Busted Halo
Features : Entertainment & Lifestyle
 
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July 1st, 2005
Novelist Mary Gordon confronts faith and forgiveness in her new novel

So, do you really have to buy all that stuff for Catholic faith to mean something? I mean, does a person really have to be a believer?
At first, this seems to be the question at the center of novelist Mary Gordon’s latest work.
Pearl is the story of two once-Catholic New Yorkers?each deprived of mother or father by tragic circumstances early in life?who are raised together. Boisterous and ever political, Maria is a child of the 1960s, while her lifelong friend Joseph remains quiescent and dutiful; he becomes godfather to Maria’s fatherless daughter Pearl (this novel is the most concentrated tale of mixed biological-foster families since the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, or perhaps more to the…

June 8th, 2005
Where does Harry’s magic come from?

[SPOILER ALERT: While the ending of the new Harry Potter novel is not revealed in this review, certain plot points are...consider yourself warned.]
Shortly after the first Harry Potter books came out in the United States in 2000, The Onion ran a story with the memorable headline “Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children.” Included in the article was an interview with a young six-year old Potter fan who says that the books taught her “Jesus died because He was weak and stupid.”
Though The Onion is a satiric newspaper and the story was a complete fabrication, the conceit that there is something evil lurking behind Harry’s magical powers is no laughing matter among some conservative…

June 2nd, 2005
A review of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle

Hayao Miyazaki makes that rare kind of animated movie that both children and adults love. Considered one of the greatest writer-directors in Japanese cinema and one of the finest animators ever, Miyazaki is the subject of much critical buzz, not only for his Academy-Award winning Spirited Away but for the recent English language debut of his latest film, Howl’s Moving Castle.
Like Brad Bird, writer and director of The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, Miyazaki refuses to simply charm or humor his audience’s parents, but he also refuses to forget that animated films are primarily directed at children. Miyazaki takes this commitment one step further than Bird, however. His imagery is remarkable…

June 1st, 2005

What are your plans for a summer vacation?…

May 10th, 2005

Do you think men in our society still have an advantage over women?…

May 1st, 2005
CNN's Vatican analyst and National Catholic Reporter correspondent sits down with BustedHalo to talk about the death of John Paul II, the election of Pope Benedict and where the Catholic Church is headed

If you happened to be anywhere near a television set during the extensive media coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict, chances are you are familiar with John Allen Jr. Allen, who serves as a Vatican analyst for CNN and NPR in additon to his role as correspondent for National Catholic Reporter seemed omnipresent during those weeks as he
helped interpret the breaking news at the Vatican for American viewers. Just seven weeks after the installation of Pope Benedict, his new book The Rise of Benedict XVI: The inside story of how the pope was elected and where he will take the Catholic Church,… has hit the shelves. On the eve of its June 7th release, Allen, 40, stopped by BustedHalo’s

April 19th, 2005
A Review of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Early on in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi face Jedi-gone-bad Count Dooku in battle, Dooku–sensing that Anakin has grown in confidence, arrogance and power since last they met–makes the prescient comment “Twice the pride, double the fall.” The extent of that fall is at the heart of this riveting, often heartbreaking final chapter in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” saga.
Haunted by premonitions that his now-pregnant wife, Senator Padm? Amidala, will die during childbirth and frustrated by the Jedi Council’s unwillingness to name him a Jedi Master, Anakin is seduced by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s…

April 13th, 2005
A vocational smackdown

One of the sacrifices that comes with living in a religious community is that you don’t always get to watch what you want on TV. So, a few years ago I reluctantly sat down with a group of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans and, to my surprise, became one myself. I was impressed by the show’s quality, its snappy dialogue and its insight into the value of heroism and friendship. I was especially taken by what it had to say about a favorite topic of us religious types, vocation. Buffy, sadly, has been canceled, though she lives on�as she did after dying a couple of times in the course of the series�in syndication. You can catch her almost daily, between episodes of “Law and Order.” But, in primetime,…

April 4th, 2005

Do you think that the Live 8 concert brought awareness to people about poverty around the world? Are the participants really committed to the cause? How can we do a better job raising awareness about poverty?…

April 3rd, 2005
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code receives a cold cut

What fascinated me about the hugely popular novel The Da Vinci Code was not whether Dan Brown’s gargantuan best-seller had a shred of truth in it but rather that so many people found it to be plausible. Brown cleverly took some alleged rumors and wove them together to try to create a tale that people would find spellbinding and maybe even a bit controversial. My own thought after reading the book was:
“Could people really be this stupid?”
If the New York Times… best seller list is any indication, they are. Fortunately, Davis Sweet’s parody, entitled

March 27th, 2005
A review of Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles: Volume I

