documentary/Australian Filmmaking/Magnolia/MagNet DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Documentary: B



Australia has been a location for many big budget films, yet so many other films have been made Down Under and many never even reached the states.  Without hardly any auteur director to speak of, the films made have ranged from visiting auteurs like Nicolas Roeg’s landmark Walkabout, to stuffy art films by Peter Weir and one that was not (The Cars That Ate Paris) who would not always stay there like Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, The Shadow) or George Miller (Mad Max) who would at least return sometimes.  Then there were the comedies and genre films that were so bold and far out thanks to the effects of the counterculture in Australia that they became known as Oz-Ploitation.  Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood (2008) is an excellent documentary about these films.


Having seen more of them than most in the U.S., I can say that they have their moments and some are must-see films.  Others may not be as interesting, but still worth seeing simply because they are so different.  This runs over 100 minutes and they still did not have enough time to cover everything.  Interviewing Quentin Tarantino was a great idea, but I just wished they found some big fans and/or fan club to talk to at least a few fans from the time who still celebrate this cycle.


The films tend to be exceptionally violent at time, feature plenty of nudity and action to rival their Hollywood and U.S. Indie counterparts, while a few even inspired and influenced films in The States.  The only issue is that there is a false argument that develops here that creates a split between art and exploitation films but not dealing with any in-between.  Maybe there is a lack of visionaries in Australia, though we meet some here just the same, but it still became a cinema of distinction and that is minus the stuffy films like Picnic At Hanging Rock and others stuck in the past.  It is the kind of film that extended to nearby New Zealand, as attacked by Lee Tamahari’s Once Were Warriors in 1994.


Highlight films include Night Of Fear, Turkey Shoot, Stone and the original version of Long Weekend (recently remade as the impressive Nature’s Grave, reviewed elsewhere on this site), but some would seem to defy reason in how they got made and how several of them were even hits.  However, since films in and about the edgy side of Australia were not commonplace until this cycle, all that lack of product for a current audience caused many a hit where there otherwise would be none, so that explains that.


Some genre films that should have worked and were hits (namely Patrick and Harlequin) made the same mistakes later Hammer Films would and did not always have a new angle on stories we had already seen told better.  You will also learn about stars you have never heard of but should have, like sex symbol Abigail (who also appeared on their version of Match Game at the time entitled Blankety Blanks, also reviewed elsewhere on this site) and how serious and committed these filmmakers were to having a cinema.  There is not enough of this anywhere today.


All serious film fans should catch this one!



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a good mix of new HD-shot footage and classic film clips, along with other items (like animation) that adds up to a good if varied presentation.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a little better than the Dolby 2.0 Stereo, but most of the films are monophonic and the interviews simple stereo, so the newer (and older stereo versions of the music come across best.


Extras are many and include a feature length audio commentary with the filmmakers hosted by the director, deleted & extended scenes that are so good that this could have been a mini-series, Image Gallery, Original Theatrical Trailer, vintage audio interview with Richard Franklin, Tarantino interviews Brian Trenchard-Smith and Funding Pitches by Tarantino and John D. Lamont.



For more about the films discussed, we have the following links for you to learn more about the films:


OZ-Ploitation V.1 & V.2






Howling 3 – The Marsupials



Mad Dog Morgan (w/The American Way)






Death Race 2000 (a sort of take-of of The Cars That Ate Paris)



Number 96 – The Pantyhose Strangler




You can also use the search engine and enter a title, genre or the words “Australia” or “Umbrella” for the Australia home video company whose product we cover all the time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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