20 items from 2015
Earlier this year, HBO in the Us screened - to sizeable ratings - Alex Gibney's documentary on the church of Scientology, Going Clear. The plan had then been for Sky Atlantic to screen the documentary in the UK, but news reaches us that those plans have now been scrapped.
The problem is the same one that led to the book the film is based on, by Lawrence Wright, not being published in the UK back in 2013. And it relates to the 2013 Defamation Act, that Northern Ireland is not subject to (it's being held up in the Northern Ireland assembly). As a result of that, and because - as The Observer reports - "Sky is unable to differentiate its signal between regions", it means that it would be "potentially exposed to »
Alex Gibney, whose documentaries have garnered an Oscar and two Emmys, suddenly finds critics and audiences both admiring and attacking his latest films — all three of them. It’s hard to remember any other filmmaker, especially a documentarian, who has managed to become as prolific or as provocative.
The 61-year-old Gibney surprises me for another reason, too: Each of his new docs persuaded me to change the way I think about their central characters. Having been whipsawed by Gibney, I now see Tom Cruise, Steve Jobs and Frank Sinatra in a different light. And I’m not sure I always like what I’ve found out.
When I spoke with Gibney last week, I asked him the obvious dumb question: Don’t you ever sleep? I also asked whether he, too, changes his mind about his subjects in midstream.
Gibney assured me that, having read Walter Isaac-son’s admiring biography, »
- Peter Bart
John Travolta has spoken out against HBO's documentary on Scientology Going Clear, also revealing that he hasn't seen it and doesn't "really care to".
The actor - who has been a Scientologist since 1975 - defended his religious system in response to the documentary directed by Alex Gibney and adapted from a book of the same title by Lawrence Wright.
The documentary centres on the alleged transgressions of the church, and the huge influence that it claims Travolta and fellow Scientologist Tom Cruise have in recruiting new members.
It also profiles eight former members of the practice.
Speaking during an interview with the Tampa Bay Times to promote new movie The Forger, Travolta was asked whether he had seen the exposé.
"No, I haven't, and I don't really care to," he said.
"I haven't experienced anything that the hearsay has [claimed], so why would I communicate something that wasn't true for me? »
John Travolta said he hasn't seen HBO's scathing Scientology documentary, Going Clear, and has no intention of watching Alex Gibney's film, which expands on the church's numerous abuses detailed in Lawrence Wright's similarly titled book.
Speaking with the Tampa Bay Times, Travolta said, "I've been so happy with my [Scientology] experience in the last 40 years, that I really don't have anything to say that would shed light on [a documentary] so decidedly negative. I've been brought through storms that were insurmountable, and [Scientology has] been so beautiful for me, that I can't even imagine attacking it. »
John Travolta is sticking up for Scientology just over a week after the HBO documentary “Going Clear” exposed a number of unflattering aspects of the religion some former members describe as a cult. “I’ve been so happy with my experience in the last 40 years that I really don’t have anything to say that would shed light on so decidedly negative,” Travolta told the Tampa Bay Times. Although the 61-year-old actor’s involvement in the church is profiled extensively in director Alex Gibney‘s film, based on author Lawrence Wright’s book of the same name, Travolta told the publication he hasn’t seen. »
- Greg Gilman
Making himself clear. John Travolta stood by the Church of Scientology in a new interview with the Tampa Bay Times, speaking out against the talked about HBO documentary on the religion, Going Clear. Asked by the newspaper whether he's seen the eye-opening new film, Travolta said, "No, I haven't, and I don't really care to." The American Crime Story star, 61, is discussed and featured at length in Going Clear, along with his fellow celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise. Based on Lawrence Wright's book by the same name, the [...] »
“Going Clear,” the new documentary about the Church of Scientology, premiered on HBO Sunday, and Hollywood has flocked to social media to voice support for the film, as well as their concerns about the religion some former members describe as a cult. Directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney, and based on the book of the same name by Lawrence Wright, the film takes an in-depth look at the religion launched by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. “Going Clear” not only presents a detailed history of the tax-exempt organization, but features former Scientologists who allege serious abuse and mistreatment at. »
- Joe Otterson
