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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In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible