Time to call cut on long film titles

Have some sympathy for cinemagoers who make the mistake of booking their tickets over the phone in the next few weeks. Quite apart from the purgatory that is the multiplexes' booking systems, they'll also have to contend with titles that will leave them breathless.

Carpet rolled out for Bafta awards

The champagne is on ice and the red carpet is being rolled out as some of the biggest names in Hollywood gather for tonight's Bafta film awards.

Tomas Alfredson: 'I was bought up on film sets; my own kids think they're boring'

As a child, film meant the possibility of being closer to my father He had been making films since before I was born, so I was brought up on different film sets and I learnt a lot about the process that has been useful to me as a director. But at the time it was mainly something I knew I could talk to him about.

Depardieu cast in role of Strauss-Kahn in new biopic

Gerard Depardieu is to play Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a Hollywood biopic about the scandal that destroyed the economist's hopes of winning the French presidency.

DVD: Perfect Sense, For retail & rental (Entertainment One)

Perfect Sense features yet another of the global pandemics which seem to obsess today's film-makers, but it's less an apocalyptic disaster movie than a haunting indie fable about two people, Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, learning to accept true love.

Stan Lee: 'Each day when I come to work, it's a new exciting day'

Stan Lee: Creator of the Hulk and Spider-Man is a £4bn Marvel

Even at 89, the man behind the phenomenally successful comic book and film franchises isn't slowing down – and, in a rare interview, he says he can't wait to meet his fans in London later this month

A Postcard from Angela Carter, By Susannah Clapp

Angela Carter liked to make an entrance. Susannah Clapp, now a drama critic, first saw her when she herself was working in a makeshift office in 1979-80, helping to launch the London Review of Books. She hoped to coax Carter into contributing. Carter strode in, wrapped in a big coat, her face free of make-up: "the first woman I knew," Clapp says, "who went grey without looking like a granny."

Bias claim by Fox News gets the Miss Piggy treatment

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy have rejected claims that their new film, The Muppets, pushes a communist political agenda.

Kara Tointon will star in 'Absent Friends' at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London

Cultural Life: Kara Tointon, actress

Theatre: I try to go to the theatre as much as possible. I saw 'The Ladykillers' at London's Gielgud Theatre, which was hilarious. The run has been extended because it has been so popular. It was some of the best stage acting I have seen, with a very clever set.

Dewald Aukema’s icy images in The Nine Muses could embody an immigrant’s view of Britain as a place of cold exile

The Nine Muses, John Akomfrah, 92 mins (PG)

A haunting odyssey on immigration could have been among the last of its kind – but a funding review may well bring a reprieve for 'arty' movies

Something about Mary

As Mary Nighy makes her directing debut in the West End, she tells Arifa Akbar why the theatre is a good place for women right now
Family business: Mary Nighy, the director of 'Shallow Slumber'

There's something about Mary Nighy

As Mary Nighy, the daughter of two celebrated British actors, makes her directing debut in the West End, she explains why the theatre's a good place for women now

Philip Hensher: Try avoiding hackneyed 'Hockney' response

W hat's the world's greatest film? Citizen Kane. Greatest painting? The Mona Lisa. The greatest symphony? Beethoven's ninth. The greatest novel? War and Peace. Of course. What isn't quite so generally agreed is Top Living Exponent – or at any rate, it tends to change from time to time. By the time Lucian Freud died, it was generally agreed that he occupied the place of Top Living British Painter. The jockeying for position after a great man's death is not a noisy or ruthless affair – not like the lobbying for position which follows a political death. But the question starts to arise, nevertheless. In the New Year, David Hockney was awarded the Order of Merit – the grandest of honours, a step up from the Companion of Honour he has had for 14 years. That is timed to precede the most conspicuous of seals of fame, an enormous survey of his recent work at the Royal Academy, over which he has evidently had almost total control. Ten years ago, there might have been half a dozen plausible names competing for the honour of being the answer to the question: "Who's the best living British artist?" Now, the quest seems to be over for now; the answer: Hockney. The search for and subsequent assertion of Top Thing in an art form is an arid and discouraging affair, I must say. Stravinsky disliked the word "genius" with its responses: "Leonardo" and "Beethoven". The reason that such answers arise is that not all of us have sufficient time to devote to the arts. We don't want to waste our time with artists who are pretty good, with novels which have a terrific chapter now and again. The flawed masterpiece, or the flawed master, is one which is taking up our time. If we are going to find a work of art to fill a spare hour, it had better be something agreed to be the best. The value of art is not like the result of a sporting competition – it is only what is agreed on when thousands of critical judgements collide. Hockney is a fascinating but very quirky artist. Some will find his RA show horrible to look at and resent the recommendation which comes from him being considered Top Brit. And that may be as legitimate a judgement as the award of an OM. Nobody knows which has more truth to it.

Tim Walker: A suitable case for treatment?

It's odd that all the self-proclaimed sex addicts we hear about seem to be good-looking male celebrities
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'