Just returned from a screening. Let me say I am a sucker for a good documentary and this film makes a load of powerful points that just cannot be refuted. As someone who believes in evolution as well as God, the film did enlighten me about a host of issues that I had been unaware of. In recent weeks my biggest fear has been that the Neo-cons were finally going to give someone the nuclear football that truly believes in the rapture. Bush and McCain and Reagan and even Bush Sr. catered to the evangelists because they are sheep and are as strong a voting block as this country has. But none of <more>
those politicians really believed things like every word of the Bible being literal. Now Palin comes along and she, like Huckabee who also scared me, is the real deal. The Neo-Cons have plucked an actual sheep to get the sheep vote this time. When people with beliefs like that are given power, the inevitable result is destruction, and that is the point that this admittedly at times hilarious film hammers in during the final 5 minutes. I call Maher a hero in that he fears the consequences of irrational religious so much that he is literally willing to put his life on the line to deliver his message.Make no mistake about it, this man will get death threats from the film and I will pray that that is all that he gets. I am not worried about a Christian extremist, though maybe I should be, I am worried about Muslim reaction to the film though he arguably treated that religion with a bit more of kid gloves than his other targets. I believe that everyone should see this film, but instead all the nuts that need to see this film the most, will probably be picketing in front of the theaters where the film is showing. Hugely entertaining, enlightening, hilarious and ultimately frightening what more could you ask from a couple of hours at the movies?
This film was everything I expected and more... To admit, I never really knew much about Bill Maher when I went to see this film. I saw this at the Atlantic film festival and I loved it. My friend had told me that it was going to be good, so when I saw it in the schedule I said " Hmm, maybe i'll see this." So we did. It was hilarious, I wet myself at several points. But! It was also VERY insightful. I actually learned quite a bit about how religion can be REALLY stupid. And it's true. I really enjoyed the interviews with some people who just take everything way to seriously. <more>
I loved the comedy being used to explain things that are very serious. So I completely suggest this to everyone, not just Bill Mahers fans. " You don't need to pass an IQ test to be a senator."
I found this movie exhilarating. I'm with you, Bill Maher! That said, this film attempts to cover the basic tenets and idiocies of several of the major religions, namely Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam. It also encompasses evangelical/American/born-again-type Jesus-focused religion, which considers itself "Christian" but I have never understood that title, since Catholics revere Jesus also. But anyway...Maher is a smart man, and I would like to think that he considered the points I feel were left out of the movie and chose not to include them for the sake of condensing the film. <more>
However, there are several facts that I think would have made an even stronger case against mass religion in general: 1. Although Maher mentions several times that the Judeo-Christian Bible was written by men, and therefore contains the fallacies of men, he does not bring up the fact that the Bible has been constantly rewritten, translated from language to language, and amended to suit the needs of those in charge of its distribution -- for most of history since Christ, this was the Catholic Church and its founders. And for those of you who don't know, translation is not an exact science. Languages just do not translate word for word, and the accuracy of the translation depends on the skill, vocabulary, and motives of the translator a human being, don't forget .2. Catholicism was successful because it incorporated many old religions. Greek and Roman gods are just a few of those who have direct equivalents among the Catholic saints. Mahar discusses the inherent flaw in a monotheistic religion with bunches of demigods, but he does not point out that Catholicism deliberately found supposedly Catholic replacements for the more ancient, household-type gods. Why? Because those who wanted the religion to succeed decided that people would be more likely to convert to it if it weren't too different from what they were used to. Why did these men want the religion to succeed? For the same reasons that people promote religions today: to gain money and power, particularly in the form of influence. Maher reminds us that the story of Jesus Christ included many elements of older heroes or gods, but the film presents this as a matter of fact, not pointing out that Catholicism was built upon the success of these preceding stories and histories. The types of dramas that move the human spirit have not changed over thousands of years--they have simply been retold and reinterpreted.3. My third point is more of a question. I was raised as a "nouveau" American Catholic, so I feel that I know a little bit about that religion, but I know next to nothing about Islam. However, it is my understanding that Mohammed did not want images of himself used to promote his teachings. Is this why some Muslims get so mad when an image, ridiculing or not, of the prophet is publicized? I wish Maher had included this, as he did talk a lot about the violence specified in the Koran.This is a terrific film. It is funny and has a great soundtrack. My hat is off to Maher for his nerve in interviewing people who become belligerent when their religion is questioned. I guess it partly comes from being a comedian--one must have guts and a thick skin! The message of the film, however, is not humorous at all. It is truly terrifying to think of all the murder, torture, and oppression that is perpetuated in the name of religion. Why then, is someone who calls himself "Godly" or "religious" considered to be a person with wholesome morals?
