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November 2007 Archives

Check Out ‘Pictures of Hollis Woods’

posted by dross

In what is Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 231st presentation, “Pictures of Hollis Woods” is sure to inspire. The movie, which is based on the Newberry Honor award-winning book of the same name, tells the story of a young girl, Hollis […]

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A “Savage”ly Funny Movie About a Heartbreaking Topic

posted by mkress

Siblings putting their father in a nursing home may hardly seem like the stuff of great movies, but thanks to a couple of amazing performances and a large dose of humor mixed into its drama, “The Savages” is touching, funny, […]

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Sound Off About ‘The Golden Compass’

posted by Idol Chatter

Philip Pullman and ‘The Golden Compass’ movie, opening Dec. 7, are sparking sharp emotions from both friends and foes of his fantasy trilogy. To many Christians, the story is an anti-religious fable aimed at instilling atheism in children, while the […]

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New Religion News Blog

posted by Idol Chatter

Congratulations to our friends at Religion News Service for launching a new religion news blog to suplement their superb news-wire offerings. Idol Chatter is particularly happy to see a healthy dose of pop-culture commentary on the blog, with entries on […]

Jews in Sports Vs. Jews In Sports

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

This summer marked the opening season of the Israel Baseball League. It opened to some controversy, because the sport’s pretty American; in Israel, they play “football”, of course, and some basketball. But baseball? Could the society support a new sport […]

Gnostically Naughty and Nice: Gospel of the Second Coming

posted by Idol Chatter

To read a Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy book is to tease your intellect with the idea that all the literal religious history and dogma you have learned, believed and followed may be…well, how do I say this politely…does “a […]

Linney on Nursing Homes: “The Savages”

posted by Idol Chatter

When I ask Laura Linney if getting the green light for a movie set extensively in nursing homes was easy, she leans forward and lets out a loud, disbelieving “God no!” She’s meeting with journalists at the Ritz Carlton hotel […]

Attention All Jedis: Stop Praying for Harrison Ford

posted by lmarcus

The phrase “cult of celebrity” didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s not uncommon for people to worship celebrities they way they worship deities. One such celebrity is megastar actor Harrison Ford, who has starred in films like “American Graffiti,” “Air […]

The Songs, Mostly, Remain the Same

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Ah, the holidays, time for family feasts, parties, and rock-radio countdowns of the greatest songs of all time. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, classic-rock stations traditionally turn to these listener-driven stunts (“You picked ‘em, we’re playing ‘em”) to salvage […]

“Gossip Girl”: Sex, Drugs, and More Sex Among the Rich, High School Set

posted by Donna Freitas

While adults on TV seem to be romancing each other with nary a kiss, high schoolers on the other hand, are hopping into bed left and right on the CW’s new smash hit “Gossip Girl.” Oh, and doing burlesque night […]

Will Smith Thinks The Bible and Scientology are the Same

posted by Kris Rasmussen

There has been speculation in the last year or two that Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, have become involved with Scientology via his friendship with Tom Cruise. Smith denied those rumors last year, saying that his deceased grandmother, […]

Dylan, the Reluctant Spokesman: “I’m Not There”

posted by Idol Chatter

Bob Dylan is, for my money, the poet of our generation, although Allen Ginsberg is a close second. And both figure in the new film “I’m Not There” about his life, his music, and most of all his protean self. […]

