Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Junesploitation 2024 Day 4: Free Space!



    FASCINATION (1979)

    Australia's Indicator has been re-releasing French director Jean Rollin's back catalogue remastered in 4K UHD two at a time for the past couple of years. We're up to eight titles released (with more on the way later this year) and I intend to review them all this month, in no particular order.

    In "Shiver" a young newlywed couple stop by the remote château of their distant cousins, only to be told by two seductive maids (Marie-Pierre Castel and Kuelan Herce) taking care of the place that they passed away. But if the relatives of Isle (Sandra Julien) are dead, who are the people who look like them that show up after she and hubby (Jean-Marie Durand's Antione) decide to spend the night at the old place? In his fourth feature as director (excluding shorts and uncredited pornographic films), Rollin has already perfected his signature atmosphere and mix of tedious pace perked-up by beautiful women in a supernatural setting. The ending on a beach at dawn makes no sense whatsoever, but the dreamlike atmosphere is aces. 3.5 1,000-WATT CANDELABRAS (out of 5).

    Brigitte Lahaie holding a scythe while wearing a black robe in "Fascination" is probably the most iconic, memorable image in Rollin's entire catalogue. What even the director's fans forget is that the love triangle between seductresses Eva (Lahale) and Elisabeth (Franca Maï) with runaway thief Marc (Jean-Marie Lemaire) starts with goofy comedic elements about a band of thieves chasing Marc into the water-surrounded castle. And that's before the (Satanic? Vampiric?) coven of women Eva and Elisabeth are waiting for arrives. At 82 mins. "Fascination" doesn't outstay its welcome and hits all the expected J.R. notes. It's the total package. 4 RAW BOVINE THERAPY TREATS (out of 5).

    Adapting his own novel of the same name, "Two Orphan Vampires" is one of Rollin's last great films. Less sexy (only one memorable topless scene) and more heartbreaking than usual, the blind-by-day, blood-thirsty-by-night escapades of Louise (Alexandra Pic) and Henriette (Isabelle Teboul) as they go about their vampiric needs range from the sublime (playing hide-and-seek in French catacombs) to the silly (playing with the emotions of the nuns that took them under their care) and the tragic (the finale by a swamp lake). At times the dialogue feels like the 'old man trying and failing to write young people' adaptation that it is, but the sense of dread and atmosphere Rollin's work was known for is as strong here as in his better 70's and 80's work. It was the first 4K Jean Rollin I bought and still one of my favorites. 4 LONG WALKS ON THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE (out of 5).


    Every Monday for the past eight weeks Sony has been re-releasing the live-action "Spider-Man" movies to celebrate the studio's 100th Anniversary. Watched Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2" and "3," caught the first "Amazing Spider-Man" and skipped the rest. Every screening that I attended was nearly sold out, and the Spidey faithful were out in force and cheering at the expected moments (especially the meme-worthy scenes from "3"). Last night I caught the last of the run, primarily because it was the 148 min. extended version of "No Way Home" that was re-released theatrically in 2022 and isn't available on physical media. Despite having a handful of bits that were golden (more of the three Peters talking on the Statue of Liberty before the big fight) the extra minutes of footage really throw the pace of the narrative out of whack. Luckily the movie is still a blast, not only rebooting MCU Spidey away from the trappings of technology/wealth that Tony Stark bestowed upon Peter but also giving Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, their rogues' galleries and the true believing fan base a sense of closure they didn't know they needed/wanted. Best $5 I spent on Monday. :-P 4.75 COLLAPSED FLOORS ON HAPPY'S CONDO BUILDING (out of 5).

  2. THE EQUALIZER 3 (2023):

    A literal spaghetti western.

  3. Vihanpidot a.k.a. Insanity (2020, dir. Miska Kajanus)

    In this Finnish no-budget found-footage horror, a group of twenty-something friends reunite for a weekend trip at a remote cabin. Tensions rise, old grudges rear their ugly heads, secrets are revealed, paranoia takes hold, things turn violent. Then out of nowhere, halfway through the movie we're introduced to an inexplicable framing device that puts the earlier events into a new context, making them make even less sense than they did before.

    A "story" that fits on half a napkin, obnoxious characters, and headache-inducing footage. And being a found-footage movie, it has to constantly bend over backwards to justify why the characters keep the camera rolling. Some of the editing choices are so nonsensical they almost approach being interesting. The best things about this movie are the Finnish title (a mildly amusing pun that doesn't translate) and the mercifully short runtime of 72 minutes.

    One Million Years B.C. (1966, dir. Don Chaffey)

    In a totally historically accurate story, cavemen with rudimentary language, perfectly toned bodies and lustrous hair inhabit the planet with dinosaurs, giant iguanas the size of buildings and car-sized spiders. After one tribe's leader banishes his son from their cave, he comes across another tribe, whose women wear revealing fur bikinis and have impeccable make-up, and falls in love with one of them (the one who looks like a movie star), inevitably causing friction between the tribes.

    But the story's not that important. Obviously the main draws here are the Ray Harryhausen creature effects and Raquel Welch in that iconic fur bikini, a picture of which you've seen hanging on Andy Dufresne's cell wall. And they both deliver. Welch has undeniable movie star charisma (and yes, she's one of the most gorgeous people to ever exist), and Harryhausen's dinosaurs are pretty amazing creations, especially their incorporation to the live action footage.

    1. Mazes and Monsters (1982, dir. Steven Hilliard Stern)

      Four college friends play the role playing game Mazes and Monsters (which is totally different and legally distinct from Dungeons & Dragons), a game so immersive and addictive that one player soon starts seeing hallucinations of the game's fantasy world, dangerously blurring his sense of what's real.

      An extension of the 1980's Satanic Panic, this was based on a haphazardly researched novel, which in turn was inspired by totally inaccurate news reports linking D&D to a college kid's suicide attempt in 1979. It's a cheaply made TV movie and you can mostly see where it's heading based on the premise, but the very ending is kind of bonkers and managed to surprise me. Plus this was Tom Hanks's first lead role, so there's at least that.

      GetEven a.k.a. Road to Revenge (1993, dir. John De Hart)

      So, I usually write a plot synopsis... Geez. Well, two cops, Rick and Huck, stand up to their corrupt commander Normad (first or last name, who knows?) and are tossed out of the force on false charges. Then Rick's new girlfriend Cindy tells him about a Satanic cult led by Normad, who's somehow a judge now and also involved with Huck's ex-wife, who gets Huck thrown in jail by claiming he assaulted her. Huck becomes a weird new-age guru while Rick and Cindy get married (Rick wears a tracksuit to the wedding btw), but their honeymoon is cut short when Normad's goons attack, so of course Rick has to take the law into his own hands to stop Normad's evil schemes.

      On the page, the main character Rick is heroic, just, loyal, charming, smart, funny, and an all-round stand up guy. The kind of guy every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with. And coincidentally he's played by John De Hart, who wrote, directed and produced the movie. In actuality, it's a total vanity project for De Hart, where he casts himself as the perfect hero he wants to be, and he seems blind to how silly and awkward he really looks.

      The plot is total nonsense, the dialogue is atrocious, De Hart often looks like a deer in headlights in front of the camera, and the multiple sex scenes he wrote for himself and a Playboy playmate (and scored with his own songs) are hilariously awkward. Wings Hauser is the total highlight of the movie as De Hart's best friend, although I'd be surprised if he had any recollection of making this movie. He's clearly coked out of his mind in every single scene, stumbling over his incomprehensible dialogue.

      One of the worst movies I've ever seen, but in a fun way! Definitely recommended for fans of the "so bad it's good" genre.

    2. I instantly recognised the poster for One Million Years BC. I think I might check it out. Does it have sharks in it?

    3. No sharks, I'm afraid. It doesn't really fit into any of this year's categories. At a squeeze maybe Kaiju! (a few big monsters) or Beach! (a couple of scenes take place on a beach), but even those would be borderline cheating.

  4. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (1979)
    A large contributing reason that the Dallas Cowboys became America's Team is their cheerleading squad, affectionately known as America's Sweethearts. The short-skirted, tall-booted, fit-bodied young ladies captured the hearts of Cowboys fans, yes, but particularly adolescent boys across the nation. In 1979 they were everywhere: bedroom posters, magazine spreads and television specials made them synonymous with institutions like The Rockettes.