Alex Gibney’s two-hour-long exploration of Scientology, Going Clear, premieres tonight on HBO. Based on Lawrence Wright's book by the same name, Gibney’s speaks with former leaders and defectors of the Church for the documentary, which gives the unacquainted a primer on the organization and its creator, L. Ron Hubbard, and chronicles its alleged abuses against its members. Gibney spoke with John Horn of Southern California Public Radio's arts and entertainment show “The Frame” about where he found footage of Scientology rallies, protecting his material from meddlers, and why more people need to speak out against the Church. (Listen to part of this interview below, and subscribe to “The Frame” at iTunes or Stitcher.)I want to ask about the archival footage that you found. There’s a lot of footage of David Miscavige at what looked to be—I think, to a lay person—they looked like a sales meeting at Herbalife. »
- John Horn
The familiar tale of the billion-dollar rise of L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi self-help religion-like philosophy/prank/cash-suck gets urgent, stylish treatment in Alex Gibney's HBO doc, a fleet and surefooted account of Scientology's origins, Hubbard's years at sea escaping U.S. taxes, and the misery and harassment faced by the church's apostates. In this case those include director Paul Haggis, ex-second-in-command Marty Rathbun, and onetime Travolta-wrangler Sylvia "Spanky" Taylor, whose efforts to take her child from a church nursery and escape her life of barely paid hard labor is here a tale of heart-clutching suspense. Lawrence Wright, whose book offers the film its reportorial basis, observes that there's no way John Travolta and Tom Cruise can't know about the slave-like cond »
At the La premiere of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, HBO's new documentary about the Church of Scientology, filmmakers and former members had strong words about the organization -- and its most famous followers.
News: Leah Remini's Scientology Tell-All
The film's producers claim that they reached out to Tom Cruise and John Travolta for interviews, but their requests were allegedly denied. Representatives from the Church said that 25 members were made available to refute every claim made in the documentary but that filmmakers allegedly shunned them. No active members of the religion appear in the documentary.
"They bear a tremendous amount of responsibility because they are key figures for the church in terms of their recruiting," Gibney said. "They owe people an explanation as to why they would be the PR figures »
We're on the verge of the SXSW Film Festival, so several area theaters will be turning into official venues by this time next week. Specialty screenings are still going on in the week ahead, but it definitely is about to slow down until after the festival has us all wiped out.
Austin Film Society has a Free Member Friday tonight at the Marchesa with Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket. The group will be screening the movie along with the original short film that inspired it and it's free to all Afs members. Members can also go the Afs website to claim two free tickets to a special advance screening on Tuesday night at the Paramount of Alex Gibney's new documentary Going Clear, which examines the Church of Scientology. The film will debut on HBO later this month, but this special advance screening will feature Gibney and Texas author Lawrence Wright »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alex Gibney is unraveling the secrets of Scientology in his latest investigative documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief." The non-fiction feature first shocked audiences at its Sundance Film Festival premiere earlier this year and will be hitting HBO on March 29. In celebration of the documentary's upcoming release, Gibney joined Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, who wrote the book on which the film is based, and Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis ("Crash"), who left the church and serves as one of the primary subjects in the film, for a TimesTalk in New York City that took place on March 3. Highlights include Haggis revealing why he initially became a Scientologist and what caused him to eventually shun it, and Gibney explaining his visual approach to adapting Wright's book. Also included in the talk is Mike Rinder, a former senior executive of the Church, who fled after he became disillusioned. »
- Zack Sharf
"Armstrong Lie" director Alex Gibney dropped his latest bomb on Sundance in January with "Going Clear," a documentary exposé of the Church of Scientology that dragged him through the gauntlet to get made. HBO, no stranger to scandal-making with its ever-broadening documentary slate, commissioned Gibney's adaptation of Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" just after the nonfiction book was published in January 2013. The book analyzes the history of L. Ron Hubbard, and of Tom Cruise and John Travolta's various, and wildly public, relationships, among others. Wright gained notoriety in 2011 when he profiled screenwriter/director Paul Haggis—who broke from the Church in 2009 in the wake of its startling pronouncements about Prop 8—in The New Yorker. Anticipating legal and religious retaliation, HBO President Sheila Nevins has said that some 160 lawyers looked at the film, which premieres on HBO »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Veteran documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney returned to Sundance this January with his latest powder keg of a documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief." Like the book on which it's based by Lawrence Wright, it offered up shocking claims about the Church of Scientology sure to rock the public when HBO Documentary Films releases the film. The extensive and scathing exposé digs into the history of founder L. Ron Hubbard, the real reason behind the breakup of Scientology member Tom Cruise and his now ex-wife Nicole Kidman, what goes on behind the closed doors of its Los Angeles Church and much more over the course of its two-hour running time. HBO will debut the documentary on Sunday, March 29 at 8pm, with an encore the next night, Monday March 30 at 9pm. Watch the first trailer below: Read More: Sundance: Alex Gibney Premieres His Scathing Exposé on the Church of »
