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.

Interview: Matt Damon: The talented Mr Damon tries on the Emperor's new clothes for size

At 28 he looks as if he should be in shorts. Sheila Johnston talks to Matt Damon

Literary Notes: Monstrous vanity and romantic myth

NEWTON SAID that he stood on the shoulders of giants. This acknowledgement to antiquity concealed his failure to give his due to Leibniz, whose invention of calculus had beaten Newton to it. Similarly, Henry James claimed in a preface to The Portrait of a Lady to be the first novelist to make a woman central in her own right - as though he had never heard of Emma and Jane Eyre. Half a century later, Auden wanted to give James "a good shaking". He saw how "out of their monstrous vanity human creatures want to be their own cause".

Film: Video Watch

Con Air (15), Touchstone

Top 10 Films In UK and USA

LONDON TOP 10

Theatre: This miscast Misanthrope needs a change of heart

AGEISM is certainly not a crime you'd want to pin on Peter Hall. Often at his productions, you wonder whether you're watching a play or a pension scheme. Alan Howard's Lear, for example, must have been all of five when he sired his eldest daughter, so formidably mature did she seem in the recent Hall staging. And is Felicity Kendall anybody's idea, these days, of the vivaciously careerist high-class tart Hall had her play in Feydeau's Mind Millie For Me?

New films: reviews

JACKIE BROWN

New Films: Born under the sign of Pyrex

also showing

Eighty years on, the killing fields rest in peace

It is only a small village in Flanders, with a cluster of brick houses, but it gave its name to a Commonwealth Calvary.

TOP 10 FILMS

TOP 10 GROSSERS

Budget `97: Who is the man in the iron mask?

Dour child of the manse, Casanova, party in-fighter ... John Rentoul searches for the real Gordon Brown

CINEMA : Crash: did we wait so long for this?

'Beyond depravity' was the verdict of one commentator. Westminster Council agreed. But the fuss was surely misplaced

THE EYE ON NEW FILMS

Crash

also showingy Day Story Michael Ray Rhodes (12) Adrenalin: Fear the Rush Albert Pyun (18) By Ryan Gilbey

Con Air Simon West (15) The Fifth Element Luc Besson (PG) Drifting Clouds Aki Kaurismaki (PG) Alive and Kicking Nancy Meckler (15) Men, Women: A User's Manual Claude Lelouch (12) The Informer John Ford (PG) Entertaining Angels: the Doroth...

BIG SHOTS IN NOTTINGHAM

"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" was critic Pauline Kael's succinct summary of cinema's allure. This week, Shots in the Dark, Nottingham's seventh crime, mystery and thriller festival, shows the myriad ways in which sharp- shooting film-makers have elucidated on that primal pull, screening premieres, classic prints and cult crime drama from the small screen.

But it's not a very good likeness

Her brilliant career? After 'The Piano', director Jane Campion turns to Henry James's 'The Portrait of a Lady' for inspiration
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas