90 Movies in 90 Days: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)


I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, most of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Release Date: December 21, 2022
Director: Joel Crawford
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation
Summary/Review:

I was surprised by the popular acclaim of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish since it came out, because sequels of spinoffs of animated franchises generally aren’t all that good. I only became aware of the character Puss in Boots recently when I watched Shrek 2 for the first time.  My linear mind felt I would need to watch the rest of the Shrek sequels and the original Puss in Boots first, but I overcame that inclination.

And I was just fine, because Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is an excellent standalone feature and if referenced anything in earlier movies I didn’t feel like I was missing out.  Oh, and the hype is real.  This is a funny, creative, visually-imaginative, and heartfelt film which has something for the whole family (except maybe the youngest children).

The adventurer Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) has lost 8 of his 9 lives and begins to fear his mortality with Death, in the form of a Wolf (Wagner Moura), literally tailing him.  He learns of a map that leads to a magical wishing star and determines to steal the map and use the wish to gain more lives.  His companions on the journey are fellow adventurer (and on-again/off-again romantic interest) Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault) and Perrito (Harvey Guillén), a kindhearted but dim Chihuahua.  They are chased by the crime family of Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears (Olivia Coleman, Ray Winstone, and Samson Kayo) who are in turn pursued by the psychotic pastry chef “Big” Jack Horner (John Mulaney).

A simple summary of the movies plot would be “the real treasure is the friends we made along the way” but that would undervalue the high quality of the characterization and storytelling.  The movie is very funny and I particularly like how Puss can code switch between being a Spanish adventurer and the behavior of real life cats.  Similarly, all of the characters have moments that reference their fairy tale/nursery rhyme origins in clever ways. The animation style is stunning and changes to enhance action and fantasy sequences.  It feels like a bold choice for the filmmakers to break from just using the same style they’ve used throughout the Shrek franchise.

So, this movie probably has no right to be as good as it is.  But it is good, and I tip my hat to everyone involved for putting their best into it.

Rating: ****

50 Years, 50 Albums (1994): dubnobasswithmyheadman by Underworld


I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022.  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously. 

1994

Top Grossing Albums of 1994:

  1. Cracked Rear View – Hootie and the Blowfish
  2. Dookie – Green Day
  3. Cross Road – Bon Jovi
  4. Merry Christmas – Mariah Carey
  5. The Lion King – soundtrack

Grammy Award for Album of the Year of 1994:

  • MTV Unplugged – Tony Bennett
  • The Three Tenors in Concert 1994 – José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Zubin Mehta
  • Seal – Seal
  • Longing in Their Hearts – Bonnie Raitt
  • From the Cradle – Eric Clapton

Other Albums I’ve Reviewed from 1994:


Album: dubnobasswithmyheadman
Artist: Underworld
Release Date: 24 January 1994
Label: Junior Boy’s Own
Favorite Tracks:

  • Dark & Long
  • Mmm…Skyscraper I Love You
  • Dirty Epic
  • Cowgirl

Thoughts:

I became acquainted with Underworld through “Born Slippy .NUXX,” featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack. While I’ve listened to various Underworld tracks over the years I’d never listened to an entire album.  dubnobasswithmyheadman is the group’s third album, but the first after breaking up and reforming as an electronic dance music group, or “techno” as we called them at the time (more specifically, acid house and dub).  The beats and grooves are great on this album.  But what sets Underworld apart are the lyrics which often have a poetic beauty with an impressionistic painting of a central theme of the song.

Rating: ****