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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

October 2008 Archives

Frightening Flicks for the Family

posted by Ellen Leventry

In this era of what I dub “torture-porn” movies like “Saw” and “Hostel,” there are few films on which burgeoning horror-philes can safely cut their teeth. Sure, the Disney Channel has some great offerings like the “Halloweentown” series, but I’m […]

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Top Five Media Masquerades

posted by Douglas Howe

Halloween gives the young (and the young at heart!) a chance to dress up, play a role, wear a mask, and be something or someone they’re not. For a day. That’s the key. On this Halloween, I’ve assembled a list […]

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Two ‘Twilight’ Tidbits: New Trailer and Movie Soundtrack

posted by Donna Freitas

Here are two new exciting updates for fans awaiting the November 21 release of the first movie from Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. First, the new movie trailer! The new trailer is heavy on the Bella scenes, focusing on Bella Swan […]

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And from L.A.: Barack O’Lanterns

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Where passion and politics meet…pumpkins. You gotta love Los Angeles. As a recent transplant from New York, I’m constantly amazed by the parade of human…um…innovation. LAist, a daily online publication about life in L.A., shared a new election-themed site called–wait […]

Top 10 Wily, Wonderful, and Wicked Witches

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Starting with the biblical and ending with the bizarre, here’s my list of top 10 witches in pop culture: 1. The Witch of Endor. Star Wars fans are scratching their heads at this one, trying to figure out how witches […]

‘The Simpsons’ Spoof ‘Mad Men’ for Halloween

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

I don’t regularly watch the Simpsons anymore, but I wish I did. Especially during Halloween, a time when the rest of the airwaves are polluted with Halloween movie series, and there’s not a thing on TV that doesn’t involve ghosts, […]

Trump Tower to Temporary Tabernacle: Ivanka’s Conversion in Process

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If Page Six is to be believed, Ivanka Trump and her boyfriend Jared Kushner have sought out noted Upper East Side rabbi Haskel Lookstein to perform Trump’s conversion. The report comes after a “spy” reported seeing Ivanka and Jared in […]

The ‘Ghost Hunters’ Halloween Special

posted by dross

Although I absolutely love to scare myself–usually with horror movies–ghosts have always been at the top of my list of “Things That Almost Make Me Pee in My Pants in Fear.” Sci-Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” always gives me a weekly […]

Nick, Norah and the Playlist Named ‘Jewish Identity’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

I knew I wanted to see “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” even before it started getting rave reviews: first of all, Michael Cera, ’nuff said. Second of all, the “mix CD as love letter” is a favorite theme: music is […]

As Election Day Approaches, How to Start the Healing

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

This election process has been a vicious one: but you don’t have to be a racist, a sexist, or have a backwards “B” carved into your face to know that however it turns out when all the votes are counted, […]

Jesus, Beer, Catholics and a Bit of Profit…

posted by Douglas Howe

WWJB? That’s “What Would Jesus Brew?” possibly coming soon to a bracelet or T-shirt near you! According to CNN, a Southern California entrepreneur is using the Jesus angle to sell beer. I’m a pretty casual guy about such things, and […]

The Surprising Tony Hillerman

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Tony Hillerman, the crime novelist whose books helped reignite interest in the Southwest and Native American culture, died Sunday at the age of 83, and even for many of his fans, his obituaries–of which there will be many–will present some […]

Miley’s Older Man is a ‘Great Christian Guy’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Joel McHale over at “The Soup” has been skewering the alleged romantic relationship between tween queen Miley Cyrus and 20-year-old model Jason Gaston for weeks now. Pictures have surfaced of the two together almost everywhere in Los Angeles from fashion […]

Watch Trailer: ‘The Spirit’

posted by dross

The upcoming movie “The Spirit” (set to be released on Christmas day) is based on the popular comic book series and follows a cop who returns from the dead to fight crime. The film stars Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, […]

Post Thoughts and Prayers for Jennifer Hudson

posted by dross

The Oscar winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who most recently appeared in the big screen version of Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees,” experienced horrific tragedy this weekend, as her mother and brother were found murdered and […]

Religious Jews Wig Out Over ‘The Palin’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Not since “the Rachel” has a hairstyle been in such demand. Jewish bloggers have been writing about this for weeks. And politics always seems to spawn merchandising. Now the NY Post reports that in the past several weeks, a wig-shop […]

Some Obama-Love from Religious Folks and Another Funny Video…

posted by Donna Freitas

So the word from the Pew Research Center is that “religious voters appear to be gradually gravitating toward Barack Obama as their pick for president.” While Obama is edging out McCain among the mainline Protestant demographic, apparently, “McCain still holds […]

