Caryn James

Stealth Netflix Arrival: Matthew Rhys in Clever Suspense Film 'The Scapegoat'

  • By Caryn James
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  • June 17, 2013 9:45 AM
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If you like Matthew Rhys as the Americanized KGB agent in FX's terrific 80's spy series The Americans, and think he might be even more dashing with his natural-born British accent, then Netflix is streaming a film for you. In The Scapegoat, set in 1952 and based on a Daphne du Maurier story, he plays the dual role of John Standard and Johnny Spence, one a recently laid-off teacher of Greek, the other his lookalike, the ne'er-do-well son of a once-rich factory-owning family now struggling to stay afloat. Written and directed by Charles Sturridge (a director of the classic Brideshead Revisited), with EiIeen Atkins ideally cast as the family's imperious, morphine-addicted matriarch, The Scapegoat is darkly delightful, with swapped identities, intrigue, murder, and a great pile of an aristocratic house to rival Brideshead. Made for ITV and shown on television in Britain, (and on the Ovation network here) it plays like an exceptional installment of Masterpiece Mystery, except it's not.

'Beautiful Creatures': Smarter, Wittier, Better Than 'Twilight'

  • By Caryn James
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  • February 14, 2013 9:00 AM
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Beautiful Creatures, the story of high-school students in love – only one of them with supernatural powers – is bound to be compared to the Twilight movies, but that’s just wrong. Richard LaGravanese’s sumptuous-looking film is crisply directed, wonderfully cast and far wittier than the drippy, earnest Twilight Saga. Better to think of Beautiful Creatures as a Harry Potter substitute with wizards and muggles facing adulthood, a film smart enough to have fun with its magical premise.

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