    It would only make sense that they would get their own narrative film and on January 14th, ABC's Sunday Night Movie promised to "find out what really goes on behind the scenes with the most gorgeous girls in America" according to a print advert they ran. I'm not sure this does that, unless the audition process does actually require an initial round of doing nothing but look pretty and a semi-final audition freestyle dance to "Disco Inferno." I guess that's why the Cowboys produced that show Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team on CMT for all those years. To set the record straight. (There does seem to be some public fascination with the audition process for these extremely competitive and highly selective tropes. There's that famous who-knows-if-its-true anecdote about Rockettes having to apply lipstick and leave a perfect smooch mark on their own legs during a high kick.)

    Bond girl Jane Seymour is the leading attraction (Bucky f*cking Dent, the New York Yankee, makes an appearance as a Cowboy - the '70s were weird) and I suppose pre-teen boys and perverts get their money's worth of her in the skimpy outfit in the movie's final scenes. For the most part, however, it's a touching story about the bond of sisterhood. It's about the ladies being there for each other during the audition process and moments of camaraderie during things like grueling rehearsals. In the film's climax, a few of them help another out of an abusive relationship. Can you believe it? It's more A League of Their Own than Debbie Does Dallas.

    1. Made-for-TV movies from the 70's and 80's are a rarely-tapped Junesploitation! gold mine. ✌️😁

    2. I just watched one, JM! Review incoming.

  5. (Free Space #1 Genre's represented: Revengesploitation, Ozsploitation, Legacy I.P.-sploitation, Prosthetic Noseploitation)

    Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

    LOOOOOOVED THIS MOVIE. It feels a bit more story driven that most of the Mad Max entries. The 5 act structure across Furiosas younger life is a great idea. The world building and fighting between factions over key locations (Mad Max meets Risk the Boardgame!) provided great structure. The action scenes, which are plentiful, are absolutely incredible. The fact that we get a franchise sequel this impressive, by the series creator, 44 years after its debut?...FANTASTIC.

  6. PLEASURE SHOP ON 7th AVENUE (1979, Dir. Joe D'Amato)

    The movie fails to achieve any sort of climax.

  7. Day 4 Free Space! Con-Artists!
    PAPER MOON (1973) dir. Peter Bogdanovich

    A first time watch for me and it might be the best movie I’ve seen all decade. I saw a production still of Bogdanovich directing Tatum O’Neal inside the Video Archives screening room and I knew I needed to fill this blind spot. Tatum really earned that Oscar. She was funny without going for any jokes. She was heartbreaking without ever feeling cloying. But Ryan O’Neal should have got an Oscar as well, along with two for Bogdanovich. This movie is so much more, it has so much more to say, about the human heart, than The Sting. I can’t wait to rewatch this again someday in a movie theater.

  8. My theme for Free Space days this year is crazy, supernatural, psychedelic anime.
    Starting with: Belladonna of Sadness (1973)

    1. Belladonna of Sadness is so good. I read the new 4k disc is disappointing though, luckily i already have the blu-ray from 2016

  9. Unholy Rollers (1972)

    Started this one on Corman day, but just finished it. Pretty fun in spite of it's many shortcomings. Claudia Jennings rules as a rage-fueled emerging derby star. Supervising editor Martin Scorsese does a pretty good job with mostly poorly shot action sequences. Plot and character motivations never totally make sense; In one implausible scene, Jennings forces a man to kiss her at gunpoint. The cover songs (mostly Chuck Berry) as performed by Louie & The Rockets, are some of the least essential I've ever heard. When they appear performing live it gets worse. Ms. Jennings, a couple of fun line-readings and quick runtime make it more fun than slog.

    A monster menaces some very adult “teens” at a summer house. This was big fun, actually. It has the style and do-it-yourself energy of Evil Dead, combined with the messiness and 80s-isms of Friday the 13th Part 5. It’s also another Scream-before-there-was-Scream movie in how meta it is, with the hero knowing how to survive because he’s seen so many horror movies. The opening scene, set in a video store, is overflowing with nostalgia. This is low-budget shlock as it’s meant to be.

    SHOCK ‘EM DEAD (1993)
    A wannabe rocker makes a deal with the devil for fame and fortune. There’s some fun stuff here, and the filmmakers make the no-money filmed-in-our-living-room aesthetic work for them. But then this has supporting roles from Traci Lords and Troy Donahue (together at last?) so the movie must have had some budget. Overall, it’s… not bad.

