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January 1970 Archives

‘Milk’ Celebrates a Gay Martyr, Maybe Too Soon

posted by Paul O'Donnell

In “Milk,” Gus Van Sant’s new political bio-pic starring Sean Penn, there are frames within frames, some of them intended by the filmmaker, some the accidents of history. There is Harvey Milk, played by Penn, talking into a tape deck […]

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Best Advent Reads

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The first Sunday of the advent season comes a little early this year, right on the heels of Thanksgiving, and if you are looking for some inspiration to usher in this time of expectation and hope, I have some great […]

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DVD Pick for Thanksgiving: ‘Pieces of April’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

In searching for a not wholly traditional Thanksgiving-themed movie for my DVD pick, an often overlooked indie movie from a few years ago quickly came to mind. “Pieces of April” , a film which features a pre-Tom Cruise Katie Holmes […]

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The ‘Princess Diana Bible’?

posted by Douglas Howe

Okay, I can hear the cards and letters (or posts) comin,’ because Idol Chatter is usually a generous and congenial part of the Beliefnet blog network, and we usually take a pretty open position in embracing our culture and the […]

In Tough Economic Times, People Turn to…Psychics?

posted by Donna Freitas

A few weeks back I posted about how people are turning to yoga for comfort during the economic downturn. Apparently, now people are turning to psychics for economic advice–predictions about the stock market, that is! Ruth La Ferla reports in […]

Germany Won’t Outlaw Scientology

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Germany has made no secret of their complete and utter distaste for Scientology in recent years. Last year, government officials dared to ban Tom Cruise from filming on location because of his Scientology affiliation. But that was really only one […]

Advice for Saudi Arabia’s Rockers

posted by Paul O'Donnell

When rock goes up against religion, why does it always start with heavy metal? The New York Times recently reported on an all-girl rock band in Saudi Arabia that has a hit with their song “Pinocchio,” a wail about love […]

‘Slow Blogging’ as Meditative Practice: What?

posted by Donna Freitas

I like blogging for Idol Chatter a lot, especially since it gives me great excuses to go to the movies and watch TV on a regular basis. But I wouldn’t exactly call the experience of posting about themes in pop […]

What Is Joan Osborne Thankful for This Year?

posted by dross

I recently got the chance to speak to singer Joan Osborne, who–even if you aren’t a fan–you probably know from her hit 1995 single, “One of Us.” [Oh, you know the words: “What if God was one of us/Just a […]

Negotiating the Spate of Holocaust Films This Holiday Season

posted by Donna Freitas

The New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott counts no fewer than five Holocaust movies coming out this holiday season–speculating that it’s the end of the year Oscar hopefulness that has sparked this spate of films capturing the horrors of […]

The Bible in Six ‘Violent, Mysterious’ Acts

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Actors in Goth costume pantomiming stories of cannibalism, rape, empassioned beheadings, wild scenes fueled by throbbing rock… Not another Biblical musical?At Northwestern College, a Christian institution in Orange City, Iowa (and not to be confused with the Chicago-area university), drama […]

‘Pushing Daisies’ Cancelled – Along With Two Other ABC Shows

posted by Kris Rasmussen

After weeks of speculation, the whimsical drama “Pushing Daisies”–along with “Eli Stone” and “Dirty Sexy Money”–was officially cancelled last week. In spite of numerous Emmy nominations and critical praise, the series about a pie maker who can bring people back […]

Michael Jackson Converts to Islam

posted by dali

Don’t call him the King of Pop anymore, because Michael Jackson has converted to Islam and wants to be called Mikaeel. The 50-year-old pop star took his shahada (oath of faith) in Los Angeles on Friday, as reported by news […]

Turned Off by ‘Twilight”s On-Screen Edward Cullen: A Dash Too Much Predator

posted by Donna Freitas

True, vampires are by nature predators. Also true, in Stephenie Meyer’s novel “Twilight,” Edward Cullen, every teen girl’s romantic dreamboy, is heavy on the brooding and, of course, the entire story turns on Bella and Edward as star-crossed lovers. That […]

Welcome Back, ’24’

posted by Douglas Howe

Imagine the expectations when one of the most popular–and one of the most inspiring–television shows returns to the air for the first time in more than a year and a half. I mean, that’s a lot of time for creativity […]

Is Barack Obama a ‘Twilight Dad’?

posted by shuang

Here’s another sign that our soon-to-be 44th president is hip (and it’s not just his suave fashion sense): Barack Obama has been reading Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series with his 10-year-old daughter, Malia. While “Twilight” skews toward an older teen and adult audience, it’s […]

Bronx Mowgli: Enough with the Crazy Celeb Baby Names!

posted by Ellen Leventry

After I heard that Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson named their newborn boy Bronx Mowgli, not only did I get an “icky” feeling, but I got a “that’s a bizarre Rudyard Kipling literary reference” feeling. Then, I realized that the […]

‘Twilight’ Movie Review: ‘TwiHard’ with a Vengeance

posted by Ellen Leventry

We arrived more than an hour early to the midnight kickoff showing of “Twilight” and the theater was already packed. Not with just 12-year-old girls and emo guys, but with Gucci-toting fashionistas and frat boys, two segments of the population […]

Have a Happy Weekend?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

University of Maryland researchers have concluded that unhappy people watch more TV than happy people. What do happy people do instead? Visit friends, have (a little bit) more sex–and go to church, of course.

3 Reasons To Watch ’24: Redemption’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

While I was once a fan of the action drama “24” the first couple of seasons, I got tired of the show’s premise with its increasingly convoluted storylines. Don’t worry–fellow Idol Chatter blogger Doug Howe has continued to watch—and blog […]

Colbert’s TV Special Is an Early Christmas Gift

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert is turning his wry wit toward Christmas. His comedy special, “A Colbert Christmas” airs this Sunday at 10 p.m. and it will skewer the festivities of the season before the season’s really begun. As Colbert points […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Fanboys’

posted by dross

In “Fanboys”–coming to theaters February 6, 2009–a group of friends obsessed with Star Wars plot to break into George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch to steal an early copy of “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.” The movie stars Dan Fogler, […]

A New Poll Shows: Hollywood ‘Attacks’ Religion!

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Hollywood is a conspiracy, all right. Movies tell the same stories over and over again, Hollywood thinking that we won’t notice if the movies show ogres or animals fall in love and live happily ever after, or that the planet […]

Yes, Even Dads Enjoy ‘Twilight’

posted by Ellen Leventry

I learned several things at a recent “Twilight” movie release party at my local Borders bookstore: 1. Mixing a strawberry smoothie with chocolate syrup to create a blood-like berry blast results in a rather tasty treat 2. The C.I.A. should […]

Can ‘Twilight’ Help You Believe in Jesus?

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, “Twilight” fans–if you are an Edward-and-Bella junkie and a Christian, you’ve got some work cut out for you. Apparently, the “Twilight” movie (and the “Twilight” series) are helpful for bringing “unbelievers” to Jesus, and The Christian Post will show […]

Prince’s Bible-Thumping Rants in ‘The New Yorker’

posted by Donna Freitas

I remember Prince for his risque lyrics and videos back in my middle school and teen years, when “Purple Rain” was his claim to fame. My mother forbid me to see the movie and listen to his music, at least […]

Watch Trailer: ‘The Reader’

posted by dross

In post WWII Germany, a teenage boy and a mysterious older woman begin an affair and become a part of each other’s lives in ways you would not expect. The film stars Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes and it opens […]

Paula Goodspeed: Just the Latest Celebrity Stalker?

posted by Idol Chatter

When celebrities become the object of affection for millions of fans there are often a few fanatics who take the adoration too far. Such was the case of former American Idol contestant Paula Goodspeed who committed suicide several days ago […]

Stephen Baldwin NOT Leaving U.S. After All

posted by dross

Whew! I think I might be able to sleep tonight. I just read that Stephen Baldwin will not be leaving the country after all, now that Barack Obama has become president, something my fellow Idol Chatter blogger Esther Kustanowitz has […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Bolt’

posted by dross

In this Disney animated film–which hits theaters on Friday–a dog who plays a superhero on TV goes on a cross-country adventure. The movie stars the voices of Miley Cyrus and John Travolta.

Exclusive Clip: ‘Boy in the Striped Pajamas’

posted by dross

In this scene from the just-released WWII movie, a young German boy witnesses his Nazi officer father viewing a propaganda film about concentration camps.

Hugh Jackman Walks the Line

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Revealing to reporters the other day that he once considered becoming a man of the cloth, Hugh Jackman told of watching a preacher on stage when he was about 13 years old, and having “a very clear feeling that one […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

posted by dross

In this Danny Boyle-directed British drama, a poor young man goes on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in an attempt to reconnect with an old girlfriend. He does so well that he’s suspected of cheating. Check […]

Sookie vs. Bella: Role Model Smackdown

posted by Ellen Leventry

I must admit that I resisted reading the “Twilight” series until a school librarian friend of mine informed me that I absolutely had to read at least the first book before the movie opening. So, being a dutiful friend and […]

HBO’s ‘True Blood': Exorcisms, Salvation, Kinky Sex, Depravity–What Next?

posted by Donna Freitas

As anyone who reads my posts on Idol Chatter knows, I’m a huge vampire fan (gigantic even!). That’s why I post so much about Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Series” and the forthcoming Twilight movie (this Friday! I’m counting down…), and that’s […]

Madge’s Rules For Guy’s Time With Kids

posted by Kris Rasmussen

The tabloids have been busy covering what is allegedly the first custody visit of the kids as they spend time back in London with Guy Ritchie. The London Daily Mail has printed what it claims to be a long list […]

Top 10 Comfort Movies

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Not long ago Movie Mom referenced a list of “comfort movies” posted over at movie lovers website Cinematical and then offered a few of her own personal preferences. In both cases, the concept of a comfort movie had more to […]

Prayer as Public Art? NYC Installs Prayer Booths

posted by Donna Freitas

Religion in the public square has caused countless lawsuits and raises the ire of many an American in one direction or the other, pro or con. As a kid I remember our own town controversy about a nativity scene (literally) […]

Watch ‘Twilight’ Clip: ‘Showdown’

posted by dross

In this scene from the upcoming movie “Twilight”–which hits theaters November 21–main character Bella Swan has a confrontation with an evil vampire.

‘American Idol’ Suicide: Don’t Blame the Show

posted by dross

Tuesday evening an obsessive Paul Abdul fan, Paula Goodspeed, committed suicide by drug overdose, in front of the “American Idol” judges’ home. Goodspeed, who had tried out for the hit reality show before—and was completely panned by Simon, Randy, and […]

Matisyahu on Music, Religion, and Charity

posted by dross

Recently a wonderful book came across my desk called “Awearness: Inspiring Stories About How to Make a Difference,” by clothing designer and humanitarian Kenneth Cole. The book is a compilation of essays by such well known celebrity-activists as Elton John, […]

‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas': A Haunting Look at the Holocaust

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Certainly with the many movies made about the tragedy of the Holocaust–several which have been done brilliantly–it could be easy to steer clear of yet another bleak look at the horror of that time in history. Yet if there was […]

Boomerang Explains the Financial Crisis for Kids

posted by Nell Minow

Do you want to find a way to help children understand and the financial crisis? (Could you use a little help understanding it yourself?) Do terms like “sub-prime” and “bailout” make your eyes glaze over? Boomerang, the brilliant audio magazine […]

Quiz: 007

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of this week’s release of “Quantum of Solace,” here’s a James Bond quiz: 1. The latest James Bond film is missing three key items that have been included in most of the previous entries in the series. What […]

Gear up for ‘Twilight’ Movie by Getting to Know the Stars

posted by Donna Freitas

If you are like me–obsessed with Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Series” and eagerly anticipating the film version of book one, “Twilight,” then you’ll be happy to know that Entertainment Weekly is doing a three-issue feature (with “collectable covers”) as the release […]

Interview: Phylicia Rashad of ‘The Cosby Show’

posted by Nell Minow

One of my all-time favorite television moms was Phylicia Rashad as the ever-capable, ever-glamorous, ever-wise, and ever-beautiful Clair Huxtable, lawyer, mother of five, and wife of the ever-bemused Cliff Huxtable. It was a joy to speak with her about this […]

Evan Handler on Faith and Family

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

At the Celebration of Jewish Books this weekend in Los Angeles, actor Evan Handler was making his 11th stop on an 18-city book tour in promotion of his new book, “It’s Only Temporary: The Good News and Bad News of […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Last Chance for Harvey’

posted by dross

This upcoming romantic movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as two strangers who strike an unlikely connection and help each other change their lives. The film opens December 26.

