Arts and Entertainment

Gary Barlow has expressed his bewilderment after another of his acts was axed from The X Factor last night.

Film: The Big Picture: Flintlock and two smoking barrels

PLUNKETT & MACLEANE (15) DIRECTOR: JAKE SCOTT STARRING: ROBERT CARLYLE, JONNY LEE MILLER, LIV TYLER, KEN STOTT 101 MINUTES

Going Out: film the mask of zorro (pg)

The Mask of Zorro (above) is refreshing after a summer dominated by soulless, special-effects-driven blockbusters. In this sweeping, gleefully old-fashioned swashbuckler, the actors and the stunt artistes are the stars, not the backroom boys and their computers. A dignified Anthony Hopkins and a spirited Antonio Banderas are the ageing Zorro, masked defender of the oppressed, and the Mexican outlaw he moulds into his successor respectively. And in a star-making turn, Catherine Zeta Jones plays the film's sultry heroine, whose encounter with Banderas in a stable combines swordplay with seduction. Martin Campbell (Goldeneye), meanwhile, directs with a sure hand, only indulging in overkill (and arguably contextually dubious imagery) at the end. Under his deft guidance, a much-loved hero is thrillingly reborn.

Scotland's big adventure

Suddenly, it's not risible to wear Highland dress - it's a vibrant expression of the mood of a nation feeling at one with itself

Bond business makes a killing out of Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan has been confirmed as the most profitable ever James Bond after his new film Tommorow Never Dies topped ticket sales of $140m (pounds 84m) world-wide since opening 10 days ago.

Where angels fear to tread

He'll never play the chisel-jawed leading man but Alan Cumming has a misfit's charm, a sideline in writing, an Olivier... and the gall to accept a big part in the new Spice Girls film.

People thought Stephen Unwin was mad to move to Crewe. They don't think so now

"A few years ago I had a show on at the Royal Court Upstairs, and I remember thinking, I know everybody in the audience here," says Stephen Unwin who, shortly after that experience, took over the ailing, Crewe-based touring company Century Theatre in 1993. "People thought I was mad," he admits with an ill-concealed glint of triumph. His company, refashioned and re-named English Touring Theatre, has been raking in the plaudits ever since.

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Who checks the plug on our TV?

Product placement in movies is an old story, but it's still banned on British television. Or is it? Meg Carter reports

To: Albert Cubby Broccoli Producer of: 'Goldeneye' From: Admiral Sir Miles Messervy RN (Retd) Ref: Cdr. James Bond (007)

Without wishing to disparage the valiant and patriotic efforts of my successors to the post of "M", I feel that this latest effort of yours, to wit Goldeneye, serves mainly as a reminder of a phrase once dropped into the public consciousness by a Miss Carly Simon, that "nobody does it better".

buy me: Bond watch

Question: How does a secret agent tell the time?

TICKET OFFER: GOLDENEYE

You know the name... you know the number... Yes, that most famous secret service agent is back, and to celebrate the launch of Talking Pages' Hotline to the Movies (0800 600 900), they are offering you the chance to be among the first to see this latest Bond adventure. To mark the launch, Talking Pages are sponsoring the celebrity premiere of Goldeneye, starring Pierce Brosnan (above), at the Odeon Leicester Square on 22 November.

Never mind the quality, feel the pitch

The new Bond film is four weeks away, but already the publicity machine has hit top gear. For, as the people in P&A know, you want good word-of-mouth before the movie opens and ruins it all. By Beth Porter

One hundred years of exhilaration

THE CRITICS RADIO

RLS and the lore of an ass : THE CRITICS : Radio

IN FRANCE, towards the end of 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson acquired a small donkey called Modestine. With her, he wrote, invoking the Psalms, he would set off on his travels "out of which if I do not make a book, may my right hand lose its cunning ". Travels with a Donkey was the famous result, but Stevenson was already the author of at least 600 letters. Alan Cumming has been Reading Aloud (R4) tiny selections of them, written in the 18 months before the purchase of Modestine: they are a joy.

Theatre / Willkommen: Robert Hanks and Edward Seckerson on the London revival of Cabaret

It's faintly disturbing to be told, on entering the Donmar, that you can take plastic glasses only into the auditorium, and then to find that the night-club style tables have all been screwed to the floor. I mean, are they expecting trouble here?
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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes