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Picture - Lili Taylor - A variety... New York City New York United States, Monday 9th March 2015

Lili Taylor - A variety of stars were photographed as they arrived for The New Group 20th Anniversary Gala which was held at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 9th March 2015

Blood Ties Review

While the story centres on twisted moral dilemmas, this 1970s-set thriller takes such a hesitant, internalised approach that if never lets viewers under the characters' skin. As a result, there's virtually no spark of real life here, despite the presence of several fine actors and a twisty plot that focusses on how decisions affect relationships. It's an oddly muted approach to events that really should have a much stronger emotional jolt.

It's 1974 Brooklyn, where Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released after 10 years in prison. His police detective brother Frank (Billy Crudup) offers help with finding a place to stay, getting a job and escaping his former life of crime, but the options are limited. While trying to reconnect with his junkie-prostitute ex Monica (Marion Cotillard), Chris also begins dating the younger Natalie (Mila Kunis). And he finds himself drifting back into his old gangster role. This causes a conflict of interest for Frank in his work as a cop, especially since he's further compromised by having an affair with Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), whose boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) he's just put in jail.

Filmmaker Guillaume Canet is remaking the 2008 French thriller Rivals (in which he played the Frank character), and he recreates the period beautifully, shooting the film in a grainy 1970s style that emphasises character over action. So it's odd that the characters feel so thinly written, with most of the ambiguity drained from each moral issue they face. Much of this is because everyone is pushing their emotions away and internalising their thought processes so no one else can see them. But this leaves the audience out in the cold. And as a result, everything feels obvious and inevitable, which makes it impossible to get involved as events escalate. It's as if these people are tragic losers, so no amount of sympathy will save them.

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Picture - Lili Taylor - The Public... New York New York United States, Tuesday 24th June 2014

Lili Taylor - The Public Theater Annual Gala at the Delacorte Theater - Arrivals - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 24th June 2014

Picture - Ben Livingston, Daryl Sabara, Lili... New York New York United States, Tuesday 15th April 2014

Ben Livingston, Daryl Sabara, Lili Taylor, Scott Z. Burns, Jennifer Westfeldt, Chloe Grace Moretz, Tamara Tunie, Michael O'Keefe and Steven Soderbergh - Opening night after party for The Library at the Public Theater - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Tuesday 15th April 2014

Blood Ties

'Almost Human' Is Almost Worth Getting Exciting About

Tags: Karl Urban - Jj Abrams - Michael Ealy - Mackenzie Crook - Lili Taylor - Minka Kelly

Almost Human is the latest series from Fringe creator JH Wyman, working under Jj Abrams' Bad Robot banner and airing on Fox last night (17 Nov.). Set 35 years in the future, in a world where police officers are partnered with human-like androids, the show stars Karl Urban and Michael Ealy as they combat a crime-filled Los Angeles in a show that has already shown some early promise, a handful of critics agree.

Karl UrbanMichael Ealy
Karl Urban stars alongside Michael Ealy on Almost Human

Urban and Ealy, starring as Detective John Kennex and the DRN model android Dorian respectively, are the show's odd couple and central characters and despite their differences, by the end of the series premiere alone it becomes pretty clear that they make a formidable pair. They are just two parts of a pretty wicked ensemble cast that also includes Joe Smith, Mackenzie Crook, Lili Taylor and Minka Kelly, but in spite of all the big names, Almost Human is still struggling to win everyone over with its first episode.

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