Obama Documentary Bought by HBO

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Since his trip to Africa in 2006, Barack Obama had someone hot on his tail: Edward Norton’s Class 5 Films production company, which had been following Obama on the campaign trail of what became his successful run for U.S. President. […]

Obama Won, So Is Baldwin Canada-Bound?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Ah, Stephen Baldwin. Between your passion for your faith and your movie career, you have provided Idol Chatter with much content over the years. And during this election, you did not disappoint, vocalizing your disapproval of Barack Obama, now our […]

Enter to Win: ‘High School Musical 3′ Prize Pack

posted by Idol Chatter

If you have a teen/tween in your family, you may have heard of a little franchise called “High School Musical.” The latest movie, “High School Musical: Senior Year”–where friends must endure separating to graduate and go off to college– is […]

Watch ‘Twilight’ Clip: ‘What If I’m the Bad Guy?’

posted by dross

In this scene from the upcoming vampire movie “Twilight”–which opens in theaters on November 21st–main character Bella Swan has a lunchroom encounter with the mysterious Edward Cullen.

Celebs Speak Out Against Prop 8

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Last week’s election was historic in a major way–with the election of Barack Obama, a Democrat and a liberal supported by many Hollywood folks, it looked like racism had been retired in favor of change and that a more conservative […]

Being a ‘Witness to Jonestown’

posted by Ellen Leventry

During the presidential campaign many conservative pundits spoke about people “drinking the Democrat Kool-Aid.” (And perhaps there were pundits talking about Republican Kool-Aid, I just didn’t witness it.) So, it’s eerily apropos that the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre […]

Election P.S.: Don’t Quit Campaigning!

posted by Douglas Howe

One of the more inspiring storylines to this year’s election cycle was the large number of people who went to the polls. And one of the driving forces behind that was the large amount of non-news channel coverage of the […]

Ellen’s Election Statement: One Step Forward, One Away from Equality

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Outspoken comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres just released a statement about this week’s historic election; no surprise that while she lauded the election of Barack Obama as a step forward, she was disappointed by Prop 8’s ratification.3 “Watching […]

Who Really Won the Election? The Pop Culture Winners

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Bar none, the #1 non-political winner from this year’s election process is Tina Fey. You’d be hard pressed to find another cultural figure who entered the election maelstrom a superstar and emerged a megastar. She was already having a good […]

Watch Clip: The Making-of ‘The Spirit’

posted by dross

Writer/director Frank Miller (“Sin City,” “300”) talks about why he decided to bring the comic book character “The Spirit” to the big screen. The film stars Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Eva Mendes and opens Christmas Day.

Michael Crichton, Noted Author, Dies of Cancer

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

According to a recent CNN report, author Michael Crichton has died in Los Angeles, “unexpectedly, after a courageous and private battle against cancer.” He was 66. To some book-lovers, Michael Crichton was known as the six-foot, nine-inch tall author of […]

Watch Exclusive Clip: ‘House’

posted by dross

Check out this clip from the upcoming Lions Gate Christian horror film, “House” based on the novel of the same name by Ted Dekker and Frank E. Peretti. The movie is about a homicidal maniac who claims to have “killed […]

Vampire Edward Cullen Transforms Into Artist Salvador Dali

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay. I’m not sure if I can recover from seeing photos of everyone’s favorite film vampire Edward Cullen (sigh) as painter Salvador Dali. The actor, Rob Pattinson, wears a little skinny mustache for which the surrealist artist was so famous […]

New Harry Potter 6 Trailer: Score or Snore?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If you told me that the footage in this new trailer for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is culled from the previous installments in the series, I would have no trouble believing you. Most of the images and bits […]

