8:00 PM, 11th May, 2012
When their plane crashes in the vast Alaskan wilderness, a group of unruly oil rig employees are forced to put their differences aside in order to survive not only their injuries and the icy elements, but a pack of territorial wolves that are hunting them down as well. Taking charge of the motley crew of fugitives and ex-cons is John Ottway (Neeson), a sharpshooter hired to protect the company's employees, who quickly demonstrates he may be the only person with the skills necessary to get them out alive.
Don't make the mistake of writing this off as your typical man-versus-wild survival flick; there's nothing grey at all about The Grey. As a blend of hardcore survival thriller and horror film, the film is expectedly intense, relentless and gory; but it's also a surprisingly heartbreaking and powerful look at life and death, thanks largely to Neeson. Though always dependable, he brings a particular emotional heft here that no doubt drew from his own recent tragic history, and the result is one of the best performances of his career.
That's still just the tip of the iceberg, however, as the film also delivers masterful action, genuine characterisation and a stellar script; all of which elevate it beyond mere convention and into the realm of must-see cinema. No, 'must-see' is putting it lightly. The Grey absolutely demands your attention, grabs it and then doesn't let go as its two-hour time bomb of tension, suspense and adrenaline-pumping trepidation ticks away. Not to be missed.
10:12 PM, 11th May, 2012
With its warring factions, citizen uprisings, guerrilla insurgencies, political intrigue, bloody warfare and family tensions, Coriolanus is a great political thriller. This adaptation of Shakespeare's play condenses and dispenses with some sections of the original; but at the heart of the story is Coriolanus (Fiennes) and his relationships with the Roman citizens he despises and his enemy, Tullus Aufidius (Butler). But of course there are heaps of twists and turns as the story unfolds.
Be warned that there are some shaky camera techniques that make you feel like you're right there shouting at the top of your lungs with your comrades during the battle scenes, which can also sometimes make it a bit hard to work out exactly what's going on. The other thing you need to know is that this is essentially a Shakespearean play set in modern times which is interesting on one hand, but you really have to concentrate pretty hard on what's being said as the film retains the Bard's language.
I didn't study Shakespeare in school (or else I just slept through that bit?!) so I wasn't familiar with the play, but Fiennes does a great job in his directorial debut and the cast are fantastic. Also, the gritty (and quite bloody) war scenes draw you in and make you feel part of the action. So if you are a fan of good storytelling, Shakespeare or war movies, you will enjoy Coriolanus. But if you're a bit squeamish, maybe best to head home and catch up on episodes of "The West Wing" instead.