    Bonus Universal monster-sploitation: THE MUMMY (1932)
    After the brilliant opening scene (“He went for a little walk!”) this settles into being more of a talky drama. But you’ve got Karloff and the great Zita Johann doing the talking, so it’s all good. I like how Johann’s character Helen is the protagonist, and she outwits the mummy herself, despite a bunch of men romancing and/or mentoring her.

  11. The Great Alligator (1979)
    Trying to fill in some gaps in my Sergio Martino viewing. I know this one recently got a fancy 4K upgrade from Severin but I just watched my old Code Red disc, which is probably for the best because the alligator effects are mostly terrible and I can't imagine them standing up to a 4K transfer. The movie actually has a few stars (Barbara Bach and Mel Ferrer) but is mostly just ok, neither as competent as I expected nor as crazy as I was hoping. Fabrizio De Angelis's KILLER CROCODILE is a much better version of a similar JAWS rip-off.

  12. China O'Brien (1990, dir. Robert Clouse)

    Robert Clouse directed Enter the Dragon and China O'Brien, so he's worked with the greatest movie martial-artist of all time, and Bruce Lee (I kid... but not really). Cynthia Rothrock Rules so hard. It's cool to see her buddy in this movie (and real life) Richard Norton headlining as well. This doesn't quite reach the highs of some of her Hong Kong work, but it was highly entertaining. The constant ping-ponging between badass action and unintentionally goofy moments makes for my kinda Junesploitation movie. Highly Recommended, can't wait to check out the sequel.


    I chose a film on the DVR that I knew nothing about. I was only aware that Doc Savage is a character from pulp novels going back to the 1930s. The campy treatment of the material completely surprised me. It is evident from the opening scene, when Doc Savage goes from Arctic cold into an extravagantly decked out igloo. The general story concerns Doc and his band of companions going to a fictional South American country to discover how Doc’s father died. They eventually go on a journey to find a mysterious tribe that the father visited. Despite the camp factor, the adventures and characters would fit into those serials from the 1930s and 1940s. Undoubtedly a film that is best appreciated by getting on its wavelength, something I could not do.

    1. They did a bunch of Man of Bronze comics over the years, they were a fun read. Never read the books. There was rumors about a movie with Dwayne Johnson for a while, but that was before he became what he is now

    2. I can see The Rock being a good Doc Savage. Ron Ely was a good choice for the 1970s film, one of the few good decisions that was made for it.

  14. Crash! (1976): if you know anything about about blu-ray releases, you know the type of movies Full Moon Features puts out. The used dvd store near me had a bunch of those and i got a couple out of curiosity. I got this one because i like movies with cars. The story is simple, a possessed car kilos people. It's not very good, but there's car crashes and that's why i bought it. It's no Duel (1971), but it'll do in a pinch.

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  16. Hardcore(1979 Dir Paul Schrader)
    After George C Scotts daughter stays behind in LA after a missionary trip he hires a detective(Peter Boyle) to track her down. Boyle finds out that the girl is in a porno film. He shows the movie to Scott. Scott watches for way longer than you'd expect then heads to LA to get his daughter back. While pretending to be a producer he meets Susan Hubleys Niki. A porn star he hopes will help lead him to his daughter.
    Scott is excellent as the man while beholden to his values. He is a good man. But he is also a pious man whom believes his religion is rule. We learn later has already pushed his wife away with his over rigidness to his values and religion and as he searches the various dens of inequity in search of his daughter the more his dark side comes out. One scene even going so far as to strike a woman in one moment and then kiss her on her forehead the next. While its not on the level of Taxi Driver it is very good.

    Its not perfect. The ending feels rushed and kind of tacked on. Near the last 15 minutes of the movie the film introduces a bogeyman snuff producer. We see him in one scene of a snuff film. we then see him in a bar wearing the same outfit but this time with the daughter. Dad dodges one a knife swipe, the bad guy runs away. Dad then talks to his daughter as Boyle shoots the bad guy. But here's a real problem with the movie and its been pointed out by others. I believe JB quoted Tarantino recently (I'm misremembering is entirely possible) saying that the ending of the film would have been better had the daughter refused to go with Scott. And they're right. After the conversation she and Scott have there is no reason for her to get in the car with him. But I'm torn. I think a better ending would have been her and Hubley walking away together. But another part of me thinks Scott should have put Hubley in the car and gave her the help she asked him for as a way to still redeem himself.