The Worship-Ness of Sigur Ros

posted by Patton Dodd

Most obvious is the overwhelming sense of awe that comes from Sigur Ros’ music. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” Gerard Manley Hopkins once wrote, and compositions like “I Gaer,” are charged with that same grandeur. Starting with a modest glockenspiel melody, the song suddenly cracks open like a raging electrical storm, a billowing frenzy of guitars and drums. The band is joined on many tracks by the Icelandic string quartet Amiina, and together, the musicians build songs that can only be described with breathless hyperbole and metaphor: angels dancing, birds soaring above clouds, flyover shots of glaciers. There’s such a hugeness to this music–the melodies are clearly in service of something more than entertainment or selling CDs.
Also, Sigur Ros understands how to create space for listeners to experience songs. This is true both because of the long moments of profound stillness in their music, and the openness with which their lyrics can be interpreted. While many of Birgisson’s lyrics are in Icelandic, some are also in a wordless vocal style he once called “Volenska” (usually translated as “Hopelandish”). There’s been a lot of unnecessary media hype about this “language,” but perhaps it’s close to what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote of “groans too deep for words.” The lyrics to “Vaka” sound like this:

ee-sai-a-lo,
ee-so ee-saw-ee-slow,
ee-so …
you-shy-naw-no-ee-oh

What does that mean, exactly? Nothing, or maybe everything. “You saw the light?” “He saw you low?” “You shine on us?” Or something entirely different? Combine these vocals with the band’s aptitude for epic, reverent, hymn-like songs, and it seems Sigur Ros has given us a language for worship, a kind of less-spooky speaking in tongues.
“Hvarf/Heim,” along with the band’s last two albums, “( )” and “Takk,” are utterly burn-worthy. Listen, and before long, you’ll be singing along in your own language.

The Meaning of Life in a Coffee Cup: What’s Your Ritual?

posted by Donna Freitas

To grasp what I am about to say and not think I am totally bonkers, you need to first understand: I have not have a day off in, oh I don’t know, four months maybe? I mean, not a single […]

“Enchanted”: Enchanting Entertainment for the Whole Family

posted by Donna Freitas

If Walt Disney’s latest fairytale film “Enchanted” isn’t a star-making vehicle for actress/singer Amy Adams, then I don’t know what is. Not only does Adams shine as Giselle, the cartoon princess turned “real life” princess in this clever, very tongue […]

New Movies Portray Jesus on Buddhist-Hindu Lifequest/With Evil Twin

posted by Kris Rasmussen

With “The Nativity Story” not exactly turning into a box office bonanza and the adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel about the early years of Jesus hitting some problems in production, you might think Hollywood would take a break from movies […]

Abs(tin)ence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder? The Top 5 Television Shows Putting the Romance Back Into Relationships

posted by Donna Freitas

Chastity seems all the rage this season on most of my TV series favorites—both old and new. So much so that I wonder—what has sparked such a trend? From where does this loving-from-afar inclination stem? Are viewing audiences simply tired […]

The Message in the Marathon: A Thanksgiving Thought

posted by Douglas Howe

Thanksgiving Day TV was filled with marathons. The western marathons. The “Cold Case” marathon. The Alfred Hitchcock marathon. Football marathon. “Charmed” marathon. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” marathon. While marathons may be really fun traditions, they don’t say much about […]

Diamond’s ‘Caroline’ is a Kennedy? Sweet…

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Now a staple at karaoke bars, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” has been plaguing–oops, I meant “entertaining”–music fans for years. Forty years, actually. (Which is how long the Jews wandered, post-Egypt, in the desert before reaching the Holy Land. But I […]

‘Saving Grace': Holly Hunter Finds an Angel, Has a Drink

posted by Paul O'Donnell

I’ve been catching up recently with “Saving Grace,” Holly Hunter’s vehicle on TNT, in which she plays an Oklahoma City police detective who, “Joan of Arcadia”-like, gets regular visits from a messenger of God. Her communication with the Higher Power […]

Her Cups Runneth Over: A Nun Visits Christian on ‘Nip/Tuck’

posted by Ellen Leventry

The plastic surgeons of McNamara/Troy have left Miami this season and are making a fresh start in Los Angeles and the move has, as plastic surgeons say, rejuvenated “Nip/Tuck.” It’s as if the show has gotten an injection of Restalyn […]