- Nigel M Smith
Danny Masterson has a message for all those Scientology haters. In a new interview with Paper magazine, the "That '70s Show" star opens up about his controversial religion on the heels of the premiere of "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief." "I heard about that documentary; the documentary where they interviewed eight people who hate Scientology. Should be pretty interesting. I wonder if Sundance would allow a documentary of, like, eight people who hate Judaism. But you know, my religion's fair game, I guess, 'cause it's new," he tells the mag. "There's basically like 200 lies in the book and so therefore he couldn't even publish that book [in Canada or the UK because the libel laws],” he adds, referring to Lawrence Wright’s book, which inspired the movie. Masterson also touches on fellow Hollywood star Paul Haggis' decision to leave the church on account of gay marriage. "Paul was just mad that, as a religion, we're »
- tooFab Staff
It’s not that I don’t like Alex Gibney. The Oscar-winner has done yeoman’s work exploring modern problems so large that we tend to ignore them instead of face them head-on. He digs into the dirt, especially American dirt, that we’d rather not see on our own hands, and he does it all without the bombastic agenda sales of Michael Moore. All good things. My problem is that I’m not particularly interested in Scientology. Those who believe praise it wholesale, opponents claim that it’s responsible for murder, but overall it seems like another bit of antique hokum polished up with a Hollywood shine. As soon as you demand payment for having faith, my ears turn off. But consider them back on. After reading Kate’s review of Gibney’s new doc, Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s book, she hooked me by talking about how unsettling it is. Then »
- Scott Beggs
Doc reminds viewers of the insidious power of L. Ron Hubbard’s church that has long focused on Hollywood
“Going Clear,” the much-anticipated documentary about Scientology by veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, caused a ruckus at Sundance on Sunday, resurfacing the most damaging accusations against the religion including a campaign to break up Tom Cruise’s marriage to Nicole Kidman.
Since the defection from the church in recent years by prominent members like Paul Haggis and investigative work including the book by Lawrence Wright on which the film is based, the worst of Scientology is already out there.
Also Read: Tom Cruise »
- Sharon Waxman
Though the lid was blown off the Church of Scientology long ago, Alex Gibney’s powder-keg documentary, “Going Clear,” should certainly rattle the walls, if not shake them to their very foundations. Gibney had an excellent blueprint to work from in Lawrence Wright’s exhaustively researched 2013 nonfiction bestseller (from which the film takes its title), but he’s also added much fascinating material here, including new interviews and proprietary Scientology video footage that has to be seen to be disbelieved. A hot ticket at Sundance, “Going Clear” should have no trouble maintaining its must-see buzz through its HBO premiere in March and beyond.
The prolific Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”) excels at untangling complex systems and institutions, and at showing us the human faces behind scandal-making headlines. Unsurprisingly, “Going Clear” is weighted toward candid, impassioned interviews with ex-Scientologists »
- Scott Foundas
Alex Gibney returned to Sundance this afternoon with his latest powder keg of a documentary, "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief." Like the book on which it's based by Lawrence Wright, it offered up shocking claims about the Church of Scientology that are sure to rock the public when HBO Documentary Films releases the film later this year. The extensive and scathing exposé digs into the history of founder L. Ron Hubbard, the real reason behind the breakup of Scientology member Tom Cruise and his now ex-wife Nicole Kidman, what goes on behind the closed doors of its Los Angeles Church and much more over the course of its two-hour running time. Gibney was joined onstage following the screening by Wright, some of the filmmaking team and a number of former Scientology members who were profiled in the film, all of whom received a warm standing ovation."The »
- Nigel M Smith
The film takes an in-depth look at Sinatra's life and storied career, with Gibney utilizing hours of archived interviews, as well as new commentary from those closest to the singer. All or Nothing at All will also incorporate plenty of music and pictures from Sinatra's life, and specifically revolve around rare footage from his 1971 "Retirement Concert" in Los Angeles. »
20 items from 2015
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