Reel Critics: This 007 flick leaves audience shaken, stirred

"Skyfall" may be the most satisfying James Bond film in years with jaw-dropping action, smart beautiful ladies and an Oscar-winning villain.

Daniel Craig is again the impeccably tailored superspy and more vulnerable, physically and emotionally, than we've seen before.

The only one who doesn't seem to doubt Bond's abilities is his boss, M (Judi Dench), who is also being asked to think about retirement.

Threatening all the agents on Her Majesty's Secret Service is Silva (Javier Bardem), an ex-agent and cyber terrorist with a huge score to settle.

Bardem, so frightening in "No Country for Old Men," is again a sadistic killer with a bad hairdo but with a delectably silky humor that wins you over.

As M, Dench plays a pivotal role and proves a formidable adversary whether facing down Parliament or men with guns.

Director Sam Mendes has created a rare Bond film with fleshed-out characters and visuals that makes the familiar seem fresh and modern.

Fans of this legendary 50-year-old franchise may find the scarcity of fancy gadgets and bikini-clad babes —and Sean Connery — less than satisfying. For my money, this "James Blond" is the best 007 since the original.

After the trademark opening titles, sung to Adele's haunting "Skyfall," the audience burst into applause. Unexpected, well deserved.


'Wreck-it Ralph' a kids film for adults

Disney's latest animated hit is a pure delight for kids and parents alike. "Wreck-it Ralph" offers a throwback to the early days of video games when Pac Man and Mario Brothers ruled the day. Joyous characters make you laugh while you sympathize with their troubles.

John C. Reilly voices Ralph, the Hulk-like villain in an old fashioned video game called "Fix it Felix Jr." Ralph smashes things in Nice Land while Felix repairs the damage. The plot then jumps into modern day sci-fi games with cyber villains and mega battles.

Game characters are able to travel from one game to another through a Central Station in the arcade. Things heat up when Ralph and Felix end up with a futuristic Amazon warrior voiced by Jane Lynch. Together they land in a psychedelic racing game called "Sugar Rush."

Sarah Silverman is hilarious voicing the impish Vanellope Von Schweetz, a glitch who just wants to race in "Sugar Rush." If this all sounds silly, it's also very clever, with plenty of satire to amuse adults and raucous action for the kids.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

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