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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Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
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Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
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Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
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Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
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Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
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Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor