The Grey

Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, Frank Grillo | R |

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ACTION

So perpetually engaged in mortal combat is Neeson that the wisest course, should you ever encounter him, is to scream, "I love your work!" while running in the opposite direction. Fortunately, fellow humans, we're safe this time-it's the wolves he's after.

Neeson stars as Ottway, a sniper for an Alaskan oil company charged with shooting the wolves who wander into camp. So it's only fair that the canines become the predators when he and six other men survive a plane crash in a crippling blizzard. That promising setup leads to a standard-issue disaster plot that picks off the nearly indistinguishable survivors one by one. Even Ottway, with his flashbacks to an absent wife and occasionally dubious logic about pack behavior, isn't that compelling. The wolves, however, are the stuff of nightmares. With their clever hunting techniques, they're Neeson's best adversaries yet. Don't get me wrong-he's still the toughest guy in the room. But The Grey is what happens when there is no room.

Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska | R |

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DRAMA

Albert was born a girl and lives as a man, but he's never truly been human. Close plays Albert, a role she's nursed since a stage run in 1982, as a nonentity. Desperate not to be discovered, Albert gingerly pursues a crush on maid Helen (Wasikowska). How refreshing, then, is Hubert (the electric Janet McTeer) a painter who's made the same choice as Albert but lives boldly. This quiet, slow film needs more of Hubert's panache, but Close's affecting turn is a triumph.

KICKS BUTT, TAKES NAMES

1 UNKNOWN

The setup

He's a scientist headed to a conference in Berlin.

The missing person

His wife (and identity), cruelly snatched from him by a nefarious man with a hidden agenda.

His killer move

He has a suspiciously fierce right hook for a biochemist.

2 CLASH OF THE TITANS

The setup

He's the king of the gods up on Mount Olympus.

The missing person

His son Perseus, cruelly snatched from him by a nefarious king with a hidden agenda.

His killer move

Dude, he's Zeus. He can throw lightning bolts.

3 TAKEN

The setup

He's an ex-spy headed to Paris.

The missing person

His daughter, cruelly snatched from him by a nefarious cabal with a hidden agenda.

His killer move

He slays a bunch of folks like a commando, then takes a commercial flight home, like a tourist.

THOMAS HORN

The kids' Jeopardy! champ is winning raves as Sandra Bullock's son in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

HE'S ONE SMART KID

The son of two physicians, Horn won $31,800 on Jeopardy! Kids Week in 2010. His strength? Geography. His weakness? Pop culture. Producer Scott Rudin spotted him and asked him to audition for Extremely Loud. "The process was pretty nerve-racking," admits Horn, 14.

HOW HE BONDED WITH SANDRA

When he met his dressed-down movie mom, "I didn't recognize her," he says. Thanks to exercises like staring into each other's eyes, "we got to know each other in 15 minutes."

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Piedmont, Calif., ninth grader is studying Spanish and Mandarin (he already speaks Croatian) and has his college plans all worked out. "I'd like to try MIT, NYU, or Columbia and study computer science or hydrology."