It is going to be quite fun watching film critics in the MSM tackle Religulous, the anti-religions (re: not anti-organized religions) documentary from director Larry Charles (Borat) and Bill Maher. Reviewing this film practically demands that one states his/her personal beliefs—sort of like with Iraq War docs, but, you know, bigger—and judging from two of the first reader reviews on AICN, Maher doesn’t leave much wiggle room: it’s the “you do” or “you don’t” proposition. And unlike Ben Stein’s Expelled, Religulous will have a much higher media profile when it’s released this October.
The first reviewer is an evangelical Christian who’s a fan of Maher’s canceled Politically Incorrect talk-show. While the film offered “chuckles,” the reviewer goes on to say that Maher’s take on religion(s) is ultimately one-sided. But isn’t that Maher’s point? There is no middle ground? Moreover, the reviewer took issue with the “mission statement” that Maher makes at the film’s conclusion (spoiler alert)…
“[Maher] dismisses all of Christianity based on the supernatural events in the Bible, which he says couldn’t have happened, and complains that it doesn’t present itself the way he personally wants it to. …The kicker is the ending. (MAJOR SPOILER – I guess): After 90 minutes of interviews, Bill states that all religion is evil and must be destroyed for the good of humankind. He comes to this conclusion based on the Koran’s and the Bible’s predictions of destruction of the world at the “end times” and feels that these religions want the world to be destroyed because God or Allah has ordained it.”
I wonder if “destroy” is actually said. The other review is from a “lapsed Catholic” who is neither a “believer” or “nonbeliever.” This reviewer expected a documentary that clowned people like Borat, but was struck by its seriousness. He says that Maher doesn’t victimize anyone, and even though he tends to “preach” his atheism, he doesn’t cut off the religious people he interviews in the film (including someone (not Seth Rogen) from the Church of Cannabis).
“All in all, I must say that I really enjoyed the film. If you are like me and go into this film expecting another “Borat”, you are either going to get more or less than what you bargained for, all depending on your perspective of religion (obviously). I will also say though, that if you are looking to be offended, the odds are pretty good.”
In a recent issue of TIME magazine, a cover story on Mark Twain delved into that man’s candid remarks on religion(s) and atheism, which sounded a lot like Maher’s today. Given the amount of time that has passed since Twain’s passing, I highly doubt this film will change the minds of any viewers over the age of 25.
Discuss: What do you make of the “spoiler mission statement”? How do you think the MSM will treat/review this documentary? How do you expect it to perform at the box office?
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Lionsgate has released a new clip from Larry Charles’ upcoming documentary Religulous, which follows Bill Maher takes on the current state of world religion. In this new clip Maher takes a tour of a burka store.
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Religulous hits theaters on October 3rd 2008.
Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 by David Chen
In this episode of the /Filmcast, David, Devindra, and Adam debate how good the Religulous trailer really is, remember the good old days when Eddie Murphy used to say “Fuck,” try to ignore the hype/hate behind the Valkyrie trailer, and geek out about Kung Fu Panda. Special guest bloggers Mike Sonders joins us from Great White Snark and Myles McNutt joins us from Cultural Learnings. Have any questions/comments/suggestions? Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lionsgate has finally released a movie trailer for Larry Charles‘ documentary Religulous, which follows Bill Maher as he travels around the globe interviewing people about God and religion. The official plot synopsis reads: “Known for his astute analytical skills, irreverent wit and commitment to never pulling a punch, Maher brings his characteristic honesty to an unusual spiritual journey.” I got the chance to see about 15 or 20 minutes of the film last year at the Toronto Film Festival, and laughed quite a bit. It’s more Michael Moore meets Jay Leno’s Jaywalking than Borat, but I understand with Charles at the helm, you need to play that card.
I love the part in the trailer where Maher asks the the guy who plays Jesus Christ at a Catholic Theme Park why God doesn’t obliterate the devil and thereby destroy all evil in the world. And Jesus responds “He will.” If I remember correctly from what was said at Toronto, Maher was actually kicked out of the park after the interview. And I understand that to some, Maher may come off as abrasive, but you have to his comic delivery. For instance his whole rant on Santa Claus. I have also included statements from both Maher and Charles after the jump. As always, tell me what you think in the comments!
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Watch the trailer in High Definition on Apple. Religulous hits theaters on October 3rd 2008.
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Lionsgate has launched a new website on disbeliefnet.com, to help promote the upcoming release of Larry Charles‘ documentary Religulous, Bill Maher‘s comedic examination of the world’s religions. And unlike most studio launched websites, this site actually filled to the brim with a lot of hilarious content (I’m actually pretty sure it would take you hours to see it all”.
For example the E-Card section is filled with cards that read “Too poor for Scientology, too pretty for Satanism” or “Sorry you were molested by one of our clergy” or “Sorry my savior blew up your savior”.
The funniest part is the links and advertisements to, what appear to be, actual real websites. For instance one of the banner advertisements reads “Save California From Satanic Homosexual Marriage”. Or another banner advertises “Hermetically Sealed Sacrament” with the tag line “Just because its called communion, doesn’t mean you want their germs.”
The “Donate Now” button takes you to a randomly chosen religion’s donation page. The Verse of the moment comes from Exodus 21:20-21, and reads: “When a slave-owner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave survives for a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.”
Go check it out now at disbeliefnet.com.
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Lionsgate has revealed the theatrical teaser poster for Larry Charles‘ upcoming sure-to-be-contoversial documentary Religulous, which follows Bill Maher on a around the world journey to prove just how ridiculous organized religion can be. I saw a bunch of footage from this doc at Toronto last September, and it’s shocking, laugh out loud funny, and appalling. One thing is for sure, it will get people talking. I love the new tagline “Heaven help us.” but preferred the film festival poster where Maher’s head appeared on a slice of burnt toast. You can check out the poster in High Resolution on Cinematical. Religulous hits theaters on June 20th 2008.
Discuss: How many religious groups do you think will protest this film? Will you be protesting or buying a ticket on opening night?
Variety is reporting that the filmmakers behind Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a new anti-Darwinism pro-Intelligent Design documentary starring Ben Stein, have stepped up their film’s marketing to coincide with its timely April release (around the same time that Bill Maher’s pro-agnostic doc Religulous opens internationally). Motive Entertainment, the marketing company that helped make The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia box office hits, was recently hired to “spread the [film’s] gospel.” Variety’s words.
The “super trailer” below for Stein’s film makes the argument that scientists are being quietly fired and silenced if and when they express religious beliefs and that free speech issues are increasingly relevant to this topic as America’s culture/media climate becomes increasingly secular. Stein even warns viewers that if they watch the film they might lose friends or their job. Now the latter? That’s a bold statement (sue!), but the friends/reputation thing? I don’t think that’s as much a stretch, as (non)religion is one of the Oughts big polemics, especially for young people, alongside, like, Arcade Fire/Selling Out/Iraq/Wayfarers/Obama. I do think it’s odd how many reviews lacked the balls to dive into the atheistic viewpoint that is There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson’s flick vitriolically says god is a superstition, if ya didn’t know.) And then there’s the Left Behind shades to M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Happening (and yes, they are there).
So who wins here? Bill Maher and Larry Charles’s Religulous or Expelled‘s “anti-evolution think tank”-backers the Discovery Institute and Ben Stein, who says he doesn’t care if his $3.5 million doc makes money, he just wants to impact policy?
Discuss: Will you see both documentaries to get “balance,” only the one that fits your beliefs, or neither (i.e. don’t care, will contribute ticket money to alcohol)?
One summer movie that we have not seen much presence on the Net for is Religulous, June’s pro-agnostic documentary from Borat director Larry Charles and media personality Bill Maher. I think there is a huge market for this film in America, comparable to 2004’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and its wide and diverse theatrical audience (remember all of the omnipresent and simultaneous boo’s and claps in the theater for that one?).Yet, I’ve been disappointed to see that there is still no official website, no viral marketing and no requisite outrage for the doc. IMDB has Religulous marked for a limited release in the states, but I think that defeats the purpose. If this was released as wide as Fahrenheit 9/11 was would the bigger theater chains hesitate to book the film when a few of their customers start protesting outside and on the news? It’d be interesting to watch.
Moreover, no matter your views, this is a discourse that America needs to get out of its system and out from behind close doors. If presidential nominees can make speeches about their faith and its importance to the country, then we as a people can go to the theater and hear questions candidly brought up that we’ve all asked ourselves about each side’s views. It’s gotten too damn stuffy to use old lady slang.
A few days ago, Bill Maher was on Conan and it seems like he’s finally ready to drum up some attention and indirect controversy for the film (and for himself, of course). He’s not holding back either; even Conan’s Freud-like beard was taken aback when he said the followingâ€¦
“You can’t be a rational person six days of the week and put on a suit and make rational decisions and go to work and, on one day of the week, go to a building and think you’re drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god. That doesn’t make you a person of faithâ€¦That makes you a schizophrenic.”
Does this comment turn you off or make you more curious to see the film?
Lionsgate Films has finally set an official release date for Religulous, Larry Charles‘ follow-up to Borat. Bill Maher hosts this documentary which takes on the the current state of religion. I saw a bunch of footage from this film at Toronto this year, and the festival-goers packed in a huge auditorium were laughing out loud throughout.
Maher had originally said that they were planning to release the film around Easter for maxim controversy, but it appears those plans have been scrapped. Religulous will now hit theaters on June 20th 2008, up against two comedies: Get Smart and The Love Guru. Seems like a bad date on the calendar if you ask me.
After further research, I was able to find that Michael Moore’s Sicko came out on the same week in 2007. Studios sometimes stick similar movies in similar dates, year after year. For example: The Star Wars May release date always gets a big action sci-fi film. I understand the reasoning of this type of calendar planning with big releases, but I think smaller films and documentaries probably deserve a different assessment. But what do I know?