Episode 52: Persepolis and Buddha


Sorry about the wait for this episode, I started work again for the church and my time for editing has greatly decreased. The good news is that Mike and I have two more episodes in the can and they will be released shortly. But our latest episode is here, and we are watching the Oscar nominated Persepolis, about an Iranian girl’s experience growing up in Iran and France, and the Indian import “Buddha,” dramatising the life of the ancient sage.

Persepolis (2007) – IMDb

Guatama Buddha – Wikipedia

Next episode we tackle more familiar territory with another docu-drama based on the life of prominent Christian, Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ. Then in TV corner, the ABC comedy “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World.” See you soon…

Episode 51: The Chosen People? and American Gods


What does it mean to be one of God’s chosen? Is it a blessing, a curse, a responsibility, or a privilege? Or is it all of the above? The film The Chosen People? A Film About Jewish Identity, asks these very questions. This movie is an independent effort by filmmaker Joshua Gippin. After getting funded on Kickstarter three years ago, Josh is ready to release his film October 9th, 2017 at the Summit of Faiths during Peace Week in our hometown of Akron, OH.  Look for it at a film festival near you.  Mike and I got to see a preview of the movie this summer.  I am especially excited about this film, because not only did I help fund the movie on Kickstarter, but I also have a small part in the movie itself!


Mike and I have also eagerly anticipated the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, “American Gods.”  I read the book at Mike’s recommendation, and he has not steered me wrong.  But does the show stand as tall as the novel? Listen to find out.


Next time we will continue our exploration of religions other than Christianity.  (We need a break after the massive amount of Christploitation we covered in our last episode!) First up is the French-Iranian animated feature Persepolis based on the graphic novels, and then the Indian television series “Buddha” which is available to stream on Netflix. Until then, shalom.


The Chosen People? A Documentary on Jewish Identity


American Gods Official Site | STARZ


Episode 50: Triple-ation-Christ-ploitation-stravaganza

50_-_Front_Cover.jpgThis is our 50th episode! We’ve been podcasting for 6 years! We’re releasing this episode on the 4th of July! And we have 7 Christploitation movies watched and reviewed in this episode! It’s a triple celebration, Christ-ploitation, extravaganza! (Triple-ation-Christ-ploitation-stravaganza!!!)

As you can tell, I like to make up words and use exclamation points, but Mike and I are very excited about today’s episode. We give our reviews on a slew of Christian faith based films. They include:

God’s Not Dead 2

Do You Beleive?

Joseph and Mary

The Young Messiah

Christian Mingle

Miracles from Heaven


Then we do a quick update of all the TV shows we have done in our 6 year history. I mean real quick, this is not a 2 hour podcast, I promise!

Next episode is going to be another special one. We are reviewing a new movie by independent filmmaker Joshua Gippin titled The Chosen People? A Film About Jewish Identity. I had the opportunity to be a part of this film and we got to see a sneak preview. The film will soon be in the film festival circuit so you might be able to catch it there. Then in TV Corner we are looking at the new Starz show “American Gods” based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Be warned, this show is not for the easily offended.

So, thank you for listening and we’ll do this again at episode 100!

Episode 49: Silence and The Young Pope

IMG_20170529_091230.jpgHave you ever wondered what really tough Christian ministry looks like? Martin Scorsese gives us a glimpse into the hardships and trials of two 17th century monks witnessing in Japan in his 2016 passion project, Silence. Mike and I have never been as divided in opinion over a movie as this. But we we equally flummoxed by the cable TV show “The Young Pope.” What’s it’s message? Maybe you will know.

Next time we have our 50th episode, and we have so much in store for you, we are going to take a quick look back at all of the shows we reviewed in TV Corner. Then, we are going to review no less than 7 Christ-ploitaion movies for you.

God’s Not Dead 2

Do You Believe?

Joseph and Mary

The Young Messiah

Christian Mingle

Miracles From Heaven


We will see you then to celebrate 6 years and 50 episodes of Checking the Gate: A Film and Religion Podcast.

Episode 48: Last Days in the Desert


Welcome, to what has inadvertently become a bimonthly podcast. The Bible tells us that Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting, and at the end of those days he was tempted by the devil. Did you ever wonder what happened on the other 39 days? Well, you can keep wondering, because you will not find a satisfactory answer in the Ewan McGreggor vehicle Last Days in the Desert. After Mike and I give our review on that film (with, naturally, a tangent into the artistic quality of the Star Wars Special Editions), we review the funny but now defunct TV Land show “Impastor.”

Next time we will dive into Scorcese’s new and misunderstood movie Silence starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver. (Expect more Star Wars tangents, it’s a safe bet.) And in TV Corner we review the recent HBO series “The Young Pope” staring Jude Law, Diane Keaton, and James Cromwell.

