Arts and Entertainment For those who have argued, 'who would win in a fight, Superman or Batman?', Hollywood hopes to have an answer by 2015

Batman v Superman director Zach Snyder will have talks in the next few days with the man who first pitched the two superheroes against each other in an iconic comic book tale 30 years ago.

DVD: The Dark Knight (12)

Christian Bale returns as our hero, intent on cleaning up the mean streets of Gotham in the biggest-grossing film of the year.

Preview: Frightfest, Odeon West End, London

This year's Film4 FrightFest opens with the world premiere of the British "hoodie horror" Eden Lake, starring Kelly Reilly. It's one of 27 new horror films being shown over five days, including the French film Martyrs, about a young woman who goes on a killing spree, and the Japanese flick Tokyo Gore Police, an outlandish bloodbath directed by the special-effects guru Yoshihiro Nishimura.

The Dark Knight (12A)

Long gone are the camp portrayals of Batman and his various enemies – Heath Ledger's terrifying Joker is way too dark for the kids

The Dark Knight, Odeon, Leicester Square, London

Sadistic realism parallels our troubled times

The Dark Knight: the legacy of Heath Ledger

The Australian actor's death deprived Hollywood of one of its brightest young stars. But his performance as The Joker in the new Batman film suggests he was saving his best for last. David Usborne reports on an unlikely candidate for success at the Oscars

The Dark Knight of Ledger's soul

Heath Ledger — who died as the result of an accidental prescription drug cocktail in January — was something of a self-taught "method" actor, immersing himself in his roles. It was a habit he picked up from his Oscar-nominated break-through role as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain, and an approach he continued through parts as diverse as a drug-addicted artist in Candy, the villainous Joker in The Dark Knight and even a circus performer in Doctor Parnassus.

Alex James: The Great Escape

I'd forgotten that moving to the country was such a gamble. When we left London three years ago, I really thought my life might be over. My band was disintegrating. I'd just stopped drinking and shagging so I could get married, and that shed a layer of boozy mates and girlfriends. My handful of close friends and favourite girlfriends could cope with my sobriety, but most of them never forgave me for getting married.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Actuaries put to shame as staying in equities saves BT pension scheme from catastrophe

Productivity: don't blame planning laws; Insider trading: an intractable problem

John Walsh: Tales of the City

'Is the Kremlin, that off-puttingly bleak and spiky fortress, really anyone's idea of something wonderful?'

Insomnia (15)

Edge of darkness

Guy Pearce: It's 800,000 years in the future and look who's here...

Guy Pearce, star of soap and screen, talks to James Mottram about life in 'The Time Machine'

Einstein memento returned

A piece of blackboard bearing Albert Einstein's signature is to be restored to pride of place at Manchester University, 35 years after it was dumped in a cellar.

Glossary: Let gravestones tell their stories

THE INDEPENDENT's offices are located next to a graveyard, the Nonconformist burial ground of Bunhill Fields, just outside the City of London boundaries. Bunyan, Defoe and Blake are buried here, alongside Isaac Watts, the composer of hymns, and a scattering of minor Cromwells.
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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
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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'