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The Grey (AKA Wolf Punch): a suicidal wolf-sniper must lead a group of plane crash survivors back to safety when they ditch near a wolf den in Alaska. The biggest shock to me was Neeson‘s star appeal; it was the busiest screening I’ve seen in a long time – and the poster for this is just a close-up of his coupon. While there’s no other A-list actors, they’ve all been around the block and are a solid bunch of hands. The film has surprisingly artistic sensibilities; in particular the opening character building with voiceover, and overall focus / investment on the group, their dynamics, (& latterly the scenery) – instead of fighting wolves every 20 seconds.  The plane crash is overwhelming, there’s couple of solid jumps, the CGI wolves look great, the gore is pretty visual, and overall the continuous threat of attack keeps you guessing. The only real downside is that there’s not a whole lot of wolf-punching to be had, and when it happens the frenetic action cam makes a mess of it all. As for the final scene, I still can’t tell if it is the bravest, dumbest, or most disappointing in memory – definitely a bold move. Neeson gets his token action line ‘let’s sharpen a big stick and ram it up this wolf’s ass’…  as well a several emotional runs through the poem below, oh, and Taglet looks identical to Half Life’s Dr Freeman. The Grey isn’t the action-packed wolf-punching cheese-fest that you walk in expecting; instead it’s a tense, character driven well-made survival thriller; this will be a nice surprise to some, but a disappointment to others.

Score: 7/10

Once more into the fray.
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
Live or die on this day.
Live or die on this day.

The Woodsman: The story of a (potentially) reformed child molester being re-located beside a school is never going to win over the mainstream. Not being content with that this further shuns audiences with its very slow pace and low-rent, no-frills style. The main characters are all are completely damaged, making them difficult to connect with, but adding shocking realism. On the happy side, the actors in this tear the house down with their performances – not lest Kevin Bacon, who gives us an unquestionable career highlight. His missus, Kyra Sedgwick, keeps the ball up in the air and Even Mos Def refuses to drop it, pulling out some top drawer action. The paedophilia theme means that this throws up some of the hardest scenes you’ll ever watch, especially the one on the park bench – if you don’t see that through your fingers you have no soul! Difficult one to watch, but it’s always good seeing a big hitter take on, and nail, such an ill-advised role.

Score: 5.5/10