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January 1970 Archives

Go See ‘The Nativity Story’

posted by Douglas Howe

If you care about spirituality, go see “The Nativity Story.” Much of the film is more understated and muted than the typical church Christmas celebration and may challenge some of the holier-than-thou notions we have of some of the Biblical […]

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Missing the Purpose of Nativity … and Obama

posted by Douglas Howe

First, there is the news that religious groups are feeling pressure about not pulling their support for “The Nativity Story” based on lead actress Keisha Castle-Hughes being pregnant out of wedlock. Then comes the news that Rick Warren, author of […]

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The Nativity Story: Pregnant Actor Too Much?

posted by mkress

“The Nativity Story,” director Catherine Hardwicke’s film version of the Gospel stories of Jesus’ birth, had its world premiere on Sunday at the Vatican. (It opens in the U.S. this week.) Some 7,000 people, including Hardwicke and several high-ranking cardinals, […]

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Two Rabbis on the Radio

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Ever dreamed of spending Saturday night with two rabbis? Who hasn’t? Rabbi Irwin Kula and Rabbi Brad Hirschfield of the National Center for Jewish Learning and Leadership are launching “Intelligent Talk Radio,” in Portland, Oregon this week The rabbis will […]

Is ‘Kramer’ Joking About Being Jewish?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Former “Seinfeld” actor Michael Richards has barely finished trying to convince the public–as well as the entertainment community–that the racial slurs he uttered at a nightclub do not mean he is racist. But now he is facing new allegetions regarding […]

Entertainment Weekly: Inspiration Runs Deep

posted by Ellen Leventry

It is not cool to dress up as Maria Von Trapp from “The Sound of Music” for your high school halloween costume day, but I didn’t care. Julie Andrews (who played Maria) was, and still is a woman I admired […]

Real World Denver: The Christian Face-Off

posted by jmcgee

Every season, The Real World lets us into the lives of seven strangers “picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” […]

Yusuf Islam: Beyond Pop Music

posted by dali

Twenty-eight years was a long time to wait for a new album from Yusuf Islam. Back in the 1970s, the artist (then known to the world as Cat Stevens) won over audiences with pop hits like “Wild, Wild, World,” “Peace […]

‘Heroes': A Savior with Pom Poms

posted by Donna Freitas

Nine chapters into NBC’s new drama “Heroes” and I’m utterly hooked. “Heroes” is reminiscent of X-Men, revolving around individuals all over the world who discover that they have special and occasionally frightening powers. The last several episodes revolved around a […]

‘The Fountain': Strangely Inspired or Just Plain Strange?

posted by Donna Freitas

Advertise any film as a mixture of romance, science, and fantasy, and I’ll come running, no further questions. And so it was with ‘The Fountain,’ directed by Darren Aronofsky (‘Pi, ‘Requiem for a Dream’), starring Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman […]

Toys for Tots Will “Give Jesus” for Christmas this Year

posted by Donna Freitas

As with every other year, Thanksgiving Day signaled the go ahead for radio stations to begin playing endless Christmas music, and the arrival of midnight sparked shoppers to begin the now-traditional mad-dash of buying for the holidays. But the lead-up […]

Hollywood’s Hypocrisy over “Kramer’s” Rant

posted by Kris Rasmussen

While Mel Gibson blamed his anti-Semitic rant a few months ago (most would say unsuccessfully) on a drunken lapse of judgment, Michael “Cosmo Kramer” Richards’ only excuse for his racial epithets directed toward two African-American men is that he was […]

Let Kirk Out

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Kirk Franklin just won the American Music Award in the Contemporary Inspirational category, adding to his crowded shelf of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and Gospel Grammys. Yay, Kirk! In fact, his fellow nominees in the categories are very deserving […]

Kula Uncovers “Hidden Wisdom” in New TV Special

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

In the beginning, there was TLC’s Shalom in the Home, starring well-known rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Now, prepare for television to bring another rabbi into your home–in this case, Rabbi Irwin Kula, whose new national public television special, “The Hidden Wisdom […]

Borat, Seriously

posted by Paul O'Donnell

We’ve always been made to understand that Sacha Baron Cohen, a.k.a. Borat, is a satirist, not a simple comedian. Otherwise, his anti-Semitic jokes and poo-poo gags would be, well, just that. But this week, Cohen found out the cost of […]

Director Robert Altman Dies at 81

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Hollywood lost a cinematic legacy yesterday when the director of the such critically acclaimed movies as “M*A*S*H” and “Nashville,” Robert Altman, passed away at the age of 81. For decades, Altman set himself apart from other directors by developing a […]

“The Ten Commandments”: The Abtastic Val Kilmer Musical!