Definitely worth seeing or demonstrating against! (by imrational)
I watched Bill Maher's new movie, Religulous at it's world premiere at the Traverse City Film Festival. It was one of the first films to sell out at the festival, selling out in just the first couple days of sales.Okay... now for the movie review: for those of you who thought that Dawkin's "Root of all evil" or "Jesus Camp" were powerful statements, then you might want to wear diapers because you might just crap yourself. Religulous doesn't take prisoners. It addresses Christianity, Scientology, Mormonism,Islam, and other religions. Bill Maher travels <more>
around the word, visiting the Wailing Wall, USA Bible Belt, Salt Lake City, and other locations while interviewing a wide range of religious leaders and followers.Throughout the interviews, Bill throws out zingers and the joke timing is impeccable. Like the pro-creationist movie "Expelled", Religulous cuts to a variety of old film stock when making jokes. Although it fails at times, I would say the vast majority of the cuts connect and generates hearty laughs.The first third of the film deals with Christianity and several offshoots of it. Here, the movie shines. It is hilarious! Poking jab after jab into insane ideas by asking simple questions.Unfortunately, the move starts to slow down after he lampoons Scientology. Dressed as a vagrant, he appears in Hyde Park's Speaker's Corner and runs through Scientology's belief structure... appearing as a raving lunatic while accurately describing what that religion teaches.By the time it deals with Islam, a lot of inertia has been lost. Although it still delivers some funny bits, the movie is much more subdued. Granted, anytime you are dealing with a subject so inflammatory that people have been killed over it, you tread lightly, but I think Christians will criticize the movie for being softer on Islam than on Christianity. The sad thing is that it's true. Being the more dangerous religion, people seem to be treating Islam with kid gloves. I wonder how long before other religions start adopting that tactic as they become threatened by critics? The ending is a fiery call to action for freethinkers. Rousing music & inflammatory speech hammer the dangers of religion into the audience. Propaganda techniques? Yes. Pretty heavy-handed about it too. However, I think it's needed. The flow of the movie needed something to bring things together and although thick with images and rhetoric... it is a solid ending.Is it worth seeing? Hell yes! Will people be offended? Most definitely. Will there be protesters? There should be, this is far more blasphemous than "Dogma", "Passion of the Christ", or "The DeVinci Code".Comparing "Expelled" to "Religulous", it's pretty quickly apparent that Religulous is the better movie. Bill Maher, with his previous experience doing standup and conducting interviews shames Ben Stein. Nicely done Bill!
Two things about this film took away a star. One was that Bill Maher spent so much time with the ones he tried to make look bad that he didn't meet with enough experts who could further the points he was making. The second problem is that the people he interviewed could have easily made fools of themselves without him cutting them off and lecturing them. That being said, let's get to the good points.For one thing, he makes it so clear how illogical the mass amount of people can be. He exposes phony beliefs and shows how they can become very protective against his film crew. The film <more>
stock they put into use is done masterfully. Plenty of laugh out loud moments particularly the image of Jesus as a teenager, you will see . My word must be taken as truth when I say that the final part of the film MUST be seen. This isn't just about cracking jokes on faith. This film is about the human race taking responsibility of itself and stopping the damage it has been doing for far too long.I truly hope religious people are not quick to brush this film off. For once, listen to the side from someone who is sincerely concerned about all of our futures.
Not just a propaganda piece, and more accessible than most of Bill Maher's creative output, Religulous still preaches to the choir please excuse this phrase . However, the film does not seek to convert; rather, Maher wants current agnostics to gather their courage and preach their doubts. Deeply atheist and deeply religious people who see the film will likely be offended or feel as though their time has been wasted.While this film is not as funny as Borat, Religulous which, at times is actually pretty scary is a more powerful film because this film is true. For a project written by and <more>
starring Maher, the clips in the film are for the most part surprisingly fair. Maher does not try to make any of the people in the film look stupid at least no more stupid than himself ; in fact, he usually tries to help people consider the position not that their personal/religious beliefs are incorrect but that their personal beliefs may be incorrect. Most people in the film will not consider this possibility these are the people Maher is warning us about , but several important and seemingly wise religious figures also featured in the film agree with Maher about the danger of certainty.I recommend Frailty to anyone who would like to see a fictional, story-line illustration of the main theme of this documentary/propaganda film. I recommend Religulous to anyone who is comfortable enough with himself/herself to doubt their personal beliefs, to consider the possibility that s he might be wrong.
Yeah, that's right.At some point in this streamlined, bullet riddled would be documentary/ commentary, some kid at a Jesus play and theme park? I know, right alludes to Anakin Skywalker. Bill Maher was comparing the story of Jesus to childhood fairy tales and somehow, Star Wars rears it's head. You know that thousand year old story about a savior born of a virgin, healing the sick, walking on water and dying for our sins... yeah that one. Well, it threads to many different religions.Maher's point was lost in the cuff of carbonated spittle, dropped popcorn and laughter that hit <more>
the crowd right after the kid utters "The Phantom Menace". We all knew where he was going. We all knew that Anakin Skywalker Jesus and The Emperor Bush. Yoda is still Yoda... anyway that heft of cultural insight translated well into our socially apathetic and inept neurological misfires and Bill plays on or off them in this film. No finger pointing, just ask hard questions and let interviewees hang themselves with their own answers. To note - one money grubbing black pimp of a pastor and one ex-gay, reformed, lesbian loving married pastor who ignores the fact that yes... he's still gay. And he has great hair.This film is a spoof of religious extremism across the globe. To cut religion and faith out of spirituality becomes a matter of splitting hairs as applied to the irrational, sometimes erratic behavior see: Vatican priest with no collar of the folks in this film. All religions take a hit, even Maher's own family gets some with a catholic past life that voided his own Jewish mother. Maher labels himself apatheist a mix of apathy and theism/atheism which alerts one's mind to apathetic agnosticism, pragmatic agnosticism and practical atheism. Not to be confused with anti-Catholicism or scientology. Yeah, it got a little heavy handed but Larry Charles manages to reel it in. I expected Maher to browbeat the audience with a rabid stream-of-consciousness rant of indifferentism as if he had an infection of "Dennismillerism". But, much to my surprise - he steered clear of that. And it works.Indeed, somewhere Dennis Miller sits in a dark and lonely room, suffering from conservative pumping chagrin and right-wing ascension depression. He has to be innately bitter about his hip laden social quasi-political rhetoric going into the ears of 10 million dumb ass Americans specifically football fans just didn't get it and thinking... screw Bill Maher. I'm better than Bill Maher.By the hour mark, Maher makes me forget he's a comedian. He knows the word restraint... sort of. This film was cerebral pushing, no abstracts allowed so every Maher nonresponse to his on screen foes yanked a big response from the audience I sat with. A lot of liberal freebase independents, curiously quiet religious zealots, some cute chubby lesbians and left-wing, new wave Obama lovers sprinkled with a gay guy here an there. There was one lone black guy and he laughed his tail off.Yeah, that was me.
This is a scary film. When you see the fervor of religious fundamentalism of all faiths, one fears for the future. I quote from an earlier reviewer above, "You may have chills running down your back as you listen to Sen. Mark Pryor D-Arkansas , sitting in his Capitol office, speaking about his belief in Creationism and the literal interpretation of the Bible. You don't need to be a Christian to be offended and amused by the commercial Jesus impersonators Maher interviews, and you may feel a bit sorry for the Pentecostals speaking in tongues. Gov. Palin and John Ashcroft, neither <more>
featured in "Religulous," are members of that church. " A candidate for VP of the United States not seen in this film wants to teach creationism in the schools, wants to personally censor books in her town library, God help us. Oh yes, forgot, I don't believe there is a God. Bill Maher did not have to mock religion. The people seen in this film did a fine job of mocking themselves. A husky Latino impeccably dressed in a $4,000 suit with accompanying bling leads a large congregation who appear to believe him when he tells them "I am Jesus Christ returned!" He seems to believe it himself when asked directly by Bill Maher.And "Holy Land" in Florida? An audience watches in awe as the Crucifixion of Jesus is re-enacted. People are shedding tears, hands clasped reaching to the heavens, praying, Oh yes, and rushing up to take close-up pictures as Jesus is led to the cross. But wait, we are not finished. Believe it or not, there are dancing girls! Mel Gibson must have missed a bet when he made his film "The Passion of the Christ" when he did not make it into a musical. Never a believer, I always thought many hymns and all Christmas carols were beautiful, but I think this wonderful music is degraded when actually linked to scenes of Jesus being put up on the cross.Yes, true believers will be offended by Bill Maher's movie. Those who need to question their beliefs the most, will not. Atheists and agnostics can only shudder at the religionists seen in this film.Bill Maher deserves maximum credit, when at the end of the movie, he says only, "I am just left with doubt."
I think anyone who goes to see this film will not find anything they did not expect. If you appreciate Bill Maher's comedy and his programs you will enjoy this movie. Is he totally one sided? Sure. Is his approach confrontational? You bet. But that is what Bill is about. That is what makes him funny.As for some people's complaint that he does not go far enough to debunk religion; how could one expect that he would have the time to do so? Rather there tear down the walls of each of the main religions addressed in the film, he simply throws rocks at them attempting to crack the glass <more>
ceilings. He wants us to doubt. he wants us not to feel guilty about doubt. He wants us to question whether or not it is healthy for our political leaders to make judgments based solely on religious beliefs.In that regard, I think the film succeeds.