‘High School Musical 3′: Senior Year Sure Is Sweet

posted by shuang

The Wildcat gang is back for one last hurrah and they’re not going quietly. “High School Musical: Senior Year” is effervescent, glamorous, kinetic, bubbly, and unapologetically nostalgic. This third film is focused on everyone’s plans for college as senior year […]

Britney Now, Then, Virtually Forever

posted by Paul O'Donnell

October has been a banner month for Britney Spears fans. Her new single, “Womanizer,” set an arcane record of the kind that baseball stat geeks love to cite–the song was the first to go from no. 96 to no. 1 […]

Top 10 Movies to Put Your Faith in Love (and Cry in the Process)

posted by dross

We all need to cry sometimes. And even if life’s going pretty well for you–you have your health, a wonderful significant other, friends and family who love you, a good job, a few bucks in the bank — once in […]

Watch Music Video: ‘American Prayer’

posted by dross

Check out this new movie video by musician/record producer Dave Stewert of a song he co-wrote with Bono called “American Prayer.” According to the website My American Prayer “the video brings together a diverse cast of personalities to reflect the […]

Must See MTV and VH-1: ‘A Night for Vets’ and ‘Celebrity Rehab’

posted by Ellen Leventry

Several days ago, while watching coverage of the election, I began reminiscing about the days of Tabitha Soren. Remember when MTV’s coverage of Presidential elections was seen as innovative and important? When Soren asked probing questions of the candidates and […]

‘Religulous': Are Faith, Religion, Extremism All the Same?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

I’m not a Bill Maher fan, nor am I really one of his detractors. His demeanor has never appealed to me, but it has also not appalled me. He pushes envelopes, and I support that within my appreciation for free […]

Early Billy Graham, the Album

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Remember when the Second Coming was imagined as an awesome but beautiful moment? What’s been lost in the rise of the Rapture Right in the past two decades is the yearning for the hope that ordinary Christians–the meek, say–have traditionally […]

‘SNL’ and The ‘Palin Effect’

posted by Douglas Howe

If John McCain is photographed holding up a “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline on Election Night in two weeks, pundits and media talking heads across the country will no doubt point to the invisible “Obama Factor” as the reason for why […]

Faith and Society in ‘Appaloosa’

posted by Douglas Howe

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out “Appaloosa” before it’s gone from theaters. Then circle back to this blog, as the discussion of faith issues in the movie I’m about to talk about will include a few spoilers. I […]

What Does Yoga Have to Do with the Economic Crisis?

posted by Donna Freitas

Well, apparently, keeping everyone from having a simultaneous spiritual, emotional, and physical breakdown, that’s what. At least according to the New York Times. In a recent article, “Staying Healthy in a Sick Economy,” reporter Mandy Katz had this to say […]

‘Religulous': Bad Title, Bad Movie

posted by Idol Chatter

By Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D. The Ethics Guy Bill Maher’s “Religulous” is a perfect example of how not to make a good documentary. A self-confessed agnostic, Maher sets out on a worldwide trek to understand how people can place their faith […]

Watch: Sarah Palin on ‘SNL’

posted by dross

Did anyone catch Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend? What did you think of the Sarah Palin rap on Weekend Update? I have to say, watching her raise the roof was pretty funny.

It’s All ‘Material': Her Madgesty’s Marriage, Money, and Religion

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

As any Brit knows, in cases of English celebrity/superrich divorce, settlements tend to favor the less wealthy party. (Just ask Sir Paul McCartney.) Especially if there’s no prenup. Which is one of the reasons that the terms of the in-negotiations […]

Oliver Stone Waxes Wise on ‘W’

posted by Douglas Howe

It’s always a privilege to be in on these media conference calls, but all I needed to hear from Oliver Stone about his current film, “W,” came in a response to Fox’s Courtney Friel’s questions about his approach to the […]

The Gospel According to Ricky Gervais?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I have long said that it is always a good idea here at Idol Chatter to have a favorite celebrity atheist. Mine used to be Kathy Griffin, but after reading an article over at Image Magazine, I’m thinking about making […]

‘Reverend’ Neil Diamond?!

posted by Douglas Howe

I’ve heard Neil Diamond’s music before and loved it. But I never thought it’d be time to call him Reverend Neil! Let me explain. What do you do when you’re 67 years old, on a world-wide tour, after having lost […]

Aqsa-Tube: Where Hamas, Other Terror Orgs Share Videos Online

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Americans know the fun of sharing videos like “Dramatic Hamster” and “Chocolate Rain” online with their friends. Many use YouTube. Then came GodTube and JewTube, for videos which were more religiously targeted. Now, there’s a new Tube in town–or at […]

Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman ‘United’

posted by Douglas Howe

From the honesty and transparency of discussing his daughter’s death to the energy and passion of their greatest songs to the warmth and joy in a loyal audience, Steven Curtis Chapman’s pairing with Michael W. Smith on their current tour […]

Madonna-Guy Ritchie Divorce: A Celluloid Lining?

posted by Ellen Leventry

Divorce among two adults can rarely be described as a good thing, and when children are involved divorce usually is downright disastrous. But, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that while it is truly a tragedy for […]

Pam Grier’s Spiritual Chat with Beliefnet

posted by dross

Pam Grier, that oh-so-cool 70s icon that you may now see on “Law & Order: SVU” and “The L Word,” is also starring in a new Hallmark Channel TV movie on Saturday called “Ladies of the House.” The movie is […]

Catholicism on Film: Abel Ferrara Shoots ‘Mary’

posted by Donna Freitas

The filmmaker Abel Ferrara finds Catholicism an irresistible background and foreground to movie making–whether he’s filming the streets of New York City’s famous Little Italy or Rome. Dennis Lim’s article “Struggling With Faith and Gentrification” in the New York Times […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Sunshine Cleaning’

posted by dross

Check out the trailer for “Sunshine Cleaning,” a new comedy about two sisters who go into business cleaning up after crime scenes–and learn to offer comfort and support along the way. Starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, and Alan Arkin.

Casting Crowns Fans Will Sing the Praises of ‘Peace on Earth’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It seems like almost every successful musical artist– Christian or not–feels an obligation to record Christmas music at some point and I often wonder why. I mean, how many different ways can you remake “Silent Night,” right? But then I […]

Enter to Win: ‘Expelled’ on DVD

posted by dross

Ben Stein’s “Expelled,” one of the most controversial documentaries of the year, is being released on DVD on October 21st. In the film, Stein, an intelligent design advocate, publically denounces the theory of evolution or “Darwinism.” Beliefnet has 10 copies […]

Enter to Win: Autographed Casting Crowns Album ‘Peace on Earth’

posted by dross

Top-selling Christian band Casting Crowns just released their first ever Christmas album, “Peace on Earth” last week and is already causing a stir among fans. The band is very excited about their new release. “I want to see people rediscover […]

Interview with Tim Robbins of ‘City of Ember’

posted by Nell Minow

You are involved in such a wide range of projects as an actor, director, and activist. Why did you decide to play a supporting role in this movie for kids? It’s nice to be in a movie that is not […]

‘The Visitor': My DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The indie film “The Visitor” has already received high praise from fellow Idol Chatter bloggers this year, but it was difficult to find in theaters. Fortunately, this gentle story of a recently widowed professor who befriends a young Syrian man […]

Watch ‘Family Guy’ Clip: Jesus on Jay Leno

posted by dross

Anyone catch the hilarious episode of “Family Guy” last Sunday, featuring a record store-working Jesus Christ a a guest star? Check out a clip below.

Psalm Pilot?: Gospelr Spreads the Word One Microblog at a Time

posted by Ellen Leventry

Just the other day I wrote about the hot trend of kosher cellphones in the ultra-Orthodox communities of Israel, asking if keeping users from potentially questionable secular cellphone technology, such as texting and internet access, was the best way to […]

Contemporary Christian Christmas…in October

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Sure, it’s a little ridiculous that Christmas decorations are up at K-Mart already, but they aren’t the only ones jumping the gun on the Christmas season. The last two weeks have seen more than one popular Christian music group release […]

Kosher Calling?

posted by Ellen Leventry

It’s the new calling plan sweeping the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, or Haredi, in Jerusalem–the kosher cellphone number. BBC News reports that the latest means “religious adaptation to modern technology” for those of the strictly adherent group, involves cellphones that “cannot […]

Where’s the Faith?

posted by Douglas Howe

During these troubled times, with prime-time TV dominated by news channels, I wish there would be more mention of our nation’s history of turning to God in times of trouble. I’ve scanned The History Channel, PBS, CNN, FoxNews, CNBC…and I […]

The Three Debate Goofs

posted by Douglas Howe

Man, what a drag! I like writing positive posts and wanted to say something great about last night’s debate. I suppose we could say that it was civil, and perhaps we could say that no fights broke out, and perhaps […]

Rabbi’s Son Spends a ‘Jesus Year’ in Bible Belt

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

People go to church to seek answers. But seldom are those people sons of rabbis looking for insight into their own Jewish heritage. All of that changes with My Jesus Year, a new book by Benyamin Cohen that also bears […]

‘Billy: The Early Years': A Heartfelt Tribute to Graham

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It would be a Herculean task to try to encompass the entire career of the world’s most famous evangelist, Billy Graham, so when producers as well as director Robby Benson (yes, “Ice Castles” Robby Benson) decided to do a biopic, […]

