“Spectre”: The shadow of “Skyfall” falls over the new Bond film

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“Spectre” opens Friday in Point, Palace, AMC Fitchburg and Sundance Cinemas. PG-13, 2:28, three stars out of four.

In the Daniel Craig era, we’ve seen two of the best James Bond films ever (“Casino Royale” and “Skyfall”) and one of the worst (“Quantum of Solace”). But we’ve never seen a middle-of-the-pack, conventional James Bond film yet.

Until “Spectre.” Don’t get me wrong — the pleasures of middle-of-the-pack Bond have been vast and enduring to me over the years, the essential stuff of ABC Sunday Night at the Movies and weekend matinees with Dad. And so it is in “Spectre,” which contains clever action sequences, spectacular locales, colorful baddies, and another assured performance by Craig in his fourth outing as 007. It’s just that the suit seems to fit him maybe a little too well this time.

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“Love is the Devil”: A portrait of a cruel affair

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Take away the drinking, the sadomasochism, the horrific visions, and the fact that one of Britain’s great modern painters is involved, and “Love is the Devil” might be just like any other love story. Boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, boy loses interest in boy, boy has nightmares about sitting perched on the end of the diving board screaming and covered in blood.

Okay, maybe not that last bit.

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