<a href="http://martinking.livejournal.com/1336.html">Marathon Man: Drivers, you're round the bend</a>

Drivers: you're idiots. Murderous, stupid, criminal cretins. Not all of you, I know. Not all of the time, maybe. But there is one particular driving fault that I can vouch affects most of you, most of the time.

<a href="http://martinking.livejournal.com/1203.html">Marathon Man: With a little help from the gizmo</a>

OK, I know part of the aim to enter the London Marathon was to get off my backside, leave the computer screens behind and hit the road. But all those years with the geeks left me feeling the need for a bit of techie assistance.

First night: Rain Man, Apollo Theatre, London

Film star fails to shine in dull stage performance

Sleeping around: A bit of balance

'There's a lot to be said for taking the time to get to know the other person and not falling for a fantasy image'

Simon Calder: You're still safer up there than down here

This perfect storm, or so the airlines believed until yesterday, had three dimensions: the unprecedented price of oil; weakening demand from cash-strapped holidaymakers and businesses; and reluctance among the banks to shore up ailing carriers.

After 35 years, 'Papillon' gets Hollywood remake

When a film about a petty criminal who was wrongly convicted of murder and banished to a desert island colony was released in 1973, it instantly earned a place in movie folklore for the phenomenal on-screen chemistry between its two lead stars, Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.

Picture Post: Roll credits - Gene Hackman bows out

"I guess you could call it retired. I haven't worked for four years now." Gene Hackman, 78, will make no more movies, if Hollywood's gossip columnists are to be believed. Hackman declared this week that he doesn't want to play grandfathers or doddering old men, and says he won't miss movie-making. Audiences, though, are sure to miss him. He lacked the star wattage of Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson, and would probably have remained a character actor, but he brought a craggy intensity to his best roles and seldom, if ever, gave a bad performance.

Midnight Cowboy

Directed by John Frankenheimer

Scenes from a Revolution, by Mark Harris

Are American films any worse now than they used to be? It's tempting to name a year and suggest that, before this point, movies were better, but is the idea of Transformers being nominated for an Oscar any crazier than Dr Dolittle making the Best Picture list four decades earlier? There have been key periods, though, when Hollywood has experienced a sea change. In 1981, after Raiders of the Lost Ark won Best Picture, there was a shift away from films with a demanding European aesthetic, towards merchandisable matinee popcorn. In 1967, Mark Harris argues, there was another pivotal moment, as studio-generated epics gave way to smaller films that reflected the countercultural thirst for change.

Roy Scheider: Actor best known as Police Chief Brody in the blockbuster 'Jaws'

Lean faced and sinewy, the versatile actor Roy Scheider reached his career peak in the Seventies, when he received two Oscar nominations, as best supporting actor for his role as police partner to "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) in The French Connection (1971), and as best actor for his uncompromising performance in Bob Fosse's autobiographical All That Jazz (1979).

BOX OFFICE: FILMS

UK Top 10

FILM: Racing Stripes (PG) Frederik Du Chau ii888

Just as Buzz Lightyear thought he was really an astronaut, so Stripes the zebra thinks he's a thoroughbred racehorse. A stray from the circus, Stripes is adopted by a widowed horse-trainer (Bruce Greenwood) and befriended by a goat and a Shetland pony. That the latter are voiced respectively by Whoopi Goldberg and Dustin Hoffman should tip you the wink: this is school of Babe, where the animals talk to each other and flies whizz around enthusing over "poo".

FILM: TOP 10 FILMS UK & IRELAND

Most film sequels (apart from The Godfather Part II, of course) are subject to the gloomy law of diminishing returns, both critically and financially, but Jay Roach's Meet The Fockers (which follows 2000's Meet The Parents) has at least hit the box office top spot in its first week. But the combination of A-list Hollywood stars (including Dustin Hoffman, above) and lavatory humour has proved less successful with reviewers. Nobody seems to like it but the public.

Ocean's Twelve (12A)

When more is less

Kevin Whiteman: He came through the miners' strike in '85 but now for the great water revolt of 2005

Sipping at an 'Icytonic', Kelda's chief executive tells Tim Webb why his glass isn't half empty despite higher charges and City criticism
News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
The US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
Life and Style
fashionOne man takes the hipster trend to the next level
News
i100
Sport
A referee issues a red card
football
Career Services

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
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'