Watch Clip: ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’

posted by lmarcus

Poppy, a single 30-something who lives in London, is lovably eccentric in the new movie “Happy-Go-Lucky.” But her life begins to change when she embarks on a series of adventures, beginning with lessons from a vivacious and outgoing flamenco teacher. […]

‘Religulous': Maher’s Mockery Misses the Point

posted by Idol Chatter

By David Wolpe There are three problems with Bill Maher’s new movie mocking faith: It misunderstands religion, misconceives God and gets human nature all wrong. I have a fantasy of a counter-movie. I would travel around the world and interview […]

Kristen Chenoweth Makes a Beautiful Nun on ‘Pushing Daisies’

posted by Donna Freitas

I’m happy to report that one of my favorite new television shows from last year, “Pushing Daisies,” is back for its second season and quirky as ever (Wednesdays, 9 p.m., ABC). In addition to the usual, madcap fun of Ned […]

Watch Video: Behind the Scenes of ‘Billy: The Early Years’

posted by lmarcus

One of the most anticipated religious movies in years is “Billy: The Early Years,” which traces the history of one of America’s most beloved pastors. In this video, meet the producers and writers who brought the story to life and […]

‘Heroes’ Gets Religion and Goes Down Hill

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ve broken up with television shows before. The most painful in my memory was “The Sopranos“–a show I adored, but could no longer watch at the end of its fifth season because it had gotten so brutal. With J. J. […]

Billy Graham and Woody Allen Talk Religion

posted by Kris Rasmussen

In an upcoming interview with actor Armie Hammer–the young man who portrays evangelist Billy Graham in the upcoming movie “Billy Graham: The Early Years”–he mentioned to me that his favorite bit of research for the film came from an interview […]

‘Dexter,’ Doubt, and the Divine

posted by Ellen Leventry

Everyone’s favorite serial killer with a conscience, Dexter Morgan, returned to television last weekend with killer ratings, but the season three opener didn’t exactly slay me. If it sounds funny that a drama about a forensic blood spatter specialist-cum-serial killer […]

‘Nobody’s Fool': My DVD Pick of the Week

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I said earlier this week that I would recommend my favorite Paul Newman movie as my DVD Pick of the Week in remembrance of the great actor. “Nobody’s Fool ” is not only my favorite Newman movie, but it is […]

Didn’t Like ‘Breaking Dawn’? Me, Too.

posted by shuang

Here’s why it took me two months to finish Stephenie Meyer’s “Breaking Down”: I couldn’t stand it. Fellow Idol Chatter blogger and “Twilight” uber-fan Donna Freitas wrote that some fans had problems with the “happy ending.” That was not my […]

Movie Mom Reviews ‘Religulous’

posted by Nell Minow

The most important moment in Bill Maher’s new documentary about the dangers and hypocrisy of religion is at the conclusion of his visit to a tiny trucker’s chapel. As he does throughout the movie Maher challenges the very notion of […]

Jewish Living Magazine Folds

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the new Jewish year, but this new year brought a tough break for Jewish Living Magazine. Touted a year ago as the Jewish answer to Martha Stewart Living, the glossy magazine hoped to compete […]

Letterman’s Tribute To Newman

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It made me sad all over again for what our culture has lost when I watched David Letterman’s classy, heartfelt tribute to the late Paul Newman. So many Idol Chatter readers have expressed their sadness over his death and appreciation […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Billy: The Early Years’

posted by lmarcus

You already know that Billy Graham is one of the most respected preachers in America. Now, in this long-awaited biopic, you can see him as a young seminarian, courting his wife Ruth, and making his sermons. embedVideo(1819751462);

Kinnear Plays a ‘Genius’ on the Big Screen

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Actor Greg Kinnear has had pretty good luck playing the “every man” on screen–you know, those Jimmy Stewart kind of roles where an average American attempts to do the heroic or the impossible when no one believes he can. His […]

Israeli Army Tracking Draft-Dodgers…Via Facebook

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Israeli citizens have to serve in the army. If they’re religious, and being in the army would represent an undue hardship or challenge their faith, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) permit them to do an alternate service program, which many […]

Bill Maher Gets ‘Religulous’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

If you’re going to see one movie that prowls the religious landscape, asking difficult questions and taking potshots at crackpots, see Bill Maher’s “Religulous.” Maher is no theologian, and even his grasp of international relations isn’t always firm, but this […]

‘Religulous': Cheap Jokes, Little Laughter

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Though based on some of the responses I have received about my last post on “Religulous”, it might be hard for Idol Chatter readers to believe I kept an open mind when I attended a screening of the film last […]

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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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