Cormac McCarthy

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 […]

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childofgod_01

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.

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review the counselor

The Counselor is one of the most cinematic and uncinematic movies of the year. It’s the former because director Ridley Scott used  the production to craft a beautifully uncomfortable atmosphere, truly evoking the themes, ideas, and visuals of scribe Cormac McCarthy‘s writing. Yet, it’s uncinematic because, to no one’s surprise, McCarthy loves to do things his own way. The movie doesn’t give you conventional exposition, backstory, or whatever else audiences might expect from easily digestible and normative filmmaking. The lead, The Counselor (Michael Fassbender), isn’t given a name. Why? Because he doesn’t need one. But the film isn’t vague – it tells you everything you need to know. The script itself is a slightly different matter. The people who loathed The Counselor, of which there are many, based on its D Cinema Score and a current rating of 37% on Rotten Tomatoes, would have torn the screen apart if  Scott used everything that McCarthy provided for him on the page. The script is just that good. Scott’s final product contains both minor and major deviations in McCarthy’s script (which reads more as a novel than a traditional screenplay), and following are ten of the most notable changes.

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review the counselor

The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a man in love, but he is also a man who may have gotten himself in over his head when it comes to some of his more “off the books” business dealings. A lawyer by trade, The Counselor (who is only ever referred to as that) has also teamed up with some interesting partners and gotten himself involved in the business of drug smuggling, and nothing goes as it should. From its very first moment, The Counselor brings its audience into a world where nothing is shied away from. Director Ridley Scott creates a highly-stylized environment where every detail is accounted for, and this is also a world where the characters are as compelling as their surroundings. The Counselor is a man who can make even the most mundane conversation, whether talking about the clarity of diamonds or the fabric of lingerie, feel vital and important. Unfortunately, Cormac McCarthy’s script fails do the same. Fassbender’s Counselor has an almost rhythmic cadence when he speaks that makes you want to hear more, but McCarthy’s script keeps him from saying anything of real substance or helping to paint a clearer view of who this man truly is.

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childofgod

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 […]

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The Counselor

After a puzzling teaser trailer left us scratching our heads and a first full-length trailer that gave us few details as to the film’s actual plot, the new trailer for Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor is offering the most cohesive look at the film so far. From previous material, we know that Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt have ridiculous costumes, Cameron Diaz writhes around on top of a car, and Michael Fassbender is in way, way over his head after making a massive drug deal. This time, we have a lot more to work with, plot-wise. Fassbender, as the eponymous counselor (or Counsellor, as the international trailer calls it), has grown accustomed to a lavish lifestyle with his fiancée, played by Penelope Cruz. But when legal work can’t keep it up, he turns to Bardem on the other side of the border to help him get into the drug business for some quick, hard cash. Easy, right? Of course, as you’ll see in the trailer below, his totally well-thought-out plan devolves into a violent catastrophe of explosions, bloodshed, and Fassbender tears when the drugs get stolen en route to the trade.

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Cameron-Diaz-and-Penelope-Cruz-toppless-in-the-trailer-for-The-Counselor

The first teaser trailer we got for Ridley Scott’s The Counselor didn’t have much meat to it at all. We were introduced to a brief scenario where a wire stretched across a road caused a motorcycle accident, we caught a glimpse of Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt sporting silly hairdos, and then a shapely woman crawled across the hood of a car. It wasn’t exactly the sort of thing that let you know what the movie was all about. The new full-length trailer for the film though, well—it doesn’t really tell you all that much either. Actually, the new trailer contains about as much plot info as one of those obtuse “next week on Mad Men” teasers. But it does give us glimpses of a handsome and reluctant Michael Fassbender getting in over his head with some shady business, Bardem playing the devil character who convinces him to get involved, Pitt playing a bringer of doom, and Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz sharing a moment of danger-laced flirtation. So, even if we still don’t really know what this movie is going to be about exactly, who cares? It’s clearly got everything.

