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‘Twilight: New Moon’ Gets New Cast Member

posted by Donna Freitas

Everyone is abuzz every time a new member of the ever-expanding cast for “Twilight” is announced. This time, on Sunday everyone was talking about Michael Sheen, the British actor who got the part of Aro, the head vampire of the […]

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Dog Yoga? Oh No.

posted by Donna Freitas

Tell me it ain’t so. Tell me that the next yoga craze does not have to do with people and their dogs on those little, squishy mats. And what if you owned a giant, chocolate lab? How would the two […]

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In the Age of ‘Gossip Girl,’ Kids Need Empathy Lessons

posted by Donna Freitas

The CW series “Gossip Girl” has not only made sniping–among both the younger sexes–ubiquitous, but it’s glamorized it, too. It’s not that middle school and high school students never talked behind each other’s backs before, or but the internet has […]

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Pro/Con Views About New Series: ‘Kings’

posted by Donna Freitas

Given that NBC’s new series, “Kings,” is lifted straight from the Old Testament, it’s more or less a feast for religion scholars and for “religiously minded” folks when it comes to pop culture. Even though we might agree that “Kings” […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

posted by Donna Freitas

Coming this October, one of my most favorite and classic picture books of all time is being brought to the big screen, “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak. This beloved story of Max, who at bedtime one night […]

Even Vogue Loves ‘Twilight': Stephenie Meyer Interview

posted by Donna Freitas

Stephenie Meyer is officially a celebrity, and one whom the queen of all fashion magazines has decided is worthy of watching: in “Dreamcatcher,” the March 2009 issue of Vogue features the author of “Twilight” and those vampires of hers we […]

Tweet Without Ceasing? The Church of Twitter

posted by Donna Freitas

I don’t twitter (or is it tweet?)–though a lot of my friends do. And I hear that you can develop a “following” pretty quickly if your tweets are frequent enough and clever, too. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that […]

Liked the Premier of ‘Kings’? Interview with Michael Green

posted by Donna Freitas

I’m hooked on NBC’s “Kings” just from the premier, so I’ve been searching around for new and interesting tidbits about the show and its future–especially on the religion front. So if you’re loving the show like me, don’t miss this […]

It’s All Edward, All the Time These Days (‘Twilight’)

posted by Donna Freitas

For the Team Edward fans out there, here’s some good news: Guess who is on the cover of April’s GQ? That’s right! Robert Pattinson (aka, Edward Cullen). Writer Alex Pappademas traces Pattinson’s rise from the dead (he was just a […]

Dakota Fanning Vamps it Up in ‘Twilight’ Movie Sequel: ‘New Moon’

posted by Donna Freitas

So this just in for those still following all things-Twilight. TVGuide reports that Dakota Fanning has signed on to play one of the Volturi–the ancient vampires who live in Italy and enforce vampire code world-wide. Fanning will play Jane, the […]

‘Angels & Demons’ Causing Catholic Stir (Again)

posted by Donna Freitas

I’m sure Dan Brown must be used to coming under attack from Catholics for his pulpy, page-turners and the nearing release of the film version of “Angels & Demons” is no exception. The Vatican banned “Angels & Demons” from filming […]

Catholic Church Bans ‘Gay-friendly’ Play in CA: ‘The God Box’

posted by Donna Freitas

By the end of my first time reading through the YA novel “The God Box” by Alex Sanchez (a writer colleague of mine) I was sobbing. Not only is it a beautiful story of two boys who fall in love, […]

NBC’s New ‘Kings': Could Be Epic!

posted by Donna Freitas

“It’s not popular to speak of God,” utters Ian McShane’s character, King Silas Benjamin, as he addresses the people of Gilboah in the opening minutes of the premier of “Kings“–a show that, if it’s about anything, it’s about God. Silas […]

Drew Barrymore to Direct ‘Twilight 3: Eclipse’? Oh No!

posted by Donna Freitas

So I thought that all-things “Twilight” would fade away with the end of 2008, but the series and talk of it is much like the Energizer Bunny–I see that now. It shows no signs of abating and so, alas, I […]

‘Twilight’ Director’s Diary on EW

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay: I just can’t help myself. I thought my posts about “Twilight” would end with 2008, but there is just too much stuff out there not to mention it. I just wanted to point all you “Twilight” fans on Beliefnet […]

12 Movie Jesuses for Ash Wednesday

posted by Donna Freitas

So Fat Tuesday may be over and fasting has begun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little Ash Wednesday, um, gawk-fest. In honor of today’s Christian holiday, Entertainment Weekly has a Jesus Photo Retrospective of sorts for […]

David vs. Goliath on ‘Kings': NBC’s New Must-See-TV Show

posted by Donna Freitas

Recently, I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at NBC’s 2-hour premier of “Kings“–a new television series that begins on March 15th. “Kings” is not only epic in feel and style, but its storyline takes up an epic […]

‘The Wrestler’ as ‘Passion of the Christ’?

posted by Donna Freitas

So Mickey Rourke didn’t win the Oscar for Best Actor for “The Wrestler,” but perhaps he wins the honor for Best Jesus Performance of 2008? In the fascinating, insightful article “Pop-Eye: Meat The Wrestler,” by Brent Plate, Plate wonders the […]

Why ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ Falls Flat on the Romance Front

posted by Donna Freitas

So, if you read my posts, you know that I go see every (happy-ish/sappy-ish) movie with some sort of a romantic angle. Though normally I would have seen “Confessions of a Shopaholic” the day it released, February 13th, because I […]

Animated Ramayana to Air on PBS: ‘Sita Sings the Blues’

posted by Donna Freitas

I first learned about cartoonist Nina Paley’s animated retelling of the Ramayana, a classic Indian myth (it’s 3,000 years old), called “Sita Sings the Blues,” through an Idol Chatter post by Aseem Chhabra who has a personal relationship to the […]

Joss Whedon’s ‘Dollhouse’ Premiers Friday: Is it Set Up to Fail?

posted by Donna Freitas

Given that I am a diehard “Buffy” fan, “Angel” fan, and make that “Firefly” fan, too, I’ll watch anything courtesy of their creator, Joss Whedon. So, like other cult followers of the talented Mr. Whedon, I’ve long and eagerly awaited […]

Top 10 Best (Worst) Romance Movies for Valentine’s Day

posted by Donna Freitas

I am an unabashed romance junkie, be they novels or films. Given that Valentine’s Day is almost here, and it takes place over the weekend (cue the movie marathon), I thought I’d tempt your hearts with some of my favorites […]

Stephen King’s Public Smackdown of Stephenie Meyer: Just Jealousy?

posted by Donna Freitas

Maybe it’s simply difficult to criticize an author whose seen wild success without sounding jealous. Or maybe it really is jealousy between authors. All I know is that a lot of people have had harsh things to say about the […]

Seeing the Super Bowl as an American Holy Day

posted by Donna Freitas

I have to be honest and tell you that I woke up yesterday morning, not even realizing that it was Super Bowl Sunday. I’m visiting friends in Vermont, and a long time girlfriend and I made plans for a lovely, […]

To Friend or Not to Friend the Pope on Facebook?

posted by Donna Freitas

Well, it’s official: the Pope (that’s PBXVI) is getting all tech savvy and into virtual profiles. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Pope Embraces YouTube, Facebook,” reporter Marisa Taylor explains: “The Vatican announced last Friday that it […]

‘New In Town': Good for Curing Mid-Winter Blues

posted by Donna Freitas

Full disclosure: I am a sap when it comes to romantic comedies, and, save “Last Chance Harvey,” it’s been quite a dry spell these last few months in the cinema for the genre. Therefore, I’m pleased to announce the arrival […]

Kirk Cameron’s 2008 Comeback: ‘Fireproof’ Is Big Indie Hit

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, full disclosure: I did not actually see “Fireproof,” a film “about a Christian fire captain who recommits to his marriage,” as described by reporter Dale Buss in the Wall Street Journal article, “What Christians Watch” and my main interest […]

Moms Unite to Fight ‘Muslim Doll’

posted by Donna Freitas

Apparently, Mattel has put out a talking doll that whispers (very quietly) “Islam is the Light”–apparently, this was not one of the intended comments the doll is supposed to make–and moms are up in arms across the country, uniting to […]

Sigourney Weaver Stars in ‘Prayers for Bobby’

posted by Donna Freitas

It’s not often that I am tempted to watch a Lifetime Original movie, but tomorrow night is the premier of “Prayers for Bobby“: “Sigourney Weaver stars in this emotional true story about a 1970s religious suburban housewife and mother who […]

‘Lost’ Is Back and I’m, Well, Lost

posted by Donna Freitas

So last season I stopped watching “Lost” a few episodes from the end because I got bored. I was especially tired of the flashbacks. (I was to the point where I’d just fast forward through them–am I alone on this […]

Harry Connick Jr. Talks to Idol Chatter About Faith and ‘New in Town’

posted by Donna Freitas

After seeing “New In Town,” the romantic comedy starring Harry Connick Jr. and Renée Zellweger that releases nationwide on January 30th, I was lucky enough to do a Q&A with the handsome crooner, himself, over the phone (his accent is […]

Evangelical Minister Goes Hardcore in Seattle: Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill

posted by Donna Freitas

As a Catholic, the incredible variety and range evangelicals have to choose from among available worship communities simply amazes me–from the young and hip, left and funky, to the old school and liturgical, and the flat out cheesy. If you […]

‘Numb3rs': An FBI Procedural Explores Faith from Many Angles

posted by Donna Freitas

Lately, I’ve become addicted to the kind of television subgenre known as the “procedural”–which is basically a show like “NCIS,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Fringe,” that yes, has ongoing story arcs, but mainly turn on an episode by episode, crime-solving scenario. […]

Travolta Tragedy: Don’t Blame L. Ron Hubbard

posted by Donna Freitas

I don’t normally write about celebrity scandal–it’s not my thing. But I came across this thoughtful article, “Travolta Tragedy: Don’t Blame L. Ron Hubbard,” by Kathryn Lofton on a new webzine, “Religion Dispatches,” that I like a lot (the articles […]

‘Twilight’ Trumps ‘The Dark Knight’ in 2008!

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, I promise (maybe) that this is my last post (or, one of my last posts) about “Twilight” for 2008. (Of course, as you know, 2008 ends Wednesday night, bringing a whole near year of possibilities…) I couldn’t resist mentioning this […]

Top 5 Spiritual Young Adult Novels of 2008

posted by Donna Freitas

Before I go listing my YA novel picks for 2008, I have one caveat: I am rather tired of the way people slap the word “spiritual” on everything including the kitchen sink, without really telling you what they mean by the […]

Why Twilight is ‘Spiritually Fatal’–You Know, Satanic and All That, Blah, Blah, Blah

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, so here we go. Here come the “Twilight”-bashing Christians and in the same vein as the “Harry Potter”-bashing Christians. There are now pastors coming out to denounce Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Series” and its corresponding movie and how it will […]

The Year in ‘Twilight': A Look Back on the Vampire Phenom of 2008

posted by Donna Freitas

I think it’s fair to say that 2008 was the year of “Twilight”–as in Stephenie Meyer’s the “Twilight Series,” as in vampires and vampire-human love, as in star-crossed romance taken as far as it can go, as in crazy, screaming […]

Portrait of a Priest: Philip Seymour Hoffman on ‘Doubt’

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ll see Philip Seymour Hoffman in just about anything–his acting is brilliant to a shocking degree, but even rarer is the way he disappears into a role, despite the fact that we all know who he is by now. If […]

The Christmas Creche: Its Collectors and Makers

posted by Donna Freitas

When I was a kid, each year when we strung up our Christmas lights and decorations throughout the house, I would set up a crèche (aka, a nativity scene). And each year I would get to add a little piece […]

Catholic Princess Takes NY: Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis

posted by Donna Freitas

So she married a much older man, a prince, and is known for, among other things, dying her hair a myriad of colors and even wearing it in a mohawk. That doesn’t stop Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis of […]

The #1 Place for Christian Prayers: The Web?

posted by Donna Freitas

The best place to go for your prayers to be answered–especially if you happen to be Christian and/or are down on your luck as of late–is no longer a house of worship. Nope. Apparently, the best place for sending prayers […]

10 Things ‘Twilight’ Teaches Teenage Boys About Teenage Girls

posted by Donna Freitas

While I don’t like this particular blogger’s attitude–nor do I agree with what he says–I can’t help but share this post I found about the “10 Things Twilight Teaches Teenage Boys About Teenage Girls” by Kevin Kelly. Kelly claims that, […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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) […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

‘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. […]

Ricky Gervais as ‘Ghost Whisperer’ in ‘Ghost Town’ is Quirky and Wonderful

posted by Donna Freitas

So yes, “Ghost Town” is basically “The Ghost Whisperer” starring Ricky Gervais in Jennifer Love Hewitt’s role on the television series, but here’s the thing: this movie has Ricky Gervais as its ghost whisperer and that makes all the difference. […]

Sarah Silverman, The Great Schlep, and Jews Who Get Out the Vote

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay so Sarah Silverman is known for her outrageous comedy skits but this one tops all: she’s done a video urging all Jews in the United States to take Florida by storm, making a special visit to their Jewish grandparents […]

Bill Maher Attacks Faith in ‘Religulous’

posted by Donna Freitas

According to New York Times reporter John Leland, he does. In this weekend arts section article, “Cameras Roll, and Faith Hasn’t a Prayer,” Leland says that “Religulous,” which comes out October 3rd in New York City, “shows Mr. Maher on […]

‘Sarah Connor Chronicles': Monotheism’s Favorite One-Hour Drama?

