Thanks to Eric Bateman for this update:
The Catholic News Service reports that the Conference of Catholic Bishops has withdrawn its review of “The Golden Compass.”
There are news reports that the US Bishops have been asked to fire the critic who wrote the positive review.
Beliefnet’s “Idol Chatter” blog has a thoughtful comment by Ellen Leventry:
It’s unfortunate that the bishops’ conference dropped the review, giving in to political pressure and further characterizing the Catholic Church as a place where different opinions are not valued or welcomed. And the Catholic League is playing right into Pullman’s denunciation of organized religious groups, acting like the villainous, dogmatic “Magisterium” in its desire to quash the film.
Comments on the review of “The Golden Compass” or its withdrawal by the USCCB can be sent to CommDept@usccb.org.
For the record, here is the full text of the original review:
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There is not much story here. The set-up was two movies ago, when a man with a gunshot wound was fished out of the water. He had no memory but when it came to the tricks of the spy trade, he had mad skills. Now, three movies later, he is beginning to put it all together and that is something that the bad guys do not want and will do anything to stop. So, the whole movie is just cat and mouse — that is, if the cat and mouse were equipped with some serious ordnance, the combat skills of an Ultimate Fighting Champion, and the resilience of The Terminator. This movie has no pretence of being about anything but the action scenes. Fortunately, the action scenes are choice.
Everything is changing again for Harry Potter. Back when Hagrid explained to him for the first time at age 11 that his parents had not died in a car crash but in a battle with an evil wizard and that he was not an ordinary muggle but a wizard himself, Harry first began to learn that the world was not what he thought. Those lessons become more painful this time as in the fifth chapter of his saga he learns that the father he has idealized may not have been everything he thought, that the girl he has idealized may not be everything he hoped, that sometimes life is not fair and grown-ups can be cruel or unwilling to listen or unable to help him. In other words, Harry is 15 and that means that most of the time he is confused or angry or both.
Oh, and Voldemort is back, and stronger. Harry is getting stronger, too, but is he strong enough?
The Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) today announced its selection of the gritty thriller No Country for Old Men as Best Film of 2007. In total, the Miramax/Paramount Vantage film won four awards including Best Director for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Best Acting Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem.
Earning his first accolade from WAFCA, George Clooney was named Best Actor for his intense portrayal of an ethically challenged lawyer in Warner Brothers’ Michael Clayton, while Julie Christie was awarded Best Actress for her heartbreaking turn as an Alzheimer’s patient in Lionsgate’s Away From Her.
“In the year of the big-budget sequel, The Coen Brothers, Clooney and Christie proved a well-written, expertly directed and amazingly acted movie is just as important to filmgoers as special effects and loud explosions,” said Tim Gordon, president of WAFCA.
In other categories, Disney/Pixar’s uproarious and inspiring Ratatouille was named Best Animated Feature, and Paramount’s macabre tale of vengeance, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, was honored for Best Art Direction.
Amy Ryan walked away with Best Supporting Actress kudos for her show-stopping performance in Gone Baby Gone. Meanwhile, Juno’s Ellen Page was awarded Best Breakthrough Performance for her acerbic portrayal of a pregnant teen in Juno.
The Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association is comprised of thirty-nine DC-based film critics from television, radio, print and the internet. Voting was conducted from December 8 – 9, 2007.
Best Film: No Country for Old Men/Miramax & Paramount Vantage
Best Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Best Actor: George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
Best Actress: Julie Christie (Away From Her)
Best Ensemble: No Country for Old Men/Miramax & Paramount Vantage
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Best Breakthrough Performance: Ellen Page (Juno)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody (Juno)
Best Animated Feature: Ratatouille/Disney & Pixar
Best Foreign Language Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly/Miramax
Best Documentary: SiCKO/The Weinstein Company
Best Art Direction: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street/Paramount