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For years, she was typecast as a frosty English rose. But then something remarkable happened – and Kristin Scott Thomas blossomed into one of the most interesting actresses of our age

Cold Mountain, Odeon, Leicester Square

The eyes have it in a film where casual profundity lies behind the majestic scenery

Comment: Sociopaths, liars and adulterers: all American heroes

A KIND of fin-de-siecle frenzy has descended on Hollywood. So few days left to the end of the millennium, and still so many great films to cram into the viewing schedule before the clock strikes 12 on 31 December.

Film: A novel idea for a film

Good books make bad movies. Or do they? Brainy writers have finally made friends with Hollywood.

London makes a pitch for US movies

THEY CAME to conquer Hollywood, not in an official limousine but in a slick sports vehicle. Their briefcases did not contain piles of Whitehall stationery, just a stack of interactive digital video discs and players. There were a few suits around, but the emphasis was definitely Paul Smith, not Savile Row.

Terracotta remembered hills

Film-makers follow the Chiantishire herd when they depict Tuscany as a fantasyland of earthenware and peasants, writes Jasper Rees

BOB, HARVEY, ART AND MAMMON

They've shocked Hollywood by making millions from art movies, done a deal with Disney and acquired Tina Brown. Just who are the Weinstein brothers?

How to write a movie

He can boast 17 Oscars and 91 Emmys, but Robert McKee didn't win them himself: his students did. Beverley D'Silva went to his scriptwriting seminar, and got some extra tips in the fag break

Choice: Film - The American Friend

The American Friend, Riverside Studios (0181-237 1111) 6.15pm

Islington is where the Hollywood stars shine

For the next three productions at London's Almeida theatre, Hollywood is migrating to Islington, and the cast list will be impersonating the Milky Way. Newspapers, suggests Jasper Rees, may as well send their staff astronomers to write the reviews, and theatre critics can have the night off.

The angel of Islington

Juliette Binoche is at the peak of her career in movies, with an Academy award - for 'The English Patient' - to prove it. So what is she doing at the Almeida?

Bishops, professors, MPs, Wallace, Gromit

The new 'Who's Who' reflects the rise and rise of media folk, says Glenda Cooper. Perhaps it's worthy of an Oscar itself

South Bank salvation

With all the dreadful films that are traditionally shown on television at this time of year, the only solution for many is a Christmas trip to the NFT

Christmas presents: Videos - Eternally yours, Ralph Fiennes in your front room

Preserved on your TV screen forever, longer lasting than a pair of socks and certainly sweeter come January,
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
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i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
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news
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Day In a Page

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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
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