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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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God, What's Up With Sharon Stone?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent


Q: What's up with Sharon Stone? A: God. No kidding. 


Specifically: Elohim, IHVH (i.e.; the Tetragrammaton), Allah, Mohammed, Vishnu, Buddha, Krishna, Jehovah, Generic Other-Worldy Beings, A Force Greater Than Ourselves, The Universe, and L-O-V-E, in the soul sense.


Apparently Ms. Beaver-shot-seen-'round-the-world has lost her baser instincts. 


If this sounds cryptic, wait until you hear Stone's narration of the upcoming documentary THE INVOCATION.


The still-hot Pennsylvania native intones her best omniscient narrative persona with: "Imagine a world free from" violence, pestilence, greed,  war, hunger, strife, religious differences... (and, drum roll, full frontal nudity?) 


An unlikely shooting gallery of Deepak Chopra, Mark Wahlberg, Oliver Stone, Rabbi Chaim Cohen, a certain Prince Stansilas, one Mother Superior, and Stewart Copeland of the '80's band The Police, among other luminaries, make personal statements interlaced with quasi-religious zeal.


Chopra allows for the "subjective/objective" relationship with God; and if you reach that point, you are "thinking on the level of the divine." This quiet wisdom is shared by America's New Age spiritual rock star, subliminally surrounded by copies "How to Know God," the DIY guru's latest tome. 


Devout Catholic Mark Wahlberg takes off his actor hat and admits that he has a huge cross strategically placed between his bedroom and bathroom. Wahlberg says he blesses himself daily at "the stations of the cross." 


"I feel blessed, not because of any professional success," he avows. "It is just how I feel."


Grizzled and ostensibly humbled, a non-denominational Oliver Stone mumbles a preamble about the ill effects of (hold your tongue) Greed, Ego and Self-Interest. "Once you get past that..." enlightenment is just a Latte away.


A confirmed "agnostic bordering on atheist," Copeland waves off his cynicism for a moment to declare: "this stuff is real." Meaning the greater spiritual connection with something bigger than gold records, presumably. 


"It can be achieved by ritual!" For an agnostic/atheist, The Police frontman gesticulates like a true believer.


Now off the clock(work orange), Malcolm McDowell, looking like a white-haired retiree with a twist, reveals that he was "led to believe there would be flashes of light" and such on his confirmation in the Church. 


"There were none," McDowell sneers. "Since then, I have been very dubious about organized religion." 


While INVOCATION has the potential for high humor, there is something palpably non-Hollywood in Sharon Stone's delivery as well as from the other actors, directors and musicians who have lent their faces to this project.


Some documentarians may find it more of a how-to, than doc in the pure sense, since it has a strange resonance. That would be due to the requisite opening breath exercise offered by a soulful Taos-based American guru. 


"Invoking God" is the culmination of the cinematic conceit, complete with a Tibetan bell tone -- that sounds oddly like a microwave over timer -- between each chapter heading.


What begins as a romp launched with pixelated outer space graphics, 911 footage, and cliche images of emaciated Sub-Saharan children, somehow, or somewhere along the through-line of this film, transforms into something other than watching a self-inflicted existential car accident.


Imagine a film peopled with Israel's Chief Rabbi, several Koran scholars, a clutch of Hindu mystics, a Benedictine Nun in Italy, a Shinto priest or two, a dry-eyed New Mexican shaman, a posse of Quantum physicists, one Latin American angel-olgist, a few Noetic Institute devotees, a very astute English-speaking Rinpoche, some dude from the anti-Christ church, wild-eyed poets, the singing-dancing stars of LA's Agape non-denominational movement, Veronica De Laurteniis, and a sprinkling of workaday spiritual students - all wrestling with The Big Questions.


1) Where did we come from?; 2) What are we doing here?; 3) How come we all die, ps?


INVOCATION's talking God-heads are punctuated by scientific explorations on unified field theory, string theory, and a teaser on cosmogony. (Physics fans will note the absence of WSM, wave structure of matter, as espoused by Dr. Milo Wolff, who at age 86 boldly denies entrenched particle-ist explanations of Quantum Theory altogether.)


Jung's name is bandied about in quick edits with wailing women, Mid-Eastern prayer calls, American East/West apologist New Age monotheistic Holistic-speak, sonic echoes from sacred spaces all over the globe, and children of every race and religious persuasion doing reflexive daily spiritual diligence.


"We drove by a church, a synagogue, and a mosque," a mother recalls, "and my son asked 'what religion is God?'" 


Arguably, the soundest metaphysical advice comes from a Jim Henson-style muppet named "Puppetji," a puppet guru. 


Yes, "a puppet guru, an often irreverent," according to Stone, "highly spiritual," handheld,  bare-footed, turbaned, bead-toting, felt-and-fabric muppet with an Asian-Indian accent. 


"If I had to make something up [about God], because that is all anyone can do, is make something up... I'd say... what is this hooey, nonsense, you may think? Exactly. That is exactly what I am talking about."


Poised for theatrical release, THE INVOCATION was shot and produced by French journalist Emmanuel Itier, who dedicated the documentary to his son Felix; Sharon Stone is listed as an Executive Producer. 


And, God, is it worth seeing... (Pun intended.)


Catch the trailer here: 


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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

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