Arts and Entertainment

(15) Dir. Joel Coen + Ethan Coen; Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, 105mins

Tom Sutcliffe: Rooster's a bit too slow on the drawl

The week in culture

Culture Club: Readers review True Grit

Readers review this week's big film

Whatever happened to the original Mattie Ross?

When she starred opposite John Wayne in the 1969 western True Grit, Kim Darby could easily have been forgiven for believing the role would be the start of a long and glittering career. In truth, though, defying predictions that a star was born, she has made no films of note since.

True Grit (15): The IoS review

The Coen brothers' new Western begins with a verse from Proverbs – "The wicked flee when none pursues".

British director captures one day in the life of the world

Jonathan Romney on a quirky hit culled from YouTube that has stolen the limelight

Dude who doubles as Jeff Bridges' best friend

It's not easy being relied on by Hollywood royalty –but for Loyd Catlett, it's been a remarkable ride. Guy Adams meets him

True Grit (15)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

Culture Club: The Fighter

Readers review this week's big film

The Fighter, David O Russell, 115 mins (15)

Mark Wahlberg is a boxer who gets an emotional bruising from his family, in a gritty true story that has made Oscar contenders out of its director and supporting cast

True Grit, By Charles Portis

If the Oscar for best actor depends largely on the character portrayed, I'd be voting for an over-the-hill, drunken, one-eyed US deputy marshal rather than a stuttering king. John Wayne won his only Oscar for his bravura portrayal of Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn and the same role has put Jeff Bridges in the running this year. Yet the murderous lawman is not the central figure in True Grit. Mattie Ross, the 14-year-old farm girl who hires Cogburn to bring in her father's killer, is both protagonist and narrator of the yarn.

Geoffrey Macnab: My Oscar Favourites

Boardwalk empress: Kelly Macdonald on movies, marriage and Martin Scorsese

Danny Boyle discovered her, Irvine Welsh was inspired by her and the Coen brothers love Kelly Macdonald. But even as she journeys back to Prohibition-era America for the Golden Globe winner Boardwalk Empire, the actress is determined not to forget her Glasgow council-estate roots

Film remakes: Better than the real thing

Paul Haggis and the Coens are the latest Hollywood directors to retool existing films in their own image. Kaleem Aftab celebrates the fine art of the remake

Errors & Omissions: Making the point using a metaphor can be a painful experience

The phrase "not to put too fine a point on it" has always puzzled me. In a broad sense, the meaning is reasonably clear: "I am about to say something you won't like." But what has the "fine point" to do with it?

Geoffrey Macnab: Selections are bland, timid and baffling

When it comes to the awards season, we are invariably left with just two movies slugging it out against each other for the major honours. Last year, the main bout was The Hurt Locker vs Avatar. This year, if the Golden Globe nominations are an accurate measure, the antagonists will be The King's Speech (seven nominations) and The Social Network (six). It is the stuttering Brits against the Yankee nerds. The battle between them will only finally be resolved on Oscar night in February.

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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?