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Opening: Skyfall

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The latest James Bond film might suffer a bit from its protracted ending, but that's a minor point of contention. Released on the 50th anniversary of the franchise, this is a heady, smart movie that takes on a socially relevant theme about fighting terrorism and espionage in the complex postmodern world. The movie starts with a nail-biting scene that ends with Bond's (Daniel Craig) apparent death. Bond, of course, ends up surviving and escapes to a remote island where he briefly descends into debauchery after shacking up with some exotic babe and spending one too many late nights at the local bar. But like Batman, Bond can't keep quiet while the world goes to hell, and he soon heads back to London to help M (Judi Dench) as she tries to take on a ruthless terrorist (Javier Bardem) whose computer skills give Q (Ben Whishaw) a real run for his money. A terrific actor, Craig makes a good Bond and shows no signs of outgrowing the role (the script even makes a few jokes about whether or not he's become too old for the gig's ardors). (Jeff Niesel)

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