Neil Fox on film: Puss IN Boots, New Year’s Eve

Puss In Boots

Spin-off films starring minor characters don’t work, because they are purely cash-ins.

And this doesn’t work either. A character who is bearable in awful Shrek sequels is stretched too thin here and the moments that are ‘adorable’ in bigger films become tedious and over-egged.

It is a prequel, following Puss in the years before he meets Shrek and Donkey as he fights to clear his name with the help of an old rival and he squares off against a beautiful, seductive nemesis in the form of Salma Hayek’s Kitty Softpaws.

The film is squarely aimed at the children and adults who find the little sword-fighting maestro with the kitten eyes adorable.

But stretched to feature length with no ideas or originality, it all just becomes unbearable.

New Year’s Eve

It can’t be just me who thinks Hollywood constantly misses a trick with its release dates.

Hallowe’en reboots being released early October, Christmas movies in March or September and now a movie based on a day, released nearly a full month before that day.

Also, what makes no sense is that New Year’s Eve is a Saturday this year so it could have arrived a day before. Smart.

All of this doesn’t detract from an unbearably sugary film that follows exactly the same format and formula as Valentine’s Day, the ensemble film by the same producers.

It’s another story featuring an all-star cast in small segments, each one focusing on people looking for love, a kiss, a fresh start, closure.

Everything New Year’s Eve and the new year that follows can bring. It has fleeting moments of greatness, completely outweighed by so many moments of skull-numbing predictability.

Mysteries of Lisbon

The film world lost one of its most original voices this year in the form of Chilean director and visionary Raul Ruiz.

His name is not widely known outside cinephile circles and this, his last film, won’t change that, if you can even see it outside London.

But I wanted to pay a little tribute to a great film-maker whose wonderful book Poetics Of Cinema is a constant source of aid and inspiration to me.

Mysteries of Lisbon is a road movie of sorts, following a trio of people from different levels of society in a film that recalls Luis Bunuel and Ingmar Bergman and with its moral mazes and philosophical questions is unmistakably Ruiz.