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While the rest of the movie-going universe debates the merits of Prometheus, Ridley Scott is busy putting the final touches on the Cormac McCarthy-scribed thriller The Counselor. The film stars Brad Pitt as a lawyer who gets involved with drug trafficking, and already sported the promising supporting cast of Michael the-best-thing-about-Prometheus Fassbender and McCarthy veteran Javier Bardem. According to Deadline Bloomington, another McCarthy veteran (remember All the Pretty Horses?), Penélope Cruz, has officially been added to the cast after being rumored for a role for some time. No word on what character she’ll play, but despite any reservations audiences have had about Scott’s latest star-studded genre outing, this cast in the first script penned by really-freaking-good novelist Cormac McCarthy seems promising. Deadline notes that the film has been described as [sigh…] “No Country For Old Men on steroids,” which promises exactly the opposite of everything that made that Best Picture winner interesting. Principal photography for The Counselor begins this summer.

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We’ve been pretty closely following the development and casting news of Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor (written by no less than Cormac McCarthy), and while the bulk of casting so far has been quite exciting (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt, to name the big guns), this is the first rumor that gives us pause. Twitch Film is reporting that Cameron Diaz has landed a role in the film, one Angelina Jolie was once hotly pursuing. The role of Malkina is one of two big female parts in the film, making this one of Diaz’s most juicy (and somewhat unexpected) gigs yet. While Diaz has yet to show that she’s capable of truly carrying a dark and dramatic role on her own, she has dipped her toe in interesting fare, stuff like The Box, Gangs of New York, and Being John Malkovich. She’s also continued to work on her comedic talents, showing a sort of weird fearlessness in recent roles, particularly the not-so-flattering Bad Teacher. And, hell, she’s even playing the female lead in the Coen brothers-penned Gambit remake, so perhaps Diaz is ready to take the next step in her acting career.

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The casting process for Ridley Scott’s next project, The Counselor, has been an absolute dream for people who like to write down famous people’s names. After going through a laundry list of the biggest actors working in Hollywood, Scott has seemed to settle on the titanic trio of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt to play the three main male roles in this Cormac McCarthy-penned, lawyer-gone-bad drama. There has yet to be a consensus on who’s going to play the lead female role, that of the Fassbender character’s fianceé, however. The most recent buzz was that Pitt’s real-life fianceé Angelina Jolie was being looked at to come on board, but that never sounded like anything more than a long shot. And, sure enough, a recent report from THR claims that the actress’ role in the upcoming Disney film, Maleficent, would conflict with The Counselor’s shooting schedule.

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When Cormac McCarthy writes a script for Hollywood, it seems that everyone and their brother comes out of the woodwork to try and get a job on the production, right quick. It wasn’t long after it was announced that his original screenplay, The Counselor, existed before it was also announced that Ridley Scott would be directing and Michael Fassbender was attached to play the lead role. And ever since then, there’s been a who’s who of entertainment industry royalty lining up to get in on the fun. Not too long ago it was said that Javier Bardem and Jeremy Renner were being looked at for the two remaining male roles, that of the villain and a drug runner, and that Natalie Portman was showing interest in coming in as the female lead.

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It’s getting to the point where there are so many huge names involved in Ridley Scott’s upcoming project The Counselor that you can’t even write a proper headline about it. Not only does it have a living legend for a director, but this is also a movie that’s being shot from an original spec script from a living legend of an author, Cormac McCarthy. Plus its attached star, Michael Fassbender, is one of the most sought-after future icons in the film industry. And now an upcoming second round of casting decisions have The Counselor set to become an even more studded-with-stars affair. The Playlist has picked up a report from Twitch stating that three huge names are currently in talks to help Fassbender fill out the cast: Jeremy Renner, Javier Bardem, and Natalie Portman.

