Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Puss in Boots close up

“Fear me, if you dare!” It’s a strange catchphrase but it is Puss in Boots’s and goes some way towards explaining his appeal – dangerous and ridiculous at the same time, as befits a vainglorious furball swashbuckler who’s Zorro in miniature, a legend in his own eyes more than anyone else’s, but a legend all the same. In Puss in Boots: The Last Wish two-time Zorro and four-time Puss Antonio Banderas returns to the role and remains a good part of the appeal of this character spun off from the Shrek franchise. Puss debuted in Shrek 2, returned in Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After, then got his own show in 2011’s … Read more

Magic Mike’s Last Dance

Magic Mike and his shirtless crew

And so the franchise built around Channing Tatum’s early career as a male stripper comes to an end, with one bang and, doubtless, several whimpers. Magic Mike’s Last Dance sees Steven Soderbergh return as director, director of photography and editor, writing credit goes again to Reid Carolin and Tatum makes it three in a row as he dry-humps a role that’s been good to him. The “bang” refers to Salma Hayek’s character, the immensely rich Maxandra Mendoza, who hooks up with down-on-his-luck Mike Lane (Tatum) early on, then whisks him away to the UK after he demonstrates his Magic in a raunchy private routine that leads to the “happy finish” Mendoza expressly said … Read more


The Eternals group shot

Like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, Eternals is a Marvel superhero movie that’s sketchy, thin, never fully fleshed out. Not bad, exactly, just hard to get a bead on. Is stuff missing or was it never meant to be there? Perhaps its problems lie in the origins of the source material, an iteration of an iteration etc etc. The first of the superhero gangs was 1960’s Justice League (itself a revival of the 1940s Justice Society of America), a greatest-hits compilation of DC Comics’ big hitters – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and more. In 1963 Marvel responded to the success of the Justice League with its own version, … Read more

The Roads Not Taken

Leo leans on Molly's shoulder

For middle aged people wondering what the hell happened to the great life they were going to have, where the hell it all went wrong, The Roads Not Taken is your film, but don’t come to it expecting uplift. Javier Bardem plays Leo, a guy living a life of extreme misery in New York. Floored by what might be a stroke, he needs help to do the most basic everyday things and gets it mostly from his devoted daughter (Elle Fanning), who matter of factly sorts out Leo when he pisses his pants at the dentist and then loses her job because caring for dad has been taking up too much of her … Read more

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L Jackson

There’s an extended version and a moviehouse version of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. I watched the longer one, which seemed padded by about 15 minutes, which is exactly the amount of time that the extended version has been extended by. So if you’re after a more concentrated hit of action comedy – or don’t have long left to live… If you really don’t have long left to live, and feel the need for knockabout fun, you don’t need to waste time by watching the first film in order to enjoy this second one. That was a poacher-versus-gamekeeper tale – a hitman (Samuel L Jackson in “motherfucker” mode), an over-cautious bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds in … Read more


Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd in Frida

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 31 January Leon Trotsky exiled, 1929 On this day in 1929, Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, aka Leon Trotsky, was exiled from the country he had helped create. A member of the victorious Bolsheviks in the revolution of 1917 (having earlier switched allegiance from the Mensheviks), Trotsky rose quickly through the party, proving himself decisively in the civil war against the Mensheviks in 1918. Ideologically he was loosely aligned with Lenin, believed in mass democracy, permanent revolution and internationalism and was opposed to the “socialism in one country” of Stalin. Trotsky found his ideas and those of the Left Opposition increasingly marginalised in … Read more