Friday movie roundup – Nov. 17

A cartoon that’s different from most other cartoons this year, plus a new entry in a series that had previously become too cartoonish. It’s cartoon week at the movies!

First up, Daniel Craig is in as the new James Bond in “Casino Royale.” People who care too much about this sort of thing were FREAKING OUT about Craig, saying he was too a) blond, b) wimpy, c) short, or d) something else to play the part. Personally, I couldn’t have cared less, but let me just say that while there’s no denying Daniel Craig has blond hair and is not particularly tall, he is by far the meanest, grittiest, toughest Bond EVER. In other words, the best.

The movie is pretty good, too, though not as good as Craig himself. I was ready to give it an “A” for about the first hour, and then it lost steam. Overall, though, the franchise feels refreshed and invigorated. And the inevitable scene where Bond gets captured and tortured … WOW. I’m still feelin’ that one.

Far less full of torture and mayhem is “Happy Feet,” a cartoon about a dancing penguin. It’s daft Australian humor from the man behind “Mad Max” and the “Babe” movies, and it’s a curious blend of music, comedy and surrealism. Me likey.

Me don’t know if me likey “Let’s Go to Prison,” because they didn’t screen it for critics. That usually means it’s awful, but this one has a good cast, a good director, and a trailer that makes me laugh. So we’ll see.

Since next week is Thanksgiving, the new films will open on Wednesday instead of Friday. There’s a metric buttload of them, too, so put your movie-going hat on! To accommodate that, next week’s “In the Dark” — your weekly e-mail of reviews, DVD releases and other movie stuff — will be sent out on Wednesday, returning to the regular schedule the following week.