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Theunusual suspects; FILMS ....with Graham Young.

Byline: Graham Young

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) | Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3D (12A) MAKE way Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and even Avengers Assemble - the 10th film from the 'Marvel Cinematic Universe' has some brand new cinematic heroes.

Larger-than-life and dangerously explosive, they're so funny that boys and girls will love the film in equal measure.

Playing like a futuristic blast from the past, the premise is simple.

The fate of 12 billion souls now rests in the hands of a thief, two thugs, a murderer and a maniac. And if these merry misfits don't protect the galaxy, who will? Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is an American pilot and interstellar adventurer.

Raised by thieves after he was abducted from Missouri in the mid-80s, he still dances to the decade's hits on his Sony Walkman.

Desperate to be called Star-Lord by his pals, Quill threatens the future of the whole cosmos when he steals an orb making him a target for nasty Ronan (Lee Pace).

To save the day, he'll have to form an uneasy alliance with a bunch of extraterrestrials.

Zoe Saldana's deadly character Gamora is seeking redemption for previous crimes, with the Avatar actress going from blue skin to unflattering Guardians' green.

Bradley Cooper voices Rocket, a genetically tampered, trigger-happy, bounty hunting raccoon who has a believably deep relationship with a walking humanoid tree called Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel.

Throw in muscle man Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bausista), out to avenge the death of his family by Ronan, and the result is the kind of blockbuster that summer holidays were invented for.

Directed and co-written by Peter Gunn (Super) and shot by Britain's own Ben Davis (Layer Cake/Kick-Ass), some of the effects are so gorgeously cheesy and the script so witty that the film simply rides along.

The wider cast includes Djimon Hounsou (Korath), John C Reilly (Rhomann Dey), Glenn Close (Nova Prime Irani Rael) and Benicio Del Torro (Taneleer Tivan/The Collector) and there's a fine string of Kevin Bacon gags.

Powered by a mixture of classic hits and a stirring score by Tyler Bates (Watchmen), Guardians rarely pauses for breath.

It has the timeless spirit of Back To The Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark infused with a gargantuan sense of galactic fun we haven't seen since Men in Black and the overlooked Galaxy Quest.

THE NUT JOB (PG) IMAGINE a Canadian-South Korean animation that is set in the 1950s and you might come close to something as wacky as The Nut Job.

Taglined 'No nuts. No glory', it has clearly been influenced by the Ice Age movies and, like Guardians of the Galaxy, features a leading character who is a raccoon (Liam Neeson).

While everyone else in the park is faced with going hungry, selfish squirrel Surly (voice by Will Arnett) has a string of schemes up his purple-haired arms.

His latest wheeze is to raid his local park's nut store to enable his friends to survive the cold weather.

But a gang of bank robbers are planning their own heist - with the aim of leaving bags of nuts in place of the loot.

When human interests are at cross purposes with the rodents' crazy schemes, the fur is sure to fly...

Red squirrel Andie (Katherine Heigl) is the potential love interest, but Surly isn't sure he can trust her any more than handsome grey squirrel Grayson (Brendan Fraser). That leaves Buddy (Robert Tinkler) the gullible rat, as the one character that Surly thinks he can rely on.

Children under seven will enjoy the slapstick nature of the fun and the irresistible Gangnam Style end credits sequence but the patchy script falls a long way short of Pixar films like The Incredibles and lacks the camaraderie of Madagascar.

Parents might also question why a film of this nature needs to feature humans using guns.

STEP UP 5: ALL IN (PG) PART five already? Crikey... my brain must have self-deleted parts three and four.

Created by Duane Adler, the story began in 2006 with Channing Tatum starring as a delinquent kid who could dance.

The rich girl/poor guy film was poorly received by critics, but the series has now grossed more than half a billion dollars in cinemas alone.

Only Tatum was retained for the first sequel and since then Adam Sevani (Moose), Mari Koda (Jenny Kido) and Chris Scott (Hair) have become the staple cast members.

Newcomer Trish Sie, the series' first woman director since Anne Fletcher launched the franchise, has a good eye for capturing the moves.

Bryan Sevani and Few will see All In and complain about a lack of action, with ladies no doubt enjoying the ripped physique of Sean (Ryan Guzman).

Whether there's anything between the ears though is highly debatable given that his competitive hunger robs him of anything resembling an attractive personality.

Guzman, Adam Briana Evigan And yet, of course, some people still love him.

Having won a lucrative TV commercial at the end of Step Up 4, The Mob are finding work hard to come by.

And so Sean teams up again with old friend Moose whose grandparents run a studio where he can work as a handyman.

With The Vortex TV show offering a three-year Vegas deal, rival crews will soon be battling on the dance floor. Moose fires up a new team called LMNTRIX - featuring Briana Evigan's Andie from Step Up 2 - ready to face The Grim Knights.

The plot remains as slight and predictable as ever and there's a daft twist. Dancing is king. So if you can't stand the heat of competition, stay out of the kitchen.

CAPTION(S):

Bryan Guzman, Adam Sevani and Briana Evigan

Surly the mischievous squirrel, left, voiced by Will Arnett, in The Nut Job

American pilot and interstellar adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)

Gamora and Peter Quill with the precious orb, above

Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper)

Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista)

Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2014
Words:995
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