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Do you guys even like hearing rumors straight out of Deadline Daytona Beach? Be honest. Is there value in them for you as movie fans? Do you feel like reporting chatter is just like being back in Film Blogging High School (where all of Rejects attended, and were subsequently kicked out). Tell me. In any case, it’s a slow pre-Oscars Friday, and it looks like all we have to report are rampant rumors. So here they are. Deadline Detroit reports that MGM “is making an offer” to rising star Joel Kinnaman for the titular role in the new Robocop. That’s right, the news isn’t that MGM has made an offer, it’s that they will. I’m getting to old for this game. But while rumors and gossip and chatter are, by and large, not very exciting, this news is – mainly because the possibility of a fresh face in an old property is actually interesting.

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Wegottold? Deadline Calabasas, ever an outlet to gracefully announce news, reports that Michael Fassbender is indeed committed to lead the Cormac McCarthy-written and Ridley Scott-directed The Counselor. We’ve known this was a strong possibility for a couple of weeks now, but isn’t it nice to have things confirmed? Even if we apparently need to be loudly “TOLD!” so? What we know about the film has not changed – it’s been described as “No Country For Old Men on steroids” and it’s a modern tale that takes place in the American Southwest. Fassbender will play the title character, “a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation.” It’s no surprise that Scott went to Fassbender, who is not only a hot name, but who Scott just worked with on his new Prometheus. It seems a natural (and solid) fit. Scott is reportedly looking to start shooting on May 1, so we might be getting this baby sooner rather than later.  

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Sold. No, really. I’m sold on this project already. Deadline Tucson reports Ridley Scott is now officially signed on to direct The Counselor, from Cormac McCarthy‘s latest spec script (a probable move we reported on last week). But as if the prospect of Scott (who recently seems bent on getting back to his former glory) directing a fresh McCarthy script wasn’t enough to get you excited, word is now out that Scott is looking at his Prometheus star, Michael Fassbender, to lead the film. Again – sold. The Counselor has been described, quite tantalizingly, as “No Country For Old Men on steroids.” The film is a modern tale that takes place in the American Southwest and will reportedly center on “a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation.” Hmm, dangerous business, bad choices that consume characters, seedy lifestyles? Sound a bit like Shame, meaning it’s something that Fassbender can do, and handily.

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Not content to just be a highly regarded, hugely successful author whose novels often get made into movies, Cormac McCarthy has decided that he wants to get into the Hollywood spec script writing business himself. Normally I would say that this is a bad plan for the future, but this is Cormac McCarthy…who’s going to pass on buying one of his scripts? The fruits of his screenwriting labors so far are a completed screenplay titled The Counselor, a story about a respected lawyer who tries his hand at working in the narcotics trade (to what can only be assumed are disastrous results). As can be imagined, as soon as there was word that there was a script written by Cormac McCarthy in existence, it was immediately bought up in a big money deal. And coincidentally enough, it was The Road producers Nick Weschler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz that scooped it up. When talking about the purchase, Steve Schwartz told Deadline South Shields that, “The spec falls smack in the middle of what everyone responds to with Cormac’s novels…Since McCarthy himself wrote the script, we get his own muscular prose directly, with its sexual obsessions. It’s a masculine world into which, unusually, two women intrude to play leading roles. McCarthy’s wit and humor in the dialogue make the nightmare even scarier. This may be one of McCarthy’s most disturbing and powerful works.” Given such high praise and pedigree it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Counselor already […]

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Cool Cool Cool

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that won’t hesitate to deliver all the best content of the day. Seriously, don’t tempt it. It will do it. We begin tonight with a delightful piece of art from Megan Lara called Troy and Abed’s Dope Adventures. This Calvin and Hobbes esque homage to Community is most definitely cool. Cool, cool, cool.

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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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theroad-header

There’s something so beautiful and captivating about the end of humanity, the last gasping breaths of life as we know it. This is why post-apocalyptic movies have been so popular in recent years.

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cormac-mccarthy-header

Novelist Cormac McCarthy is no stranger to seeing his literary vision adapted to film. And despite plenty of folks saying that his work Blood Meridian would be unfilmable, McCarthy has hope.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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