Enter to Win: Celtic Woman’s New CD/DVD

posted by dross

The worldwide sensation Celtic Woman has just released their new CD/DVD “The Greatest Journey: Essential Collection.” If you’re a fan of Celtic music, you will absolutely love this group (if you don’t already!) Beliefnet has 5 copies of the CD/DVD […]

Election Entertainment: 3 Fun Websites

posted by shuang

With Election Day already here, take a breather from all the serious presidential coverage with these entertaining, interactive sites. After you go vote, of course.   PalinasPresident.comWhether you’re a Republican or Democrat, this website is worth a visit for its […]

‘Zack and Miri’ Advertising Leaves Out the P-Word

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Whether he’s playing Silent Bob, second fiddle to a foul-mouthed, sex-and-drugs-obsessed Jay, or taking on Catholic dogma in the film of the same name, writer/director Kevin Smith (“Chasing Amy,” “Mallrats,” “Dogma”) may not be the most family-friendly of filmmakers. Take […]

The Real Reason Obama Wins

posted by Douglas Howe

48 years ago, there was a national Presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Those who heard it on the radio believed that Nixon won. Those who saw it on TV hailed Kennedy as the winner. Kennedy then […]

Palin to Tina Fey: Keep the ‘Sarah’ Outfit

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If Sarah Palin’s recent shout out to the well-liked TV comedy star who portrays her on Saturday Night Live is any indication, the VP candidate must be feeling pretty confident about her chances of serving her country. At a rally […]

Atheist Richard Dawkins: ‘Don’t Read Harry Potter’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Sure, fundamentalists like Movieguide’s Ted Baer have long been opposed to the evils of the Harry Potter book series, but would you believe that renowned atheist RIchard Dawkins agrees with him? In fact, the author of “The God Delusion” dislikes […]

The Great Hack: Calling Cali Geeks to Defeat Prop 8

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

You’ve heard of “The Great Schlep,” the Internet phenomenon starring comedian Sarah Silverman and urging grandkids everywhere to get down to Florida to make sure their grandparents vote (presumably for Obama). You probably haven’t heard of “The Great Hack,” so […]

A Preview of the Holiday Movie Season

posted by Douglas Howe

USA Today has a great holiday movie preview story running today which lays out the best of the upcoming movie season in two categories: “Oscar-worthy flicks” and “Box-office biggies.” Nicole Kidman’s “Australia,” Sean Penn’s “Milk,” Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” and […]

Victoria Osteen Says ‘Love Your Life’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Victoria Osteen, a young woman from Houston, Texas, is a devout Christian and mother of two who, by virtue of being married to one of the country’s most successful preachers, Joel Osteen, has access to an audience mind-bogglingly vaster than […]

Previous Posts

Exclusive Sneak Peek from Episode 9 of ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ featuring Mark Burnett and Roma Downey
[jwvideo vid='BvyIgfYp' pid='GvkPWNBE'] In an exclusive sneak peek from a brand new episode of ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey share not only what we will see in this coming episode but also a ...

posted 2:46:09pm May. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Grand Canyon University’s Center for Worship Arts Releases First EP Album, Receives Rave Reviews
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZkS1rx_5Hk[/youtube] Grand Canyon University’s Center for Worship Arts has released “Canyon Worship”, its first extended play album, and it’s already climbing Christian music charts for good ...

posted 10:59:32am May. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Box Office Blockbuster...or Blunder?
The Wall Street Journal reports that this Memorial Day Weekend, normally a blockbuster box office weekend, is one that Hollywood may wish for a mulligan. Disney's "Tomorrowland" didn't bring out the numbers, as expected. Granted, there are ...

posted 11:39:02am May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Letterman Bids Farewell Tonight
It's David Lettman's last episode interviewing, so what do you do? Well have his first guest, ever, Bill Murray pop out of a cake - of course! [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW8MY9CD-tQ[/youtube] Murray appeared on the first late ...

posted 9:03:34am May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Finding Neverland - On a Stage!
Calling all fans of Lost Boys!             You loved Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, right? The film about J.M. Barrie in 2004 is back - in the form of a Broadway ...

posted 12:53:47pm May. 19, 2015 | read full post »

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