Item: Agent 007 to report for duty in 2012

Intelligence reports from the A.V. Club have it that MGM and Sony Pictures will have the next installment of the James Bond franchise in theaters by Nov. 9, 2012.

The good news here is another outing for Daniel Craig as James Bond, a role the actor played very well in “Casino Royale.” Its follow-up “Quantum of Solace,” was OK, but I share the opinion of many that it suffered a bit from the filmmakers apparent attempts to ape “The Bourne Identity” franchise’s shaky-cam aesthetic.

(For whatever it’s worth, my Top Five movies in the Bond franchise are “From Russia With Love,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “Casino Royale,” “Goldfinger” and “For Your Eyes Only.” “Eyes” was my first Bond flick, and “Tomorrow Never Dies” gets an honorable mention for featuring a newspaper magnate as its supervillain.)

The weird (?) news is that “American Beauty” and “Away We Go” director Sam Mendes is still attached to direct the next Bond movie, which will be the series’ 23rd installment. Mendes’ closest venture to somewhere near Bond territory was probably “Road to Perdition,” which starred Tom Hanks as an old-time gangster raising his son while on the run.

This is on the Internet, so I am obligated to make a snarky comment about Mendes – who has made his ideas on suburban ennui a major part of his oeuvre – directing a Bond film. Here it goes. Instead of a typical Bond story about spies and sexy women with funny names, Bond 23 will tell the story of a conflicted Bond, who while spending a break from duty in his lovely Notting Hill home, realizes that Moneypenny is the only woman who he has ever truly loved and wrestles with his inability to commit to her and live a quiet suburban life with a desk job for MI-6.