Machine Gun Preacher Review (Miami Herald)

‘Machine Gun Preacher’

By COLIN COVERT

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

What a surprise. Its grindhouse title notwithstanding, “Machine Gun Preacher” is a genuine drama. While there are a few scenes that could fit in a Rambo movie, the film intelligently explores the impact of religious conversion on a man of explosive impulses.

The story is inspired by the experiences of Pennsylvania ex-con Sam Childers (portrayed by Gerard Butler), a violent biker / drug dealer whose wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), found religion while he was in prison. She drags the reluctant ex-con to services. His baptism introduces Sam to a Christian community of fellowship and affirmation, and a new kind of addictive high.

With his substance abuse behind him, Sam establishes a successful construction business and begins building the American dream life. He becomes a better man, helping his onetime partner-in-crime Donny (Michael Shannon) to reform his life.

Then Sam visits Sudan and has a revelation. He becomes consumed by the plight of child refugees, Christian southerners pushed out of their villages by northern Muslim raiders. He tells Lynn that God has spoken to him, and returns to build a modest orphanage. This puts him in conflict with the murderous local warlords, who abduct young boys and brutally train them to be soldiers.

Sam returns to his real life in Pennsylvania, where he has established his own small congregation, urging his followers to support his crusade. His trips to Africa grow longer, his family more distant. Sam’s temper flares when one wealthy parishioner tithes less for Africa than Sam expects. Every standard American luxury that Sam worked for now appears self-indulgent and decadent. He can’t understand why the whole world doesn’t share his fervor. Sam’s sermons become bursts of street poetry that garble the standard Sunday pieties. “God doesn’t want sheep – he wants wolves.”

Ultimately Sam takes up arms against Joseph Kony’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, itself a nominally Christian guerrilla organization. Sam becomes a zealot in a war with no end in sight. This avenging-angel antihero engages in firefights with the LRA that echo earlier scenes of Sam’s shootouts with rival pushers.

Butler delivers a grand performance in a multifaceted part. Director Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball,” “Quantum of Solace”) shows violence with unflinching candor, and weighs the good that religion does against the bad, leaving final judgment to the viewers. The last scene, an aerial shot that makes Sam a speck on a vast African plain, suggests that Sam is a mad prophet wandering the desert alone. It’s a fitting climax for a sharply intelligent, disquieting and ultimately inconclusive commentary on God’s will and man’s frailties.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/30/2432093/machine-gun-preacher.html#ixzz1ZSuRXC2I

GLAMOURIA Meets GARY SAFADY- Machine Gun Preacher

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GLAMOURIA Meets GARY SAFADY- Machine Gun Preacher

Finally, I get my shot with Gerard xxx

In New York, backstage at the Diesel Black Gold show, everyone was following Gerard Butler…. Honestly, I just know his name… I think I heard it because Jennifer Aniston maybe dated him, but I am not even sure. Trying to get a picture with him, someone asks me, “do you speak Arabic, Marhaba”…. I turned, and it’s????

“I am Lebanese too…”….
This is Gary Safady… (Nice to meet you!)…… “I am the producer”… I laugh and I ask him, “then you could help me get a picture with Gerard?”…
Then we talk…. And I was really curious to know more about him. So we started talking about the movie, and then the children… Suddenly this big man with muscles, softened up, with a smile….
Here’s more from Glamouria…..
– How did you start working on this project and why?
GLAMOURIA with Gary SAFADY-
Lost that interview, and had to do it again!
The film was brought to my attention through another one of the film’s producers who knew I was looking for a special project with a positive message.
– Why Gerard Butler?
We chose Gerard Butler because he embodied the essence of Sam Childers- the story is based on him. I think his performance lent a unique blend between the passion of his character’s convictions with the trial and torment of his struggle to save the Sudanese children -which ultimately the audience can relate to.
– What is the message that you would like people to get through the movie?
GLAMOURIA with Gary Safady

The message is one of hope, perseverance and the common good that man can do. The message that hopefully people will take home is that to do something good is as much a reward as it is a reason to live for.

