Arts and Entertainment

In Runner Runner, Justin Timberlake loses a fortune playing online poker, and then flies off to confront the owner of the website, Ben Affleck. But perhaps he could have saved himself the trip if he’d watched a few poker films before logging on.

John Malkovich: 'I don't need to be liked'

John Malkovich is speaking in a tone so low and languorous it seems deliberately pitched at a single, straining pair of ears. As an actor who has used his voice to great menacing effect, it now becomes lighter and more lilting, the more exercised he gets. "Look," he enunciates softly, sitting forward in his chair like an uncoiled snake ready to strike. "I don't need to be liked."

Travel Agenda: Sydney Festival; Outdoors Show; London Bike Show; International Boat Show; Monarch Airlines

Today: Cabaret, circus, comedy and a conversation with John Malkovich: some of the treats in store at the Sydney Festival, which is getting underway. Tonight's Festival First Night features a performance from Arrested Development and a vaudeville reinterpretation of Hyde Park. The festival runs until the end of January ( sydneyfestival.org.au).

DVD: Jonah Hex (15)

Hex is an attempt to transfer the dark, revenge-fuelled DC comic series to film.

Secretariat (U)

Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh

Jonah Hex (15)

Josh Brolin stars as a bounty hunter bent on revenging the murder of his wife and child by a renegade warmonger (John Malkovich) in the aftermath of the Civil War.

John Malkovich to play serial killer in Barbican concert

The life story of Jack Unterweger – an Austrian serial killer who strangled prostitutes with their bras and became a cause célèbre after writing poetry in prison – has been compared to those of Josef Fritzl and Jack the Ripper.

Disgrace (15)

The visionary gravity of J M Coetzee's Booker-winning novel is perhaps untranslatable to the screen, but Steve Jacobs's film is a very creditable try.

Edward Seckerson: Six of the Worst

The word on the street is that "Too Close to the Sun" - a new musical by the composer who tormented us with "The Man in the Iron Mask" - has no business in the West End. How did it get there? Someone's hard-earned money unknowingly squandered. And all the while a wealth of writing talent goes unnoticed and unheard. Don't get me started.

DVD: Changeling (15)

Changeling tells the harrowing true story of single mum Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) whose son Walter (Gattlin Griffith) was kidnapped from her LA home.

One Click Wonder: Self Parody

New Channel 4 sitcom ‘Plus One’ is notable for an inspired turn from ex-boybander Duncan James, playing himself – and so joining a fine tradition of stars sending themselves up on screen with hilarious/humiliating results...

Kathy Staff: Nora Batty in 'Last of the Summer Wine' and veteran of ITV soaps

The actress Kathy Staff turned Nora Batty into a television icon. Over 35 years, in 29 series, she played the broom-wielding, humourless battleaxe in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. Nora had two targets: her henpecked husband, Wally (played by Joe Gladwin), and the shabby, woolly hat-and-wellies-wearing pensioner Compo (Bill Owen), who lusted after her and did eventually get a kiss. Nora's pursuit by Compo was a staple of most episodes. It provided wacky storylines such as the scruffy old man attempting to have his photograph taken in her bedroom and devising a complicated plan to establish her shoe size.

Pick of the picture books

A lifeline to those who consigned treehouses to the same Elysian fields as sand pits and paddling pools, Treehouses, by Paula Henderson and Adam Mornement (Frances Lincoln, £19.99) provides a fascinating account of "the earliest form of natural architecture".

The Word On...Changeling

"Throughout 'Changeling', you can feel Clint Eastwood's sense of accomplishment. There he is behind the lens, champion of women's rights, exposing injustice. What he doesn't see is that he's detracting from Christine Collins' plight by oversimplifying... Eastwood has turned the truth into a bad joke." - Joseph, imdb.com

Changeling, Clint Eastwood, 142 mins, 15<br>Four Christmases, Seth Gordon, 88 mins, 12A

A child goes missing &ndash; and so does the director

Film of the week: Changeling (15)

Clint Eastwood (142 mins) starring Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore, Devon Conti
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project