Boots on for engaging treat - FILM REVIEWS

Brit Marling) and William Mapother in Another Earth
Brit Marling) and William Mapother in Another Earth

WITH Shrek Ever After signalling the conclusion to the animated saga about the jolly green ogre, Dreamworks needed another animated cash cow - so why not a cat?

So Puss In Boots (Cert PG), the character who first saw the light of day in the second Shrek movie is thrust into the limelight for a spin-off (which will probably become a franchise of its own.

The story is dressed up as a prequel and begins with the young Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) being abandoned at an orphanage where kind Imelda (Constance Marie) raises the kitten as her own. Initially picked on by the boys, Puss learns to fight to survive and he helps protect fellow outcast Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Many years later, the surrogate brothers join forces with sexy pickpocket Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to steal magic beans currently in the possession of murderous outlaws Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris). These beans are rumoured to grow a beanstalk that leads to the giant’s castle and the greatest treasure of all: the Golden Goose. However, old rivalries between Puss and Humpty jeopardise the daring enterprise.

The seductive tones of Banderas, some dazzling action sequences such as a rooftop chase and a quota of wise-cracks ensure that it’s an engaging family pre-Christmas treat without capturing the magic of the original Shrek.

There is an intriguing premise behind Another Earth (Cert 12A), the first feature by American Mike Cahill in which an emotional drama about grief and redemption plays out in a sci-fi world.

High school student Rhoda (Brit Marling), who is all set to study astrophysics at a prestigious seat of learning, is fascinated when a new bright planet appears in the sky. Driving home after a wild party she becomes distracted by the light in the night sky and crashes head-on into a car, killing a mother and child and leaving the father John Burroughs (William Mapother) in a coma.

Four years later she emerges from jail wracked by guilt but still fascinated by the new planet which is revealed to be a replica of Earth existing in a parallel dimension.

She tracks down Burroughs and finds that he has survived and is now recovering.

As a minor when the crash occurred, Rhoda’s identity was never revealed to him and she goes to his house with the intention of owning up and apologising in some way but ends up offering a cleaning service to the widower whose home . As the relationship between the two emotionally damaged souls deepens, Rhoda wins a place on a mission to the new planet and sees it as her chance of redemption.

It’s an ambitious idea but falls between the two stools of social drama and futuristic fantasy.