When Greil Marcus reviewed Bob Dylan’s eagerly awaited 1970 album Self-Portrait for Rolling Stone, he began with the infamous line “what is this s—t?” Dylan’s legions of fans, Marcus included, suffered traumatic disillusionment upon listening to the inscrutable collection of covers and poorly-produced musical experiments to be found in Self-Portrait, in large part because all were expecting something more revealing from the “self portrait” of the larger-than-life musician whose impact on popular culture had been—and continues to be—so enormous. While Chronicles, the first in a promised series of autobiographical works by Dylan, offers far more to…

February 10th, 2005

If you could visit Pope John Paul II in the hospital right now, what would you like to say to him?
We set out for Central Park on a slushy afternoon to ask people in New York City what message they would send to the ailing Pope if they had the opportunity. Many international tourists–in town to visit “The Gates” in Central Park–enthusiastically agreed to speak to us. Not so eager to answer, however, were the many Americans we approached. One of them even laughed and said “I’m not touching that one.”…

February 9th, 2005
Aimee Mann's new album is a knockout

“Addiction and Grace,” the title of the Christian spiritual classic by Gerald May, is also an apt description of Aimee Mann’s latest disc, The Forgotten Arm . Her new collection of songs marks the fifth solo release for the former ’til Tuesday front woman and the first time she’s dared to tread into the highly dangerous territory known as “The Concept Album.” Fear not, music fans, The Forgotten Arm is a musical novella that contains some of Mann’s finest work to date. In it she recounts the story of John—a drug addict—and Caroline who meet at the Virginia State Fair in the 70′s and begin a troubled journey across the U.S. Through her melodies Mann is…

February 4th, 2005
Indie troubadour du jour, Conor Oberst, is not the next Dylan...yet

Conor Oberst, the lead singer and creative force behind the band Bright Eyes, is one of those ridiculously accomplished young people who make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. The 24-year-old Oberst started performing when he was 13, and since then he has written nearly 100 songs, most of which have been released on a record label he started himself. When Bright Eyes released two albums on the same day in late January?I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn?the precocious Nebraskan received the kind of attention usually reserved for musicians many years his senior.
The pale-faced, stringy-haired Oberst is now the bright young thing in indie music. In the…

February 2nd, 2005
A review of HBO's Empire Falls

Good novels rarely make good movies, but author Richard Russo has somehow defied the odds. The film based on Nobody’s Fool captured the tenderness and humor of Russo’s novel, thanks in large part to Paul Newman’s spot-on performance as a sixty-year-old bachelor named Sully. Empire Falls, based on Russo’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel (which will be shown in two parts on Saturday and Sunday nights on HBO), is also an unexpected success, and again Newman, who plays the lovably disheveled Max Roby, deserves much of the credit.
At first glance, Russo’s novels would seem particularly difficult to adapt to the screen. His books are chock-full of idiosyncratic characters that need…

February 1st, 2005

“What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?”…

January 31st, 2005
10 albums that changed my world but never won a Grammy

Award show season is coming to a close. The big ones (Grammys, Tonys, Oscars) have all been distributed to this year’s winners and those of us who were not nominated for anything have had a chance to argue with one another about why our favorite stars should have won. Americans love award shows. It is strange in some respects because the movies, shows and music that garner awards every year are rarely our personal favorites. Our relationship to a movie or album is so personal. When it comes to the music that is most important to us, we probably feel an affinity to it because of the emotions it evokes, or the memories associated with it, and not because of any awards it may or may not have won.
Music can make the human…

January 6th, 2005
HBO's latest comedy phenomenon is vulgar, offensive and hilariously revealing

Yes, it’s crass. It’s crude. And it’s more than a little insensitive. All these charges can and should be leveled against Da Ali G Show , which recently completed its second short season on HBO. Nevertheless, Ali G’s critics miss the most important quality of the show, that Sacha Baron Cohen and his trademark alter egos Ali G (the rapper straight outta Staines), Borat Sagdiyev (Kazakhstan’s top journalist) and Bruno (the cartoonishly gay Austrian fashionista) are practicing a kind of guerilla comedy that does much to reveal and eviscerate some of modern American culture’s most laughable assumptions about itself and others.
The Cambridge-educated Cohen first earned…

January 4th, 2005

How has the tsunami disaster affected your faith in God?…

January 4th, 2005
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Toward the end of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Jacques Cousteau-esque oceanographer (played Bill Murray) and his crew finally finds the shark that they have pursued with Ahab-like recklessness for most of the film. The crew is still traumatized by a tragedy that occurred earlier in the film, and as they stare at the animal, they are deathly silent. Finally, Jane (Cate Blanchett), a very pregnant journalist who has accompanied the crew on their journey, tells the aging seaman that in 12 years her child will be 11-and-a-half years old. “That was my favorite age,” Zissou replies wistfully.
That bit of dialogue explains a lot about Anderson, the precocious writer-director…

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