pimh:movies

While Clint Eastwood was busy playing a wounded Union soldier held at the pleasure of a bevy of Southern belles in Don Siegel’s 1971 Civil War drama The Beguiled, the actor also found time to direct his first film, Play Misty for Me, in which he also starred as a disc jockey stalked by an unhinged female fan. Both films were visceral articulations of male paranoia about the sinister potential of repressed or oversexed women.

Imagine such fighting talk in the hands of a woman filmmaker whose aesthetic draws heavily on the world of fashion. Best known for lushly visual meditations like The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, and Marie Antoinette, this year Sofia Coppola became only the second woman since 1961 to win Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for her take on The Beguiled. Though Coppola adapted her screenplay from the original novel by Thomas Cullinan, her interpretation also streams a sly subterranean dialogue with Siegel’s nakedly badass reading. Coppola’s The Beguiled doesn’t so much negate the festering male paranoia as reclaim the point of view for the women it targets. Then she bats the premise around like a graceful cat with an addled mouse in its paws.

A Wounded Union Soldier In A House Of Southern Women: ‘The Beguiled’

Photo: Ben Rothstein/Focus Features

Michael Bay Announces Retirement From Directing

Action director Michael Bay took to the news microphones today to announce that he would no longer direct movies. Bay had just released his fifth Transformers film and was about to state that he felt it couldn’t be topped, when suddenly his podium exploded, blowing him across the room as ten men in body armor opened fire. Bay returned fire with an M2 50 caliber machine gun that he kept in his watch pocket, killing six of them and blowing up two of their vehicles.

Bay ran as the attackers’ explosives carrier caught fire and the entire press symposium exploded behind him, throwing fire high into the air and scraping an F-35 that took damage and screamed to the ground, blowing up a gas-tanker truck. The remaining covert soldiers ran for Bay, but the retiring director evaded them by stealing a motorcycle from a woman in incredibly short shorts and taking off across a busy highway.

Speeding away from the mayhem, Bay was almost rammed by a truck carrying rolls of aluminum. Bay responded with a grenade, destroying the driver (who was also shooting at him) and letting the metal rolls loose. As they crashed into every oncoming car and smashed their engines to massive ignitions of fireballs and shrapnel, Bay jumped the motorcycle off a bridge and leapt from it, landing unharmed as the bike flew down to the fireworks sale below, setting off a chain reaction of blasts that blew up so much stuff so bad and there was fire everywhere and the military sent in everything they had to stop the carnage with American flags waving over their Humvees. They in turn were blown up by a meteor impact which caused an even bigger explosion, which Bay turned his back to and walked away from in slow motion.

Bay later retracted his retirement, stating that he’d just come up with a new idea for a movie.