“Hairspray”: DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It was my favorite movie of the summer, it will probably make my top ten list of movie favorites for the entire year, and now it is the perfect choice for a feel-good movie to rent this Thanksgiving week. Yes, […]

Steven Curtis Chapman: Share “This Moment”

posted by Douglas Howe

If you’re driving this Thanksgiving weekend, buy and listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s first new CD project in three years, “This Moment.” SCC fans will love and appreciate this new collection of material that combines a fresh themes and lyrics […]

Top 10: Big Screen on the Small Screen for T-Day

posted by Douglas Howe

Thanksgiving weekend is a wonderful opportunity for us to be reminded of what we’re thankful for. As spiritually minded people, it’s also an important chance to reflect on who it is we’re thankful to. Then, it’s usually an awesome weekend […]

Celebreality Gets Fired: Celebrity Apprentices in the Boardroom

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

When you think of the world of business, you can’t help but think of Donald Trump and his show “The Apprentice,” which, as the show’s theme song tells you, was all about “money money money…money!” The idea was that people […]

The Writers Strike: You Can Make A Difference

posted by Kris Rasmussen

One of the reasons I am proud to be associated with Beliefnet and this blog is that the Beliefnet community recognizes and discusses issues like the ongoing Writers Strike in the context of social justice as well as spirituality. I […]

Enter to Win an ‘Enchanted’ Picture of Your Child

posted by Idol Chatter

Thanks to our friends at Grace Hill Media, you can celebrate the release of the new Disney movie “Enchanted” by entering to win an animated, “enchanted” picture of your child. Just click on the graphic below and follow the instructions […]

MercyMe: Don’t Skip the New Album

posted by shuang

Click here to listen to the song, “Time Has Come” and to see the music chords. No matter how much you may idolize a band, it’s inevitable that you skip at least one or two songs on every CD. There […]

Is There ‘Wonder’ In ‘Magorium’s Emporium’?

posted by Douglas Howe

It was with high hopes for holiday fare and the memory of “Willy Wonka” and “ Home Alone II” that I anticipated the release of Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” Movies like this raise our […]

‘Tis The Season For…

posted by Douglas Howe

‘Tis the season for…Holiday Movies!! For some, Thanksgiving and Christmas are times to celebrate much that is sacred about our lives and culture. For some it’s a time that shows more than others that our culture is splitting apart in […]

A Nation Turns its Lonely Eyes to A-Rod

posted by Patton Dodd

Barry Bonds is busted. He’ll probably never own up to his guilt, and his lawyers might successfully get him off or significantly reduce whatever sentence he may receive. But he’ll always be an embarrassment to baseball, and he’ll forever evoke […]

‘What Would Jesus Buy?': ‘Reverend’ Preaches Conviction for Christmas

posted by nsymmonds

When I was in middle school in 1993, a friend and I made up a Christmas carol to the tune of “Jingle Bells” so that we could win movie tickets from a local radio station. Our song was rife with […]

Letterman Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

posted by mkress

Kudos to David Letterman for paying his “Late Show” staff out of his own pocket while production on his nightly show is shut down because of the writers strike. The news comes at the same time as reports that Letterman […]

Most Controversial Movies of All Time

posted by mkress

Religion and the movies can be a combustible mix. It’s sometimes led to protests, boycotts, even threats, and at least one tragic act of murder. Click here to see our Top 10 list of the most controversial religious movies of […]

Salma Hayek Thanks God for Her Body

posted by lmarcus

Salma Hayek is one of the most beautiful women in the world. The Mexican-born actress has showed off her famous curves in movies like “Bandidas” and “From Dusk Til Dawn”. But is her fantastic figure the result of genes? Or […]

Marie Osmond’s Biblical Inspiration

posted by lmarcus

“Dancing with the Stars” has had a pretty rough season. Contestant Jane Seymour’s mother passed away, then Seymour came down with food poisoning. Scheduled singing guests Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan had to reschedule their performances because of deaths in […]

