Fantasy Films - latest news, breaking stories and comment - The Independent

Coraline, Henry Selick, 100 mins, (PG)<br>Chéri, Stephen Frears, 92 mins, (15)<br>Little Ashes, Paul Morrison, 112 mins, (15)

The blue hair might be kiddy friendly, but wait for the carnivorous plants

Games Review: Coraline

DS, PS2, Wii, D3 Publisher, &pound;19.99 &ndash; &pound;29.99

His Dark Materials, Birmingham Rep, Birmingham

Call me earth-bound in my imagination but I'm not entirely sure why Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials has exerted quite such a hold over so many readers worldwide. The story revolves around Lyra and her adventures with her pal Will as they drop in and out of parallel universes against an intricate backdrop of storylines involving physics, philosophy and religion. Added to this is the dangerous search for the source of Dust. (That's panpsychic particles of self-awareness.)

Can fantasy epics survive the Credit Crunch Chronicles?

Narnia, His Dark Materials &ndash; not even Harry Potter is safe from Tinseltown's recession

Sarah Sands: Emma Thompson is the true lady of Brideshead

"It's our turn now," says the young soldier at the end of Brideshead Revisited, and so it is. Do not mind the old incumbents who moan that Diana Quick can never be robbed of her role as Julia Flyte, or that Jeremy Irons conveyed more emotion as Charles Ryder. Instead, there is a fashionable distaste for barmy old faith and self-restraint. Brideshead has become better looking and more shallow.

Christian protests may leave Philip Pullman's trilogy as one of a kind

Perhaps it has disappeared through a window into another universe, like its characters.

Exit the dragon master

One of the 20th century's most influential cultural figures passed away this week, scarcely noticed except by the millions whose lives he changed. Michael Bywater celebrates the achievement of Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons

Johnny Depp: His performance in Sweeney Todd has been acclaimed as 'stunning in every dimension'

"Idiot," Johnny Depp likes to joke, is the German translation of his surname. The universally swooned-over film actor, who this week picked up his first Golden Globe for his all-singing portrayal of Sweeney Todd, has, over a 24-year career, gained a reputation for playing the outsiders, rejects and oddballs – the idiots. Big-bucks, twinkly-eyed romantic leads – for which his unimprovable looks might seem to make him an obvious contender – have never held any allure.

Helena Boham Carter: After 30 years of waiting, the actress is finally playing the role of her dreams

The Sweeney Todd star talks to Nicola Christie

Parking spaces: the final frontier

As more houses are split into flats, and everything from pubs to warehouses are converted, there's a big problem in Britain's cities: where do all the cars go? Helen Brown hits the streets to find out why garages now change hands for as much as homes

Gift Guide: For the foodie

1. A set of Global knives This is a wonderful present for a keen cook. Global makes safe, strong and dependable knives that stay sharp for a long time. From £59.95, Divertimenti, tel: 020 7581 8065, www.divertimenti.co.uk

Magazines: Can new 'Woman' take on the world?

The venerable women's weekly has so far avoided going down the celebrity route. But all that is about to change, reports Ian Burrell

A History of Violence (18)

David Cronenberg's new film is firing on all cylinders, says Anthony Quinn
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