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Best of 2012: 5 movies that stuck the landing

The Great Ending has become an unexpected casualty of Hollywood’s franchise era: Because a sequel is always strongly implied, the final moments of most big movies are now just temporary breaks in action, instead of definitive conclusions. But the movies on this list each left a mark, whether they ended with a bang or with a graceful coda. (One of them even managed to set the stage for a sequel and suggested the end of an emotional journey.) Here are our five favorite movie endings of 2012:

5. The Grey
“What? The film where Liam Neeson punches a wolf?” Well, yes and no. The most mismarketed movie of the year is actually a reflective examination of mortality — and it ends on a note that’s simultaneously ambiguous and fiercely life-affirming. READ FULL STORY

'Skyfall' opening credits plunges Daniel Craig's Bond into a watery, fiery void set to Adele -- VIDEO

Warning: If you haven’t seen Skyfall yet, there’s a video spoiler ahead!

It wouldn’t be a proper James Bond movie without opening titles packed full of twisting visuals accompanied by a plum tune. The opening sequence designed by Daniel Kleinman for Skyfall, which opened in theaters last Friday to a bonanza at the box office, definitely has visual extravagance to spare, scored to the throaty grit of Adele singing the title song. Check out the opening credits sequence, sans the actual credits, newly out online below. Similar in feel to the complex opening of David Fincher’s U.S. version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Skyfall’s opener starts off with sexy Daniel Craig as Bond plunged into water, his classic suit snug on his body, pulled down by a large hand into a sandy, swirling void. Guns and daggers fall from the sky into an Edward Gorey-esque graveyard, a closeup of Bond’s eye segues into him shooting at shadowy figures. Fiery targets shaped like Bond morph into Chinese dragons, and a totally 1960s throwback black-and-white kaleidoscope sequence features a long-haired naked beauty dancing with her hair flipping around and around into the air.

It’s dark, it’s dramatic, it’s Bond, and how. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Skyfall' has the biggest Bond opening ever with $87.8 million

After four years off of the silver screen, James Bond made his triumphant return this weekend in Skyfall — and the British spy’s appeal was bigger than ever.

The action thriller grossed a truly massive $87.8 million in its first three days (and an additional $2.2 million during Thursday night previews), making its debut the very best in the Bond series’ 23-film history — by a huge margin. Skyfall shattered the previous opening weekend record for a Bond film, which was set in 2008 when Quantum of Solace bowed with $67.5 million. With the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday on the horizon and a straight “A” CinemaScore grade, it’s likely that Skyfall will also become the first Bond movie to ever pass the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. (Of course, this is not accounting for inflation.)  READ FULL STORY

Movie Talk with Owen & Lisa: 'Skyfall' is 'the darkest James Bond movie'

Entertainment Weekly critics Lisa Schwarzbaum and Owen Gleiberman are at odds over the latest Bond installment — Skyfall. “This is about the darkest James Bond film that I have ever seen. And for also, for me, one of the best,” Schwarzbaum says. But Gleiberman doesn’t feel the same. “I thought the whole ‘Is James Bond too old and out of date thing?’ in this movie, seemed like something they brought out of moth balls from other movies.” Watch their full discussion below!

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Box office preview: 'Skyfall' headed for sky-high debut, but how big will it be?

It’s safe to say that Quantum of Solace wasn’t the most well-liked James Bond film. Of course, that didn’t stop it from earning $594 million worldwide, but given the tepid audience response, it seems logical that many casual Bond fans would feel uneasy about shelling out $12 for a ticket to the latest Daniel Craig vehicle. Fortunately for Sony, the world’s favorite British secret agent has always proved remarkably resilient at the box office, and if international grosses are any indication, it looks like Skyfall won’t suffer at all from Quantum‘s less-than-stellar reception. In fact, the 23rd Bond entry will almost certainly be the biggest one yet.

When Daniel Craig took over the iconic action franchise in 2006, not everyone was convinced that the blonde Bond would prove a box office draw. They were wrong. Casino Royale debuted to a sturdy $40.8 million on its way to a $167.4 million total. More importantly, it earned back audience trust, as it was one of the most well-liked Bond films ever. As a result, 2008’s Quantum of Solace opened to much bigger numbers. The sequel found $67.5 million on its opening weekend, but due to weaker word-of-mouth, it fell much more quickly, ultimately finishing with $168.4 million domestically. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Skyfall' blazes past $100 million internationally

Skyfall, the 23rd picture in the James Bond series, is already proving to be a smashing success. Following its $83 million opening weekend (adjusted way up from its $77.7 million estimate) in 25 international territories, the film has now officially crossed $100 million, a rep for Sony confirms to EW.

