Religulous (Blu-ray) (2008)

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Released 26-May-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 100:58
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Larry Charles
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Bill Maher
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Bill Maher hates religion: the movie.

    Better known as the host of satirical political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher is a highly opinionated evangelical agnostic. Most would consider him an outright atheist, but he certainly claims to be open to the possibility of some sort of higher power contrary to what most people would take from his opinions. One thing is certain, which is that Maher hates organised religion and sees it as an enormous drain on society.

    Religulous sees Maher, guided by Borat director Larry Charles, travel the world to interview all manner of religious folks in an effort to show organised religion as a means to demonstrate the folly of worship and the outright stupidity of extreme faith and faith-based "science" (his interview with creationists is a highlight). He digs in to the stupidity tied to pretty much every religion under the sun, though most significantly Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The focus is an attack on the futility and absurdity of worship more so than general faith, although faith and its inherent silliness are given a fair serve.

    Maher also manages to dig up some hilarious interview subjects; A Rabbi holocaust denier, a Rabbi speaking on behalf of a technology company that builds devices to let people exploit loopholes in the wording of activities prohibited on the Shabbat to do those activities, a fellow from a church based on smoking weed, the proprietors of a Muslim gay bar, Christian conversion therapy participants.

    The film's only real failing is that it purely preaches to the choir, so to speak. It isn't going to convert anyone one way or another, but will certainly reaffirm the opinions of like minded folk. No part of the film highlights this better than Maher's hilarious though pointless interview of Jesus, at least the bloke who plays Jesus at the Holy Land Experience Christian theme park in Florida. Open minded religious types might find a few bits amusing, but will more than likely be offended at numerous junctures (no prizes for guessing that the film's release was repeatedly delayed by nervous distributors, though when it did finally find release it ended up being the most successful documentary of 2008 in US theatres). The proverbial choir will find the whole lot hysterical, however.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, looking like an open matte of the theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p.

    The film looks like it was shot digitally and has been given a pretty clean transfer. The image is clear and sharp throughout. The lighting varies quite a bit between interviews, but generally looks good. There is a good level of shadow detail in the image, although relatively little of the film is dimly lit. The colour palette is reasonably natural.

    There is no sign of compression artefacts of film artefacts in the image. Mild edge enhancement is noticeable throughout, although it is never particularly excessive nor does it detract from the look of the film.

    There are no subtitles available on the disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
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Audio

    The film features a single English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The audio is quite basic, but more than adequate for this sort of film.

    The for the most part the dialogue is clear and easy to make out, save for a handful of deliberately muffled moments (either due to the circumstance of the interviewer or interviewee). The audio appears to be well synchronised to the video.

    Modest surround activity is present, which adds a bit of depth to the environment but is inessential. The subwoofer puts out a handful of pointed thuds, which is more than is really necessary in this sort of film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This disc features no extras, not even a menu, unless you think that an unskippable anti-piracy trailer counts as bonus material.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US Region 1 DVD edition of the film includes a commentary with Bill Maher and director Larry Charles, deleted scenes, and additional monologues from around the world that were either edited down or not included in the film at all.

Summary

    A hilarious dig at the absurdities around religion. Though decidedly one sided and likely to offend anyone remotely religious, Religulous will be a hoot for anyone else.

    The video looks decent, though unspectacular. The audio is all it needs to be for a populist documentary. The extras are as non-existent as Maher's faith.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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