Following yesterday’s number three, we have today’s number two:

SKYFALL – dir. Sam Mendes starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem


The puzzling, and downright rotten, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, coupled with MGM’s financial troubles, meant Daniel Craig’s third Bond outing was heavily delayed. Trepidation of his return morphed into eager anticipation as Sam Mendes (AMERICAN BEAUTY, ROAD TO PERDITION) signed up to direct, then transformed into mouth-frothing excitement as Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem – the latter the villain of the piece – joined a cast already boasting Craig, Dame Judi Dench and Naomie Harris.

Mouths were satisfyingly wiped clean as Mendes crafted, possibly, the best Bond ever:

Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her, bringing MI6 under attack.

Reviews, News and Features contributor Esben marvelled in Mendes work, even nodding towards another great British director:

Sam Mendes created something that was brilliant, fun, and action packed. Coming off as Bond via Christopher Nolan, the tone was perfect, the nods to the older entries in the series great without overpowering the originality. Javier Bardem was a memorable Bond villain complete with physical defect and Daniel Craig has never been better in the title role and ranks as one of my favourite Bonds.

Whilst Chris hails its standing amongst 007’s best:

Skyfall is a strong contender for greatest Bond film ever, and best of 23 is a pretty solid achievement. Daniel Craig’s third outing as the super-spy meshes homages to previous 007 flicks with a refreshing shake-up of traditional series tropes after the disappointing Quantum of Solace.

Whilst Reviews Editor Tom Fordy was amazed by how the Bond evolution:

Boasting the smartest script to date and the masterful direction of Sam Mendes, SKYFALL proves that even after 23 films, Bond is still relevant.

So we are almost there. Tomorrow we present our number one best and worst of the year, but until then here are a few that didn’t quite break our top 5.

David O. Russell’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK wowed upon release, even topping a few writers lists, but it missed out on our top 5 by one vote. Northern correspondent Craig went giddy for it:

The tale of Bradley Cooper’s bipolar-suffering Pat and Jennifer Lawrence’s equally troubled ‘slut’ Tiffany is feel-good cinema at its best with Lawrence and Cooper sure to be Oscar-nominated. Special mention for Robert DeNiro who gives his best performance in decades. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK has a lot of heart and if you’re not cheering come the finale, you haven’t got one.

Bart Layton’s shockumentary THE IMPOSTER looked at deception and a families need for closure in the story of missing teen Nicholas Barclay, and his imposter Frédéric Bourdin. Isra was blown away:

More dramatic and engaging than most feature films this year; a truly gripping story where the film makers choose no side.

Time-travelling, gun party LOOPER landed with big expectations. Whilst missing the mark for some, it satisfied the masses and Joe Taylor got his kicks:

Looper completely lived up to the hype and took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting. JGL is crazy hot (even with a Bruce Willis nose). Emily Blunt proved she can act. The time travel nonsense made my heart hurt but I loved every confusing minute.

ARGO, well what can be said, my personal favourite of the year didn’t even make the top 5. Ben Affleck directs the true story of six US Embassy workers stuck at the Canadian ambassadors house in Iraq, awaiting collection. I could barely contain my enthusiasm:

Taut, tense and entirely believable; Affleck has crafted magnificence on every level. The humour hits the mark, the acting is exceptional, it doesn’t get much better than ARGO.

Keep it hear tomorrow for our definitive best and worst of the year.