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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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This film image released by Radius/The Weinstein Company shows Laura Linney, left, and Tobey Maguire in a scene from, "The Details." (AP Photo/Radius/The Weinstein Company, Jan Cook)
Rev up the Aston Martin: Bond is back

This weekend’s moviegoing excitement can be summed up in three words: Bond. James Bond.

The 23rd installment of the Bond franchise, "Skyfall," ranks up there with some of the best. (The Cricket ranked all 23, from best to worst — so let the arguments begin.) Daniel Craig returns as Bond, who faces not only an implacable cyber-criminal (Javier Bardem) with a vendetta against MI6’s boss M (Judi Dench), but also his own self-doubts after a mission goes bad and he’s left for dead. Director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") explores Bond’s character and personal backstory, while also serving up plenty of exciting action scenes and sensual moments (including new Bond girl Berenice Marlohe), and winking nods to 007’s history. The fine supporting cast includes Naomie Harris ("Pirates of the Caribbean") as a rookie agent, Ben Whishaw ("Cloud Atlas") as the computer genius Q, and Ralph Fiennes as the new intelligence minister who butts heads with M.

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The rest of this week’s movie slate can be found at the Broadway and Tower, and one in particular stands out: The animated "It’s Such a Beautiful Day." Director Don Hertzfeldt employs his stick-figure drawing style to tell the story of Bob, an average guy dealing with loneliness, terminal illness, memories of his mother and the prospect of mortality. Hertzfeldt juxtaposes his simple animation with complex visuals, for an experience that’s surreal, deeply sad and profoundly moving.

Director Andrea Arnold ("Fish Tank") brings some grit to Emily Brontë’s classic "Wuthering Heights," and pushes the always-tense relationship between working-class Heathcliff and noblewoman Catherine by casting black actors (James Howson and Solomon Glave) as Heathcliff. The results are sometimes moving, but frequently obtuse.

Lastly, "The Details" plays like a bad Coen brothers farce. It’s a dark comedy about an obstretrician (Tobey Maguire) who gets in over his head with adultery, murder and raccoons. It’s painfully unfunny, though Laura Linney gives the film some spark as a crazy cat-lady neighbor.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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