Angelina Jolie Keeps the Faith With New Charity

Angelina Jolie | Paul McCartney | 'The Sopranos' | 'Studio 60'

Angelina Jolie Keeps the Faith With New Charity

Angelina Jolie was just named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential Americans, not for acting but for her world politics.

All of this does create a plausible question about her: With Time citing her for activism, what is her future in Hollywood? Will audiences still accept her as a fictional character and not a lightning rod for discussion about obsessive adoption and child welfare?

The answer may come as soon as May 21, when Jolie's new movie, "A Mighty Heart," based on the memoir by Mariane Pearl about the murder of her journalist husband, Daniel, premieres at the Cannes Film Festival.

In the meantime, Jolie has recently picked up some new allies in her quest to save children around the world and stamp out AIDS. She has taken an interest in a three-year-old group called Global Action for Children, and with it a new partner in the war on AIDS: Kay Warren, wife of California super pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church.

Saddleback, if you don't know about it already, is the hottest big-time Christian church to come out of the West coast since the Crystal Cathedral.

The Warrens oversee a $50 million operation and highly popular weekly services. Rick Warren's best-selling inspirational book, "The Purpose Driven Life," could easily also be used as a description of Jolie's career as goodwill ambassador to the world.

And Rick Warren, described as a "regular guy," also has aspirations to be the new millennium's Billy Graham in a Hawaiian shirt.

Ten days ago, Jolie came to New York, she said, "to launch the Global Action for Children campaign" — even though it had already been launched. The launch included a party at restaurant/hotspot Gin Lane where she boogied with French actor Oliver Martinez. But it also included many press releases about how Jolie was launching the campaign with Kay Warren, the woman responsible for Saddleback taking on AIDS in the first place.

GAC still has some kinks to work out, though. Even with a 2006 donation of $1 million from Jolie and Brad Pitt, the group is still not a registered charity and doesn't have not-for-profit tax status.

Director Jennifer Delaney — who is a little unclear about how Kay Warren and Jolie joined forces — says that for now, the money is taken in by another group, the Global AIDS Alliance, of which GAC is a subsidiary.

"We're doing the paperwork now," Delaney said. "But we're never going to have a big staff. And we're not about raising money to give it away. We're about raising awareness."

Saddleback is not the only religious organization, Delaney says, to join in Jolie's faith-based charity. She says the alliance includes about 20 groups, mostly Christian, but also includes the American Jewish World Service and Keep a Child Alive, which is supported most famously by singer Alicia Keys.

Masterful McCartney

I told you last week in my exclusive first review that Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full," due on June 6 from Starbucks' new Hear Music label, is better than anyone could have expected.

Here are a couple of other thoughts about a song called "The End of the End," the penultimate track on the album. I think McCartney's written a lyric here that stands up to anything during his time with the Beatles or since. It's a sad song, for sure, maybe a result of Paul's bad year and marriage break-up.

But it's also so lovely that I think people are going to be using it as an elegy for years to come. Here's a verse:

"On the day that I die / I'd like jokes to be told / And stories of old / To be rolled out like carpets / That children have played on / And laid on while listening / To stories of old."

There's really nothing like "Memory Almost Full" available right now from a contemporary singer-songwriter. It's quite amazing that we're depending on artists in their late 50s and early 60s to fill an artistic void. Amazing, and sad.

Last year, Paul Simon's wonderful "Surprise" album was totally ignored, however, even though it was the best CD of the year by miles. I hope that doesn't happen this time around to McCartney. "Memory Almost Full" is too good.

'The Sopranos' Ending With a Bang or a Whimper?

Last night's episode of "The Sopranos" looked like it wasn't going anywhere. And then: pow!

I won't give away the major plot point of the night in case you haven't watched it yet. But some very good moments: Tim Daly as Christopher's (Michael Imperioli) writer friend working on a "Law & Order" script. The character is a recovering alcoholic but works under a giant art poster for Laurent Perrier Champagne.

Elsewhere, Tony's conversation with Dr. Melfi was simply in a class by itself, superb and sublime. His "Is that all there is?" quote seemed to be a message from series creator David Chase. He knows the audience wants "Dallas," with a lot of plot and a big finish. Chase won't do it.

With four episodes left, he's laying out the ending of this remarkable saga with lots of detail and character. There will be no big end speech like when "Cheers" or "Mary Tyler Moore" went off the air. Some things will happen, some won't. And life will go on.

Some things look like they are shaping up, though. There's discontent among Tony's ranks, with Paulie, Chris and Bobby all vying for power.

Christopher's return to drinking and drugs, his paranoia that he's being excluded and his continued nostalgia and guilt about Adrianna may be his undoing.

We kind of hope that all this talk about Adrianna will lead somewhere, but with Chase, it may come to nothing. That no one in "The Sopranos" community has figured out their friend is dead remains puzzling.

I'm told the ratings are down so far for the show. That's too bad. It's never been better written, acted or directed. And there are all kinds of weird things going in the background.

In the first episode of this mini-season, AJ welcomed friends into his parents' living room. One was dressed like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business." Last night, AJ was watching "Tom and Jerry" cartoons on TV. Tony came down the stairs singing Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" to himself.

And so on. There's probably more. And I suspect in the future we're going to be talking about these episodes over and over a la "Seinfeld."

'Studio 60' Death Watch Begins

And here it comes: We are one week away from the announcement of NBC's fall schedule. The ax should fall on Monday, May 14. That would be the day "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip" is sent into TV heaven, and the pain will be over, at least in the peacock's accounting department.

"Studio 60" was a bad idea from the get-go. I told you last August upon viewing the pilot that it couldn't work. And it didn't. No one cared whether or not a bunch of self-important bozos who sounded like they had come from "The West Wing" put on a weekly comedy show. And then the fact that you never saw the comedy show … well, it was just a quick downhill ride from there.

NBC has bigger problems than "Studio 60," however. It has a lot of one-hour holes to fill. There's still the questions of "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." Will Sam Waterston allow his Jack McCoy character on "L&O" to become district attorney, allowing a younger ADA to take over? I mean, are there any 65-year-old ADAs in the U-S-of-A? If he does, then Waterston will have less airtime.

Also, how much longer can "E.R." be on the air? Does Maura Tierney refer to her mother (played by Sally Field) now that she's the star of "Brothers & Sisters"? And where in the world is Anthony Edwards?

Next Monday should be pretty interesting.