Doctor Who fans will be happy to see the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) back on their television screens this fall, alongside Breaking Bad alum Anna Gunn Miller in Fox’s ten-episode series Gracepoint. If you haven’t heard of the mystery crime drama, it might be because the show is a remake of a British miniseries (also starring David Tennant) called Broadchurch. (Our editor compared the show to True Detective in this article back in August.) Fox’s Gracepoint revolves around the murder of a young boy in a seaside town and the two detectives struggling to solve the mystery. PluggedIn’s Paul Asay describes the show as “an Agatha Christie-like whodunit with the brooding, bleak atmosphere of AMC's The Killing” that is “built around its central mystery, its bone-chilling atmosphere and, of course, the town's hidden scandals.” Despite the heavy topic, Asay says that “explicit content is (so far) minimal.” Amidst a town of drug abusers, sexual deviants, and the town’s priest who “is not the man of God he at first seems to be,” the show “still manages to keep most of its focus on the tragedy that the murder of a child truly is.” Variety’s Brian Lowry finds Tennant’s reprisal role enjoyable enough (telling fans who haven’t watched the BBC show to “stay and see how the mystery plays out”), but his main concern is the danger of adaptation. “Not only do you lose part of the impact among those who watched the original,” Lowry explains, “but you trail far enough behind it to allow the inevitable clones to creep into the equation.” Lowry doesn’t necessarily believe a US version of Broadchurch is even necessary; “plenty of fine imports are readily available to feed the appetite of programming-hungry channels and streaming services.”
Jason Reitman, director of indie flicks Juno and Thank You For Smoking, is back with another film you probably haven’t heard much about called Men, Women & Children. The book turned film boasts a plethora of big names, including funnyman Adam Sandler, The Fault In Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort, and 13 Going On 30 costars Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer. Men, Women & Children revolves around the secrets every man, woman, and child hides in the dark crevices of the Internet. Yes, we may have everything we’ve ever wanted at the tip of our fingers, but what did we have to give up to gain it? Everything from pornography addiction, eating disorders, and marital infidelity is covered in the film. In spite of the heavy subject material, Paul Asay of PluggedIn believes that “much of the bad (very bad) behavior we see here is not intended to be aspirational.” To the contrary, these things are “intended to strike us as negative and, at times, unspeakably sad.” Men, Women & Children warns its “audiences of technology's dangers and insists that kids really need good, strong parents willing to set some firm yet loving boundaries.” But, Asay insists that the film could have done so without indulging “in such a sky-high level of sexual content.” A. O. Scott of The New York Times brings up a larger problem with the film: the complication of too many storylines—as he says, “not every story sustains the same level of interest. Some are too neatly packaged as cautionary tales, but others manage at least to hint at the confusion and stickiness of real life.” Interestingly enough, Scott notes that the movie makes a point of saying technology isn’t the source of all this evil. Rather, as “the sensible voice of Emma Thompson explains . . . the root of the problem is that we’re all human.” Despite its attempt at finding a solution to the chaos, Scott believes that Men, Women, & Children “succumbs to the confusion it tries to illuminate.”
Larisa Kline is an intern with Christianity Today Movies and a student at The King’s College in New York City.
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