Liam Neeson doesn't dance with wolves in The Grey (R), he bashes them with an ax, or chokes them with his bare hands. Neeson plays John Ottway, an Alaskan oil driller who survives a plane crash only to be surrounded by carnivorous canis lupus.
Never mind that wolves killing humans is as rare as laughs in a Liam Neeson movie. The tough guy needs something to kill.
Usually it's his daughter's kidnapper (Taken) or an identity thief (Unknown) who gets Neeson this riled. The Grey sets up only the alpha wolf as his chief adversary, making this more of a Jack London survival saga than a revenge thriller. The movie reunites Neeson with director Joe Carnahan, after their unjustly derided 2010 update of The A-Team.
The Grey wasn't screened in time for Weekend. A review will be published at tampabay.com/features and on Etc, Page 2B.
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ON FOR THE MONEY
Nobody is shocked that Katherine Heigl wants to return to Grey's Anatomy, the TV series she negotiated and griped her way out of a few years ago. Not after seeing how her fall-back movie career has gone.
Heigl severely overestimated her importance to Knocked Up, and the minor box office success of 27 Dresses. She believed she would be America's next sweetheart and America has repeatedly told her no. After a string of critical and commercial flops from The Ugly Truth to New Year's Eve, Heigl's last chance before crawling back to TV could be One for the Money (PG-13).
At least this project has a built-in fan base. Heigl plays Stephanie Plum, hero of 22 books and novellas written by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie is recently divorced and unemployed, taking a gig at a bail bonds agency to make ends meet. She's as ill-equipped to chase criminals as Dog the Bounty Hunter is for acting, but there's a feisty grandma (Debbie Reynolds) rooting her along.
Lionsgate announced two weeks ago that One for the Money wouldn't be screened for critics. A review will be published at tampabay.com/features and on Etc, Page 2B.