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

When facing a movie like “The Ten Commandments: The Musical“–based on a recent stage production and set for DVD release this week–I always approach it from two angles: (1) Is the product a good/entertaining one?; and (2) Is it true […]

The Jonestown Mystery

posted by mkress

The first image you see in Stanley Nelson’s new documentary “Jonestown: the Life and Death of the Peoples Temple” is a row of smiling young faces–black and white, teens and 20-somethings–taken under a blue and sunny sky. They look as […]

Will Danny Bonaduce Become Born Again?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Last season, the VH1 celeb-reality series “Breaking Bonaduce” found ratings success by exploiting former “Partridge Family” star Danny Bonaduce as he spiraled out of control. There was no end to the footage in which Bonaduce was abusing alcohol, steroids, and […]

O.J. Simpson: The Boycott Worked!

posted by dali

I’m not saying it was our call to boycott O.J. Simpson’s gruesome upcoming book and his accompanying Fox interviews that did the trick. (I’m sure you know that O.J. planned to reveal that if he had killed his ex-wife Nicole […]

James Bond in a New Wineskin: The True Christmas Spirit

posted by Douglas Howe

The current James Bond movie is clearly different from most of the other 23 Bond (21 official) movies. The actor is different. The tone is different. The villain(s) is (are) different. There’s no “Q,” and though “M” is the same […]

For Your Consideration: The Small Indy Film “Home for Purim”

posted by mkress

The relatively minor Jewish holiday of Purim is having its moment in the cinematic sun. First came “One Night With the King,” a dramatization of the Book of Esther, which is read in synagogues on Purim and whose story the […]

Will “Studio 60″ Jump the Cross?

posted by mkress

I saw a promo for Monday night’s “Studio 60” episode and couldn’t help wondering: Is this the week that the show–to coin, or at least adapt, a phrase–jumps the cross? As you probably know, “jumping the shark” has come to […]

O.J. Simpson: Join the Boycott!

posted by dali

What can be said about the news revealed this week that football star turned B-list actor turned murder suspect in the “Trial of the Century” O.J. Simpson will be soon releasing a book called “If I Did It”? The book […]

“Left Behind: Eternal Forces”: A Video Game with a “Good heart”?

posted by Donna Freitas

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray probes the moral core of “Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” the video game version of the popular apocalyptic book series by Tim F. LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. (See fellow blogger Paul O’Donnell’s post about the […]

Mel Gibson, “Apocalypto’s” Double Visionary

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Okay, this summer’s drunken anti-Semitic rant was a P.R. faux-pas. But just as Mel Gibson overcame his more veiled anti-Semitic reading of the Gospel in “The Passion of the Christ” by coaxing support for the deeply Catholic film among evangelicals, […]

Noir for Buddhists

posted by vreiss

The basis for the new film “Zen Noir” is a kind of funny concept. A noir-style detective investigates a murder in a Buddhist temple. When he asks questions, he gets slippery, koan-type answers. “My name isn’t me,” says one Buddhist. […]

Broken Bodies on HBO’s “Thin”

posted by Donna Freitas

The HBO documentary “Thin” aired last night, telling the story of four women struggling with anorexia and bulimia. A film directed by Laura Greenfield (also the author of “Girl Culture”), “Thin” introduces viewers to Shelly, a nurse who has been […]

Will Ferrell Plays it Straight in “Stranger Than Fiction”

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Do we control our future? Or is everything that happens to us decided by fate? If there is a creator, do we have a dynamic or static relationship with him–or her? Such deep, philosophical questions don’t seem like the stuff […]

TomKat: Separation of Scientology and State

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes going to be married before they get to the altar? The couple has booked a romantic, 15th-century castle north of Rome, and international singing star Andrea Bocelli will sing. Katie’s dad has even overcome […]

Virgin Territory on “The Bachelor”

posted by Ellen Leventry

The “Bachelor: Rome” has taken a page out of “The Real World’s” playbook, and it may result in a fairy tale ending. The producers upped the ante this year by finding an actual prince, Prince Lorenzo Borghese–ancestor of Pope Paul […]

Cruisin’ Down the Aisle

posted by Ellen Leventry

Their names are wedded for all eternity, and now the world waits with baited breath to see if TomKat–Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes–will finally tie the knot this weekend in Itlay. Speculation is rife that the “Mission Impossible” star and […]

“Studio 60″ Gets Personal

posted by Kris Rasmussen

While I understand why so many critics gush about the talent of writer/producer Aaron Sorkin, last night’s episode of “Studio 60″ was a blatant reminder to me that this show is quite possibly more about Sorkin working out his personal […]