Mideast Music Roundup: The Rhythm of Conflict

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Israel is turning 60 next summer, and along with all of its beauty and religious resonance, it has also become known as a place of conflict, of heavy headlines, and unfortunately more than occasional violence. But apparently, within popular culture […]

‘Southland Tales': Sign of the End Times?

posted by idol chatter

“It’s a comedic spin on the apocalypse, as it should occur in the great city of Los Angeles.” So says writer-director Richard Kelly (of “Donnie Darko” fame) about his latest film, “Southland Tales.” But viewer beware! “Comedic” implies laughter and […]

“Pierrepoint”: My Other DVD Pick This Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Yes, my DVD choices this week reveal the variety in my movie tastes as well as perhaps the scattered, unstable nature of my brain. While I laughed myself silly watching “Chalk”, I was deeply, emotionally disturbed as I watched “Pierrepoint”, […]

Win an ‘Amazing Grace’ DVD

posted by dross

The film “Amazing Grace”–which was released on DVD yesterday–tells the story of William Wilberforce, who led the successful effort to abolish slavery in 18th-century Britain. He was inspired by a former slave trader who wrote the widely known hymn. To […]

From the Writers’ Picket Lines: ‘I Hate That I’m on Strike’

posted by idol chatter

This post is from playwright and screenwriter Keith Bunin, author of the plays “The Busy World is Hushed” and “The Credeaux Canvas.” For the past week I’ve been on strike for the first time in my life. I’m a writer, […]

“Chalk”: DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

If you love “The Office”, hate preachy teacher movies like “Dangerous Minds”, or you just need a holiday gift suggestion for your kid’s teacher this year, I have the perfect DVD for you. “Chalk’ ( I am guessing the title […]

Exclusive Clip: ‘What Would Jesus Buy?’

posted by mkress

Save Christmas from the Shopocalypse! That’s the mission of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir–ending the consumerism and over-consumption they see as rampant in our holiday season. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, of “Supersize Me” fame, tells their […]

Brit’s Mom Writes Christian Memoir

posted by Kris Rasmussen

As her life has unraveled before our eyes, much has been made of the mother-daughter rift between Britney Spears and her mother, Lynne. One possible reason for the rift might be found in the recent news that Lynn Spears has […]

Does Defending Pullman Make Me an Extremist?

posted by Donna Freitas

While I am glad that my fellow blogger Kris Rasmussen has offered additional commentary (and commentators) on Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass,” and the question of God and atheism in the book/movie, I’d like to respond to her implication that […]

Enter to Win: iPod Mini-Speaker & Other ‘August Rush’ Prizes

posted by Idol Chatter

How has music changed your life and helped you connect with other people? That’s a question at the heart of the new movie “August Rush,” and it’s one we want to hear from you about. Post your stories below or […]

Congratulations: Winners of the Angelic Messenger Cards

posted by shuang

What was your most meaningful angel experience? In mid-October Beliefnet featured a contest asking the above question with two boxes of Angelic Messenger Cards by Meredith Young-Sowers as the prizes. We were awed by your openness, honesty, and willingness to […]

National Geographic’s Graphic Exorcism

posted by mkress

Mourning Norman Mailer

posted by Patton Dodd

I was not fortunate enough to be alive during the Norman Mailer heyday of the 1960s and early 1970s, when his writing on the American scene—from electoral politics to boxing to the space program to the Vietnam war and its […]

‘Good Luck’ on the Road to ‘Bootyful': An LA Shorts Story

posted by Idol Chatter

For someone who isn’t an avid short film watcher, it was somewhat surprising that the documentary “Bootyful World” and comedy “Good Luck in Her Eye” could encapsulate their respective stories with the ultimate message of female empowerment in under 30 […]

Top 10 Mormons in Entertainment

posted by lmarcus

Though Mormonism is the fastest-growing religion in America, Hollywood doesn’t quite represent the rest of the country. Still, there are some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints among Tinseltown’s power players. Whether they’re converts to the […]

