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Written by / 7/07/2017 / No comments / , , ,

OLD WITH NEW: DOUBLE BEGUILED & THE HOUSE

The Clint Eastwood BEGUILED has an archive review below
Covering two new theatrical releases, quickly, as there really isn't much out there, yet. Then again, one of them is surprisingly decent while the other is neither good, bad, or... 

Well Sofia Coppola's THE BEGUILED definitely isn't ugly. Although, unlike the original Don Siegel Civil War-Era Thriller, starring Clint Eastwood as a wounded Yankee soldier holed-up in a spooky manor run by beautiful vixens (think Castle Anthrax from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, without the singing), the two starlets aren't mischievous and daring enough to turn the darkly-lit Gothic location into a hybrid of male fantasy and claustrophobic nightmare...

BeguiledScore: *
Anyone not familiar with the Eastwood flick (or the source novel) would think Ms. Coppola's BEGUILED was simply a rehash of MISERY. Nicole Kidman is the stiff and benign den mother of this eerie house of etiquette, where two others are old enough to... you know... possibly have fun with star Collin Farrell, who should have gone over-the-top like he does — it would have helped this exercise in excruciating dullness... 

The Bad Seed
Meanwhile, the really young girls have too much screen-time... 

Most of the dialogue has Farrell's polite-prisoner (i.e. politely taken prisoner) giving life-learned advice, while the slowburn process of the older girl's competitive nature plays out with little to no suspense, making for a costume drama that lacks anyone and anything inside the clothing. 

2017 HouseScore: ***1/2
Next up, another Ferrell (with an "e" instead of "a"), Will, is playing the same old guy in THE HOUSE, and yet, riffing off fictional wife Amy Poehler, he seems brand new somehow. The usual oblivious optimism is balanced equally with both parents, whose dream daughter is accepted to a prestigious university but without a scholarship, making the extremely ridiculous plot that follows seem worthy enough for the much-too-easy and far-too-contrived proceedings that follow...

After a bad day at Las Vegas with their newly divorced buddy, who's a hopeless (and somewhat witty) gambling addict, the couple take his advice to transform a two-story house into an illegal casino, with all the trimmings...

Getting past the fact that everything is completely impossible and thoroughly unrealistic, there are funny scenes and best yet, a platform for Will's endearing blank slate to work, and really say something: It shouldn't be spoiled but the film's core relates to a surprise twist-middle that, like most mob films post 1990 are inspired by GOODFELLAS, the light comedy takes on Martin Scorsese's followup, CASINO, giving THE HOUSE an edge even though that edge is not to be taken seriously. And yet it all works, somehow. 

1971 Score: ***1/2
And now the original BEGUILED taken from an old archive review, moved here: What begins as a bizarre male fantasy... involving injured (Civil War) Union solider winding up at a Southern all girls boarding school... Some of whom either fall in love, lust, or lunacy while nursing him to health: turns into a nightmare for Clint Eastwood, who dabbles with two beautiful teens: one a virginal good girl, another not so pure... And the head mistress, Geraldine Page, finds a way of keeping him around permanently. This is Don Siegel's art film, full of creative shots (although the psychedelic dream montages are dated) and well built suspense: there's always a possibility of Clint being discovered by the Confederates, sustaining a vibe that anything can happen: whether outside the school by the known enemy, or inside: where the true antagonists reside.
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