  17. I got three 4Ks & two Blu-rays from Shout! Factory in the mail today. So naturally, I thought, "tonight I should really watch this 4K of KINDERGARTEN COP that's been on my shelf for several months".
    I haven't watched KC in several years & the 4K was a treat to bring me back. It's still 8/10 on the Arn-O-Meter; I always think of this as a little better than it is when I watch it, but somehow I'm always borderline impressed by it each time. It's... a special way of thinking.
    Either way, I picked too many titles for tomorrow & watched this one tonight. Free Space!

    1. Wait, don't go, what are the other 2 titles?

    2. Arnold has so much charisma. I love him in everything.

    3. The geeky joke, Kunider, is that KC is a Kino disc. The 3 Shout 4Ks were the '88 BLOB, PRINCE OF DARKNESS & NIGHT OF THE COMET.

    4. Haha, yeah i almost said something about the KC, but i was more eager to read what else you got

    5. I definitely felt that in your question. :)

  18. Hells Angels on Wheels (1967)

    I only just now realized that this came out the same year that Hunter S. Thompson's book was published about the time he had spent with the Hells Angels (which is a pretty interesting read). It's also two years before Altamont would make the Hells Angels even more notorious.

    Jack Nicholson stars as Poet, a bit of an outcast/rebel himself who hooks up with the Angels after getting fired from his job at the gas station but eventually becomes disillusioned with the lifestyle.

    Overall it's a good movie, but it has the abrupt kind of ending I tend to associate more with 70s exploitation films, where someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly in the very last minute of the film as "The End" pops up on the screen.

    The Last Valley (1971)

    I loved Hulu's recent adaptation of Shogun and I've been tearing through a bunch of James Clavell's other work, both novels and films. Of course I've already seen the original version of The Fly and The Great Escape, and I'm a big fan of To Sir, With Love (and I watched the adaptation he directed of his own novel, King Rat recently as well).

    The Last Valley is very much in Clavell's brand of historical fiction, albeit without the Asian culture stuff that dominates his appropriately named "Asian Saga" (this is adapted from a novel but not one of Clavell's). Instead we get a story set during the Thirty Years' War with Michael Caine as a mercenary captain, and Omar Sharif as a man just trying to escape war and plague. Their paths cross in a remote village that has managed to get by largely unnoticed and unscathed by the war going on. Tensions build as Sharif's Vogel attempts to maintain an uneasy balance between the mercenaries and the townsfolk. It's a little slow in parts but up my alley overall.

  19. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

    Seen this one as many times as just about any other movie. Still worry it'll lose something each time I put it in and it never fails to work. For me, a perfect movie - the jokes and emotional bits still land just at effectively as they did 20 years ago on release.

  20. Dog Soldiers (2002)

    I couldn't wait for Paul Naschy Day to luxuriate in lycanthropic action, so I gave Neil Marshall's directorial debut a spin. A wild werewolf war movie chock full of suspense and gore, with the typical macho soldier scenery chewing and just a hint of well-placed humor. It's not The Descent, but few fright films of the 2000s are, and Marshall definitely hints at his horror potential here. And I liked the dog, too.

  21. The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977)
    “Ladies and gentlemen, everyone sitting in this audience has been exposed to the traditional story of the assassination of President Lincoln. For over a century history books have taught us that the murder was committed by a crazed actor named John Wilkes Booth. The history books go on to say a few southern rebels helped him and no one else. The motion picture you are about to see will shock you. Because the true story of President Lincoln’s assassination can not be found in any history book. It is a story of corruption, treachery and cover-up. It is a story every American has a right to know.”

    With that opening, we’re off and running with this movie, which was based on the book of the same name by David W. Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier Jr. If that last name sounds familiar, he’s the man behind so many of these movies. He has a wild life story, starting as a Cajun Catholic, converting to Mormonism and then to evangelical Christianity. He also wrote The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams and founded Sunn with Rayland Jenson and Patrick Frawley. They were the kings of market research and four-walling, a process in which they bought space at a theater and did all the ads, then collected all the ticket money. They realized that there was a Christian audience that wanted G rated movies on one hand and paranormal ones on the other. Sunn was ahead of its time when it comes to what is on basic cable today.