Russell Crowe Wants To Be Baptized

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Russell Crowe–who has long played heroic figures on the big screen while being portrayed off screen as nothing more than an angry brute–has told Men’s Journal magazine that he hopes to be baptized in the near future. The actor, who […]

‘The Golden Compass': A More Moderate Point of View

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Just as I reluctantly entered the fray over “The Da Vinci Code” movie debate, I am not interested in giving more free ink to the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass.” I am not going to call for […]

“Hitman:” Sins or Sainthood?

posted by Douglas Howe

You’ve probably seen the trailers for the upcoming “Hitman,” due for release in theatres on November 21. Timothy Olyphant stars as Agent 47, a genetically engineered assassin, direct from the successful “Hitman” video game series. What caught my attention was […]

Exclusive Video: Philip Pullman on God, Atheism, and ‘The Golden Compass’

posted by Idol Chatter

A month before its theatrical release, “The Golden Compass“–the movie from the first book in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy–is sparking controversy because of what many Christians see as its message of atheism. Here on Idol Chatter, blogger Donna […]

“Into Great Silence”: DVD Pick Of The Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Modern documentaries usually rely on politics or social issues for cinematic inspiration, which is why “Into Great Silence” is such a surprising accomplishment. The movie has little dialogue and no significant action – unless you consider singing Gregorian chants significant […]

Pop Culture Angels: A Less Literal Definition

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

In writing up a comment to a previous challenge by my colleague Michael Kress that IC readers tell us about our favorite on-screen angels, I started thinking about Clarence, from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and ended up with my favorite […]

Divisadero – Of Intersecting Lives, Divides and Links

posted by Idol Chatter

“Gotraskhalana, is a term in Sanskrit poetics for calling a loved one by a wrong name, and means literally, ‘stumbling on the name.’ It’s a familiar occurrence in the Restoration-like fables of marital life and love affairs collected by the […]

Rosanne Cash Facing Health Crisis

posted by lmarcus

The AP broke news today that musician Rosanne Cash will be undergoing brain surgery. Rosanne, daughter of Johnny Cash and stepdaughter of June Carter Cash, is a great singer and songwriter in her own right and has spent the past […]

Top 10 Election Movies

posted by Douglas Howe

On this election day in many parts of the country—and with the presidential primaries on the horizon (and the front page), here’s my list of the Top Ten Election movies (that I’ve actually seen). I’ve evaluated them primarily on the […]

NBC: Goin’ Green This Week

posted by Douglas Howe

It’s been beautiful. It’s been a welcome change. It’s been a bit hokey at times. But all-in-all, NBC’s weeklong commitment to raising awareness of Global Climate Change has been in informative and inspiring addition to this week’s programming, highlighted by […]

No Downloads, No Peace: Hollywood Writers Strike

posted by mkress

The idea of the likes of “Grey’s Anatomy” writer Shonda Rhimes on the picket line because of her measly $5 million salary may be laughable–can’t wait to see Tom Hanks out there protesting his $25 million/film–but the Hollywood writer’s strike […]

‘Golden Compass’ Controversy Rolls On

posted by Donna Freitas

Two weeks ago Christians across the United States were abuzz about accusations that British author Philip Pullman allegedly is selling “atheism for kids” (or so says Bill Donohue of the Catholic League) through his multi-award winning, fantasy trilogy “His Dark […]

Ned Flanders Is the Devil

posted by Idol Chatter

From last night’s annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode, a segment on Ned Flanders turning the church into a “Heck House”:

‘Bella’ and the Christian Market

posted by mkress

Interesting post by Rod Dreher over at Crunchy Con about the new movie “Bella,” which is being heavily marketed to Christians. The movie is about a woman who becomes pregnant by accident and is planning to have an abortion until […]

