Voices

Something unusual happened on American television last week: a drama finished its first season with all the loose ends tied up. There were no cliffhangers. No teasing hints at stories to come. The show in question was Hostages, which started on Channel 4 last night, and it is adding to the stirrings of a television revolution.

Forgotten authors No. 47: Nevil Shute & Eric Ambler

I sometimes wonder if this column's title is entirely right; perhaps it should be called 'Invisible Ink' because, while neither Nevil Shute nor Eric Ambler is truly forgotten, their words have faded to a faintness only discerned by loyal fans. Reprints are available and second-hand copies lie in Oxfam shops, but both authors have been caught out by the passage of time.

The Stepfather

It's astonishing to think that the thrillers of the 1980s are now deemed insufficiently bland and glossy for mainstream audiences, but it's true. In May we had Obsessed, a (12A)-rated copy of Fatal Attraction, and now we have a plastic, production-line remake of 1987's The Stepfather – with no blood, no swearing, no sex, and no violence – that wouldn't be at home in an episode of Poirot. I'm not even sure why it deserves a 15 certificate, except for all the gratuitous shots of Amber Heard in an itsy-bitsy bikini.

Stoke desperate to keep Shawcross amid speculation

Stoke chairman Peter Coates insists they will do everything to keep Ryan Shawcross but has warned the defender not to get distracted by media speculation.

Pandorum (15)

Paul W S Anderson produced this stranded-spaceship thriller, so expect variations on his earlier Event Horizon, Resident Evil and Alien vs Predator.

District 13: Ultimatum (15)

A follow-up to the hyperkinetic District 13, which also introduced cinemagoers to the breakneck speed and agility of parkour (aka free-running), this brings together the original's buffed stars, Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle, in a Parisian conspiracy thriller of frankly preposterous dimensions.

331 North 62 East (15)

A low-budget British "thriller" that is comfortably the worst film I can remember seeing: threadbare plot, clunking dialogue, brain-dead conspiracy theorising, and a gallery of embarrassing racial stereotypes. Avoid at all costs.

Running wild: London prepares for 'free-running' championships

The world's best 'free-runners' are converging on London. Rob Sharp tries to learn some of their milder moves

North By Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock, 131 mins, (PG)

Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau

The Taking of Pelham 123 - Why remake a Seventies classic?

For film-makers in the 1970s, it was the clever, subtle touches that made their movies great. And it's why modern remakes, such as a new version of 'The Taking of Pelham 123', can never compare, says Geoffrey Macnab

12 Rounds (12A)

Pity New Orleans. No sooner have they cleared up after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina than a Renny Harlin action thriller blows into town and trashes the place all over again.

The Ten Best Suspense Films

From hypnotic Sister-in-Laws, to the dangers of seeing dead people, to mark Sky's Hitchcock week, we present ten of the best suspense films.

The Independent Film Forum: Have your say on State of Play

Our readers discuss the political thriller, State of Play

Born to Run: The 39 Steps returns

Richard Hannay is back – played by Rupert Penry-Jones – in the most exciting version of The 39 Steps since Hitchcock. James Rampton reports

Taken (15)

The only puzzle of this toxically stupid Europhobe thriller is that its director (Pierre Morel) and producer (Luc Besson) are both French.

Paperbacks: Hitchcock's Music, by John Sullivan

"Please write nothing for the murder in the shower," Hitchcock told his composer. "That must be without music."

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War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all