Skyfall reached the milestone on Wednesday thanks mostly to hefty grosses in the U.K., France, Russia, and Korea. On Monday, Skyfall grossed $6.8 million in the U.K. alone, utterly destroying the record for best-ever Monday box office, which was formerly held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and its $5.2 million Monday in 2011.

The $150 million blockbuster will get its U.S. release on Nov. 9. It is currently expected to earn about $90 million in its opening weekend, but thanks to terrific pre-release buzz, it seems likely that that number may creep even higher. One thing is certain — its poised to play very well through the important Thanksgiving frame. I’m expecting a finish well above $200 million.

Skyfall is currently performing far ahead of Quantum of Solace in almost every market it is playing in, and considering that film earned $586.1 million worldwide, Skyfall is looking like it will be an even more lucrative venture.

For more box office news:

More on EW.com:
Skyfall: EW Review
James Bond at 50: Special Coverage

'Skyfall' screenwriter gets the nod for two more -- Report

Skyfall co-writer John Logan will pen the next James Bond adventure — and the next. According to Deadline, Logan sold the Bond producers on a story that would play out over two films — a first for the Bond franchise.

Logan shares credit on Skyfall with regular Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, and has been nominated for three Academy Awards, most recently for Hugo.

Skyfall, the 23rd edition in the franchise, opens today in the U.K. and several overseas territories, and the early buzz is good. Daniel Craig is committed to play 007 for at least two more films, so Logan’s double-feature could serve as the actor’s swan song.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more:
‘Skyfall': 7 Fresh New Faces
This week’s cover: Bond is back
Is Javier Bardem playing the first gay Bond villain in ‘Skyfall’? Bardem and director Sam Mendes weigh in
New ‘Skyfall’ trailer glows with Adele’s theme — VIDEO

Is Javier Bardem playing the first gay Bond villain in 'Skyfall'? Bardem and director Sam Mendes weigh in

Bond villains have always flirted with homoeroticism. You could say it’s as much a part of of the franchise’s 50-year-old formula as all of the girls, gadgets, and glamor. Whether it’s Goldfinger aiming his laser at 007’s royal jewels, the coy cat-in-his-lap quips of Blofeld, or even Lotte Lenya’s butch villainess Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love, the Bond films have subtly toyed with a sexual subtext. But in the latest Bond installment, Skyfall, Javier Bardem pushes the gay envelope farther than it’s ever been pushed before.

The Spanish actor dons a blonde wig as the latest 007 nemesis, Silva — a cyberterrorist who has a complicated history with Bond’s boss at MI6, M (Judi Dench). And his first encounter with Daniel Craig’s license-to-kill agent is sure to get fans squirming in their seats. Which, according to Bardem, was exactly the point.

Asked if his character has an interest in Bond beyond just world domination, Bardem admits, “You could read it that way. That option was there in the script. The word that [director Sam Mendes] kept using was ‘uncomfortableness’. Beyond the sexuality, he wanted it to feel like you don’t know if Silva’s joking or not.”

READ FULL STORY

New 'Skyfall' trailer glows with Adele's theme -- VIDEO

The verdict is in: Adele’s James Bond theme is a hit.

When it premiered last week, my colleague Adam B. Vary declared “it does not disappoint,” and it seems people agree. It’s currently the #1 song on iTunes — not only in the United States but in many places all over the world.

It’s no wonder, then, that it is featured in the newest Skyfall trailer. The clip is silent save for Adele’s soulful voice as we once again see Daniel Craig’s Bond getting shot from atop a train. We’re also treated to quick actions shots of explosions, chases, a steamy shower scene and more 007 fun. Many of the quick cuts are recycled from the previous trailer, but Adele’s song certainly gives them a new feeling.

Check it all out below: READ FULL STORY

'Skyfall' action clip: James Bond catches his train in style

The most Bond-ian moment in the trailer for Skyfall was the scene where Daniel Craig’s 007 leaps onto a moving train after its roof has been ripped off, lands squarely on his two feet while passengers gawk… and then calmly adjusts his cufflinks before resuming his chase of some baddie. Oh, James, nobody does it better.

Today, to celebrate James Bond Day on the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Dr. No, fans can glimpse at a little bit more of that action sequence leading up to that train jump. The villain he’s chasing is on the roof of the passenger car. Bond steamrolls some VW Bugs and digs the CAT’s shovel into the train’s roof, giving him an opening. And Naomie Harris drives alongside, looking concerned. Of course, if the trailer is to be believed, she’ll soon play a crucial role in Bond getting off the train — the hard way.

Watch the clip below: READ FULL STORY

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