Arts and Entertainment Ryan Guzman (pictured) is signed to Step Up 5

Tinseltown Insider

DVD: Black Swan, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

Darren Aronofsky's exotic mix of backstage soap opera and gothic horror movie is tosh, really: being cast as the lead in Swan Lake wouldn't turn anyone into a gibbering psycho, even someone as highly strung as Natalie Portman's fledgling ballerina.

Hubert Schlafly: Inventor of the autocue who also helped originate pay-per-view television

Hubert Schlafly, an Emmy Award-winning engineer, was the co-inventor of the teleprompter, or autocue, and executed the first satellite transmission of a cable programme, both of which helped shape modern television. He also engineered the HBO satellite transmission of the "Thrilla in Manila" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

Robert Pattinson movie at centre of animal cruelty storm

Most movie stars wait for either an invitation to park their bottom on Oprah's sofa or the publication of a warts-and-all autobiography to share the details of their abusive childhood. But Tai is no ordinary movie star. For starters, she is an elephant.

Cinemas at war with studios over plan to screen films in homes

Cinema chains could refuse to show major films in a showdown with two leading studios over home viewing.

DVD: The Illusionist, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

Directed by Sylvain Chomet, from a screenplay written by Jacques Tati in 1959, this gorgeously hand-drawn cartoon sees an ageing French conjurer trying his luck in Edinburgh, where he shares a boarding house with a young girl.

DVD: Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

Twenty-two years in the making, Oliver Stone's Wall Street sequel starts as a meaty, grown-up drama in which wealth and testosterone waft intoxicatingly from the screen.

King's Speech leads Oscar field with 12 nominations

After a confusing year, marked by uncertainty about both the financial and creative futures of their industry, Hollywood’s great and good must choose between the forces of tradition and modernity when they sit down to cast their votes for next month’s Academy Awards.

DVD: Knight and Day, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

A limp romantic comedy that copies The Bourne Identity might sound like an ideal vehicle for, say, Gerard Butler and Kate Hudson.

DVD: The A Team, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

This week's other TV spin-off is slightly better.

Gloria Stuart: Actress who began her career in the 1930s and was nominated for an Oscar six decades later for 'Titanic'

The glamorous blonde actress Gloria Stuart was a popular leading lady of the Thirties, starring in two classic horror films directed by James Whale, The Old Dark House and The Invisible Man, and playing romantic leads in two vehicles for the child-star Shirley Temple. She was also Dick Powell's love interest in the Busby Berkeley musical, Gold Diggers of 1935, and starred in several "B" movies.

DVD: Date Night, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

If ever a title killed a film's chances, this was it. You see it, think "bad rom-com" and then pick something else at the multiplex. Big shame.

DVD: Glee: Season 1, Volume 2, For retail (20th Century Fox)

Think you don't enjoy musicals? You might have to think again.

DVD: Percy Jackson and...For retail & rental, (20th Century Fox)

Harry Potter meets Clash of the Titans, as a schoolboy (Logan Lerman) discovers he's the super-powered son of Poseidon.

DVD: Post Grad, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

Alexis Bledel leaves college and assumes she'll sail into "a sweet job at the finest publishing house in LA", but instead finds herself unemployed and living back home with her parents (Jane Lynch and Michael Keaton).

50 years ago, the laser beam was born...

... and we mark this scientific achievement with 50 reasons to celebrate
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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