posted by Donna Freitas

Ginia Bellafonte devoted considerable ink to exploring the religious dimensions of Fox’s “Sarah Connor Chronicles” on the front page of this Sunday’s New York Times fall television section. About to head into its third episode of season two tonight (Monday), […]

David Foster Wallace: One More Moment of Silence

posted by Donna Freitas

Though my fellow blogger Patton Dodd already so beautifully eulogized writer David Foster Wallace’s early death, and Paul O’Donnell pointed readers to a wonderful piece called “Roger Federer as Religious Experience” reprinted by The New York Times last week in […]

Move Over Harry: ‘Twilight’ Movie Takes Advantage of HP-VI Postponement

posted by Donna Freitas

The decision that has Harry Potter fans in mourning–Warner Bros. Postponing the movie release of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” until July 2009–turns out to be a boon for Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” fans. “Twilight,” the movie, was moved […]

‘The Possibilities of Sainthood’ and the Next ‘Book’ Thing: Book Trailers

posted by Donna Freitas

So I have something that I think is pretty cool to share, and even though it’s about my own new novel, “The Possibilities of Sainthood,” I’m sharing it anyway! A new trend that has sprung up among young adult authors […]

‘True Blood': Does God Really Hate Vampires?

posted by Donna Freitas

Not according to me! I am happy to announce that HBO’s “True Blood” is finally here–and I eagerly watched the premiere episode, “Strange Love,” last night. My thoughts so far (and surely there will be more to come): 1) The […]

‘Gossip Girl': Can Two Wrongs Actually Make a Right?

posted by Donna Freitas

This weekend I indulged in my new favorite (super) Guilty Pleasure–the season premiere of the CW’s “Gossip Girl.” (It’s also possible I indulged in the new incarnation of “90210” and set up the DVR to tape yet another series premiering […]

To Read or Not to Read?: Stephanie Meyer’s Leaked Version of ‘Midnight Sun’

posted by Donna Freitas

It’s happened before. In fact, it happened to J.K. Rowling a couple of days before the release of Book Seven in Harry Potter–someone posted the entire manuscript illegally on the Internet. But this time around it’s a bit more painful […]

HBO Still Pulling Out All the Stops for ‘True Blood’ Ad Campaign

posted by Donna Freitas

Wow. If you ever read my posts you already know that I have a thing for vampires–be they from “Buffy,” “Twilight,” or the old school “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” variety. But it appears that HBO is as excited about vampires as […]

Is Buffy Turning Girls into Witches?

posted by Donna Freitas

We heard about it with Harry Potter in spades: that J.K. Rowling’s beloved series about witches and wizards would somehow corrupt the minds and religious practices of youth all over the world. We heard about it with Philip Pullman, too, […]

Am I the Only Person Who Liked ‘Breaking Dawn’?

posted by Donna Freitas

I think it’s safe to say that I’m Beliefnet’s resident obsessionado of all-things Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Series.” And those of you who followed my posts leading up to the release of book four, “Breaking Dawn,” I was, um, kind of […]

The Gospel According to Oprah (Literally)

posted by Donna Freitas

It’s no secret (ha! I am already making puns) that Oprah Winfrey is many an American’s spiritual guide. There is even a book, “The Gospel According To Oprah” by Marcia Z. Nelson, that “praises Oprah for using her entertainment pulpit […]

‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2′ Gains Stars, Loses Spark

posted by Donna Freitas

There is no shortage of girl-starpower fueling the “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” about four best girlfriends who find a pair of jeans that miraculously fit each of them perfectly and makes magic happen in their lives–or wait, […]

‘Gossip Girl’ Is Back and Badder Than Ever!

posted by Donna Freitas

Everyone’s favorite teen soap opera/guilty pleasure “Gossip Girl” is back, premiering on the CW September 1. And of course, its back with a, well, um, bang (so to speak). GG got itself in heaps of trouble last spring as it […]

Loving Thy Neighbor: ‘Henry Poole Is Here’

posted by Donna Freitas

I have a penchant for movies about survival–stories where the heroine or hero begins as down and out as a result of some loss, or setback, or even intense grief and despair, yet somehow, often rather a bit magically, we […]

Family Sees the Face of Jesus in Their Cat’s Fur!

posted by Donna Freitas

Um, this is not a joke–at least, not from the perspective of the Indiana family who believe that their cat, named Sissy, has fur in which Jesus’ face appears. Having just attended a screening of the movie “Henry Poole Is […]

A New Day Dawns for Twilight Fans!

posted by Donna Freitas

Hello all you excited Twilight fans! The moment has arrived…”Breaking Dawn” is available! Please check out my geekiest-ever report for Publishers Weekly on my night out with Stephenie Meyer, at the “Breaking Dawn” concert in New York City the night […]

Watch ‘Breaking Dawn’ Book Release Concert Live, Tonight!

posted by Donna Freitas

Words can’t express how excited I am to be going to the special New York City launch party for Stephenie Meyer’s “Breaking Dawn” tonight at the Nokia Theater in Times Sqaure. But if you can’t join the party…or you couldn’t […]

Stephenie Meyer: The Most Famous Author You’ve Never Heard Of?

posted by Donna Freitas

Well she is according to a major USA Today story anticipating the midnight madness about to befall us this evening when “Breaking Dawn,” Book 4 of the “Twilight Series” releases. And apparently, Stephenie Meyer is the world’s newest celebrity author […]

Countdown to Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Breaking Dawn': Your Pre-‘Twilight’ Release To-Do List

posted by Donna Freitas

We’ve barely one day left before the much-awaited release of Stephenie Meyer’s book four in the Twilight Series, “Breaking Dawn.” (!!!!!!!!!) I’ve taken the liberty of drawing up a pre-lease “To-Do” list for all you “Twilight” fans between now and […]

More Vampire News: HBO’s ‘True Blood’ Ad Campaign

posted by Donna Freitas

Well, when you are finished with “Breaking Dawn” (sniff, sniff–what are we going to do when it’s over?), you’ve gotten through all the Buffy DVD’s (which, if you are a vampire fan, are a must), you can tune in this […]

(Stephenie Meyer) Vampire Week: ‘Twilight Moms’ Juggle Family, Fangs

posted by Donna Freitas

After declaring it officially Vampire Week on Beliefnet yesterday (even though we really know that it’s Vampires 4eva and I will have to continue posting after the release of “Breaking Dawn”–because won’t we all want to discuss?), I was happy […]

It’s Officially (Stephenie Meyer) Vampire Week on Beliefnet!

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, so maybe it’s a little more than a week and maybe I don’t really have the authority to do this, but I am singlehandedly declaring it Vampire Week on Beliefnet. (Or, um, Vampire 10 Days? But don’t you think […]

Tattoo Taboo?

posted by Donna Freitas

The New York Times Style section devotes an entire article to the question “Tattoo or not Tattoo?” if you are young and Jewish. Reporter Kate Torgovnick investigates what the Torah says about body art: “Jewish law on tattooing is slippery. […]

Batman’s ‘Dark Knight’ of the Soul

posted by Donna Freitas

The long-awaited sequel, “The Dark Knight,” to Christopher Nolan’s wildly popular “Batman Begins,” is well over two hours of white-knuckled, grip your seat, hide your eyes, action and suspense. Without going into specifics (I really don’t want to spoil anything […]

Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Vampire Empire’

posted by Donna Freitas

I feel a certain amount of pride that I’m one of the folks who jumped on the Mormon Mom Stephenie Meyer “Twilight” bandwagon back when the very first book was still in galleys. I remember getting the bound paperback ARC […]

The Passion of Stephen Colbert?!

posted by Donna Freitas

Esquire Magazine’s August 2008 cover is of none other than the king of comedy (at least according to me), Stephen Colbert, posing as a jolly St. Sebastian! St. Sebastian is the Patron Saint of, among many other things, athletes, and […]

Hugging Saint Takes Manhattan

posted by Donna Freitas

Last week, Mata Amritanandamayi, known popularly as Amma, or the “Hugging Saint” sponsored a three-day hugging marathon in New York City as part of her U.S. visit. The lines were astounding–people waited upwards of seven hours for their hug–reports April […]

It’s Not Easy Be(com)ing a Celebrity Guru

posted by Donna Freitas

Last week the New York Times Style section did an interesting feature/exposé on the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health–a popular New Age retreat destination in Massachusetts that attracts “30,000 guests a year” and “bills itself as the biggest retreat […]

‘Secret Life of an American Teenager': A Different Perspective

posted by Donna Freitas

I finally watched episode one of “The Secret Life of an American Teenager,” the new, much advertised and talked about television series that premiered on ABC Family last Tuesday. I know my fellow Idol Chatter blogger Kris is rather outraged […]

‘The Middleman': Gosh-Golly, It’s Good!

posted by Donna Freitas

After reading the New York Times’ excellent review of ABC Family’s newest quirky, squeaky-clean series, “The Middleman,” by Susan Stewart–it’s basically an ode–I quickly DVR’d the pilot I missed from last week and set up the cable to catch epsiode […]

Jim James of My Morning Jacket: Music Man Shaman?

posted by Donna Freitas

Check out New York Times reporter Nate Chinen’s live music review of lead singer Jim James of the band My Morning Jacket who, Chinen calls, a “cheeky Shaman” and describes his music as “music to get lost in, body and […]

‘Get Smart': Have a Little More Faith in Steve Carell Please!

posted by Donna Freitas

I know my fellow Idol Chatter blogger Doug Howe has urged everyone to stay home and wait for the “Get Smart” DVD, but I roundly disagree! I too, saw “Get Smart” on its premier weekend and I not only loved […]

‘Kit Kittredge’ Is a Must See–Bring Your Kids and Kleenex

posted by Donna Freitas

I know all about the American Girl doll empire from my friends who have daughters obsessed with all things American Girl Doll. Plus it’s hard to miss the many-story American Girl Doll headquarters store when you’re walking down 5th avenue […]

Naked Yoga at Esalen(!!!)

posted by Donna Freitas

Recently, I had the great good fortune to be invited to participate in a conference at Esalen–that famous, new age spiritual retreat (you know, the Beats hung out there, Huxley tripped there…) in Big Sur, California, perched on the rocks […]

Disney Ventures into Purity Rings and Chastity Pledges with the Jonas Brothers

posted by Donna Freitas

Everyone who either has a tween or knows one also knows that Disney churns out (more or less) family-friendly pop stars (see Hannah Montana) and one-offs like “High School Musical” (and its sequel) to unbelievable success–feeding the hopes, dreams, and […]

Why I Walked Out of ‘Sex and the City’

posted by Donna Freitas

After a long-term love affair with the four fabulous ladies of HBO’s series, “Sex and the City,” like the rest of female America, I was jumping up and down about the movie from the moment New Line announced they were […]

Katherine Heigl to Star in Movie Version of ‘Escape’

posted by Donna Freitas

Carolyn Jessop has become a familiar face on many a news channel and the talk show circuit, with the eerily timely release of her memoir “Escape” in fall 2007, which chronicles her life growing up (and leaving) the FLDS Church–the […]

‘My Stroke of Insight': New Book Outlines Alternative Path to Nirvana

posted by Donna Freitas

Former Harvard neuroscientist, Jill Bolte Taylor has taken a strange path on the road to enlightenment—and not one that most of us would want to follow—it was while she was having a stroke that she reached nirvana. Now she’s written […]

Dancing for Abstinence? Purity Balls and Party Dresses

posted by Donna Freitas

I don’t know how I, watcher for all-things Christian chastity culture-related, missed this big New York Times feature, “Dancing the Night Away, With a Higher Purpose,” by Neela Banerjee, from last week about the growing popularity of the Purity Ball. […]

Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Alien Coven! (I Mean, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)

posted by Donna Freitas

I just wanted to make a few quick remarks about my wonderful, Indiana Jones movie adventure this weekend… First of all, finally(!): the return of the true, non-stop fun, adventure flick. Whatever happened to that old-fashioned, Indiana Jones-style action adventure, […]

Saint Ron Paul? At Least According to Remaining Supporters…

posted by Donna Freitas

John McCain may have sealed the Republican nomination, but apparently libertarian Ron Paul’s supporters are not only hanging on, they are approaching his continued campaign with all the fervor of religious zealots, according to a New York Times Sunday Styles […]

My Teen Idol Kirk Cameron Called Me Twice Yesterday!

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, I’m going to take a minute to gush like a teenaged girl right now: Kirk Cameron, a.k.a. Mike Seaver from “Growing Pains,” that family-friendly television series that we all loved to watch during the ’80’s, has written a spiritual […]

Chaste Buddhist Intimacy at Home?

posted by Donna Freitas

The New York Times Home section runs every Thursday and occasionally they run a “Living Together” column. This week’s is more of a human (and spiritual) interest story than a story about interior design. In “Making Their Own Limits in […]

James Frey Redeemed with ‘Bright Shiny Morning’?

posted by Donna Freitas

Just about everyone knows about James Frey’s fall from grace and off the best-seller list with his faux memoir “A Million Little Pieces.” A public reprimand on Oprah’s couch will do that to an author. (Or anyone for that matter.) […]

‘Twilight’ (The Movie) Trailer Releases

posted by Donna Freitas

For all you “Twilight” series fans (whether or not you prefer Edward or Jacob), if you haven’t seen it already, the first trailer for the movie from MTV films just released this week. Check it out here. As Time Magazine […]

‘Surfwise': A California Family of Jewish Surfers?

posted by Donna Freitas

Today, the documentary “Surfwise” releases, a film about a family with nine children, all-raised in a 24 foot camper, hippie-commune-style, parked along the best California surfing beaches. In the New York Times review, “A Family That Surfs To a Beat: […]