The Young Pope trailer in IMDB

Silence trailer on YouTube

Episode 46: Spotlight

img_20161106_193155Hello faithful listeners! We recently completed our Star Wars Trilogy, this episode rounds out another trilogy of sorts on the podcast.  We have previously reviewed Doubt and Calvary, and this episode covers the Oscar winner for best picture, Spotlight.

Christopher Marlowe Officially Credited As Co-Author Of 3 Shakespeare Plays

George Lucas In Love (1999) (Short Film) on Vimeo

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

The Boston Globe– The Story Behind the “Spotlight” Movie

(Contains links to the original exposé)

Was The First Season Of ‘Preacher’ Even Necessary? -Uproxx

BBC – Rev.

Shaun Of TheDead / Hot Fuzz / The World’s End (Blood And Ice Cream Trilogy) [Blu-ray]

Next time we delve into laughs in the afterlife in the old movie Defending Your Life, and the new TV show “The Good Place.”  See you on the other side!

PS Yes, that is me cosplaying as Jesse Custer, the Preacher.

Episode 45: Lightning Round

Lightning_Round.jpgHello media fanatics!  This month we offer up to you a smorgasbord of TV goodness (Well, most of it was good). With the new season of fall TV just around the corner, we take a look at some of the shows that graced our screens this last spring and summer. Four shows from four networks: Hulu’s original show “The Path,” AMC’s comic book adaptation “Preacher,” the short lived “Of Kings and Prophets” from ABC, and Nat Geo’s documentary series “The Story of God” are all reviewed here. For extra info, you can check out these:

The Path on Hulu
In the Footsteps of…En Sabah Nur
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
Of Kings and Prophets on Hulu
Of Kings and Prophets Cancelled by ABC
Cop Rock on DVD
Preacher on AMC
Preacher: What’s Going On?

Next episode will look at the award winning film Spotlight, and TV Corner will be BBC’s “Rev.” Until then, Blessings!

Episode Forty: Calvary

sept2015Hello faithful listeners! Sexual abuse in the church is a serious issue which continues to persist. There are no easy resolutions. Even so, it seems as if the church is slow to satisfactorily work towards ending these despicable crimes, slow in punishing those who perpetrate them, and also in preventing them from happening in the future. This month’s film, Calvary, shines a light into the dark heart of this problem. While this movie focuses on a negative event that the Catholic Church is dealing with right now, our TV Corner looks at the positive aspects of a prominent Catholic family on the CBS procedural show “Blue Bloods”
Next month, we look at the film we told you not to watch, Left Behind (2014) starring Nicholas Cage. And in TV Corner we will examine the new Amazon series “Hand of God.” After that, we are going to close out the year with a three episode series covering the religious and mythological aspects of The Star Wars Saga, culminating with a review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It will be our Star Wars trilogy, if you will.
Finally, a quick note about the sporadic nature of our podcast in the last year. Mike and I had various health issues and family tragedies hinder us; I (Robert) had to have eye surgery to correct a detached retina this summer. We are both feeling fit and eager to get back on schedule and will endeavor to stay on target going into 2016. Blessings!

Episode Thirty Seven: Retro Episode-Oh God! and Highway to Heaven

retro-font-01.jpgSeason Greetings! We hope you are all well this Christmas Eve. This episode has been delayed not because of poor health of your hosts (which has happened in the past), but because of the failing health of the laptop used to produce this podcast.  The issues seem to have been resolved, and so you get this present from Mike and Robert so you can listen to us express our opinions as you are on your way to various worship services and family get-togethers.

On our next episode we will be tempting fate once again by reviewing the just released religious epicExodus: Gods and Kings and the Hanna-Barbera children’s series “The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible.” We have already seen the movie which is currently in theaters, and the show is available on YouTube and DVD. As they say in the year 3001, Merry Xmas!

Episode Thirty-Five: The Apocalypse Special


IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!  In this episode we return to the popular post-apocalyptic genre looking at two of last year’s film parodying the Biblical account of end of the world, This is the End and Rapture-palooza.  In addition, we reveal our opinion of the new HBO series “The Leftovers.”  Also, take note of the plugs for two documentaries that (as of the time this podcast is first published) are currently in crowd-sourced fundraising campaigns. The links for both are below.

Hail to the King Homepage

Hail to the King Kickstarter Page

The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? EW Article

The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? FanBacked Page

IMDB: This is the End

IMDB: Rapture-Palooza

Official “The Leftovers” Website

The Wil Wheaton Project Episode 7

Next month we roll back to 2012’s “The Master” which “isn’t” about the origins of Scientology.  And in TV Corner we check out the current A&E series “Longmire”  See you then!