    It made the movie look better to be based on a book. Schick Sunn Classic Books started to put this out, which is a genius movie that exploitation masters since Kroger Babb have used to make money. The main idea of the book and the movie is that historians and have been part of a big cover-up. This all started when President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Union spy Lafayette C. Baker, Senator Benjamin F. Wade, Senator John Conness, other congressional Radical Republicansm and a cabal of Northern bankers and speculators all wanted to capture the President and keep him hidden until they cold impeach him. The reason? Lincoln wanted to unite the country after the Civil War and they were upset that they would lose money.

    Baker found out that actor John Wilkes Booth wanted to kidnap Lincoln and was brought into the plan. After he failed several times, he was told to stop and instead, he decided on his own to kill Lincoln on April 14. He had a diary that incriminated several of the men who paid for him to do the plot and they were panicked. A Confederate double agent James William Boyd was killed and the trial that followed and the autopsy were altered to make it appear as if Booth was killed, while sympathetic people got him to England.

    Maybe. You know how speculative history is.

  22. Knightriders (1981, dir. George Romero) was pretty strange. It's a lot of people driving around jousting on motorbikes. Ed Harris has hair. Knights on steel horses. The 2.5 hour runtime is too much as it feels repetitive and frankly boring for long stretches.

  23. Abduction (2019)

    Oh boy. The description of Scott Adkins with amnesia remembering he's got to find his kidnapped daughter DID NOT prepare me for what this was actually going to be like. Think Doctor Who...but with violence and swearing. And sound editing straight out of 1999.

  24. Shadows in an Empty Room (1976) dir. by Alberto De Martino

    Okay like 80-90% of the times the main guy meets someone new, their relationship opens with a fight or a chase. That alone made this fun enough for Junesploitation.

    The movie itself is kind of messy, but it does have some small touches that work well. The base is a mystery overlaid with a brash cop and garnished with some giallo-esque scenes. Other notes: I gotta say the music really stuck with me; Hi again John Saxon, in a solid supporting role; and I was so not expecting that particular hostage....

    1. PS: This was a bonus American International Pictures movie!

  25. Sleepers (1996)

    "Directed by Barry Levinson, starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, Music by John Williams" doesn't exactly scream Junesploitation... but it's a revenge movie and a prison movie, so check and check.

    I mostly wanted to watch this because I read the book a few months ago. I sometimes find it tricky to gauge the plot cohesion, suspense, and pacing of a movie when I've recently read the book. Does it really lack suspense or feel like it's just checking off plot points, or is that just because I already know the story? Would I understand parts of the story if I was coming in cold, or am I just filling in movie plot holes subconsciously? It's hard to know for sure, but my gut tells me that if an adaptation has me asking these questions, there's probably at least something to the idea that the movie has issues.

    Sleepers looks good, and features some good performances, but it felt a little lifeless to me. I do think it tries to pack too much plot into its runtime (fair enough for a story spanning 15ish years, and the book suffered some from the same disease, although with a lot more detail to help breathe life into the story). Things are forced to move along so quickly that I'm not sure the viewer is left with enough time to soak in the events and characters, and really connect with or get caught up in the story.

    One of the big turns in the third act trial relies entirely on a pretty unbelievably forthcoming witness, who readily admits to heinous crimes with no fancy lawyer tricks or much plausible explanation for why he doesn't just answer "no" when politely asked to tar and feather himself in public. This plot point comes straight from the book, so I suppose I can't fault the movie too much for following along... but man, it feels implausible.

    Sleepers is watchable enough. I don't regret watching it, but I doubt I'll ever revisit it.

  26. Grease (1978) Obscure American musical that explores the dichotomy between irony and genuineness. Danny (John Travolta) has romantic troubles because he insists on being someone he is not. Rizzo (Stockard Channing) also puts up a false front. These two storylines are placed in opposition to that of Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) who has the opposite problem: hiding her voracious sexual appetite and bad girl ideation behind a wholesome, girl-next-door lie. Everything is solved when everyone drops their bullshit and lives their own reality: cars are made to fly. The audience I saw it with tonight sang along and applauded every musical number, even “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”


    Once again I am going to Italy for Junesploitation. Frustrated businessman Stefano (Tomas Milian) meets Matteo, a Venetian aristocrat, on vacation in Venice, and a weird personal connection is forged that leads to murder. Basically Strangers On A Train set in northern Italy, The Designated Victim is a plodding but effective thriller. If you know that Hitchcock film, the plot is easy to predict. The cast is excellent, with the leads (Milian and Pierre Clementi) easily carrying the film through the slower parts of the story.