Science Meets Religion on ‘Numb3rs’

posted by Donna Freitas

There have been several Fridays home this past semester that have left me watching television all evening, and my newfound interest in “Ghost Whisperer” which is followed up by “Moonlight” has had me pulling a CBS all-nighter and watching “Numb3rs” […]

‘Lost': I Quit

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ve watched J.J. Abrams’s “Lost” from the very beginning just as faithfully as other devotees. But I have to call it like I see it: the show has deteriorated into a mess of too many plotlines, too many time zones, […]

Mick’s Mortality is Short-Lived on ‘Moonlight’

posted by Donna Freitas

Aww, shucks! Why is it that I am such a sucker (ha!) for all things vampire, no matter how kitschy they get? CBS’s “Moonlight” gets more melodramatic by the episode–as does its star vampire Mick St. Johns–but it only makes […]

‘Red Shoes, the Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes…’

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, so something has to be said on Idol Chatter about the lighter side of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit: his bright, ruby red(!!) shoes. Yes, he wore them everywhere throughout his entire U.S. visit, and yes, everyone in the media […]

Mick Gets Mortal as ‘Moonlight’ Returns

posted by Donna Freitas

Humans may fantasize about eternal life, rising from the dead (well, perhaps that’s a particularly Christian hope), and the kind of bodily regeneration known only to superheroes and the undead, but Mick St. John, the eighty year old vampire protagonist […]

James Carroll’s ‘Constantine’s Sword’ Releases in Select Cities

posted by Donna Freitas

“Constantine’s Sword,” the heavyweight indictment of the Catholic tradition’s fraught relationship and history with Judaism by National Book Award winner, Boston Globe journalist and novelist James Carroll (published in 2001 just before 9/11), releases in documentary form tonight in select […]

‘Ghost Whisperer’ Returns Remade with New Episodes

posted by Donna Freitas

So it’s very possible and even highly likely that during the Hollywood writers strike I Netflixed the first two seasons of “Ghost Whisperer.” Yup. I did. I confess. It’s also very possible and even highly likely that I grew to […]

‘New Amsterdam’ Ends Tonight, But Leaves With Questions

posted by Donna Freitas

Given that I can’t resist any television drama that features vampires, ghosts, all things-spooky and/or with vampire-like immortality, I’ve watched the entire first season of “New Amsterdam” on Fox with interest, if not unbridled enthusiasm. The season finale is tonight. […]

‘Bones’ Tonight: An Atheist and a Catholic Go Out on A Date

posted by Donna Freitas

I love “Bones.” Love it. I love the series title character, Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones), I love her fellow science geeks at the lab, and I love her ambiguous, potentially-romantic relationship with the very Catholic Seeley Booth, the FBI agent […]

Hottie Pastor and His Groupies on ‘Men In Trees’

posted by Donna Freitas

Just recently, I wrote about how “Men In Trees” (starring Anne Heche) has quite a few interesting “religion” plotlines going this season, including one about a Christian pastor, Eric, who loses his Elmo church congregation because he’s unmarried and in […]

‘Men In Trees’ on Chastity, Church, and Now Charity

posted by Donna Freitas

Like many other women I know, “Men In Trees” grew on me (ha!) quite a bit in its first season last year and I’m happy to see it not only survived to see a second, but made it through the […]

Remembering Bette Davis: An Actress with Soul

posted by Donna Freitas

New York Times reporter Terrence Rafferty has a wonderful ode to the famous (and infamous) golden age movie star Bette Davis, on the occasion of her centennial—born one hundred years ago. In “The Bold and the Bad and the Bumpy […]

British Author Barred from Entering U.S. for Reasons of ‘Morality’

posted by Donna Freitas

Apparently, U.S. Customs is not only protecting citizens from terrorists entering the country, but also from British writers with questionable morals. In this week’s New York Times “Possessed” column, David Colman writes about “infamously debauched writer” Sebastian Horsley and his […]

The Mystery of Eckhart Tolle: Not Even Oprah Knows…

posted by Donna Freitas

Eckhart Tolle may be Oprah’s new spiritual guru of choice–inspired by his long time bestselling self-help favorite The Power of Now, but this weekend in the article “The Wisdom of the Ages, For Now Anyway,” New York Times reporter Jesse […]

God’s Workout?

posted by Donna Freitas

In this weekend’s New York Times Sunday Magazine, reporter Virginia Heffernan covers what she calls “God’s Workout” and its followers, otherwise known as CrossFit. “The superfit walk among us,” Heffernan writes. “They saunter or strut, depending on whether they’re showcasing […]

Top 10 Films to Put Your Faith Back in Romance this Spring

posted by Donna Freitas

When the movie theaters fail to live up to your romantic aspirations and sensibilities (though I have hope for the upcoming releases of Priceless starring Audrey Tautou, and Sex & the City, of course), there are always the time-tested, tried […]

For the Nervous Traveler: The Wayfarer’s Prayer

posted by Donna Freitas

Alana Newhouse, a journalist who writes frequently for the New York Times, writes about having to step up her traveling–and flying–lately in her article “At 36,000 Feet, Closer to God.” A nervous flyer, she talks about how a Jewish prayer–the […]

‘Miss Pettigrew’ Will Remind You that Anything Is Possible

posted by Donna Freitas

Delightful is the best word to describe “Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day,” a gem of a period film starring Amy Adams as the zany Delysia Lafosse, an aspiring actress, and Frances McDormand as Miss Pettigrew, a governness turned social […]

The New ‘Secular Sabbath’

posted by Donna Freitas

Last year during Lent I gave up the Internet. That’s right! I got myself off email, web-surfing, all of it between starting Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. The one consession I made, for work purposes only, was to […]

The Apocalypse Comes to ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’

posted by Donna Freitas

Last week’s episode of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” got all apocalyptic. Well, not that it’s not already a show about a coming apocalypse, but “The Demon Hand” episode got explicitly Christian this time, evoking the Book of Revelation, and […]

A Biblezine for the Hip Hop Crowd?

posted by Donna Freitas

I am continually fascinated by what is now an industry onto itself with Thomas Nelson’s Biblezines. Biblezines are more or less what they sound like: bibles (usually the New Testament) packaged in a glossy magazine format filled with full color […]

Are You a (Fashion) Goddess?

posted by Donna Freitas

In the article, “The Greek Ideal” the New York Times spring Women’s Fashion magazine includes a fun survey of popular Greek Goddesses like Aphrodite (Goddess of beauty and desire) and Hera (Goddess of marriage) but with a twist. In addition […]

Liked ‘The Matrix’? Join the Religion of Matrixism!

posted by Donna Freitas

As a professor at Boston University, occasionally I (and my colleagues) get email blasts advertising a new movie that’s coming out that might be of interest to members of the department, or even a non-BU lecture or art exhibit. But […]

The Press and Celebrity Voyeurism

posted by Donna Freitas

Last weekend I was encouraged to see the New York Times article “Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Hounded,” which poses the possibility of a double standard in the way the press persecutes girl-celebrities like Britney Spears and Lindsay […]