What Would You Do with Britney’s $737,000 a Month?

posted by nsymmonds

According to court papers released on Thursday, here is what Britney Spears does with her $737K monthly income (with some editorializing by yours truly): $49,267 on mortgages for two homes. Shouldn’t her payments be lower? $16,000 on clothes: All this […]

Zuckerman in Twilight

posted by mkress

Philip Roth’s newest novel, “Exit Ghost” is the ninth–and, it seems, last–to feature Roth’s favorite character and alter-ego, the famous American-Jewish novelist Nathan Zuckerman. We’d first encountered Zuckerman nearly 30 years ago in 1979’s “The Ghost Writer,” a novel that, […]

Green Peacock

posted by mkress

Kudos to NBC for next week’s Green Week, seven days of green-themed programs. No, they’re not pre-empting our cherished shows for news and documentary reporting on the environment–they’re weaving this theme into everything on the NBC schedule. That means you […]

Burn, Bruce, Burn!

posted by Patton Dodd

Click Here to Listen to “Radio Nowhere” from “Magic” Doug Howe has already spread the good news of the new Bruce Springsteen album in this space, joining a chorus of hand-clapping reviewers since “Magic” debuted this fall. (A.O. Scott at […]

Don Cheadle’s Darfur Documentary

posted by mkress

Don Cheadle, so amazing in “Hotel Rwanda,” returns to Africa for his latest movie. This one is a documentary about a subject as serious as the Rwanda genocide, but more immediate and pressing, since it is happening today, now. Watch […]

Our Favorite On-Screen Angels

posted by mkress

Angels are everywhere these days, at least on TV and in movies. So, of course, we had to do a Top 10 of our favorite on-screen angels from the past 15 years. Check out our picks here, and use the […]

‘Dog’s’ in the Doghouse After Using ‘N’ Word

posted by dross

Reality TV star Duane Dog” Chapman of A&E’s hit show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” has publicly apologized after a private phone conversation where he repeatedly used the “N” word was leaked to the “National Enquirer” and made public. In a […]

Say a Prayer for Your Favorite TV Shows

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Have you, like fellow blogger Donna, fallen in love with “Pushing Daisies”? Or are you like me, and you become a little anxious whenever “House” goes on hiatus? Or maybe you can’t go to bed without your nightly dose of […]

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Debbie Gibson Still Amazes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6tHwESBFPA Debbie Gibson stars as Jessica in an inspiring drama about a woman who gives up her singing career to take care of her aging parents. Sweeping her dreams aside Jessica discovers that her dreams of becoming a singer and songwriter are not dead after bein

posted 10:14:01am Mar. 31, 2015 | read full post »

James is Back
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvQJbF2CXLQ Daniel Craig returns as James Bond for the 24th Bond film that is due for release on Nov. 6 in "SPECTRE."  The story will pick up where the "SkyFall" chapter left when Bond receives a case found by forensics at the "Skyfall" house. "You got a s

posted 2:02:26pm Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Meet Rose Arvale of "The Messengers"
Meet Rose Arvale, a main character in the upcoming CW show "The Messengers." “The Messengers” centers around five individuals who die as a result of an earthly phenomenon. When they return to earth as Angels with unique abilities, they must band together to stop the devil who has come to eart

posted 9:27:07am Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Academy Award Nominated Film Unbroken Releases on DVD
The highly acclaimed film Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie that tells the inspirational story of Louis Zamperini hits DVD on March 24, 2015. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Louis Zamperini won a personal meeting with Adolf Hitler, who complimented his fast finish. In 1941, Zamperini enlisted in

posted 9:19:32am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Self/Less: 'God Created Man, Man Created Immortality'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71fWtJXEI0Q What would it really feel like to feel immortal and you know longer had to worry about failing health? Phoenix Biogenic offers this once in a lifetime offer where the new body will be genetically mastered to perfection. Only a select few are chosen to

posted 10:57:15am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

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