Child of God

Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

January is basically the movie industry’s dumping ground. We all know it. It’s the month where the weather is icy, people are locked up in their hobbit holes and studios put the movies they have the least faith in—the ones they’re already expecting to take a bath on—into theaters. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing though, because all of those facts combined make it the perfect month to stay inside and watch Netflix. To assist you with this noble task, here are a list of good movies that have recently been added to streaming. As always, click on their titles to be taken to their Netflix pages. Pick of the Month: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) When The Wolf of Wall Street first came out, there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the issue of whether or not it glamorized the life of traders who work the financial system in order to get rich while the pocketbooks of common people suffer. Now that all of that talk has died down, it’s time to revisit this one with fresh eyes because anyone who thought Martin Scorsese was detailing the lives of these contemptible creeps and asking us to cheer along with all of their self-congratulation is a crazy person, and the amazing performances that people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill give in this movie deserve to be appreciated without us simultaneously clicking our tongues in derision. Sure, TWOWS is entertaining to watch, and a lot […]



Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Grace: The Possession Grace (Alexia Fast) heads off to college unprepared for the pressures of her peers due to a childhood that saw her raised by a strictly religious grandmother (Lin Shaye) after losing her mother during her birth. A rowdy party ends with grandma pulling her from school and bringing her back to their small, religious town, but what no one knows is that a demon is inside Grace just itching to cause some bloody mayhem. The narrative here is mostly straightforward and will feel familiar to viewers who’ve seen any number of possession films, but what makes this one unique — and what makes it highly watchable and impressive — is that the entire movie is POV. (It’s not found footage though, thankfully.) We float into the back of Grace’s head early on and spend the rest of the film seeing through her eyes. It’s a cool idea, but more than that, it’s executed pretty damn flawlessly by director Jeff Chan. It’s like one of the V/H/S/2 shorts — that was the great one in the franchise — get the feature treatment as the POV impresses multiple times. The script and story could have used more polish, but the performances, effects and technical aspects are solid. All that plus Alexis Knapp and Lester (Clarke Peters) from The Wire! [DVD extras: None]


Well Go USA Entertainment

Early on, Child of God signals to you how it’s going to go about its business. Main character Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) abruptly stops his foraging in the woods to pull down his drawers, squat, go to the bathroom and use a stick to wipe his rear. All in plain view of the camera. This movie is going to literally show you shit… and much worse. The story goes on to include sexual assault, murder, the mutilation of corpses, and necrophilia, none of which the audience is spared from witnessing. That right there is likely to tell you whether or not you’ll be at all interested in watching this film. I’ll understand if you lose all interest, though this graphic ugliness comes hand in hand with some truly great artistry. I know it’s a cliche for a critic to praise explicit, difficult work as “artistic.” I doubt that the debate over the value of smashing taboos will ever be settled. The best we can expect is that people become inured to what they previously never dared to look at or talk about, only for new unspeakables to come into vogue. Or maybe we’ll develop into a society without limits. I’d be interested to see what that looked like. But for now, there are certain things that we are conditioned from birth not to talk about or look at too much, and it can be incredibly uncomfortable when an artist forces us to do so (and I think that, the way cinema works, there is an […]



If the news that crazy-ass James Franco was going to be adapting one of Cormac McCarthy’s most crazy-ass novels into a movie didn’t pique your interest as soon as it was announced, chances are the teaser trailer for Child of God was enough to grab even your elusive attention. It was basically just a minute of Scott Haze making crazy faces as the story’s murderous subject, the cave-dwelling necrophile Lester Ballard, but it was enough to prove that, even if the movie was a complete disaster, it was likely going to be a perversely enthralling disaster—kind of like how you wouldn’t be able to look away if you came upon a burning bus full of puppies or something. Now that there’s a full trailer out for the film though, it looks like Franco might have resisted the urge to go full-on abstract and impenetrable in his handling of this story about isolation from the order of man’s world. As a matter of fact, this trailer makes Child of God look like it could be a pretty standard thriller about a serial murderer, though one that’s likely elevated due to a clearly electric lead performance from Raze as well as the calming presence of a character acting veteran like Tim Blake Nelson. Click through to give it a watch, but be warned that the footage contains more blood and murder than most full-length films, and this is just a two minute ad. Don’t get squeamish, now.



When James Franco announced that he wanted to write and direct an adaptation of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” most of us scoffed at the idea and said that it was a story that would never make for a good movie. Franco being Franco, he went ahead and did the job anyway, and now he’s got a completed As I Lay Dying film that debuted at Cannes and is scheduled for a limited theatrical release in the US at the end of September. Point for James Franco. Never one to take a break from giving himself challenges, Franco then moved on to adapting another challenging work from another titan of the literary game, Cormac McCarthy’s “Child of God.” If you’re familiar with The Road, which John Hillcoat adapted from another McCarthy work, or even No Country For Old Men, which was the Coen brothers’ take on one of his stories, then you know McCarthy is an author who can go pretty dark and get pretty bleak with his material. Well, if you want to understand the challenge that Franco undertook by making Child of God,  take all that darkness and bleakness in things like The Road and No Country, and then multiply it by about a hundred, because this is probably the most disturbing story featuring the most difficult to relate to character McCarthy has ever written. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to make this one into a movie anyone would want to watch, but now Deadline has […]



It’s starting to become pretty clear that James Franco loves two things: bleak novels with gruff colloquial dialogue and announcing that he’s going to be directing movies. He first started merging his two passions by announcing that he would be taking on the herculean task of adapting William Faulkner’s depressing, action free road tale “As I Lay Dying.” Before we even saw the fruits of that labor, Franco then moved his focus over to a slightly more contemporary author, but one just as concerned with simple plots and homespun prose in Cormac McCarthy. He had big plans to adapt one of McCarthy’s most beloved books, “Blood Meridian,” a sweet tale about a gang of Indian killing scalp hunters. Recently, Franco talked to some folk in Toronto, and it’s looking like plans have changed on the “Blood Meridian” front. According to We Got This Covered, when asked about his planned production of the McCarthy novel, Franco said, “We shot a 20 minute test of it (Blood Meridian) that turned out pretty well… we were gearing up to do the feature but that for various reasons is on hold, but we are going to make a movie based on his (Cormac McCarthy’s) third book ‘Child Of God’.” This is bad news for me because I’ve read “Blood Meridian” and was all set to talk about it intelligently when news started coming out about its production. I haven’t read “Child of God.” so now I’ve got another thing to pile onto my to-do list. Thanks a […]

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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