Shrek - Forever After (3D)
   Release date: 17 June
   Director: Mike Mitchell, Rated PG, 93 mins

All the favourite characters from the earlier Shrek movies return in this final edition of the franchise.
   New director Mike Mitchell is at the helm and takes a somewhat different approach to the earlier escapades of the lovable ogre.
   In Mitchell’s rendition, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) is fed up with the monotony of his family life and does a deal with the smooth-talking Rumpelstiltskin (voiced by Walt Dohrn) to give him one day in an alternate universe where he never met Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) or became the hero of the Far Far Away kingdom.
   After having his fun reliving his glory days as an ogre feared and hunted by the locals, Shrek is ready to return to his family life.
   Unfortunately, Rumpelstiltskin has added a twist to the deal, giving Shrek twenty-four hours to set things right or face being erased from time and allowing Rumpelstiltskin to take over the Kindgom.
   Shrek has to undo all he has done to return to his world and reclaim his one true love as well as save his friends, Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) and Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas).
   ‘The Final Chapter’ of Shrek somehow lacks the magic of the earlier Shrek movies despite having an imaginative storyline that should appeal to older children as well as be visually entertaining for younger members of the audience - particularly if seen in 3D.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

Grown Ups
   Release date: 24 June
   Director: Dennis Dugan, Rated PG, 102 mins

There are distinct similarities in Dennis Dugans’s Grown-Ups to the recently released
Hot Tub Time Machine,especially in the storyline that involves five friends and former team mates who reunite to honour the passing of their childhood basketball coach.
   With their wives (Maria Bello, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph) and kids in tow they spend the Fourth of July holiday weekend together at the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier, picking up where they left off and discovering why growing older doesn't mean growing up.
   Director Dugan teams up again with actor/writer Adam Sandler (as they did in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan) and together with the rest of the cast of well known comedians (Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade) portray the five friends whose hilarious antics over the weekend clearly show that they haven’t really grown-up.
   Even with a PG rating this highly entertaining movie should appeal to older children not to mention the whole family.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

   Release date: 24 June and 1 July (Check your State)
   Director: Tom Dey, Rated PG, 88 mins

Director Tom Dey has adapted a famous comic strip to the big screen with Owen Wilson (Marley and Me) providing the voice of the rascally Great Dane Marmaduke.
   Living it up in Kansas with the Winslow family including parents Phil (Lee Pace) and Debbie (Judy Greer) is Marmaduke - a dog that enjoys playing with the kids and his feline best friend and companion Carlos (George Lopez from Beverly Hills Chihuahua).
   When Phil is offered a great job with a pet food company run by stern boss Don (William H. Macy) he uproots the Winslow household and moves to California where Marmaduke, in adjusting to his new surroundings, befriends some strays including the lovesick Mazie (Emma Stone).
   However Marmaduke unintentionally upsets the local bully, Bosco (Kiefer Sutherland) who is fiercely protective of his neighbourhood and his girlfriend Jezebel (Stacey Ferguson).
   With the focus being on dogs and promoted as a family friendly movie there is a certain amount of disappointment in the performance of Marmaduke as well as the inclusion of instances of tasteless toilet humour.
   Unfortunately Dey’s movie (like his earlier direction of Failure to Launch) may have literally gone to the dogs.
VIC'S VERDICT:       2 Rubber Stamps

Toy Story 3 (3D)
   Release date: 24 June
   Director: Lee Unkrich, Rated G, 86 mins

The creators of the beloved Toy Story franchise have reopened the toy box to reacquaint movie fans with the delightful world of their favourite toy characters in Toy Story 3.
   As Andy (voiced by John Morris) prepares to depart for college, Buzz (voiced by Tim Allen, Woody (Tom Hanks) and the rest of his toys are troubled about their uncertain future.
   Directed by Lee Unkrich (who co-directed Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo), Toy Story 3 is a comical new adventure in 3D where the toys are donated to a day care centre - arriving in a room full of irreverent and untamed toddlers who can't wait to either bend or stretch these "new" toys.
   It's pandemonium as the toys try to stay together, ensuring "no toy gets left behind”.
   Besides introducing several new characters, Unkrich’s concept for his production (considered to be the finale to the highly successful Toy Story movies) is simply ingenious.
   Unkrich uses a children’s playground as a kind of a prison complete with a pink teddy bear (voiced by Ned Beatty) playing the warden and the toys planning a big prison-breakout.
   It is hard to believe it has been 11 years since Toy Story 2 but Unkrich has delivered a worthy successor incorporating bright colours and vivid 3D animationinto his family oriented movie ensuring that it becomes the  final chapter to this hallowed animation franchise.
VIC'S VERDICT:       5 Rubber Stamps

The Karate Kid
   Release date: 1 and 8 July (Check your State)
   Director: Harald Zwart, Rated M, 140 mins

The original Karate Kid made in 1984 became a smash hit due to a well-told story and the perfect casting of its two main characters with Ralph Macchio as the boy who needed to learn how to defend himself and Pat Morita as his unlikely mentor in martial arts, Mr. Miyagi.
   In Dutch director Harald Zwart‘s remake of the popular franchise he has cast Will Smith’s son Jaden (The Pursuit of Happyness) as Dre (The Karate Kid) and Jackie Chan in the role of his mentor, Mr Han.
   This time around the setting is China and the plot concerns a 12-year-old boy from Detroit who moves to China with his mother (Taraji P. Henson) but incurs the wrath of the neighborhood bully.
   Dre forms an unlikely alliance with his ageing maintenance man, Mr. Han, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets to self-defence.
   Those who found the original movie thoroughly enjoyable will be pleased with the storyline and Smith’s and Chan’s portrayal of their characters.
   Smith in particular provides an appealing performance as a foreigner in a country and culture he doesn’t fully understand.
   Overall Zwart’s movie is entertaining despite its length (some 140 mins) and should appeal to a more mature audience.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

To find out more about Victor Rebikoff click here.
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