The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola’s minimalist take on sexuality and power is more thoughtful than the Clint Eastwood original but far less fun.

The Beguiled Poster The original Clint Eastwood adaptation of “The Beguiled” was a crazed, pulpy drama of sex and temptation. It’s a bit too nuts to take it truly seriously. That’s where Sofia Coppola comes in, whose gifts with minimalism can take even the wildest of subject matter and rope it into something contemplative and profound.

In her take on “The Beguiled,” Coppola has given the Civil War story a dusky air of dignity and style. She’s reframed it as a woman’s story of pent up frustration and emotion and how people cling to certain ways of life, rather than a man’s revenge tale against, as Colin Farrell puts it in the film, “vengeful bitches.”

That’s all well and good, but I like the crazy-eyed sexiness of the Don Siegel/Eastwood version. Coppola’s film has the themes and drama in the right place, but does her “Beguiled” have to be so buttoned up? Continue reading “The Beguiled”

Rapid Response: Dirty Harry

Well you just gotta ask yourself one question: Why am I watching “Dirty Harry?”

Truth be told, my roommate picked it by chance and I was instantly sucked in.

It follows the beat of a number of renegade cop movies, but it follows many of the beats, cliches and tropes that it created. Harry Callahan’s dialogue is just too badass to just be relegated to standard genre fare, and Clint Eastwood so embodies the role that you really do feel lucky watching him work. “Dirty Harry” certainly wouldn’t be as interesting without Clint, and you couldn’t have a franchise without him.

But suffice it to say, there are enough strong elements throughout “Dirty Harry” that help it stand up on its own. It gives a good indicator of how much differently, and arguably better, they made movies at the peak of the American New Wave in the early ’70s. Continue reading “Rapid Response: Dirty Harry”