This week's featured adaptation is "The Grey," a man-versus-nature thriller starring Liam Neeson. Inspired by the short story "Ghost Walker" by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, who also helped with the screenplay, it's based on a simple, but terrifying, premise: An oil drilling team is stranded in Alaska after a plane crash and faces a pack of wolves. It sounds as grim and unrelenting as "Into the Wild," another book/movie that pitted man against the Alaskan wilderness. Here are some excerpts from reviews:
-- Los Angeles Times: Neeson holds it together from first to last. He is the rumbly voiced king of the late-January/early February action film, per "Taken" and "Unknown," and by now moviegoers have been subliminally conditioned to pay money to hear that warm hearth of a speaking voice, under duress but coolly so, this time of year. Call "The Grey" "Deliverance"-lite, with snow, and wolves. And call it a solid January surprise.
-- Seattle Times: Neeson's character is a man in torment. Early on he's seen chewing on the muzzle of a high-powered rifle, his finger tightening on the trigger. He's in the grip of suicidal despair over the loss of the love of his life, a nameless beauty (Anne Openshaw) glimpsed only in fleeting flashbacks. Can he rouse himself from his funk to lead the other survivors to safety? In addition to his commanding physical presence, Neeson has the ability, unmatched by any other Hollywood leading man, to convey soul-deep anguish. In this picture, it's shattering in its intensity.
-- Roger Ebert: "The Grey" advances with pitiless logic. There are more wolves than men. The men have weapons, the wolves have patience, the weather is punishing. I sat regarding the screen with mounting dread. The movie had to have a happy ending, didn't it? If not "happy," then at least a relief in some sense? Sit through the entire credits. There's one more shot still to come. Not that you wouldn't be content without it.