They have the technology. They can rebuild him. Like a latter-day Steve Austin, James Bond has been stripped to his bare British bones in his past two films, emotionally beaten then tortured by revenge. Now, in Skyfall, the rebuilding begins. From the first frame to the last, Skyfall seems to be the most meticulously planned, elegantly crafted and utterly assured Bond film to date, thanks to director Sam Mendes and the emotional intensity of Daniel Craig as 007. The result is a journey into Bond's history and psyche that is captivating, inspired and utterly thrilling. Skyfall is a masterpiece that stands on the shoulders of 50 years of Bond films. Giles Hardie
With Sydney swamped by so many budget-busting big gigs of late, take some pressure off your wallet with a free show at the Upstairs Beresford. Tonight, Melbourne singer-songwriter Dune takes the stage to share the sonic beats and dancey pop tunes that have brought her collaborations with Pnau and the Sleepy Jackson (doors open 6pm, Upstairs Beresford, Level 1, 354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, merivale.com.au/upstairsberesford). She will perform her new single, Shoestring. Elsewhere, get your community spirit on with the Good Neighbourhood Barbecue, organised by the City of Sydney and the NSW Police Force. There will be a free sausage sizzle, children's activities and music (Sunday, 11am-2pm, Hollis Park, Newtown, cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au). Sarah Thomas
The first Kings Cross Festival is under way, tagged ''by the community - for the community'', with lots of shows, food and stalls throughout the suburb and events such as the Writers & Whiskey talks featuring local writers. On Saturday, the Concert for the Cross will take over the festival hub in Fitzroy Gardens and feature acts such as the Pigs, Renee Geyer and Jeff Duff (concert is 11am-7pm, free, for the full festival program see kingscrossonline.com.au). Elsewhere, he may be a month early, but Father Christmas is in town for Santa Fest, with water-skiing Santas, a festive flotilla and karaoke carols (Saturday, 7pm, Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay, darlingharbour.com, free). Sarah Thomas
Summer at Bondi. What better time for Psycho Beach Party? Charles Busch's shotgun marriage of Beach Blanket Bingo party epics and Hitchcockian suspense is the story of a teenage tomboy who wants to be part of the surfie crowd. All that stands in her way are her multiple personalities - among them a sexually voracious vixen with world domination on her mind (until December 15, various times, Bondi Pavilion Theatre, rocksurfers.org, $25-$33). Belvoir rounds off its 2012 season welcoming back Leah Purcell to direct and star in Don't Take Your Love to Town, adapted from the autobiography of the same title by the late Ruby Langford Ginibi (opens December 1 until January 6, various times, Belvoir, belvoir.com.au, $32-$42). The Sydney Theatre Company's final offering for the year is Mariage Blanc, Polish playwright Tadeusz Rozewicz's absurd coming-of-age story about the sexual awakening of two very different sisters. Sarah Giles directs. (Playing from December 1 to December 16, various times, sydneytheatre.com.au, all tickets $30). Elissa Blake
The recently opened Workers bar (1/292 Darling Street, Balmain) has launched a live-music night every Thursday from 6pm to 9pm titled Red Door Sets. On Thursday, gypsy rock'n'roller Morgan Joanel will warm up the crowd with her acoustic performance before giving up the stage for headline act Abby Dobson. Co-founder of Leonardo's Bride (with chart-topping APRA 1998 song of the year Even When I'm Sleeping), Dobson has toured extensively with Paul Mac and has supported Tom Jones, Everything But the Girl, Barry White, Joe Jackson and Neil Finn. If the music is not enough to tempt you, there are $12 daiquiris and $10 baskets o' wings to boot. Entry is free. Simon McGoram
You know the silly season is around the corner when the week's three best-known acts are heroes of past generations synonymous with karaoke classics. First you can dust off the flares and dance to YMCA and, er, the other ones with camp '70s crew Village People (Friday, 8pm, Enmore Theatre, enmoretheatre.com.au, 9550 3666, $89.50). Then slide into the '80s, where Rick Astley is still claiming he's never gonna give you up, let you down, run around and the rest (Sunday, 8pm, Enmore Theatre, $79.90). Finish the week in the '90s, slow-dancing to the super-slick R&B balladry of Boyz II Men (pictured, Thursday and November 30, 8pm, State Theatre, statetheatre.com.au, 9373 6655, $95.45). George Palathingal
Christmas? Already? This reminder might make parents everywhere panic but at least everyone can get a taste of the festive spirit (to take the edge off, if necessary) at the Children's Concert and Tree-Lighting Celebration (Thursday, 6pm, Martin Place, sydneychristmas.com.au, free) and Christmas on the Green (same time and details but in Hyde Park). The former has performances from popular touring children's acts such as Lah-Lah's Big Live Band and Teddy Rock before the tree lights go on; the latter features heroes of TV such as Jimmy Giggle and Peppa Pig. Both events will wind up with fireworks as well as an appearance from the big man himself, one S. Claus. George Palathingal
Marijke Greenway is one of the NSW central coast's leading artists, painting prodigiously in her home studio. But she travels widely in search of inspiration. Last year, Greenway travelled 18,700 kilometres in a loop around Australia, making paintings of her journey. For her latest Sydney show, The Painted Outback (until November 29, daily, 10am-4pm, The Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs Macquaries Road, city, 0418 655 817), Greenway exhibits her en plein air canvases as well as 30 more she produced after returning home. Greenway's paintings are colourful outback visions, such as Ord River Reds. Andrew Frost
On the scene: Neil Ackland, founder, Electronic Music Conference
''Australia has been a pioneer in dance music for more than a decade and its reputation and status on the global stage warrants its own conference. We've had a phenomenal response. We have people such as Tiesto, Diplo and Tommy Trash speaking about their experiences, so it should be pretty amazing. The idea is that we bring together all the leading lights from the music and creative industries and talk about the future to build knowledge and insights, to create a global stage to connect and hear some incredible music.''
Electronic Music Conference, Tuesday and Wednesday, Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, Pyrmont, electronicmusicconference.com, $595. Sarah Thomas
This week I'm curious to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Based on the bestseller by American author Stephen Chbosky (who also directs this), it's the story of a shy young man (Logan Lerman) navigating the pitfalls of adolescence during his final years at school with the help of two friends (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller). It's Watson's first significant outing since hanging up her wand following Harry Potter, and is already creating a buzz among critics despite modest box-office takings in the US. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is out on Thursday.
I love musicals and I intend to take the family to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to watch the crazy inventor Caractacus Potts (David Hobson) rebuild a wreck of a car into a flying automobile and win the heart of Truly Scrumptious (Rachael Beck). It's on at the Capitol Theatre until January 13 (ticketmaster.com.au, $69.90-$129.90).
And the ARIA Awards are on Thursday night (5.15pm, Sydney Entertainment Centre, ticketmaster.com.au, $49.95) but there are some great industry showcase gigs on the nights before where you can check out up-and-coming talent. Daniel Fallon
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