New Bond movie fails the dial-God test

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The Independent Online
Go and see Goldeneye, the new James Bond caper if you must, but avoid the latest crop of American mayhem movies such as Martin Scorcese's Casino and Money Train starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. They will bankrupt your immortal soul.

This advice comes courtesy not of the regular film rating organisations but of the Catholic Church, which has jumped into the film-reviewing business by way of a free telephone number that is now available nationwide.

Dial the number and you are invited to listen to mini-reviews or "capsules" on six new releases showing in US cinemas. You will hear a rapid description of each film and critical assessment, with heavy emphasis on moral content. Each release then receives a rating ranging from A1 (general patronage) to A4 (for adults, with reservations). Films considered beyond the pale receive a simple O (morally offensive).

Goldeneye, which may become the most successful Bond film ever in the US, apparently did not endear itself. The film "is all sound and fury to the detriment of character and storyline", they said, awarding it an A4 but sparing it the big O.

However, Bond got off comparably lightly compared with some others. Casino, starring Robert De Niro as a casino manager and Sharon Stone as his drugged- out wife, gets an instant O by the Church, because of "much graphic violence, adulterous affairs, fleeting nudity, substance abuse and incessant rough language".

Money Train was hit by controversy this week, when a real-life torching of a subway token booth in New York was blamed as a carbon copy of a scene in the film. Maybe those responsible should have dialled the Catholic Church. This Christmas offering also gets an O thanks to its "uncritical depiction of crime" and, by the way, "a bedroom scene".

There were two positive recommendations yesterday. There is glowing praise for Disney's computer-animated Toy Store, already destined to be a hit, and also for that old family favourite Around the World in Eighty Days.

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