Definitely, Maybe’ is a New Sort of Second Chance Flick

posted by Donna Freitas

I finally saw “Definitely, Maybe,” starring Ryan Reynolds as a just-divorced and lonely Dad (who turns out to be a great romantic lead) and the ever-adorable Abigail Breslin as his daughter who longs to fix his broken love life. It’s […]

Want a Virgin Mary Pretzel?

posted by Donna Freitas

In case you were interested in purchasing the Virgin Mary’s miraculous appearance in what most Americans consider mall food or a sports event snack–a giant soft pretzel–you are out of luck. Four radio hosts at a popular station in Oregon […]

Manga Bible Hits Shelves

posted by Donna Freitas

A number of graphic novelists have taken on the Bible in the last several years. Check out “Marked” by Steve Ross, which takes on the Gospel of Mark in both imagery and Word, and pubbed from Seabury books in 2005. […]

Praise God! The Writers Strike is (Almost) Over!

posted by Donna Freitas

Glory be, hallelujah! The headline on the front page of the New York Times yesterday was, and I quote: “Writers Reach Tentative Deal With Producers.” Michael Cieply reports: An end to Hollywood’s long and bitter writers’ strike appeared close, as […]

Supermodel Shalom Harlow’s Percussion Meditation

posted by Donna Freitas

The “Possessed” column in last Sunday’s New York Times Style Section has Shalom Harlow waxing (not so poetically, but still) about her meditation habits and percussion instruments–which include both tapping (as in tap dancing) and playing the drums. Harlow says […]

Losing Faith in (Movie) Romance?

posted by Donna Freitas

I’m an unabashed devotee of the Religion of Romance, but I must admit, the last year’s cinema offerings (or lack of them) left me a bit spiritually starved. As far as straight-up romance goes, I can’t think of a single […]

The Patriots, Superbowl Sadness, Jinxes, and Superstitions

posted by Donna Freitas

I may live in Brooklyn, but during the college semester I head to Boston three days a week to teach at Boston University, and today is a day of mourning in this city. The Patriots’ Perfect Season hopes were dashed […]

Nuns Painting Nudes Advertisement Causes Stir in Boston

posted by Donna Freitas

Equinox Fitness Clubs–a national chain of workout clubs that are almost as common on NYC blocks as Starbucks–have only one outpost so far in Boston. However, it’s already causing quite an unhappy stir among some Boston Catholic folk. In order […]

“Muslim Girl” Magazine Celebrates 1st Anniversary; Talks to NPR

posted by Donna Freitas

“Muslim Girl” magazine is celebrating its one year anniversary. Like any other magazine for teen girls, fashion, makeup, television, movies, and music all feature prominently, not to mention advice on dating and boys. Though the magazine does have some content […]

Gumball Machines that Dispense Your Favorite Saints

posted by Donna Freitas

Some friends visiting the other night brought an interesting show & tell along: saint figurines they’d bought from gumball machines! For a mere 50 cents you could have your very own Virgin of Guadalupe, St. Anthony, or even JPII (John […]

“The Jesus of Bridesmaids”? Heigl’s ’27 Dresses’

posted by Donna Freitas

Finally, a fun (if formulaic) romantic comedy hits theaters after what seems an awfully long dry spell. It’s no shock that Katherine Heigl (recently, a real life blushing bride herself) lights up the screen and the humor in “27 Dresses” […]

“Sarah Connor Chronicles”: The Savior as…Anti-hero?

posted by Donna Freitas

So what else am I going to watch during the writer’s strike? Of course last night I tuned in to Fox’s two-night, two-episode premiere of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” which supposedly picks up where “Terminator 2″ left off. (Where […]

“Gossip Girl’s” Odd Valentine to Young Love Amid Shattered Purity

posted by Donna Freitas

The last episode of “Gossip Girl” was both strangely sweet and disturbingly harsh. One storyline had Brooklyn “Lonely Boy” Dan confessing first love for the unprepared, used-to-being-unloved Upper East Side Beauty, Serena–and spending an entire episode convincing Serena why his […]

A. O. Scott’s Eclectic Advice on the “Family-Friendly” Film

posted by Donna Freitas

New York Times movie reviewer A. O. Scott makes a strange sort of case for this top six family-friendly films of the season. While he thinks “Enchanted” is pitch-perfect for his third grade daughter–it’s as if Disney tailor-made it for […]

Pie: Good for the Soul (and the Tummy)

posted by Donna Freitas

I feel especially qualified to spread the news about the opening of “Pie Bakery & Cafe” in Newton Center, Mass by two women piemakers, Ellen Kaplansky and Paige Retus. Not only do I stay in Newton a few days a […]

“Gossip Girl”: Ethical Dilemmas at St. Jude’s

posted by Donna Freitas

“Gossip Girl” is back! I can’t say I’m sorry that the first of my TV series addictions to return in the new year is this particular guilty, guilty, guilty new pleasure of mine. And after all the syrupy, happy endings […]

An Unholy Holy War: Another View of ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’

posted by Donna Freitas

“Charlie Wilson’s War” is a movie vehicle to please liberal audiences comfortable with confronting the reality of religion’s role on the global political stage. Starring Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson, a scotch-swilling, womanizing Texas Congressman, Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring, […]

“PS, I Love You”: Good Grief?

posted by Donna Freitas

Stupid me. I saw one trailer for “PS, I Love You” starring Hilary Swank, Lisa Kudrow, and Kathy Bates, noted the release date (December 21), and thought to myself, “Ooh, yay! A romantic comedy for the holidays.” I didn’t bother […]

“Saving Grace”: A Parade of Nuns….And then one Terrible Priest

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ve been obsessively catching up on the first season of TNT’s “Saving Grace” just in time for its two-part, two-night finale. I figured it would combine one of my latest, favorite TV trends–the crime procedure starring the brilliant female heroine […]

‘Juno': The ‘Sweet Jesus Miracle’ of an Unexpected Pregnancy

posted by Donna Freitas

Only the hardest of hearts will be immune to “Juno.” Jason Reitman’s latest film about a high school girl named Juno MacGuff who gets pregnant the very first time she has sex with her sweet-natured, timid childhood friend, Paulie Bleeker, […]

Coming Soon: Holy Water at Your Local Supermarket?

posted by Donna Freitas

Growing up in a traditional Roman Catholic family instills a few things in you about the sacred and the profane that are hard to shake. “Never enter a church with your shoulders uncovered” is one. “Holy Water is not for […]

Philip Pullman Redux: My Last Word

posted by Donna Freitas

New Line’s Cinema’s December 7th film release of “The Golden Compass” could not have come any sooner. I’d begun counting the days a while ago–not because I was dying to see the movie–I already saw it twice. But because December […]

The Year in (Religious) Ideas

posted by Donna Freitas

Each December the New York Times Sunday Magazine does a special issue that I always look forward to: their “Annual Year In Ideas” edition. It goes from A to Z with entries about a mind-boggling range–from the interesting to the […]

