Shrek The Third
(D: Chris Miller, Raman Hui, 92 min)
The season of threequels continues with this next instalment of the blockbuster animated series about the green ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) and his princess bride (Cameron Diaz).
Antonio Banderas's Puss stole Shrek 2, so expect another fairy tale figure to step in and run off with this one. I'm rooting for Cheri Oteri's Sleeping Beauty and Amy Sedaris's Cinderella.
updated May 17th, 12:47 pm
SHREK THE THIRD demonstrates that the Shrek formula is getting a little obvious. Buncha famous names, lotsa pop tunes (the music budget must be as enormous as the green guy himself), some risqué jokes for the parental units and some fart jokes for the kiddies. Shrek (Mike Myers, whose "Scottish" accent is slipping) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) are faced with the prospects of ruling Far, Far Away for good and becoming parents. Both terrify the ogre, so he sets out to find the next closest heir, Arthur (Justin Timberlake), while the villainous Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) plots a coup. The in-jokes are still sharp and the animation is still stunning, but where the first film's moral was a simple statement that came at the close the picture, the makers are now laying the lessons on with a trowel, perhaps to atone for all the Shrek-covered junk your kids will buy over the next month.
Dir. by Chris Miller, runs 93 min.
(D: Jag Mundhra, 113 min)
File this one under "cultural counter-programming." Bollywood sensation Aishwarya Rai plays a Punjabi woman who goes to prison for murderin her abusive London husband (Naveen Andrews). It's based on a real-life story. Hmm... awards-worthy?
updated May 22nd, 10:34 am
PROVOKED recounts the case of Kiranjit Ahluwalia (Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai) - a battered Punjabi wife who, in 1989 England, ultimately set her husband (Rai's Bride And Prejudice co-star Naveen Andrews) alight while he slept. A histrionic drama filled with all manner of weepy-eyed, hand-wringing nonsense, smirking white folk and high-school dramatic soliloquies, Provoked also sacrifices factual accuracy for storytelling. Worse still, the film relies on a gaggle of one-dimensional character archetypes, the worst offence being Andrews's glowering, abusive husband routine. Unfocused lenses, choppy editing and excessive melodrama drown a potentially fascinating look at a precedent-setting murder case.
-H. Guy dir. by Jag Mundhraruns 113 min
Both films open Friday (May 18). Screened after press time - see review of Shrek May 17 and review of Provoked May 21 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.