Elton John’s Hatred

posted by Douglas Howe

I read Kris Rasmussen’s blog piece as well as the rest of Elton John’s religion-bashing interview, which has been all over the media the past couple of days, and I was stunned at what he doesn’t realize about, well, himself. […]

Elton John Wants A Ban on Religion

posted by Kris Rasmussen

According to Sir Elton John, the world could be a more compassionate place free of “hateful lemmings” if only all religion was banned. In an interview with Observer Music Monthly magazine, Sir Elton says that while he loves “the idea […]

Nancy Pelosi’s SNL Moment

posted by mkress

“Saturday Night Live” opened with this Nancy Pelosi impersonation–in which Kristen Wiig, playing the Speaker-elect, gives voice to every conservative caricature of (and fear about) Democrats, including the notion that liberals are anti-faith. “And whatever you might have heard,” Wiig […]

Football Prayers & the NFL’s Absent Cameras

posted by Douglas Howe

What’s the deal with the networks not wanting to show prayers on sports television? What is so bad about athletes trusting in–or at least pursuing–God? After each game, when the fans are filing out of the stadium and the networks […]

“Ugly Betty”: Lead Us Not Into Temptation…

posted by Donna Freitas

Since the first episode of ABC’s winning new comedy “Ugly Betty,” the conflict has become more and more evident between the family-centered, ethnically diverse life of Betty Suarez–who lives in Queens with Dad, Sis, and Nephew–and the (almost) all-white (both […]

Ed Bradley: A Journalism Veteran Passes On

posted by dali

We can be waxing sarcastic on the Britney-K-Fed break-up one day, and the next day a totally different story turns the Idol Chatter mood serious and reflective: “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley succumbed to leukemia yesterday at the age of […]

Heaven, or Someplace Closer

posted by Douglas Howe

While combing this morning’s shows for traffic and weather before heading to work, I stumbled onto Matt Lauer on “Today” doing reports on faith, heaven, and religion live from the Holy City of Jerusalem. I was struck by how interesting […]

Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver”: Supernatural Cinema, No Special Effects Needed

posted by jmcgee

Pedro Almodóvar doesn’t see dead people, but if you tell him that you do, he’ll probably believe it. “I don’t believe that people come from [the afterlife] in a physical way,” the director said when he met with press last […]

“The Nativity Story”: One Infallible Thumb Up?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Once upon an innocent time, Mel Gibson smuggled a print of “The Passion of the Christ” to John Paul II, who reportedly murmured, “It is as it was,” as the credits rolled. Then it turned out JP2 might not have […]

Britney to Kevin: I’m No Longer a “Slave 4 U”

posted by dali

Pigs are flying, hell is freezing over, the night has turn to day and the day to night. The impossible has happened: Britney Spears is divorcing Kevin Federline after two long years of marriage. You can’t tell me that you […]

“Lost” & Death: An Interesting Theory

posted by Donna Freitas

Like every other “Lost” fan, I enjoy theorizing with my fellow addicts, and a recent conversation proved intriguing enough to blog. This season, I’ve been watching weekly with a group of friends and dissecting different possible interpretations afterward. The following […]

Jon Bon Jesuits

posted by jmcgee

For anyone raised Catholic, this video of Jesuit priests lip-syncing Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” is a special blessing. And yes, wacky wigs notwithstanding, all the men are real priests: here’s the very buttoned-down bio of one. Ad Majorem […]

“Catch A Fire” for Forgiveness

posted by Kris Rasmussen

With Apartheid in South Africa having officially ended in 1990, a political thriller like “Catch A Fire,” which went to wide release this past weekend, could easily feel like it is outdated or, at the very least, feel like a […]

Jesus Christ: The Newest Cast Member of “Studio 60″

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I honestly thought that by the seventh episode of producer/writer Aaron Sorkin’s backstage drama “Studio 60,” he might choose to start backing off the over-the-top religious rhetoric of past storylines just a wee bit. Shows you just how much I […]

The Simpsons’ Golem

posted by mkress

Watch a clip from “The Simpsons” Golem story:

“Santa Came!” And Polls Have Just Opened…

posted by Douglas Howe

The truest “reality TV” of all commences today, as the news networks are lined up for our viewership as much as the candidates are seeking our vote. Why? Because the drama of the entertainment portion of today overlaps with the […]

Best Word on Haggard

posted by Douglas Howe

Yes it’s election day and the Ted Haggard story news cycle has probably (hopefully?) run its course. But after the treatment on CNN and Fox, Leno and Letterman, and just about every other news and comedy outlet, I found the […]

