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the early-evening news

The Vatican Gives Two Thumbs Down to ‘The Golden Compass’

Courtesy of New Line

Vatican Condemns Golden Compass: A long editorial in Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano slams the book and movie, claiming it portrays a world without hope. It also calls the movie's poor ticket sales "consoling," with just a single word making the Vatican a more entertaining box-office analyst than Paul Dergarabedian. [Reuters]

Chase Lawsuit Whacked: Robert Baer, the former prosecutor who sued David Chase claiming he was owed money for consulting on the pilot script for The Sopranos, lost his case. Chase's attorneys contended it was not customary to pay for such services, that Chase paid Baer back by helping him with a script, and that if the jury did not return the proper verdict, certain "friends" in the "waste disposal services business" would "drop by the jury's houses" and "kneecap them" with "tire irons." [WCBS]

Doc Tracks Down "Calvin & Hobbes": Several L.A.-based filmmakers are working on a documentary about "Calvin & Hobbes" and its hermetic creator, Bill Watterson, and have already interviewed a number of cartoonists and fans. Maybe they should talk to the Wall Street Journal! [Official site]

The Hobbit Sequel Gets Less Stupid: The Beat's Heidi Macdonald explores what exactly does happen between the end of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings. Turns out, a lot — we too would love to see the buddy movie of Aragorn and Gandalf traipsing around fighting evil. [The Beat/PW]

Southland Revisited: Salon managed to track down the one person on planet Earth who understood Richard Kelly's Southland Tales. Despite his noble and lengthy exegesis, which ran yesterday, he is probably still the only person on Earth who understands Southland Tales. [Salon]

Michel Gondry's Idea of a Comic-Book Movie: Gondry has shot a 30-minute short for a Tokyo-set anthology based on Gabrielle Bell's art comic Interior Design. [/Film]

The Year in Reading: We would love this idea — asking writers and readers like Josh Ferris, Meghan O'Rourke, and Junot Díaz what books, old or new, they've loved this year — even if we weren't contributing to it. [The Millions]