– How could anyone help?
See the film and learn about what has happened in Sudan. I encourage everyone to go to Machine Gun Preacher and support the cause.
– What are your future plans.
I am currently in pre-production on “Cobra 405” an action thriller about the biggest bank heist and the mysteries surrounding it. It’s set in Lebanon and I’m very excited about the project.

Read Entire Article Here

Review: ‘Maching Gun Preacher’ Aims, Shoots & HITS! (Star Pulse)

Starpulse.com

Review: ‘Maching Gun Preacher’ Aims, Shoots & HITS!

September 23rd, 2011 1:00pm EDT

Machine Gun Preacher-0018-20110909-41.jpg

I respect this film. I respect this film so much; I will not go on one of my idiotic rants or raves like I normally do. It’s not to say I don’t respect other films I’ve watched and/or reviewed, I do… It’s just from the start, Director, Marc Forster engages the audience within a realm I imagine most of us are familiar with, yet, not too in-tune when it comes to the realities which are going on, as we speak, on the other side of this big blue marble we share. The opening scene commands a large degree of respect, and what ties in after, takes us on such a deep, depressing, ride of realities… After watching this film, so much resonated within me, it felt surreal to know and feel I had zero smart-ass remarks whatsoever… And even more considering its status of being a [True Story] and having read up a lot on the militant individuals which serve as the film’s antagonists – The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army).

When ex-biker/gang member Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help restore homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the incomprehensible horrors faced by the region’s innocent and vulnerable—especially children. Doing aside the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it’s most needed—in the middle of land controlled by the brutal LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), an extreme renegade militia that forces children to become soldiers before they even reach their teen years. But for Sam, it’s not enough to shelter the LRA’s shattered victims. Determined to save as many as possible, he leads armed missions deep into enemy territory to retrieve kidnapped children, restoring peace to their lives, and eventually his own.

Read more here.

‘Machine Gun Preacher’ aims higher (USA Today)

By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY

TORONTO – There is no denying that the main attractions of the pulpy-sounding Machine Gun Preacher are the often harrowing and inspirational true-life adventures of Sam Childers, the wild-man biker, drug addict and ex-con turned self-made minister who found his calling as savior and protector of the victimized children of war-torn Sudan.

But alongside the depictions of atrocities, gruesome deaths and vigilante-style justice in the biographical drama opening Friday is an unusual and tender romance shared by a married couple (and parents of a now-grown daughter) whose devotion to God only increased their passion for one another.

“In some ways, it feels like the eternal story of a woman who thinks that eventually her man is going to change,” says Gerard Butler, 41, who plays this larger-than-life outlaw with all the red-blooded brio he can muster after spending time with the real Childers. “Though I think the essence of Sam has never changed that much. He still has all that pent-up craziness within him, which is what drives him to do great things.”

Read the entire article here.

Machine Gun Preacher Movie Review: Gerard Butler’s Brilliant (Movie Fanatic)

Machine Gun Preacher Movie Review: Gerard Butler’s Brilliant

September 22nd, 2011 9:00 AM by

When a film covers someone’s real life, oftentimes what audiences see onscreen is far from something that can fit into a neat little box. Life is messy. And, few lives have been quite as chaotic as Sam Childers, the subject of Machine Gun Preacher. Gerard Butler portrays Childers and takes us from his drug-addled past, through recovery, finding God and being moved by a sermon at his church by a minister who had just returned from Africa. Next thing Sam knew, he left his wife and daughter behind and went to Africa to help those in need. What he discovered there would not only change his life, but also save the lives of thousands of children in the Sudan, an area ripped apart by civil war and strife.

Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan in Machine Gun Preacher

Read the entire review here.

Virgin Mobile USA’s To Build Water Wells In Sudan To Honor MACHINE GUN PREACHER

FACEBOOK FANS WHO PLEDGE TO SPREAD THE WORD
ABOUT NEW RELATIVITY MEDIA/VIRGIN PRODUCED FILM
WILL GET THEIR NAMES ENGRAVED ON WELLS

Warren, N.J. Sept. 21, 2011 Virgin Mobile USA and production company Virgin Produced announced a special program today to support Relativity’s upcoming Machine Gun Preacher, featuring Gerard Butler’s (300) searing performance as Sam Childers, the impassioned founder of the Angels of East Africa rescue organization in this moving story of violence and redemption, directed by Golden Globe-nominated Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball). The program will encourage both college students and Facebook fans at large to pledge their support for the story behind Machine Gun Preacher, which releases theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 23, and in additional markets in the weeks to follow.

Virgin Mobile USA will first ask Facebook fans on their fan page (www.facebook.com/virginmobilelive) to sign a pledge to support this film. This pledge will inspire several ways a fan can support the film’s release, including viewing the trailer or spreading word about the film via Facebook or Twitter. Fans who pledge their support for the film on facebook.com/virginmobilelive during the first two weeks of the film’s release (ending on Oct. 2) will also have their names engraved on one of the wells in Africa. To build awareness and momentum for this effort, Virgin Mobile USA will invade social networks and college campuses with an army of street teams to attract pledges to raise awareness in the New York City and Los Angeles areas. Among campuses targeted are UCLA, USC, Columbia University, NYU, and Baruch College.

Read entire article here. 

My 5 Minutes With The President – Gary Safady

Gary Safady

Gary Safady is the president and founder of Safady Entertainment LLC. Safady’s latest production, “Machine Gun Preacher,” had its world premiere last week at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be released in theaters this month. “Machine Gun Preacher” is the story of Sam Childers (played by Gerard Butler), a former drug-dealing biker who turns his life around when he finds God and becomes a mission crusader for thousands of Sudanese children who’ve been forced into war due to the tyranny of the LRA regime. Directed by the critically acclaimed Marc Forster, “Machine Gun Preacher” boasts an A-list cast, with Michelle Monaghan (“Mission: Impossible III”), Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”) and Madeline Carroll (“Flipped”).

Safady is in pre-production on his next film, “Cobra 405,” based on a novel by author Damien Lewis, a thriller about an extraordinary heist involving nine soldiers and $150 million of missing gold, set in the late ’70s in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon.

ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?

GARY SAFADY: I would like to discuss foreign policy with him, specifically on human trafficking issues dealing with children. After learning firsthand about the issues concerning the children of Africa during the filming of “Machine Gun Preacher,” I would talk about the atrocities that are occurring to these children and what we need to do to stop it. I would like him to know that Africa doesn’t need just another hospital or more relief food, it needs a real plan that provides economic stability, which in turn can provide hope and a future.

RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be?

GS: Have perseverance and long-range plans, not short-term goals for the purposes of appeasing lobbyist groups or for reelection.

RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would that be?

GS: With all of your duties as president, is it hard to find the time to relax or go to sleep?

RB: What book would you offer to lend President Obama? Why?

GS: “A Man in Full,” because it epitomizes how one man, Charlie Croker, who was on top, can’t stay on top after overextending himself. Similarly, the USA, which has been on top for a long time, is now experiencing a steady decline and, like that story, if the USA doesn’t watch itself, it too may fall. My advice in diplomacy is to be humble, because no one likes a “big shot” — so humility is the secret to success.

RB: If you were going to send the president to one place in the United States for one day, where would that be? Why?

GS: I would send him to children’s orphanages and an inner-city public high school. I would want him to address what the future holds for these kids and what can be done to solve the challenges facing our youth today.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?

GS: No.

Bronk is a seasoned Capitol Hill strategist and advocate. She started her career at The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry, in July 1998. During her tenure as CEO, Bronk has taken The Creative Coalition from a New York-based entity to a national organization. www.thecreativecoalition.org

View the full article here.