(Art) Houses of Worship

posted by Donna Freitas

This weekend the New York Times launched their Style Magazine “T” online and it’s pretty fantastic. Their theme for the holiday issue, interestingly enough, is “Art and Soul.” The articles include a gorgeous slideshow of photographs by Thomas Struth of […]

“Gossip Girl”: Sex, Drugs, and More Sex Among the Rich, High School Set

posted by Donna Freitas

While adults on TV seem to be romancing each other with nary a kiss, high schoolers on the other hand, are hopping into bed left and right on the CW’s new smash hit “Gossip Girl.” Oh, and doing burlesque night […]

The Meaning of Life in a Coffee Cup: What’s Your Ritual?

posted by Donna Freitas

To grasp what I am about to say and not think I am totally bonkers, you need to first understand: I have not have a day off in, oh I don’t know, four months maybe? I mean, not a single […]

“Enchanted”: Enchanting Entertainment for the Whole Family

posted by Donna Freitas

If Walt Disney’s latest fairytale film “Enchanted” isn’t a star-making vehicle for actress/singer Amy Adams, then I don’t know what is. Not only does Adams shine as Giselle, the cartoon princess turned “real life” princess in this clever, very tongue […]

Abs(tin)ence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder? The Top 5 Television Shows Putting the Romance Back Into Relationships

posted by Donna Freitas

Chastity seems all the rage this season on most of my TV series favorites—both old and new. So much so that I wonder—what has sparked such a trend? From where does this loving-from-afar inclination stem? Are viewing audiences simply tired […]

Does Defending Pullman Make Me an Extremist?

posted by Donna Freitas

While I am glad that my fellow blogger Kris Rasmussen has offered additional commentary (and commentators) on Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass,” and the question of God and atheism in the book/movie, I’d like to respond to her implication that […]

‘Golden Compass’ Controversy Rolls On

posted by Donna Freitas

Two weeks ago Christians across the United States were abuzz about accusations that British author Philip Pullman allegedly is selling “atheism for kids” (or so says Bill Donohue of the Catholic League) through his multi-award winning, fantasy trilogy “His Dark […]

Meeting Philip Pullman: A Magical Experience

posted by Donna Freitas

I am a bit star struck. Well, more than a little bit. Philip Pullman, author of “His Dark Materials”, the subject of a growing controversy from the religious right, and a man who is about to see his extraordinary novel, […]

Christians Shouldn’t Fear Philip Pullman and His Trilogy

posted by Donna Freitas

As a scholar of religion, a liberal Christian (yes, we do exist), and a lover of great fantasy literature, I am deeply saddened by the growing wave of fearful-to-the-point-of-hysterical online chatter about Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, which was […]

“Pushing Daisies”: ABC’s Oddball Ode to the Forbidden, the Erotic, and the Chaste

posted by Donna Freitas

Curl up in your comfiest blanket and prop yourself with a stack of soft pillows. Close your eyes, put a smile on your face, and let yourself drift back to that time in childhood when storybooks carried you gently off […]

“For the Bible Tells Me So”: An Overdue, Important Voice for Sexual Minorities

posted by Donna Freitas

The new documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” is framed by devout Christian families who tell moving stories of how they’ve navigated the challenges and ups and downs of facing their son or daughter’s sexual orientation in the context […]

“Men In Trees”: Spiritual Rebirth Via Rock-Throwing?

posted by Donna Freitas

First off, I’m happy that ABC gave “Men In Trees” a second chance at life–and a second season, which premiered on Friday. The series turns on a NYC writer Marin Frist (Anne Heche) who heads up to the tiny, quirky, […]

Journalism’s Pop Culture/Religion Roundup

posted by Donna Freitas

This weekend “The New York Times” offered a bounty of articles that parse religious and spiritual trends within realms as diverse as Ben Affleck’s new movie ventures to authors of literary fiction. Don’t miss the following: Tyler Perry’s confession that […]

Bill Donohue Attacks Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass” Movie

posted by Donna Freitas

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, is at it again. Known for his hard-hitting attacks on, well, just about anything and everything (including Miller beer), Donohue has decided to settle on one big target for the time being. On […]

“Halo 3″: Salvation by Machine-Gun Fire?

posted by Donna Freitas

“Halo 3” debuted with as much buzz and fanfare as its predecessors, maybe more, but there’s no surprise there. Rated “M” for “Mature, it’s the top selling video game of all time. But perhaps what might stun readers is that […]

Redemption and Resurrection: ‘Smallville’s’ 7th Season Promises Religious Themes

posted by Donna Freitas

Yes, it’s true. I am seeing the CW’s Smallville series to the very end. I can’t help it. I still love it. And if the season premiere says anything about what’s to come this year, I’m excited. A brief recap: […]

WWJD: What Would Jane (Austen) Do?

posted by Donna Freitas

Finally! Finally, a good romance at the movies once again! But why, why, why are all the good ones somehow related to Jane Austen? The last time I was overcome by something romantic on the big screen it was “Becoming […]

“The Bionic Woman”: An Experiment Beyond God’s Control

posted by Donna Freitas

Brace yourself. You already know it’s coming. Within the first ten minutes of NBC’s “Bionic Woman” (premiering tonight at 9 p.m.)–a remake of the popular 1970s classic–you’ll watch as Jamie Sommers’s life gets crushed. Literally. And even though you already […]

“Journeyman”: The Purpose Driven Messenger

posted by Donna Freitas

Tonight at 10 on NBC, television viewers with meet Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) on “Journeyman,” an interesting new drama about a man who suddenly finds himself ripped from moments in his everyday life–getting into a cab, waking up in his […]

My Top Five Picks for Immortality-Themed TV Premieres

posted by Donna Freitas

It is human nature to contemplate Big Questions about death, the stunning fragility of life, and even, occasionally, to wish for immortality. Christians believe in resurrection and hope for an eternity of bliss in heaven, and Hindus pray to exchange […]

Go to Heaven ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’

posted by Donna Freitas

Memories from my childhood include a long love affair with the heavens. In the hours after my parents put me to bed, instead of drifting off into dreamland I’d gaze skyward through the window at the stars and the moon. […]

Green Entrepeneur of “The Body Shop” Anita Roddick Dies

posted by Donna Freitas

I remember the first time I visited “The Body Shop.” It was a brand new store in Georgetown and a brand new chain, too. I was in college, and I was enchanted by all the wonderful sounding lotions and conditioners. […]

The Fashionable Hermit (and her Habitat)?

posted by Donna Freitas

My favorite New York Times Sunday editions are the ones that include magazine “extras”–an entire additional glossy devoted to, let’s say, travel or women’s fashion. Or, as in this Sunday’s case, an edition of “Key,” which is devoted to all […]

