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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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas