Arts and Entertainment

Tom Hooper's quasi-operatic mega-musical is loaded with major historical events, weighty themes, tragic deaths and symbolic rebirths, so it's no wonder that the film version of Les Mis gets so exhausting, especially in the static, unspectacular second half.

The great crime series comeback

Decades after Lieutenant Columbo made a career out of reading between the lines, two new crime series – The Mentalist and Lie To Me – turn experts in the dark art of deception into crime-busting heroes. Sarah Hughes investigates the plots...

Julia Roberts - Has cinema's queen lost her crown?

For a decade, Julia Roberts was Hollywood's best-paid heroine. As her latest film premieres, Geoffrey Macnab wonders if she's still worth it

Deborah Orr: No excuses – only better schooling

Another of Labour’s supposed successes has been stripped of its baubles, with yesterday’s damning investigation into the state of Britain’s primary schools, describing them as being in “severely utilitarian and philistine times”. I suppose one should be glad that the charade has finally been completely exposed. But I just feel so angry that what has been clear to me for years – through a simple “investigation” that involved nothing more or less than watching my own children, and many of their friends, flounder in a system that taught them only that learning was unutterably tedious – has remained unacknowledged by the Government for so long.

Frost/Nixon, Ron Howard, 122 mins, 12A<br>Valkyrie, Bryan Singer, 123 mins, 12A<br>Rachel Getting Married, Jonathan Demme, 113 mins, 15

Frank Langella's Nixon is a perfect ogre as he tries to avoid being skewered on TV by David Frost

Rachel Getting Married (15)

I've been to a fair few weddings, and wedding movies, in my time, but I've never seen a movie that has felt so like a wedding as Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married.

After the silence: Maverick film-maker Jonathan Demme finally returns to the Hollywood fold

Jonathan Demme has done his best to avoid Tinseltown since 'The Silence of the Lambs'. So why has a wedding flick lured this renegade film-maker back to the fold?

Rachel Getting Married - Lights, camera, music...

From TV On The Radio to Robyn Hitchcock, Rachel Getting Married has a soundtrack to savour, says Elisa Bray

Coming Soon: Oscar&rsquo;s big hitters prepare for battle

For you and me, February’s Academy Awards might just be an opportunity to ogle some over-priced frocks, but Hollywood is utterly obsessed with them, judging by the shameless way it’s cramming all of its most Oscar-worthy releases into the next few weeks.

Defiance, Edward Zwick, 137 mins, 15<br>Bride Wars, Gary Winick, 90 mins, 12A

Daniel Craig plays a Jewish fighter taking on the Nazis in a nearly classic war film

Anne Hathaway: Fame, scandal and the road to the Oscars

Just months after her private life was touched by scandal, Anne Hathaway finds herself nominated for a Golden Globe &ndash; and a serious contender for this year's Oscars. James Mottram talks to the actress about the ups and downs of fame

Fashion: Sell high, buy low?

Political upheavals and economic woes may come and go, but our fascination with the vagaries of female footwear reigns eternal. Last month, an announcement by shoe designer extraordinaire Christian Louboutin, in which he unveiled his dastardly plan to unleash a pair of eight-inch stilettos on the world, led the fashion press to declare that heels, and women's irrational love of them, are set to reach new heights this season.

Debra Winger: The return of a class act

More than a decade ago, Oscar-nominated actress Debra Winger quit Hollywood. Now she's back. She tellsGaynor Flynn what she was up to...

Anne Hathaway - the princess gets smart

Life's been tricky for Anne Hathaway recently, but, she tells Gill Pringle, for her new film she's put on a brave face

Specs appeal: All the stars are wearing Wayfarers this summer

One sunny day at Disneyland, LA, earlier this year, Kate Moss who, like Delia Smith can sell 50,000 of anything just by smiling in its direction, tried to avoid paparazzi while wearing a pair of distinctly geeky-looking white-framed Ray-Ban Wayfarers. That's all it took.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project