A mad scientist in The Skin I Live In and a talking cat in Puss in Boots: is there anything Antonio Banderas can't do? With the latter he's lucky to portray the most charismatic character from the Shrek franchise, and that's because Puss not only flaunts the conventions of the swashbuckler stereotype but also indulges in the endearing traits of his species. He can wipe out a bar full of desperados but will break character to chase after a dancing spot of light. All would be in vain, though, if director Chris Miller did not masterfully employ close-ups, tracking shots, and mise-en-scene for some of the most exciting and witty action sequences of the year. As for the story, in which Puss forms a shaky alliance with sexy Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) to steal magic beans, it works best when it doesn't impede such showstoppers as the flamenco dance/fight at the Litter Box cabaret.