Rick Rubin: Music Mogul & Guru of all Faiths

posted by Donna Freitas

This week’s New York Times Magazine features Rick Rubin, the new “co-head” of Columbia records, who is posed as … what exactly is portrayed on the magazine’s cover? A pseudo-Jesus figure with his long beard and eyes closed in contemplation? […]

The Top Five Vampire Novels Ever Written

posted by Donna Freitas

For those of us diehard Buffy/Angel fans who can’t seem to get over the fact that so far nothing can truly replace Buffy and Angel (and probably Spike, too), at least on the small screen, and for those of us […]

The Real Story of “Big Love”

posted by Donna Freitas

The season finale of “Big Love” is this Sunday (oh no!), and things are about to boil over for polygamist Bill Henrickson. His three wives are unhappy–with each other and him. Barb seems poised to leave (go Barb!), Nicki feels […]

The Science of Magic

posted by Donna Freitas

Ever wonder how magic really works? Not just the “how to’s” of performing a trick, but why we humans are so susceptible to believing we see the impossible? Well, George Johnson of The New York Times reports that scientists are […]

‘The 4400′: Bracing for an Apocalyptic Battle

posted by Donna Freitas

USA’s “The 4400,” with its fourth summer season coming to a close, might be the most interesting show on television when it comes to exploring Christian themes. The 4400 are a group of individuals who were abducted by “the future” […]

‘Stardust': Love and Magic of the Best Kind

posted by Donna Freitas

I was in a bad mood on Friday afternoon, and it didn’t get any better when I learned that “Stardust,” the novel by Neil Gaiman, as a new film was over two hours long. The water-logged week in New York […]

‘Becoming Jane': Not to be Missed

posted by Donna Freitas

Sometimes I leave a movie theater and feel an overwhelming desire to write an actor, actress, or even the writer a love letter of sorts. It doesn’t happen often–I’m not one who cares much for celebrity. But I felt this […]

‘Fallen': An Angel Extravaganza

posted by Donna Freitas

Why is it that when someone spreads their wings on television (i.e., reveals that s/he is an angel), I find myself groaning or rolling my eyes in a way that I almost never do if a person, say, sprouts fangs? […]

‘No Reservations': It’s Abigail Breslin’s Movie

posted by Donna Freitas

I went to see “No Reservations” expecting the cheesy Hollywood romantic comedy promised in all the trailers (I love cheesy Hollywood romantic comedies so this would not have been a bad thing). What I experienced instead was a story that […]

‘Simpsons’ Movie Short on Hilarity

posted by Donna Freitas

During the first fifteen minutes of “The Simpsons Movie,” not only did I laugh so hard that my stomach was starting to hurt, but I thought to myself gleefully, “Hmmmm, this movie is going to be a religion bloggers dream!” […]

Peter O’Toole Joins ‘The Tudors’

posted by Donna Freitas

Despite the period drama, the history, the great costumes, the intrigue–and yes, of course, all the religion–I can’t say that I loved Showtime’s first season of “The Tudors,” which chronicles the life and times of the infamous English king, Henry […]

‘Big Love’s’ Margene: Why I Love Her

posted by Donna Freitas

Last week’s “Big Love” episode, “Dating Game,” had Bill considering a fourth wife(!). More fascinating than this married man–already with three beautiful wives–courting yet another and seeking out his polygamist friends’ support about wining and dining Ana (the potential wife) […]

Faith Is (Almost) Better than Sex in “Saving Grace”

posted by Donna Freitas

Or so says Holly Hunter’s hard-as-nails character Grace Hanadarko as she basks in the heavenly glow of an angel in the pilot for TNT’s newest police-with-a-twist drama “Saving Grace.” TNT isn’t kidding in its advertisements about how the show is […]

“Traveler” Began with a Bang, Ended with a Fizzle

posted by Donna Freitas

Since I gave such glowing reviews to the first few episodes of ABC’s new summer series “Traveler”–about the two good-guy Yale graduate students, Jay and Tyler, who are framed by their “friend” Will Traveler for bombing a New York City […]

‘The Closer': New Season is Better than Ever

posted by Donna Freitas

Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick)–with her southern twang, her infamous, sweet-sounding “thank you’s,” and her hard as nails interrogation tactics–is not only back in full force for season three of “The Closer,” but she has taken this series […]

‘Big Love’ and Catholic Prejudice

posted by Donna Freitas

Okay, so I finally caught up on Season Two of HBO’s “Big Love“–a series that I became addicted to in my efforts to critique the show’s treatment of women (whoops)–and this week’s episode, “Vision Thing,” had an interesting twist. We’re […]

Essential Summer Reading: “The Book of Jane”

posted by Donna Freitas

Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt write chick lit with a twist: all their novels are retellings of Biblical stories. Their first, “Emily Ever After” was the story of Esther, and their second, “Consider Lilly” was the story of Samson and […]

“Hidden Palms”: Over Before it Began

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ve been meaning to blog about the CW’s new summer series “Hidden Palms“–which, yes, is totally trashy, almost a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “One Tree Hill”–but I got addicted to it from the word go. The thing is, it’s […]

At Least Kids Will Like ‘Evan Almighty’

posted by Donna Freitas

“Evan Almighty” is good, clean family fun. And I know this because the 4-to-7 year olds sitting around me kept up a giddy, running commentary about everything on screen: “Look Mommy, sheep!” “Look Mommy, his beard won’t stop growing,” they’d […]

Celebrate Summer Solstice By Biking Naked!

posted by Donna Freitas

Summer Solstice–one of the most important pagan holidays that celebrates the longest day of the year–is today, June 21st. Maureen Sullivan of MSN “set out to find the more popular–and more unusual–solstice-centered events around the country. … Some are spiritual […]

An Act of God or Just the Silver Surfer?

posted by Donna Freitas

I love all things superhero. But I have to be honest and say that while I enjoyed the first installment of the “The Fantastic Four” on the big screen, there’s simply no comparison between this film franchise and the likes […]

Dueling Saviors on ‘The 4400′

posted by Donna Freitas

Sunday night marked the premiere of season four for “The 4400″ on USA–a show about 4,400 indivuduals who disappeared during different points of the 20th century and then mysteriously reappeared–all together, all at once–one day on a beach with no […]

Previous Posts

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 »

Blues Guitarist B.B. King Dead at 89
Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died Thursday night at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospital. King was the son of a sharecropper, and was born on a plantation in Mississippi. He worked his way up from singing in church, performing on street ...

posted 9:27:21am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

'Where Hope Grows' is a Much Watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L10tIzZZrA Kristoffer Polaha stars as a baseball slugger with Detroit Tigers who was forced to retire early due to panic attacks at the plate. Calvin Campbell struggles with alcoholism, depression, and battles ...

posted 8:58:33am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

One Good Fella
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKjent3fFcs Jersey Girl, the Body Guard, and Goodfellas--Mike Starr always plays a wise guy. The graduate of Hofstra University’s latest role is the comedy Dancer and the Dame, a film about a police officer ...

posted 12:13:10pm May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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