And you thought a Michael Moore documentary was incendiary.

Remember how passionate Christian Americans were about the release of 'The Passion of the Christ'?

Well expect an equal level of furor to accompany Bill Maher's cinematic manifesto, 'Religulous,' which has been garnering strong early reviews and which has to be only days away the inevitable onslaught of publicity -- er, condemnations.

The HBO funnyman Maher, who is probably the most outspoken atheist in the nation, doesn't just mock the absurdities of organized religion, he downright pleas for people to resist it.


And you thought a Michael Moore documentary was incendiary.

Remember how passionate Christian Americans were about the release of 'The Passion of the Christ'? Well expect an equal level of furor to accompany Bill Maher's cinematic manifesto, 'Religulous,' which has been garnering strong early reviews and which has to be only days away the inevitable onslaught of publicity -- er, condemnations.

The HBO funnyman Maher, who is probably the most outspoken atheist in the nation, doesn't just mock the absurdities of organized religion, he downright pleas for people to resist it. He's an equal opportunity offender, examining Christianity, Judaism and Islam (as well as the easiest target, Scientology), interviewing subjects that range from gay Muslims to an anti-Israel Jew to a man who believes he's the second coming of Christ (and has over 100,000 followers). And you know what? It's pretty damn entertaining and thought provoking, even if admitting that buys me a one-way ticket to hell.

The buzz on Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire' has been through the roof since its recent debut at Telluride, with some even whispering it's the director's best work yet. That's saying a lot considering the guy made 'Trainspotting' and '28 Days Later,' and while I'm not quite ready to jump on that bandwagon, it is one of the best and most original films I've seen this year. The story of a dirt-poor Mumbai teen accused cheating on India's version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' is like 'Quiz Show' meets 'City of God'; It's also a mutt of a movie, blending coming-of-age drama, goofy comedy, violent crime, fantasy romance, Bollywood musical and inspirational crowd-pleasing. Somehow, it all works brilliantly.

While 'Slumdog's' few conventions are easy to forgive, on the other hand you have 'Who Do You Love,' a by-the-books musical biopic about the rise of Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and mainly, Jewish blues record man Leonard Chess (Alessandro Nivola). It's hard enough to take musical biopics seriously again after 'Walk Hard,' even harder when one resembles the love child of 'Walk the Line' and 'Ray.' All of the formulaic pieces are in place here: poor upbringing, overnight success, adultery, heroin overdose, etc. It's great to see the underappreciated Nivola get a lead, but his rampant use of "mother f***er" is pretty f***ing unconvincing.