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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
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BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

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Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
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Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
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The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

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