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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, Polo Park Imax, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 121 minutes.

Marvel Studios dares to give us a one-off about an obscure band of heroes familiar to few but the most committed comics geeks, consisting of a thief (Chris Pratt), a glamorous assassin (Zoe Saldana), a muscle-bound, vengeance-obsessed "maniac" (Dave Bautista), a super-intelligent, genetically enhanced raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a tree creature named Groot (Vin Diesel). Employing a wise-ass sensibility, a penchant for sardonic dialogue, and a soundtrack of all-70s hits, director James Gunn makes it work very well by locating a heart in all the lovingly rendered comic-book mayhem.

'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö

STARTING FRIDAY

FOR NO GOOD REASON

Cinematheque. 14A. 89 minutes.

This documentary portrait examines the life of artist Ralph Steadman, best known for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in particular) as seen through the eyes of your host, Johnny Depp.

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

Grant Park, Polo Park. G. 123 minutes.

Helen Mirren plays the persnickety owner of a snooty French restaurant who goes on the attack when an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai, opens within 100 feet of her establishment, a problem that amplifies when her sous-chef (Charlotte Le Bon) falls in love with the Maison's gifted chef Hassan (Manish Dayal).

112 WEDDINGS

Cinematheque. PG. 95 minutes.

When he's not a documentary filmmaker, Doug Block has made ends meet as a wedding photographer. This doc is his own investigation into the 112 weddings he has shot over the past two decades to discover how the romantic relationships have changed over the years.

INTO THE STORM

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 89 minutes.

A weather disaster movie in the tradition of Twister, this summer epic is centred on a small town hit by a series of ever-worsening cyclones and a group of high school students who recklessly decide to hang around and document the effects of the high winds.

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

Grant Park. PG. 97 minutes.

Woody Allen's latest comedy assigns a cynical professional illusionist (Colin Firth) the task of debunking a winsome young medium (Emma Stone) suspected of fleecing Europe's wealthiest denizens.

STEP UP: ALL IN

Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 112 minutes.

The fifth entry in the dance franchise brings back characters from previous instalments (including Briana Evigan and Ryan Guzman) to participate in a mega-dance competition in Las Vegas.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG. 101 minutes.

This reboot from producer Michael Bay combines martial arts action with turtle power, starring Bay's formerly exiled Transformers leading lady Megan Fox as reporter April O'Neil.

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The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.

AND SO IT GOES

Grant Park. PG. 94 minutes.

Michael Douglas is a cranky widower who relies on his next-door neighbour (Diane Keaton) when he gets temporary custody of a granddaughter he didn't know he had. While a senior-years romantic comedy is not, in itself, offensive, one does have reason be offended by a comedy that enlists aging boomers to participate in the kill of the mortally wounded genre, stabbing the beast with sticky sentiment, a predictable plot and clichés up the ying-yang. 'Ö 1/2

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 101 minutes.

The genetically enhanced apes introduced in the franchise reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) are back and beginning to take control of the world. This action-packed epic is a moving sci-fi allegory rendered in broad, lush strokes by the latest state of the computer animator's art. But it's all in service of an utterly conventional story, however, one you'll be three steps ahead of even if you have no memories of the '70s Apes movie (Battle for the Planet of the Apes) this is largely based on. 'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

GET ON UP

Grant Park, Polo Park. 14A. 139 minutes.

This film biography examines the life and career of "the hardest working man in show business" from impoverished beginnings to soul music superstardom. A movie of uncompromising soul, unadulterated funk and unalloyed joy, this warts-and-all musical biography of James Brown rides on the able shoulders of Chadwick Boseman. It turns out that his terrific if saintly spin on Jackie Robinson in 42 was just a warm-up act. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

HERCULES

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 98 minutes.

Dwayne Johnson plays Herc as a simple mercenary whose demi-god status is actually presented as PR, making this the first Hercules movie to openly question the existence of Zeus. Hence, this is a summer movie with sufficient wit, action and spectacle to pass as a modestly entertaining summer diversion. The sincere Johnson is sufficiently pumped-up to make his more ridiculous feats of strength (including horse-tossing) seem not all that ridiculous. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

I ORIGINS

Towne. 14A. 108 minutes.

Michael Pitt stars as a molecular biologist whose study of the eye ties in with his tragic love affair with a mysterious beauty Sofi (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey). A riveting meditation on faith and science that deftly balances the emotional and cerebral, I Origins is guaranteed to spark discussion. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Claudia Puig)

LUCY

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A. 90 minutes.

Scarlett Johansson stars in this Luc Besson action movie as a reluctant drug mule who accidentally ingests an overdose of a new chemical concoction that allows her to use her brain power to superhuman effect. It comes off as the kind of science fiction created by someone who never actually read a book on science. Besson's intellectual energy went into making this a calculatedly international hit, designed as a three-prong attack on Asian, European and American audiences, with Johansson at the calm centre, going from panicky tourist to ass-kicking demi-goddess with aplomb. 'Ö'Ö 1/2

A MOST WANTED MAN

Grant Park. 14A. 122 minutes.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his last starring role, plays a German spymaster attempting to recruit a suspected Muslim terrorist in this adaptation of a novel by John le Carré. Director Anton Corbijn resists any impulse to spice up le Carre's story with gratuitous sex and/or violence, making this is an entirely admirable movie about post-9/11 espionage, even more uncivilized than in the days of le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy hero George Smiley. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE

Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. G. 84 minutes.

This sequel to last year's unexpected hit Planes offers up the return of racer Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) facing a forced retirement from competition and entering the world of aerial firefighting. A couple of flight sequences take us over majestic deserts and amber waves of grain -- beautiful animated scenery. Other than that, there's not much to this. But its predecessor was so story-and-laugh starved, there was nowhere to go but up. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

THE PURGE: ANARCHY

Polo Park. 14A. 104 minutes.

In this quickly produced sequel to last year's dystopian hit, innocent citizens find themselves trapped on the streets during an annual event in which all crime is made legal over the period of one single violent night. It's preachier, more diverse in its casting than the first one, all of which make it more specific and limit it. Throw in generally lacklustre performances and illogical plot twists and Anarchy is seriously crippled. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

SEX TAPE

Polo Park, St. Vital. 18A. 95 minutes.

Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz are a couple trying to prevent the titular home movie from going viral, making for a raunchy contemporary twist in the traditional sex farce. But it's a PG plot for an X-rated story, trying to bridge the gap between the traditional romantic comedy and today's porn-addled digital world. The high-concept comedies spawned by The 40-Year-Old Virgin need to start using birth control. 'Ö'Ö (Reviewed by Jake Coyle)

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

Polo Park. PG. 165 minutes.

The Autobots and Decepticons are back in the fourth film of the Michael Bay-lensed series. This time around, Mark Wahlberg stars as a mechanic whose garage discovery brings the feds down on him and his family. The Transformers fear that humanity has it out for them and strike back. At two hours and 45 minutes, this is popcorn piffle without end. 'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by Roger Moore)

22 JUMP STREET

Polo Park. 14A. 112 minutes

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as mismatched cops whose dubious youthfulness gets them sent undercover -- this time in college. Jokes hit the same targets repeatedly -- yes, the guys look too old to be college students and yes, sequels are always the same only different, yet the movie manages to score more than its share of laughs largely due to Tatum, who proves to be an able comedian. 'Ö'Ö'Ö

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2014 ??65526

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