(director/writer: Janek Ambrose; screenwriters: Chris Blim/Marcus Hart; editor: Janek Ambrose; music: Jean Van Geem; cast: Janek Ambrose (Derrick), Robert Gerard Anderson (Bob), Jessica Jade Andres (Anna), Chris Blim (Boyle), Alex Loynaz (Ted); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Chris Blim/Janek Ambrose: Amazon Prime; 2019)
“Amusing sci-fi comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Janek Ambrose (“Money, Fascism, and Some Sort of Acid”/”Imminent Threat”) directs this amusing sci-fi comedy. It’s co-written by Ambrose, Chris Blim and Marcus Hart, who all have parts in the weird episodic cult film. It’s inspired by Mondo Cane (1962), and follows that film’s trashy but insightful trippy look at all things as it tries to reveal what exactly is the “mondo” culture it refers to. It’s further inspired by Robert Carl Cohen’s 1967 X-rated documentary Mondo Hollywood: Hollywood Laid Bare! The modern filmmakers show that not much has changed since the 1960s in Hollywood culture, especially in regards to the film world’s reputed drug culture.
It plays out as a devilishly goofy acid trip mockumentary on the Hollywood scene, a scene that’s divided into three groups: Titans (the entrenched corporate moguls), Weirdos (Venice-beach politically active hippie artists), and Dreamers (the outsiders in the Hollywood system, such as the aspiring actor or aging writer). It boldly takes us on a guided Hollywood sightseeing tour by a zany mushroom dealer, Boyle (Chris Bum), upset because he lost his cat, as the film shows us around Tinsel Town with the inquisitive narrator, Ted Evans (Alex Loynaz-voice only), a wide-eyed creature from the 5th dimension, trying to figure out the real meaning of “mondo” while on the tour.
It’s executive produced by James Cromwell.
The appeal of the lightweight offbeat satire should be mainly to the counterculture crowd, stoners and the older rebels who have not fully grown up.
Those who like this film probably can live with the film’s faults: that it meanders, is not conventionally structured, and leaves no clear messages on its storyline. Its viewers are encouraged to see its reality twists for themselves (whether right or wrong), as the filmmaker respects the viewer’s intelligence to do this. Even if seemingly absurd, its discovered truths are nevertheless worth digging for. The experimental film was made for the fun of it and gives us a natural high.
REVIEWED ON 8/17/2021 GRADE: B