Borat: Where Do I Begin?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

I guess every discussion of Borat–the character brought to life by Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and the film featuring that character–has to begin with that pivotal moment in country-western anti-Semitism, “Throw the Jew Down the Well.” We could discuss, […]

When Is a Jesus Band Not a Jesus Band?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The question used to be, can a Jesus band ever not sing about Jesus? These days, the question, asked by The Denver Post’s Ricardo Baca, has become: Can a band sing about Jesus without being called a Jesus band? Baca […]

“The Simpsons”: Boy Meets Golem

posted by Ellen Leventry

When I was younger, I had heard tell of the Golem, but only truly became acquainted with the legend thanks to the “Kaddish” episode of “The X-Files,” in which the legendary clay monster of Jewish folklore is brought forth to […]

The Ted Haggard Story: It’s Culture, Not Christianity

posted by Douglas Howe

If you watch the news, read the paper or log onto Beliefnet for news, you’ve heard about Colorado’s Rev. Ted Haggard and his indiscretions. My heart goes out to him, his family, his congregation, and his friends, some of whom […]

“The Office” Celebrates Diwali

posted by jmcgee

American Hindus can rejoice that their most important festival, Diwali, has finally gotten a nod from pop culture. Last night on NBC’s “The Office,” chatty Kelly invited her colleagues to a party for Diwali, which she described as a festival […]

Bono’s Big ( Tax) Break

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Whether he’s appearing with Oprah to promote his latest fundraising strategy for aid to Africa or meeting with global leaders to convince them to commit more funds to African debt relief, it’s hard to find any negative press surrounding Bono’s […]

Community & Ritual in Speed-Novel-Writing

posted by Donna Freitas

Each year since 1999, beginning November 1st and ending November 30th, writers all over the United States race to type-type-type away at their laptops, desktops, and (for the old-fashioned) typewriters, to get that novel that’s been rattling around in their […]

Evolution on “South Park”

posted by lmarcus

“South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker seem to live by Abbie Hoffman’s famous saying that “sacred cow makes the tastiest hamburger.” Last night’s episode featured the controversial topic of teaching evolution in public schools. The kids’ teacher, Ms. […]

Jesus Camp Closes

posted by Kris Rasmussen

While the controversial documentary “Jesus Camp” has inspired plenty of criticism and little box office success, the film has had one significant impact for the director of the camp depicted in the film, Becky Fisher: The camp, Kids on Fire, […]

Madonna Speaks about the Cross

posted by mkress

On “Dateline” last night, Madonna spoke about the controversy over her adopting an African baby–and, of course, about that other controversy, over her on-stage crucifixion act. Watch that section of the interview:

‘Jewface’ and the Search for Jewish Connection

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

People who find Borat or Jewtopia offensive are also likely to rail against the new release from Reboot Stereophonic Records for its title alone. “Jewface,” like other neo-cultural Jewish efforts, is named to provoke even before anyone actually listens to […]

Borders and ‘Pop’ Culture

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Did bookstore mega-chain Borders ban a young adult novel because the book implied sex was as good as soda pop? Borders’ recent decision not to stock the young adult novel “Pop!” has caused some puzzlement in the publishing industry. Though […]

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A First Look at 'Saints and Strangers'
National Geographic will be releasing a four-hour epic television movie event this fall  that takes a historical look at what life was really like for the pilgrims, and the hardships they faced in the New World. Saints & Strangers will not ...

posted 3:26:22pm Aug. 03, 2015 | read full post »

The Arizona Cardinals Hire First Female NFL Coach
The National Football League appears to be making the same strides toward gender equality by hiring Jen Welter who is the first female NFL coach. The Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians hinted towards the hiring of a female coach back ...

posted 8:52:03am Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Bobbi Kristina Brown Dies at 22
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n5A6ZCXuis[/youtube]Bobbi Kristina Brown, the daughter of the late Whitney Houston, died Sunday at the age of 22. On June 24, the family announced that Bobbi Kristina would be moved to a hospice facility ...

posted 9:47:31am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

“The Great” Hope Hits Theaters Today
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11tsR0kI1ZQ&feature=youtu.be Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Billy “The Great” Hope, a junior middleweight boxing champion in “Southpaw.” Hope had all the riches he could dream of--a solid family and a ...

posted 10:20:53am Jul. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Becky Hammon Makes History Again
Becky Hammon made history again on Monday by becoming the first female coach to win a NBA Summer League Title, as she led the San Antonio Spurs to a championship victory at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Championship. The Spurs first game ...

posted 8:08:40am Jul. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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