Arts and Entertainment

I’ve always tried to pursue the things I’m most passionate about You have to follow your heart. That’s why I’ve written and directed [new TV show] Mob City [based on John Buntin’s book LA Noir: The Struggle For the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City]. I’ve always loved film noir, the potboiler aspect, the fact that everyone has an angle, a secret, and that the heat is always being turned up under the kettle.

A beautiful life: Paul Bettany a successful acting export

He used to be a busker, but now Paul Bettany is one of our most successful acting exports. Just don't mention the bald patch, he tells James Mottram

The Fire, By Katherine Neville

Just like The Da Vinci Code – but much better

A Bloody Aria (18)

A violent and silly Korean Grand Guignol about an opera singer and his young protegée heading down a country road and into the embrace of a gang of Deliverance-style mouth-breathing psychos.

What happens next is predictable enough in outline, but springs a surprise or two along the way; the build-up of aggression is nicely paced, and the film displays a primitive but intermittently effective sense of humour. On the down side, the action proper, once it does get under way, seems to go on an unconscionably long time; and as well as some distasteful sexual violence, we get an unusually revolting screen kiss. I suspect it falls between two stools: not nearly grisly enough for the aficionado of extreme Asian cinema, rather too grisly for everyone else.

The Mist (15)

The Mist is one of the most downbeat, serious-minded dramas ever to feature gigantic tentacled aliens from another dimension. Adapted from a novella by Stephen King, it's set almost entirely in a rural New England supermarket. An unfeasibly buff artist, Thomas Jane, is stocking up with his son there one morning, when the supermarket is enveloped in a white fog, and we soon see that cheaply computer-generated beasties are lurking within it. Jane and the other shoppers lock the doors.

Paperbacks: Sepulchre, by Kate Mosse

For anyone who religiously avoids novels about bloodlines, the occult and ecclesiastical manuscripts the window for escape is closing.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Directed by Norman Jewison

Peter Mandelson: You ask the questions

The European commissioner for external trade on the CAP, 'Mandy' and Gordon: 'I have no feud with Gordon Brown. I respect what he does as Chancellor'

Last night's television: More attention to detail, please

HORIZON: LIVING WITH ADHD BBC2; THE REAL DA VINCI CODE C4

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

Not the end of the world

Michael Jeter

Actor who played sympathetic eccentrics

Sleepover: A bed for the night in Vietnam

Hotel Continental
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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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...
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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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick